The Rules of Building a Personal Brand That Stands Out

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What’s the number one thing that can make or break a business? Simple – it’s your reputation. Branding is a word that’s thrown around quite often in the marketing industry, and for good reason. It’s key for getting customers to know, trust, and more importantly, purchase from you. This is why online reputation management is so essential. Without it, your brand will either go unnoticed, or will suffer from a bad wrap due to negative posts that are left unchecked.

The same goes for personal branding, which too gets overlooked by businesses and entrepreneurs. Today’s consumer is looking to connect with brands that are like people, not corporations. This makes personal branding a significant tool for building your authority.

If you have yet to start building your personal brand, then here are some tips to help get you started with your online reputation management.

Always Be Authentic

Your personal image online should be authentic, so refrain from creating an alter ego. The idea of faking it until you make it needs to be tossed out the window because that won’t fly here. Online users are savvy about who they come to trust, so if they get a whiff of ingenuity, they will not only unfollow you, but they will call you out, which can potentially tarnish any branding you were successful enough to build. In this case, you would have to hire online reputation management services to turn around your fate.

Become a Thought Leader

You don’t want to just be a person that regurgitates what others are saying. Have your own mind and thoughts about your industry and topics related to your market, and speak about them. Your social platforms are your playground for sharing your thoughts, which could in turn help strengthen your position as an authority and trusted source. Think of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and other entrepreneurs who were well-known by their customers and the world. They were known best as thought leaders and innovators.

It’s a Marriage Not a Date

Personal branding is a long-term commitment, so you have to be ready to put in work for the long haul. You need to develop an online reputation management strategy that will be implemented over the course of years. This should be in effect for as long as your company is in business – and this includes managing your personal branding.

If you need help with your personal branding, then consider hiring professional online reputation management services.

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Source by Hugh Benjamin

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Naming a Consulting Company

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With the economy on the skids, many experienced mid and upper level professionals are striking out on their own, leveraging their expertise to build their own future and control their own destiny. For many of these aspiring entrepreneurs, creating a compelling brand name is new territory, a complete and utter mystery. They know it’s an important part of the equation, and they may have even had a full time marketing department at their previous firm. But now it’s “do-it-yourself-time,” and there’s a dearth of information on how to brand a new consulting company successfully. Fear no more. The first step in branding a consulting company is to know your objectives. Here are four key questions to clarify your goals…

1. Do you want your company name to stand out, or fit in? This may seem like a trick question, but there is not a right or wrong answer. Some new consultants are so concerned with gaining acceptance in their industry, they are much more comfortable with a name that sounds established and credible, right from the outset. If that’s the case, try looking up a list of others in your industry on sites such as dmoz.org. You will then gain a sense of the nomenclature used in your field. You may be able to emulate the feel, much like other industries have done (i.e. Microsoft’s Outlook, Apple’s Safari, Netscape’s Navigator, etc.) If want to gain notice, then do just the opposite. Look at the company names in your field and use interpretive naming strategies. For example, if nearly everyone in your category uses proper names (sometimes known as “legacy” names) then go with a metaphor (i.e. Jaguar, Caterpillar, Amazon, Monster, etc.) to convey your company’s attributes. Or try positive connotation words to create an entirely new identity (i.e. RedHat, OnStar, FireDog, etc.) Just make sure you have a rationale that can explain why you chose that name, and one that leads to a deeper dialog about your company.

2. Have you explored all the possibilities? Frequently, new business owners become frustrated and discouraged when naming their new businesses, simply because they’ve attempted only one or two naming strategies. Many times they’ve created a list of literal/functional names, (i.e. Custom Software Consulting) only to find the domain names are gone. Or they’ve attempted some obvious metaphors (i.e. Summit, Pinnacle, etc.) and found dozens of companies with similar names. The trick is to employ several methods. These include…

* Key attributes — For an example, we named one staffing company BrightHire.com based on their desire to attract the most intelligent candidates. You can see this employed with company names such as SirSpeedy, EconoLodge, Priceline and Smart Cuts. Is there an overarching benefit you provide that you can incorporate into your name?

