Category : Scribe

Five Ways to Tackle Your PR and Digital Marketing Career Like Tom Brady

 

digital-marketing

Nobody saw it coming. An estimated 111.3 million viewers watched with pain, elation and fear as Tom Brady, quarterbacked his way back from a 21-3 game to win the 2017 Super Bowl in what is arguably the best comeback game of all time. Falcon fans sat aghast, as a sea of white and blue bled onto the field following the winning touch down.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What does the Super Bowl have to do with launching a successful career in PR and Digital Marketing? Well, not much, really, unless of course you pay attention to the game’s all-star Tom Brady. Here are five tips you can take from the five time Super Bowl champ to successfully tackle your PR and Digital Marketing career.

Be focused under pressure

PR and Digital marketing can be a highly demanding career, fraught with grand expectations, tight deadlines and interceptions that change the game plan. When pressure seems insurmountable it’s important to keep calm, take note of the situation and figure out your best play. I’ve worked on many campaigns that have ideated well and passed client approval, but then didn’t stick with the media or public when they went into play. However, after regrouping with your team, sometimes the smallest tweaks can change stir the outcome to a positive result.

Utilize your team

Brady is the quarterback, but he didn’t make the winning touchdown. That’s because his job is to know his team’s strengths and weaknesses and find the best play that will utilize each person’s position. The same goes in PR and Digital marketing. Whether you’re at a boutique PR and influencer marketing agency like Brix or a larger conglomerate, it’s important to communicate with your team and build a culture of trust. Get to understand your colleagues interests, strengths and what motivates them. Regardless of your position or rank, building strong relationships and avoiding work in silos, will help everyone advance.

Put on your game face

Going into halftime the Patriots were down 18 points and Brady and his team were feeling the crunch. Do you think hung his head down in the locker room and gave into the feeling of pending doom? Not a chance. There will be many times in your PR and digital marketing career that you will experience being down. You’ll lose out on client pitches, be behind on deliverables or maybe one of your colleagues gets the promotion you were hoping for. How you handle yourself in these moments will be instrumental to your career success. Are you giving into defeat or showing up as your best self? Those who do the latter will reap great rewards.

Practice makes perfect

Brady was not a first round draft pick. In fact he was sixth, but he went on to become the only quarterback to ever win five Super Bowls. He did this by working on his weaknesses and playing up his strengths. Take note, you may not be a natural at picking up the phone and pitching media, but undoubtedly someone on your team will be. Ask them to give you tips and practice. Maybe your vocabulary or writing skills aren’t as sharp as you’d like or you have trouble sharing your true thoughts in meetings. Work at forming the habits that will make you stronger. Let your supervisors and colleagues know where you want more experience and opportunity to learn. Take the initiative and keep improving. It won’t go unnoticed.

Think ahead

When Brady enters the field he has four quarters to play and one goal: to win the game. Knowing your goals and exercising foresight is equally as important in PR and Digital Marketing. Be aware of what your client’s overarching goals are and think about how you are going to achieve them. On a personal level, it’s equally important to know where you want to head in your career and what pathway you can take to get there.

Remember, entering a new field can be overwhelming, but just know others were in the same position and all it takes is the drive to succeed. Brix Media Co. is currently hiring for an account manager and research coordinator. Think you have what it takes? Submit your resume to yourfriends@brixmediaco.com. If we like what we see, we’ll be in touch!


 

The Return of Yellow Journalism: How To Fact Check Fake News

Brix-media-fake-news-yellow-journalism

The rise of fake news is on everyone’s minds ever since the US election. After falsified stories leaked all over social media feeds, there’s concern that it could have swayed the election results. While the fingers are still being pointed, it’s important that you have the right tools in order to separate fact from fiction.

A New Era in Yellow Journalism

The fake news trend isn’t anything new; parallels can be drawn to the days of yellow journalism when print publications opted in for flashy headlines, lavish pictures and exaggerated content in favor of well-researched columns. While sensationalized media is widely vilified by journalists, the question of ethics in media keeps resurfacing as the flow of fabricated stories continues to become an issue.

