What make a brand successful?

With the volume of competition that businesses face in most industries, it’s never been more important to stand out and develop a unique identity and value proposition through strategic branding. While it’s obviously important to offer a quality product or service, effective branding is often at the heart of the companies that thrive.

According to Jerry McLaughlin, “brand is the perception someone holds in their head about you, a product, a service, an organization, a cause, or an idea. Brand building is the deliberate and skillful application of effort to create a desired perception in someone else’s mind.” Let’s explore the common characteristics of successful brands, so you can build your brand accordingly.

1. Audience KnowledgeThe best brands have a thorough understanding of the demographics of their target market, what their interests are, and how they communicate. Unless it’s a mega chain like Wal-Mart, most businesses have a specific target audience they’re pursuing. Understanding the target market is critical because it provides direction for the tone and reach of a marketing campaign, along with the overall identity of a brand, while helping to create an organic, human connection between a business and its audience.Trying to appeal to everyone (ie, ignoring the concept of a target market) can be counterproductive, causing a company’s brand to become diluted. Finding the right branding approach requires first understanding the target market.2. UniquenessEstablishing a brand identity requires something distinctive. For instance, Apple has become known worldwide for their innovative products and minimalistic, aesthetic appeal. When it comes to service companies, Domino’s Pizza used to guarantee that their pizza would arrive in 30 minutes or it’d be free. In terms of a selling point, TOMS shoes donates a free pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes that are bought.Creating an identity within a niche doesn’t demand a revolutionary idea. It simply needs to have one special thing that separates it from the competition. In reality, it’s possible to be “a one trick pony” as long as that trick is really good. Once a company figures out what that is, it can concentrate on it and should gain recognition in time.Do you know what your unique product, service, or selling point is within your niche? If not, start there when building your branding strategy.3. PassionWhile it’s certainly possible to build a brand in the short-term without passion, it’s almost impossible to sustain it in the long run. When you examine massively successful people like Steve Jobs, they all have a serious passion that keeps propelling them to work hard and continually deliver greatness. That passion leads to enthusiasm and genuine joy, which is infectious.Consumers often become just as enthusiastic about a product or service, leading to word of mouth advertising and referrals. Passion also helps businesses persevere through inevitable setbacks.4. ConsistencyWhen consumers come back to a business for repeat sales, they usually expect to receive the same level of quality as they did the first time. Restaurants and their food and service quality are a great example of this.No one wants to deal with a company they can’t rely on for consistency. With so many industries being saturated with competitors, inconsistency is often enough of a reason for consumers to take their business elsewhere.[From forbes.com]


New design trends

Who can forget the GIFs of the ‘90s, or the more up-to-date focus on flat design?Recently, we’ve seen a surge in popularity of responsive web design, as more and more sites join the drive to become ‘mobile ready’ which is now even more important in the wake of Google’s Mobile Friendly update.

Let’s examine some of the most popular for this and the coming year.

1. The Proliferation of UI Patterns2. Rich Animations3. Microinteractions4. Material Design: A Richer Alternative to Flat Design5. Responsive Design6. Flat Isn’t Going Away Anytime SoonAdditional Advice on Web Design TrendsDon’t follow trends just because they’re the “hip” thing to do at the moment. Trends represent popular techniques for good reason, but make sure it’s best for your users. For example, an e-commerce site certainly wouldn’t do well as a single-page infinite scrolling site.Trends are nothing more than additional tools in your designer toolbox. Always pick the right ones for the job.For more advice on the 10 most important web design trends, check out the free e-book Web Design Trends 2015 and 2016. You’ll learn from the best with analysis of 166 examples from companies like Google, Apple, Reebok, BMW, Intercom, Adidas, Dropbox, and many more.[From awwwards.com]


Daily Inspiration

On autumn weekends with good weather you can almost experience caravans of people marching over the grandiose lookout balconies between the Dolomites and the Tauern and filling the mountain lodges to capacity. But very few people have the idea of turning the perspective around and approaching the Carnic ridge for once from the valley side. And that is something that is certainly worthwhile.

It is no coincidence that at Heinfels in the valley of Drau, which is called Pustertal here, there stands an ancient castle that still appears to be fortified. It guards the entrance to two valleys: the Villgratental and the Tyrolean Gailtal. The latter is quite hidden, as it begins with a terrain level high above the valley floor of the river Drau.

There is a climb of several hundred metres on a serpentine road before reaching the community of Kartitsch, with the prettily shaped tower of the St. Leonhard parish church. From the enclosure wall of the cemetery you can enjoy a distant view to the west into the Pustertal, which here runs in a strikingly straight line. The reason for this is a distinct geological line, the “peri-adriatic seam“. This frontier line leaves the Pustertal in Kartitsch and follows the Tyrolean Gailtal, which to the east of the Kartitscher Sattel is called the Tilliacher Tal, and then further east beyond the federal border with Carinthia again changes its name, and for the next 20 kilometres goes under the name of Lesachtal. At Kötschach-Mauthen the name of the valley changes again, confusingly back to Gailtal, which at Villach at last flows into the Drau.Viewed from above, the Gail or Lesachtal also runs in a straight line. There is a clear distinction in appearance between the northern and southern sides of the valley. N ons side the gentle foothills of the Lienzer Dolomites, with its wide alp areas, on the other side the rocky contours of the Carnic ridge towering above thick mountain forest and marking the state border with Italy.In Kartitsch we are already 1.350 m above sea level, the area is one of the highest situated valleys in East Tyrol, which itself is at high altitude.Some 200 m higher the Kartitscher Sattel is reached, from where you can look down onto Obertilliach and Untertilliach.“Golzentipp“ is the name of the local mountain in this area. A perfect vantage point with a grandiose panorama view, encompassing the Hohen Tauern and the Schober group of mountains, the Lienzer Dolomites, the Carnic Alps, the Sextener Dolomites and far into the Pustertal. The chances are good that the view can also be enjoyed, as testified by the many years of meteorological records taken in this region, showing an above-average number of sunny days.Fans of high rocky cliffs will prefer the south side of the valley and head for one of the many side valleys of the Carnic ridge. Pfannspitze, Großer Kinigat, Porze, Cima Manzon, Gamskofel, Hochspitz, Steinkarspitz – between the Obstanser See and the Luggauer Scharte there are countless opportunities to test your stamina and alpine abilities in the midst of grandiose mountain scenery.[From mountainvillages.at]


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