Honing Your Message, Role of Content Strategists

Creating a Content Strategy

Do you have a full understanding of who your audience is? That’s why we’ve spent a lot of time talking about how to determine who your ideal customer is and how to talk to them. If you’ve missed our first two installments of this series check them out here:

Who is Your Audience? Let’s Brainstorm
Who is Listening to You? Getting to Know Your Audience

Hear from the content strategists of Innovations Branding House to learn how to take the knowledge you’ve learned to hone your message to be sent to the right audience, at the right time. Continue reading “Honing Your Message, Role of Content Strategists”

Who is Listening to You? Getting to Know Your Audience

who is listening blog thumb

Do you feel like you’re screaming your worth across social media but you’re not sure who really cares? Well, you can find out! Social media platforms provide you different analytics that display a wealth of information.

We’ve talked a lot lately about how to get to know your audience. Here are our first two articles:

Who is your Audience?  Let’s Brainstorm [VIDEO]

Why You Need to be Posting on LinkedIn

Have you done the tasks set out in the previous two articles? Now, let’s move on to analytics and using them to help you build a more accurate picture of who your audience is!

We’re going to focus on Facebook Insights, but most social media platforms have some type of analytics you can take a look at.  Some of the top things you want to keep an eye on are:

  • The total reach of your posts.
  • The number of engagements.
  • How people are engaging with you.


The video above walks you through mock Facebook Insights data. You’ll learn how to:

-See the demographics of those who are engaging with your posts the most.

-See the time of day your Facebook fans are online.

-Find out which type of posts your fans like and respond to most.

So, watch the video and really get to know who is listening to you! Now, let’s talk about what you can do with this information.


Understanding your analytics allows you to do a few different things:

  1. Evaluate if this social platform is working for your company. Facebook is a great tool for most companies, but if YOUR audience isn’t there, then it may not be something to put much effort into. Just like we explained here, if you’re a B2B, you may need to put more effort into LinkedIn.  See who and when people are engaging with you on the platform and then decide if it is worth it to move forward.  NOTE: Trying a platform for a month will not be enough to make this decision.


  1.  Create engaging content. As you take a closer look at your analytics you’ll be able to see what types of posts you should create. When you understand who is listening to you on social media, you can begin talking directly to them, their struggles, successes, humor and personalities.  As we’ve stressed over and over, understanding WHO you’re talking to will help you create marketing plans that work.


  1.  Make decisions on when and how to post.  You have awesome content to post…now what do you do next? If you watched the video above, you’ll know what times your audience is most engaged on Facebook, so now you can schedule posts to go out at that time. Also, now that you know what types of posts they like best, you can work on creating more like them. Do they love videos? Make a video from the content you have.  Even a simple slideshow of pictures can sometimes do the trick!  You simply want to create more of what your audience loves, and show it when they’re most willing to receive it. But, remember there is also something to be said for variety in the content you create.


Remember data helps you make decisions but it’s not an exact science. You want to share your company’s personality and mission with your followers. Stilted content that all looks exactly the same isn’t what you should take away from this post.  Instead, give your audience variety, but always keep in mind who you’re talking to.

Just keep giving them what they’ll love!

Keep following our “getting to know your audience” series! In a few weeks, you’ll meet our content strategists who will help you start honing your message for the right audience.  

Who is Your Audience? Let’s Brainstorm

who are you blog

Fundamental Marketing Question:  Who is your audience?

You probably have a general idea of who your audience is, or at least who you think  your audience is. But, when was the last time you really sat down to define it?

This isn’t something you can do quickly or even in an afternoon. It takes some serious research.  But, you can get the ball rolling and at least start to build a basic understanding of who you are trying to reach for your business.


So, why do you need to know who your audience really is?  Let’s look at this analogy:

Think about how you talk to people throughout the day. Do you talk to your children the same way you talk to your spouse? What about your boss and coworkers? You use the same language, inflection and urgency in all of those conversations right?

