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The new WWW – World Wide Watchdogs

Cyber IdentidyIt used to be that people went to the internet for anonymity… but increasingly, it’s becoming where brands and companies are being exposed to reputation-damaging hacks, accusations, and more. And, if you or your firm participate on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, and other social media platforms, your exposure is even wider. Every piece of content (or micro-content) can be picked up and indexed by search engines – presenting unfavorable information to potential consumers that may decide against using your products or services. What used to be a simple public relations and marketing challenge has now become a complex digital task – online reputation management.

Your brand’s reputation is almost like a living thing… it grows, it expands, it travels, it interacts with people… and most importantly, it needs your care to be healthy and prosperous. At Kompani Group, we take online presence (both perceived and actual) very seriously, which is why we’re always evaluating and implementing the latest tools and technologies available for this task. See some of our top recommendations for social media management in our latest white paper.

Even if you’re effectively using your resources to stay connected to your audience, your reputation can all fall apart if your messaging isn’t aligned with your brand. Sometimes it takes a neutral third party (like us) to give you a bit of real-world perspective and help you evaluate the results of your online efforts. Want a few helpful hints to get started? See our white paper for three guidelines to strong-yet-smart messaging.

Ready to take things further? Get in touch with us today to start looking deeper into your online reputation and turn it into your strongest brand asset.


Working Smarter, Not Harder – The Secret Behind Business Optimization

In military maneuvers, being able to anticipate the competition’s next move before it happens and then positioning your own forces, is what wins battles. Commanders who win are usually the ones that have seen the most varied assortment of battles. They know what enemy tactics look like earlier than most, and they’ve also likely been a foot soldier in the counter attack.

It’s not all that different in business. Those that are the best at overcoming challenges and taking leadership positions are those who have had the most opportunities to practice it. Unfortunately, not all companies are in a field that presents that on a day-to-day basis. Yet, it’s still necessary for those wishing to get ahead.

Identifying the Optimization Gap

Think of what you do most in your business… the one task that occupies the majority of your time. Maybe it’s answering emails. Or it might be fielding customer service calls. You may even be in the fortunate position where your whole team is working as hard as they can to crank out as many widgets as possible in order to meet demand. All of these are situations that can be improved by business optimization but none of those tasks actually requires a huge shift in the way you operate to simply handle the immediate responsibility.

This creates a gap between what needs to be done right now and what could be done in the future. Even more importantly, it also leaves a gap between recognizing what’s working for you today and what might cease working for you in weeks, months, or years to come. Don’t get us wrong, a clean inbox is great, just like happy customers, and delivery trucks full of widgets… but what happens when the inbox never gets full, customers simply stop calling, and delivery trucks go empty. Optimization is the bridge over that very scary cliff.

So Why Isn’t It Simpler?

That’s the thing about Optimization… there’s no “finish line” that signals you’ve reached the end of how great your business can be. The good news is that tactics and methodologies aimed at optimization always leaves a trail. When a business is working from an improve-and-enhance standpoint, every move is logical and orderly. From the outside it may look like everything’s “easy” for that company – like they knew something no one else did. And in many ways, it’s true. They made the decision not to knee-jerk react to challenges as they came up, but instead, anticipate them… much like a Commander going to war. The absence of that approach leaves telltale signs too – meandering sales and revenue numbers, difficulty forecasting, and a track record of business-building initiatives that stop almost as soon as they start.

That’s Where Kompani Group Steps In

As experienced Business Optimizers, we’re sort of a “Commander On Demand.” Present your situation to us, and we’ll tell you the battles you can expect, the weapons already at your disposal to put up a strong fight, and what tactics or ‘big guns’ you might need to ensure victory. In some cases, we may even take the Sun Tzu path and let you know when it’s time to avoid a fight (such as letting two competitors battle over price while you make a stand for quality).

To take a closer look at our Business Optimization Philosophy and expertise, check out our white paper on the subject. Or review our Case Studies to see our holistic approach in action. You can even review our brochure, to see the tools we’re using to bring optimization to the foundation of our services.


Trademarks – They’re Not Just for Names and Logos

If you’ve had the presence of mind to trademark your business name or logo then congratulations – you’ve already taken the first step in protecting your brand’s assets. If not – let’s back up a second. Why Not? