Well we’ve finally reached the end of our “building your brand” series of articles, this is the sixth and final instalment (7 if your technical about this). In this article I will look at the 10 things which will make your brand/company not just stand out from the crowd and competitors but also develop your unique selling point (usp).

It may seem like a lame way to do these in a “top 10″ fashion but that isn’t how I’m treating these, these points are in no particular order and are all important to any brand, regardless of size (generally).

Increased Selection

Increasing your selection of products and/or service is one simple way to stand out from the crowd. Another reason for a larger selection is that you are seen to be covering all areas of your market, the more you offer under one roof the less work clients need to do running around from business to business, plus maybe you can give them a discount for taking multiple services with you (remember how to improve customer loyalty)
Consider: if you sell something (product or service) don’t just offer them on your site, go to free advertising like gumtree and freeindex. If its a product try ebay or .

Innovative Product / Service

If you have a new product with a patent covering it or a service that others don’t offer, you will have something that no one else can offer. Another reason for doing this kind of thing is that you show you are upto date and working towards the future in your market, you are a market leader.
Consider:  Patents can take sometime to occur, especially world rights, so apply in good time - remember you can go to manufacture with patent pending. Also make sure you tell potential clients you are the only brand selling the product and what makes this product/service so special.

Multi Use Products / Services

Once you have a service or product, think of how you can twist them to become useful for something else. Multi purpose products mean that the end user doesn’t need to buy another product, they save money and are likely to come back to you.
Consider: Aspirin has multiple uses including treating pain and preventing heart attacks – very useful. Mobile phones are now digital cameras too… what in your selection of products & services can you twist to help your end user.

Extreme Customer Service

Customer service can make or break a brand, ensuring your customers know you are eager to deliver the best service both through products and customer service implores the customer to trust you and your company & possibly recommend you. Going the extra mile can often make the difference between a sale or no sale, or between the customer return for repeat custom or not.
Consider: If someone contacts you that you ensure you say thank you, ask them for feedback on your product or service (and say thank you for this), ensure you go the extra mile (sometimes literally like Dr’s doing house visits). Maybe like myself you can send an automatic thank you to anyone enquiring using a form on our websites. – This point helps with customer loyalty too.

Convenience of Sale

Make your product or service be convenient to buy or use, it can make that last step to use a little easier. A great example of making a service convenient is Banking ATM’s in supermarkets or shopping centres. If you offer a local service make the service more accessible by getting leaflets into local shops, show your support for these shops in return for a little help for your local shop.
Consider: If you offer a service or product ensure you reach a wider audience by using the internet as a revenue stream

Confidence in Expertise

If you have expertise in a given field you should be using this to sell, and training others to sell for you. Sounds simple when I say it like that and it can be but the important thing is that you use the knowledge to a useful end with your customer. A great example is your best friend, the IT guy, you call him up and he can help you with many things from “why doesn’t my printer work?” to “how do I install this?” to connectivity issues … he shares his knowledge, but equally if he worked for an IT company he could use and exploit this knowledge as a selling tool to make a sale or to upsell – both valuable sales you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Consider: If you are the line manager or overall manager of a company, do your staff have ALL the knowledge they could in your field of speciality – if you work in clothing shop for “hip” teenagers, do your staff know about the latest trends and how people want to look?if not why not? Get them Trained. – Equally this can be said for any part of any business.

Pricing Strategy

Consider Apple and Microsoft – Apple are highly priced, “executive toy”-like, amazing quality products (apparently Building Your Brand Stand Out user experience optimisation brand ) – whilst Microsoft are a lower priced common place machine for everyman and his dog, plus they are always in the new for viruses and stuff (it seems). Not getting the picture ? Ok well …
Consider: If you price high you convey quality for the higher end of the market, lower pricing will bring the thrifty peoples attention. This isn’t always true though, if the whole market charges high prices for something – either they are all great quality or something is going on – great example of this is the Virgin Atlantic & British Airways price fixing scandal.

Longevity of a Product or Service

As I’ve mentioned before your primary selling tool should be based on time and emotion (see price advertising means fail here). But I feel the need to clear this up with a few examples from adverts those in the UK (maybe else where) will recognise. Using time to tug on the strings of emotion can mean selling at a high price easier because you are offering the little bit extra (seemingly for free!).
Consider: Tyres – Michelin (amongst others) are always always going on in TV adverts about how much further the tyres they sell can go compared to “ordinary tyres” … this is like Fairy Liquid saying 50% extra free on bottles in store and in adverts going further telling you in every advert for the past 5 years that “fairy liquid lasts longer” … an interesting outcome to note is that on TV adverts saying xx% free doesn’t appear to work for the UK market, however when instore or looking at posters in the street or banners on the internet xx% free does very well.