In this new age of yellow journalism, the media landscape shifted from the morning newspaper to instantaneous social media posts where the majority gets their news. Bloggers aren’t held to the same standard that journalists are but they are often the first point of contact for many seeking breaking news. Without the expectation to have journalistic integrity bloggers are free to publish any biased or under researched media that will escalate on social network platforms.

So, how do you separate truth from fiction?

The short answer: dig much deeper.

Even Wikipedia isn’t foolproof; it’s an open source encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone. Use due diligence and follow these helpful tips to navigate the fake news minefield.

Check The Domain Name

brix-media-fake-news-website

The first step in determining a fake news story is as simple as checking the link of where the article is from. There are more than a handful of faux websites out for your clicks. They can be blatantly obvious such as unconfirmedsources.com but they can also have less discerning names such as civictribune.com.

Always refer to reputable publications to see if that story has run. Globe & Mail, Wall Street Journal and Forbes are examples of credible news sources you can confide in. Don’t be fooled, however, there are some fake news sites that highjack popular outlets and slightly change the name.

MSNBC.com is a trusted news source, yet MSNBC.co has been flagged as a fake news site. That slight difference is easy to miss at a quick glance, which is exactly what they set out to achieve.

Use Fact Checking Websites

brix-media-fake-news-obameter

Luckily, there are websites who showed initiative and created resources to use when a questionable political story surfaces. The first one can be found at factcheck.org. Any reported articles will end up here, there’s even a section to ask a question regarding a story and they will post the answer. The second source measures the accuracy of a post with a Truth-O-Meter that will tell you the extent of how true a story is. At politifact.com there’s a database of debunked political articles and the Obameter, which is a tally of the promises he kept or broke. Politifact won the Pulitzer Prize for its contribution in the battle against misinformation.

Google Has a Reverse Image Search

brix-media-fake-news-reverse-image

Sometimes a story will emerge followed by a photo that gives claim to the information. That doesn’t mean it’s true. Photoshop is an incredibly powerful tool for those who know how to use it. Many photos have been altered to suit a narrative then pushed out into social media where it gets shared and lost in the static.

The solution here is simple. These three simple steps will allow you to verify the credibility of a photo in question:

  • Screenshot the photo
  • Open Google Images in your browser
  • Drag the screenshot into the search field

Google will perform a reverse image search and present the URL’s associated with the picture. From here you can see where the image came from and if it originates from a reputable source.

Download The “FiB” Chrome Browser Extension

brix-media-fake-news-plugin

When a team of four bright students came together at HackPrinceton, they set out to create an algorithm to combat fake news. Not only did they successfully create the Google Chrome extension called “FiB” but also it only took 36 hours to complete it.

But how does it work?

FiB has a two-pronged approach; first it scans through your Facebook feed and checks status updates, photos and links, and then follows with a Twitter search. Based off the information it assesses whether the content was fabricated or not.

Second, for anyone posting news it does the same verification process but will notify before posting if it’s “Verified” or “Not Verified”. The user can then decide if they want to continue the post.

If there’s one take away from all this, it’s that you need to be objective about everything you read online. The US election set a dangerous precedent setting up a post-truth era but the silver lining here is you have the power to end it by questioning and sharing correct information.

The Big Five Tech Trends That Shaped 2016

In 2016, tech trends like augmented reality and smart appliances took off while the seeds of virtual reality and artificial intelligence were planted. As the year comes to a close we’re taking a look back at five tech trends that captured our hearts, minds, and wallets.

1. Wearable Tech

brix-media-tech-trends-watch

The romance of tech and fashion was a hot topic this year, far beyond the Apple Watch. From heart rate monitors, wearable sleep enhancers, to a dog collar with built-in GPS, it’s clear what direction the fashion industry is heading.

