Author: Elena Barker

To Brand Audit, or Not to Brand Audit… Is That Your Question?

Through what we call a brand audit, Pearl Marketing has helped many businesses in different stages of business growth. Perhaps you’ve heard of the effectiveness of brand audits, but haven’t taken the time to embrace one, or perhaps there’s still some mystery to it all. Whether you’re a leader of a big company making changes, or a small business owner getting your business off the ground, running a brand audit is of significant importance because it assists one in understanding the current or future status of one’s brand internally (to employees and staff) and externally (to consumers and the public). A brand audit can give you pertinent information that helps in making pivotal brand decisions that affect the success of your business. Read on to better understand when to run a brand audit and why you should run one.

When… launching a business.

Why…

Make sure your brand identity is clear! A brand serves as the heart of a businesses and sends a message to the outside world. If a business doesn’t have a solid and defined brand, you won’t have a solid and defined business. Your employees (and maybe even YOU as the business owner!) won’t know what they’re working for and helping to build, and consumers won’t know what the business is about.  A brand audit allows you to find clarity in defining your brand both internally, for employee and staff morale, and externally, for consumer recognition and effective marketing.  You might hear that a brand audit only serves for those businesses that have a brand currently, but we advocate for the perspective that running a brand audit before officially launching your business gives you a strong foundation to build your business off of. You can better understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats your business plan has and better prepare for the competition at play in your industry.

When… taking advantage of rebranding efforts.

Why…

You’re ready to start the efforts to rebrand your company. This is the perfect time to run a brand audit so you can understand the current state of your brand – what’s working, what’s not working, how your current brand is translating to your target audience, how you’ve been doing in comparison to your competition, what needs to change to improve your brand, what could stay the same. Your current brand needs a current analysis and then a fresh perspective in order to make informed rebranding decisions to carry out an effective transition. The current analysis allows you to cultivate the fresh perspective and make the best decisions for a successful rebrand. In conclusion, the brand audit should be the first step taken in your rebranding efforts.

When… your business is facing challenges.

Why…

Something is not working. You see a substantial problem within your business or company, or maybe even multiple problems. Perhaps it’s a decrease in sales or leads, or maybe a lack in employee productivity or an increase in the turnover rate. Assess your brand to find effective solutions! Often times these problems can be better understood and fixed through the process of a brand audit. Brand audits focus just as much on a business’s internal goals and values as the external because both are important and both work in tandem to get the job done and ultimately bring in revenue. Remember, your brand is the foundation and the heart of your business, and many of your challenges can lead back to that. If there’s a crack in the foundation, or a misunderstanding of the heart, a whole assortment of problems can result. Brand audits can help you find the gaps within your brand and allow you to fix them more efficiently so the internal and external goals of your brand can be met once again.

What does a brand audit through Pearl Marketing look like?

At Pearl Marketing, we run extensive brand audits that include a SWOT Analysis of your company to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your business. They include analyzing the internal end external goals, attributes, and values of your business that cultivate a healthy and defined brand.  They also include the assessment of a brand statement and elevator pitches to ensure clear brand communication among employees and the outside world. Through market research, an analysis of relevant competitors help your business get ahead of the competition. Lastly, recommendations on how to proceed are given to either build a strong brand foundation, fill in gaps and holes, or assist in making necessary changes that will benefit the business’s current brand and future growth.

Partner with us….

To have Pearl Marketing run a brand audit for your business, contact 603-732-9070, or email info@pearlmarketing.com. Visit our website at www.pearlmarketing.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube!

A New, Simpler Way to Access Google Docs!

Are you someone who uses Google tools like Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.? Perhaps your team at work shares them to get projects done more efficiently. If so, this blog post is for you! At Pearl Marketing, we certainly use our share of Google Docs & Sheets, so we were thrilled when we learned about the new way to access these features. It’s as simple as typing!

Here’s what you do!

This isn’t something you have to sign up for, or wait to try. You can try this out for yourself as you finish reading this blog post. Simply open up a new tab, and in the browser type doc.new. Hit enter, and voila! (I tested this and you can type doc.new or docs.new and it will still work) You should have a fresh Google Doc pop right up for you to start working away. You can do this with all of the Google tools – sheets.new, slides.newform.new.

Make way for the “new” top-level domain.

For those who might not be certain, a top-level domain, or TDL, is essentially what comes at the very end of the URL after the . (dot). For example, www.pearlmarketing.com (there’s .org, .edu, .gov.net, etc.). It is now time to embrace the .new! The .new TDL will also be a future way for businesses to start marketing products and services to the internet public that are brand new. So, even if you don’t utilize the Google tools mentioned above, you’ll still want to keep tabs on the .new TDL and how it can help you with your marketing efforts.

