How Much Should I Pay For Branding Services?

Free to useshare and modify graphic of a lightbulb featuring text aboutbranding strategies such asfocus, strategy, logo, trust etcetera.Although there is debate about the topic, everyone can agree that branding services vary widely. An article by AllBusiness  mentioned potential ranges from as little as $500 for a simple name and logo from a local company.  However, $100,000 maybe closer to the rate for an international brand strategy from an international branding company.  So where do you begin?

Look for a company that is experienced in branding small or start-up businesses, and that understands your timing and budget constraints. Reputable firms charge anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 for a name and logo. You should be thrilled with the product and get terrific results from a firm in this range.

If you are just beginning and have no marketing budget, an option is to begin with the Entrepreneurial Method, discussed in our last post.  Once you know your means, you can begin formulating goals that are realistic.  At that point creating a budget to get some branding help will be something you can accomplish.

One of the most important things to understand is who you are, what you do (or your company does), who you serve, and what you’d like to be known for.  If you already have a vision statement and mission statement you are on your way to building your brand.

Source: AllBusiness

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

Entrepreneurial Success: Begin With Your Means (Not Goals) and Avoid Limited Thinking

A photo of Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson with super-human graphics illustrated around their bodies.We read a great article in the University Herald about Entrepreneurial Myths and thought we’d share it with you.

What to Know and Avoid: 

1) Entrepreneurship takes a lot of work.  Your free time and labor will be required, according to Julia Ramirez, University Herald Reporter.

2) Many entrepreneurs fail.  A successful IPO ranks in the top 1% of all the ventures launched, according to the article.

3) If you concentrate on flipping your venture, you are already sunk.

So are successful entrepreneurs super-humans?   No!  This video gets straight to the point about the Entrepreneurial Method.  You can do this. 

VIDEO TIPS:

  1. Entrepreneurial achievers are not a extra-ordinary super-humans.  Average people can be successful entrepreneurs without large amounts of funding. Begin small and use your available resources; this helps limit a potential loss while you experiment with the resources you have.
  2. Begin with your means (your identity, contacts, and competencies or strengths). Goals can be shaped from your means once you identify your means.  The video likens it to cooking in reverse. When you begin with the ingredients in the fridge you are free to imagine all sorts of opportunities for a creative meal.  There is no reason to wait because you aren’t waiting for a ficticious idea or illusive goal.
  3. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket.  This means, do not submit all of your intentions to your one big idea.   Instead, constantly review your stock of means to help you imagine various potential goals.  This type of thinking helps develop more resources and ventures in the long-run.  It helps you learn to think out-of-the-box and create solutions to possible problems.
  4. Define how much you can afford to lose. Weight the upside potential with the downside potential.
  5. Do NOT keep your idea a secret.  Talk to people about your venture; this helps you build more means.  If you are worried about ideas being stolen remember this: at this stage you have very little to lose.  So what is the upside and what is the downside?

Sources: University Herald and YouTube

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

Affiliate Marketing: Cross-Device Tracking

Are affiliates compensated fairly?

Photo oof multiple devices: desktop, latop, notepad, and mobile phoneOnline sales are tracked and affiliates are paid a portion of sales.  The issue is that there are multiple influences or impressions that go into the creation of one sale.  Yet most systems attribute the full sale to the “last click”.

This type of affiliate attribution is common. However, customers often research their options before making a choice. The research phase might take place over hours, days, or longer and might take place over multiple devices.

Recently was in the market for a new umbrella – it’s beginning to rain in southern California.  But I am a picky shopper – I want a double layered umbrella that has a reflective silver coating on top to be used in the summer when it’s over 110 degrees Farrenheit in the shade.  And, it might be nice if the umbrella had vents to avoid inversions in high winds.

So, I spent some time on my mobile phone checking out options.  (I love shopping and social media, so I could do this forever.)  I found several good options after I figured out that searching for a “sun umbrella” was only turning up huge, stick-in-the-ground beach umbrellas.