Take for instance the Indiegogo funded Spartan Boxer Brief, an undergarment that repels 99% of cellphone and Wi-Fi emissions. With numerous studies suggesting radiation in cellphone waves causes cancer, the Spartan Boxer Brief is pushing wearable tech that might one day save your life.

2. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Brix-media-tech-trends-vr

VR and AR are two buzzwords that piqued interest, but do you really know the difference? Here’s the break down:

Augmented Reality (AR) blends virtual reality with the real world. The worldwide phenomenon Pokémon Go was downloaded over 100 million times and now software companies are switching gears to develop more AR titles from its success. Hardware such as Google Glass saw modest adoption and Google now plans to release the second generation of its tech-infused glasses next year.

Virtual Reality (VR) is the complete immersion into a virtual world through a headset. This trend is shaping up to revolutionize the way you communicate in real-time. Sony just released its VR hardware for PlayStation 4 forcing its competitors to rush to market. The barrier of entry here is a hefty price tag. With units costing upwards of $600, it’s up to financially-sound early adopters to become the voice of this industry.

It’s still too early to know which technologies will triumph. Throughout the year AR had a clear lead, but next year when more content releases for VR it will be a major contender. You can expect to witness another contest on the scale of Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD with only one clear victor, the consumer.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

brix-media-tech-trends-iot

Internet of Things is the concept of industrial and home devices being connected through cloud-computed networks to gather information. Think smart appliances. Don’t worry; the washing machine isn’t trying to steal your debit card PIN, but rather it’s becoming ‘smarter’ by learning your usage habits and using that data to improve efficiency.

Imagine owning a fridge that knows when the milk runs out so a grocery reminder is sent to your smartphone or consulting an app to see if you remembered to turn off the stove. Apps are the big mover for this technology and we’re on the cusp of having fully controllable households from the palm of our hands.

But is IoT really that big? The IDC 2016 Global Market Predictions believes so. The market research organization forecast by 2018 there would be 22 billion Internet of Things devices installed, which will promote over 200,000 new IoT apps and services.

4. Financial Technology (Fintech)

brix-media-tech-trends-fintech

Touted as the major disruptor to the financial industry – the Uber of banking – fintech is creating new avenues to handle day-to-day banking affairs without having to step into an actual branch.

‘Fintech’ is a blanket term that can’t be categorized into one specific area. The rise of crypto-currencies and block-chain provides a secure and transparent allocation of currency worldwide. Meanwhile, companies such as TIO Networks are re-inventing bill payment solutions for the underbanked outside of traditional bank channels. Even financial institutions are investing in fintech through services such as mobile deposits and online banking apps. Studies are showing the millennial generation is shifting away from traditional brick-and-mortar concepts in favour of easy, instant access to finances. 

5. Advanced AI Ecosystem

brix-media-tech-trends-ai

Big strides towards artificial intelligence were made. AI was developed so it could be ‘taught’ through complex algorithms and data rich neural pockets operating on a cloud network.

Sound like a quote from Star Trek? The reality is machines are learning how to perform day-to-day tasks that were only thought possible by humans. Google DeepMind created a learning algorithm allowing AI to remember something after only seeing it once. This out performs humans who take two to three times to recall new learnings. AI is also capable of natural language generation, which is working to break down communication barriers across the world. Soon customer support lines will have conversation and troubleshooting capabilities through a live chat-bot eliminating the need to speak to a representative directly.

AI tech is being developed for a multitude of functions including diagnosing human illness, serving and autonomous vehicles. The ride sharing behemoth Uber has already begun testing a fleet of driverless cars throughout Pittsburg. With 94 percent of car accidents involving human error, there could be a drastic improvement of road safety with this technology pushed nationwide.

While AI can tremendously impact our lives there are still questions that need to be addressed. How will the government regulate mass-production of robots? Will self-taught AI possess a moral compass? Are low-skilled labour jobs at risk? Only time will answer these questions, however it’s exciting to see what direction it goes.

