Does Your Picture Really Capture Your Brand?

Social media can help our brand make a good impression if we do it right. Part of making a good impression is choosing the right profile picture for our accounts. When people visit our profiles, the first thing that they notice is our picture. This picture can either lure them to know more about us or simply close the window and move on.

Profile pictures matter because it should reflect who we are and people are likely to be drawn to our profiles when we have the right picture there. According to a study on Facebook, the most clicked part of a Facebook page is the profile picture. When our audience goes on our page and clicks on our picture, we want to make an impression that is aligned to our brand. How do we know it’s the right picture for our brand?

Here are some tips on how you can do it right.

Smile – when you are smiling in your profile picture, your audience will get the impression of happiness. It could give a pitch that says you are happy and they will be too with your brand. It could also lead to better social relationships because your audience sees that you are approachable.

Body language is one way for people to read you. People can either see you as open or closed just by how you pose. For example, folded arms and closed hands mean that you are not open. A trick to show openness to your audience is to open your mouth a bit when you smile.

Babies, cartoons and pets – because you are using social media for your business, it’s best to avoid using pictures of anyone but you. Don’t use your baby’s picture, your pets or a cartoon version of yourself because there’s a big possibility that your audience will not take you seriously.

No logos – using your brand logo may seem like a great idea but people are more drawn to connect with people than logos. So avoid using your brand logo as your profile picture. However, you can try to include your brand logo in your picture like wear your brand’s color, use it as a background, mini-logo in the corner, or portray your brand.

Same applies to QR codes. QR codes are good for your website if you want to direct others to your content but it’s not going to work as a profile picture. You want people to remember your face as a brand and not as a QR code.

Stand out with bright backgrounds – personal branding is about standing out from the rest and one way to do that is to use bright backgrounds. Try experimenting with different bright colors and see which ones look good and effective for your brand. Rand Fishkin, founder of SEOmoz and web research mastermind did exactly this and said that orange works well for him and earned him more Twitter followers compared to other colors.

Where you look and what it means – looking straight to the camera will look like you are making direct eye contact with your audience. It seems like you are talking to them and that they have your full attention. It’s a good way to make direct contact with your audience.

Studies also show that your audience will look at the area where you’re facing in your picture. If your face is looking to the right, your audience will look at that area. It’s the same if you are looking to your left, up or down. You can strategically look at your left if you want an audience you go through your tweets.

Stick with your picture for long periods – part of being consistent is to keep your profile picture on for months at a time. Changing it every week or every month will only confuse your audience. You have to give it some time for your image to stick before changing it. Some are even dependent on profile pictures. They search for the image instead of looking for the name because it is easier to remember.

There are different ways on how to make our profile pictures work for our brand. Think about your brand and your goals, and then capture that image you want your audience to see. Once you have an idea, hire a professional photographer to take your photos. It’s a good investment. You only have one time to make a good first impression.

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The Value of Saying No in Branding

Have you ever wanted to say no to someone, but for some reason said yes anyway?

Perhaps you agreegd to a low-paying project because you needed the money. Perhaps you helped a client with a task outside of the project scope because she made you feel bad. Don’t worry, I’m not going to criticize you or anything. We’ve all done it.

Keep reading to see how freelance professionals and luxury brands alike maintain their brand value by sticking to such a powerful two-letter word.

Where is the line?

Sometimes it’s not such a big deal, but somewhere between doing someone a favour and giving up a piece of your soul, a very distinct line must be drawn.

One example of a soul-sucking situation might be a person who gets taken advantage of because he has a really hard time saying no. Of course, he may be the type of person that enjoys helping others when possible, but he devalues himself every time he truly wants to say no and cannot. But where does it stop? The people he helps will come back later and expect the same treatment.

“Hey, he helped us out with this last time. Let’s go ask him again. He should be okay with it.”

From here, the cycle begins.

The freelance professional says no

How does a freelance professional build her reputation and brand value over time? She says no to the demanding clients, the know-it-all clients, and the ones who only seek out deals. If experienced freelancers take on problem clients and let’s-make-a-deal clients, they’re just setting themselves up for more of the same in the future. Word of mouth travels very fast, and even faster when there’s something “good for a low price” to tell others about.

Low prices for graphic design are found in one of two places: 1) with inexperienced designers who need to build up their portfolio and don’t know how to do it more efficiently; and 2) on crowd sourcing websites that have no brand value and are as impersonal as the Bobbies at Buckingham Palace.

