Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Branding Benefits

To say that you need a brand to be successful is inaccurate. The laundry mat or embroidery shop up the street do not have a brand and they are doing very well. Whether you need a brand is dependent on the goal of your business. For example, if you are a service based business, or simply have a business that is in demand, then having a strong brand is not needed considering customers will seek you out and already know what they want, how they want it, and at what speed and price they want it. Think, where does the local school purchase its school buses? Have you ever seen a school bus manufacturer advertise their brand on television or at local events?

You do, however, need to have a brand if you have significant competition and if you have a niche product which requires educating customers. The goal of a brand is to provide customers with reasons to purchase your product or service over the competition. Without a solid brand, it makes marketing and customer acquisition expensive and time consuming. A brand gives your business its unique character – its look and feel, voice, and identity. Without its image, Nike is just one more shoemaker, and Macy’s is simply another retailer. A good brand should have a foundation based on value and customer engagement. The brand should represent the mission of your business and hold relevancy to your customers.

Perceived Value. Your brand should reflect the goal of your business by highlighting your strengths and encouraging a positive perception. Perceived value influences the amount of money your customer believes your product or service is worth. Whether marketing a service or a product, the results are similar in that both rely on the customer’s perception of your business’s expertise, quality, and reputation.

If your business and your competitors sell the exact same item, built the same way, and from the same materials, it is likely that the business with the better brand value reputation will sell the item at a higher rate because of the perceived value by the customer. If your customer perceives the value of your brand as high, they will likely make assumptions that the products you promote are of high-quality as well.

Building your perceived value

Perceived value is based on how much money the consumer or business believes the product is worth. It is the marketer’s responsibility to generate a positive perceived value of the company’s products. Whether marketing a service or a product, the results are similar in that both rely on the consumers’ perception of the company’s or individual’s expertise, quality, and reputation.

If your business and your competitors are to sell the exact same item, built exactly the same way, and from the same materials, it is likely that the business with the better brand value reputation can sell the item at a higher price because of the perceived value by the consumer.

If your customer perceives the value of your product high, the customer will likely show more interest and loyalty. The customers’ perception of your company’s customer support, trust, loyalty, and product quality determine the products value.

Web Site Privacy Policies – Example

Example of Privacy Policy:

We Collect

We consider “Personal Information” means any information that is linked to your identity such as your name, street address, telephone number, screen name, age and/or email address. CompanyEC.com may collect some or all of these types of Personal Information through a survey, questionnaire, promotions, or a registration form. CompanyEC.com requires registration in order for you to use your products and services or other activities such as viewing invoices or updating contact information.

In order to register on our site, we require you to disclose your name, street address, and email address. CompanyEC (CEC) will not collect any Personal Information from your visits to our sites unless you provide your Personal Information to us voluntarily, and we will not require you to provide more information than is necessary to participate in our web sites’ activities. We also do not collect financial or other sensitive data information about our users unless that information is voluntarily given during the ordering process.

Reason – We Collect

This statement is necessary as it describes what type of information we collect from our users when they are completing forms within the site. The reason for choosing this is that it is important information for CEC to have when processing customers orders. CEC makes all transactions online and through its website. In addition, it also collects information to monitor statistics and user activity throughout the website.

While CEC does mainly offer online services, the personal information is needed for invoices and for the sending of products to the customers via one of these methods mentioned above.

This portion of the policy is great to have to allow users to know what it is that we collect, why we collect it and why it is needed.

Security

All personal information, such as your name, postal and e-mail address or telephone number is considered private and confidential. This personal information is stored in a secure location, is accessible only by designated staff, and is used only for the purposes that you have given us permission for e.g. provision of services.

CompanyEC guarantees that no personal information will be released to an individual or corporation except when client authorization is received allowing the information to be released.

  • We employ reasonable and current security methods to prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure correct use of information.
  • Your personal data will be stored within a database that is located behind a firewall for added security. The server housing the database is physically protected at a secure, third party site and is monitored by security personnel twenty-four hours a day. Only authorized personnel can access the data center and the particular server housing the database.
  • No data transmission over the Internet or any wireless network can be guaranteed to be secure. As a result, while we try to protect your personal information, we cannot ensure or guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us.
  • We do not encrypt your normal web sessions with the Service using SSL. Any transmission to the CompanyEC website or service of credit card information uses SSL encryption.

Reason – Security 

“If you use SSL to transmit sensitive data, mention it here. Also, mention any steps that you’ve taken to protect customer data from hackers” (Allbusiness, 2010). With following this method mentioned above, this section is great to have as it allows for our users to know what it is that we secure and what we do not secure. In addition, it allows for our users to understand how we go about securing their personal information.

By users having a good understanding of what is considered personal information that will be secured, it will allow for them to make the select decision on whether they want to submit that information and other information. CEC collects lots of information from its users and not all of it is considered private and we do not go about securing it all. Being that a majority of the information isn’t going to affect the users security, we don’t secure it and through this section we inform the user of what it is that we will mark as personal and place it within our secured data center.

Third Parties

In the course of doing business, we employ other companies to perform a variety of functions on our behalf. For example, at times we may retain third parties to analyze, update and correct data we collect on our web sites, including Personal Information, to help us improve our products, our database and our web sites. In addition, we may share Personal Information with agents, suppliers, fulfillment houses and other third parties to allow delivery of information, products or services. These suppliers and other third parties may have access to your Personal Information if it is needed to perform their functions for CompanyEC, but they are not authorized by us to use your Personal Information in any way other than the intended use.

