Why Social Media Design Elements Matter.


jordan trask prefocus solutions standing outside in striped collared shirt talking about designs for social media posts and importance or content cohesion and brand consistency consultant near memphis tennessee

One of the first videos I ever published was about social media design elements. I remember thinking: what kind of advice can I offer that most business owners rarely ever consider? Color combinations and contrast have a lot to do with value perception. An unattractive presentation is essentially unprofessional. In my opinion, it’s also unacceptable. Social media design elements matter.

If a business owner is really trying to drive new acquisition (and not just “likes” from family and friends), they’re not going to impress many with popular memes and a low quality display. Designers and creative strategists are paid off of talent and experience for a reason. You get what you pay for – and you pay for what you don’t know. At the end of the day, any brand should want to enhance the way they’re perceived.

What Do I Mean By Design Elements for Online Content?

First and foremost, when you don’t pay attention to the cohesion of your designs, consumer trust tends to suffer. At the end of the day, you want your content to be recognizable. You want people to see one of your posts or campaigns and immediately think of the product or service you provide.

Over time, you want people to start remembering a core value or promise when they stumble across your content. Even image guidelines improve brand recognition. When everything looks the same on social media, advertisements and web pages – the perceived value (level of quality perceived) drastically increases.

It’s hard not to create a good first impression when consistency is at play. Constancy (constantly consistent) is what I like to call it. You don’t have to be an expert designer or extremely talented individual to develop sound designs and concepts for on and off-line marketing efforts. But you have to understand what not to do. So let’s take a look at a few “No-No’s” when it comes to social media designs elements.

What to Avoid When Designing Social Media Posts:

If you’re looking to publish some designed content online, consider:

  1. The background,
  2. Your typography.
  3. The contrast of colors.

If you’re using a white background, use a darker font. If you’re using a dark background, worth with a lighter colored font. For example: green, orange, purple or blue is not going to look good on red. Yellow, orange, pink or lime typography is not ideal on white. A social media display shouldn’t draw away from the inevitable purpose of the post. Why wouldn’t you want it to be easy on the eyes?

Like I mentioned before, quality content gives consumers a chance to trust your brand and click through (to read more) with confidence.

Why Should You Avoid Poorly Designed Content?

If web surfers can barely read a post, or it’s frustrating to figure out, you’re working backwards. Once you ruin the first impression, it’s awfully hard to reverse their perception. If you don’t have an eye for design, you shouldn’t be approving or assigning them. It can be a lot more costly than you think.

It’s not that big of a deal to pay a few hundred dollars for assistance (or even invest in a brand book). It’s going to maximize your returns every time. Pursuing a true element of creativity that highlights your brand identity is also extremely favorable.

One Bad Social Post Ruins Many First Impressions.

Some business owners don’t even know that social media users can unfollow and even block company pages when they see something that disinterests them. If social media design elements are the least of your concerns, you can still be wasteful. An offensive or misunderstood message (or image) can easily detour potential customers – or even cost you loyal fans.

If you don’t want to be seen as an average option, don’t look like one. Take the time to understand why blue font on a pink background is a terrible idea.

How I Can Help at PreFocus.

Those of you needing help mapping things out, your first consultation is always free. It’s only $125/session after that. 90 minutes of value could be all your brand needs to get over the hump and really make an impact in the marketplace. I also offer media services in the Memphis, Tennessee area.

Be purposeful with everything you do guys, and always remember to PreFocus.

Request More Information:

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Branding Workshop Host, Guest Speaker Near Memphis, Tennessee.

prefocus solutions midsouth branding expert for speaking engagements near memphis tennessee to help businesses establish themselves in the marketplace with effective marketing and advertising strategies

Now that I’m situated quite well just south of Memphis, I’d like to start talking about the effort I’ve put into my branding workshop. Helping business owners enhance the way they present and position themselves is an absolute passion of mine. Since 2007, I’ve been banging the table over authenticity. The problem is, many business owners just don’t understand the value of seamless brand identity. They simply want to hire an aggressive marketer that can drive immediate sales. But a long term return is far more rewarding.