Offer a Guarantee

Offering some kind of promise is a fantastic way to either clinch a sale or implore trust in your company. Asda (Walmart UK for you americans Building Your Brand Stand Out user experience optimisation brand ) offer a money back guarantee “if you are not 100% satisfied” with their home-brand products, everything is covered from shampoo to cutlery to food goods – a great way to show you are quality in what you do. This week Asda have gone one step further (in some way) and have jumped on what is a common bandwagon in other industries (insurance mainly) and say if you can finx X cheaper in asda than another shop get the difference off your next shop.
Consider:  99.99% of those who see your offer will never take it up, there may be one or two people who do but because you have grown trust and belief in your brand, products and services the sales generated from this will be far far more than the sales you would have recieved without – but be careful not to offer something you can’t keep to. Broken promises can spread the world in seconds in this digital ages – as can bad news … ask Gordon Brown.

Packaging for Market

Offer packaging options which make you stand above the rest. Supermarkets do this by offering a variety of long-life bags, plastic 5p ones, fabric 34p ones and more. The shape and designs change, size, brightness, environmental concerns and more all make a difference. The thing with packaging for supermakets like Asda, Tesco and Morrisons is that this is another way to raise revenue, but for the foremost they don’t they claim they do it for the environment and so make no profit … but this isn’t the same for small businesses or sending out parcels. If this is you…
Consider: Can you package using less material – saving money and space, Can you make the package childproof – this means if its a present or damageable good it won’t get hurt, Can you make the packaging intuitive – Ribena  juice cartons with a straw in the side, where as cheaper drinks have no attached straw (not user friendly), Can you offer free gift wrapping at a certain price, Can you brand your packaging so that even whilst in transit your brand is being seen.

Welcome to the penultimate article in the “building your brand” series, today I want to talk about the usage of social media to help promote your company, a product/service or yourself (personal brand).

To help illustrate the various characters that can be found in social media and to see which best suits you I am going to work with examples of a teenage party (18th birthday or leaving school type thing, where all are invited). The reason for this is that in my view social media is just a like a party, and the hosts are the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Digg and many others. You or Your Brand are the guests and just like partying teenagers its about “standing out” and “being the best” … not being the little ignored guy in the corner.

@ The Social Media Party

The guy/girl in the corner
Ok so this sounds like I’m being a little mean, but we’ve all seen the little shy guy/girl or person with few friends who is very quiet attending a party but not really doing much. Sometimes they sit alone sometimes with others but none the less they are quiet and unheard. This to me is like creating a for your brand and not shouting about it. Just because you attend the party doesn’t mean you will make any friends, you have to advertise and network to develop the relationships where by people will come and talk to you, or in this case join the fan page or follow your twitter account.

Consider:  If you answer “yes” to the following questions then you should start a conversation, otherwise next time you hear “everyone is doing the social media thingy, so should we” have the guts to say “no” because its not right for you. Do you have content worth sharing? Do you release content worth sharing on a regular basis (including blog posts)? Is your target audience under 35?

The Loudmouth Blabber
The loudmouth is the one that overcompensates for the lack of value they carry by blabbering on … basically decrease in quality in crease in quantity. The person is constantly demanding attention and never listens. This is exactly the same with social media (or blogging) companies whom are constantly “pimping” themselves and the products/services they offer, by not listening to feedback from the crowd you are in essence shutting the door in their face – they are unlikely to want to come back and talk to you (in our case less likely to deal with your business or brand).

Consider: Social media should speak for itself because your content should also, if your content doesn’t talk quality then you stand little chance in social media. In general the higher the quality of product/service the more people will talk about it on the social networks. The theory is that you should only need to post 1 link per post you write, it is then for the community you have to spread the word (from one to another and so on, the viral effect if you’re lucky).

The Sparkling Showoff
We all know who I’m talking about, the people who get out their smart phone or little gadget that does something special, or shows off something expensive or that he/she know one else in the room has (maybe an iPhone or the new iPad). People gather round (follow your group on facebook, follow you on twitter etc) to be closer to the centre of the party. Soon after they gathered begin to dissipate and back off because they realise that the gadget maybe inaccessible (they won’t get a go on it), the person/brand is intimidating or maybe they realise that the person/brand/product is bland and nothing special. This is like launching a new site online, there is a social media buzz and viral effect almost but after a few days the honeymoon effect ends because you haven’t maintained the connection with the others, you’ve decided that instead of you working you will let your product do the talking… not always the best route it is generally the connection and relationship you have with your clients that brings them back time and time again.