In the coming years, expect more groundbreaking discoveries in the field of space exploration, biotech, and medicine. There’s so much to cover in the world of tech, but these are the trends that stuck out most in 2016. Either way, it’s a great time to be alive.

Brand Storytelling 101: Telling Your Story To Maximize Loyalty

Brix-media-brand-story-writing

Do you want your brand to resonate? To truly embed your brand in the mind of customers, you need to establish a personal connection through a well-told brand story. The most powerful brand stories build trust while driving home the core values of the company. Make an effort to cultivate a compelling narrative and you’ll be rewarded not only with more revenue, but consumer loyalty as well

Tell Them, Don’t Sell Them

Selling a product or service is the end goal, of course, but the point of a brand story is to sell yourself or the company to create rapport. Consumers are quickly adapting to evolving marketing strategies and they can see a sales pitch coming from a mile away. If they catch even the slightest whiff that you’re deceptively pushing a product they will just as easily move on.

The Lego Movie was a great example of this notion done right. While the product is Lego, they never directly tell you to purchase it throughout the film. Instead, they open the viewers’ eyes to the possibilities of what Lego is capable of through an animated world constructed entirely out of their building blocks. By the end, you forget that you’re watching a 90-minute advertisement for Lego, but instead a fun, creative story for the whole family.

Choose The Right Platform

brix-media-brand-story-aston-martin

The method in which you push your brand story is a factor worth considering. Through blog posts, speeches, videos or case studies on social media, the delivery is solely dependent on what you’re selling and whom you’re trying to reach. Choose a medium that’s true to your business and conveys your story in a way that will leave the greatest impact.

Social media allows direct contact with customers who are willing to express opinions about your services. This is an opportunity to share or retweet positive anecdotes and have real people become your brand ambassadors. It’s also a place to target your narrative to a more intimate audience. With copious amount of analytics available, you can real-time track how people are reading and reacting to your story.

Clean. Concise. Clear.

Let’s face it, the rise of digital media has reduced our collective attention spans and the average consumer has no time to read fluff. Keep this in mind when drafting your story; get to the point and cut what doesn’t need to be there. Grammar and readability need to be put forth so the average reader can digest your message with ease.

Less Stats, More Story

Brix-media-brand-story-book

An essential step in crafting a brand story is focusing less on the statistical side (graphs, charts, and figures), and more on the deeper, emotional level. Studies conducted with neuro-imagery suggest that when evaluating brands people use personal feelings and experiences over brand attributes and features. Ask yourself, why are people willing to pay more for a brand when they can buy a comparable product for cheaper? The answer is the emotional attachment.

When the decision-making happens in-store, people draw on past experiences and how they connect with the brand to help sway their choice. Connect on a human level and pull the reader in from the beginning. Personal anecdotes about the people behind the brand, their values and how they were brought up, will likely resonate more with the consumer than mere product or service features. Consumers should be so imbued after reading a brand story, that they want to spend their money, not just on its offerings, but to be a part of its journey.

Some brands enlist the aid of professional writers to draft their story. The wording is so important because if the audience reads something dull it could reflect on the company as a whole. Alternatively, if a brand story is inspiring it can serve as a catalyst rather than a trap.

Tell your story, be proud of it and your brand will resonate.

Will Virtual Reality Be the Next Battleground For Consumer Marketing?

brix-media-vr-samsung-gear

One of the biggest shifts in technology this year has come with the release of several major virtual reality platforms. Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are some of the high-end products to recently hit shelves, while lower end rigs like Google’s announced Daydream VR and Samsung Gear VR offer cheap entry points for interested consumers.

With this influx of opportunity, VR has begun to blur the lines between the digital world and the real. Developers aren’t the only ones hard at work discovering the potential of this new technology, so are marketers. Even in its infancy, VR already presents an opportunity that no previous generation in history had the chance to explore; Full immersion.

Think of how consumer products have been marketed to date; Beautiful photography, catchy tag lines and dynamic video all created to draw the attention of the consumer. But what if you could bring the entire experience direct to their own living room?

