Branding, Marketing Strategy, e-Books for Marketing

3 Reasons branding is tough on Facebook

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Sunday, April 21st, 2013, 12:00 pm ♦ No Comments
3 Reasons branding is tough on Facebook

Facebook is a key vehicle for expressing your brand. But it’s not that easy to succeed in actually using Facebook tools. As a brander, here are the three main reasons I think it’s tough to work with Facebook.

1. It’s hard to manipulate the Facebook Page

As someone who works with Facebook daily, I wish Facebook would give us more control. Everything is forms-based. You can’t interact with a real person in real time (ironic because Facebook brought real time interactions to the whole world…but it doesn’t treat its customers that way… sheesh!) Facebook ads offer little variety and unless you want a cookie cutter page, it’s not easy to manipulate the layout.

2. It’s hard to control out-of-control posters

The problem of rogue angry people who post negative rants is not exclusive to Facebook. It’s a fact of social media. The best you can do is let the complainers complain, and choose to respond to them with a light touch—if you choose to respond at all. The best way to respond is to acknowledge their issue, tell the world you have corrected it, describe exactly how, and all of a sudden the complaint turns into a “feature”. For exacmple, I was looking for a hotel in Walla Walla. One person complained of a dingy, smoky-smelling room. The manager went on Facebook and said they cleaned up the room, made sure everything was laundered, and spoke with the staff. Who knows whether the complainer was just fussy, or even if the hotel even changed anything. But to me, I was impressed that the manager was responsive, and I knew if I had needs, they’d be met at this place.

3. A lot of people simply don’t “like” Facebook.

No pun intended. When a media vehicle has so many negative associations (people don’t trust it, they feel the ads are intrusive, they just think the whole way Facebook is ubiquitous feels “icky”) it’s not exactly a medium you want to hang your hat on. But because it’s ubiquitous, icky or not, it’s a place most brands need to be. Find out if YOUR customers like or dislike Facebook. You may find most of them use the netwok even if they don’t love it—so you need to be where they are.

3 Best Brands on Facebook

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Thursday, April 11th, 2013, 11:59 am ♦ No Comments
3 Best Brands on Facebook

Why use Facebook to raise your brand awareness? Through Facebook you can interact with your audiences in an immediate, human, communal way. You can post timely info (sales, praises, holiday events) and people can provide instant feedback. Your Facebook page can be a fast way for customers to get vital stats about your business (when it’s open, when special items arrive). Facebook can also foster “community” in ways few other media can.

I always learn by watching. When I want to improve my website, I look at—and analyze—other sites I like. So if you want to improve your Facebook power, check out some of the brands that use it best.

Want to some good examples of brands that use Facebook best? Just ask Facebook. The social networking leader recently announced the brands Facebook deems Facebook rockstars, and they couldn’t be more different. One’s a snack for kids, one’s a beer for men, and one’s a TV series for women. So it goes to show, anyone can be a star on Facebook if you just know how to use the medium to its fullest.

Facebook Rockstar Brand #1 OREO

Who doesn’t love oreos? The brand knows moms are their main audience, so the brand decided to link its posts to topics that moms are interested in—newsworthy items that really have nothing to do with cookies, but everything to do with what their brand stands for.

Facebook Rockstar Brand #2 DALLAS

TNT, the network that produces and airs this Texas-sized drama, did something really creative with Facebook. They  took the Facebook timeline concept and built a history of the Dallas characters and plots during the show’s long hiatus. Sort of like meta-Facebooking, Very clever!

Facebook Rockstar Brand #3 NEWCASTLE ALE

Newcastle has a bold voice. Some may even be offended by their cheekiness and irreverence. But they don’t care. They say what they want even if it gets other  people’s panties in a twist. Newcastle is also liberal with its bold images of its product. Their style may not work for you, but their presence and their clairty and consistency make them a standout on Facebook.



3 Reasons Why Fictional Characters Help Brands Grow

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Friday, March 1st, 2013, 9:53 am ♦ No Comments
3 Reasons Why Fictional Characters Help Brands Grow

How important is storytelling to a brand? Let’s look at the idea from the perspective of the “protagonists” in our brand stories—the fictional characters linked to products that convey the qualities of the  brand with real, emotional  attributes.  in cute, colorful, and compelling ways.

We at Zoyo Branding create e-books for marketing. E-books are a great vehicle for expressing the brand characteristics through fictional characters. Here’s why fictional characters help brands grow:

Reason 1. Fictional Characters are Memorable

Who can forget Tony the Tiger or Ronald McDonald? Their images, their personalities and the voices are forever branded in the minds of people who grew up watching TV in the U.S. over the last 50 years.  Fictional figures in food advertising were reported by the Huffington Post UK as vital to the success of brands.