Consider: Beauty is skin deep, products and services have a limited ability to talk for you and sell themselves – it is for you to connect and show the real value and resource of your product… it is you whom the connection is with and you whom the community trust – not your service.

The Buzzword Adict
These are the people who namedrop constantly or are constantly talking about themselves and what they have done that is so amazing recently, even though for most people what they do is for them an everyday event! These people are those who go online mention famous names left, right and centre just to get attention – or perhaps they fill social content such as twitter with keywords and links … not only do people pick up on this but they will begin to ignore you and further to this search engines will take little to no notice of these events. The best bet and best practice is to talk naturally and not to act as you think you should be seen, social media is about conversation not campaigning for your product or services.

Consider: Remember what I said earlier it’s a converstation, it’s two way and it should be totally natural. If you decide to use social media it requires commitment to engagement, not commitment to a campaign.

Be a R.A.T.

Sounds like a peculiar thing to tell someone but being the RAT can make your social media branding exercise extra special and give it that x-factor that your competitors don’t have, after all if you are going to be the same as them what is the point – you need to be the best.

Responding Now
British Telecom are well known for having one of the worst customer service records in the UK. Unlike some companies (eg ComCast – telecoms company in the USA) BT are yet to find social media as a route to better service. ComCast offers a twitter conversation (via @ComCastCares) to its customers to help report and fix problems but the minor and major, they are not alone in doing this, one of the AKD partners UKHost4u [we no longer partner with ukhost] also offer a similar service to repost hosting issues or outages. Responding quickly to current and potential customers is of the upmost importance, gaining trust isn’t easy but this is one great big leap you can take towards being trusted. As well as this it also protects your brand because you are acting in a very proactive manner to reduce larger complaints.

Adventure Beyond Competitors
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and do something new or different, something from another industry or that has never been done before. A good way to do this is to offer a competition with a huge prize to draw attention, this is how big brands do it so try it with a smaller brand too, if they do it so can you.

Target Correctly
Targeting your audience is very important, you must target and speak to your audience in the correct tone and manner. Each type of person and audience requires a different approach – for example KFC or McDonalds would target the younger generations trying to take a tone which is “young and urban” maybe even using texting acronyms like Vodafone have done on billboards with the advert “unltd txts” … if you are selling meals on wheels to elderly people online then you may not use social media to begin with but if you do you will need a softer less abrasive tone which speaks on a friendly level with the client.

3 Steps to a Strong Social Brand

1 – planning
Planning your social events can be a crucial point for any business or brand (not so much if your selling yourself as a brand because that is you as a person and should be you talking naturally off the cuff not pre prescribed). You need to determine what you want to show your brand as being (consider brand position), plan what resources you want to show-off and consider why you want to show it off – don’t just do it for the sake of it because you can. Remember quality over quantity. Also plan which social media outlets you will use, facebook and twitter are the norms but if your technical you may want to take a look at Digg or Delicious.
Hint: Writing down your plan means if you go away on holiday the conversation continues.

2 – Implement
This is where the hard work really begins, you need to put your strategy into action – generally unless you’re your own brand this isn’t a one man job (though you can hire an seo like Andy Kinsey) to really help you out. If you get stuck and need help posting tweets on a regular basis you may want to consider auto-tweeting using socialtoo.com

3 – Analysis
Tracking and monitoring your implementation and time on social media can be very important, otherwise you won’t really know the impact it has had on your sales or visitors. There are many tools for doing this, one of the simplest is simply using analytics tools (such as ) but generally this isn’t enough, there are a number of ways to check the number of times a link you post is clicked, several are paid but the one i favour bitly is completely free and they are constantly improving the analytics they provide (also bitly is a link shortening service).

Do you have any tips for using social media for branding? Is your brand currently in need of followers on twitter or facebook? Do you own a successful social brand? If you’ve said “yes” to any of the above then leave a comment below.

Over the past few weeks you will have read a lot about branding, and over the next few weeks this will continue. But this week I want to introduce some new services that we can offer at exclusive rates through our mother company, Andy Kinsey Designs.

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For the third (ok, fourth if your being clever) article in this series of “building your brand” I want to focus on your customers and how you can change certain aspects within a brand (and actions it makes) to make the consumer more receptive to the brand, including products or services you offer.

In the recent recession (and I say that knowing the UK has shown economic growth for the last quarter of 2009 and first of 2010) I watched carefully as brand after brand crumbled in the UK and around the globe, including many financial brands which most people were here to stay. Other than the banking fiasco causing the recession around the world, another thing which helped fuel the economic depression (and causes issues for many companies) is that prices are being driven lower. The reasons for this are many and varied, a number of companies believe that the customers have “been empowered with information” and therefore know where to go to compare prices or get it cheaper. In my view this is not so much the case, the drop in prices is down to a lack of strong brands, in the 90′s and early 00′s big brands such as Nike, Adidas, Microsoft and Apple dominated the global markets in many ways, looking at the same brands now adidas is slowly dieing, as are nike and microsoft, apple remains strong due to its market position as being “elite” and not so much for the ordinary punter… they price themselves in the upper market. As I said in my previous post about brand position:

The more obvious the connection is between the brand and the prospect’s daily activities, the greater the chances are that the chances of selling the product or service you are offering.

I recently did some research for these posts (as I do with all posts I make) and subsequently did an analysis of what I found and any data figures I could compare – and it is the 3 significant findings about customer loyalty I want to now concentrate on. The interesting part of this is that these cover all markets and industries not one specifically, the mindset of the consumer the world over doesn’t change very much in respect to these ideas.

Price Advertising = FAIL!

Time is the sales driver, not the price. (ok over generalising here but I will go into this in depth in a post in the future). Lets take the following common examples, when your reading these think carefully about if the product mentioned is changed to something you use on a regular basis what you would do.

Example 1

Slimming Pills – Buy 150 Capsules and Get 28 Free – £29.95

Example 2

1 Months Supply of Slimming Pills, Clinically Proven to Show Results in Less Than 3 Weeks of Continual Usage – More than 20% FREE – £29.95

Example 3

Slimming Pills – Proven to Work in Under 3 Weeks – 20% extra FREE – £29.95

These examples are taken from a discussion with a client selling diet pills Kaloss Trimmers

I admit these aren’t the best examples but lets unpack them. Example one is too the point and shows the sale clearly and effectively, but its lacking a real pull. Example two is very much wordy and as such is wasting the users time from the start, a claim of more than 20% free … so how much is free? also from a good point of view there are 2 time focuses, they do not align (1 month and 3 weeks, so whats the extra week for?) this is a messy advert and another bad example. The third example is clean and concise, it says what the product is, has a time attached and is proven (something easily overlooked in example 2) and declare 20% extra free – it is the combination of a short time period (shorter than most slimming pills) and getting something “extra” for free that pulls the consumer in, and it is this small wording change that can make a difference between them buying from you at £29.95 and from someone else with a similar product at £19.99 …. its about evoking the emotion of feeling that it will work, and you trust the product. Which neatly brings my to my next point …

Emotional Advertising Reduces Price Sensitivity

This may sound a little strange to even those who are market hardened and think they know their customers. But this is a trend that is becoming much bigger and more important on the web and tv, and it is only in the last year that it has really began to boom on the web (& tv) and also pick up in other media such as newspapers and adverts in supermarkets.

Evoking emotion in campaigns makes the advertising campaign around twice as likely to generate much larger sales figures than the “rational” (and boring) advertising of old.

If you can evoke certain emotions or memories, such as making an older person remember a good time in their childhood with an image or an old saying, my research shows that these campaigns does something quite amazing and powerful. The emotional campaign reduces price sensitivity, and means that a brand can take up the “premium” space in any market place.

A great example of this as I’ve already mentioned is Apple. In theory the products that they provide are based on the same hardware that E-machines, HP & Dell provide however they prices are much higher, this in part is due to the operating system being “great” (though i don’t think its that good) and the stylish nature of the products. The products and brand evoke a feeling of being executive and stylish – it makes you feel its high quality and therefore they can ask a premium price for the products they offer.

Loyalty Programs – Bringing Outside Inside

Again I apologise for skipping some detail here but there will be another post in detail about this specific topic, so I will cover the basics here.

One aspect that many brands use to inspire loyalty and promote a brand is to give a loyalty scheme, for example Tesco ClubCard and Nectar your build up points by shopping at various outlets and then you spend the points in store or online. Ok you’ve giving away 1 to 5% (on average) of your sale however you can be sure they will come back and spend that and it will encourage them to build up points because they want something free, we all do, its human nature. So you will get those sales, and if you make it one hundred points = £1 as with tesco the person has to spend £100 on a 1% basis so to get £10 back you spend £1000 (some nice sales begin to build up) and because the scheme only gives you so much and the person wants something nice for free they may be willing to pay any difference upto the amount of points again … so you get approx 50% of a sale … it all builds up.