Virtual reality offers a form of communication and connection that no other medium can express. Imagine a retail brand being able to offer customers to not only shop online but also physically see the way those clothes fit through a virtual reality changing room. Or how about a travel company promoting the newest five-star hotel in Paris with a VR tour of the estate? Consumers could even test drive a new Audi on the famous Monaco circuit all from the comfort of their own couch. The opportunity of VR ushers society to the next generation of brand awareness.

brix-media-vr-app

Creative Ways VR Is Being Implemented

At these early stages, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of possibility for VR experiences. Fortunately, there are some who have taken the risk of early adoption and are trailblazing with new concepts to promote their services. Destination BC became the first destination marketing organization in North America who used VR to launch The Wild Within VR Experience. People from anywhere in the world could experience the beauty of British Columbia in an interactive setting from salmon fishing to viewing the Rocky Mountains in all of their glory. VR continually proves that we can push the boundaries of what we originally thought possible.

An Effective Tool For Discovering Consumer Habits

We’re in the early stages of seeing how consumers react to this new tech. Only time will tell how effective this immersive visual medium will increase conversion rates. Vancouver-based Cognitive VR is a company that understands metrics will be valuable in the coming years in determining effective VR advertising. The company has created software that follows eye movement for capturing interest focal points and A/B testing for virtual ads. This provides significant data into how, if at all, virtual advertisements are being consumed. Knowing what draws people’s attention will help tailor content to increase effectiveness.

brix-media-vr-woman

It’s Certainly Not For Everyone, Yet

By now, it may seem like VR is the next wave of consumer engagement but it’s important to understand that with any new technology will come challenges. Like any new platform, VR is relatively untested and a foreign concept not only to consumers but also businesses. It also has yet to reach a market penetration that would be considered substantial, this will surely grow as VR develops but for now, it’s a small audience for an arguably high price tag. App development can be difficult, expensive and hard to implement, and it will take brands with high-risk tolerance or deep pockets to move in  early on. However, there is a prime opportunity right now for brands to establish themselves as innovators and forge into the unknown. These brands will not only benefit from being one of the first to market, but also learn from their own successes and failures, making them far better positioned to engage with a growing audience as VR penetrates households to the extent previous innovations like radio and TV have before.

5 Crisis Management Tips To Save Your Public Image

Brix-media-crisis-management-life-preserver

By Ryan Tessier

Crisis management is often considered when the worst has already happened. Whether you’re a CEO of a multi-national corporation or the sole proprietor of a modest startup, there’s always the potential for mistakes that can have a negative impact on your branding. Crisis management is best leveraged when it’s implemented proactively. The process of planning, implementing and reviewing all the necessary facts can help mitigate the damage from bad PR when a disaster takes place. Take these five tips to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.

1. Create a Crisis Communication Plan

They say preventative medicine is the best way to stay out of the hospital, the same can be said for your image. Drafting a crisis communication plan will not only give you a reference point for when things are in panic mode, but also differentiate a minor scenario from major so you can plan accordingly. Not only will you be well equipped in the event of a mishap, but also employees will have confidence knowing how to handle the press and what not to say on social media.

brix-media-crisis-management-speaker

2. Assign a Spokesperson & Practice

 While some owners are stellar entrepreneurs, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are prepared for the media spotlight; speaking in front of investors or a boardroom is not the same as handling the press. All it takes is a slip of the tongue to land the company in more hot water than it began in. Assign a spokesperson that is knowledgeable in best interview practices and can stay on message. Be sure to practice in advance to prepare for any difficult questions.

3. Assess Potential Damage & How To Mitigate Public Reaction

When a crisis hits it can be instinctual to act as quickly as possible to put out the fire. While it is certainly important to handle a crisis in a prompt manner, it’s equally important to take time to get the facts and the full picture to devise the right go-to-public strategy. Grab your team and run through how you want your brand to be presented in the public eye along with any tricky questions that might be asked.

