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creating_a_personal_brandPersonal branding is a very unique and rewarding concept although it doesn’t always apply to all types and styles of businesses. Determining whether to create and promote a personal brand versus corporate branding is a matter of deciding what results you want to have for your brand. Do you want your company’s name and reputation to be connected to you as an individual? Or, would you rather focus on the product or service that’s sold and brand that instead?

There’s really no right or wrong answer to the question of whether to do personal or corporate branding because it’s all relative and contingent on the results that are sought.

However, there are several business facts and overall benefits that some brands would excel best with in going the route of personal branding:

Single person operations that focus on individuals like writers, authors and business entrepreneurs gain a following of clients who know them by the work they produce and the businesses they represent. For instance, the real estate mogul Donald Trump has become famously known for the lucrative property deals he has made. People will buy any book written by Stephen King, the famous bestselling author, because his name is on it, and he has been known to produce good material.

The personal branding route often attracts more customers because they feel more of an emotional connection with the person versus the company. This works quite well when the company’s owner has a consistent or highly visible communications platform with his customer base. This can include anything like digital media advertising, video production, web and/or print advertising and television. Anything that connects the buyer with the person establishes a business relationship connection.

Personal branding often allows the individual to change or restructure the company easier than corporate branding. One reason is because the person has established himself as an industry leader and expert, so any changes that are made are viewed as necessary or viable for the good of the brand.

What are some ways that a person can establish his personal brand and business identity?

  • Share the brand ideals and be creative with the methods you choose. Publish a weekly podcast that gives listeners free, applicable advice on getting a home mortgage loan. Or, write a book that shows readers how to get out of debt in six months or less. Share your business acumen and experience with the readers and further solidify your brand.
  • Succinctly communicate your business objectives, aspirations and goals. Share your experiences, tell stories and offer solutions. The more you share, the more you qualify your brand.
  • Connect with the product or service you sell and show that to the customers. Give them your own testimonial as to why you stand behind what you’re selling. Customers want to know and see that you have tried your own product. Always highlight your background and experience.
  • By becoming synonymous with your business, you brand is strengthened and highlighted at all times. Ultimately, the personal branding route ensures that you’ll leave an indelible mark on your target market.
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blog_google_places_revisedIf you own a business, whether it be a small home-based operation or a large corporation, you should make sure that your business is not just listed in Google, but also properly claimed and with the most up-to-date information possible. But before we discuss how to claim your business with Google, we should first discuss why you should claim your Google business listing.

It’s no secret that Google is the largest and arguably most important search engine in the world. As a business owner, your goal is to get all your ducks in a row with Google, before you ever enter the world of SEO or Internet Marketing on a professional level.

 

If Google doesn’t know you exist, you might as well not…

 

Today an overwhelming number of consumer buying decisions

start with an online search. And whether you own a small shoe store or an entire shopping mall, you want your business to appear when someone nearby searches for shoes. Whats the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to make that happen? Claim your local listing in Google Places.

 

Claiming your listing

 

The process is much simpler than it sounds. If you’re pretty tech-savy and can follow step-by-step instructions online, go to Google for Business and follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll need to verify that you are in fact the owner of the business. You’ll also have to enter your physical business address. Google will verify that the address is correct by sending  a postcard through snail mail with a pin number on it. Once you receive the postcard, you can go online and enter the pin to verify that you received the postcard at the correct address. Be careful when entering your business information as it can be difficult to change later. The most important thing to pay attention to when setting up your Google Places account  is choosing the type of business. Do not say that you are a storefront if you do not own a physical retail location and do not say that you are a corporation if you are a small local business. This can result in your listing being removed and can be very difficult to change later.

 

What’s so great about a Google Places listing

 

As you may know, many businesses spend large amounts of money on Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click campaigns. The goal of both of these marketing strategies is simply to get your website to the top of Google Searches. If your business is verified with Google Places, your business listing should appear at the very top of google the same way that an expensive ad would appear. You can customize your logo, add photos, ask customers to write reviews, and all of this is absolutely free.

 

Do I still need an SEO strategy

 

While verifying your listing with Google Places is a great first step, it most certainly isn’t the last step you should take in promoting your business online. Your SEO strategy should include not just a few steps, but an entire team of people working on your website to make sure that you show up in various searches for relevant keywords to get not just a lot of traffic, but traffic that can easily convert into leads or customers. The best way to beat your competitors online and appear above them in online searches is to speak with a professional SEO specialist to determine your individual needs as a business, who you’re trying to attract to your website, and let the professionals handle the rest.