So I tried “sadvertisements on Google for spf umbrellaspf umbrella” and Voila! I found the perfect umbrella for rain and high heat.  There were multiple competitors offering similar products, all of which will give me the sun and rain protection I want for extreme weather.

But which affiliate will be compensated for my eventual sale?  After tiring of my search I closed by browser, turned off my phone, and went to bed.  I will get the umbrella at some point soon, but that might happen when I’m logged in at my desktop when I have more time.  So will the original affiliate (that was tied to my mobile research) get the credit for influencing my sale?  I made my mental choice already.

Marketers have been having trouble with affiliate attribution because most consumers have multiple devices.  One solution is CROSS DEVICE TRACKING.  While cross-device tracking may infringe on privacy rights, it may provide valuable information to marketers and a better understanding of which affiliates are truly influencing sales. The struggle is to connect the customer’s research phase and purchase phase of the sale.

What do you think?  Should the FTC allow cross-device tracking?

Sources: CampaignLive and MarketingWeek

Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

Customer Experience Maps

Business graphic depicting customers at the center of the interaction and an upward arrowEvaluating customer experience is the cornerstone to providing value to your target audience.  Many companies investigate the usefulness and popularity of their products and services with surveys, interviews and focus groups … but they are missing the point.  If you ask your customer to evaluate your product or service you are going at it backwards!  The customer experience is an after-thought.

You are invested in the product, the customer is not.  Instead, why not ask your customers what their needs are?  What wants or issues do they need to address?  After-all, you are in the business of creating products and services to address your customers’ unique needs, right?

Changing the way you think about evaluating your customer experience will help you keep customers in the long-run.

EVALUATING YOUR CUSTOMERS’ EXPERIENCE

A great first step is to begin mapping out “touch points” (places where the customer has direct or indirect contact with you).  Understanding the whole process helps build greater understanding of your customers’ point of view.  A typical online process might look like this:

View message — Customer seeks information from you and competitors– Customer evaluates price and terms — Customer selects merchant or provider — Customer sets up account or purchases as a guest — Order is placed for merchandise or service — Account data is exchanged — Delivery is arranged — Payment is made — Confirmation is made — Customer tracks order — Customer receives and inspects order — Customer accepts or returns items —  Customer notifies company if there is a problem or return — Customer service handles the return or exchange — The payment is edited — Electronic messages are sent — Re-shipment is made if necessary — The customer maintains his/her profile — The company manages on-going marketing materials and support.  

POST SALE CARE

One of the key touch points that some businesses miss is the last one — managing the relationship post-sale.  Marketing is important, but post-care is not just about promotions.  Providing support can determine whether a customer will remain loyal to your business.  Engaging with your customer from their perspective will help maintain the relationship and keep your customers confiding in you, looking to you for solutions, and co-creating new solutions and products with you.

FOCUS ON QUALITY

Are there points along the way that you can manage better? Might you be able to make the process easier or collaborate with the customer?  Or could you design offers around one of these processes? Customers rate promptness of service, prompt reply, professional staff, adaption to customer’s special needs, and distinctive branding as the most important dimensions in “total quality” for service businesses.

Sources: “Business Marketing Management” and “Winning by Understanding the Full Customer Experience”

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

Programs for Small Businesses | Federal Funding

Small Business Programs through the National Science Foundation, logoDid you know that the National Science Foundation supports small business with grants, contracts and resources?  Their mission is to support the economy through innovation in “fundamental science and engineering (with the exception of medical sciences)”.

Small businesses are supported  from the “bottom up”.  This includes support from the office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBUas well as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

NSF is vital because we support basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future. This type of support:

  • Is a primary driver of the U.S. economy.
  • Enhances the nation’s security.
  • Advances knowledge to sustain global leadership.

With an annual budget of $7.5 billion (FY 2016), we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) helps increase contract and subcontract awards to small and disadvantaged businesses, and identifies potential businesses to support the NSF. To learn more about contracting opportunities through OSDBU.

Source: NSF.gov

Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

Brands Need to Create Visual, Digital Media Such As Videos

Spacesheep Projects

Spacesheep Projects

The future of branding will be in the visual and virtual world in order to build momentum. The goal is to get people to see the work and join in day-to-day activities. This kind of ‘voyeur marketing’ is based on the appeal of collaboration and relationship authenticity.

