Category Archives: Branding

How To Brand a Software Vendor?

I am working for a software vendor dealing with analytics and credit risk management in the financial services industry. At the moment we are working on a solutions tour and needs to brand that… the same time we need a theme ..for instance, our competitors has used “The Power of Analytics” as a theme ..we need to think of something along the same line..any ideas.


Jay’s Answer: Think the key benefit that your clients get from using your software. “The Power Of Analytics” talks about the technology, not the benefit. For example:

  • Top Ways To Reduce Credit Risk
  • Protecting Your Bottom Line
  • Lower Risk To Your Shareholders

How To Launch A Retail Engagement Program?

I want to launch a retail engagement program (loyalty program for the trade). I work with a mobile company and the program will target initial 100 dealers and then take it to 500 next year. Any ideas on what points should I cover in this program?

We don’t want to make it a sales based scheme or a points program, but an overall brand engagement program..building a relationship of them with our brand…pls help


Jay’s Answer: Here are some ideas in general:

  • Make it easier for them to sell your product. Provide an easy program that compares/contrasts your product against the competition.
  • Make it less likely people will return your product. Ensure that you’ve tested your product well (for ease of use, ruggedness, etc.).
  • Make it so anyone can sell your product. Make the product sell itself: great/colorful graphics, compelling text, language based on extensive testing on target market’s needs.
  • Make it fun to interact with your company. Don’t just be another corporate offering. Is your website entertaining/cool? Your receptionist/customer support amazingly friendly/patient?
  • Presell the product for them. Do great ad and PR campaigns targeting the demographic. Your goal is to have people come in off the street and ask for your product by name.

Start Up Furniture Consignment Branding Ideas?

My husband and I have researched the market and found what we hope will be a good location with good demographics and foot traffic to open an Upscale Furniture Consignment Store. We want to make the biggest impact as possible upon opening. Mainly, we are looking to create a brand. I have experience with furniture design and interior design, and will have a workroom in the back for making signature pieces that we will sell along with consignment pieces. What is your best suggestion to create good brand recognition for a company with NO Branding yet??

I basically want to be THE place for people looking to furnish their homes with a designer look for less. As of now, we have no name and no tag line either – so I’m wanting to come up with our branding ideas first and let that dictate where we go with the name….I may be doing this backwards – but my thought process is this – once the name is out there – it is out there – like it or hate it – unless you want to start “branding” all over again. Thanks for any help!


Jay’s Answer: “Designer Look For Less” means different things to different people. So, before you start with a name & tagline & other branding-related tasks, focus on your target market first (even though you found a “good location”):

  • Age
  • Location
  • Price point
  • Competition (both local & Internet)
  • USP – What makes you unique?

For example, you could place all your consignment pieces on your website and allow people to subscribe to your site to find pieces that match what they’re looking for. That would help both consumers and designers. Or, maybe you offer free room design consultations (bring in a photo and designers can show how to use the pieces you sell to “make” a room). Or even, rent out furniture to home-stagers.

Before you start spending money on branding, spend your time & money on your marketing strategy & plan. It’ll save you lots in the long run.

Branding A Small Jewish Independent School?

I’m working with a Jewish independent school that is developing a new tagline and marketing campaign centered around their being a small school. All of its local competitors are now very large schools, and this school’s small size has become a selling feature rather than a weakness.

We’re looking for some examples of organizations or schools that focus on their small small and/or personal attention as a selling point, in a tagline or more broadly. Do you have examples to share, or any guidance?


Jay’s Answer:

  • Remember David?
  • We Cater To Each Student’s Needs
  • Every Student Is Different. So Are We.
  • Creating Mensches (and Womensches)
  • …And A Little School Shall Lead Them
  • We Delight In Every Child
  • A Small & Mighty Campus To Inspire Students

Branding a University Pharmacy?

I recently joined the staff at a mid-sized University. My position is the Coordinator of Managed Care Pharmacy Services- I oversee two outpatient pharmacies and employee prescription benefit for 13, 000 covered lives.

I need to create an image- the main campus University just merged with the Medical center and I have two outpatient pharmacies to merge together and get acceptance and incentivize our employees to use our pharmacy

Medical Center Campus- very professional accepting of employee benefits
Main campus- union oriented- not so accepting of employee benefits but moving towards starting to like us.

Two challenges

  1. Need for a look and feel for our two pharmacies
  2. Need to name our employee pharmacy benefit newsletter. Here are the names we have so far:
  • Medifacts
  • Benefacts
  • RX Benefacts
  • Tablet Tabloid – I think cheesy?
  • RX Review

How do I get focused for a look, theme and newsletter name?


Jay’s Answer: Before a new look & feel, I’d suggest focusing on the key unique benefits your pharmacy provides. The good news is that you already know who your target market is and your competition. To get people to shop your pharmacies, you need to focus on your benefits, whether they be: guaranteed low price, fast service, convenience, hours, range of in-stock medications, etc. Can you go the extra distance and offer an on-campus delivery service? This would be ideal for the busy employee – they can renew their prescription and you can deliver it (and have them sign for it for security’s sake).

