The universe has forced us to slow down once more! We might not see the good in this right now, but God has a way of regulating and ensuring that everything is working and in divine order at all times, yet our limited minds most of the time cannot see the reasoning behind certain events.
As most of you know, we have been one of the biggest advocates of “Remote Work” in Jeddah (if not the only ones), from day one.
Now the time has come to show and confirm that the world is full of uncertainty and having a remote work as part of your business strategy is crucial at this day and age. With the rapid changes and technological advancements taking place, we cannot rely on the typical 9-5 workplace, thus requiring us to step up our game and manage our work more remotely for so many reasons, some of them are: increased productivity, cost effectiveness, increased risk mitigation and the list goes on…
It is easier said than done, but it is do-able for almost any industry, specifically the media/marketing one. So if you are a branding/marketing agency, studio, freelancer etc…I encourage you today, to integrate this idea of remote work for your sustainable business continuity as well as your long-term workforce’s well-being.
If you are wondering about how you can get started, there are many articles and resources dedicated to remote work and the tools you can use to make it happen. Some examples of platforms and tech which we use as a 25branding team, are:
Google Docs: https://www.google.com/docs/about/
There are so many more platforms which allow you to work remotely with your team and most of them are free to start with.
I hope this helps businesses and startups continue what they are doing while we are at this unprecedented time, we are all in this together. Staying home or being quarantined is for the benefit of all, but it does not mean that life or work has to stop. Stay passionate, stay motivated and we will get through this soon.
Again, it has been a while since I wrote a blog post but that is because we were super busy growing and expanding our services! Nevertheless, it is not an excuse to not share some insights based on our real life experiences with the diversity of clients we work with on a daily basis. We have always been reluctant to get into the social media content and management arena, since I personally believe it is a whole different ball game than brand design and development, just in terms of operations though. However, the creative process remains the same as in branding projects, where it is an extension of a brand identity’s totality, which needs to be translated into a story in a much elaborate way, as a continuous engagement tool with the target audience.
Instagram being the single most utilized platform in KSA, for businesses and other purposes as well. We have seen a lot of small and big brands focusing on sharing very well designed and polished content, yet which does not necessarily reflect or convey the reality of whatever they are trying to sell or achieve. Basically, falling into the classic example of having beautiful and attractive design which is hollow and does not serve the business goals, exactly how some actual brand identities are at this day and age, unfortunately. I have been seeing this happening too often in the region and actually trying to do things differently in order to combine business objectives with great design and not just the latter alone!
Anyway, this has always been my perspective on this matter and now I am just re-emphasizing it as it also relates to social media, since it is just a different method of expression of the same brand.
Based on the overwhelmingly positive demand we have been getting from our existing and prospective clients to create content and manage their social media accounts (especially Instagram), I would like to announce that we have been secretly and successfully doing it for 4 of our loyal and beloved brands, in the past year or so.
We now have expanded our operations to social media content design and management officially, but we are extremely selective when it comes to the right client fit, because we want to make sure it is a win-win, since social media can be sticky and is a long-term commitment which has to be based on trust, autonomy and chemistry.
It has been a while since I last posted on our blog! we have been so busy the past year, working on amazing projects with clients we love.
However, we felt like being busy and crushing it, should not stop us or let us forget to have some fun in the process, while pursuing other passions as a team.
So I decided to bring to life something which we have been working on for a couple of years now, behind the scenes.
What is it that I have been doing?
I have been curating, mixing and sometimes producing music for select clients and just as a hobby really and a fun passion I have had ever since I was a kid.
While I created the music mixes, my team developed the artwork for it, combining two of my favorite things; branding and music.
We call it 25BEATS, which is a collection of branded music mixes along with their artwork, that we will be sharing every couple fo weeks on our IG account, which will be linked to our SoundCloud account, so you will have access to listen to our music anytime you like.
Also, we will be adding a new 25BEATS tab on our website, so you will be able to access the music directly through our site as well.
This is our FUN side, which we express through our music that is non-commercial, experimental at times and quite on the underground side of the spectrum.
We hope you enjoy them as much as we did creating them!
A brand guide is a manual that explains and usually also shows how a brand is to be expressed verbally and visually when you are creating sales, marketing, and other materials on behalf of a brand.
The purpose of this is to give everyone whose job it is to create these materials specific, easy-to-follow guidance so that, (a) all materials produced for a brand have a consistent look, feel, and attitude, and (b) all materials are adhering to the copyrights and trademarks for the brand that the organization has most likely paid a lot of money to create, use, and protect.
