Browsing articles tagged with "branding Archives | april.holle.blog"
Jun
5

The Start of Self Branding

So lately I’ve been very interested in self-discovery and building my own brand. Who am I? Who do I want to portray myself as? Are those always the same person?

I stumbled into a very interesting conversation between Forty Agency and Heather Herr of Experience Studio regarding archetypes and branding and how those build an entire brand experience and increase customer loyalty.  I won’t go into those details here, that may be another blog post some other time. However during this presentation, a book was mentioned, The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes by Margret Mark and Carol Pearson, that really raised my interest in what this archetypes bit fit into who I am and how I would build my own legacy.

Well, my very own hardbound copy arrived in the mail today, and I’ve spent the better portion of my night starting to read more into it. Very interesting stuff, and as I discover things I’ll be sure to mention them here. So far it’s mostly regarding these 12 archetypes that appear throughout history in stories and stereotypes and how aligning your brand with one of those 12 will consistently help your brand be easily recognized and create value within customers. By using these default stories we can engage our customer quicker, allowing the experience to become easier and can increase loyalty within a brand’s customers.

So far, I’ve been doing quite a bit of passive branding, through my own blog, through local networking and through twitter etc. But due to my interest in continuing to go to conferences and what have you, I’d like to get a real feeling for what I want to be perceived as and how to do that properly. I’d like to really get behind a design style, branding, colors, and paraphernalia (biz cards, stickers, fun stuff).

However, there is a catch in this, right now my name is pretty much my brand, and while it’s great that it’s unique (According to google I’m the only April Holle in the world!) The catch is I might be getting married soon, and if that happens then my name changes, all my effort is then thwarted. Not only am I changing names, I’m changing to April Jones. Do you have any idea how many of those there are? So if you have any ideas on how to gracefully transition this, please chime in!

If you have any personal experience in self branding, please feel free to comment, because advice and experience is never a bad thing to have. 🙂

Dec
9

THE Brian Shaler

Brian Shaler

So I got to sit down with Brian Shaler yesterday during the Phoenix BarCamp and really pick his brain regarding his recent boost in popularity on the net.

I’ve been on a big personal branding kick and I’m trying to talk to anyone who’s someone to ask them how they “did it”. Not necessarily to find the best way “in” but to be able to at least assess my possibilities and think of it another way. So when I heard Brian was getting some SERIOUS digg attention and had over 6k followers on Twitter… I started to wonder if he was my next brain-sucking victim in the quest to become immoral. Sounds kinda creepy when I put it that way eh?

Anyhow, when Chuck Reynolds and I finally hog tied him and tossed him into the back of the van, after HOURS of threating to toss him into a vat of scorpions, THE Brian Shaler gave up his secret to his AMAZING popularity rise.

When he first found Twitter, he realized the growth potential of seeding the popularity contest that is viral marketing. How you ask? It’s brilliant really. You follow people… doesn’t matter who really, the more active the better I suppose. Lets say you start following… 3 thousand people… then all the sudden, even HALF of those people return the favor by following you. You instantly have a captured 1,500 user audience in which to broadcast yourself and things you want to become known. Once you have a decent size user audience, communication back and forth can continue the viral campaign, since every @brianshaler twitter statement someone makes is broadcast to all the users twitter followers as well, and these people start to ask, who is this person they’re talking to? Perhaps they too will start following you. All the sudden you have over 6 thousand twitter followers just like Brian Shaler.

He uses this captured market as a launching pad for things to become viral and tracks every link he sends out to this base group so that he can track the SEO effects of his experiment in viral activity. So, lets say… he has a site that he wants to promote. He sends out the link to his twitter followers saying, “Hey check this really cool thing out…”. Because of his extensive research on the SEO traffic produced by his Twittering alone, he knows that he can pretty much rely on about 100-300 click throughs from his Twitter followers alone. So perhaps his twitter followers actually think that this thing that he has sent them is a great idea, so they send it to a friend, two friends or three friends. The viral exponential factor already starts working its magic… but lets say that someone submits it to StumbleUpon or Digg, and the their own viral patterns start to build on top of this small 100-300 base click throughs. Suddenly you have created a mountain out of an ant hill.

The craziest thing about this, is that due to the way the internet naturally is a sharing device, people who will never ever meet Brian are now his number one fan. During the BarCamp we were recording and streaming the presentations. A Brian Shaler follower from Germany found out about the web broadcast and came into the web chat, this follower actually asked Brian to tell his friend (who was also a Shaler follower) that he had flown to Phoenix and had actually hung out with Brian. Crazy eh? Off of merely creating a viral platform to toss things out on, Brian has actually become internationally famous.

Besides creating that viral base for yourself, Brian also seriously recommended building your own brand of yourself. As cocky as this may seem, it really helps promote the idea of “he is someone” much like personalities such as Oprah or Michael Jordan. Then using this identity for everything that you toss out into the sea of the internet, or even in real life. Brian actually has business cards that just say “Brian Shaler” on them… on both sides, nothing else. Why? He says, “If you can’t contact me in 30 seconds using the information on that card, don’t contact me.” This very small piece of printed material just adds to the effect that Brian really is someone you should already know of.

