Seven Components of a Creative Branding Strategy

Branding is all about helping your customers identify your brand and connect with the story behind it. It’s the difference between Kleenex and a tissue. The difference between Google and a search engine. Branding helps customers associate your brand with the best in the product they are looking for. While branding can be difficult to get started, here are seven critical parts of creating a branding strategy that works.

Your Company’s Purpose

In today’s market, it is no longer good enough to simply have a product. Your company needs a reason for existing beyond money-making, a defining story, a purpose for doing what it is you do. A great example of this would be a passion for the environment if the company is selling LED light bulbs for example, or a desire for nutrition, if it is a vegan restaurant. Defining your purpose isn’t just good for customers, it is good for choosing a direction for the company as well.

Keep Your Company Consistent

Once you’ve chosen your direction for the company, it is best to stick to that direction in everything you do. Avoid posting messages on social media, even if they are merely things you thought were funny if they don’t align with your current message.

Photo credit: Oreo Instagram Feed

Help Your Customers Connect with Your Product

We use cars to transport ourselves from place to place, haul things, and generally get around. Every car that is still in running condition meets this purpose. Yet so many people choose specific cars. They want a Mercedes, not a car. Why is that? What makes someone want a Mercedes and not another car they could buy for much less?

The answer is the branding that goes with the cars. They have a certain expectation, and yes, a particular emotional response when they think of a Mercedes vs any other brand. It pays to think of ways to transform your product into something customers can become emotionally attached to.


This may seem like the opposite of consistency, but it doesn’t have to be. It is essential to be flexible with your ideas to help appeal to your market. Staying flexible will help you stay competitive in an ever-changing market.

Involvement of Employees

Your passion isn’t always enough. If you are consistently warm to your clients, but your employees are just getting by, your customers will sense it. Encourage your employees to understand your brand story, and work with it.


Reward your customers for coming back to you and treat them well. These people believe in you and believe in your story. That faith should be rewarded!

Competitive Awareness

Your competition isn’t sitting idly by while you create your brand. They are fighting for the same coveted spot as you. To stay one step ahead, you need to keep an eye on what others are doing and make sure you are growing and changing right there with them.

6 ways to easily interact with your audience online

Creating interactive posts can help your brand stand out from other forms of content that are pushed into the overcrowded social world. When a business is interactive with their audience, it shows effort and thought within their posts, creating a fun and entertaining avenue of promotion. Here are some great examples of interactive posts.

1. Digital catalogues

An effective way to showcase your products online is through an interactive digital catalogue, involving flip pages and clickable product links.

Photo credit: PubHTML5

2. Polls

The best platform for this is Facebook. Facebook allows you to start a poll with your audience, allowing them to interact with the simple click of a button. Facebook also pushes out this type of content to a further reach of people, compared to a standard image post.

Photo credit: Jeff Bullas

3. Quizzes

This sort of content is best for a business offering a service as the audience can be quizzed on the business’ area of expertise, forcing the realisation of how little they know. In turn, persuading them to use their service.


4. Facebook 360 degree

A tool on Facebook that allows a live screen of your environment, with the user shifting their phone left and right to view the surroundings. From a promotion perspective, it’s ideal for event marketing, however you can also have the audience engage with a graphic for sales, discounts and another news.

Photo credit: iDownload Blog

5. Ignite discussions

Pick a controversial topic and discuss the two sides of the issue. For example, think about Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” advertisement. The brand asked a pair of strangers to sit down and discuss their differences on a particular topic. The outcome was not just entertaining, but extremely surprising and interesting. This creates talk amongst your audience.

Photo credit: Heineken (YouTube)

6. Sponsored posts

Depending on your internal marketing budget, sponsored posts are a great way to reach a wider audience that may never have seen or heard of your brand previously. There are many different approaches to a sponsored post and depending on what your message and call-to-action is, depends on your interactive option. For a great read on sponsored social media, visit this blog by MailChimp.



