Can I Find Your Product In Anytown, USA?

Have you noticed how certain shoe brands are sold exclusively in limited retail outlets? How about clothes, ever notice some brands can be found all over the place, and yet others are only found in major cities? Notice how you can’t just go into your local office supply store and purchase a $2,000 gold-cased Montblanc writing instrument? Ok, then you recognize that where you distribute your products/services is an important component of a branding strategy!

Did you know your branding strategy should help define your distribution channels? It should be a guiding principle when determining exactly how you want to position your product or service in the marketplace. This applies to both products and services alike. Here’s a few examples:

If the Price Point for your product or service is →




Distribution channel options mass outlets, big box retailers/events, general business events a little harder to find, more niche networking events selective locations, not too accessible for the masses, maybe exclusive
Features to market Quantity is most important – highlight accessibility Mixed – highlight easy accessibility with quality Highlight quality features, “you get what you pay for” also works here
Advertising Blanket the market with local/regional/national ads, you have a ton of competitors Find industry specific promo outlets, publications, websites to advertise on Selective, targeted ads in niche publications/ websites to reach your target market

In order to choose the best distribution channels for your business, you need to identify the heart of your business offering, your true core competency. So many people think their products and services are special/unique/rare and there’s nobody out there offering the same things. This is simply not the case! The key is to know your competition, know who’s offering similar products and services, and position your brand to compete. Where you distribute your products and services should be a factor in the development of your brand strategy.

Miss Kemya 

Brand Strategy: Establish Your Competitive Position

We’ve laid the foundation to build your branding strategy in a previous post. Now, let’s talk about your competitive position, which in a nutshell is your differentiation in the market.

Now, I could bore you with a bunch of technical marketing jargon, but that’s what you’d hire a marketing pro for. Instead, here’s an easy to use quick version in lamens terms so you can begin to create your differentiator to establish your position in the market. Answering these questions will put you on the right track!

Develop a market profile as related to your niche. For example, I’m a marketing strategist for small businesses in xyz industries, and I’m based in Atlanta, GA. So, I may start with finding out how many small businesses in xyz industries there are in Atlanta, how many years they’ve been in business, their growth rates, key decision makers, and publicized new projects.

List 5-10 of your direct competitors. I use spreadsheets so I can sort data easily. For each competitor, fill in these characteristics and you’ll have an easy-to-update competitor profile:

How do your clients find you and your competitors? Are they using Google search? Are they looking through print ads? Do they issue requests for proposals? Seek out professional associations for referrals? Are they searching social media? Different industries use different tactics to find resources, so first and foremost you must learn how your industry operates.

Ask what your client needs and wants. It’s easy to sit and think about what you think your client needs. But, did you ask them? Ideally, you want to get out in the market and find out what keeps your prospective clients up at night. Do this via informational interviews with prospects and q&a with your existing clients. Hint: If you can help your client solve a problem, alleviate a burden, and get back to focusing on their responsibilities, you’re on your way to getting hired!

Identify your competitors’ weak spots. If you can find opportunities that your competitors are not taking advantage of, you may have found a goldmine to exploit!

Now that you’ve gone through this process, here’s the ultimate question to be answered:

What is your value to the market?

  • Are you the lowest price?
  • Is your product the absolute best out there in terms of benefits?
  • Do you provide a competitive solution to a challenge with a focus on client-service?
  • Are you a convenient option?

Your answer to this question is the foundation of your BRAND. There are no shortcuts! If you think you can skip a couple of steps because you think you know most of the answers, you are more than likely mistaken unless you develop marketing strategies for a living. Great brands don’t just happen, they are cultivated over time. Spending time understanding your competitive position will help you with your sales pitch, newsletter copy, e-blasts, web verbiage, etc. Once you finish this analysis, you will be able to assess your competitive position, your competitive advantages, and you’ll have an understanding of what your clients need and want. You can further develop your branding strategy based on your clients’ needs, putting you one step closer  to getting hired!

Miss Kemya 

Branding Tip: Create Your Gravatar!

What in the world is a gravatar?! A gravatar is an image that appears beside your name when you comment on blog posts, web forums, etc.  It’s a custom avatar that follows you all around the web.

Why should you care? Because those generic animated pics do not look professional! Your company, hence brand, will appear far more polished when your pic appears with your username next to your post.

Why is a gravatar important, as it relates to your brand?