Reason – Third Parties

I chose this selection because it mentions that while we don’t sell information, we do have to hand some of it over to third parties to complete some orders. An example of this is when shipping items purchased through third parties for customers. I recently had to create a digital piece of work for a customer and then had to have that digital image blown up to a 36”x48” poster. The poster company that I utilized needed to know the customers information so that they could ship the poster to her location. The information that they needed to collect was her name, phone number and address.

“In some cases, depending on the nature of information, these third parties will also need to have a privacy certification” (eTrust, 2010). Once we hand over the information to these third party suppliers, it is out of our control on what they will do with that information. This policy statement allows for us to inform our users that we are not responsible for third party sites or company’s privacy policies. However, we will do our best to make sure that these companies are not soliciting our customers.

Contact Information

Should you have any questions or concerns about this Privacy Policy or the collection of information, please contact us at:

CompanyEC LLC. PO Box …

[email protected]

Reason – Contact Information

The reason for including the contact information is “If [the customers] feel that [our] privacy policy has been broken in any way, or if they have questions about [our] policy, they will want to reach [us] and should be able to do so easily” (Allbusiness, 2010).

This information is simple, but I find it to be an important aspect of the privacy policy as it allows for our users to easily contact us at the company for any concerns they may have.

Privacy Policy Changes

CompanyEC may change its privacy policy, but all changes made regarding disclosure of Personal Information to third parties will be made after notification through electronic means prior to the date the modified policy takes effect. Any new policy will have effect only, to information previously gathered without your express consent.

Reason – Privacy Policy Changes

Stating changes can be made at anytime to the privacy policy is the correct way to let users know that they should continue to view the privacy policy to be sure that they are up to date.

In addition, this section also allows for our users to know how they will be contacted and that they will be contacted when changes are made to the old policy that they agreed to.

By adding the date in which the policy was updated, it allows for users to stay informed on whether we made changes to the policy.

 

Credits

eTrust (2010). Privacy policy requirements. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from http://www.etrust.org/certification/privacy/privacy_requirements.html

Leiber, Nick. (2009). Why your web site’s privacy policy matters more than you think. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/running_small_business/archives/2009/08/why_web_site_pr.html

Allbusiness. (2010). What a business web site’s privacy policy covers. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/contracts-agreements-internet-legal/2639-1.html

Be a Partner to customers

The customer doesn’t always know best – even if they think they do. If you truly want to be a partner (not simply an order taker), you need to understand if what the customer wants will get them the results they need. These are obviously two very different things. As a partner, you need to challenge the customer by letting them know when there are better products or more efficient and effective ways to be productive. This is also how your business can stand out in competitive situations.

In marketing, if the potential customer wants SEO and social media services, and you simply send marketing outlining why you are the best agency for providing SEO and social media, your marketing material will be similar to every other business’s marketing – except for that one agency that considers why the customer believes they need SEO and social media and what actually makes sense for the customer’s goal, budget, and timeline.

You can stand out by taking this different approach through questioning your customers’ actual needs and goals which would allow you to offer them the optimal product or service solution for their needs.

— For more lessons like this, purchase your copy of Act Like a Business: Think Like a Customer by Dr. Elijah Clark from all major bookstores. —

Tracking KPI’s

After reviewing your analytics report, you can confidently make a conclusion about your website’s performance and identify actionable items that will help improve the key performance indicators (KPI) going forward. You can start by looking at the average time a user spends on your website. This report will be able to help measure how visitors interact with the website’s content. If you dig deeper, you should be able to see which pages create the longest stay and conversions, and which pages users are not finding to be relevant toward their search. Digging even further, you can begin to see which pages users last visited before abandoning the website. If you see a common trend of user activity, you will be able to make the corrections as needed. The other two metrics, unique visitors and ratio of local audience to national audience, will be important in helping you understand how engaging your website content is to customers. These two metrics may also be useful in helping with future marketing. By having a true understanding of what your visitors are looking for, it will help you develop effective campaigns to accumulate more leads, which will lead to an increased ROI.

Productivity

The productivity of both you and your business are important. The ethics of your business has a tremendous effect on the morale of the employees. If morale is down, work productivity may also slack. As a leader, you are responsible for creating a healthy environment by supporting your employees. How you lead is crucial in developing productive employees and influencing employee morale and satisfaction. To implement and maintain morale, you should place importance on stress prevention programs and develop effective communication methods with employees to discover and address issues regarding dissatisfaction and potential ethical dilemmas.

Don’t Do Too Much

One of the biggest business mistakes I have ever made was trying to do everything myself. I wore the hats of the marketing department, sales, customer service, collections, technical support, developer, graphic artist, etc. I understand that you may want to save money or may simply not have the financial support to hire someone to complete additional tasks, however, do what you need to do until you can get help, but get help quickly. If you must take a cut in pay temporarily to hire a project manager while you handle sales, you will be grateful in the end. Otherwise, you will drain yourself dry and never have the time to do what you love. Do yourself a favor and focus on what made you love the idea of being a business owner in the first place.

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