6a00d83451ccbc69e20120a676ce3b970b-400wi-300x200Reason 2. Fictional Characters Bring Human Attributes To Products and Services

If you want to say your tires are safe, what works better—to say your product is safe or to associate it with a puffy, friendly character whose girth embodies protection… like the Michelin Tire Man?

If you want to say your product allows you to go a little wild, like Captain Morgan Rum, create the persona of the mythical badboy pirate then create a campaign that states anyone can live like him… if you only drink that rum. “Got a little Captain in you?” ask the commercials.

When we personalize products, we’re apt to like them better and want to be part of their ”social circle” by association—and the association is buying or using the product.

Reason 3. Fictional Characters Can Evolve with the Brand.

Ffictional characters are remembered and beloved—a third great thing about human-ish brand characters is that they can  evolve over time. This allows the brands to maintain their appeal and reflect changing consumer tastes. Wendy’s recently updated its redheaded girl, Betty Crocker has modernized over the years, even Tony the Tiger has changed.

tony_the_tiger-lg1-280x300Market your brand wih a fictional character in a marketing e-book

Fictional characters allow brands to evoke sentiment, sales, and success. Contact Zoyo Branding to see how we can help make a story with your character that brings real brand loyalty to your product.

Advertising your e-books with “viral-quality” videos

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Monday, February 4th, 2013, 1:53 pm ♦ No Comments
Advertising your e-books with “viral-quality” videos

Indie authors and publishers need to use all the marketing tools of the trade. One of the best tools is setting up a You Tube Channel and creating
The digital publisher Pixel Titles has a few You Tube videos on its new channel, providing a traditional “book trailer” style overview of two of its titles. The digital title “Izzie’s Lucky Clover” is a novel for middle grade readers (that’s 4th through 6th grade). It’s about a 10-year-old girl who gets a whole new outlook on life when her neighbor introduces her to the poetry of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. One trailer is geared at teachers who need to teach their students about poetry for the Common Core Standards:

The other video is a more straightforward trailer, using brief text, appropriate music, and photos to create the mood and mystery of the story:

What neither of those trailers have is the quality to go viral. I call it “viral quality”? What’s viral quality? Viral quality is something surprising or awe-inspiring that prompts the viewer to immediately click to send the video to everyone they know via Facebook, e-mail, or Twitter. Check out the You Tube video below. It’s got a huge surprise in it that made it immediately go viral. Once the punch line is revealed (about a third of the way through) the joke kind of drones on and on, but by then more than half the people will have clicked off, in their perpetual search for the next laugh on the Internet. The thing is, the video is funny enough for people to generate the spread.

How do you do this with books? How do you do this with a low budget? It’s tricky. It’s not always possible for indie authors. But just having a You Tube channe—even with videos that have little chance of going viral—is better than not having one.

Need a You Tube Channel or a trailer? Contact Zoyo Branding.

Thanks for the recommendation

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013, 4:10 pm ♦ No Comments
Thanks for the recommendation

You can’t win ‘em all. I recently submitted a proposal for a branding project, but the client selected a larger firm. I was disappointed, but my attitude changed when the next week I saw this posting on his local listserv:

“I recommend talking to Beth Bacon at Zoyo Branding and/or [OTHER NAME REMOVED], both in the Seattle area.  Zoyo is a smaller firm, and my experience is that the cost structure will reflect that difference.  We interviewed both in regard to a marketing analysis and were impressed.”

Thanks for putting in a good word for me! Zoyo Branding was too small a firm for that client, but it’s good to know that the interview process provided us chance to show what we can do, and that resulted in a nice word-of-mouth recommendation about our work. Thanks!

Top 3 Search Engine Trends for 2013

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Saturday, January 5th, 2013, 10:26 am ♦ No Comments
Top 3 Search Engine Trends for 2013

Search is the number one way for your web site to get attention. Search engines have the power to direct your potential customers to your site, or to someone else’s. If you’re marketing today, you need to be savvy about this powerful influencer.

As the new year dawns, do you know the trends for 2013 in the Search Engine world? Here are the top 3 trends.

Trend #1 Google is still dominant

The numbers are really strong for Google to stay the leading search engine company. Latest survey’s put Google as owning 70% of the search engine market.

Trend #2 Yahoo will grow

In the fall of 2012, Yahoo search experienced growth, and it looks like that company is poised to gain market share into 2013. The third place rival, Bing, actually lost market share starting in October 2012. This is bad news for Microsoft who as yet has been unable to grow this search engine. In fact, the number one search term on Bing is… Google.