Not only does a quality developmental process improve company certainty, but also the way the brand is perceived. Consistency and intention speak louder than sales pitches, So, if you’re in the market for a guest speaker or a detailed branding workshop, I’d love to help! Although I’m hesitant to share the details of my process, I’m hoping this outline inspires other marketers to be more creative with their clients. At the end of the day, I’m tired of fixing low quality campaigns and concepts. Business owners deserve better.

No matter who I’m presenting to, we have to go over the basics. If you have any questions or comments, please shoot me an email!

What is Branding, Exactly?

  • Business Dictionary says..
  • Entrpreneur.com says..
  • To me, branding is every identifying element of the business – How it looks, acts, communicates and responds to the market/consumers and makes them feel.

What are the Four Keys to Quality Branding?

  1. Authenticity – who you truly are, your values, competencies and promise.
  2. Relevancy – making sure what’s important to customers is visible to them.
  3. Consistency – staying true to your identity on all channels so you’re recognizable.
  4. Commitment – keeping promise(s) by training & enforcing standards for employees.

Why it’s Important to Understand Ideal Customers.

  • Branding is responsible for speaking to your target audience in every way.
  • It’s easier to develop (a) promise(s) when you know how customers think, feel and desire.
  • Branding is meant to streamline your marketing efforts with cohesion in mind.
  • If you want a loyal following, you must know how to garner their trust.
  • Reaching outside of your audience is wasteful and impacts perceived value.

How To Get Started on Customer Personas:

  • What are the stated wants and needs of your target audience?
    • How do you plan on serving them?
    • How is competition addressing these?
  • What are the hidden wants and needs of potential customers?
    • How do you plan on serving them?
    • Is any other company leveraging these?
  • Identify demographic, geographic, behavioral and attitudinal characteristics.
    • Create 3-5 specific personalities that you’d like to target.
    • Create 3-5 specific personalities that might be interested in you
    • No matter what you do as a brand, cater to these ideal personas.

How to Define Your Branded Culture:

  • What exactly does culture mean? Harvard has an interesting take.
  • (?) What does brand culture mean to you? 
  • How do I see brand culture in today’s marketplace?
  • Determine the answers to these questions:
    • (?) How do you define and describe leadership? Stakeholders?
      • What qualities and characteristics are you looking for to lead your brand?
    • Who are your ideal partners or charitable organizations and why?
    • (?) What types of employees are you looking to target and why?
    • (?) What does a “moldable” employee look like to you?
    • How will you communicate brand standards (Ie: on-boarding and every touch point)? 
    • How might you implement and enforce new standards in an outdated culture?
    • Who can you identify to monitor brand standards (champion, advocate, cheerleader)?
    • (?) What could you achieve with a precise hiring process, shared vision and purposeful culture?

The Actual Elements of a Brand.

