INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Research in Branding, Sara Novičić  –  Fitness Industry, Nikola Sekulić  –  Hospitality, Jessica Petrović  –  Info Overload, Chris Farmer


downloadVol. I, Issue 2   –   July 2016


Research in Branding: The Problem of the Flying Monkey

flying_monkey_by_macropete

By Sara Novičić

Why the flying monkey?

Yes, enthusiasm is the main driving force behind any business idea, allowing you to transform it into reality. But sheer willpower alone cannot turn your regular chimp into a flying monkey.

Too absurd? Think of how many people around the world were at one point in time considered certifiably insane for nothing more than their ideas which seemed to be too “out there.” If some of them had given up, we would not be able to travel to outer space, have google, or simply take a warm shower.

Some of those inventors and entrepreneurs were wealthy, some poor, some had help, and others had to stand alone. But they had at least this one thing in common – they were all exceptionally curious.

Today we have the advantage of having almost all information available at our fingertips, but we sometimes fail to explore. We get carried away with the awesome power of inspiration and devote most of our time to crafting a plan of action, focused on what will become of our brilliant spark.

How the flying monkey?

I know, it sounds awful and mind-numbingly boring when someone tells you that you “need to do your research” before and while you develop your cunning plan. Why not put a spin on it, then? Are you REALLY that enthusiastic about your flying monkey?

Then sit down and ask all the questions you can think of, so that you can understand who would benefit from this idea of yours, where you can put it to use, and how you can evolve it through time. But your idea should not and cannot be the only focus of your plan, since every good flying monkey requires a lot of hard work, extraordinary thinking, and patience.

Research means learning about who and what is already out there, to see if what you have to offer is new and original. If the concept itself is similar to opening a new bakery in a place where people already have three hundred of those, then perhaps add an element of surprise (and this is where flying monkeys come in extremely handy).   Make it more appealing than what others offer, because you must have something that will make you stand out. Otherwise, your idea will never become a brand.

Also, before you do the research, your idea might seem impossible, boring, useless, or you might deceive yourself by thinking that it’s simple and perfectly doable. This is why research is the step you take before you take the business leap, and the step you continue with while you’re diving into your adventure and all the way through its existence. And I don’t mean just googling stuff.

What of the flying monkey?

If you want your brand to endure the pressure of not only modern times but also the unpredictable future, you will need to build it from a strong basis that will stand up to any scrutiny.

Whether you are an experienced business person or a newbie in the world of start-ups, and no matter how complex or how small your plan is, the truth is very simple: knowledge is power.

If you perceive learning and research as grunt work, you will never have fun. And business should be fun. Every idea should, in its essence, have a flying monkey. The difference between those who will envision a monkey with an actual, operational pair of wings, or on an actual flying carpet, or learning the commands to fly an airplane, and those who will stick the monkey in a cage, put him on a plane and say “there’s your flying monkey” will always be that the first group has curiosity. And they are the ones who make a difference.

Finally, if you want your brand to be truly a Brand, to stand out, and be remembered and loved, your curiosity should stem from more than the initial enthusiasm of the notion of the flying monkey. Make it last. And make it count. That way, the questions you ask along the way will never dry up, they will only help you evolve your idea and further your success. And this growth and progress will never become a burden. You will always find a way to enjoy it.


Branding in the Fitness Industry

by Nikola Sekulić

fitness-wallpapers-49DO YOU REMEMBER THE TIME
(WHEN WE FELL IN LOVE)?

Remember that time when you trained yourself half to death, wanting to be the best and wanting to be known, dreaming about the day your fitness idol would come up to you and pat you on the back? Maybe that last expectation hasn’t happened yet but you’ve realized that you want to share your knowledge and experience, to change people’s lives, and to be respected for your expertise and hard work. Well, first you have to get in line.

The fact of the matter is that in today’s times, a healthy lifestyle and looking “fit” is something that’s becoming increasingly common. We all want to look good and to be strong, oh yeah, and if we manage to squeeze a little bit health in there, that is a bonus.

In our constant pursuit of a chiseled body and the subsequent side glances, we become overwhelmed with fitness centers, fitness plans, and fitness gurus; supplement brands, nutrition magazines, and things of this nature. And we often just want to give it all up, throw in the new lifting belt and say goodbye to our dreams. Not because we don’t have it in us, but because we cannot decide who to trust, who to look up to, and which brand to believe in. Do the math yourself. Take the block that you live on, for instance, and try to think of all the gyms on that block that are trying to grab your attention. Yeah, that’s a lot.

Now consider the fact that, other than everyone’s friend Mike, no one in this world achieved greatness in the fitness industry by doing it without supplements, and being “all natural,” hence, the pursuit for one’s favorite supplement brand begins. But this is not all, you still haven’t counted all of the fitness personalities out there who people follow and support via every social network. And there are a lot of those too.

And then there is you. You want to start a fitness carrier? Open a gym? Create a supplement brand that people will trust and buy? Open a clothing brand that everyone will love and wear everywhere? As I said, get in line.

Or perhaps, you make your own lane and run past everyone else. Enter Branding. This mysterious notion is something that separates the successful from the struggling, the trusted from the dodgy, the loved from the lonely.

Think of it this way, when I say fitness star, you say (probably): “Arnold! Frank Zane! Greg Plitt! Steve Cook!” The one thing those people have in common is that their names, and everything that they are and do, are brands. They have worked long and hard for their names to be known and remembered, and so does every big company and magazine out there.