Universities are now offering Master’s programs dedicated to the education of future media managers with virtual communication such as KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden:

“The main objective of the Media Management programme is to provide students with the skills required for managing innovative media companies. The programme equips you for managing positions, business developing, entrepreneurship skills, preparing you for advanced industrial positions, or continued graduate studies.”

Brands need to manage their Creative, production and post-production departments as such:

  • Creative:  Identity the voice. Evaluation and conceptualization to realize your video content projects.
  • Production:  Writing and preparation of the shooting and music recording and editing. Reviewing technical, human and even financial aspects.
  • Post-Production:  Formatting, posting, communicating, and cross-marketing the visual contents with media.

Large communication firms and more intimate companies such as Spacesheep provide consulting for these services.

Sources: KTH, Spacesheep

Author: Franck Vigneron. Franck is a professor of Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Music Industry Administration at California State University, Northridge.

Craft Beer: Growing In Influence From Local Breweries to Small Brew Pubs

Maybe you’ve noticed the trend toward craft beer over the past few years.  After chatting with the owner of The Brewyard Beer Company in Glendale, California today we discovered that a new brewery opens every month in Los Angeles.  The industry is still growing!

California Craft Brewery Information Graphic

The trend has been fueled by the desire to create custom lagers and ales that can satisfy consumers’ array of tastes.  Brewers make custom recipes that the big boys just don’t make.  Some breweries also offer craft beers that allow customers to add spices, herbs, hops, or fruit to their brews just prior to consumption – a true personalized experience that seems to be increasing in popularity.  At The Brewyard Beer Company they call this offering “Randall Friday”.

Other influences include consumer interest in supporting LOCAL businesses (promoting sustainability) and the trend toward family-friendly breweries that offer a diverse array of activities.  For example, The Brewyard Beer Company in Glendale, California offers a relaxed environment where parents, kids, and dogs can relax and have fun.

Normally, there is a mix of Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop or Rock playing over the music system when live music is not scheduled.  And yes, they do have live music, too.  If you are into viewing art you can also see a variety of local art works there, too.

If you like to pair your beer with some good food The Brewyard schedules an alternating mix of food trucks to keep their customers happy.  Other activities include yoga on site, game nights, toy drives, and special promotions for holidays such as Veterans Day and the like.

The basic overview from our point of view is that local breweries like The Brewyard are catering to a diverse mix of customers by giving them a friendly, inclusive ambiance that cannot be found at a typical bar nor at a large brewery.  In this way, they are creating 1:1 connections with their customers and keeping it small.  For now.

For more information about the drivers of craft beer consumption and the economic impact of craft beer, go to: Brewers Association.

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

New Facebook Policy Helps Remove Racial Targeting in Ads

GOOD NEWS: Facebook is making an effort to help rfacebook-notargetingeduce racial targeting in ads about housing, credit and employment!

Writer Jessica Guynn advises that Facebook is also requiring advertisers affirm that they are not placing discriminatory ads regarding educational material as well.

In the past Facebook was scrutinized for allowing ‘affinity marketing’ or ‘ethnic affinity marketing’ by virtue of giving marketers tools to target people based on sensitive, and at times discriminatory, information that is available to social networks and big data brokers.

The USAToday article discusses the recent change in Facebook’s policies as a positive one that will hopefully move Facebook toward greater compliance of federal anti-discrimination laws.

Some critics believe that multicultural marketing is helpful in order to reach target markets and better serve consumers.  WFCSBE believes that the new Facebook policies are a positive step toward creating better racial equality.  As always, Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship strives to support diversity, inclusion, achievement and excellence within the Cal State University Northridge population and within the greater LA Valley community.

WFCSBE is a non-profit organization funded by Wells Fargo and CSUN that matches LA Valley businesses with CSUN university professors in order to create marketing plans, business plans and advertising campaigns for the benefit of local businesses.

Source:Msn.com/money

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.