  • (?) What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of branding?
  • (?) What do you think are the key elements of a brand? Most important?
    1. Brand Values and Drivers.
      • Why you started statement? Your purpose and origin story.
      • What event actually caused you to get started?
      • What are you looking to uphold? What’s your true intention?
      • What do you plan on doing differently? How’s it benefit the customer?
      • What is your core promise to the market?
        • (?) How do you know if the “promise” you’re making is the right one?
          1. Case studies
          2. Market research or complaints by competitors
          3. Where does opportunity exist and why?
          4. Questionnaires/poles
          5. Post purchase surveys
      • This section comprises your company overview, vision and mission statements.
    2. Brand Identity or Company Personality.
      • Human-like characteristics that define value and provide clarity.
      • Something original and authentic that direct consumers can relate to.
      • Ask yourself if you’re branding an expertise or a definitive value?
      • (?) Try to give your business 3-5 unique adjectives. Do you know?
        • Sincerity, ruggedness, excitement, competence, and sophistication.
      • (?) Does your brand persona makes sense or align with provisions?
        • Making sense (or meaning something) to you doesn’t always resonate.
      • Good Example: Michael Kors.
        • Upper class, glamorous, and trendy.
        • Promotes products at aspirational events, landmarks or moments
      • Bad Example: Uber
        • No connection with users and only drove home a need.
        • The face of the brand was a jerk – like they’re Pacman logo suggested.. Eek!
      • Why is a Brand Identity or Persona Important?
        • It keeps all marketing and sales channels cohesive – saves money.
        • Creates clarity and allows people to identify with a business.
        • Many people will support you subconsciously because they can relate.
        • An identifying persona enhances recognition (talk about that shortly).
        • Knowing who you are streamlines design elements and messaging.
    3. Making a Brand Name for Yourself. 
      • Reflect values and purpose
      • Create association with the brand persona
      • Easy to say and understand
      • Unique and memorable
      • Before solidifying, communicate name with associated value and purpose.
      • Ask for feedback 
    4. How to Create Tag-lines and Slogans.
      • What is your definitive value proposition or best promise?
      • How can you formulate it in a unique and simple way with clarity?
      • What type of jingle, verbiage or tempo would intrigue an ideal customer?
      • Think it through as most brands don’t solidify these right away.
    5. Understanding a Brand Style Guide.
      • Everything discovered above should be considered.
        • Ie: Sincerity, ruggedness, excitement, competence, and sophistication.
      • Color Palette
        • Featured color, secondary color, etc..
        • Visual combinations.
      • Typography
        • Which fonts communicate your brand personality best?
        • Accessibility for designers and web developers.
      • Logo Design
        • Consider what the brand stands for.
        • Even if it’s meaningful to you, it needs to make sense to customers.
        • If ever in doubt, ask for feedback and keep it simple.
        • Determine specifications, uses, lockups and save all files.
      • Unique Characteristics, Icons and Additional Identifiers (abbreviations).
      • Writing Style and Tone of Voice.
        • Informative, educational, authoritative, encouraging, direct, etc..
        • What is the main purpose of content (end goal)?
          • Will you use different voices for different purposes?
        • Who would narrate a commercial or radio ad and why?
        • What are common words you’ll use throughout communication?
        • Good and bad examples.
      • Imagery and Illustration Guidelines.
        • Editing style (black and white, high contrast, colorful, etc).
        • Perspective (panoramic, 1st person, etc).
        • Image graphics and colors (placement and sizing).
      • Print Design Layouts or Templates.
        • First impressions like business card designs.
        • Brochure/flier guidelines, letterheads and marketing materials.
        • Large format printing and banners.
      • Digital Design Elements.
        • Website design, purpose and functionalities.
        • Email templates
        • Social media style guides
        • Media guidelines, titles and graphics
      • Product Packaging
        • Functional role
        • Messaging and reasons to believe
        • Personality embodiment 
      • Employee Wardrobe and Presentation.
        • ID’s and branded attire.
        • Dress code or boundaries for wardrobe liberties?
        • Are you looking for strict cohesion or individuality?
      • Store Design and Customer Experience.
        • Flow of the experience and outdoor specifications.
        • Ideal features, possible concepts and customer input.
        • Consider every touch point, even the online experience.
        • (?) What can you do differently to establish a memory?

Brand Awareness and Driving Recognition.

Before diving into a marketing strategy for an established brand, we have to understand every phase of the customer cycle.

    1. General Awareness
    2. Needs Recognition
    3. Informational Search
    4. Evaluating Alternatives
    5. Purchase 
    6. Post Purchase

From here, we can start to uncover the ideal position. But first, let’s talk a little bit about promotability. You can’t just assume every consumer will salivate over your business.

What is Brand Recognition?

  • Being known or recognizable through a design, voice, jingle, imagery, icon, character, etc..
  • Example: “Nationwide is on your side.” Nike can be any color combination. Pillsbury Dough Boy.
  • Brands can also be known for quality, reputation, reliability, consistency, good time, etc.