Elements that are generally covered in a brand guide — often also called a Brand Standards Manual — typically include:
- The Brand Strategy (which often also includes information about the market that brand competes in and how they differentiate their brand)
- Vision and Mission Statements
- The Brand Architecture (detailing the umbrella brand and the sub-brands under it)
- The Brand Position, including the positioning line/tagline
- Trademark Usage, depicted both verbally and visually
- Ad, Brochure, Flyer, Web Page and Other Layouts, Grids, Design Elements, etc. — including examples in numerous sizes and shapes
- Brand Colors, including PMS, RGB, CMYK and other formats
- The Brand Logo(s), including media variations, clearances, and more
- Brand Fonts — primary and secondary, online and offline
- Brand Voice — tone, manor, and how the brand is to be talked about
- Sample TV and Radio Scripts/Storyboards
…and the list goes on.
Personal branding has been a hot topic for quite sometime now. It is not a new concept, people have been utilizing its power long ago, even before it became an actual thing. It is a natural by product of being an influential business owner, with a vision to add value and give back to the community through what you offer.
What is it about exactly?
Well personal branding is about your story, background, values, ambitions, offering; it is the culmination of all the things which make you who you are today, it even extends beyond just the work that you do, it involves your personal life too. It is about what makes you unique as a person and as a human being.
It is a very powerful tool for business especially, because it communicates your true value and what you stand for in an authentic manner. By doing so, it connect you with your audiences and builds this bridge of emotional receptivity to what you have to offer as a brand, thus creates credibility around your area of expertise.
It is definitely not about fame, it is about adding value, fame is a result of first and foremost, helping people in one way or another.
Your personal brand is a platform for you to communicate authentically with your target audience, in order to get timely feedback and insights. It also creates your tribe of people who really believe in you and what you are all about.
The most effective way to display your personal brand is on social media, via the various platforms available today. Go out there, share your gifts. Be consistent in your message and values, so people can understand what you are bringing to the table.
Over the years I came to the conclusion that the more I failed the more I learned. It made me shift my mindset in relation to failure, instead of seeing it as a negative thing, I began to use it as a learning propelling me to move forward.
For the longest time, everyone told me to be careful and keep my head down in order to avoid failing, and unfortunately I believed it like everyone else. With the rise of entrepreneurship in the last decade there has been a paradigm shift, where the experience of starting up proved just the opposite. The more you failed, the more you learned and the more you got closer to your desired goals and perhaps the highest levels of success.
How can you know what the road to success is for your, if you have not gone through a process of trial and error to reach where you want to be? it is really very simple, but the mind programming we have been undergoing is more powerful than any sane mind!
So I say, start that business, try that job, go to that place, yes even if it is not thoroughly calculated, maybe with just minimal planning and some good old intuition.
Embracing failure is a recipe for success, because the more you try and the more you fail, the better you get at moving forward and start using failure as a platform for personal and career growth.
Any brand stems from the imagination of the person's/group's who came up with the business idea in the first place. As you start defining your concept, you start identifying more and more characteristics of what the brand will look like and how it will behave.
Therefore, a brand is an extension of one's personality. This is crucial because whenever I work with a client, I always ensure to understand where they are coming from (background, upbringing, motivation, overall personality), it says a lot about why they are making those choices in particular.
Personality is the driving force, behind why people start businesses and do what they do. The culmination of all what they have become, really shapes what they create in terms of a brand. It might not be very clear in the beginning, but once you start digging into one's persona, it all starts to make sense why they made those precise choices (naming, identity, business model etc..). It is on a very deep and subconscious level of thinking, which most of the time is actually unknown and hidden from themselves as a brand owner.
Building brands on such deep levels, really enables effective reflections of one's aspirations and business objective. Keep it deep and be authentic.
Behind every great brand, there is a great story which connects the customer with the brand.
Building emotional connections can happen in many ways and through various means, but one of the most powerful ways to do it is through a brand story.
What is a brand story? there is no one answer to this, it could be the story of how the brand started or the story of the individual behind the brand or the story of the product/service itself. The point is, creating a story ensures there is some kind of emotional connection being built between the brand and the audience, which is a behind the scenes communication, more on the subconscious level.
Stories can be told in many forms and not just through text or written words. They could take the form of sound, smell, touch or indulging any sense for that matter or all of them at once, it just depends on what your brand is about as well as how you want to communicate it.
People rarely speak about the hidden dynamics of branding, which are really what make up a solid brand, that is based on intangible attributes which cannot be seen but felt through our emotions.
Tap into your story and communicate with your customers, if you really want build a long lasting relationship with them.
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As a token of appreciation for all the people that have been following us and our work, we created a step by step branding guide to help all budding entrepreneurs build their brands on solid foundations.
The free report walks you through the steps needed, from the inception of the idea all the way to the final real life brand in tangible form.
It is a great blueprint to follow, if you need to be guided throughout the whole process and understand the broad idea of how to build a solid brand.