Knowing what a brand is and how you can brand yourself or your business is the key to inspiring trust in your consumers or followers and will put you on the fast lane to success, by making you distinctive and recognizable on the market.

ESTABLISHING YOURSELF AS A BRAND (THAT DOMINATES)

Let us first establish what branding is not.

It is not marketing, nor is it selling. Branding is not your product – your product is your product. Branding is a complex structure of stories and images, representing who you are and what you stand for. Thus, branding is your identity, something that you recognize in your idols and something that someone should recognize and identify with when they see and hear you.

In this identity of yours, key elements come into play – logo, stories, messages, visual identity, online and offline presence – and they all serve the purpose of establishing a loving and long-lasting relationship between you and your target audience. If you want to skip ahead of the competition, you need to sit down (or compose like Sherlock Holmes) and think hard about what makes you special and unique in the world. Why should people trust you? Why should they listen to you instead of someone else? You do not have a unique product, or something unheard of. Nor do need to.

But what you do have is a certain set of values to which people will relate to and identify with, believing in you and your brand. The brand that you create around your name or the name that you’ve created is a promise to the consumers and followers that you understand them and that they can be just like you, that they can achieve their goals, and they will love you for it. It will be up to you to keep the promises that you have established and always be consistent in communicating your values.

Making promises is not difficult when they are your very essence, and that is when the stories of your brand emerge. It will be the most important phase in creating your brand, so get to it, even if you still don’t have a name for it.

Break it down simply. Write your brand stories in the way you hope will inspire and motivate someone close to you. You would do anything to make their lives better, and with that in mind, tell it to everyone and, remember, the stories and values that you create will be the thing people repeat and live by. Make them effective, make them passionate, and strong.

Once you have created your brand values and the vision of what you want them to be, it is time to give your brand a visual identity that best represents it, starting with a logo. Needless to say, a logo is something that will most often be associated with you and your brand, and thus needs to be easily recognizable and memorable, interesting and inspiring, but not overly complicated. The rule of thumb: when your designer gives you a finished logo, if you cannot draw it yourself (even if poorly), it is too complicated. Then think of colors that your brand will proudly wear, and think of them hard, because the colors that you choose will be present in every aspect of it.

The quickest and most important way of communicating and establishing your brand in modern times is on your website and through the social media – where all of the elements of your brand can come into play. Telling your stories online will be the cornerstone of recognition for your brand and a quick way to reach out to a wide range of people.

Just don’t forget that people get interested in a brand mainly by hearing about it first from someone else, so make sure that everything that you create offline (products, services, and your style) is always consistent with the messages and values that your brand expresses via the internet and other media.

SO HOW DO YOU DO ALL OF THIS?

A lot of delicate and complex elements come into play in making a successful and beloved brand. We have just scratched the surface of the preparations that have to be undertaken when starting such an endeavor. The sciences and arts that come into play are myriad and the greatest mistake a creative mind or an entrepreneur can make is thinking that he or she can do it alone. Establishing a brand requires a good crew from various fields (graphic designer, copywriters, web designers, programmers, marketing experts, retail specialists) and is something that a branding agency would specialize in – creating an awesome brand.

You are unique. You are one of a kind. Never let anyone convince you otherwise. And also: do not feel like you have to do everything alone.

Believe in your brand and others will believe along with you.


sf-hospitality-brands-cover

Hospitality Rethinks Its Place to Appease Next Gen Tastes

From Branding Magazine, reviewed by Jessica Petrović

When many people initially about branding, they may not think about hotels all that much. However, on the contrary, hotels and their restaurants are a unique niche where branding is crucial.

This ranges from the hotel’s style, design, offers, cuisine, atmosphere, and positioning. It is important to keep up with the times, as human beings move through different eras and mentality shifts. Luckily, there are an increasing number of hotels that are upping the ante and taking action to cater to their crowd. Because let’s face it, every business, product, and service has its following and that’s really what this is about; a personalized experience. And a place where you rest must be a place where you feel comfortable and can identify with.

I’m enthusiastic to see that many hotels are evolving in how they operate, that they’re getting creative, and gaining a deeper understanding of their clientele’s needs and desires. In the end, hotels and hospitality must take a hard look at how they are relevant to their clients, as some of the examples here show – and they will be the ones who reap the rewards from it.

 


Information Overload, Your Brand Message

by Chris Farmer

imagesHow do you see a tree? And the tree is in a forest? And the forest is 10,000 acres? And can only be seen from an aerial photo? Shot by a drone?

According to some experts, we are subjected to as many as 20,000 brand messages each day – and others think that is a low estimate. We are bombarded with messages from every side. Even as I write this, I am getting messages from the Internet, from my coffee cup, from the small chocolate on the saucer, from my phone, from my watch, and myriad other places.

Naturally, we filter all of these messages and ignore most of them. So how does your brand stand any chance of being seen, heard, understood, internalized, and accepted?

Simplicity is the key. While most people regard their brands as complex and involved – and many are – it is the simple message that gets noticed. A simple logo can be imprinted more quickly through repetition. A simple phrase, one that appeals to us personally, will be the one we remember the next morning in the shower.

We live in a forest of brands, each clamoring for our undivided attention, but our attention is divided. For your tree to be seen, it must be differentiated from the rest – but do it simply. Find its essence and make that your message – one image, one phrase – and stick to it.

And, above all, believe in your tree. Belief is contagious. It will sustain your tree.