The Benefits of Brand Recognition:

  1. Peace of Purchase – people buy from a known/trusted source. Price isn’t as important.
  2. Known for Value – consumers understand who you are and why you are. Clarity.
  3. Recruiting Talent – people are drawn to a household name. Better options.
  4. Lower Turnover – employees tend to want to be a part of a recognized entity.
  5. Support Esteem – easier to attract partners/sponsors. Sought after more.
  6. Lower Spending – loyal customers don’t need to be marketed to as much.

How to Communicate Your Brand Promise(s).

  • Now that everything is solidified, you must determine how to market the brand.
    • Why do you want to communicate?
      • Make an announcement or recap
      • Discuss about features or benefits
      • Promote something in the future
      • Expand on or reinforce brand promises
      • Build tactful awareness by stating facts or promoting data.
    • What Are Your Brand Drivers?
      • Functional – The basic job the brand does.
      • Emotional – How the brand can make people feel.
      • Economical – How the brand saves time or money.
      • Self Expressive – How the brand makes users appear to others.
      • Societal/Environmental – How the brand impacts both.
    • What Does Your Positioning Strategy Look Like? 
      • Short term is more tactful with clear value propositions.
      • Long term is more strategic towards awareness and loyalty.

Rebranding Preview

  • Normally takes care of all the steps you’ve initially missed.
  • Many specialists do this for design elements despite a deeper rooted issue.
  • Rebranding is more difficult, frustrating and expensive..
    • Re-implementing standards for clients and employees.
    • Updating designs and reprinting – wasted spend.
    • Reconfiguring the workplace, implementing new standards or procedures.
    • If perception and image are ruined already, will a makeover even work?
      • Most designers will not be honest about this.
    • If you’re investing in a rebrand for the wrong reasons, the cycle will ensure.
      • Start from the ground up and it’ll all come together in confident fashion.

Quality Branding Workshop and Training Events.

Since I launched my business back in 2016, I’ve been passionately trying to educate business owners on the perks of a sound strategy. No matter how you look at it, perceived value always depends on a sensible brand identity. Building one takes a lot of work. But for those of you that are committed to the process, and essentially your customers, it’s well worth it in the end. Just remember, clarity and certainty are everything.

If you ever want to spitball about your brand and it’s position in the marketplace, let me know! I’m always up for a good conversation and your first consultation is always free! Best of luck in the longterm!

Advantages of a Brand Book for Business Endeavors.

In a nutshell, a brand book is an index or style guide that a business can reference at any time for marketing and advertising purposes. It’s most commonly used for website redesigns or other design projects. There are a number of advantages of a brand book – but biggest benefit has to be certainty. Taking the time to solidify everything on the front end is what PreFocus is all about.

A quality brand book and style guide offers an in-depth look at:

  1. Company History and Origin.
  2. Slogans and Taglines.
  3. Core Values and Promise(s).
  4. Achievements and Goals.
  5. Mission and Vision Statement.
  6. Differentiator Statements.
  7. Personality and Characters.
  8. Voice and Message Structure.
  9. Ideal Audience Analysis.
  10. Marketing Cycle Phases.
  11. Market Orientation and Outlook.
  12. Print Templates and Fonts.
  13. Online Design Standards.
  14. Typeface and Headings.
  15. Colors and Logo Variations.
  16. Image and Media Guidelines.
  17. Strategic Agendas.
  18. Ideal Partnerships.

Why a Brand Book is Advantageous.

As you can imagine, this is extremely valuable to a marketer or design team (internal and contracted). A quality brand book will help any business save money, establish immaculate cohesion, avoid conflict, prevent confusion, and (of course) work with certainty.

Here are some of the overlooked advantages of a brand book.

1. Avoid Lengthy Discovery Processes.

When you think about it, a company moves through a new discovery process every time a new campaign is established, something is designed, a promotion is created, or website is updated. It can be burdensome to go back and forth about value propositions or messaging when brand standards aren’t solidified on the front end.

Not only does a brand book save the business time and resources, but it keeps a marketer from racking up costs during the “development phase”. The more a style guide is utilized, the easier it’ll be to make confident decisions. So, one of the biggest advantages of a brand book is the ability to hit the ground running.