Brian also chalks up his fame to some of the side projects he’s put effort into in the past, and believes that it’s better to have many sites to your brand with lower search rankings than one site with a high page rank. Why? Because different people have different interests and you can reach a larger, broader audience. He has recently broken out his blog from his personal portfolio site, widening his name sake that much more. But you can really see this effect in his creation crappygraphs.com. The whole site’s premise is crappy graphs that really don’t display accurate data at all, but more so a point. After creating only 20 crappy graphs, he decided to create a flash application on the site that allowed users to create their own crappy graphs and submit them to the site. After ten hours of intense manual labor over the course of one weekend, he now gave his crappy graph followers a way to really express themselves…crappily graphically. Crappy Graphs now has over a thousand graphs… why? Because of user submissions. These user submissions have been Dugg, StumbledUpon, and spread throughout the viral universe, and how did Brian accomplish this? By creating one, 10 hour application that allowed his users to express themselves.

So while the rest of us are trying to figure out the best way to market some silly viral ad campaign, Brian will be tossing links out into his twitter feed and reaping the click throughs, Diggs, and Stumbles.

** I was forced against my will to name the following links… part of the verbal agreement to be talked to by THE Brian Shaler. But do check them out anyhow. 😉 You’re welcome Brian. **

For those of you who DON’T know you Brian Shaler is, check out his blog, his personal portfolio site, his famous twitter account (6k followers and counting), the ShalerJump and of course Crappy Graphs.

Nov
6

Wanda Sykes: Spokesapple for Applebee's

Applebee’s has a new logo, and a new Spokesapple.  Brand New has a reveiw of the new logo, and most of the reviewers are as mixed as the logo elements themselves. Personally, I think the logo brings Applebee’s to the current design trends, but the offset of the apple illustration and the monotone between the company name and the slogan is a little bland. The font choice for the tagline is a bit much, perhaps too much serif going on here.

Identity aside, I like the way Applebee’s has introduced a viral marketing video as part of the rebranding. Setting up Apple auditions for a new Spokesapple. Some of the clips are pretty funny, including the pineapple, orange and pear who auditioned, or Alan the Karate Chopping Apple. Check out the auditions here.

When all auditions were through, Wanda Sykes is the new voice over for the new Spokesapple. I love Wanda, and I think she’ll really bring out the comedy in having a Spokesapple. She is fun, funky, and still very fresh.

Nov
2

The Long Wow: Keep Your Clients Coming Back

I subscribe to the Adaptive Path newsletter, and I suggest you do as well if you’re interested in user experience in the slightest. I’ve continously enjoyed the articles they write regarding users and how to keep them around.

The most recent article was The Long Wow by Brandon Schauer, an experience design director for Adaptive Path.

The Long Wow is a means to achieving long-term customer loyalty through systematically impressing your customers again and again. In other words, you have to keep up the awesome user experience all the time, not just the first time. Revising your product or service to continually introduce new features and examples of how this product can make your users lives amazing.

Brandon also explains that your common loyalty programs really don’t create customer loyalty at all. Just because you have a membership card usually isn’t the main reason you keep going back to a particular store.

For instance, I have a Basha’s discount card, a Frys discount card AND a Safeway discount card on my key chain. But I’m loyal to Safeway, but why? 50% of it I would have to say is because it’s the closest to where I live right now. 30% is the fact that I know my way around their store, I can find what I want and get in and out quickly. 10% is because I like the service there, everyone is friendly and they are helpful. 5% is because I feel that Safeway is cleaner than Frys (the next closest store) and I feel safer there. 5% is the fact that Kaleb, my boyfriend, worked for the Safeway company when he was younger. Notice the fact that I have a little card that gets me some discount doesn’t even play into that mix.

What is in the mix? Well, there’s location, ease of use, customer service, care of product, and personal connection to the brand.

So what are some new features Safeway could add to make my experience even better? Well what if they added a branch of my bank there so I could make deposits as well. Maybe they could open up another store even closer to me, since I still have to drive a distance to get to this one. Perhaps they could hire more checkers on Sunday evening since it’s always PACKED.

These types of constant user experience analysis really can make an impact on sales, marketing costs, and of course customer loyalty. Anyhow, check out the original article to read more about what Brandon and Adaptive Path have to say about this topic. 🙂

Sep
18

Favorite Presidential Logo

Be design democratic! Check out LogoVoting.com to vote for your favorite 2008 Presidential Candidate logo.

It’s interesting the number of different symbols and typography that are used to express a personal touch to the same type of communication. Also check out the variety and combinations of red, white, blue, stars, and American flags.

I would tell you who I voted for, but that’s against the rules. 😉

What is this?

This little blog happens to be the personal ramblings of one April Holle - I'm female, outspoken, webbie, a community evangelist, and Principal of Made Better Studio. Check out the about section for more info.

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