Your time is precious!

Gone are the days of having to click through steps to get to your Google tools. No longer do you have to click that icon of six squares at the top of your page, click the tool you want, and then click “blank.” There’s a lot less clicking and more typing to get your job DONE. This might seem trivial to some, but in the fast paced world of marketing, we sure are grateful for anything that helps us get down to business faster. Your time is precious, so we wanted to share this bit of news with you so you can use it to your time advantage too!

To receive expert marketing coaching and consulting, and to learn more about all of the marketing services we provide businesses and individuals, contact Pearl Marketing at 603-732-9070, or email info@pearlmarketing.com. Visit our website at www.pearlmarketing.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube!

How to Protect Your Facebook Account Amidst Another Data Breach

Another cyber-attack. Another breach.

You probably have heard in recent news that there has been another Facebook data breach, which has compromised 50 million Facebook users’ information. This latest breach has left people questioning (more than ever) the Facebook company’s intention on protecting its users’ and wondering how safe their private information really is.

What happened?

It’s important to understand what happened. Hackers were able to find a way into the code associated with the “View As” privacy tool, which allows users to see how their profile looks to others viewing their page. This allowed the hackers access to user information.

Were you affected?

As soon as the breach was realized by a team at Facebook, the company responded by logging all compromised users out. In a statement by Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the compromised users would receive a message at the top of their newsfeed about the breach.

Has the problem been fixed?

The answer is yes! There has been confirmation that vulnerability with the code has been patched and fixed and those that were compromised are safe to sign back in to their account. The problems, however, have just begun for Facebook, as they must come up with ways to gain the trust back of and assure more security to their users.

Pearl Marketing’s Cyber Safety Recommendations in the wake of this latest breach…

Facebook is so tied in to the fabric of today’s digital marketing world as well as being one of the most popular social media networks. It’s hard to make a decision to stop using Facebook overnight, so as we mull this over and watch the fallout, Pearl Marketing recommends the following safety measures to help protect your Facebook information online.

  1. Change your password!
  • Especially if you know your account was compromised, changing your password is the easiest and “no brainer” option for protecting your account.
  1. Don’t stay logged in to your account.
  • Many people, especially on their phones, choose to stay logged in to their account to make it easier to check their Facebook notifications when they’d like. In other words, they don’t want to deal with the hassle of logging in and out, so they stay logged in 24/7. Don’t do this to give yourself a little more protection. Take the time to log in and out.
  1. Activate Two-Factor Authentication
  • This is another layer of security that will help thwart hackers to your account and will keep you better informed about something fishy going on with your account.

To receive expert marketing coaching and consulting that will help guide you in the best reaction & approach to matters like these and all things marketing, contact Pearl Marketing at 603-732-9070, or email info@pearlmarketing.com. Visit our website at www.pearlmarketing.com.

What You Need to Know About the Google SSL Certificate Mandate

What you need to know…

We all want to make sure that the information we put out on the internet is secure, and we want to make sure the websites we visit and engage with are secure as well. Most websites today are transactional and store credit/debit card information and log in information. For these purposes, an SSL certificate, otherwise known as Secure Sockets Layer, has become mandatory for all websites. For a website to function properly, the web browser and server must communicate, and the SSL certificate allows encryption for each website session so any information remains secure and protected.

You may have already seen the effects of a mandate that Google implemented at the end of 2017 and has been following through with throughout 2018. This mandate requires all websites beginning with “http://” to have an SSL certificate or they will essentially be flagged. The effect of this is that when you visit a website and it doesn’t have an SSL certificate, a “not secure” will be displayed in the browser to the left of the url warning web visitors. It has also been reported that not having an SSL certificate will negatively affect a website’s SEO (search engine optimization) ranking.

In conclusion, if you want your website to remain secure and to keep information private and safe, then get that SSL certificate. If you want to avoid the threat of hackers and an SEO penalty from Google, then get that SSL certificate. If you want visitors to your website to keep returning and engaging with your brand, and if you want them to feel secure on your website and to see your website as credible, then get that SSL certificate! Don’t delay as this mandate is in full effect. Here’s to a safe and secure digital world!

To receive more expert guidance on your online presence or business/product marketing, contact Pearl Marketing at 603-732-9070. Email info@pearlmarketing.com. Visit www.pearlmarketing.com.

Implementing a Successful Rebrand | Pearl Marketing

Change is good!