Other schemes like affiliate schemes mean again you give away the same amount in sales to a person as commission for bringing you a sale, or you give them a  fixed amount say £5 per sale of a TV or Laptop. They do the leg work for you promoting your brand and website, and research shows if you let these people use the affiliation themselves they will also shop with you simply because again they are getting “something for nothing”.

So overall the three points above are things you need to consider in order to create a real base of customer loyalty. If you have any more ideas let us know by leaving a comments or tweeting

Finally – This article as with all of our articles is bought to you by and in association with Andy Kinsey Designs of Manchester whom have today (14/4/10) relaunched their home website andykinsey.co.uk – Again tweet your opinion of the site to @andykinsey

The idea of “brand positioning” may seem a little out of the box, but a brand is about the bigger picture not just an end result. Brand Positioning is the art form of creating or transforming a brand into something that can persuade and realistically demonstrate its relevance to a customer’s daily life to become his or her regular choice.

To position a brand you need to remember that the position of your brand is not created by a marketer or the individual brand itself, it is how others perceive your brand collectively with other similar brands. (For example when I think of Nike I think sports reliable and well made products … this leads me to think of Adidas too … they have a similar brand position so this is not unusual, another example would be Microsoft and Apple). Whilst reading this article I therefore ask you take the view of your target audience (the consumer), put yourself in their shoes repeatedly and each time you do change the person you empathise with … so maybe your targeting 18 to 14 years olds, think of it from a male and female point of view, think are they at uni or working, where they may work, try to consider all possible variables. Now having said a marketer doesn’t create the position they can have an overwhelming affect on the position of a brand in the consumers mind, and this is their job. A marketer should create the strategic and tactical suggestions to encourage the customer to accept a particular positioning in his or her mind.

To start the process of positioning your product, service or business as a whole you need to consider the following of your brand (get a pen and paper ready and write these down): key attributes or benefits that represent good value, whether it has a unique selling point (USP), how you can offer trust to your customer and also how your brand “appears” (eg if you are IBM you are wanting corporates to take you seriously so you ensure all of your products and services don’t look like a rough painting by a 2 year old … you ensure they are clean and professional with no fuss). It is these points you have written down that you now need to chop down to a maximum of 5 (ideally 3) great selling points and these will form the basis of your brand positioning (so keep these selling points in mind for everything to do with your business not just marketing in its literal form, but also indirect marketing via letter heads and business cards).

Now you’ve got the basics of what you want your brand to represent, it’s time for you to expand them into real selling points … not just a few words as some brands have like “clean” and “clear” … if you do have these words this is your chance to think about what they mean and how you convey them … again its a good idea to write these down – think of it as a little brainstorm in your notepad. Here are several characteristics of your brand you should consider whilst conveying your message and brand.

Relevance of Your Brand

The more obvious the connection is between the brand and the prospect’s daily activities, the greater the chances are that the chances of selling the product or service you are offering. Relevance, or the connection that the prospect has to the brand identity, is how customers ultimately decide which brands to buy and which they will discard.
Consider: Is the identity of the brand too young or old for my target market? Are you targeting the right Audience? (by this I mean if your target audience is female and you are using lots of blue which is perceived as mail then your not targeting properly)

The Genuine Article

Many companies begin ensuing trust with a prospective customer by letting them know that what they offer is a genuine product or service (eg Coca-Cola on every bottle label from the company and the cans of course it tells you “it’s the real thing” and has the brand tagline “Always Coca-Cola” on coke or diet coke also microsoft sticker every machine with “windows genuine”).
Remember it is this little bit of detail (eg 100% genuine ruby) that gives you not only a little more trust from a prospective consumer but also adds a level of clarity and reassurance from your brand to the customer and may be the single point of differentiation between your offering and another businesses.
Consider: Is your service or product somehow “more” genuine than anyone else? Do you manufacture the product or service? Now consider how you can emphasise this element.

Your Message / Tag Line

Whether you have the worlds best strategy for marketing your brand or not, it is worthless if you don’t have a clear, concise and focused message / slogan / mantra. It has to be appropriate, possibly be left of field (to make people think and ensure you stick in their mind) and finally it must sell your service. (one of the worlds best examples is “Gillette – The Best a Man Can Get” … clear and simple, also easy to remember.)
Consider: Is your message relevant to your product or service? Can your message be misunderstood or twisted to look bad? Could it evoke a feeling of “warmth” towards your brand? Could the message be made more accurate to reflect your product or service? Does your message convey the company in a good light? (and if not does it do you more harm than good?)