4. Timeliness & Accuracy

Brix-media-Crisis-management-prepareIn the event of a slip-up, it’s best to tackle the issue head-on rather than hoping it ‘boils over.’ While public reactions will change based on the issue itself, there could be a firestorm of negative reactions in media and social media already taking place. Do a thorough review of the information and respond quickly to ensure rumours don’t muzzle the truth. The public will appreciate transparency and a swift response. Remember that by not providing information, you’re allowing speculation and inaccuracy to dominate the conversation.

5. Post-Incident Review & Adjust Accordingly

After the smoke clears, brush off the debris and ask what can we improve on for next time? Having a post-analysis of the situation will identify what you did right or wrong so you can be prepared for any future issues. Try having a brainstorming session with your team to hash out what should be included for next time so everyone has a better understanding of crisis management next time it’s needed.

 

How To Use Content Marketing To Grow Your Business

Brix media Vancouver content marketing bicycle social media marketing

Marketing has changed; long gone are the “Mad Men” days of advertising thanks to the development of social media and a much more connected consumer landscape. We’ve become desensitized to advertising, even finding new ways to completely block it from our lives; we use DVR to skip commercials, or stream content without ads altogether, that flashy banner ad to win a free iPad doesn’t get the same traction as it used to and ad blocker software removes advertising completely. So in a world where consumers are actively avoiding marketing efforts, content marketing is proving to be a direct means of reaching the right audience in an organic way. Keeping that in mind, there are a few tips that can strengthen your reach when it comes to content marketing:

1. Go Beyond ‘Traditional’ Social Media Outlets

At this point Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are all household names. While each of these platforms still hold strong value add for exposing your brand, there are other social media platforms that shouldn’t be ignored. Other social media avenues such as LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, and Snapchat have effective user response rates too. Why limit yourself to the audience of the three major players when there’s plenty of untapped potential by reaching out to the other ones? The key here is determining your audience and which platforms reach them most effectively. Looking for B2B outreach? LinkedIn is likely your best candidate; pitching a consumer product to a millennial demographic? Snapchat could be the tool for you. Try not to extend yourself on too many platforms at once for social media marketing. Effectively managing a few at a time with regular, original content will be far more beneficial than spreading yourself too thin across a multitude of platforms.

Brix-media-content-marketing-seo2. Write With SEO In Mind

When it comes to having a presence on the web, Google is the undisputed gatekeeper; playing within the search engine’s rules will offer a huge boost to your SEO. Research the best practices for SEO with Google’s up-to-date algorithms and look for the most searched keywords for your topic. This will help you develop copy on your post to help increase your site’s visibility with those keywords. The more consistency in your posts, the more love Google will show in return.

3. Cross Promote Content

The concept of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” rings true when it comes to content marketing. When writing a post, create links to other websites with relevant topics. Try reaching out to the editors and let them know that you’ve included links to their content; many websites will return the favour and link back to you for future posts. Also, by guest blogging on other sites, you can sway potentially new readers into checking out what you have to offer on your own site.

3. Include Eye-Popping Visuals

Brix media content marketing phone

This should come as no surprise but content with relevant images get 94 percent more views than those without. That isn’t a small difference, therefore a graphic included on every post should be mandatory, as long as the imagery is associated with the content. If your post is heavy on statistics, try creating an infographic to make the information stand out, the colorful layout and simplistic design is more likely to be consumed.

5. Reach Out To Influencers In Your Field

Rather than reaching out to an entire demographic to promote your brand, try finding the major players within that field. Bloggers, industry experts and case studies can also help spread the word. Getting one person to share your content within their network opens you up to an entire group of potential buyers who are influenced by their recommendation. It’s all about building relationships!

Content Marketing creatively puts your brand in the minds of consumers but remember that all of these efforts will be in vain if your content isn’t engaging or interesting. Be sure to eliminate any industry jargon and break copy into smaller, digestible chunks so it’s accessible for the average reader.