Of course not!

You may not vary your voice much, but you do talk differently to different people.  It’s not that you want to treat people differently, it’s just that you know all of these different people really well, and you know HOW to talk to them. Everyone receives and understands information differently, that’s why we vary our communication styles when talking with the different people in our lives.

With marketing, it’s no different!

Once you know your audience, then you can start building the right message. You can talk directly to them in a way they understand and can relate. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We need to start with your audience.  

Easy mistake!

Don’t be like “most businesses.” A common mistake is that they assume their customer feels and experiences things the same way they do. That may not be true.  So, be the oddball out and start making decisions based on your audience and NOT on your own emotions.  
brainstorm with your team on who your audience is


Over the next few months we’ll be exploring practical ways you can determine who your audience is. But first, get with your team and have a brainstorming session.  You may not know the exact answers, but start to think like your customer.

Start with these three questions:  

-Where does your audience go? (physically and online too)

-What do they see everyday?

-What problems are they facing?

Next month we’ll continue exploring ways to understand who your audience is and how to answer some of these questions. 


Two ROI Definitions in Marketing


In business ROI usually means Return on Investment.  As a business owner, each decision and investment you make for your future, you hope will bring a high return.

In B2B marketing and B2C marketing we look at ROI in a couple of different ways.  

1. Return on Investment:

This is also used in the context of advertising and marketing tactics.  As online and social media tactics change, our methods for measuring ROI also have to change.

This includes looking at clicks to a website, email opens, Facebook engagement statistics, etc.

We are constantly looking at the numbers to help guide us into what we do next for our clients.  This helps us define our target more clearly and the types of tactics we use to reach them.


2. Return on Impression: 

Our Branded Products Specialist defines ROI a little differently. ROI is also Return on Impression, which means how many people will see your logo on your branded product.

Robyn talks with the client and uses research to determine which products will maximize impressions for a brand.

Items such as tote bags or tumblers will be used often, which also means they’ll be seen often.  And, though it’s affordable and simple, a pen still has a high ROI for brands.


ROI, in either sense, is a metric term to help explain the impact marketing tactics have on a brand’s image, exposure and lead generation.

Marketing strategies should always strive for a high return for the brand, whether that be monetarily or through exposure.

Want to learn more about our new Branded Products Specialist? Robyn would love to help you find the right branded products for your next marketing campaign or event! 

Two Most Important Marketing Questions [VIDEO]


So, as the new year begins, here’s some quick marketing tips from Innovations Branding House to you!

There are two main questions you should ask as the new year begins.

Are you ready?

Here they are:

  1. Have you built a marketing foundation?

  2. What’s next?

These two questions are simple to ask, but not always simple to answer. Let’s dive into what we mean.  

Have you built your marketing foundation?

Your marketing foundation includes all the pieces that collectively establish your brand.  

Those pieces include things like the following:

-brand slogan
-business cards

Branding Tools

Yes, creating these items is marketing. But, the purpose of them is to establish your brand in the mind of your customers or potential customers.

Why is this important? Here’s a few scenarios to consider:

-Logo inconsistency

If your logo isn’t the same everywhere, your loyal customers may become confused as to the business they’re buying from.  If the variation is vast enough they may actually think you’re a different company altogether.  

 Not good!

-Poor website design

Did you know that around 65% of all media time is now spent on mobile?  That means people are on their phones or tablets searching for products, watching videos and engaging with friends.

What if your site isn’t mobile friendly, but you have the information they’re looking for.

Do you think they’ll go find you on their desktop or go to the next Google search option?  

I think you know the answer.

There’s many more scenarios that we could go over, but the key point is that you need to have a marketing foundation for your business before you can begin building your marketing campaigns.

That brings us to the second question you should ask in the new year.  

What’s Next?

This is actually the question you should NEVER stop asking. This question will drive your marketing plans for the next month, the next three months, even the next year.