Trust Based on a Promise

This is a dual aspect to your brand and is the Most Important factor in brand positioning. Firstly you give them a promise they can trust and believe in a promise of “100% FREE Delivery” or “100% satisfaction or your money back” or something similar. In doing this you give them something for nothing in essence, even though you make these promises if one person takes it up its more than likely the sales made from the promise will out weigh one persons want to get their money back, most people see it as a sign of trust and not take it up even if they don’t like it. (take Asda own brand goods, they all says satisfaction or your money back, how many people have taken them up on this … my guess is one person being funny, how many people have thought ooh money back …. i’ll have some of that … and bought it – i bet millions). The other edge to making a promise is to be promise your USP … or show it more… take sure for women … why does it sell to women (other than its perfumed fragrance of flowers?) because its message is “it’s pH balanced for a woman, and not a man.” what about L’Oreal …. people buy it because the slogan makes you believe your worth it … can you think what the slogan might be … “Because I’m worth it” – now think of how your message should be conveyed for your USP.
Consider: What promises you could make about your product, service or company? Don’t make them if you can’t follow through on them. Does your promise add value? Can your product or service promise more than anyone else in your market? if so tell them, or even better show them.

So as you can see there is a great bit of work needs doing to position your brand correctly and several factors to consider, a good marketer will help you with this aspect of brand building. But as I always say any marketing is about the skills of the marketer and the passion of the client/business in question … not a single one alone.

So… Is your brand positioned correctly, would you like to move your market position to a place where you are much more reputable and increase your sales as a result? if so then contact us today and we can help you.

This article takes a break again from the normal SEO set of blogs to take a look at building your brand using business cards. Last week I published an article about why corporate branding is important, and this article is one of a series of follow-on series about building your brand.

Whilst reading this please consider I am speaking from the stand point of which I would take if you was to be an “online only” business client of Andy Kinsey Designs and not from a full overview – though my finally summary is just this.

Just because you are an online business does not mean business cards are useless to you or your company. Business Cards do not become obsolete just because your an Internet based business, they are as much an important brand building tool as those business who operate in a “brick and mortar” world.

Recognition – having brand and business recognition is of vital importance to any company, generally as my (corporate branding) post says this is the job of a good/great logo. Business cards help you go a step further, you can tell more about a company through its business cards than you often can from speaking to a person over the phone. A business card allows you to add colour, your logo (obviously), your contact details, a selective style of font – plus you can even show some information some people may not expect like twitter username or a facebook public url (eg is mine)

How the New AKD business cards look

As I’ve eluded to above a business card is an extension of your company and more so a show of what ideally you would like your company to be.  Lets take my new business card as an example – if you visit my main site (andykinsey.co.uk) you will find that the site is very much based on blue and white, also you will see the big AK Designs logo on the bottom right of the first page of the site (as it is on each page under the menu on this site) , next you will notice the use of a specialised font (this is to make the brand unique and memorable and will appear on any new products from AKD) and finally above in the logo you will notice a little animation … this is to represent a foil overlay I am using to make the card that little extra memorable and there in making the brand more memorable.

As I have said it is an extension of the company brand, a business card is not alone a brand – far from it (even though you are just an internet only business) – your business card as with my own should pull in factors from the work you do, your stationary (letter heads, compliment slips, invoices & receipts etc), your catalogue and of course your website. A business card is simply the final bit of “spit and polish” to any brand.

Something You May Not Know – By producing a set of business cards that are sleek and professional you are fostering the idea that your business card is the first point of contact (as you should consider for everything your business produces in my view) and therefore you are inadvertently increasing the footfall of traffic to your site, increasing the chances of being contacted by the person whom receives the business card but also you are opening the doors to new contacts, as its pretty much a given if you have a unique card and style your business will get mentioned from one person to another (and from business to business). This form of referral where one person shows another your business card is quite rare – and even more rare is when you find out that the person who had your card had a fight with the other person involved to keep the card. This is why at trade shows or conferences you should go with at least 100 business cards to hand, you never know when you will asked for one nor where your next lead may come from (I recall one client I still work with, we met in the gents of a night club, I had a business card handy in my wallet!). Referral by business card also removes a vital step for most websites … your user doesn’t go through a search engine – ok if your very highly ranked you may think of this as an issue (so do what channel 4 sometimes do for new programmes and tell them to search your name … eg “Search: Andy Kinsey Designs”) but for most companies this can be a positive step as they get little and insignificant traffic because they find them selves on pages 6 or 7 (or worse!) in the search engines.