Trend #3: Using You Tube as a Search Engine

Did you know that the #2 search engine in the world is… You Tube? Since You Tube is owned by Google, when sizing up the companies, its numbers are compressed into the overall Google score. But if you were to separate out You  Tube from Google, it would surpass both Yahoo and Bing as the second leading search engine tool. So if you’re a company, it pays to secure your branded You Tube channel and  create some marketing-oriented You Tube videos and get them up there  on your You Tube Channel. Contact us to find out how to perform You Tube Marketing.

Table of Search Engine Statistics

The table below is from The Search Engine Journal web site and shows the size of the leading search engines.


Do you know the top four pillars of your brand?

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013, 2:52 am ♦ No Comments
Do you know the top four pillars of your brand?

A brand is a clear, simple, brief articulation of your organization’s personality and benefits. When someone knows your brand, they  know what you stand for and—more importantly—how they are going to benefit from engaging with you. That all sounds great, you’re thinking, but maybe it sounds too fluffy. What are the the concrete pillars that make this happen? How how do you know when you’ve got a real, solid brand?

Every brand is held up by pillars. To see if your brand is solid, take a look at these four questions (below) and ask yourself if you can easily define the answers. The answers are the pillars on which your brand is founded.

Pillar 1: External Perceptions (Audience data and Market Trend data)

How is your organization currently perceived among the target audience and the wider community?

Pillar 2: Audience Mindset (Audience data and Market Trend data)

What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current and potential customers? What do they care about, what do they worry about, what are they looking for in a school for their children?

Pillar 3: The Marketplace (Competitor data)

Where does your organization fit within its greater environment? What are its strengths and weaknesses compared to the other choices your audience has?

Pillar 4: Core, unique qualities

What are your unique qualities, and what value do you deliver? How can the value be succinctly communicated in a meaningful way?

Your answers

How easy was it to answer those questions for your organization? If you can’t easily answer the questions, perhaps a brand review is in order. Contact us today.

3 top ways for local businesses to advertise—as newspaper ad sales slide to oblivion

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 9:39 am ♦ No Comments
3 top ways for local businesses to advertise—as newspaper ad sales slide to oblivion

2012 was the year in which digital news surpassed newspaper and radio news. More people get their news from a digital screen than through their ears or  a paper. For local businesses that have relied on local newspaper advertising, whether small town newspapers or big city rags, this is bad news. The ad prices aren’t really getting any cheaper, but you’re getting less attention. What to do about it? Here are three tips.

Tip 1: Advertise Online

Go ahead, drop  your contract with that traditional paper. Move to online advertising witth confidence knowing that  digital advertising grew 18% in the third quarter of 2012. In the US, digital advertising now totals $9.3 billion. Statistically, older adults do not click on digital ads, but research shows that younger adults do interact with online ads. So there is hope that the trend will grow as these younger adults mature and new digital-savvy (Digital Native) teens grow to adulthood. The other great thing about digital advertising is that it’s completely trackable. Your digital advertising source should give you access to a real-time analytics dashboard, so you can see how many people are accessing your ad—and how many arent (which will give you good, fast data on how to place your next digital ad). It’s real time, it’s trackable, and it’s cheaper than print.

Tip 2: Optimize for Mobile

Make sure your website is optimized for mobile. Mobile web surfing via smartphones is probably the biggest marketing trend of 2012. Did you know that 44% of all US adults own a smartphone? This is the year that smartphone users are really using their phones for a lot more than talking. More and more  Your customers access your site via mobile for specific reasons: to get your address or phone number, to learn your hours of operations, to check prices. Make sure this information comes up first and foremost when accessed by smartphone. You may need to hire a developer to make these changes for you. Contact Zoyo Branding for help.

Tip 3: Use consistent Branding

Maintain consistent branding. Whether it’s online, in person, or in print, your brand must be the same everywhere. Keep your colors and fonts consistent. Just as important, keep your message consistent.

Do you have a brand message that separates you from your competitors? That gives a unique, positive, memorable, emotional benefit to your audience? Is your logo easy to recognize, simple, bold, clear? Do your products and services match up to the promise that your brand offers?

Many of the small business clients that I see have done no work honing their brand. These organizations  actually deliver products and services that are better than the  brand they’ve been conveying in the past. If you offer great products and services, your brand should match.  Contact Zoyo Branding for help.


What’s a typical schedule for a web development project?

