Telling Your Story the Right Way for Your Brand

We all want our marketing dollars to stretch as far as they can. One way to ensure that your dollars are taking your company as far as they should go is to have your brand tell the right story in the right way. It is important to think of marketing as someone in the corner raising their hand to get attention. If you aren’t intrigued by what you see, if you aren’t interested in figuring out what the story is, then your marketing and advertising can quickly be ignored and even more quickly add up to a cost that is not sustainable. Most marketing is an interruption, plain and simple. Whether it’s the ads you see scattered around the internet, streets, windows, and seemingly everywhere these days, the stuff that works is the stuff that grips you, makes you stop, and makes you curious.

Appeal to Your Customers
The first step in telling your story is to meet your customers where they are. No one is going to listen to your story if they can’t hear you. You need amplification to get your message out there and keep it out there.

Be Genuine
Developing a brand that really represents the high caliber services and products that your company provides is key to attracting the kind of loyal customers you want. You need to show them exactly what they can expect from you from the first moment they encounter your brand.

Create a Connection
Life is about the connections we make. If you can successfully connect with your customer base, then they are more likely to become your customers, return as customers, and spread the word about your brand to their connections.

You need a way to stay in your customers’ minds so that when they need your products or services, your brand is the first one they think of. Using promotional products can help your brand be remembered long after you make an initial connection with your customer base.

And Repeat
The stories that stick with us are those that we hear all the time. The best way to get the story of your brand remembered is to tell it over and over.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is with promotional products that appeal to your customers. Giving potential customers something they will use every day is the smart way to keep your brand repeating in their mind.

Ready to choose the right promotional product to tell your brand’s story?

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Six Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

If you are thinking about the holidays right now and frowning, smooth your face, square your shoulders and take a cleansing breath. A little positive thinking can go a long way in helping you to enjoy the holidays this year instead of agonizing over all the little details. These 6 tips for a stress-free holiday season will start you off on the right foot.

1. Plan ahead. Print out return address labels for cards (I’m really doing it this year – bad hand cramping), update your address book, make room in your front hall closet for guest coats instead of piling them on a bed like usual, and prepare guest rooms ahead of time. Tackling a few of these tasks before you get really busy can make a world of difference.

2. Rethink your gift giving. Cut down on the mad shopping rush and stress of finding exactly what everyone wants this year – consider giving experiences instead of material gifts, and maybe even implement The Four Gift Rule. My extreme-gift-giving mom is actually trying it this year. Thanks, Mom!

3. Keep things simple with food and d├ęcor. Stick to your favourite recipes instead of trying something complicated and new, and a simple homemade centrepiece is all you need on your table. Please don’t belittle yourself for not having matching napkins and candleholders! Focus more on the family and friends you are gathering with rather than stressing over too many fussy preparations.

4. Have a few extra gifts on hand. A small stash of thoughtfully wrapped gifts is perfect for unannounced friends or last-minute invites. Choose items that have universal appeal and can be used by you and your family if they are still around come January. Think locally-made condiments, soy candles, handmade chocolates, wine and preserves.

5. Be choosy when it comes to events. This can be tough for social butterflies (my husband) and people who have trouble saying no (me). Only accept invitations to gatherings that are pertinent to the holiday and meaningful to your family. When planning your own event, keep it small and intimate with just a few close friends and relatives. We used to have a big Christmas open house but after a few years, we realized it was too chaotic as we spent most of our time greeting and seeing friends out, refilling glasses and snack bowls, and making sure little ones didn’t trash our house (even if they were adorable). Choose to host big parties at a different time of the year, when there is less going on and you are not so taxed.

6. Live in the now. As you trim the tree or make cookies with your kids, don’t forget to pause and really live in the moment. Don’t worry about what’s still on your to-do list (there’s always something), because before you know it the holiday will be over and you’ll be disappointed that you didn’t make the most of it. Also, carve out some time to do something just for you – take a walk, read your book, have a hot bath – it will go a long way in helping you to keep your sanity during the holidays.

Multitasking High Cost

In today’s busy world, multitasking is so common that juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities might seem like the best way to get a lot done. While multitasking, what we are really doing is quickly shifting our focus from one thing to the next. Switching from one task to another makes it difficult to avoid distractions and can cause mental blocks that can slow us down, thereby reducing our efficiency.

It has been found that when chronic multitaskers focus on just single task, their brains are less effective and efficient. But, on the other hand, the evidence suggests that if they stop multitasking, they will be able to perform better.

Experts also suggest that the negative impact of chronic, heavy multitasking might be the most detrimental to young minds. At this age, in particular, brains of teens are busy forming important neural connections.