Knowing what you want for your brand is key in the process of choosing the right supplier to handle your brand building. There are so many varieties of freelancers, agencies, studios now a days and I believe each is good at something. But there are so many self-proclaimed experts out there, that do not really know what they are doing!
Make sure you choose wisely. How do you do it?
Simple, the more you know which skills you need in the team that will work on your brand, the better the match will be. For example, if you need more of a strategic approach then it would be completely different than wanting just a designer to work at your disposal under your sole direction. This is just a vague example of many other scenarios, but the point is to ensure there is synergy and aligned expectations on what your objectives are and what to expect. If this kind of understanding is not there, it would eventually be detrimental to your project.
My advice is, the company which is doing your branding, should have the strategic, design and managerial skills in order to deliver a well crafted brand. If one of these elements is missing, then it would cause an imbalance in the overall result of the desired outcome. The company should play the role of the counselor and the architect, and their only goal should be to TRANSLATE YOUR BUSINESS IDEA, INTO A TANGIBLE AND RELEVANT BRAND, "based on their unique approach".
You will know you made the right choice, if it does not feel like too much effort and there is a smooth flow in exchanging ideas as well as in bringing your vision to life. This requires trust, transparency and belief that the chosen agency can do a great job with the least amount of interference and limitation.
Have your say and clear direction but do not be too rigid and limiting.
Keep moving forward,
I always like to compare humans with brands. How?
Consider this, when a baby is born they have no name, it all starts with a name, just like a brand does. This is why having a well crafted name, is essential as an intangible initial point of exposure to the brand, if not the very first point of contact.
After that, a baby becomes a child then a kid then an adult, where by throughout this process, the personality gains its qualities, attributes, values. This comprises, the way the person looks, sounds, their behavior, demeanor, tone of voice and many other aspects of that individual.
It is exactly the same thing with brand, you name it, give it a look, a personality. You need to treat it as a real person that is capable of interacting with other people which has a multi faceted personality, by making sure not only that they look good, but behave good, sound good etc...just like experiencing a human being in real life!
What I am trying to say is that, a brand is a multi dimensional thing which needs to be carefully created and nurtured in order to be able to communicate with the world in an effective and resonant way, which is attractive as well as resonant with its relevant target audience.
Having a solid brand personality enables the business to thrive by driving brand loyalty, awareness and builds a long term relationship with customers, especially when competition increases, it won't hurt you since you have built your brand on solid foundations.
I came up with an approach that basically integrates both disciplines, branding and starting up. One is strategic and intangible and the latter is tactical and more tangible. It is similar to the left and right brains, the right is creative and the left is analytical.
Thus, what I do when consulting and advising startups wanting to start their brands/businesses, is to walk them through the process by combining both sides in order to come up with a solid and holistic business.
Usually, people are either too business oriented and do not understand how to architect a brand or too creative and brand oriented and do not know how the business side of it works.
I was fortunate to have studied and worked in the marketing industry for over a decade and have specialized in branding, as well as have started numerous startups/businesses (some failed and others thrived). So my brain became geared to deal with both sides of the coin, which led me to this integrated approach of combining these two interconnected aspects of building a successful business.
This is how we add value at 25 branding, by using this integrated approach which is a huge plus to whatever you are wanting to accomplish.
So I decided to name ourselves 25 branding, because the number holds a certain significance to me.
You see when my age was 25, a little while after graduating university, the entrepreneurial bug took effect! I started thinking of a million business ideas and had the ambition of becoming a millionaire by the age of 30, from one of my never ending stream of business ideas at the time.
This was far from the reality, it was more a fantasy. It is always great to dream and be ambitious but sometimes you have to do what you have to do, in order to reach your dreams. And I did go with the flow..which took me down a different path, but eventually lead me to where I am today.
Back to the number, so when I decided to start 25 branding, I wanted to make sure that the idea stems from my real life story and not on a made up concept. I asked myself, 1- why am I starting a brand development company? 2- and for what purpose?
The answers were simple: 1- Because I have been working in the industry for over a decade, therefore I have wealth of experience as well as knowledge about it. Also, I have a deep passion and an eye for building well crafted brands. 2- the purpose was also very clear, I just wanted to help people who had the same entrepreneurial drive to build solid brands, especially the ones that do not know anything about branding and area willing to trust someone with this task. Basically, people who went through the same business journey and believed they could startup at some point in their lives.
I came to the personal conclusion that 25 symbolizes the age when most people get the urge to start their own venture and get their ideas out into the world. It represents youth, vitality, self-expression and new beginnings. Which coincidentally means the same thing in the science of numerology.
I truly believe that every individual should pursue their passion and purpose in life, that is why we are focused particularly on helping startups achieve just that, through effective branding.