You want to build short and long term marketing goals. Think of it this way, if you’d only built the concrete foundation to your business’s building, you wouldn’t have a business right?

Same with marketing.  The foundation establishes your brand, but now it’s time to let people know you’re ready for business.

How do you do that? By creatively answering these questions and building a strategic plan around it.

-How will you drive traffic to your business?

-How will you nurture current customer relationships?

-How will you invite new customers to work with you?

So, as you build your marketing plans for 2017, remember these key points:

-Marketing never stops.

If you want to continue driving traffic to your business, then you need to continue telling your customers who you are and the benefits you bring to them.  

-Marketing is different for every business

The business next door has a different target market than you, so he may have different tactics to use than you will.  Remember, you want your business to stand out, so get creative!

-With creativity comes a little risk

When you try something that’s never been done before, remember there is a little bit of risk involved. But, there could also be exponential reward for trying something new!

So, whether you need to build your marketing foundation or begin asking “what’s next?”, the new year is a great place to start!

To learn more about marketing like a brand, download our free guide below.  Or check out these other resources! 


Create A Sales & Marketing Relationship That Works


When you’re passionate about the work you do, it can be easy to isolate yourself and your focus to solely your tasks. But, let us present the possibility that your work is fruitless without communicating inside your organization.

How can this be possible? Let’s talk specifically about the sales and marketing relationship within an organization.

The purpose of sales is to create new sales, upsell and nurture current clients. Marketing is focused on supporting the brand image with the right advertising and messaging.

But, these two departments shouldn’t feel like they are competing. They should instead see one as the driving support of the other.

What do sales and marketing teams have in common?

  • Work within a system

Again, sales and marketing are very different in purpose even though they’re both reaching for the goal of increasing awareness and sales for their company. Because their purpose is different, so are the systems they work within. Sales will work within Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. There are many to choose from, but the main purpose is to assist the sales team in tracking potential and current customers. It allows them to easily document who is being contacted and where they are in the sales cycle.

In marketing, we will also work with a system. This is generally linked to the CRM so potential leads made from marketing efforts are funneled straight to the sales team.

The marketing system will track mass engagement from different platforms targeting different customer personas. For example, their system will track how many opened an email and what content they clicked on most.

  • Create plans

Each department creates a plan and then works within that plan to reach their goal. Here’s an example: Sales: As a team, make 50 calls a day, have three conversations which will lead to 1 promising meeting. Marketing: Create messaging that generates leads for sales team to help them fulfill their plan. Marketing plans should always merge with the current sales plan.

  • See communication as key

There has to be communication not just with potential customers, but between both of these departments. Many times sales and marketing teams do not communicate, which can sometimes lead to pointless efforts made by both parties.

So what indicators display a healthy relationship between sales and marketing teams?

  1. They are aware of each other’s efforts.This goes back to that important communication piece! Have you ever heard your sales team say, “I really wish we had a brochure or pamphlet to hand out!”…only to find out one was made but never given to the sales team to use?If you have, you’re not the only one! One of the first things we work on with our clients is helping them understand the need for efforts to match. Communication is key for this to happen! The sales campaigns should always align with the campaigns the marketing team is creating.
  2. They have regular meetings together.The easiest way to keep everyone aware of the efforts being made, is to have regular meetings. This allows for a couple of things:

    -the sales team can communicate their needs (ex. tradeshow materials)

    -the sales team can bring light to the attitudes they’re facing  from potential customers.

    -both teams can talk about results and analytics

    -both teams can work on using all of this information to tweak current campaigns or build new ones.

  3. They regularly analyze results and ask “what worked?”Analysis is a huge component to creating future campaigns that will work for the organization. For sales, they can see which tactics work to close more sales. For marketing, they can see what tactics are driving more qualified leads. Together, they can increase leads and sales with the most effective efforts.

So, are your sales and marketing teams talking to one another? Do you think your marketing needs a little boost? Try evaluating your organization with this information.