High Cost of Multitasking –

When we multitask, our attention is expended on the act of switching gears from one task to other and, as a result, we never get into the zone for any of the tasks, affecting our performance. Multitasking affects performance in the followings ways:

It Slows One Down – Contrary to the common belief that multitasking saves time, actually it slows us down making us spend more time on an activity because we are jumping back and forth on different activities. Every task requires a particular approach. Once we get into a groove for an activity, we can do it fast and better.

One Makes Mistakes – Experts estimate that multitasking can cause as much as 40% loss in productivity. It has been found that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks without too much difficulty because it has two lobes that can divide responsibility equally between the two. However, adding another task can overwhelm the frontal cortex and increase the number of mistakes one makes.

It Stresses One Out – Multitasking keeps us perpetually in “high alert” mode, which sooner or later can stress us out and cause some stress-related problems.

It Makes One Miss Out – People, who are busy doing two or more things at once, don’t see the obvious things in front of them. For example, while talking on cell phone, we miss noticing an acquaintance passing by us. This is termed inattentional blindness because even though the cell-phone talkers are looking at their surroundings, none of it is actually registering in their brains.

It Makes One Miss Important Details – One is likely to miss important details while doing one or more things at once. It happens more so with older people. Researchers say that as the brain ages, it has a harder time getting back on track after even a brief detour.

It Can Make One Overeat – Being distracted during mealtime can prevent brain from fully processing what one has eaten. This can result in overeating. Even people who eat alone should refrain from turning on the television while eating.

It Can Dampen Creativity – Multitasking uses up most of working memory. So it can take away from our ability to think creatively because so much is already going on in head.

It Can Be Dangerous – Driving when texting or talking on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, is as dangerous as driving drunken. Even that doesn’t stop people from doing it.

It Can Hurt Relationships – Using a cell phone during a personal conversation can give rise to friction and distrust between partners. Do your relationship a favor by paying your partner some exclusive attention.

Conclusion –

We all multitask at times but it has become a common trend amongst many, especially children and youngsters. In fact, we do it at a high cost because researchers have found that it can cause brain damage resulting in cognitive impairment and a decline in IQ. Moreover, multitasking has been found to slacken our emotional control. In this context, it is all the more important that children and youngsters should avoid multitasking as their young brains are growing.

Buying Foreclosure Properties

Buying Foreclosure Properties

Definition:

“A foreclosure property is a piece of real estate that a mortgage lender sells to pay off a defaulted mortgage loan. Every foreclosure culminates in a public auction where the lender sells the property and anybody can purchase the property. Or you can purchase a foreclosure property from a bank after the bank purchases the property at the auction.”

The real estate market is showing increasing signs of recovering and there are great investment opportunities to be found. Home prices are still relatively stable and interest rates are still very attractive.

However, whether buying for a primary residence or for investment purposes, there are still some basic guidelines to follow when considering buying foreclosure properties.

Below are my 4 Buying Foreclosure Properties Tips

1. Work with a broker.

It does not matter if you are buying a foreclosure for investment or as a primary residence, it is really helpful to have a broker help with the process.

Neighbourhood is one of the most important factors when it comes to buying a home and a broker is worth their weight in gold when it comes to knowing the local real estate market.

2. Do the financial due diligence.

All we need to do is remember the real estate market crash to see why it is important to do a thorough financial due diligence when purchasing a home.

Be realistic about your budget and how much home you can really afford. If the home is an investment purchase, can you make the mortgage payment if you have to carry the mortgage for a few months?

That can happen with investment property so be sure you factor in at least six months of mortgage payments just in case.

Also factor in the cost of any repairs. This is especially true with foreclosure purchases which are often sold ‘as is’ which means they often need repairs.

Verify the condition of the property. Restore and repair costs add up on a total value of a home.

It is always best to purchase foreclosure properties that require minimal repairs, otherwise your profit margin shrinks.

3. Understand that every neighbourhood is local to that neighbourhood.

What this means is that what is selling in one area may not be selling just down the road, so you need to do your homework and check comparable homes in the area to know whether or not what you are buying is a good investment.

Get a proper assessment on the home you are considering purchasing.

Buying foreclosure properties will generally be thirty to forty percent discounted, so if a foreclosure home does not need major repairs and you can get it for a price that is well below the market value of similar homes in the same area, then you are probably making a good investment.

4. Try and find foreclosures that are bank and creditor owned.

These properties are where you can most likely get the best deal because banks are not in the business of owning property so want to sell these types of properties and will often do so at a much discounted price.

Investing in foreclosure properties can be a very smart move, especially in the current real estate market.

With housing prices still relatively stable and interest rates still very attractive, there are many good opportunities for investment available.

When considering buying foreclosure properties, it pays to research the property and to do the financial due diligence in order to verify the quality of the property and financing.