–Jordyn Martino

Step back and get ahead of the game

In our daily race against our competitors, trying to keep up with ever changing customer behaviours and expectations, how do we know that we are still running in the right direction?

Stop and have a look around! Where are you standing right now?

The reality for many companies is that our marketing activities are largely based on assumptions. We re-apply the things that have worked for us in the past, assuming that our customers’ needs and behaviors are still the same. Sometimes we even adopt our competitors’ approach because we assume it is working for them. But are we actually hitting the mark? Is our service or product still living up to our customers’ expectations? Are customers reacting to our call to action?

Taking a step back offers a new perspective

Stepping out of the race for a minute, allows us to re-assess what our customer’s needs are – today. It also gives us an idea of how far off we are from meeting those needs with our service offering.

Our client Kingswim, a learn to swim school for kids, faced this very challenge and they decided to re-evaluate their customers’ needs to improve the targeting of their marketing activities.

If you want to know what the consumer thinks, ask the consumer!

It seems like a logical step but companies often dismiss this opportunity, as they feel they know their customers, based on their experience in the industry.

Kingswim conducted targeted consumer research, using the findings to create their ideal client profiles. They were then able to refine their communication to better talk to their customers’ needs. But there was more.

Be prepared to take it a step further

When you start asking questions you may get answers you were not expecting.

When Kingswim conducted their customer research they were looking for ways to improve their communication. But the research also revealed opportunities to improve their service delivery on an operational level.

Research-based strategy is more likely to deliver results

Since rolling out their new marketing strategy and operational improvements, Kingswim have seen a marked increase in enrolments and identified other exciting business growth opportunities along the way.

If you feel your business is struggling to keep up, maybe your next step should be a step back.

5 Steps to grow your business

We can all relate to that feeling of being reactive in our day to day business, rather than being proactive and staying focused on our long term goals too. Without a clear marketing strategy, key issues being overlooked start to affect your business potential. Some signs your marketing isn’t working to its full potential include:

  • Lack of customer enquiries
  • Customers have mixed messages on your business product or branding
  • Potential customers purchase from your competition

With a little planning and preparation you’ll experience fast growth and greater longevity.

So go ahead, get ready to grow today by reading our 5 steps to grow your business and have a brand that works as hard as you do.

1. Back to Basics

Evaluate where you want your business to be in the next 12months.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘live in the moment’ and there is definitely merit in doing that personally, but this approach doesn’t translate to brands or business. Ask yourself when did you last review your plan? Where are you now and where do you ultimately want to be?

In today’s hugely competitive environment it’s never been more important to stay one step ahead of the game, which is all about planning ahead and setting business goals. Did you know by setting your goals in writing you are 42% more likely to achieve them? Now that is definitely a step in the right direction!

2. Prioritise

Know which goal comes first. Is it increased market share? Increased brand presence? Or an increased client base?

There are countless ways in which a brand or business can market themselves however before you start looking at your ‘how’ it is crucial to initially define what goal or objective is your absolute number one or non-negotiable.

Do you know what your key business objective is? Do you simply want greater brand presence, or are you focused on increasing your market share through targeting new clients? Maybe you want to achieve three successful new product launches or invest in an online presence. No matter what you want to achieve you need to identify your key goal and objectives, as from here they will be your reference point when developing your ‘how to’ plan.

3. Attracting Attention

Is your company/business collateral up to date? Ask yourself is your messaging targeting your ideal client, at the right places and the right time? If your brand or business is well established there can be a tendency to stick with the status quo when it comes to marketing collateral and promotions. In particular if something has worked for you before and even if it still works, it may lead to the ‘why fix something that isn’t broken’ mentality. The danger here is the ‘leakage’ of missed opportunities for your brand/business and a greater likelihood of spending big bucks on a promotion that isn’t maximised to its full potential, especially across new influential marketing platforms. It’s time to review your collateral and see what is working, what isn’t and what’s missing!

