WOW Branding

Opinionated Blog

We'd love to tell you that branding is all about pretty design but we'd be lying. It takes balls to define your leadership, clarity and focus, and you'll need even bigger balls to execute on it. The branding process can reveal a bunch of ugliness as well as brilliance. Yes, branding hurts. Are you brave enough?  Get a regular shot of qualified comments, opinions, recommendations, tools, and ideas regarding branding and leadership. To inspire and provide food for thought.  Welcome to our blog!

How Architects can use social media to manage and build their brand online

By:  Dann Ilicic

Taking the fear out of using social media in 4 easy steps

Using social media for your firm does not have to be scary - even if you’re over 40. And yes, there are some very practical ways to engage with the social network without ever having to give a status update or sharing what you had for breakfast. If that’s your impression of the social network, then pay close attention. I think you’ll be surprised at what is possible.

There are 4 stages of online brand management using social media that firms can choose to employ. Each successive stage requires a higher level of commitment and with each level comes greater rewards. We will be hosting a free webinar on this topic with more details and Q&A on March 3rd at 11am but for now, here is a brief overview of the 4 stages.


At the very least, you should be aware of what is being said about your firm, your projects, your clients, your industry, your staff and even what your competitors are saying/doing. By setting up a Smart Listening Center for your firm, you’ll essentially have your own private news channel that monitors and alerts you to what’s most relevant.


With all that great information coming in to your Smart Listening Center, it would be a shame to keep it all bottled up. The easiest way to start building your online presence is to participate and the easiest way to participate is to repost or republish the content from your Smart Listening Center on your social channels - primarily Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.


Once you’ve got the hang of republishing, you can take it up a notch by adding your own comments to what you’ve republished. Be bold. Have a point of view. Make a recommendation. Add comments to other people’s blogs, answer people’s questions and join conversations. Its a great way to build your credibility, authority and trust. Your opinion matters. Speak.

STAGE 4 - CREATE CONTENT - BE AN EXPERT By writing original content and publishing it on your blog, newsletter, industry publications and social network, not only are you constantly building your credibility, authority and trust, you are also dramatically improving the  search engine optimization (SEO) for your firm’s website. Encourage others to share your prose, images and knowledge. The leverage is amazing.

If you’re interested in learning more about these 4 stages and the online tools that are available to make it all easy and affordable, register for our FREE webinar on March 3rd - 11am PST or call us. We’re happy to help. Read Full Article >>

Why most AEC websites suffer from stale content, lack of differentiation and fail to perform the most basic business development function.

By:  Dann Ilicic

After looking at 100’s (maybe 1000’s) of websites in the AEC space, the vast majority of them start to blend together in an undifferentiated pool of sameness. It’s not so much a design problem as it is a strategy problem. If it is not clear what makes your firm different and better and why a potential new client, employee or partner should choose you, then a fancy web design is not going to solve your problem - you need a proper strategy.

The key thing to remember is that your site is NOT built for you - it is built for your ideal visitors.

Ask yourself these 8 basic strategic questions about your site: Read Full Article >>

Start with a genuine purpose

By:  Dann Ilicic

Without a meaningful purpose that is real to you, you can’t know how to be the leader you know you can be. But once you discover it, there will be no stopping you or the movement your purpose creates. Read Full Article >>

The 3 basics of brave brands

By:  Andrea Shillington

Ethical Bean - Bold BrandingWhether you’re an entrepreneur working on your next big idea or the leader of a well established company, in today’s world of choice, I’m sure, at some point you’ve contemplated how to stand out. Now, we are not just talking about how to be better at this, or best at that; we are talking about boldly going where no brand, in your industry, has gone before.

We boil it down to three simple basics:
1. Start with a genuine purpose (other than to just make money).
2. Get specific about who will buy (even more specific than that).
3. Be truthful, courageous and consistent when you go to market- loose the hyperbole and marketing speak. Read Full Article >>

Delivery is more important than branding - it IS your brand!

By:  Dann Ilicic

I just had one of those great customer experiences that are worthy of a blog post. The interesting part is that I actually never spoke to a live person at any point and I am still blown away.

I bought a pair of soccer cleats for my ever growing 10yr old son from SoccerPro, an online retailer based in Missouri. The prices were fair and the site was easy to use but that's not what compelled me to write this. This company is full of personality and it is clear to me that they have made a decision to make every possible interaction surprisingly great.

I'm always grateful to get acknowledgement that my order was received and shipped, but check out this order confirmation excerpt: Read Full Article >>

The Canucks: A brand we believe in

By:  Andrea Shillington

Today, the whole of Vancouver is exuding their pride and emotional investment in the outcome of the Canuck’s final chance to win the 2011 Stanley Cup. Even those people whose lives haven’t revolved around hockey since the fall, are surely fans now.  Read Full Article >>

6 Surefire Ways to Make Sure Your Rebrand Fails

By:  Dann Ilicic

Going through the rebranding process in your organization can be tough, even if everything goes smoothly. In our experience, there are six things that usually get in the way and we want you to be aware of them.

1- The CEO or leadership team is not involved

Too often we see the rebranding efforts beginning in the marketing department instead of with the CEO. Branding is a CEO level initiative because it deals with the fundamental definition and expression of the business. The brand consultant is the worst person to deliver the brand to the organization. It can ONLY be delivered by the CEO as an expression of their vision for the organization’s future Read Full Article >>

Our Canadian Brand Essence - By Andrea Shillington

By:  Andrea Shillington

February 28th, 2010 marked the day of something new, something special, something found in us all. It will be remembered as the day our Canadian pride reached an all time emotional high. All across the world, people gathered, and Canada’s national pride came to life with a “Go Canada”.  Read Full Article >>

Brand over-protection inspires creative abuse

By:  Dann Ilicic

Some of you may have heard about the scuffle between Vancouver Olympics officials and local apparel manufacturer Lululemon over the latter’s sneaky way of referring to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics without actually referring to the event by name. Lululemon Athletica has come up with a cheeky clothing line that’s named “Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition.” Olympic officials were quick to lash out at what they called “rogue advertising” but  Lululemon denied the name was a brazen bid to circumvent Vancouver 2010’s vigorous brand protection policies.  Read Full Article >>

Is Bing a good name for Microsoft's search offering?

By:  Dann Ilicic

Anytime Microsoft does anything to challenge Google, it always makes for interesting news. Last week the New York Times did a story on Bing — the new name for Microsoft Live search.

What struck me about the article had nothing to do with the name itself, but rather the asinine comment from Peter Sealey, Coca-Cola's former chief marketing officer who said " Microsoft should have picked a name that more directly connotes search... it's going to be an enormous expense to create an image for this thing called Bing." Read Full Article >>