2. Improve Brand Equity and Morale.

In reality, many business owners struggle to differentiate themselves to external hires, vendors and even their internal culture. Knowing who you are, what you stand for, where you came from and where you’re going is attractive. It may be stressful but set boundaries, but it’s magical when everyone is heading in the same direction.

A brand book isn’t just meant to direct sales channels. Like I said in the video, it ought to be a true reference point for everything you need to know about the business. Paying a few grand to really get organized is always worth the investment. You’re literally able to hand out an answer guide for most things. People appreciate and respect this.

3. Structure, Purpose Marketing Efforts.

When you don’t have a vision or concrete foundation on paper, it’s easy to get bucketed by industry. This does you no good in the marketing space. A message that is written by an out-of-touch freelancer may be cost-friendly – but it’s going to based on commonalities in the marketplace. You can’t expect the business to stand out this way.

Leaving the first impression in the hands of someone that doesn’t understand your passion is risky. How can you communicate anything genuine? How is this any kind of strategy? You’re literally paying to be seen as an option.

Predesigned templates for emails, flyers and other formats can also eliminate your need to hire altogether. It costs a little more on the front end, but allows you to simply plug and play the new verbiage yourself.

4. Peace of Mind to Focus on Purpose.

One of the biggest advantages of a brand book is a decision makers ability to know exactly what’s needed, where it’s going, how it needs to be communicated, and when it can be done by. Implimenting a process (or multiple systems) that reference the style guide and brand standards is gamechanging.

When people that are hired don’t follow set standards or guidelines, it’s easier to redirect or move on.  Uncertainty can really get in the way of progress. Setting expectations (for the customer experience) and holding people accountable is what really separates a brand.

Over time, this drastically improves trust and recognition – allowing the business to focus more on its “reason-for-being”. This improves brand equity. I see way too many companies lose sight of their vision because they’re constantly trying to get people to see the bigger picture.

Get Going on Your Brand Book!

Any way you can build upon your brand book, not just expand your reach, you’re going to do just fine. Don’t get too caught up chasing after “likes” and general engagement. Truly invest in a PreFocus and make sure every cent of your spend is going towards something fruitful.

There are tons of advantages of a brand book and style guide. So look into it if you want to take things to the next level. Be purposeful with everything you do, guys!

Want to Talk About Branding?

For almost a decade now, I’ve been helping businesses structure their brand and restructure their mindset. Staying true to who you are is important. Your first consultation is free!

What Does Brand Clarity Mean?

When you understand who you are and the descriptive phrases that define your business, you really begin to develop brand clarity. You start to realize how you should be marketing. What you should be saying – and how you should be saying it. Most importantly, developing an identity helps you understand WHO will value your message the most.

Why is it so Important to Clarify Branding?

Promoting brand clarity not only strengthens your voice but it helps you define your customers. But this doesn’t involve labeling and assumptions. I’m referring to a thorough understanding that evolves as they do. When you know who will buy into your unique value, it’s a lot easier to figure out where your message will be received best (or what marketing channel makes the most sense).

Many businesses are afraid that doing this will pigeon hole the brand and limit their reach. But they don’t realize that mimicking others or conforming to industry standards simply places them into a bucket of options. They’re not actually doing anything to be remembered when it matters the most. Does your brand voice speak to an ideal target audience at every phase of their unique buying cycle?

Can you imagine how much more effective your marketing would be if this was solidified on the front end?

Brand Clarity Evokes a Quality First Impression.

What I can’t seem to wrap my head around is the simple fact businesses are afraid to BE themselves. They’re afraid of being vulnerable. That people (or customers) won’t accept them. That they won’t like them. Like potential customers are just a number. Just a demographic. That they’re all the same. That they have the same thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires and emotions. But, they’re not all the same.. and neither is your business.

Consumers Trust Who They Can Identify With.

People are looking for something to believe in. Something to get behind. They want to buy into brands that that take the time to understand who they are. That know their why. That communicate their how. That know their purpose and understand their value. They want to support brands that are willing to strong arm their position in the marketplace with confidence and certainty.

