Tag Archives: Build

Build Your Branding Empire With These 7 Effective Tips
July 21, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

A successful brand is able to convince people to loyally pay more for something simply because it is from that brand. This is why household names such as Google and Bounty have immense control over their consumers, and why they heavily invest in and prioritize their brand assets. 
 
Ultimately, brand power comes from having a high-quality product and building the brand as an essential part of people’s days. If you spot an opportunity to fit yourself into someone’s life you are then able to constantly interact with them and convert them into a long-term customer. There is a long road from a startup company to a massive brand empire, but these seven tips can guide your journey to building a trendy yet durable brand.

1. Know your audience.

One of the initial first steps for a venture is to pinpoint your exact audience. You should be able to describe their tastes and preferences. What does their average day look like? What’s their favorite clothing store? What kinds of marketing media do they see? 

This can help you gauge what is important to them and how you can appeal to them. It’s crucial that you understand your audience so that you can keep them into consideration every step of the way. For over 20 years Amazon has relentlessly prioritized their audience. Their dedication is, in part, what has kept them at the forefront of the tech and e-commerce industry. 

2. Get it right once.

Lukas Kurzmann, founder of Women’s Best says, “you only have to get it right once.” This means that you need to constantly experiment with new things until it finally works. Like most things in entrepreneurship precision and accuracy comes from the efforts of trial and error. Branding is no different.

As you try to build your brand, focus on approaching it through the lenses of experimentation and innovation. This could include trying new marketing techniques and potentially hiring consultants to offer a new brand perspective. Building a branding empire starts with pivoting until you finally get it right.

3. Build influencer relationships.

You can’t talk about branding without discussing your companies social media strategy. An incredibly effective way to build your brand on social media is by collaborating with influencers. One of the things that have best helped Kurzmann, has been influencer marketing. He spends over 60 percent of his ad budget on influencer and has built a massive number of influencer relationships. The best approach here is to start with a small project and grow the opportunities as the relationship grows.

4. Interact with consumers.

When making decisions that matter to your consumers, you should consult with them for input. Keep them involved as much as possible. A great example of this is the way that Ben & Jerry’s encourages their audience to create and submit flavor names.

Another productive way to do this is to base decisions off of data obtained from your consumers. Use the information you already know about their habits and preferences, in order to maximize impact and return. For example, when choosing an influencer, work with one who your audience already aligns with. Whether you use a survey, social media poll, or a suggestion card included with purchases, you should be interacting with your consumers–and utilizing their feedback. 

5. Continuously develop your story.

Whether you are a company that has just started or one that’s been around for decades you need to continuously develop your brand story. This includes mixing up the type of marketing material you are putting out and introducing new elements to your brand for consumers.

Developing your story cultivates a relationship with your consumers. When you neglect to do that your audience will grow bored with your brand and give their attention to the next best thing. Developing your story is a huge part of staying relevant and building a loyal relationship with your audience. 

6. Optimize your funnels.

Kurzmann states that the most important metric for him is Return on Ad Spend. He works through every marketing campaign to optimize its performance and boost his returns. Additionally, he notes that he is always eager to experiment and find new marketing channels to improve his ROAS.

A great way to optimize your funnels is to ensure you are not only being seen, but you are providing a call to action. If you’re a shoe brand and you are running a summer campaign for sandals be sure you provide verbiage that encourages your audience to buy the newest pair of sandals. 

7. Attend in-person events.

There are a variety of in-person events that offer valuable growth opportunities for your brand. If you have a consumer product, you can attend trade shows and get your brand in front of top buyers. If you have a tech product, you can attend pitch competitions to mingle with venture capitalists. These opportunities will have a slower return, but they will convert higher-impact individuals to your brand.

Building a brand is an incredibly intense process. It requires time, dedication, and innovation. These seven tactics are a great start to building a long-lasting brand for your company. 

