Branding: A Brand Is More Than a Logo

What is Branding?

Let’s face it, brands are everywhere. A brand is how we identify products, services, people, places and religions. Everything can be “branded,” however, a brand is more than just a logo or identity; it represents a symbolic construct created within the minds of people that consists of all the information, expectations and personality associated with a company, product or service. It can symbolize confidence, passion, belonging, or a set of unique values. A brand is an experience.

Branding has been around for more than 5,000 years. Historically, branding was used as a way for farmers to stamp their livestock, a way of saying, “that’s mine.” By the 20th century, it had evolved into more than just a way for farmers to mark their property; the industrial revolution introduced mass-produced goods and the need for companies to sell their products to a wider market. By applying branding to packaged goods, the manufacturers could increase the consumer’s familiarity with their products in an effort to build trust and loyalty. Campbell Soup, Juicy Fruit Gum and Quaker Oats were among the first products to be ‘branded.’

In the 1900′s, companies adopted slogans, mascots and jingles that began to appear on radio and television. Marketers soon began to recognize the way in which consumers were developing relationships with brands in a social and psychological sense, and over time learned to develop their brand’s identity and personality traits; such as youthfulness, luxury or fun. Branding became more personal. This evolved into the practice we now know as “branding” today, where the consumers buy “the brand” instead of the product. This trend continued to the 1980s, and is often quantified in concepts such as brand value and brand equity.

In today’s modern digital age, the Internet and social media have had major impacts on branding in a very short time. Brands are now more connected to consumers than ever before across numerous “touch points”-websites, blogs, social media, videos, television, magazines, mobile phones, applications, games, events and even art installations are all common channels where brands are engaging consumers. Unlike 20th century practices where consumers were passive receivers of messages, today’s successful branding campaigns involve multidimensional, two-way communication where consumers participate, share, and interact with a brand. Branding has become a physical, social and psychological experience.

The “brand experience” is the concept that a company’s identity and design evoke certain sensations, feelings and cognitions for the consumer. Several dimensions can distinguish the brand experience: sensory, affective, intellectual, and behavioral. Such stimuli appear as part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments. Prime examples of some of the most experiential brands are Victoria’s Secret, Apple and Starbucks. Not only is branding about the individual’s awareness of the brand, but the experience the brand brings to the individual; the prospect that the individual moves from awareness of the product to consideration, to loyalty, to advocate. Hewlett Packard CEO, Meg Whitman, says, “When people use your brand as a verb, that’s remarkable.” For example, “Google it,” “Skype date?” or “Photoshop that picture!”

A strong brand is a critical marketing asset, as important to your business as the product itself. In our rapidly changing and increasingly complex world, technology and human interaction are intersecting in new ways, creating an experience economy where trust, conversation and brand portability are crucial to remaining relevant. Big will no longer beat the small. It will be the fast beating the slow.

Retail Manager Jobs – Helpful Dos and Don’ts of Applying for Jobs

Are you looking for retail management jobs? If so, keep reading on before you start your job search. Below, you’ll find a number of helpful dos and don’ts that can assist you in your quest to find a job in retail management.DO job search online. When we think of retail store jobs, many of us automatically think of applying for jobs in person. You can drop off your application to local retail stores, but the process for hiring managers is different than hiring store managers, team leaders, and department managers. You are more likely to see a manager job listing online than a sign in a store window. Moreover, when it comes to hiring say a retail store manager, a district manager is typically the individual in charge of hiring. District managers can go months without visiting a local store; therefore, your resume may sit untouched for months.DON’T be afraid to apply for jobs if, according to the retail management job listing, you don’t officially meet the job requirements. With that said, coming somewhat close is advised. Don’t expect to get hired for a management job if you have only been a cashier part-time for six months. On a personal note, I was a retail store manager for a small discount store for 3 years. At this time, I applied for a Merchandising Display Manager job with a national retail store. Although the listing stated 5 years prior management experience, I still applied for and was offered the job with my “meager” 3 years.DO know that many retailers now require managers to attend training. These training seminars may be a week long or a month long and they will likely take place in a different city or even state. Referring back to my experience as a retail store manager, the company I worked for had a small presence in my state. When I was hired, I was trained onsite (at my store) by a neighboring manager. Fast forward to 8 years later, all managers are required to attend a three-week training seminar three hours away. If an extended off-site training is required, it will typically be mentioned in the management job description, so be sure to read closely.DON’T wait too long to apply for management jobs. As soon as you see a job listing online, you should be ready to apply. If you haven’t already, now is the time to create a resume. Management jobs are in high demand, even in the retail industry. A company will likely let a job listing linger online for at least one week. This gives them the chance to obtain a number of resumes from qualified job seekers; however, the individuals who submit their resumes first are more likely to land a job interview.DO be friendly to all store employees. As mentioned above, you stand the best luck job searching online. There are cases however in which you are required to apply for jobs in person. Referring back to my personal experience, I would accept applications for new store managers in neighboring communities. My district manager would pickup the resume. When doing so, he’d always ask me or my assistant manager “what was this person like,” “did they have a positive attitude” and so forth. Even if you drop off a resume or application for a store in which you are not applying at, keep in mind that the individuals you encounter may have a small say in your ability to obtain a job interview.

The Best Cities in the US & Canada to Do House Flipping

Flipping a house can be a great real estate investment. But in order for you to begin any serious house flipping you need to have a great credit score. Many people are addicted to the house flipping shows on television and are really interested in learning how to flip a house. If you really want to learn how to flip a house there are many places you can go for information. There are websites and you can even find seminars at your local community college or hotel conference room to learn the art of house flipping. But the best way is to find someone who has been doing it for a while and see if you can work for them.

Flipping properties is when an investor purchases a house, fixes it up and/or brings it to code and then sell it for a reasonable profit. The process of flipping properties has created a huge rush in the real estate market. Both the United States and Canada have a number of cities that would be great for flipping a house.

In the United States there are ten cities that are great for flipping homes. These cities are: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Raleigh NC, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Boston, NY City, and last but not least Portland. Now we move on to Canada. The best cities in Canada for flipping homes are: Calgary & Saskatewan.

All of these cities have great potential when it comes to flipping homes. But as with any investment you need to do your research and be careful. With the low cost of homes now it could be better than ever to buy homes to flip. You may need to wait a little while until the market kicks back up again to sell the homes. But if you have the money and can afford to wait longer than thirty days to sell you may find yourself with a great investment and a nice fat bank account.