* Invented names — This is a favorite with consultants but proceed with caution. It’s easy to get caught up in with the chase of a new name and gradual twist the spelling and message until it’s unintelligible. It’s okay to use Latin word parts and obscure references if the name can still be spoken and spelled easily. Small firms have the advantage of conveying part of the brand message in person, over the phone, or at a trade conference. But don’t push it. If you find yourself having to constantly spell or correct the spelling, then it’s a miss. And keep in mind the name can be invented and still carry a sense of meaning. We named one company Claricent, because they were able to provide clear insight and direction to their client base. So you can still convey an attribute, even in an invented name. (i.e Verizon = Horizon, Agilent =Agile, etc.)

* Descriptive Hybrid Names — These names combine an industry descriptor word and marry it with an evocative word. Examples include companies such as Emisstar, consultants in the emissions control industry. Big brand examples include JetBlue and CarMax. If you use this approach, just be sure that your industry descriptor is one that won’t change over time.

* Metaphors — Since the proverbial “picture paints a thousand words”, then metaphors are a great way to convey multiple company attributes with a single image. FourBridges Capital, for example, expresses this investment banking firm’s ability to “bridge the gap” and “connect business with capital,” etc. With four major partners and four major bridges in Chattanooga, TN, the story gains even more traction.

3. Have you prioritized your wants? Starting a new consultancy provides a beautiful blank page upon which to craft your story. Take time to determine what is most important in that story.

* Do you want a name that’s memorable?

* Do you want a name that’s easy to say and spell?

* Are you most concerned with trademark?

* Are you adamant that to have the exact matching.com domain name? Figure out the key driver(s) behind your naming challenge, so that when you come down to a final list, you can look back and pick the one that meets your top criteria. Often the process can get foggy and unfocused after a prolonged search for a name, and all the words start sounding alike. So be sure you know what you want before you begin. That way it will help you when it’s 3 a.m., your eyes start to cross, and your spouse no longer wants to be your sounding board.

4. Are you seeing the big picture? — Create a short list of your favorite names, and then test them out. Make sure you choose people who are either in your potential market, or who understand good branding. Rather than randomly tossing names around, create some context for each name, so that when the name is said, it falls into place. You may even want to invest in some quick logo treatments to help visualize the brand. Many major brand names would ring hallow if only spoken. Judge the whole package… name, rough tagline, sketch of logo, to get the real feel. A consulting name such as BearingPoint gains traction once it has a logo, tag line, and a story line. Decide if you want to fit in or stand out, utilize multiple naming strategies, prioritize your “wants” list, and test your ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to a great consulting company brand name. Once you make your selection, be sure to run it by your trademark attorney and to acquire the matching, or closely matching, com domain name. Continue to integrate your brand message throughout your web site, corporate identity, collateral materials and advertising to further strengthen your presence. If done properly, you will have a company name that serves you well, both now and for years to come.

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Source by Phillip Davis

How Did Facebook Become So Popular?

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Have You Heard Of Facebook?

By now, you are probably familiar with the popular social-networking website called Facebook.

According to Wikipedia, Facebook has more than 19 million registered users across 47,000 regional, work-related, college or high-school networks.

I Was Skeptical At First

Initially, I was very reluctant to embrace the Facebook phenomenon. However, my friends kept asking me “Hey Vincent, are you on Facebook?”…”Did you join Facebook yet” “You need to visit Facebook.” This went on for weeks.

Surprisingly, when I checked my Hotmail account, I also received invites from dozens of friends including Andre, David, Trisha, Renee and Kevin

How Did Facebook Become So Popular, So Fast?

Finally, I decided to visit this website called Facebook. Once and for all, I wanted to discover why Facebook is so popular. I wanted to know how they managed to gain millions of members in a few short months? How did they become so big, so fast? I had to know the truth. I wanted to know their secret!

Facebook’s Secret Exposed

Aside from having an easy to navigate layout, the ability to keep tabs on friends, great content, and, amazing search capabilities, Facebook is utilizing one of the most powerful viral marketing strategies ever conceived.

It’s so simple, but yet extremely powerful.

Once my account was created, I immediately clicked on the friends tab. I noticed a drop down menu with several options including Invite Friends. Once clicked, I was taken to a page that allowed me to Import Email Addresses from my Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and Gmail.

I was also greeted with the following message:

“Enter your email login info below and Facebook will securely import your contacts from

your address book.”

I simply inserted my email address and password and instantly all 78 of my Hotmail contacts appeared before me. With one click of a button, I was able to invite all my contacts to join Facebook.