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Build it or Buy It: Will Amazon or Walmart Win the Retail Innovation Battle?
July 1, 2018 6:26 am|Comments (0)

Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

Amazon’s recent news that it will be replacing more humans with yet another algorithmic solution is the latest example of the company’s thrust to innovate through self-built technology. 

With Amazon’s patent count rising again last year, it’s clear the company’s “build it” strategy is largely meant to out-invent, rather than outbid, the next big idea. Amazon received 1,963 patents in 2017 according to the latest data released by the IFI Claims office, and holds more patents than any other retailer in the industry (7,096). In fact, at $ 22.6 billion, Amazon spent more in R&D than any other U.S. company last year (up 41 percent from 2016), topping Microsoft, Intel, Facebook and even Apple according to a recent story in Recode.  

Amazon has a deep history of effectively chasing patents, which stems from lessons learned in the dot-com era. For example, Amazon’s patent for one-click shopping was issued in 1999 and set the norm for the entire retail industry.

Fast forward nearly twenty years. Today we have Amazon Prime and Amazon Marketplace, and the company is still three steps ahead, inventing what is possible by both shaping and anticipating the needs of consumers. According to a recent CNBC article, Amazon was issued patents last year for augmented reality mirrors that would enable users to try on clothes virtually by projecting different outfits onto the user. They’ve also patented a “smart” sensor-studded package delivery air vehicle, an option that would mute the Amazon Echo’s video mode for user privacy and even one that would detect hacked self-driving cars.  

Walmart, by comparison, currently holds only 349 patents, and the company has largely based its innovation strategy around buying the latest and greatest new ideas. 

According to a TechCrunch story late last year, the company considers acquisition core to its innovation model, particularly in the technology, retail and digital native brands categories. Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S, who founded Jet.com (bought by Walmart in 2016), noted in recent comments that in Walmart’s view, “specialist positioning is better than mass,” and that the acquisition spree will continue. Recent acquisitions include ShoeBuy, Moosejaw, Bonobos, Parcel, Hayneedle and ModCloth.

Walmart has also started its own incubator, Store No. 8, which aims to “nurture startup businesses,” allowing them to run just like other startups but be “ring-fenced by the rest of the organization and backed by the largest retailer in the world,” according to Lore. 

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Dialog shares tumble on warning Apple could build its own chips
December 4, 2017 12:24 pm|Comments (0)

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Dialog Semiconductor said on Monday top customer Apple could build its own power-management chips into future iPhones rather than rely on the Anglo-German chipmaker, sending its shares plunging as much as 19 percent.

Dialog semiconductor logo is pictured at a company building in Germering near Munich, Germany August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

The company, which analysts reckon derives more than half of its revenue from Apple, said there was no risk to its existing supply deals in 2018 and it was in the advanced stages of working with Apple on designing “2019-type products” that could lead to commercial contracts by next March.

“Our position remains that we have seen no material change to our ongoing relationship with Apple Inc,” Chief Executive Jalal Bagherli told investors on a conference call.

However, the company acknowledged for the first time that “Apple has the resources and capability to internally design a PMIC and could potentially do so in the next few years.”

PMICs are power-management integrated circuits that are vital to conserve battery life in products like Apple iPhones.

Investors are wary of companies that rely heavily on Apple, which has cut out several small suppliers in the past.

The U.S. technology giant said in April it planned to replace graphics chip supplier Imagination Technologies, sending its shares down 70 percent in a single session. Imagination was subsequently sold off in two separate deals.

The Nikkei business daily last week quoted one source as saying Apple would make about half the iPhone’s power-management chips starting next year, with another source saying this could be delayed to 2019. (s.nikkei.com/2Al5nSl)

Since then, Dialog shares have lost nearly a third of their value. At 1035 GMT, they were down 15.2 percent at 26.47 euros.

Bagherli said Apple’s feedback so far on 2019 product plans had been “very good” and that he expected to have more clarity by March on the terms of new business from Apple for 2019. Dialog would update investors when it had more details, he said.