Business cards have long been an essential marketing tool for anyone serious about their business. They still are today, the one tiny little difference about today is today it is about making your brand (and therefore business card) stand out from the crowd.

The other great thing about producing a fantastic business card today is that a number of smaller businesses see them as either a) useless or b) too costly … when in-fact they are neither. a) as highlighted above business cards can be extremely useful in building your brand and therefore useful in increasing your business revenue in the long run. b) other than my previous statement business card and stationary design and printing is not expensive … for example Business Cards from Andy Kinsey Designs cost just £45 to design (plus you get a free letter head design too) – the printing added on top can be anywhere from £30 for 200 high grade cards to £80 for 1000 high grade cards, letter head design print is FREE! (so as you can see its not expensive, and if you just need the text changing for another person in the company add £5 per person Building Your Brand Business Cards user experience brand ) and if you want something a little less glossy for your company then take a look at Vista Print whom offer some nice brand based services.

In Conclusion – If you think business cards are dead and buried you are very much wrong, indeed they could be used to much more effective use today than at any other point in history. Business Cards are an extension and show of what you want your brand to be (eg. fun, vibrant, corporate, sleek or professional)  they alone are not your brand and should not be. And finally business cards can actually increase brand recognition and traffic to your site a huge amount.

So ….

Can YOU afford not to
have a
professional business card designed?

In today’s global market there are companies of all companies and stature, from large globe spanning companies like HSBC to small corner shop businesses … it may not appear at first sight these have much in common (if anything!).

However scratch the surface and you will see that no matter what the company size they are all fighting to market their company using both general marketing tools (adverts, seo etc) but also using the company brand to sell the company. Think of it as saying a small corner shop (eg. Bob’s Shop) maybe well known in a small area but the larger multi-national companies (eg. Nike) are known the world over not just in one single area… the reason for that is the same reason shops like PoundWorld (in the UK) have grown from a single store to a nationwide chain with well over 200 shops! – they have focused on branding … getting the brand right makes marketing a company much easier.

Before we go any further…
What is a Brand?

A brand is the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers. Strong brands cause thoughts, emotions, and sometimes physiological responses from your customers (and possible future customers). Let’s take Apple Computers as our example here. We’ve all seen the Apple logo (if not to see it, and if you have refresh your memory). So the Apple logo is used to elicit certain emotions within your mind, it makes you think “glossy”, “high end” and possible “the best”.

But a logo is not a brand, it is merely a representation of the brand. Take another look at the logo, but this time think about the emotions you would have if you have never heard of Apple Computers … you are pretty much left with “glossy” – not saying much for a world leading brand. A logo is simply a gateway to a brand, something everyone can remember. Having a good logo is like placing a shortcut in the mind of a person to make them remember your company. Brands are not made from concrete or steel, they are the thoughts, emotions, and psychological relationships between a business and a customer. And your brand is the foundation of all your marketing activities (not your logo). However, equally there are not many brands without a nice logo … its a combination of both that will bring success and ease of marketing. – If you need help designing or re-designing your brand identity then visit andykinsey.co.uk and get a free consultation today.

So you now understand what a brand is and isn’t … it’s now time to build on this knowledge and begin to understand how to build your brand image and (possibly) more important what your brand image should say about your company.

Your brand is used to suggest your position within all markets (this is generally subconscious in a customers mind). Your brand also dictates your strength within the global marketing network. To build any brand for any company it must be based on the true emotional feelings you wish to evoke (for example if you are a health based company it would be a very bad idea to make your company feel dirty or untrustworthy, you would want to concentrate on the opposites of being clean and honest).

Creating a Brand

To create a brand you need the following four factors: a big idea (something like a mission statement), company values (your ethics and codes of conduct are a good starting place), a vision for the future (where you see your company in 1 month, 1 year and 10 years) and finally, personality (normally this is a group personality, aka being friendly, caring and creative). Once you have these in place you have your “brand” or at least a starting block for you to grow and expand.

This time using Microsoft as our example, they started by simply wanting to be part of the game… soon they realised they needed an office, they rented a motel room! … not much of a brand here… they moved to an office where they we’re seen in a little better light … (they now went to see IBM and signed lisence contracts for DOS … which they then bought from a guy for 50K … they never wrote it … they tweaked it!) … at this point they move into larger offices and are seen as much more professional and a big player in the market – over time the logo changes from a hand drawn sign with not much effort to a pointed logo moving to today’s logo sometime later. (see ) – as you can see the brand developed as the company grew and took off … this is the same with 99% of businesses – the 1% left are generally companies spawned from another larger company.