 

4 Tips to Build a Logo That Will Leave an Impression

Brix-Media-Co-Graphic-Design-Famous-Logos

There are varying opinions as to what determines a successful logo design. Some believe all logos should be simple and iconic like Apple, McDonald’s and FedEx – where intricacies are kept to a minimum in order to achieve a bold and timeless look. Others prefer typographic logos that highlight the company’s name such as Google, or illustrative logos that tell a story about the business like Starbucks. Regardless of aesthetic preferences most can agree, the core function of a logo is to stimulate brand awareness and maximize marketing potential.

These 4 tips will help create a logo with a lasting impact

1. Invest
First, determine the budget you’re working with. Investing in a logo is one of the most important first steps of brand development. Prices can range from $200 to upwards of $200,000. Factors that impact the price such as project requirements, timeline and agency experience. Like any design element, logos are not a commodity. The value of a memorable trademark cannot be calculated by how many hours it takes to create it. While emerging contest and freelance bidding websites like 99designs and Designhill may seem attractive to new business owners, a logo design with an inexpensive price tag may have repercussions. By using these sites you are at risk of engaging with inexperienced artists, receiving little or no communication and even plagiarism. Be sure to choose a designer who will work closely with you and encourage useful feedback.

Brix-Media-Branding-01

2. Detailed brief
Developing an effective design brief is critical in ensuring a successful outcome. A brief is a document outlining business objectives and corresponding design strategies. It gets the creative juices flowing and helps the designer think strategically about design solutions. Design briefs can take on various forms but should always include a summary of the project, project goals, target audience, project specifications and timeline.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of color
When thinking about a logo for your business, it is important to take into account the way people interpret color. The use of color can bring multiple layers of meaning, from primitive responses based on millions of years of evolved instinct to associations we make based on personal experiences. Psychologists have studied how people are affected by color and found there is a strong correlation between color and emotional response, therefore it is closely tied to how a brand is understood. For example, restaurants like Pizza Hut, KFC and Tim Horton’s use red in their logos to stimulate hunger. Black, white, silver and gold are often used in the logos of luxury brands like Prada and Michael Kors to enhance the feeling of sophistication.

Piccolo_BizCard_Design

Piccolo is a strong example of incorporating color into branding. As a children’s design company, the bright texture appeals to our visual senses encouraging creativity. Brighter hues stimulate feelings of energy and evoke a strong response or reaction.

4. Give useful feedback
Your designer may actually present a logo that is close to what you’re looking for, but there are often revisions needed. It’s up to you to communicate your needs and provide the designer with specific feedback that is useful. Instead of saying, “I don’t like any of them,” try to articulate what you’d like to see more of and have some examples of what you do like. Offer clear direction without taking over. If you have found a designer that you feel understands your needs, you can be confident he or she will present you with quality work.

Five Tips for Building your Personal Brand Online

Brix-media-Computer

In an era where owned media channels are just as valuable as traditional, building your personal brand has never been more valuable. However, just as Apple or Nike have carefully and consistently built their public image over decades, carving out your personal brand requires establishing a clear vision for your unique voice, image and value proposition to the audience you’re trying to curate. It is essential to have an understanding of these points before you start sharing ‘you’ in a massively cluttered space – the Internet.

Here are 5 ways to give you a jump-start on building your personal brand:

Brix-Media-Co-Personal Branding1. Identify what sets you apart. The Internet has infinite space and plenty of personal brands, so how are you going to stand out? This is Marketing 101. You’ve got a killer product – it’s you. But how are you going to sell it? Start by defining your character and know what your unique selling points are. Never say things in the usual way and win the customers (followers) attention with content; visuals, words and phrases that are new, surprising, and different. The objective of personal branding is to build a relationship with a customer or follower who is excited and confident in what you are offering.

