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Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Creative Branding 101 (Interview w. Nikolas Allen)


I had the pleasure of speaking with Nikolas Allen and getting some feedback into the creative mind of this branding band man.  Originally a rock musician, Allen has begun his career as a graphic designer, to art director, then became a filmmaker and a contemporary pop artist, finally landing his destination as a Branding and Marketing Consultant.   He has always had a relentless pursuit of passion.

  • What is your stance as a marketing professional? What are you good at? What differentiates you from others?

I am well-rounded and able to execute my visions. Thinking big is one thing, making it happen is another. I do both. My philosophy is, “Do it with excellence, or don’t bother.” I’m able to focus on the micro details, while not losing sight of the macro objective. Oh, and I’m great at telling other people what THEY should be doing! Ha! I’m half-joking, but I guess that’s part of the reason I got into consulting. I truly want to help and inspire people to succeed.

  • A marketing strategy begins with an idea. How are yours born?

A mixture of creative and analytical thinking, research and asking lots of questions. This is why branding is important. When you know what your brand stands for, and what your objective is, your marketing message comes into focus. Then it’s a question of how you choose to execute it and what tools you utilize to do so.

  • Can you cite brands or well-known products that you admire for marketing brilliance?

I wish I had a long list to rattle off, but honestly, nothing comes to mind. Plus, I’m way more impressed with a solid, quality product (which is rare to find anymore), than brilliant marketing strategies.

  • Are we heading towards more individualized marketing and advertising?

Absolutely! There’s more fragmentation in business now than ever before. With so much downsizing, outsourcing and telecommuting going on, “Independent Contractor” has become the new “Employee.” That’s why you hear so much about Personal Branding these days. The individual has become his own one-person company. Therefore, you need to brand yourself (i.e. become) a reliable, professional, productive asset so you stand out amongst the competition and continue to capitalize on opportunities.

  • How do you evaluate the potential of social networks for marketing on-line?

The main reason you should be using certain social networks for business is because your target audience is already there. So, number one question is: WHO is using this platform? Secondly, it’s important to know what your objective is: to sell product, to entertain, to educate, to establish thought-leadership, to engage customers, to drive traffic to your other sales channels, etc. Third, you want to know the Analytics. Are the results trackable? Will there be an ROI?

Finally, you gotta JUMP IN! Check things out for a specified period of time and see how it goes. Then, keep this bit of advice in mind: Use what works and drop the rest.

  • What industry or market segment do you find attractive for devoting yourself to in the coming years?

Art Brand Plan is my new Education and Consulting business, where I teach Branding and Marketing to Ambitious Creatives.  As a life-long artist, I’m aware of the challenges creative people face trying to merge art and commerce. I want to use my passion and experience in business, advertising and art to educate and inspire these people to do the work necessary to achieve their own vision of Success.

  • How do you do your own personal branding? What do you recommend other professionals do to position themselves in the job market?

For myself and others, I highly recommend the following:

Show up. Get involved. Have FUN. Love what you do. Do what you love. Know who YOU are as a person. Allow others to be who THEY are. Refuse to compromise your values. Strive to inspire others. Be open to learning. Accept that you have more knowledge than some people and less than others. Be dependable. Be accountable. Stop making excuses. Take responsibility for your words, thoughts, actions and creations. Strive for self-improvement. Say YES to opportunity.

“I take the concept of Personal Branding seriously. To me, it goes beyond business and becomes an ongoing quest for self-improvement. When you strive to become an extraordinary Person, you can’t help but have an extraordinary Reputation (i.e. Brand). Then, in work and in life, you become the very embodiment of Success.”

AllenNikolas Allen is a contemporary pop artist currently based in Mt. Shasta, California. His background is in advertising, music and video production. He is passionate about both art and business and currently runs Art Brand Plan, an Education and Consulting Business that teaches Branding and Marketing to Ambitious Creatives.

For FREE Marketing Tips, Links and Videos, find Art Brand Plan here:

Freebies! 10+ Brand New Icon Sets and Resources Every Designer Will Love

social edia

Who can’t use more free icons? Here’s a few of the latest and greatest to hit the net including Twitter icons, social media icons, Adobe CS icons, icons for designers and much more. Some of these are links directly to icon sets while others are links to roundups.

Read the full article @FREELANCEREVIEW

Living Content: It’s What People Want

contentMost web content is barely alive, even when it is first written. It is pumped out by content mills, optimized and uploaded. This kind of bulk content is often referred to as backfill content. I prefer the term “landfill content.” Dead and rotting from day one.

In sharp contrast, living content is quality content. It is shared quickly through social media—because it is worth sharing—and takes root across the web. Better still, true living content is updated and added to on a regular basis.

Let’s look at the attributes of these two types of web content.

Defining landfill content

Landfill content is written primarily for the search engines. Working from a list of strong keywords or phrases, marketers aim to create a new page of content optimized for each phrase.

The purpose of this content is to please or mislead the search engines, and achieve a page-one position in the search results.

The focus is on volume, and not on quality.

This kind of content can achieve its purpose very well, particularly if the strategy is employed by an authority domain. The site’s historical authority lifts the landfill content pages higher in the search results.

But there is one huge downside to this approach. It’s a customer killer, and a brand killer.

When a visitor’s first experience of your website is through one of these low-quality pages, they get a very poor first impression of your site, company or organization. They won’t become customers, they won’t return to your site, and they certainly won’t share the page through Facebook or Twitter.

That’s the fundamental problem here. Bulk content is written to impress the search engines, and not your visitors.

And, as you know, only people buy. The Googlebot will never become a customer.

Read the full article @SEARCHENGINELAND.

How to Create a Twitter Marketing Strategy


I work with clients who have signed up and are using Twitter. Roughly half of them love it, the other half loathe it. One thing they all have in common is that they are not sure about how to be strategic in terms of their Twitter marketing.

Using Twitter to market yourself or your business requires a bit more thought than simply following and retweeting Mashable. Here are a few tips that others have found useful when setting up a marketing strategy.

Read the article @jorgensundberg

30 High Quality Magazine Style Premium WordPress Themes


WordPress is the most popular CMS that can easily be turned into a magazine.Allows you to quickly add content and share it on the web.Premium WordPress Themes have been since ever the right choise for magazines.

Their eye-cathing and perfectly coded layouts combined with the power of SEO implemented in every single one give the chance of being so easily noticed on the internet!Still not convinced? Check out the showcase below and start your own online magazine!

Checkout the full article @WPLATTE.