Now we have a brand we need to market it, we need to market your company to make it memorable. This is all about one word…


If you can create a brand that is strong and a logo that evokes the feelings of your brand then you need your logo to be stamped all over the place, from adverts to websites to other marketing materials (see below how Andy Kinsey Designs can help). To make your brand grow in recognition you need to be your values and achieve your goals, you need to work with other companies and the community to really get known – and send everyone some free promo stuff … it always helps.

Once you’ve got this sorted your home and dry (almost) you just need to get back to marketing both your products and brand … oh and don’t forget work on your websites SEO Why Your Corporate Brand is Important re design user experience optimisation brand

To help promote your company (and/or products and services) you may want to consider the following items (not a complete list): posters, flyers, personalised pens, personalised mugs, personalised mouse mats, business cards, a website (or it’s redesign), press releases, search engine optimisation, social media optimisation and improve your customer care service and record (eg if you get an email, reply within a few hours at the latest – a quick response evoked professionalism).

To help improve your brand Andy Kinsey Designs have become partners with a special company which offers personalised gifts. We will design any type of “gift” including personalised mugs, pens & t-shirts – we then send it off to our partner who will send you the goods directly … This is an exclusive insight into a future service from Andy Kinsey Designs (not yet announced on andykinsey.co.uk!) … if you would like to know more about this service and our exclusive discounts on printing of these materials contact us today.

Andy Kinsey Designs also offer design and print services for all the graphic design services mentioned above as well as brand marketing services.

It a well known fact to SEOs and content writers that link text (for internal links), otherwise known as the anchor text, is heavily used by Search Engines for ranking. The reason for this is that content writers know that to attract visitors to another page the anchor text must be meaningful. However, this anchor text cannot be used for the search results however, and therefore search engines use page titles for the search results “titles”.

The reason for this “titles” importance is that it has been shown in studies that users will look at the title of a search results in preference to the description of the page below.

The most commonly used title used by a search engine for its results pages is the Title Tag in the header of your code. However some sites or pages within sites simply do not have this tag, so this is a problem. Other problems include;  the title is incomplete (e.g. missing a keyword descriptor), it is too long, it has no relevance to the page, every page of the site is the same.

So what makes the “perfect” Web Page Title?

1.       Make it relevant – if your page is about your company then fine you should simply use your company name, but if a page is about a service give it the title of the service or if the page contains information on a key theme, use the key theme as your title. Clear and Concise communication of the page content is key. (oh and since you ask “about us” is not a useful title.)
Eg. This site uses the structure

2.       Use correct Capitalisation – this is a commonly misunderstood idea. In simple terms you should use capitals in your titles to emphasise a certain word, for example most commonly the site brand name is capitalised. My advice is if you are not sure if you should use a capital or not, then don’t …putting capitals in the wrong place can often stop visitors from viewing your site from a search engine.
Imagine a search result : “ANDYKINSEY – SEARCH ENGINES” and another of :” AndyKinsey – Search Engines” which are you more likely to visit?

3.       Each page should have a unique title – no two pages should share a title.

4.       Home Pages are Special – Although you still must let the user know what is on your page you must also elevate your company / brand name, if only for web credibility. Doing this will also mean that at a glance in search results a person can find you through recognition.

5.       Length of title – Although in practice you can have a title of unlimited length this is of no use. Search engines will generally use 66 characters (Google) in search results, but SERP’s will still recognise the rest of your title. So perhaps use the first 66 chars for describing your page and mention your brand name thereafter could work for you. But i should add this doesn’t work for all sites for SEO, it can be just as damaging as useful if used incorrectly.

6.       Use of Keywords – if possible you should use a keyword or key theme in your title, however in describing what is on your page to make a title relevant you should already be doing this. My advice is not to keyword stuff your title… this will dilute any other SEO you perform.

7.       Grabbing Attention -  Ok so you’ve seen title that use brackets, colons, semi-colons, hyphens, asterisks and exclamation marks? Some people over do it eg.
((*(( Some Website Title – Brand Name ))*)) - This was a real web page title i have simply removed the words as to remove the identity.
My advice is keep it simple, Search Engine Optimisation – Webpage Titles – AK Designs
Do NOT use special characters, eg. the copyright symbol.
Do NOT use HTML tags such as the strong or emphasis tag.