Your gravatar is a part of your brand identity. Just like your social media username, it will follow you all over the web. When you comment on articles/blog posts that have this feature enabled, your pic, or gravatar, will show up next to your comment. I don’t know about you, but I like having my face next to my blog comments, and not those kooky animated pics. Don’t get me wrong, they’re cute, but those animated images do absolutely NOTHING for your business from a marketing perspective.

If you have not created your gravatar, I’m about to add something to your to-do list: take 10 minutes, go to and set up an account to create your personal gravatar. The best gravatar is a headshot photo, so please do not hide behind a logo. You’ll be glad you completed this simple marketing task for your business. A little effort goes a long way toward establishing your brand identity.

Miss Kemya

Lay the Groundwork to Define Your Brand

Let’s define the word BRAND as it relates to your company. In a nutshell, a brand has to convince me to spend my money, time and effort with you and not your competitor.

Think about iconic brands like Starbucks, Ferrari, ESPN, and Neiman Marcus. When you hear the names of these companies you immediately think of a host of attributes for each of them. Well, it’s their BRAND you’re thinking of! Now do you understand why your brand is so important, and why you need to manage your company’s brand? Good, we’re on the same page. Consider these criteria to start defining your brand:

  1. Company name: does it say anything / mean anything to your ideal client? Is it easy to remember? Hard to pronounce? Keep in mind, you can leverage uniqueness.
  2. Logo: do you have a logo? Is it well designed? Symbolic? Appropriate in style and color for your industry? Does your company name or logo convey and emotion or inferences at all to your prospects? Is it in sync with your mission?
  3. What’s your niche? This will help define your brand as experienced in whatever product/service you offer. Are you trying to sell to everyone? Tsk, tsk. This is what I call the lazy-non-marketing strategy. There’s a 99% chance you have a target client, so work on identifying your niche area of expertise and find targets that fit your niche.
  4. Make a list of 20 attributes you want people to think of when they hear your company name.

Your answers will help you start to really pinpoint your brand from a strategic perspective. When you review all the answers in totality, you can begin shaping a brand identity. You’ll be on your way to developing a brand your customers will love!

Miss Kemya

Social Media Usernames Count!

One of the fantastic consequences of our socially connected world is that we can connect to people, clients and prospects around the world 24/7. But how does this relate to your brand, from a first impression perspective? Think about it: when you meet someone face-to-face, your first impression includes their clothes, neatness, appearance, handshake, etc. However, when meeting online, the dynamics of the first impression change. We meet people online by communicating across different platforms, and what’s one of the first, if not the first, things you become aware of when you meet a new person online? Their username, not their legal given name, but their profile username. Hence the reason why your username is critical as your define your brand!

When choosing usernames for your social media profiles, identify your personal interests in relation to your business objectives. For example,

  • LinkedIn is for building professional, business-to-business relationships, so you always use your full name. There are additional sites that share LinkedIn’s purpose of building a professional network. A good rule of thumb: when using a site generally suited for B2B, your name is pretty much a standard.
  • Facebook is a no-brainer: make a company fanpage for your professional posts, and keep your personal profile for your personal interests. Just be sure to use your company as your employer on your personal profile so your friends can see the connection.
  • Twitter, StumbleUpon, Flickr and similar sites can be a bit trickier because they can serve multiple purposes. Which brings me to the next suggestion.

My suggestion for the sites that are more multi-purpose: know your personality and purpose. For example, if you need to engage on a professional level, but you know you’ll be likely to tweet personal rants or talk about questionable/controversial subjects, make 2 separate Twitter accounts. One for personal use only, and use whatever name you like, it doesn’t have to be your actual name. Then set up a Twitter profile as your company. You can use your company logo for this one if you like. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s worth it if it fits your personality. Many of us get by with one Twitter account, but consider your personality, attitude and lifestyle and figure out what works best for you. Some people manage three twitter accounts for their personal interests and different business ventures. And they do this effectively – I happen to know and follow some of them.

Do you like using online photo buckets? The same principle applies; your personal photos don’t necessarily need to be mixed in with your business photos. What to do? One option is to have 2 separate accounts on sites like Flickr, Picasa, etc. Another option would be to simply use one site for business, and another for personal, and have the usernames match accordingly. This way you maintain control over the images associated with your brand.

Your username is the name associated with your social media voice. Whether your username is your company name, personal name or a nickname, choose it carefully. Your moniker will ultimately become a part of your brand.

Miss Kemya

Can You Define Your Brand?