The union-oriented “friction” that you’re perceiving can best be handled from the top. Meet with the union leaders on campus, and find out what their issues/needs are. Then meet them. That’ll provide great referral business from the leadership.

For naming, you need to again focus on the key benefit you’re hoping to convey. For example, if you’re focusing on location: Pharm Convenience. Your existing names are pretty generic, and don’t convey the benefit (other than mentioning Rx or Pharm).

How Can I Do Brand Image Research?

I need to conduct a phone interview to determine the brand image of a Social Club. So I begin with awareness of the brand and the others, but I want to know which questions or attributes should I use in order to know about the image of the brand?


Jay’s Answer: Start with the end goal: what data do you want to have to make a decision? How will you know if your data is correct (and reproducible). Surveys can be used to get data or be used to influence (leading questions). The way you ask questions needs to be consistent and scripted to ensure accuracy and professionalism.

How Can I Brand Our Employee Benefit Programs?

We offer companies a benefit enhancement program in form of employee discounts & perks. Having formed unique partnerships with several dozen name brand merchants, in order to pass on to potential clients and their employees corporate discounts as if they are part of large purchasing group.

Part 1. Need a powerful and precise company statement that I’d place on front page header.
Part 2. A strong & unique company tagline to place under the logo.

Company name is AffinityEngine. Few of the taglines i’ve come up with:

  • powerful affinity engineering
  • high-performance perks
  • power-up your company perks
  • your “perks” engine
  • empower your employee perks

Some of the headline statements i’ve come up with are:

  • “We handle, manage, and host your employee discount program. “
  • “Simple,yet powerful employee savings programs for organizations.”
  • “Give the gift of savings to your employees. We do all the work, you reap the benefits.”
  • one of my competitors: “Providing employee discount & reward programs to corporations nationwide.”

Both the statement and tagline must communicate a powerful and extremely precise header statement that relays value, benefit to them and their staff, and ease of use of my solutions to their HR headaches.


Jay’s Answer: Some tagline feedback: In general, you don’t want to repeat your business name and you do want it to focus on the key benefit to your customers:

  • powerful affinity engineering (Don’t repeat your business name)
  • high-performance perks (vague benefit)
  • power-up your company perks (vague benefit)
  • your “perks” engine (No key benefit)
  • empower your employee perks (vague benefit)

Some headline feedback: It needs to clearly be talking to your prospects and about their needs.

  • We handle, manage, and host your employee discount program. ” (It’s about you, not them)
  • “Simple,yet powerful employee savings programs for organizations.” (Simple is good. What does “powerful” mean? What type of organization?)
  • “Give the gift of savings to your employees. We do all the work, you reap the benefits.” (Too long. Your employees is vague – what type/size organization?)

Here are some ideas for your consideration:

  • Inexpensively Enhance Your Employee Perks
  • Help Your Employees Save Money With Our Perks


  • Add a wealth of employee perks to your corporate offering — easily and inexpensively.

How Can I Brand Artwork For Clothing?

A friend of mine invented a printing process that 3 dimensionally replicates art. You can see and feel the brushstrokes, stippling, etc.

I would like to rep this process in the clothing world, eventually branching out into home and office goods. BUT… Shoes and handbags primarily. I see these as readily accepted by influential women who choose to be associated with “the best of”. The artists are internationally known. I anticipate Europe and Asia to be strong markets.

Competitors are Icon and hand painters. Icon’s printing process has improved, but can not touch the quality of this process, as Icon can only print typical single dimension. Hand painted clothing quickly cracks and peels. Our process has been tested in and endured very well this blistery Wisconsin winter weather.

The thing that excites me the most about the idea of placing museum quality replicas on clothing is that it takes art out of the museums and onto the streets… where the everyday person gets to enjoy, participate in art.


Jay’s Answer: Why not also work with local rising artists (as well as artists in vacation “destinations”) to get their artwork on other materials. This will allow you co-market with these artists instead of trying to do it all.

Self Test: Small Business Marketing IQ

Test Book
How much do you know about marketing your small business? Spend a few minutes with this quiz and see how much you know.

1. Does your business need a website?

a. Yes, definitely . A website is needed so people can find you around the world.
b. No . My business is tactile, and doesn’t translate well to an impersonal online experience.
c. Maybe . All my friends tell me I should be online.

2. You should hire an expert to help your business:

a. Write a marketing strategy / business plan
b. Design your marketing materials
c. Create your website
d. Write your advertisement
e. Create your logo

3. Compelling marketing copy is all about “selling the sizzle”.

a. Sure. That’s what works, doesn’t it? Otherwise, it’s boring.
b. Only if you are a huckster. You tell people about the benefits of using your services/products, and people that need it will be interested.

