Startup naming is more difficult than it sounds

What will be your first big compromise as a startup? Your business name.

This fact is not often shared, but getting a good name for your startup is extremely hard nowadays, and there are three interdependent barriers in your way;

1. Copyright
2. Web Domain
3. Social media handles

It is extremely rare to hit jackpot with all three and you will have to compromise with a name that doesn’t quite meet your standards, hopes and vision.

There are a lot of creative naming techniques used in branding that can expand your options and get you closer to your vision like exploring, synonyms, terms in other languages, fusing two or more words together… but almost inevitably, you’ll end up is going to feel like a compromise.

A compromise does not mean total failure though, and the name chosen will serve you well and grow on you with time and hopefully with your customers. Just be careful not to pick a name that sounds offensive or that is the opposite of your brand’s values.

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I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

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You need to think of your social media strategy as people strategy

There are no hacks and shortcuts to a genuine connection. When it comes to social media , you have to realize that you are addressing real people with real lives, with real hopes and desires.

Sharing a generic quote, a random selfie or 5 tips to success just doesn’t cut it anymore. I’m not saying these types of posts are bad in and of themselves, but you have to find a genuine way in which your brand can touch people’s hearts.

When thinking of a social media strategy – think of it as people strategy. Don’t focus on vanity metrics such as likes, but go after building genuine relationships.

Today’s algorithms will reward you for it too. They have been reprogrammed to measure the relevance your posts have for your audience. If you’re in it just for the likes, the algorithm will see right through you.

Instead of doing things the old way, evolve and think about how to be more authentic, sincere and relevant.

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I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

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Your social media should be about your customers

Your social media should never be about you. Your social media needs to always be about THEM – your customers.

This especially goes if you have or manage a business social media account. While you can endlessly post vanity selfies on your personal account, people don’t want to constantly see how great your business is. Who cares!?

Instead, produce content that is useful and can give value and serve your customers in the best way. Be educational, be entertaining, save them time, make their life easier, offer them opportunities…

You create influence by giving value. Make it about THEM so they get back to you for more.

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I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

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Here’s a quick template on writing your slogan

Don’t have a catchy slogan for your brand yet? Try answering these questions:

What’s one main advice you would give your customers?
How would your customers describe your product or service in 3 words?
In 3 words, what does your product or service do?
What is your business philosophy?
What do you ultimately believe in?

Which one of the answers resonates the most with you? Take that and make it in a sentence that is short, rhythmic and easy to say. It will take just a little bit more work to get there, but it will be worth it.

Congrats on your new slogan!

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I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

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What’s the difference between $95, $99.99 and $100?

What’s the difference between $95, $99.99 and $100?

Objectively speaking, the difference is next to nothing to about 5 bucks, but the way you “design” your prices can communicate a lot about your brand.

Ending your prices with a 9 always signifies a bargain, while using a 5 or a 0 as the last number of a price signifies more stability, quality and prestige.

If you have a luxury product or a service, it’s smart to round your prices to 0, but if you have a product that offers good value, then it’s a good idea to reduce the left digit by one and end your price with a 9.

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I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

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Is knowledge the #1 force in marketing right now?

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Marketing in the B2B sector is all about knowledge.

It is so valuable that it has turned into the main driving force behind customer acquisition. Especially in the B2B sector, people are always on the lookout for the best insight, strategies, and advice. Blogs, webinars, presentations, e-books, white papers, workshops… the web is teeming with offers to exchange knowledge for e-mails.

While all knowledge is valuable, you have to be acutely aware of what kind of knowledge to produce. Only produce and share things your potential customers will find valuable. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending a lot of time and energy to get nothing in return. By producing content that does not result in engagement and interest is the same as running at a loss.

Content is king, but context is queen. You have to serve both first to even have a chance at exchanging your services for money.

If you want to be unique, you have to stop looking at others

I’ve been on so many couch conferences , webinars , presentations and hangouts lately and I saw how people in these events take an inordinate amount of time to look at the good work of others. Although good examples are useful to take note of, you will never achieve greatness this way. Things won’t magically start happening for your business by osmosis. What the presenters in these online events won’t tell you is that ingenuity takes work and it takes guts to stand out. And you can stand out only if you dig within yourself and bring forward your unique core.

There are no blueprints to your own uniqueness. The blueprint is YOU. Cancel all of your webinars and dedicate that time to discover who you are and what your business is instead. This is what makes a leader. Leaders are the ones paving paths to new, risky uncharted territories. All of the businesses you see in those presentations paved their own way, that is why they stand out. But their success is not yours. It’s time to start paving your own way in your own way.

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I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

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Why can’t brands be furious for once!?