4. Communicate with Clarity

Does your brand messaging clearly reflect who or what you are?

Much like people, brands are a living entity and need a health check every now and then. During the launch phase most brands start off with a well thought out visual identity and strategy that truly reflects the positioning of that brand.

However, there’s an inclination to invest a lot of time and money up front getting your brand just right, then leaving it filed under the set and forget pile. In an increasingly sophisticated world, many brands don’t evolve at the same rate as the company does, which can inhibit growth potential. This can lead to inconsistency between how a company sees itself compared to how the marketplace perceives them.

When did you last research your customers to understand how you are perceived? Does your brand truly reflect how they see you or how you want them to see you?

5. Resource Matching

Ensure your marketing resources match your growth expectations. So now you’ve actioned the first four steps you know where you want to be and how you need to get there but the next big question is ‘Who’ is going to do the ‘How’?

There is no point developing a great strategy that can’t be executed due to lack of time, resources and expert advice. Do you always feel that ‘time’ or more precisely lack of is your biggest obstacle? Have you ever spent two days trying to work out how to set up your email server on your phone, rather than calling in a professional to sort it out immediately, freeing you up to do what you do best? As the saying goes ‘time is money, so stop wasting it!’

To complete the final fifth step towards business growth and success, why not consider partnering with a professional, creative marketing agency that can effectively deliver your company brand marketing needs.


In the coming weeks we will be providing more detailed advice for each of the five steps. You can subscribe to our newsletter using the form below to be notified as we publish new articles.

The Importance of a Visual Audit

In the APR Creative studio, we’re obsessed with visuals of all kinds –  logos, typography, photos, art and everything in between. And guess what? So are your customers. When was the last time you did a Visual Audit of your brand? We’re thinking it might have been a while ago, so let’s work through this together, starting with what you need to do and why you need to do it.

A Visual Audit is a fancy way of saying a formal review of any and all visual materials, including both digital and print collateral. Each visual opportunity to communicate with your customer –the look of your website, business cards, social media profiles, retail store layout and personal appearance – all impact the value of your brand.  A prospective client’s first impression of you and your business is crucial to converting them from a once-off buyer to a long-term customer.

So why are visuals so important?

For starters, 90%* of information transmitted to the brain is visual and is processed 60,000* times faster than text, so your visual strategies must be working as best they can to achieve your business goals. Often it’s your visuals that a customer will notice first and continue to recognise again and again, so you need to make sure they are all in line with your brand. This is where a Visual Audit will be your saviour.

What do you need to do for a Visual Audit?

Firstly, collate anything that includes your logo and even things that don’t. Include past and present documents, brochures, stationery, website, digital and social advertising, photography, illustrations – basically everything!

Next, get ready to answer these important questions for each and every type of visual:

  • Is there a better way of doing it?
  • Is what we are doing having the same cut through as it used to?
  • Is the collateral focused and in line with our brand?
  • What new technology could provide new ways to engage with our target audience?
  • Can we do some research and ask our customers how they want to interact with us?
  • Is what we are doing the best way to market to potential customers?

Get your team involved too – what do they think is working well and what needs a refresh? We all have opinions and tastes when it comes to visuals so use your immediate resource pool of talent for feedback.

How often should you perform a Visual Audit?

A thorough audit of all your current visual communications across print, online and environmental should be done every 12 months to ensure you are maximising achieving your business goals. Conducting a yearly audit ensures that you are not just doing the same things you have always done on autopilot. It provides an opportunity to ask: is our collateral consistent and on brand?

Cohesion across all brand touch points builds trust with consumers and improves the customer experience. So get obsessed with your brand visuals and start making them work for you in better, more effective, ways. A Visual Audit is a wonderful way to see how far you’ve come and make a solid plan for future projects.

We would love to assist with your visual auditing process, so get in touch info@ or give us a call on 03 9598 3588.