Every sustainable business will change and rebrand throughout the years. It’s what keeps your business growing and improving. Whether it’s internally through the business plan and the products and services, or externally through the branding and logo design, change in your business is inevitable if you want it to stay relevant and provide consumers with something of current value. Staying up to speed with the trends and technologies of your target audience is important, and coming up with new ways to engage and share your business’s messaging is crucial. Major corporations that we all know and have seen have decades of business success and relevance, like Pepsi and Apple for example, know this. Even those famous golden arches have changed and modernized over time.

If your business or company is stagnant, or seeing a decline in sales, consumer interest, brand recognition, or online traffic and engagement, perhaps it’s time to…..CHANGE. Changing your business direction and revamping your brand does not mean you have failed. It means you’re being a wise business owner and adapting to changes that need to be made. If you are a business owner that found your way to our blog, we want to encourage you through this post. If you are an employee of a company looking for new ideas, or a person thinking about starting a business, we want to provide you with meaningful and beneficial insight on where to start developing your brand.

We’re speaking from experience.

In this blog post we’re speaking from experience, as well as from our knowledge as marketing consultants. Our company, Pearl Marketing, is in the midst of a rebrand itself. We’ve changed our company name from Pearl Marketing “& Design” to reflect the new direction and focus the company is taking to bring the most value to our clients and increase employee productivity. Our goal as a marketing company is to increase our clients’ return on their marketing investment (ROI) and allow business owners to confidently work IN their business knowing there are experts working ON their business. One way that helps us recognize the need to define and refocus our brand is through running a brand audit!

Brand audits allow you to reflect on your business’s internal and external attributes, values, and goals and how well those have translated to employees (internal) and logo, marketing collateral, social media messaging and website (external). Organizing your business’s current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) helps you to better understand what you should focus on, what you can improve upon, and what is or is not going to help your business grow. It also helps you to evaluate the current market your business brings value to in the way of competition and helps you understand the changing trends of your target audience.

Knowing how to set your business’s brand apart from your competition and reach your target audience effectively is key, and over time what was understood and worked in the past might not work in the present. Brand audits also help you organize the important elements of brand representation that you will update, like a defined brand statement, slogan, catch phrase, and elevator pitches, an eye catching logo, and a refreshed, user-friendly website.

Preparation and follow through is key.

While your new and improved brand is coming together, we suggest preparing your current audience and clients for the change. Be sure to use your social media, your website, your email newsletters, any blogs, and press releases to avoid brand confusion BEFORE you incorporate your rebrand. This also creates excitement and hype around your business or company, so use this time to your advantage! Once you have launched your new brand, be sure to be consistent with the changes made. If you change your business name and update your logo, make sure your social media pages, website pages, etc. are updated to reflect these changes, or people will become confused and won’t know what to call you, or how to search for you online. It’s important not to overlook a single spot where your brand may be represented online or in print, including the metadata associated with your website (metadata = how people find your website on search engines like Google).

You don’t have to do it all yourself!

Hiring a marketing coach or consultant during this time to stay on top of these aspects of rebranding and to ensure the audit is done right is another recommendation of ours. Partnering with a relationship marketing company, like Pearl Marketing, strives to make sure you are maximizing your business’s brand potential. Pearl Marketing can run the brand audit for you and walk you through it step by step so the process is understood and completed effectively. We also take care of the redesign elements that come out of a brand audit, like an updated logo and website redesign. Once the audit is processed, we can guide you through the transition – the before and after relaunch – to make sure the new brand is incorporated seamlessly and without any brand confusion.

Consumers have now come to expect businesses to reach out to them with personalized messages based on their interests. A successful rebrand will have a plan in place through lead generation that will provide consumers with the information they want and the business with a standardized process to nurture those relationships. Your beautiful new brand won’t be effective if this is not understood and followed through with.

The reasons above are why Pearl Marketing works to implement creative messaging that captures consumer attention, and we strive to educate our clients on search engine optimization (SEO), which is a way to make sure your rebrand is reaching your target audience. Our marketing coach and consulting services help businesses to run effective campaigns and advise on proper lead generation tools. This leads to an increase in brand awareness and keeps messaging consistent across channels while nurturing leads that turn into sales or new clients.

In conclusion…

From one business to another, don’t discount how far you’ve come and throw in the towel. Just get creative and get to changing/rebranding! Pearl Marketing is here to help, so if you need a hand, just let us know! To receive expert coaching and consulting services on rebranding, brand strategy, and lead generation, contact us at 603-732-9070, or email info@pearlmarketing.com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates and more insight. Visit our website at www.pearlmarketing.com.

Stay tuned for more info about Pearl Marketing Academy, which will provide business professionals with a complete education and training experience focused on marketing fundamentals, lead generation, brand management, and highly developed skills for any social media platform through seminars, trainings, and online courses.

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