Take a world-famous logo designer like Paul Rand for example. He’s the man who designed logos for IBM, UPS, abc, Enron, NeXT, and many others. I couldn’t imagine him ever designing a logo for a few hundred dollars, or even a few thousand dollars. His professional experience, refined processes, and problem-solving brilliance dictate a much higher value for his services, and I suspect he would laugh at such a low offer.

The luxury brand says no

How about luxury brands? In a serious economic downturn, how do they manage to survive, let alone maintain their strong brand value? That’s right-they say no. They say no to the very thought of giving discounts or offering cheaper products to gain more customers.

What if a luxury brand were to offer a more affordable product line, present a two-for-one promotion, or give out coupons for a customer’s next visit? Oh man, the person who mentions an idea like that at the next meeting surely gets kicked off the team! To devalue themselves in such ways would drive away their loyal customer base and just confuse everyone else. The brand would lose value, lose focus, and lose the unique brand positioning it has held onto for so long. Even in hard times, it’s simply too damaging a sacrifice to justify making a little extra coin or gaining a few new customers.

More interestingly, what would happen to this luxury brand when the economy recovered? Who would their target market be then, the average Joe?! Yeah, right…

Don’t worry… they’ll get over it

If you’re the kind of person I was years ago, and you have a hard time saying no to others, then I suggest you get to work on changing something. For individuals, you can maintain your personal value by practicing the things you believe in when working with clients and partners. For brands, you can do the same by maintaining your brand values in all of your operations, transactions, and customer interactions.

Stick to your true morals and well-developed policies, and have these ready for when people ask for the reason you’re saying no. In my experience, they’ll ask every time.

How To Brand CHRIST In People’s Minds

If I started this article with the word ‘endorsement’, your reaction might be, “what’s Thapelo going to market now?”

Well, if you are alive in the 21st century, here is your reality; you have been a victim of this multi-billion rand industry. I am talking about advertising-those entertaining, annoying or persuasive 30 second ads(depending on your taste) that come on when you are watching your favourite soapie.

And if how frequent they appear on television is anything to go by, then it means they must be doing something right for the advertisers-positive ROI (return on investment)

On the subject of positive ROI, Did you actually know that it cost an advertiser, on average, about R80 000 for one 30 second ad when a soapie like Generations is playing?

Interesting…huh?

And before you dismiss this article as ‘directionless thus far’ or you ask yourself, “What’s Christ
gotta do with anything?” please allow me to build on what I want to talk to you about today.

I want to talk to you about a subsection of marketing called ENDORSEMENTS.

The truth is; you don’t have to be a marketing guru (which I am) to tell that companies spend millions to billions of rands on endorsement deals. A company like Nike would pay Tiger Woods millions of rands every year just to appear in public wearing Nike gear.

Familiar faces like soccer stars, Itumeleng Khune and Simphiwe Tshabalala are paid well to advertise products like KIWI and Shield deodorants.

Ladies, you would also remember Terry Pheto on the Pond’s facial product, Connie Ferguson on Ganier and many familiar faces as well…

The question is ‘why?’ Why are companies spending so much money on endorsement deals?

The answer to this million-dollar question lies in another marketing concept called Branding. A very loose definition of branding would be, “a collection of consumers’ perception about a product/service/individual et cetera”

In other words, the premise that companies have on a strategic level is that when they use people that you love-emotionally connect with to represent their product, in the long-term, your association with those characters also transcends to their product. Eventually, when you think ‘Itumeleng Khune’, you will think ‘KIWI’

Is that not so?

Let me break it down further…

When the companies have connected with you on an emotional level…when the time comes for you to need a product or service that they offer, their products or services would be the first thing that comes to your mind.
Please read the preceding paragraph again…

Note that these companies don’t force you to buy their products or services; they just brand themselves in your mind over time, until their products or services are the only things that you can think about…

HOW DOES CHRIST COME IN THIS PICTURE?

There is a lot we can learn here when we sell Christ to our friends, colleagues, business partners and family…

Christ Branding (You heard it here first)

When people greet you in the morning, especially when everyone is grumpy and you say with a big smile “Hi, I AM BLESSED and how are you?” You are planting a seed in that mind (I am about to preach now)

When everyone in the office says, “This project cannot be done in that period.” And you say
“Give me that mountain…because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I want to tell you, to everyone who is listening to you, a native of Nazareth, Jesus Christ is
Made known to those people without you actually preaching to them.