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Wednesday, December 12th, 2012, 3:02 pm ♦ No Comments
What’s a typical schedule for a web development project?

Zoyo Branding helps many clients achieve a new or a significantly revised web site. At Zoyo branding, we work with different web coders to turn our client’s vision into a reality. One of the keys to a successful web development project is planning. We’ve all heard of projects not meeting requirements or timelines. This is because the projects don’t begin with a thorough planning process.

Zoyo Branding has a proven track record of delivering on time and on budget. This only happens with realistic expectations and a clear schedule. Below is a schedule for a simple brochure-style web siste to give you an idea of how long it takes to build a rudimentary web site.

Task Person Involved Sample Dates
Create Content  -  -
Information: Create Site Map Zoyo and Client 10/11 – 10/16
Select WordPress Template Zoyo and Client 10/11 – 10/16
Additional Content provided by Client Client 10/16/12
Write Text in MS Word format Zoyo 10/16 – 10/25
Client Review Draft 1 Client 10/25 – 10/29
Revise to write Text Draft 2 Zoyo 10/29 – 10/31
Client Review  of Draft 2 Client 10/31 – 11/02
Site Coder Selection  Zoyo and Client 11/02
Create RFP for Coders  Zoyo 10/01
Receive Bids from Coders Zoyo and Client 10/01-11/09
Award Project to Coder Zoyo and Client 10/10
Site Development  –  –
Wireframes Coder Begin 11/11
Visual design Graphic Designer Begin 11/11
Programming Coder Begin 11/11
Text Draft 3; Deliver to Coder  Zoyo 12/01 – 12/05
Revise Text, Graphics in website Zoyo / Coder 12/05 – 12/08
Client Review and Proof Reading Client 12/07-12/12
Web Site Quality Assurance Coder 12/11 – 12/14
Testing Coder 12/11 – 12/14
Bug fixes Coder 12/11 – 12/13
Final Proofreading Zoyo and Client 12/13
Present Final Site Client 12/14
Go-Live Date Client Friday 12/14

How to use email to close a sale

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Wednesday, November 28th, 2012, 3:27 pm ♦ No Comments
How to use email to close a sale

Success, for many of my customers, is all about closing the sale. Salespeople and marketers often come to loggerheads about this. Salespeople often say Marketing is futile, and really doesn’t help close the sale. But I beg to differ. Marketing can close sales.

Here’s how. With email marketing in your repertoire of services, you can narrow in on the customers who are ready to buy. You can spur them to take the steps to purchase with discounts and incentives.

Email marketing can also gently remind those who are not paying attention that you’re really a great organization.

The key is knowing exactly who is ready to buy and who is not paying attention.

Guess what? Technology can help you here. At Zoyo Branding, we use Constant Contact. It’s a pretty cool service lets you look at exactly who opened your emails, see which links they actually clicked on so you can know what they’ve been thinking about. You can use this information to send follow-up emails.

The other cool thing is that you can look at exactly who DIDN”T open your emails. Those “ignorers” didn’t respond to your message. Though it’s not great that those customers ignored you, at least you have information about them—you now know that particular message didn’t work for them.  Now you get the opportunity to think of a different message and try to meet their needs some other way.

The Constant Contact control panel also allows you to make your emails look great, takes care of all that “unsubscribe” nonsense, and lets you manage different lists for  different types of customers.

Any business with long sales cycles, or that relies on relationship-building to grow sales, should take a serious look at Constant Contact. You get a free 30-day trial.

I’d be happy to meet with you (at no cost of course) to show you how to get going with email marketing. Please feel free to get in touch with me at 206-790-9909.


Download tips on building your brand with social media

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Monday, November 19th, 2012, 11:51 am ♦ No Comments
Download tips on building your brand with social media

These days, your customers have a range of ways to interact with your brand. The least expensive and most effective way to build a relationship between your brand and your audience is with social media. But the range of social media venues is huge. Just staying up to date with teh changes in the social technologies is a full-time job. Here’s a quick guide to building your brand using social media. Download this free PDF from

40% of small businesses increase digital marketing

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 9:49 am ♦ No Comments
40% of small businesses increase digital marketing

Small and medium-sized businesses are shelling out for digital marketing in the third quarter of 2012.

Maybe it’s because digital marketing works. Digital marketing gives business a big bang for their buck, is highly targeted, and can be measured immediately.

Market researcher BIA/Kelsey recently performed a survey of 300 small and medium sized businesses in the US. They discovered that 40%  planned to increase their digital spending budget within the next 12 months. Read more at

Other interesting findings:

• 3.7% SMBs planned to decrease digital budgets

• Spending is spread over multiple channels

• Facebook was frequently mentioned by small businesses

• Mobile marketing hasn’t caught on as fast as general web-based digital

[Graphic and content (c) Thanks for the data!]