I Quickly Realized The Power of This Application After using this tool to instantly invite all 78 of my Hotmail contacts; I quickly realized the power of this application! What impressed me the most was how simple it was to import and invite all of my contacts. Unlike traditional tell-a-friend forms, it only took a few seconds to invite 78 people using Facebook’s PHP address book importer.

By implementing this viral marketing strategy, Facebook has become one the most popular websites online.

5 Reasons Why Traditional Tell-A-Friend Forms Are Obsolete!

  • They forced your visitors to manually input email addresses.
  • Your visitors must also manually type the name beside each email address.
  • Most forms only have around 10 input fields. Remember, the average person, has over 100 web mail contacts. Why limit yourself?
  • People are lazy. Nobody wants to sit around and insert dozens of email addresses into your form!
  • Ongoing subscription fees.

Once you make the decision to upgrade to a PHP address book importer. You will need to implement a variety of marketing strategies to maximize your success. In other words, simply installing such a script is NOT good enough.

3 Viral Marketing Strategies You MUST Do In Order To EXPLODE Your Online Business

Strategy #1: Motivate Your Visitors!

Let’s get real. We live in a very selfish world. I’m sure you have a fabulous website. However, nobody is going tell his or her friends about it without asking the following question what’s in it for me? You will be surprised what people will do if you provide the right incentive! Offering Free Giveaways is a good place to start.

Strategy #2: Don’t Hide Your Tell-A-Friend Link

Hiding your link is a huge mistake. This is very frustrating to me. Most webmasters will place their tell-a-friend link at the bottom of their web page. They place it in some remote area of their web page and wonder why nobody uses it.

You must add your tell-a-friend link to the main navigation of your website. For example, most websites will have “About us”Contact Us” “Products” added to the primary navigation. Your tell-a-friend link must also be added to the primary navigation of your website.

Strategy #3: It’s All In The Name

Here’s an idea. Instead of using the same boring link title “tell-a-friend” Why not say “Free Ipod” “Free Coupon”, “Free E-Book” This will cause your visitors to actually click on the link. At that point, you can provide contest details / instructions.

Viral marketing is not a fad or gimmick. It’s a real marketing strategy that can increase the profitability of your business. Adding a PHP address book importer to your arsenal will instantly provide your visitors an easy way of inviting others to your website.

Facebook is already utilizing the new technology, shouldn’t you?

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Source by Vincent Newton

Emerging Trends on Reputation Management to Note in 2016

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Brand Recognition not only concerns with market share and media penetration. Standing in the era of tech-dominance, businesses must draw significant attention on shaping customer conception. Alike search engine rankings and content management, online reputation also impels on conversion rates. Thus, reputation management acts as the secret pathway to success.

In 2016, thankfully, experts have come with a series of ways to shape your online reputation shine.

The task is no more limited to SEO

Earlier, this entire process was a part of Search Engine Optimization that facilitates the Google results to show positive and relevant links. But, in 2016, it will get a wider picture, thereby becoming an expansive umbrella for all the marketing messages sent to the community. On an advisable note, here’s what you have to do to manage the online reputation of your brand in 2016.

Social listening

It is becoming more crucial. Monitoring what people are saying about your offerings, brand, business rivals and industry will give an idea about where your brand stands and what are the possible suggestions for improving it. Addressing the honest feedback of clients over social media will help you to make significant improvements.

User-generated content

Besides the web-design and marketing agencies, there are a number of users who produces contents everyday including images, videos, tweets, vines and many more. In 2016, the marketing strategy and actions of yours can possibly influence the type of content your viewers generates. Thus, try to reap the underlying benefits of it by making it an effective marketing material.

Client Reviews and Testimonials

Be it Google, glassdoor or Yelp, you must lure the consumers to share pleasing experiences with the world. Surprisingly, food and beverages, beauty and movie industries are mostly built on reviews and it serves as the base for online reputation. This trend is going to expand in other industries as well in 2016.

Try to attract the customers and educate them, as they act as your best marketers and of course, nevertheless, work in consideration to the bad reviews as well.

Community engagement

Viewers have already seen millions of the ‘good self-praised’ declarations and are quite immune to them. Try something different. Focus on showing them what sets you apart from the competitors. When the consumer Googles you, will they be able to come across any blog post of their interest? Will they be able to relate you as a part of their own world? That’s what you need to target for facilitating greater community engagement.

