Tuesday, May 22

learning more about branding and design

Branding and design are essential elements of an effective web 2.0 marketing strategy. I've been to a branding workshop recently as part of a Positively Wellington Business and NZTE series for startups. It's obvious that to compete with all the other startups out there, the design of a new site needs to be instinctive, user friendly, and good to look at. If the branding has the wrong look and feel, it can be hard to retain users...even if you are offering a killer service. It's amazing to see all the different interpretations of what user friendly might mean when you scan services on the net. I think keeping things simple is an important part of it..for me...if members of my family can't use it then its one good way of testing whether the user friendly threshold has been met.

I've really been impressed with Decisive Flow, a Wellington-based web design company. They worked on PlanHQ which is another kiwi-based online business service aimed at SME's and startups like me. Planhq allows users to create financial, marketing and strategic business goals around a "live" business plan so they can then manage and constantly update the variables to measure progress. The business plan can then be shared with anyone, including current and potential investors, and company directors. As a kiwi business if you are capital raising with overseas investors, but want to stay and develop your business in New Zealand, PlanHQ would be an easy way to maintain a good investor relationship from a distance. Being able to travel domestically and globally, access information and manage my New Zealand company from anywhere is all part of the dream for me, so Planhq fits into my web-based approach.

I've also been inspired by one of New Zealand's all time branding success stories - 42below vodka. Their advertising strategy was inspired, and they just stood out from their competitors. While its not a tech company, I learnt a thing or two from their global marketing approach and their attitude towards achieving their goals.

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