4. Do you need to spend money to make money?

a. Yes, of course. That’s the way the world works.
b. No . A good idea will naturally attract the right people to my business.
c. Maybe . I should be able to bootstrap my business, spending as-I-go (but not all at once).

5. The best way to assure business success is to:

a. Get an MBA. If it works for corporations, it will work for my small business.
b. Hire a business coach. They know how to motivate me to get ahead.
c. Find a mentor. There’s nothing like learning from a wiser person.
d. Read. Business books are a great way to learn new skills.

6. The Small Business Administration (SBA ) / SCORE counselors are for:

a. Cheapskates. They don’t charge for their services.
b. New businesses. They have expertise for startups.
c. Old businesses. They have expertise in brick-and-mortar companies.

7. The best way to attract attention to my website is:

a. Use flashy graphics to grab attention.
b. Write compelling text to make the reader interested.
c. Use SEO techniques to grab the search engine’s attention.

8. The best way to become an expert is to:

a. Say you’re one. If you don’t shout it, who will?
b. Write lots of articles on your expertise. Let people judge for themselves.
c. Comment on others’ articles. Let people see how you give-and-take.
d. Write white papers sharing your strategies. Let people see your big-picture strategy.
e. Read articles, books, blogs. You need to build your wisdom on the shoulders of others.
f. Take classes from other experts. Learn from an expert and get a chance to interact with them.
g. Get an advanced degree. Let others teach you the best practices of the past.

9. Marketing and Advertising mean the same thing.

a. Of course. You’re just telling people to buy stuff from you.
b. Not quite. Advertising (telling people to buy stuff from you) is a type of marketing (focusing on what people want and fulfilling their needs).

10. It’s important that your website and other marketing materials are top-notch.

a. Obviously, yes. If your image isn’t polished, no one will believe you’re great.
b. Not me. Top-notch marketing materials look too “corporate”, and I’m selling something more intimate. Besides, if everyone else’s materials look “corporate”, mine will help me stand out.
c. Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on what you’re selling. If you’re selling something very expensive, yes. If it’s cheaper, having marketing materials that you can afford to do is better than bankrupting yourself.

11. As a small business owner, I should be able to know how to do everything to run my business.

a. Of course . I can’t trust someone else to care as much as I do.
b. No, I’m not a jack-of-all-trades . It’s better to leave some things to the experts.
c. Yes, but I don’t have to be an expert . I need to know what the process is, but I can get help to complement what I don’t know.

— Answers —

As you will see, there’s no right answer for all businesses. What’s right for your business is what works. However, here’s how I approach these issues with my clients:

1. Does your business need a website? Most businesses do benefit, but they’re not necessarily where everyone looks first to find you. Look at it this way, can it hurt to have a one-page website?

2. You should hire an expert to help your business. If you’re just starting out, having expertise is a shortcut for saving you time, money, and aggravation. If you don’t have the funds for hiring an expert, then you’ll need to do-it-yourself until you can get others to help. Doing it initially yourself (and seeing the results) will also give you a better appreciation for the various specialists that can help you.

3. Compelling marketing copy is all about “selling the sizzle”. Traditionally, “male-oriented” copy is about sizzle while “female-oriented” copy is about emotional benefits. As sizzle has become overused, selling emotional benefits becomes more important.

4. Do you need to spend money to make money? If you have lots of time, then you can use your time to make money. If you have lots of money (but not a lot of time), then you’ll need to spend money to make money.

5. The best way to assure business success is to. .. There are no guarantees for business success. However, having someone who’s “been there, done that” can be a huge boost. However, if you’re trying to break the established rules, having a “voice of reason” can become a headache (that you may wish you listened to).

6. The Small Business Administration (SBA ) / SCORE counselors are for anyone who wants help 1 on 1 from experts. The US Government wisely invests in these organizations, since a successful business pays more taxes. If you need expertise, talk to them. If you don’t like their services, find other offerings.

7. The best way to attract attention to my website is (b & c). Flashy graphics are often used poorly by site designers. Keep it simple, clean, and compelling.

8. The best way to become an expert is to …be patient. Anyone can say they’re an expert, but the next question will be, “Oh yeah? Prove it!”. Have a volume of quality work speak for you.


9. Marketing and Advertising mean the same thing . (b = Not Quite)

10. It’s important that your website and other marketing materials are top-notch . (c = Maybe yes, maybe no). A top-notch first impression is wonderful, but isn’t always realistic. What is important is that your materials are improving, better targeting your prospects’ needs.

11. As a small business owner, I should be able to know how to do everything to run my business . (c = Yes, but I don’t have to be an expert). Ultimately, it’s your business, so you’re the decision maker. The more you understand about how a business operates, the better the business owner you’ll become.

Derren Brown – Subliminal Advertising

I had not heard of Derren Brown until I saw this video. The “setup” is two British advertising experts are given a very short time to craft an artificial ad for a service. I won’t spoil the video, but this video claims to show the power of subliminal advertising.

After viewing it, I proceeded learn more about Derren and watch many others of his videos. He’s quite entertaining.