Don’t be basic and you won’t be viewed that way. Strive to be recognizable, harness your identity and your customers will embrace your brand clarity.

Need to Improve Brand Clarity?

Our initial discovery session will never involve a sales pitch. 

How to Create Purposeful Promotions During a Pandemic.

Purposeful Promotions in a Pandemic.

Here are some simple ways businesses can communicate the essence of their brand to drive new acquisition or retain loyalty when resources are limited.

In the world today, plenty of people are strapped for cash. The Coronavirus has left quite the trail of destruction and business owners have been longing for the light at the end of the tunnel for a few months now. In a matter of days, millions of people lost their grip on what they thought was their future.

When it comes to surviving life in general, consistency, direction and adaptation are usually rewarded. The same can be said in business. Nearly every company faces a wall of adversity as some point in time. In reality, most fail before they even get started because the company isn’t built to survive. Getting a business off the ground and keeping it running is no easy task.

Because of this, nobody should run one without proper training, adequate experience (competence) and a vision that means something. Far too many people look to launch for the money and autonomy. But they quickly find themselves in over their head. No matter how coveted a product or service is, the brand and the experience is what keeps customers coming back.

In a time like this, not everyone has to fail. But if you’re focused on duplicating other entrepreneur’s efforts and following guides created by salesmen then it’s going to be an uphill battle. Nobody likes to select from a “bucket of options” or be sold or told what to do. Inexperience can be devastating during unexpected periods of time – like a pandemic.

The reason I bring this up is because there are tons of operations out there that could be winning right now instead of sitting on their hands. Just because you’re experiencing limitations doesn’t mean opportunity doesn’t exist. There’s always a chance to get in front of someone that’ll value your brand.

Brand Equity Can Be Built During a Pandemic.

It doesn’t take a lot of time and money to interact with consumers right now. For the most part, all you have to do is see what’s trending. Over the past few months, nearly everyone has been online, surfing for the latest delicacy or indulgence to keep them entertained. Discussing what everyone else is can be an easy way to build brand awareness. At the same time, it’s fairly cumbersome – and why would you want to do what everyone else does?

Understanding Your Customers Makes a Big Difference.

One of the best and easiest and most effective ways to market a brand is to understand your ideal target customer. If you don’t carry a passion for who you are, what you provide and who your customers are then.. that’s a shame. Knowing who you serve best is an immense advantage. So how is the process of understanding a marketing strategy? Well, what do you think the result of having quality conversations with your customers would be?

Asking people about their preferences or if there are ways you could do business better are good ways to strengthen relationships during tough times. Any form of genuine communication should be received well right now. From the consumer’s perspective, your actions speak volumes. They take note of businesses that continue to pursue their target market, even in the midst of loss.

Let the Market Understand You Better.

At the end of the day, authenticity is the best way to promote with purpose during a pandemic. Everyone is going through something right now. If you haven’t learned anything since March, then you’re probably doing something wrong. Listen, if you’re worried about the business, then you’ve got to let people know.

Hiding behind your desk or crossing your fingers that things turn around is a bad strategy. Have some humility, get in front of a camera and look for ways you can be transparent and authentic with the current state of the business. Plenty of people are looking for things they can identify with right now. Why can’t it be your business?

Maybe you’re dealing with relational problems or you had to let go of tenured employees for the first time. Maybe you’re struggling to adjust to a work-from-home environment. Maybe you’d like to share some of the curveballs you’ve faced thus far and how you’ve overcome roadblocks throughout. Maybe you want to honor someone from your staff or jump on a podcast with an affiliate company.

Talking to people about real people things build real relationships. Moreover, when you’re able to be vulnerable in the public eye, consumers are able to see your heart and the passion you have for the business to thrive. People want to believe in leaders like that. Raw, uncut content from a time of struggle can be extremely powerful for your brand.

Promotional Purpose is So Important.

So if you’re looking for ways to publish purposeful promotions during a global pandemic, just keep it simple. Show your true colors and discuss unique topics that set you apart from your competition. There’s no need to turn to desperate measures for short term relief when the longevity of your business is vital to your success.