Final word

Reputation management certainly takes time and the company requires a consistent strategy and approach to succeed. Reputation is more like a long-term ROI and not a holiday sale. Thus, your strategy must show a perfect amalgam of your business goals and ongoing trends of the industry to build a credible brand image and sustain in the long run.

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Source by Ritika Basu

3 Reasons Why Your Strategy To Increase Online Traffic Isn’t Working

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Businesses today require multiple strategies to compete in the global marketplace. Not only must businesses properly define themselves to customers and distinguish themselves from the competition but they must also stay up to date on the newest technologies and use it to their advantage. The internet has revolutionized many ways that businesses compete and having a proper online presence is no longer an optional luxury, it is clearly a necessity. Funneling online traffic to your business websites is no easy task. Often times skilled and experienced marketing companies are outsourced to handle the complex job of sustaining a powerful online presence. Many companies need more online traffic, but what are the best ways to increase it and why are the current strategies failing? Here are 3 reasons why your strategy to increase online traffic isn’t working.

1. The advertising side of the marketing plan is not strong enough

One part of a sound marketing strategy is to have the advertising portion spearhead the whole campaign. If the initial ads are not properly defining the brand of the product or service, or are not distinguishing them from other competitors’, the overall interest will be low and this will be reflected not only in low sales and brick and mortar activity but in the online domain as well. To be able to capitalize on the turn over from online activity you must first stimulate and interest the customer base into seeking out more information.

2. Failure to build the brand using social media outlets

Social media is a revolutionary force in the online domain as it pertains to businesses. It has changed marketing and advertising substantially for better or worse. Any marketing plan that fails to realize the potential in advertising and brand building, using social media, is not fully utilizing and leveraging the internet. Most of society, especially the youth, are familiar with social media and count and depend on it for their information. Word of mouth and direct business advertising seem to merge together on social media outlets. By utilizing this resource, an advertising agency was able to properly identify niche markets, hone brands, learn about what customers wanted, all while improving online traffic.

3. Not using blogging and article resources properly

Along with social media, many depend on blogs and online articles to learn about new products and services offered. SEO article writing is also another way to connect with potential readers and also drive traffic to your websites. By under utilizing these resources, the online presence will be hampered in waves of other companies utilizing the same resources correctly. It is important to stick out from everyone else and continue to put in effort into blogs and articles. Also, using ill-defined headings and topics will muddle the results and confuse the market. It is important to be very precise with the topics and headlines that lead the subject matter of the blogs and articles. When properly done, not only will customers be informed of new products and services, but they will have a favorable impression of your brand as well as a desire to continue searching for more information online.

As you can see, utilizing the online domain for advertising and marketing purposes is extremely important for driving traffic. Avoid these top mistakes and watch your traffic soar.

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Source by Christopher Rivera

Advantages of Using Claims Processing Software

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Behind every successful insurance company is a sophisticated automated claim processing software. The software should help to ensure a timely settlement and build positive rapport with clients. Claims management software eliminates human error by automating the entire process providing complete access to claims data records with the simple click of a mouse. A powerful management tool, claims management software helps to analyze and organize data to deal with complex litigation. There is basic functionality that any sophisticated claims software system should possess. Some basic features should include the following: simplified documentation and maintenance, software integration, and an increase of your claims management efficiency, to name a few.

Increased claims management productivity

In order to increase the speed and efficiency of managing claims, the software will manage the claims process beginning with the First Notice of Loss (FNOL) to final settlement. The software should ensure that employees are working to their full potential, by streamlining the claims tracking process. With advanced organization, reporting, data entry, and analytical focus, the software provides for greater transparency throughout the process ensuring that timely and accurate decisions are made.

Seamless Integration

In addition, highly innovative insurance claims software provides for seamless integration with 3rd party software platforms. Providing for collaboration with software such as Microsoft based office products, imaging software, and other various products is a must in today’s vast software marketplace. Complete cohesion between various software products results in prompt, efficient, and more reliable claims handling processes.

Documentation and Maintenance

Aside from the previously mentioned functionality, buyers should also seek a solution that offers simplified and concise documentation and maintenance. It is absolutely imperative that all insurance claims information be stored in a secure and organized database. A powerful search functionality, perhaps one enhanced by Google should be provided for quick referencing when seeking information quickly.

