Branding

How's your non-profit's bottom line? Video can help.

by Beatriz Terrazas, IMI co-owner and visual storyteller

In past posts, we've discussed how businesses can partner with non-profits in ways that benefit both. Your clients and customers like to know that you're involved in your community; they like to know that you care about social causes. This makes them feel good about choosing to do business with you, and can keep them coming back to you. And people who patronize non-profits like to know that businesses in the community value that organization enough to make it part of their charitable giving, whether in volunteer hours or donated services. You can read about this here: Cause Marketing

If you're a non-profit, video can help tell your story in much the same way corporations use it to market themselves. We've already shown you statistics about how much more effective video is in helping people retain information, and about how it can affect your SEO in a positive way. You can read about that here: About Video Marketing.

Here are two video examples we created this summer for North Texas non-profits with the objective of helping them raise funds. 

This was produced for our non-profit partner NatureReach, a nature and science education agency, for North Texas Giving Day.

This video was produced for The Writer's Garret literacy agency in Dallas as part of a grant application. We were able to offer the three different video segments separately for individual appeals throughout North Texas Giving Day.

What are you waiting for? Give us a call and see how we can help you tell your non-profit's story.

Writing: Can typos and poor grammar really hurt my brand?

The value of writing in the success of your business

By Ingrid Scroggins – Writer, Editor, Communications Consultant  

Writing to promote and position your small or midsize company is likely the last thing on your mind as you juggle many demands and wear multiple hats running your business.   

But there’s a powerful argument for moving the use of this skill to a higher place on your priorities list. Poor writing – whether it’s on your website, in blogs, in video content, or even on social media – reflects negatively on your business. And that negative reflection can cost you clients or customers, and ultimately, profits.  

Misspelled words, typos, confusing sentences and grammatical errors represent sloppy work and little or no attention to details. This can raise questions and concerns about your company’s credibility and capabilities.      

Putting more effort into the various forms of communications used for your business will go a long way in helping protect your company’s reputation - and your brand.

Depending on your budget, you may want to take the do-it-yourself approach or hire editorial professionals. Either way, consider the following suggestions to improve what your company is already doing and to plan for future projects.

Focus your message.  Who are your targeted audiences? What do you want them to understand about your business? What actions do you want them to take? What is your business going to do for them? 

These kinds of questions can make your communications meaningful and beneficial for your organization and the people or groups you want to target.

Double-check content. To catch typos, spelling mistakes and anything else that could make a less-than-favorable impression, take the time to read and reread everything you push out for public consumption about your business. Have someone else review content as well to get a different perspective.

Proofing applies to social media posts, too. Just because they’re typically short and sweet doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same careful review.    

Compile a virtual toolkit. Take advantage of the tools available through the internet to help with writing whether you’re at your desk or on the go with your smartphone. Create a “favorites folder” of website links or a section of apps on your computer or smartphone that you can refer to quickly when you want to check a grammar rule or the spelling or meaning of a word.     

Decide to go with a pro. Handling writing in-house may appear to save money, but it can be costly in other ways. If you are writing and posting, that activity is taking up valuable time needed to guide the big-picture operations of the company. If you have an employee who can pick up the duties but whose strengths are not well suited for the responsibilities, quality will suffer.

The best use of money and time may be to hire a professional writer, editor or social media coordinator to create and curate content for your website, social media presence and other needs. If you think this suggestion sounds expensive, planning and research can control the cost.  

Look for candidates through creative talent agencies, websites devoted to freelance workers and organizations like the Editorial Freelancers Association.    

Decide on the level of support you want, the amount you can afford and the skills that will best fit your company. But be realistic about your expectations. If you aim to pay bottom dollar, you’re likely to get bottom-dollar results, not conscientious, value-adding work that will help present your company in a polished, professional light.      

Writing likely is not the core of your business, but it matters in effectively reaching and influencing the key audiences important to the success of your business.  

Finding your brand's voice

By Hannah Sheffield IMI Marketing Coordinator

 

So you’re creating content for your brand. How do you establish credibility? How do you show your customers that your brand has something important to offer them? You can show your company’s value through a uniform tone of voice, language and style. You can also do so through the production and distribution of content. This consistency is otherwise known as brand voice.