Try this Trend: Add symbols to e-mail headers

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Sunday, October 7th, 2012, 8:59 am ♦ No Comments
Try this Trend: Add symbols to e-mail headers

Looking for a way to say a lot in your email headers without using a lot of space? Want to draw attention to your promotional emails? Try adding a symbol.

Email marketers at companies large and small have started using this technique. The company Email Responsibly, used symbols in its subject lines and received “mixed-to-positive results”. I guess this is better than simply “mixed” results or “mixed-to-negative”. And when it comes to email, every open counts to boost your open rate statistics. Email Responsibly analyzed other organizations and found that 56 percent experienced higher unique open rates. Again, not a homerun, but better than average.

Not sure what symbols are or how to make them? Check out this handy guide to digital symbols. The symbols are  universal character encoding, called, Unicode. They can be produced by all standard computers and their integrity is maintained by the Unicode Consortium. Unicode covers all the characters for all the world laugnages as well as technical symbols, punctuations, and characters.

Marketers rank 4th in coffee dependency

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012, 3:31 am ♦ No Comments
Marketers rank 4th in coffee dependency

You just gotta love Dunkin’ Donuts. They recently announced their annual survey of coffee-drinking habits on the job. When I saw the headline in my e-mail, I immediatly thought marketers would be on the top (as I reached for a sip while waiting for the page to load wiht the full article).

But alas, we marketers are not number one. Food preparation workers drink the most coffee. Here are the full rankings:

1. Food Preparation/Service Workers

2. Scientists

3. Sales Representatives

4. Marketing/Public Relations Professionals

5. Nurses (Nurse, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant)

6. Editors/Writers/Media Workers

7. Business Executives

8. Teachers/Instructors (K-12)

9. Engineering Technicians/Support

10. IT Managers/Network Administrators.

The survey results were released in advance of National Coffee Day, which will be celebrated Sept. 29. Dunkin’ performed this survey with CareerBuilder. They surveyed over 4,100 workers.

Is your place on Google Places?

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Friday, September 28th, 2012, 12:37 pm ♦ No Comments
Is your place on Google Places?

Why buy an ad in the Yellow Pages?  For free you can show up well in local searches using Google Places. Who uses Yellow Pages any more, anyway? At Zoyo Branding we’ve created a quick slideshow to explain how to get found using Google Places.

Google Places results provide:

On the Google page:

  • • A map with the place on a red pin
  • •Quick access to web site and physical address/phone number
  • •Ratings (up to 5 stars) and reviews (via links to Yelp, urban spoon, groupon, superpages,  whatever rating service or directory applies to the business)
  • •A link to a separate Google Places Page that includes all of the above plus:
    • Photos provided by the business
    • Hours provided by the business
    • Categories of services provided by the business

Try it yourself. Search “ice cream.” See what you get. Then “ice cream Seattle.” Do the results differ?

How to register in Google Places

Before you start:

  • • Gather up 3-5 photos of your business or products that you’d like to share on Google.
  • • Label the photo files with your category, company name and descriptor (Flowers_BainbridgeBloomerCompany_ValentineBouquet.jpeg)
  • • Know all of your company info (phone number, address, etc) or have it handy

Register at Google Places:

Go to Places Page. Go to and type in “Google Places.” Under the Google Places result, select the option that says, “Google Places for business.”

Log in. You will now be on the Google Places home page. If you have a Google Account, enter your user name and PW and sign in.  If not, register a new Google Account.

Enter info. Click to “add a business” or “add a new business” (or whatever is similar wording to register the business) and fill out as much of the information as you can in the online forms. Add your address, your phone number, upload photos as you walk through the registration.

Confirm. The registration will ask you to confirm that you are the owner of this business. You can select either to have Google call you or have a card mailed to you. If you select “call” within minutes, you’ll get an automatic call to your business phone number. Then enter that number into the form and continue on. If you opt for a card, or as in a case with one of my clients, for some reason it doesn’t “like” the phone number I put in for the business, the card will come to you within 5-10 business days. On that card or in the automatic phone call will be a code number to enter in to finalize your registration.

Check your progress. Go back to Google and type in your keywords and city. You’ll probably instantly see your listing and photos on a Google Places page with a pin on your location and all your photos.

NEXT STEP: Optimize your keywords and website for better placement

This is a more complex task. If you have any questions about that, contact me at Zoyo Branding.