Advantages of Claims Processing Software

What cutting edge does claims software lend your insurance company? The entire claims process can be properly organized and managed in one central location. A few basic advantages of choosing the proper claims management software are: the reduction of human administration error, increase in your company’s productivity, impervious file security, and remote reliable access to all data.

Reduce Administration and Errors

Antiquated claims processing systems still rely upon manual administration, which includes: filing, scanning, and documenting. By converting to an automated and streamlined system your company can ensure error free claims process.

Increase in Productivity

Another advantage of converting to automation is the increase of productivity and speed with which a claim is processed through your system. Claims processing software decreases the amount of time and labor involved, allowing your employees to focus on your most valuable asset-Your Customers!

Remote Access and Security

Always recommend is “cloud” based claims processing software system allowing remote accessibility and secure confidentiality. Choosing a software program built on the foundation of a secure SQL database allows your company to run insurance claim software through any internet browser. The latest development in software technologies ensures sensitive, personal, and financial data remain secure. Reduce your risk potential by choosing software that stores your data safely with encrypted data and multi-level access password techniques. Records can only be accessed by those with the appropriate user id and password, eliminating the risk of unauthorized access.

Conclusion

In conclusion when choosing the appropriate insurance claim software, know that the best software options will reduce the risk of exposure, increase corporate productivity, develop preferred customer service relationships, and reduce claims processing time. The choice is more than just software, as your decisions could potentially differentiate your company over that of the competition.

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Source by Nate Rodnay

Frame Control: How to Bust the Power Frame in Business and Sales Situations

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The definition of a frame is a set of emotions and desires that you bring to the table anytime you are communicating with another person. Now the interesting thing about frame control is that whenever two or more people are interacting one person’s frame will overcome the other person’s frame and this person will usually get their way.

Example: Think about a courtroom, you have a judge, two attorneys and a group of jurors. The two attorneys both have their own desires and emotions, the attorney who’s frame is adopted by the jurors will win the case.

Technique: busting the power frame.

This is a technique that you could probably use in a variety of situations but the best examples for it are ones that are relevant to the business situations.

If you are in the business world you have had the experience of dealing with someone who had the power frame because of their massive ego. This is person who is used to getting their way, they are used to people acquiescing to their desires, this is a person who usually does whatever the hell they want to do regardless of the information or how it effects other people. Power frame types tend to be oblivious to what others think. Their ego is rooted in their status. These are usually people who have big titles or feel some kind entitlement.

If you are communicating or negotiating with a power frame a lot of times they will only listen to the first few seconds of what you have to say and then make a snap judgment about what they will do. Inevitably in business and in life we have to deal with these kinds of people coming from this kind of ego driven a power frame. However, the good news is that they are vulnerable to your power busting frame because they do not expect it. They expect your difference & obedience. You will take them by surprise with this technique:

To bust a power frame, use a mildly shocking but not unfriendly act. Do or say something that is slightly defiant but at the same time be humorous.

When you are defiant and funny at the same time, a power frame personality is going to be pleasantly challenged by you and instinctively knows that they are in the presence of a pro.

Example: Let’s say you are a sales person and you are in the boardroom making a power point pitch. While you are in the middle of your pitch you realize that one of the key decision makers of the deal gives you an objection to doing the deal.

Since you are true sale bro you are say: “Hey Chris, that’s a great question, I would really like to finish this presentation because I think when you have the total picture of what I am proposing it will make sense to you” then you go on with your presentation.

A few minutes later you notice Chris is playing on their blackberry and not paying attention to your presentation. Anyone who’s been in sales or negotiates deals for living is familiar with this kind of situation, now say: “Hey Chris, I would just hate to have to use my Jedi powers to take your blackberry from you while I finish my fascinating presentation” While you do this make sure you are smiling big at Chris and roll your eyes a little when you say fascinating presentation.

This line accomplishes a few things:

It’s slightly shocking because you are calling out Chris for not paying attention.

You are being funny saying that you have Jedi powers.

Using positive and body language and joking about your presentation being fascinating you are building rapport between you and Chris.

Chris is now going to be super focused on you for the duration of your presentation.

So when you encounter the power frame be a little defiant or deny them what they want from you while at the same time being funny and friendly and you will win frame control of the situation.

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Source by Jonathan Roseland