Brand voice is essential for customer recognition. Beyond that, your brand voice is a representation of your company’s values, status, employees and service/product offerings. If you're developing a content marketing strategy, begin with these considerations to develop your brand’s voice:

Nail down four characteristics. Ask what sets your brand apart from others. How does your brand share or explain a concept to a client? List each characteristic with one word. For example:
    1    Witty
    2    Realistic
    3    Engaging
    4    Visionary
When deciding on characteristics that define your brand, it will help to review content that the company has already produced. When reviewing, you might be able to spot trends in language or in an overall feeling of the content.

Outline your company’s values. This is important to convey to prospective customers. You want your brand content to “bleed” your values. Everything your company produces should reflect your brand. If done consistently, your brand will have value associated with every piece of content produced or every product sold. Here are examples of companies that have used consistent brand voice. Each is now associated with certain characteristics:
    1    Volvo: Safe
    2    Chanel: Sophisticated
    3    Subaru: Dependable
    4    Ford: American Classic

Keep the customer in mind. How can your brand communicate your business offerings to satisfy customer wants and needs? Keep in mind that your tone should not only reflect your employees and company values, but the customer base as well. Many of your efforts will be to retain or obtain customers. Considering their needs and interests is vital for your brand voice to be heard.

What do you want people to know about you? Develop three concepts about your brand that you want to convey. These concepts should align with your content marketing goals. Keep those in mind when creating content. Consider how you can show your customers what your brand values and who the people behind the brand are. Use your brand voice to deliver value to your target customers day in and day out.

Parting Thoughts

If people are the strength behind your brand, show it. The brand tone of voice should reflect company values, culture, and characteristics. You can build up your brand by using uniform diction and tone. When your company and content creators are able to integrate brand voice into content, your marketing will stop feeling like marketing. Your customers will know your brand without needing a logo or signage. And that’s one thing your company should be aiming for.

Using video as the vehicle to tell your brand's story

By Hannah Sheffield IMI Marketing Coordinator

It's common knowledge that video has taken over the internet. Everyone is either watching video or making it. Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-users (Aberdeen). With statistics like that, how could your business not want to utilize video?

The question, then, is what type of video do you produce that has a longer shelf life and still serves a purpose for your brand? The solution is a brand identifying video. Something that describes your brand in a short amount of time. What elements should you consider when developing the concept for your brand's video? Here's one example of a brand identity video from Cole Haan.

Here are our top pro tips to creating a video to enhance your brand:

Have a strong, captivating lead-in. This video starts off with soft music and then gradually begins to show the subject. The voice-over starts, and the story begins. Rather than jumping right into the story, viewers are able to understand the tone of the video and the brand’s voice.

Lay out your company's values and thought process. Let your consumers know how you see your brand. In the CMO of Cole Haan’s first sentence, David Maddocks says what he appreciates about what a brand values.  Later on in the video, Maddocks says, “We really don’t consider ourselves a part of a particular industry. We think about ourselves as being a part of a culture.” This statement positions the brand as an essential part of a society’s nature, rather than just another company to be overlooked.

Integrate your company's history to outline its future. Maddocks gives a brief history and talks about how the brand is evolving to accommodate for what its consumers value. Maddocks outlines the future for Cole Haan by describing how the company culture is being built around the company’s convictions.

Talk about what your audience desires and how your brand intersects with those wants and needs. What sets this video apart from other branding videos? David Maddocks recognizes what Cole Haan’s target audience doesn’t care about. Maddocks knows the desires of his target audience (knowing how a brand is relevant to them). He acknowledges that Cole Haan’s target audience calls the shots, and that the brand is there to complement these people as they evolve.

 

To begin the process of creating a branding video you have to ask yourself: How does my brand intersect with my target audience's values? Know your personas and know them cold. In order to make a video that appeals emotionally and logically to your audience, you need to know what that audience values.

If you have any insight you’d like to share about branding video formats please share with me in the comments below!