2. Leverage your credentials. What is your personal brand offering and how is it adding value to the lives of your potential followers or customers? It’s important to clearly identify the product or service your personal brand specializes in – something that can be backed up. If you have the skills, you should show them but only at the right times and through the right channels. Leverage your niche and showcase what makes you special in a way that encourages customers and followers to engage and share. Produce content that adds value to the lives of your customers and keeps your personal brand “on brand.”  

3. Agonize over consistency. Be on brand for yourself. It’s easy to share anything and everything but it can easily come across as forced or insincere – and nobody likes that. What you put out should be consistent and relevant with what you have identified yourself to be. Ask yourself – is this what my brand is about and does it makes sense for my audience?

Visuals– The digital world is dominated by visuals. It’s also important that you’re consistent in how you visually represent your brand. I.e. using the same colour palette, fonts and filters. If you’re clear on your message you will build a consistent brand experience for your fans and followers. Fashion blogger and influencer Mary Seng of Happily Grey is a perfect example of this. True to her name, her colour palette throughout all her social media channels is mostly grey, white and black.

Brix-Media-Co-Happily-Grey

Model: Why brand consistency is important!
Consistency = Trust and Trust = Customers. Be consistent.

4. Make Friends with the Internet. Be engaged – and not selfishly. Share and support other like-minded individuals by giving a little love to the digital community around you. Be collaborative – give without the expectation of return and you’ll be surprised what the digital world gives back. Take for example, Apple’s collaboration with Hermes. Aside from improving their image and spreading awareness with further reach, they were able to resonate with a larger audience by joining forces.

Brix-Media-Co-Apple-Hermes

5. Be real.  People are seeking the human side of any brand – a side that allows them to connect on a personal level. It is important to be true to yourself and your audience. You don’t have to come across as an expert in everything. Thought leaders tap into their talents, experience and passion for their business. Don’t try and be something you’re not. This allows your audience to build trust in you and your brand.

3 Ways Public Relations Agencies Are Adapting to the Changing Media Landscape

Brix Media Public Relations

2016 has already seen some significant shifts in the Canadian media landscape, a fact that has public relations agencies evaluating how to change tactics when it comes to broadcasting their messages. Here’s the state we currently exist in; within the first two weeks of 2016, Postmedia announced 90 cuts and a strategy to consolidate major newsrooms across the country. Less than one week later, Rogers Media announced 200 cuts across their platforms, or about four per cent of the total workforce. Both of these announcements are a blow to an already floundering media industry, one faced with constant dwindling revenue and readership numbers.

Cuts like these are an indicator of how much journalism is changing, and public relations with it. In fact there are three dedicated changes to public relations that most, if not all, PR agencies are moving towards:

1.  Customized content creation

There used to be a time when a pitch note and a press release was enough to secure media coverage. With limited resources at newsrooms, and overworked journalists, this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. PR professionals are becoming the creators of content, quite literally drafting story ideas for specific outlets to use. It’s a much more symbiotic relationship between journalists and PR professionals, albeit one that requires more work and creativity from the PR professional than in times past.

2.  The growing power of the influencer

With fewer journalists available, the ‘citizen journalists’ or influencers are filling the gap. These individuals hold significant interest on social media and captivate an audience that considers them more authentic. While the rules of the game are still being sorted out, PR agencies are taking a more active role in working with influencers to promote content and product placement.

3.  Giving voice to leaders

Another aspect of a sparse media landscape is the loss of expert opinions. Seasoned journalists with backgrounds in niche areas are becoming few and far between, and this leaves a void for creative opinions in various industries. The industry leaders themselves are filling that void, with more and more opportunity to land press coverage through thought leadership and well executed opinion pieces. Outlets are producing more of this type of content as it offers readers in-depth discussion from well-known industry experts (and at practically no cost to the outlet.)

For public relations professionals, the shift in the industry has been a long time coming. Most of us saw it coming, and adjusted accordingly. That’s why Brix Media became Canada’s first fully integrated PR and online influencer firm focus on social innovation when we launched last year.