It’s here! 7 reasons to love Branding Basics for Small Business, 2nd Edition

It’s a….book!

In what will prove to be the second most exciting Spring birth for me (our son is due in May), I’m pleased as punch to share the launch today of Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget, 2nd Edition (2014, Norlights Press) with all of you.

Even if you benefitted from the first edition, I invite you to check this one out in paperback or eBook format and let me know what you think.

Here are 7 juicy reasons why your brand and your business will get a boost from what’s inside:

  1. Content marketing as the new sales model: Since the first edition in 2010, content marketing has exploded on the scene and everyone is trying to figure it out. The book includes brand new sections on what content marketing is, how it benefits your business and increases your sales, and tips on what to create, how to share it, and time-savers for getting it done.
  2. Insights from your favorite excerpts: You’ll hear from Alexandra Franzen on how to weave magic with words; Sarah Von Bargen on making blogging easier and more fun; Sandy Jones-Kaminski on tips for effective networking to grow your business (even if you think you hate it); Jay Baer on effective social media; Amy Schmittauer on how to build a doable social media plan; Ann Handley, editor of Marketing Profs on content marketing tips; DJ Waldow on how to tackle email marketing to create a loyal tribe; and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur himself, Mike Michalowicz about not just pursuing passion before profit but how to get to know your customers intimately. They share wonderful stories and generously gave their time to help you reach your business and brand goals.
  3. Fresh new case studies to inspire you: TCHO Chocolate, Blue Bottle Coffee, Happy Herbivore, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Taylor Stich and more. All examples of small businesses started with passion and purpose that create loyal fans and killer brands without multi-million dollar marketing budgets.
  4. Social media made simple: I expanded the social media “how-to’s” section in Part 3 to include how to build a plan, how to manage your time and how to create delightful content that doesn’t keep you chained to your computer 24/7.
  5. To blog or not to blog: New content talks specifically about blogging, how and why to consider it part of your mix and ideas for posts when your creative well is running dry.
  6. Launch Week bonuses: Purchase a paperback or eBook format, send the receipt to info (at) red-slice (dot) com by April 7 and get your free digital bonus swag bag of business-building resources from experts you love, including worksheets, tips and an entire book from CRAVE’s Melody Biringer! More details here.
  7. A FREE teleseminar on April 2: If you read this in time, you can still sign up for my free launch week teleseminar, 5 Clever Ways to Boost Your Brand Online. Sign up here NOW as those on the call will have a chance to win 1 of 3 free signed copies or 1 of 3 free Red Slice Brand Bootcamp digital courses ($197 value)

Feel free to Tweet the love today or find other promo posts on this handy page. I’d be honored.

Thank you for your support as this 2nd edition went from idea to reality. I really hope you enjoy it and would love to hear what you think, so let me know once you’ve finished it or feel free to post an online review. Thanks!

Brand lessons non-profits can learn from small business – and vice versa: A chat with Aimee Stone Munsell

Non-profits and small businesses have a ton in common: not enough resources, time or budget to spread their message and acquire customers (donors) while also getting their work done. But sometimes, they are sabotaging themselves and there are simple brand fixes and marketing tactics these organizations can implement  to get more bang for their buck. We’ll share some ideas in today’s Slice of Brilliance column.

Aimee Stone Munsell is owner of Stone Munsell and co-founder of Real-World Super Heroes, a hands-on community service program for kids. She and I have partnered on branding projects together and I absolutely adore her work ehtic, creativity and brilliance. Aimee worka with the smartest, most interesting people she can find – as clients, partners, employees, expert advisors — to tackle challenges that make a difference for the client and also for the world whenever possible. Her measurement for success: “I’m proud to tell my family what I do.”

So I’ve asked her to share with us the 3 mistakes non-profits make (ahem….that many small businesses do, too) and inexpensive ways to delight customers who’ve just purchased or donated. Plus, she gives you some resources and case sudies of companies engaged in social reponsibility, which is a win-win for everyone.

RS: Welcome Aimee! You’ve worked a lot with non-profits. Why do you think many of them don’t have strong brand awareness?

ASM: Let’s be honest: it takes time and money to build a brand. This is true for any business or non-profit cecause you have to fight through all the clutter out there to connect with the right audience – again and again in multiple ways, over time — to build a strong brand. And why invest in it? Because it is a key building block of sustainability. But it isn’t necessarily seen this way. Many non-profit leaders are in their jobs because they know a lot about the services they provide (as we’d hope!) but haven’t necessarily been trained in business skills. When I work with an NFP’s leadership team, we focus on their goals which often include things such as: bring in more donations, secure new grants, increase community support, and form partnerships to expand services. Then we assess the organization’s current brand position and marketing activity. And finally, together we come up with a focused plan of attack that takes into account the resources they have, often creating execution phased over 6-24 months, to get them where they need to be.

RS: Non-profits as well as many small businesses seem to struggle with messaging and conveying their passion and accomplishments in their marketing materials (website, collateral). What top 3 tips could help them improve?
Continue reading “Brand lessons non-profits can learn from small business – and vice versa: A chat with Aimee Stone Munsell”

When charities attack…

Whoa! Looks like someone may get strangled by a pink ribbon or left for dead with a yellow wristband around their neck. Check out this WSJ article on the legal battles brewing as non-profits protect their brands and trademarks.

Can’t we all just get along, you might think? Well, not when big bucks and big donors are involved. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has sued “kite fliers, kayakers and dozen of other themed fundraisers” for using the “(blank) for the cure” tagline in their messaging. And if you want them to see red, just try to use pink (their “signature hue”).

At first, you may have the reaction I had, which was “Geez, lay off the people trying to help other people!” But when I read further and thought about this more, I see the issue. One charity named Wounded Warrior Project is locked in a heated battle with another charity also entitled Wounded Warriors over using the URL  It seems many supporters got the two mixed up and have money to one thinking they were giving money to another. Lance Armstrong’s organization LIVESTRONG gave strict parameters to a woman who tried to use HEADstrong as her charity name, in honor of her son. She says she came up with the name before he dies in 2006 and that his nickname was Head, so that’s why she’s using it. LIVESTRONG is giving her some font and color parameters to ensure her charity is not confused with his.

This makes sense, especially when large organizations like LIVESTRONG and Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure have put so much money and time into building a strong non-profit brand. One lawyer in the article even stated that protecting these brands is about ensuring  donors’ funds are used and administered responsibly. I would agree with him. After all, if I’m spending money to support a cause, I want to ensure that their advertising and efforts don’t get diluted by someone else.

It’s a fact of life that non-profits are finally getting on board the brand bandwagon. Non-profits who build strong brands much like consumer companies do is even mentioned in my book. I applaud their efforts to create an emotional connection with their audiences, and to stretch their marketing dollars further by clearly and consistently communicating that brand in everything they do.  Of course they want to protect that investment and avoid customer confusion. Yes, it’s all a bit silly when it comes to philanthropy but it does make prudent business sense. So if you have any ideas about using pink ribbons for your cause, just put it down and back away…..slowly.