Semiconductor suppliers are typically barred by Apple from revealing their supply relationships. Dialog, which has previously declined to name Apple, referring to it only obliquely as its “largest customer” or its “main business”, said it had received a special dispensation from Apple to mention it.

Dialog emphasized it “does not have reason to believe its current expectations of 2018 Apple business would be impacted” should Apple decide to design the chips itself.

Dialog, itself heavily reliant on the smartphone industry, said it was aware that in order to remain a key supplier to Apple it would have to continue to meet the U.S. company’s “technology, quality, price and volume expectations”.

The slide in its shares echoed one in April, after Bankhaus Lampe analyst Karsten Iltgen advised investors to sell the stock because Apple was working on its own battery-saving chip. The stock is off more than 40 percent since then.

($ 1 = 0.8434 euros)

Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Edmund Blair and Mark Potter

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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5 Ways to Build a Consulting Business Without a Website 
August 26, 2017 7:55 pm|Comments (0)

Websites are famous for being your storefront in the digital age. Every expert will tell you you must have a website to capture leads. And that’s true…if you’re building an e-commerce or online business. For other types of service based business, having a website can be a distraction from the real work you need to be doing: getting clients.

Below I explain how you get clients without a website in order to create a successful service-based business.

1. Build your network before you quit your day job.

Like many people in 2010, I drank the lifestyle design Kool-Aid and got wasted. Freedom over my schedule? Flexibility to travel? Working for myself??! Sign me up. High off Four Hour Work Week, I resolved to leave my job. I had a rough idea of my next steps when my friend and author Vanessa Van Edwards said to me, “Don’t do that.”

Confused, since she herself was already a successful lifestyle entrepreneur, I said, “What? Why?!”

“Don’t quit your job. You’re about to make a lot of mistakes. Trust me. Make mistakes while you still have a salary.”

Turned out, she was right. I had no idea how to prospect, write proposals, package up services, or price things properly. I spent the next 6 months building up a side-hustle that let me make those mistakes with a safety net (my day job).

In that time, I attended as many events as I could, listened to every podcast on sales and entrepreneurship, wrote a ton of terrible proposals, got rejected by prospects I shouldn’t have been rejected by, and made a lot of bad cold sales calls and cold email pitches.

Listening to Vanessa’s advice saved me tens of thousands of dollars in burnt runway cash and a lot of mental anguish. By the time I was ready to go full time, I was confident in my skills as a consultant and sales person – and even had some glowing testimonials under my belt.

2. Get out of ‘transactional’ thinking.

You know the daunting 3% completion rate on online courses? I’m the 3%. I love learning, reading, and homework; So when I discovered the MOOC world, I couldn’t get enough.

One of the best courses I took was Earn1K, by the author Ramit Sethi.

With a Bachelor’s in Literature and a Master’s in Psychology, I’d had zero business training in my life, save for some memorable conversations with my dad who is an entrepreneur. Until that point, I believed business wasn’t “for people like me.” In my mind, business was for people who were “numbers people,” money hungry, and didn’t care about changing the world or doing good.

Turns out, none of those things is true.

In Sethi’s course, he taught us to think about business in terms of “solving problems.” It wasn’t transactional, like I’d thought. Business was about “adding value” to others.

This was an enormous mindset shift for me.

Sethi taught me to stop thinking about what I can do and start thinking about what people need.

That changed everything.

In the academic world, I’d been trained to think about myself. My interests, my research, my goals, my credentials, my my my….In the real world, I needed to learn how to make a case as to why anyone should care.

From that point on, every interaction I had changed from “Here’s what I can do!” to “What do you need help with?

3. Learn to shut up and listen.

When I implemented the “What do you need help with?” approach, everything changed. I wasn’t pushing my services onto anyone. I was pulling their problems out and offering to help them solve them.