Never lose sight of your big picture and always leverage your identity. Constantly being consistent (constancy) and building an open community establishes and sustains loyalty. If you don’t want to return to the workforce for less pay than before you started, then you’re going to have to dare to be different. An unwillingness to survive simply tells me you never had a true purpose to begin with.

Be purposeful with everything you do and always remember to PreFocus. info@prefocus.solutions.

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PreFocus Updates: True Branding Derives From Patience and Consistency.

PreFocus Updates: True Branding Derives From Patience and Consistency.

Slowing Down, Not Complacency, is Forming My Brand Identity.

When it comes to building a business, one of the most difficult things to embody is patience. As a visionary, I’ve always gotten sucked into my end goal and detoured by possibilities along the way. But you have to realize at some point that consistency (or constancy) wins the race. While every experience is dense with fruit, rushing things can sometimes be costly. This is why I’m so passionate about branding. The thing is, you have to build things the right way, if you’re really for the consumer.

A Little Story For Big Perspective.

Many business owners eventually find themselves putting on the same golf course over and over. While they grow tired of the stagnancy and repetition, there is a sense of comfort there. They know the clubhouse manager and routinely visit with the same people – the common folk that rarely challenge them to try anything new. There’s a relativity there that allows a sense of satisfaction to reside. It causes many to become complacent or even feel like the ceiling has been reached.

What ends up happening is they start skipping holes that they’ve become bored with. They stop playing the whole course and start to forget the whole reason why they started playing. The people around them tend to downplay their desire for a purpose and passion. They start to doubt and even settle for what’s seen as “enough.” There’s not really a standard there because they’re just winging it. But no matter how many holes-in-one we sink outside of our element, something will always be missing.

Now, many of you may not understand this analogy – or what I’m even referring to – and that’s OK. I’ve realized who my ideal client is and where they need to be in order to value what I bring to the table. Those that want to charge course will. The element of branding is who you really are and what you want your customers to experience. Don’t you see? They’re your marketing team.

Before You Combat a True Brand Identity.

Proving myself to those that disagree with an intentional identity that withstands external refinements is a waste of time. You may be able to make money but the grass isn’t greener. People are always eager to boast that making money online is easy. That there is a way to market a bad product or solution and still sustain the business. I’m not arguing with that. But if you have a purpose and an element of value you’re marketing, then you shouldn’t go about it this way.

Reaching for attention and sales pitches can never compete with reputation. The fact of the matter is, you (as the business owner, CEO, founder or president) really ought to be set out to accomplish, improve or supply something of value. Millions of marketers will tell you they can get you leads now but are they quality leads? If you offer a genuine, premium service, why pigeon hole yourself? No matter what the argument is, products and services should be provided or manufactured for the consumer.

Although I’ve been studying unethical advertising since 2006, it’s still hard to tell where we went wrong as a society. For whatever reason, marketing has turned into a sale. Corporations no longer aim to serve but to persuade. Quality and value has essentially been replaced.

Be Patient, I’m Getting to the Point.

My whole thing is, why compete here? Why try to garner attention or follow trends to funnel leads? Why partake in a look-alike competition? If you have a genuine purpose or passion behind your business, then you will stand out. There’s no need to listen to those that are chasing the money. Far too often, business owners with a real vision get sucked into distractions as well. They believe that they have to do what their competitors are doing in order to remain alive.

Not only are those of you with “big ideas” distracted by the marketplace, you’re also misled by marketers. Like I said before, millions of people are trying to sell business owners and CEO’s on their “idea” of marketing. The sales pitch oftentimes works here too. But the reason why so many companies are unable to reach their goals after coming to market is simple. They forget why they started. They don’t understand that brand establishment takes time.

Working with someone who’s willing to set them up for success while earning their trust and respect is important. Far too often, companies chase the revenue or listen to bad advice to get ahead. They put the buggy before the horse or chose to go after demographic audiences instead of patiently waiting for their ideal customers to find them. Many of you need results now – I get it. But if you’re really providing value and there’s a purpose behind your business, then customers need to know this about you.