Source: Statistics

Why your brand needs a content marketing strategy

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a “… strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” To be perfectly clear, we are not talking about ads. In it’s purest form content marketing does not have a sales focused call to action, sometimes it is not even branded. It’s aim is purely to inspire an ongoing relationship by adding value to peoples lives.

Ever since the rise of the major social media platforms, brands have been able to communicate directly with their customer base, as well as prospect customers. Where traditionally media outlets would have been used to communicate a brand’s message, companies now have an opportunity to become media outlets in their own right. It didn’t take long for marketers to realise that pushing a “buy now” message in every social media post turned followers away.

How your content is distributed

Content Marketing covers all avenues where content can be applied. This can be on social media, in email newsletters or even on offline mediums like product packaging. For instance printing a recipe on food packaging could be regarded as content marketing. The actual recipe does not have a sales message but it provides advice on how to use the product, thus adding value for the customer and making a sale more likely. While content marketing can be applied on any platform, digital as well as in traditional mediums, the best platforms for your brand and product ultimately depend on your product and how people use it.

Why should you create content?


1. Lead the conversation about your brand

Today, more than ever before, purchase decisions are influenced by our peers, who are voicing their opinions about products and services in a social media environment. We have little to no control over how people speak of our brand or our products. These public conversations and opinions about our brand, even when they are of a positive nature, are not likely to be aligned with our corporate communication strategy. In order to maintain consistency in our communication and brand message we have to become (or remain) part of the conversation – better yet, lead the conversation. Creating your own content is one way to stay involved and retain some control over the public conversations about your brand.

2. Let’s not forget about our competition

When we are talking about staying front of mind, we often assume that there is only one ‘seat’ available in that space. Though, realistically we are sharing that space with other brands with similar product or service offerings. The void we create here, by not being present in this space, will most likely be filled by one of our competitors. A well planned content marketing strategy will help you create relevant content that will keep your brand front of mind.

How to get started

It seems like an easy task to handle in-house, but DIY content marketing efforts often fail due to poor planning. Your expertise in your field is at the core of your content marketing strategy, but you may need assistance with planning a strategy that is sustainable long term and to give you a frame that will help you create new relevant content on a regular basis. If you require assistance setting up a content marketing strategy APR Creative can help.

How to use Instagram effectively for your business

Don’t they say a picture is worth a thousand words? No statement could be more truthful, if used effectively your business Instagram is a great way to publicise, market and sell your business to your clients. Whether you are directly selling products or creating a mood for your business, its essential to work out how you want to be portrayed.

The biggest mistake people make with Instagram, is not creating a look and feel from the outset. It’s best to find your ‘voice’ by creating mood boards and looking at other examples of how other businesses run theirs. It’s also not fair to say that it doesn’t suit your business, one look at the newly formed Instagram business blog will change your mind. All the big guns from Coco Cola to Audi to Qantas all have their place in the market.

Here are a few pointers to help you get started:

Have a variety of images and be sure to balance this with ‘fun’ images

Take advantage of the increased real estate you have and tell a story with your images. Be fun, create a voice for your business by having a healthy balance of fun images and business or product pictures.

Create a following

Make sure you connect your Facebook account to your Instagram to ensure you are getting the most out of every post. Use relevant, popular hashtags and use your imagination to come up with your own. Many businesses create unique tags to do with their posting plan. This may be something like “Tasty Tuesdays” ( or Motivational Monday. It’s also a must to engage by following others and liking their photos. It may seem minimal but it really does help to broaden and promote your brand. There is also opportunity here to create competitions and ‘regram’ posts once you build up this following base.

Have a flexible posting plan in place

The ‘feed speed’ on Instagram is still somewhat slow paced compared with FB, so don’t feel like you need to post every day, as this can saturate your followers’ feeds and create harmful clutter. Decide what you have ready to post and create a schedule to help you remember what to post when and to track what is working once you get going. Have a backlog of posts too so if you are busy, you are ready to go and wont be absent from your feed.