We would love to speak with you directly about your local SEO strategy or your overall internet marketing strategy. Whether you want to start small or hit the ground running and beat your competitors, we can help you find an SEO strategy that’s right for your business. Give BMGcreative a call today or fill out our online form and we’ll be happy to discuss your complete online marketing strategy.

 

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Branding concept, keywords with iconsBusinesses should be very careful when setting up a new business image or redesigning an existing one because they realize they’re creating an overall experience. That’s what happens when a business decides to form a corporate image or identity. The choice of everything including images, colors, words, patterns and more all become a part of that experience and one that they use to translate their business intentions to customers.

Creating a corporate identity focuses on several key areas the business uses to express the brand’s image. It is largely a multi-sensory experience that’s generally not affected by the business’ financial performance and can include areas like:

  • General branding: names, logos, mottos, slogans, images, colors.
  • Physical communication methods: business cards, websites, corporate letters, brochures, logos.
  • Marketing style: via website, blogs, advertising, forums.
  • Physical branding: locations, uniforms, buildings, furniture, decor.

Taking all of these areas into account, it is possible to have a brand that accomplishes the business’ objectives. Everything the company portrays outwardly should work together in cohesion and match the company’s message. For instance, if the business is something trendy and upscale, the uniforms should reflect that as well and be something that appeals to that market. This would include things that are fashionably stylish and nothing “dated.” Also, the office furniture, the website and any marketing or advertising should reflect cutting edge, trendy colors, designs and logos that would appeal to that market. Yes, the task of building a corporate identity should be carefully considered in all areas because it will be the first and lasting impression that the company makes with the customer.

 

What to consider

 

What’s the best determining method to brand a business and establish a solid corporate identity? Should the business go with methods that have already been tried and proven? Or, should it be completely creative and take a design or communication risk? Determining the best method to convey a brand depends on the message and the style that’s desired as an end result.
A business entity should focus on several key areas in order to build a professional, all-encompassing, firm corporate identity and can include:

  1. Creating a positive reputation in that respective industry. The consumer market is generally curious as to how/where corporations stand on certain issues, and portraying that early on sets the tone for how they’re viewed by others.
  2. Establishing credibility. This is in direct line with the reputation but also includes being coherent with the brand’s message and marketing communications. Everything that the brand does, says, conveys and portrays establishes its credibility.
  3. Becoming and staying relevant to the industry’s demands. Launch processes that will survey the target market, ask questions and get a feel for what’s needed. When businesses are connected to their industry, they are better equipped to answer those demands because they know what the industry wants and desires.
  4.  Marketplace differentiation. Corporations need to ensure that what they’re doing and saying is different or at least unique from others like them in the same industry. Will the difference be a business move or one in politics? Can the corporation establish a unique branding identity by offering something that their competitors are not?
    Business identity is more than just a logo or a picture. It’s an overall synopsis of how that corporate structure is viewed, what it represents with its products and services and ultimately how customers and clients interact with them.
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A logo that’s uniquely different, super professional or even eccentric is a great way to make a lasting, memorable impression with customers. It’s important that your business has a design or logo that doesn’t look like every other company. To invite potential customers’ attention, the logo needs to stand out in some way. It’s not necessary for it to be elaborate or complicated, but it should both reflect your business and what you want to portray to your target market.

There are several hugely successful businesses that started off with small customer bases and grew into industry leaders. A great portion of that success can be attributed to the company’s branding efforts. That success may be directly related to its branding image, its logo or a catchy tagline. Those businesses most likely used a branding identity approach that showcased its differences and unique qualities, proving there was nothing else like it within the market. Whether that difference was an image that used a piece of fruit with a bite in it, a red dot with circles around it or even an emotional connection by using a 3-word motto motivating you to exercise, each company ensured early on that it was set apart from other businesses like it. Continue reading nt-violetta

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Many businesses already use email marketing to build and maintain relationships with prospective and current customers. However, many of the world’s largest companies are moving towards marketing automation. No matter the size of your business, you may be wondering what the difference is between email marketing and marketing automation. How can you figure out which option is best for the marketing needs of your company? Here’s a closer look at both options, as well as some helpful information on how to choose the option that works best for your needs.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing allows you to use email service providers to send out mass emails while tracking the open rates and click-throughs of those emails. Unfortunately, most email service providers have limited functionality, which means you need to invest resources in ensuring that emails get to the right targets at the right time. While email marketing offers many benefits, it is a manual process to groom and grow your list and it doesn’t deliver leads, so it can be challenging to scale basic email marketing campaigns alone as your company’s marketing needs expand.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation uses technology to help you nurture leads via automated campaigns. It has the ability to take a company’s marketing to the next level while conserving company resources. Marketing automation has the ability to build upon current email marketing strategies, offering even better results. This tool makes it possible to figure out which stage of the purchasing process customers are in, giving you the information needed to guide them through the next stages until they finally make a purchase.