Consumers need to view you as something and understand your promises. They need to be able to recognize your experience and know what to expect consistently. Shortcuts rarely result in sustainability. If you truly care about your customers, you have to be patient with the process. You won’t have anything to prove if you falter before you even get started.

How Direction, a PreFocus, Has Guided My Business.

Why would I take on a client for SEO services when they don’t value quality work or they have unreasonable expectations? Why set up a cheap PPC campaign or build a website for $1000 when it won’t really drive results? Why design a newspaper ad when a company could garner a higher return on Google ads? Where is my integrity if I forget what I stand for? How will people ever trust my insight when I partake in projects that aren’t fruitful just to get by? Even though I know I could do a good job, it’s not the point.

The point is, I know I bring so much more to the table and you probably do too. Every time we chose to be complacent, our brand suffers. Chasing the buck never got me anywhere. Standing for what’s best for the business has. Sometimes, saying “no” has cost me a lot of money. But it’s allowing me to create a consistent experience that decision-makers can trust and rely on. Today, I know what type of client we help the best. I know for a fact that waiting on them instead of giving in to make a little money is far more fulfilling.

My business partner and I are even getting phone calls from previous clients that we previously fired. They now understand the value and purpose behind the things we do. They know that the little things are important and are willing to have patience with us as we get them back on track. While we’re still faced with some conflict and kickback from clients, we know that our consistency is important.

If we want to stop going down the same paths or playing the same courses we hate, then we have to remain in our element every day. Reminding each other of this is essential. My goal is to one day direct a Super Bowl commercial. I’m not going to get there by managing 15 PPC campaigns and getting websites to page 1 on Google.

I’m going to get there by helping companies communicate their brand with a message that resonates with their ideal audience. Those that are looking for help here will eventually find me. However that may play out, I’m willing to wait. In the meantime, I need to continue documenting my journey and staying true to the same vision. Consumers deserve to know who can provide them with real value.

founder of prefocus jordan trask directing client during branding photoshoot for purpose and passion in phoenix az consumer audience

Applying Business Growth to My Everyday Life.

I mention all of these things because I’m constantly reminded to remain in my element and be patient. Every day, I’m faced with a number of challenges that could be better if I skipped some of the steps I’ve strategically laid out over the years. But I know that doing will take me off-track. Honestly, I don’t even know if I’m ready for certain advancements in my life right now.

While all of us would like to move faster, it’s always good to stop and smell the roses and see where the real opportunity lies. For the first time in a while, my family and I are enjoying the fruits of our labor. I’m especially grateful to have what we have during a global pandemic. We’re extremely blessed right now.

Not only do I have foundational partnerships and clients that lean on my loyalty, but I have a family and a wife that needs me a present as possible. I mean, we’re expecting our 6th child for crying out loud. All of this is a part of my branding and I need to be consistent here too. Staying mindful and doing what’s best for everyone is what my company is all about.

If You’re Struggling, Try to be Smart.

You see, chasing things because someone else is – or because someone else tells you to – is rarely advantageous. Many times, we get in our own way. We have this desire to knock down all of the dominoes fall when they’re not falling accordingly. But I urge you to try a few new courses. Explain your ideas and the vision of your culture to more people in new places.

Don’t allow complacency to sneak in. Build a brand that means something. Especially if your product or service is meaningful! Don’t allow narrow minded people to detour you. Find help piecing together your goals and find ways to create small wins in order to drive momentum. 

Building a company from an idea is hard, I know. I have a lot of regrets myself. But as cliche as it sounds, grow through what you go through. When you’re vulnerable throughout, the public knows you care. We’re all human here so show your heart. Create an aura around the business. This is branding. An ability to harness a purpose and communicate a value is more important now than ever before. Everyone is trying to sell something online because we’re all home.

Anyone is now a marketer with the magic touch. So stop looking for sales to win and build a brand that lasts. It may be a tough time to be patient because of COVID-19, but the fruits of a PreFocus are worth it.

“If you want to live like no one else, you have to be willing to live like no one else.” 

– Dave Ramsey