Before I took Sethi’s course, I’d sit down with prospects and spend 30 minutes talking about myself – what I could do and why I have the answers. It was annoying at best, unprofessional at worst.

Learning to shut up was one of the most effective sales tools I’ve learned to date. My close rate shot up exponentially because I learned the subtle art of asking questions.

I made prospects do the talking instead of me. Then, I’d restate what I heard. “It sounds like you’re struggling with XYZ. And you need help with ABC, does that sound right?”

Prospects eyes would light up, “YES! That’s exactly it. Can you help me?”

Because when you articulate someone’s problem, they credit you with the solution.

In those initial consults, the goal wasn’t to sell my service – it was to get the prospect to trust me. Listening and asking questions gets people to trust you.

And when people trust you, they buy from you.

4. Focus on sales generating activities instead of ego-boosting ones.

There was a technique Sethi advocated called “Direct to the source” and I used that almost exclusively for my 3+ years in business.

The idea was to go directly to the people who had a problem that you could solve instead of focusing on things like “building your brand.”

As someone who worked in branding and marketing, this was sacrilege.

Still, the idea made sense to me: first, see if you can get someone to say “yes” to hiring you; then, worry about having business cards.

I gave myself a 3-month deadline to test out this approach before I threw it out. My plan was to focus exclusively on getting clients by finding out what problems people had and selling them a solution.

No business cards, no logos, no stationary, no case studies, and no website. All of those things would be a distraction from what I needed to do: Get paying clients.

Three months turned into three years of going directly to clients. That turned into a steady stream of referrals and eventually having to tell people no.

In all that time, only one person ever asked for case studies or my website. And that person had no money to hire me. Go figure.

5. Remember that everyone is a prospect.

If you’re reading this thinking, “But how did you get people to sit down with you in the first place?!” I will tell you: It was that 6-months of learning to endure the discomfort of doing a bad job. Of failing. Miserably.

I got used to pitching myself and doing it wrong (really, really wrong). And doing it again. And again. And again. Until eventually, I sucked a little bit less.

In that time I discovered the key: everyone is a potential prospect or referral source. Everyone.

And when you combine that insight with the “How can I help you?” approach, you begin to see business opportunities everywhere.

For the next three years, I focused all my attention on getting clients, until I finally hit a point where two things happened.

First, I was commanding higher rates and started to need more credibility indicators to bolster my trustworthiness. Second, a good friend told me she wouldn’t refer me anyone until my online presence was “less sketchy.”

That’s when I knew it was time for a website.

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The 1 Thing You Need to Do to Build a More Profitable E-Commerce Business
August 25, 2017 9:59 pm|Comments (0)

The business of e-commerce is booming. And considering how easy it is to build a website, starting an online business has become very competitive. Right from identifying a product with the right target audience, then analyzing its potential, and making a strategic business plan, it involves making many decisions.

A recent report on e-commerce trends revealed more about the growth of e-commerce sales, and insights into the behavior of online shoppers, including:

  • E-commerce is growing at a rate of 23 percent every year. Still, 46 percent of small businesses in America do not have a website
  • 51 percent of Americans shop online, while 49 percent prefer to shop at physical stores

  • Online orders increased 8.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016, while the average order value increased only 0.2 percent.

  • Of all online shoppers, only 23 percent are swayed by social media references.

Do you notice anything here? Although online sales are increasing, there are many people who still rely on offline shopping. And of those who do shop online, very few are influenced by social media.

So what does it take to convert your website into a highly profitable e-commerce business?

There is no denying the fact that starting an e-commerce business is easy. But scaling up, and making it more profitable than your competitors can be difficult. Here’s a multiple choice question: What do you think is needed to set up a highly profitable e-commerce store?

  • Directing more traffic to your site,

  • Improving your conversion rate,

  • Increasing customer loyalty.

An effective growth strategy actually includes all three of these. And so, that one thing you need to build a more profitable e-commerce business is an effective growth strategy. Let’s take a closer look.