Which Option is Right for Your Company?

How do you decide which option is right for your company? Start by thinking about your company’s goals. Instead of thinking about what each option can do, start thinking about your company’s marketing requirements. If you’re running a company that has a longer buying cycle or need for consultative selling, then nurturing leads is essential to bringing in sales. In this case, marketing automation offers many benefits. However, if you have an offering with a shorter path-to-purchase and don’t have a dedicated sales team, then email marketing may be the better option for quick, one-time purchases.

Of course, it’s important to note that marketing automation solutions do require a much larger investment than email marketing software. Since marketing automation is more complex, it also takes more time to implement these solutions. This option also requires that you have more quality content that is targeted to prospects at different places in the sales cycle. While email marketing is more affordable and significantly easier to implement at the beginning, it is time consuming to manage. Regardless of your industry, sales life cycle or marketing budget, all companies should begin planning to incorporate marketing automation in the near future because if you don’t, your competitors will.  Don’t look at it as a more expensive marketing tactic, view marketing automation as an investment in increasing your bottom line.

Are you still trying to figure out if it’s time to consider marketing automation? If so, here are a few signs that marketing automation may be a good fit for you:

  • Email marketing alone isn’t driving sales
  • You have a customer buying process that lasts longer than seven days
  • You sell multiple services and products to different target markets
  • You want to figure out which marketing campaigns provide the best results
  • Your company’s sales team doesn’t have the time to complete all required sales tasks with current resources

If these signs fit your company, it’s time to start learning more about marketing automation and how it can take your company’s marketing to the next level.

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Website Design for Southeast Advancement ServicesBMGcreative launched a new custom website design for their client, Southeast Advancement Services – a full service fundraising and nonprofit management firm.

Southeast Advancement Services had a need for a new strong online brand and professional presence to speak directly to potential new clients. With an average fundraising amount of $10 million and up, their website needed to reflect the same caliber of professionalism.

BMGcreative recommended a complete overhaul of the website to focus on more attention to detail, typography and upscale design. The website also needed to be hosted on a business class server where it could be found online and not hindered by the challenges that come with low-end hosting. The improved layout design and user experience enabled Southeast Advancement Services to effectively communicate to potential clients exactly what services they provided and their point of differentiation in the marketplace. Before the custom website redesign, there had been several missed opportunities on the old website where providing information such as case studies for strategic projects or testimonials to underscore how happy past clients are with their services. This was an important but overlooked area, as these value-add reference points help future potential participants feel confident in SAS’ service offering.

Before making their adjustments, the website was difficult to find in online search, there were errors on the website and it was not mobile friendly. BMGcreative knows a responsive website is essential to ensure everyone can access the website on any viewing device but that they also have a good user experience. This meant that the website needed to be rebuilt in RWD (Responsive Web Design) and a custom website was necessary to ensure easy navigation an effective communication. Blackstone implemented SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies to resolve the issue of being found in online searches and fixed the typography to finish creating a clean and professional looking website.

BMGcreative built the new website using WordPress CMS (Content Management System) with a custom design that is above all else, professional and modern, in order to properly represent the brand to the company’s target users. When developed from scratch, not using templates and by professionals, WordPress has the ability to efficiently manage a huge amount of content and provides the flexibility to look amazing while providing a friendly user experience. Once the website was completed, BMGcreative provided Southeast Advancement Services’ staff with training on WordPress CMS (Content Management System) to ensure they would be able to make simple updates such as adding new images and editing text. Building the website in a WordPress CMS will allow the necessary flexibility to expand the site as needed for future growth and optimization.

View the new website – www.southeastadvancement.com

About BMGcreative:
BMGcreative is a full scale design and marketing firm in South Florida. Blackstone’s strategists, designers and developers work with each client to understand their specific business needs to create a custom solution that fits their brand and budget. BMGcreative is dedicated to the partners they do business and your best interests in mind when developing the strategic plan and website that works for you.

For further information, please contact us or call 954-229-2256

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The Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

Ginger Martin joined American National Bank in 1997 as chief financial officer and has served the last seven years as president and chief executive officer. The Commonwealth Institute named the bank one of the “Top 50 Women Led Businesses” in the state of Florida in 2015.