Empty branded statements

Today we live in a reality where people have effectively cornered brands into reacting to current political, social and cultural events. From political protests, to celebrity deaths or cultural phenomena, brands nowadays have to be everywhere and have an opinion on everything. Some brands take the opportunity to align their values to the cause, some are sleazy and opportunistic and some of them hide in broad daylight. 

However, when brands express their opinions we are often faced with vague, empty statements via tweets, blogs, Instagram posts that often contain words such as “care”, “solidarity”, “community” and “standing”. For something that was handled by so many hands: strategists, assistants, lectors, lawyers, boards, these documents always turn out to be more sterile than the insides of a bottle of pure alcohol. 

If we demand our brands to have a voice on society-and-heart-shattering human events, why should we settle for such tact, diplomacy and over-politicking? Why should we settle for blatant inauthenticity served right to our faces masquerading as compassion and honesty? Why can’t brands allow themselves to be furious about the state of the world for once!? 

I’m asking this as a consumer, but also a brand strategist. I’m utterly curious why do brands always have to deliver passionless statements that make no difference and ultimately have no meaning. Would a company continue producing a product that doesn’t sell? Those statements are obviously not working, so why continue producing them at all? We are not sold! Should brands be given such voices in the first place? 

As I mentioned in the beginning, brands nowadays are forced in doing so. If there was no outside pressure, organizations would probably continue being disengaged as before. Another factor that contributes to this phenomenon is that organizations are still stuck in time and engage in PR strategies that release corporate-sounding non-statements to issues that go way beyond their range. The hot-button topics of today are much more human in nature, and humans are inherently beautiful as they are messy. Brands can be beautiful, but never messy. Messiness implies instability, irrationality and impulsivity — non of which are desired on the market.

Humans are inherently beautiful as they are messy. Brands can be beautiful, but never messy.

Companies and corporations are first and foremost economy and market entities, and we have to recognize this reality for what it is. We have treated them as such for so long that they grew into “beings” much different from humans. They are based on cold facts and rationality, void of emotions. Today we find ourselves in an awkward situation and ask from emotionless entities to react to emotion-strung events in the world. Considering everything, it is only logical to get emotion-void responses as a result.

Then again, I sincerely do think it’s time to change that.

Making brands more human

People have already started seeing through abstract corporate non-speak. They are increasingly asking brands for their direct and tangible involvement in their communities. This was very evident at the beginning of the COVID crisis, and now with the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

At the end of 20th century we saw people requesting bigger responsibility of brands in regards to the environment, but we also saw there was no real commitment for organizations to do so. Carbon and other emissions still remain at an unsatisfactory level. The 21st century will mark an era of bigger and most importantly tangible involvement of brands in the world, societies and communities they exist in. We are slowly bringing organizations back to what I think is their truer identity — their human identity.

Democratization of organizations would be driving factor leading this change forward. Even when there’s pressure, leaderships are often the most sheltered groups and action from a position of comfort has proven to be very difficult. Influencing decision making by raising the voices of the wider employee body, especially during the crisis, will be way to go. We can observe such an example within Microsoft as employees call for the company to cancel its police contracts

No man is an island, as is no organization an entity separate from humans. What is an organization if not a community of humans working towards a common goal? This means that brands, as organizational identities that deliver the organization’s voice are human at their heart as well. Any statement made from that internal truth will undoubtedly sound more honest, authentic and human. Some organizations have already stepped up to have active roles in society where governments have failed. This is a strong signal that attitudes have begun to dramatically change. 30 years ago, this kind of behavior would have been unimaginable for the simple reason that brands simply didn’t do such things. I believe we are entering an era of post social responsibility that will release the inherited corporate restraints and will finally enable organizations to behave in a more human way, and possibly even get angry!

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This article was written in collaboration with Tracy Mech

I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

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Brands are terrified from becoming irrelevant during the COVID crisis

In these unprecedented times of uncertainty and hyper-capitalism brands are mass-producing emotions of closeness, relatability, connection, trust, and hope. By hiring people like me, brands craft and tone a message to suit what “the audience” wants to hear. I would agree that we live in times in need of solidarity, but not fakeness.

This is pointing back to the fact that most businesses have a hidden value that states that they are “in the business of doing business”. Organizations are not prepared to own up to such a blatant (and core) value thus resulting in moves that are not really moves. Why did all of these corporations produce such ads? What were they trying to tell us? Aren’t they secretly communicating: “Hey, we’re here, don’t forget us!”. How much are companies afraid of becoming irrelevant in the COVID crisis?

Instead of reacting to fear, organizations should examine their brands, services offers and resources and step up with a meaningful way to connect and make a difference in communities. Don’t preach it, do it.

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I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

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