Increase traffic to your website to get noticed.

In the ever-growing space of e-commerce, it can be difficult to get noticed. But there are a number of ways organic traffic techniques that can help drive traffic to your website, including:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) – increase your ranking in search engines like Google for more visibility.

  • Social media marketing – post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and create YouTube tutorials to reach a wider audience.

  • Email marketing – drive traffic to your website with email newsletters to keep your subscribers informed about new products and promotions.

Another option is paid ads, which may include:

  • Buying ads on Facebook
  • Marketing with influencers
  • Advertising on Instagram

Improve the conversion rate of your website to increase sales.

If you’ve used the above two techniques effectively, your conversion rate will automatically improve. However, there are some other easy things that you need to take care of in order to increase your e-commerce conversion rate, like:

  • Make your website mobile friendly and ensuring minimal loading time.

  • Stop making assumptions about your customer’s needs. Instead use A/B testing to know what they actually need.

  • Use high quality product images to attract more and more customers to convert them.

  • Build a user-friendly interface which should include an easy checkout and navigation system.

Use customer retention tools to boost your customer loyalty.

Building a positive user experience isn’t enough. You also need to retain your customers. Acquiring new customers is always a priority for brands. And yes, it is important. But can you afford to lose your existing customer base? No, right?

So once you have customers who have shopped on your website, concentrate on retaining them. No matter how awesome your product or service is, it is your job to make sure your customers are happy and satisfied so that they continue to choose you over your competitors.

A few customer retention strategies that can work for your e-commerce business include:

  • Introduce loyalty programs and give reward points for repeated sales.

  • Offer support systems to resolve customer issues and handle their grievances.

  • Use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to keep a track of the entire journey of your customers.

Conclusion

An effective growth strategy is key to building a more profitable e-commerce business. In addition to the three main components above, you should keep a track of your performance data to help you make improvements when needed.

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MTM’s Kleyman: Build Your Business on a Secure IoT
August 21, 2017 10:30 am|Comments (0)

CTO of MTM Technologies Bill Kleyman says your future customers will reach you over the Internet of Things.
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MTM’s Kleyman: Build Your Business on a Secure IoT
August 11, 2017 12:15 pm|Comments (0)

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Build electronics projects great and small with the SainSmart UNO for Arduino, for under $55
May 22, 2017 10:35 am|Comments (0)


Understanding how electronics actually work can be pretty confusing. Often, inquisitive students succeed or fail in creating small electronic projects by simple trial and error. Thankfully, you can offer some structure to your pursuit of electronics knowledge with the SainSmart UNO for Arduino microcontroller board. It’s on sale right now for only $ 53.99 (19 percent off) from TNW Deals. This powerful board is the “sandbox” for inventive tinkerers to create their own electronics projects — then bring them to life. Powered by the open-source versatility and extensive library of Arduino, you can use the SainSmart UNO to build handfuls of simple electronic…

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Microsoft announces new data and cloud solutions at Build
May 13, 2017 2:50 pm|Comments (0)

Microsoft also introduced Azure IoT Edge, a technology that extends the intelligence and benefits of cloud computing to edge devices. They want to …


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Doctors take inspiration from online dating to build organ transplant AI
January 17, 2017 6:05 am|Comments (0)

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When Bob Jones performed one of Victoria’s first liver transplants in 1988, he could not imagine that 29 years later he’d be talking about artificial intelligence and online dating.

Jones is the director of Austin Health’s Victorian liver transplant unit in Melbourne, Australia, and along with his colleague Lawrence Lau, he has helped develop an algorithm that could potentially better match organ donors with organ recipients.

Comparing it to the metrics behind dating site eHarmony, Jone said they planned to use the specially-designed AI to improve the accuracy of matching liver donors and recipients, hopefully resulting in less graft failures and fewer patient deaths. Read more…

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