Share your business view of the world

For brands to be successful on Instagram, it needs to not just be about selling and instead share a distinctive view of the world. You want to create a visual story board of who you are, what you do and what you as a company ‘look like.’ Cultivate a unique visual sense and capture things that are interesting to your brand and most importantly, the core target customer. Last but not least, make sure your Instagram account is managed by someone in the organisation who understands how to align images with the interests of your target customer.

Happy Holidays from APR Creative

We had lots of fun pulling this video together, we hope you enjoy it! A special thanks for Oliver for making this happen.

CTA – Call to action, do you have one?

When creating a print or digital campaign there can be a tendency to concentrate on details such as the right tone, catchy copy, the right imagery, nice fonts and big logos and along the way lose sight of the overall objective of the campaign. What is your consumer or client going to do with the campaign information? How will they act on this information and how will you measure success?

Regardless of whether your campaign objective is to build brand awareness or generate direct sales you should always have a strong call to action (CTA).

Here are some tips to ensure you have a CTA that will work:

  • Provoke a response

    Make sure your CTA provokes an immediate response by including a verb that directly invites the consumer to take action such as “Call Today”, “Download Here”, “Sign up for our newsletter” or “Register to attend” etc. Tell your audience what to do and provide an instant solution on how to do it. Don’t give people an option to wait and think about it.

  • Be clear

    If a CTA is not easy to understand your consumer won’t act. Your CTA must offer a relevant or interesting result. They should know exactly what will happen when they click, call or visit. Make sure the CTA explicitly tells them what they’re getting in exchange for their engagement.

  • Keep it simple

    Short clear compelling copy that tells them exactly what to do and what’s going to happen. Make sure your creative provides answers to potential questions that your offer might raise.

  • Remove risk

    A no-obligation offer such as “Free Trial” removes or reduces risk, giving the consumer the confidence to buy and act straight away.

  • Design

    Make it stand out from the rest of the content. Use contrasting colours, relevant graphics, effective typography and use of negative space to draw attention to your CTA.

  • Follow through

    If your campaign is driving traffic to your website, make sure there is an accompanying landing page with relevant content that relates directly to your CTA. Likewise if you are directing people to your social platforms, make sure there is a post that is relevant to your campaign. You must also ensure that you have seamless systems in place to respond to ‘Call Now’ CTA’s, make sure your sales team are briefed and that they know your campaign offer inside out.

Bloggers, the new key influencers

In recent years many bloggers have left their 9 to 5 job to make a career out of blogging full time.  Whether they are blogging about fashion, beauty, lifestyle or food they have large readership numbers along with lots of followers on their various social media accounts.

Marketing Spend

Brands have been paying attention and are now leveraging off the popularity of bloggers, as people now spend more and more time online.Whether it is advertising, sponsorship or paid content marketing, brands are spending more of their marketing dollars in this space.

Influential People

The rise of bloggers as influential people is obvious, Lucy Feagins creator of The Design Files is case in point.  The Design Files is regularly ranked as one of the top 5 design blogs in the world with over 1,000,000 monthly page impressions. Brands and products featured on her blog often see a large increase in demand due to this exposure – this has in turn become known as The Design Files Effect (TDFE).  Big name brands such as Dulux, BMW and Bank of Melbourne have all been major sponsors of various Design Files events over the last few years, so they are clearly seeing the benefit of this exposure.


As well as sponsorship and paid advertising, brands are now taking this a step further.  Last year Foxtel created a new show featuring some of Australia’s top fashion bloggers, which followed their journey as bloggers and the different products and brands they collaborate with.  These bloggers have since gone on to create marketing campaigns and become brand ambassadors for major brands such as Schwarzkopf, Holden, OGX, Tony Bianco and David Jones.

This is a trend that is only going to increase given the way in which media consumption is shifting further and further into the digital space.  The value of blogger sponsorship, advertising and paid content marketing is certainly something that should be evaluated when reviewing your digital strategy.