How to Stop Using Inferior Photos [VIDEO]

Downtown Nashville

Photography always communicates a message. That’s why social platforms like Instagram and Facebook focus mainly on photos and videos. It’s amazing what 1 image, or a series of images can communicate with a simple glimpse.

But, it’s far beyond social media – think about your every day. How many times a day does your eye glance over pictures?

-Billboards on your drive to work

-As you sit, drink coffee and read your morning news. Whether that’s on paper or on your mobile device, I would argue the pictures are what draw your eye into what you decide to read.

-In emails

-Text messages from your family

-Posters and advertisements as you head to the grocery or your favorite restaurant

-Menu photos at your favorite restaurant (ever ordered something solely because the picture made your mouth water?)

Downtown Nashville

Images bombard us everyday, so now think about the messages your marketing images are conveying.  Many brands settle for sub-par photos which result in two main outcomes: 

1. Image is Ignored: The photo doesn’t grab the attention of the audience and so therefore is ignored.  Think of all the images you scroll past on your phone or drive by everyday, but don’t recall.

2. Image Confuses Audience:  This is just as bad as being ignored. You may actually have a beautiful photo, but if it doesn’t accurately represent your brand, or display the correct message, customers leave confused about the purpose of your photo.


So, how do you stop using inferior photos? With these ingredients:


The right equipment and knowledge

You may have a professional camera, but do you have everything you need to capture the right images?

Remember to always consider the best lighting options and lenses. Your subject will determine your lens selection.  You’ll use one lens for an extreme close up for texture or product shots. Or, if your subject is far away, you’ll use a different lens to get the greatest detail and light exposure.

As for lighting, you want to maximize your natural light if possible using diffusers and reflectors. Or, with the right lighting placement indoors, you can create a setting that looks natural and makes your subject pop.



When taking photos, try to change up your angle.  Don’t shoot from your height at all times, try different angled shots to add variety to the images of your subject.

Also, in post production, some editors get a little too creative.  Some edits are fine, but as you edit the image, continually ask yourself, “does this look natural?”  If you answer no, then reverse that edit.

People may not be able to pinpoint what looks off about the photo, but they’ll notice something and it will distract them from the message you’re trying to send.

Card deck


A beautifully created photo is your goal, but you only get there if you have strategy from the beginning to the end of the process.  Before you begin your photoshoot, think about the message you want to convey with these photos.

What’s the purpose you have for these images? After you’ve shot for a while, take a look back and re-evaluate, does the subject dictate a change in your message? Do you need to rethink or refocus the purpose?

Marketing cannot succeed without strategy. So anytime you pick up a camera, start typing a blog, or filming a tv commercial, there first needs to be a determined strategy.
Remember to use the right equipment and right strategy, for the right job.  You will not always need a professional camera and crew.  If you’re at your company picnic and want to post a few photos on social media, then use your smartphone.  That’s ok!

But, just because you’re using your smartphone, doesn’t mean you should forget the tips above.  Use strategy and creativity to take creative shots for your own social media. Don’t miss my other tips in the video at the top!



Pokémon Go and the Hidden Potential for Your Business


You may have witnessed in the last month, the phenomenon one mobile application sparked around the world: Pokémon Go.

Love Pokémon and own a business? Keep reading!

Don’t care about Pokémon and own a business? Keep reading!

This game is exciting for some generations to play, but it’s also exciting because it’s introducing the potential of augmented reality technology.

It’s the first time that we’ve been able to actually integrate augmented reality into our everyday surroundings. Plus, this application actually got people out of their home to socialize! Facebook and other applications have tried to encourage their fans to do this with some success, but nothing to the extent of Pokémon Go.


What real life implications does this new technology have on us? 

  • Think of the training possibilities for virtually any job, especially dangerous jobs such as firefighting.
  • Think of how this could be used in the future for marketing tactics. What could this look like for businesses?

There’s a lot of potential in the things we don’t understand.

As business owners and marketers, what things exist that we might be turning a blind eye to? When new ideas surface, do you immediately shoot them down without exploring them fully?

Your employees and your marketing team may have what seem like crazy ideas, but before you dismiss them, look past the surface and understand why they would or wouldn’t work. Look at research, past endeavors and judge the idea based on your understanding and not the fear of something new.


  • Download the Pokémon Go App.  You may have no idea what Pokémon even is, but that’s ok. Download the app and simply experience what this new technology can achieve.
  • Write down a list of things you don’t understand right now about marketing or business tools. Send this to Todd Duff, CEO of Innovations Branding House and he’ll get back with you!  Email him at todd@innovationsbrandinghouse.com

Marketing tactics can change as technology changes. This doesn’t mean every new piece of technology fits with your marketing plan, but you should never ignore it. Always strive to understand what you don’t know, because as we have seen here, that’s usually when the best ideas come to fruition.




Beat Competitors with Marketing Consistency

Beat your competitors with marketing consistency. Take a few minutes to evaluate your marketing. Gather all of your marketing pieces you’ve done recently, take a step back and analyze them as a whole.

 1. Analyze your logo.

Do you have different versions used across platforms? Is the logo on your business card a different color than the logo on your email signature? Make sure your logo, if nothing else, always stays consistent across print, online and television.

 2. Analyze your marketing messages.

What message best represents your brand image? That’s your brand promise which should be reflected in every marketing tactic.

 3. Analyze your design theme.

When you look at all of your advertisements, commercials, your website etc, do you see a common design theme? Your vehicle vinyl wrap and your website should have similar colors and design elements. Your commercial and your print advertisements should complement each other, so your brand is immediately recognizable.

Not keeping your brand image consistent can actually hurt the perception your customers have of your business, which could mean a loss in sales for you.


How do you make your brand stand out? Apply these two key points that successful brands take action on every day. 


1. Successful brands care.

This goes beyond caring for the community and their employees. What this means is the brand cares about, well, their brand.  These organizations are constantly asking the question, “Does this decision support our brand?” This can be anything from campaign designs to the next event they decide to sponsor.

2. Successful brands understand their brand is an assett that needs to be managed.

They realize their brand is more than just their logo. These organizations realize their logo is a symbol of their company as a whole. They constantly evaluate how their logo and name is being used online, in print materials and by others in their organization. They strive to keep not only a consistent ‘look’, but also ensure they are representing their brand in the products and services they deliver.


Remember your organization is represented visually through your brand image. So keep it consistent to reflect that your company is stable, capable and a trustworthy brand to do business with.

Take a look at how we helped these brands become more consistent in their message and design.

Brand consistency should across all aspects of your marketing: print, online, television, etc.


Innovations Insights: What is Your Competitive Edge?


What is your competitive edge?

Do you ever find yourself in conversations with potential new clients or customers and find yourself having to play some kind of defense regarding competition?

Or the client asks things like, “What makes you better than ABC-type company?”

During the early stages of strategic marketing planning, we regularly have to help our clients figure out what separates them from their competition.

What’s Your Competitive Edge?

So, here’s a pop quiz. What separates you from your competition? I’ll give you a few seconds.

Here’s a clue: It can’t be quality or service. Everyone is saying that.

It has to be something that truly separates you from your competition.

So that’s kind of a tough one. Besides quality and service, what other things are your competition saying?

So one example might be a plumbing company that says “We show up on time! We do the work correctly!”

When what really separates them is the fact that they perform background checks, regular drug testing on all their employees – all the people that will be coming into your home.

Another example is an IT company. A lot of IT companies say that they fix things quickly and that their staff is friendly.

However, when that company takes the time to dig down and find that thing that truly separates them, they discover that they’re the only company who gives their cell phone numbers out to their clients.

It’s not always easy to figure that out, so good luck!