When everyone is failing a particular subject in varsity and you getting a distinction in it, and the people ask you, “How do you do it?” and you tell them, “It’s not how I did it but it’s whose I am
that is important”, you are telling them about the solution JESUS without you actually preaching.

In business, when everyone believes that the times are tough and you can’t even break-even, and you, contrary to the prevailing anthem, confess that it is He (Christ) who gives you the ability to produce wealth, you are branding Christ to whoever is listening to you.

You are probably saying…Thapelo, what are you trying to say?

Here is what I am saying; you have infinite opportunities to brand Christ to in the minds of your friends and family. And like the companies I spoke about earlier; when the people find themselves in trouble, the first person that they will run to is the one who is branded in their minds.

I have news for you…in this era, we are not going to force the gospel into people’s hearts, but our Range Rovers will speak on our behalf. Our houses will speak on our behalf. The Armani I wear would preach that Christ is Lord. The perfume I am wearing will compel you to ask, “how do you do it?” and I will tell you, it is whose I am.

Ingersoll Rand Air Compressor Parts Provide Unmatched Value

Even the best air compressors need to undergo minor repairs and overhauls once in a few months. This is important in order to maintain the peak performance of your compressors and to keep process efficiencies at the desired levels. Procuring these parts from the right source is paramount and by partnering with a reputable distributor, you can be assured of being supplied the very best replacement parts. If you own an Ingersoll Rand, then you would need to make use of Ingersoll Rand air compressor parts. This respected name brand manufactures high quality parts that will outlast other comparable parts available on the market.

In fact, even if you don’t own an Ingersoll Rand (IR), you can benefit from the use of original IR parts that can fit into other OEM brand compressors.

Finding a distributor that keeps a ready inventory of Ingersoll Rand air compressor parts and lubricants for your non-IR compressors is half the battle won.

These original parts can be seamlessly installed in compressors manufactured by name brands such as Atlas Copco, Quincy, Gardner Denver, Sullair, CompAir and many others. When selecting parts, be careful to specify the exact technology that drives your compressors. The various technologies include: rotary screw compressor, rotary vane compressor, reciprocating compressor, and centrifugal compressor.

Here are some other benefits of opting for Ingersoll Rand air compressor parts:

Proven performance: These parts are known to withstand harsh working environments without a drop in efficiency levels. The after-sales service of such parts is also better than industry standards.

No compromise on quality: All the parts under the IR brand name are known for their impeccable quality. From regular parts to performance parts, every component is manufactured in keeping with the highest industry codes. The parts manufactured for compatible use with other name brands are also subjected to a number of test to ensure that these parts operate in perfect harmony with other compressor makes. In short, you can buy parts that will seamlessly integrate with other name brands.

One-stop source: If you own multiple brands of air compressors, you don’t need to visit suppliers of each of these brands. Contacting a supplier that carries air compressor parts will suffice. The parts come with a warranty, making your part procurement process even more hassle-free. And, it is also possible to avail extended warranties if you so wish.

So, no matter which name brand features on your compressor, you can opt for Ingersoll Rand air compressor parts as a single solution. Several leading distributors that have an online presence can be contacted for this purpose.

How to Make Your Business a National Champion Brand

In the United States we used to celebrate out greatest companies. Well, if you have a business in China that succeeds beyond your wildest dreams, it will be considered a National Champion, that’s right, the Chinese love their top businesses, and take a lot of pride in their greatest companies. Here in the US we consider National Champion something for the top NBA, NFL, or top golfer. And it is a great title indeed.

But National Champ for a business, whooyah! That is really something, and I applaud the Chinese for their love of that capitalist spirit. Something the USA used to honor, but now the political climate seems to call our largest and strongest corporations the “evil capitalist corporations” providing an over regulation trend and negative connotation.

That’s too bad, and although Ayn Rand warned us that this would be our economic death-nail, we see the Chinese are busy proving her right, and leading by example, as we falter and forget what got us to the number one economic world super power status. Sometimes it seems we have capitalists in China, and Communists in Congress.

Until we start looking up to our capitalist entrepreneurs in a more favorable light, and until we honor that mindset, we are going to have fewer and fewer until then. Some may not see how serious an issue this is, yet, if they’d ever run a business, they’d have figured it out and completely comprehend what I am saying here. Please consider all this.