Under her leadership, the bank has received numerous awards for its financial performance and community involvement, such as Business of the Year Award from South Florida Business Journal, Small Business of the Year from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, and one of the Top 300 Small Businesses of the South by Business Leader Media.

In addition, Martin has been personally honored for her business leadership with awards such as 2015 Laureate by Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, Influential Business Women by South Florida Business Journal, Business Leader of the Year by Business Leader Media, Woman Extraordinaire by Business Leader Media and Small Business Person of the Year by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

She has also received the Valor Award from the American Diabetes Association, been named a Woman of Distinction by the March of Dimes, the Outstanding Broward Alumna for the 1990s by Florida Atlantic University, and a Chamber Hero by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Martin has served on the boards of the Florida Bankers Association, Leadership Broward Foundation, 4KIDS of South Florida, Inc., Six Degrees of Golf for Women, Advisory Board of Hope South Florida, and Extraordinary Women Leading Change. Martin is a member of Junior Achievement’s Circle of Wise Women, the PACE Center for Girls’ PACESetters and The Executives’ Association of Fort Lauderdale. She is a graduate of Leadership Broward and Lifework Leadership.

Martin proudly participated in The Wasie Foundation Corporate Freedom Climb 2015 where she joined 19 others to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, to raise awareness and funds for women and children who are victims of human trafficking.

Martin earned an MBA from Florida Atlantic University, a BBA Accounting Magna Cum Laude from the University of Louisiana and is a Certified Public Accountant. She is a frequent speaker on business and leadership topics.

Location: BMGcreative
5601 Powerline Road, Suite 205, Fort Lauderdale
Date: Friday, May 1, 2015
Time: 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.

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Mobile-Ready-websiteGoogle is demanding all websites have a responsive web design no later than April 21, 2015. On this date, a change is set to be unveiled that will affect your website on Google. While it is uncertain how much of an impact it will have, it is safe to bet Google will show preferential treatment to all mobile ready websites.

Google is Checking the Entire Website

Just adjusting your home page won’t be enough. Google will run checks on CSS and JavaScript. If either of these are blocked on your website, it will not pass the inspection. It is important you provide Googlebot with access to both of these items and secure a pass from them.

Your entire website also must have a responsive web design. Each page needs to be adjusted so it is mobile ready. To safely pass, you can’t have just some or most of your pages changed by the April 21 deadline. Every page on your website must adhere to these new standards.

Mobile Devices Include Tablets

It’s important to understand that mobile ready websites don’t just cover your smartphone. Tablets also fall into this category. Having your website work for smartphones and iPhones in addition to desktop browsing won’t be enough. A true responsive web design covers all connected devices having the ability to browse your website.

Some key things to consider

  • Images should be designed to work with different connection speeds and device types.
  • Navigational patterns should be adjusted for mobile.
  • Links and buttons should be created to be touch friendly.
  • Fonts and sizes should be selected to work on all screen resolutions.
  • Retina images should be used to improve the visual appeal of your website.
  • Create a clean website the avoids clutter and provides a better experience.

Why You Should Care About Having a Mobile Responsive Design

Let’s say for a moment that you aren’t concerned about Google’s new requirement. Why should you care whether or not your website has a responsive design? First, you want visitors to have a positive experience while they are browsing your website.

With your layout optimized, a user on his or her phone won’t have to scroll back and forth just to read the content on the website. While today’s phones will zoom automatically, they may adjust text to be too small to read, making navigation frustrating.

A responsive web design ensures that all data on the website remains the same from one device to the next. The website retracts to fit the screen based on the device that is accessing it. With this type of website, you don’t have to worry about building a dozen websites for users to have the same experience.

Mobile usage is on the rise and more people are using their devices to handle the bulk of their browsing through this device. It is estimated that over 25% of Google’s searches are now coming from mobile devices. Within the next few years, mobile browsing will become the leading form of browsing in the world.

Help Boost Conversions

Mobile ready websites tend to experience higher conversion rates. When your website has a responsive design, you have a competitive edge. Most websites are slowly making the change. Unless you are actively reading tech news, you probably aren’t aware of this forthcoming requirement from Google. That means your closest competition likely isn’t aware of the change either. You are able to take advantage of this information in advance and use this knowledge to create a positive experience for customers. You then reap the rewards as customers have an improved experience on your website. That will translate into better sales for you as they are able to handle a transaction right there instead of waiting until they have a chance to get on a computer or finding another website which is mobile friendly.

What is the Next Step?

Understanding that mobile ready websites are important is only the first step. Actually having a responsive web design is another. So what is the next step in transforming your website? It’s as simple as contacting us.

Our team will transform your website so it meets the new demands of Google.

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