So you’ve been in business for a while. Can you give me a definition of your brand?

For example, I’m a small biz marketing powerhouse who comes in, peels the surface layers back to reveal the true core of your biz, evaluates and, if necessary, overhauls your entire marketing strategy, immerses your biz across the appropriate social media platforms, syncs your day-to-day operations with your firm’s long term objectives, and re-energizes your passion and perception of your own business.

I ask clients to describe my brand to me and this is pretty much a summary of what I’ve been told. Do I like the way I am perceived by my clients? Absolutely!

Did I strategically develop my brand into this? Nope. I just do my work, like most of you do. But my energy is infectious and my clients immediately refer to my energy every time they talk about me. Can’t you sense my energy in this brand description? Had you asked me several years ago to describe my brand I would have probably said something with the words ‘dedicated’, ‘small but mighty’, ‘resourceful’ and a bunch of other boring, average characteristics that clearly my clients don’t even give a thought to.

Why ask my clients, and not come up with some fancy-schmancy branding concept? I mean, I’m a writer and a marketer, so I can certainly come up with the most eloquently stated brand concept ever. However, this wouldn’t be a realistic description of my brand, and I would subsequently go about monitoring and building my brand all wrong. Why?

Because your brand is all about PERCEPTION:
It is the PERCEPTION of your buying audience that makes your brand. 

Since my clients perceive me to be energetic (which I am) and comprehensive in my analysis (I try), I work hard to stay true to my brand in all that I do, from my initial handshake to the way I prepare a final deliverable, and every manner of communication in between. The objective is to match your desired brand image with your actual brand image. If these are in alignment, great! If not, work to figure out how to match them. Want to know an easy way to get started? Ask your clients how they perceive your brand!

Miss Kemya 

Why Use Social Media As A Marketing Tool?

I read an article this week that made my jaw drop! It talked about how 64% of small businesses don’t think social media is important. What?! If this is the case, this means these business aren’t incorporating social media into their marketing strategy. My only caveat: there was a small sampling of business owners, and stats can always be misconstrued. However, these stats are alarming, sample size and industry aside, so I was compelled to discuss.

I could write a thesis on the value of social media but neither of use has time for that. I will give you a some answers to help bridge the social media divide, from the perspective of a person who started a marketing career before the age of the internet and social media, back when we used phone books, land lines, and unannounced drop-ins to prospect for clients. <I see you looking at my pic trying to guess my age>

So what’s wrong with this notion that social media is not important? Understand the correlation between “traditional” marketing and social media as a marketing tool:

  • Small businesses look for inexpensive ways to communicate their products to the public. If you have time to market your business, you have the resources you need to use social media. You can use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc. and shell out $0 monetary costs. Don’t believe me? Ask me and I’ll show you.
  • Small businesses thrive on word of mouth marketing. Social media is the most organic form of word of mouth marketing there is. The whole point of social media is to build your street credibility through word of mouth. That’s why you can message, repost, retweet, comment and share, it’s all about communication, no physical boundaries required!
  • When you run a business and marketing is not your strength, you usually hire someone for marketing, correct? This marketing person usually teaches you some tips and tricks you can use on a daily basis, and then they build the bigger marketing plans and strategies. So why are you not using your hired marketing person to understand social media?
  • Your brand is your image. It doesn’t matter what you think of your image, it matters what your clients think of your image. What does your brand, your image, look like when it’s stuck in the twentieth century? I’ll let you ponder that for a moment.

So why am I disturbed by the statistics of small business owners who refuse to adopt current marketing practices? Because they are missing out on a huge opportunity to catapult their businesses to the next level. Because small businesses provide a big chunk of the private sector jobs in this country. Because I recognize that small businesses are the life blood of our economy. This is no secret! Thus it is very important, not only to me but to us, for small businesses to stay strong, adapt to a changing business climate, and rebuild our country.

Know a small business that’s falling by the wayside because of their inability to adapt new, broader means of communication to grow their business? I will almost bet it’s because they don’t understand the value of using social media. I just have one favor to ask of you: email this post to your fellow business owners that have this notion, since they’re probably not regularly using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. so they won’t see it online. Or better yet, print this post and drop it in snail mail if you can actually find a postage stamp.

If you or someone you know fits in the 64% category, I implore you to join us on the other side. How? Call me. I happen to be a Strategic Marketing Consultant who finds value in social media.

Miss Kemya

%d bloggers like this: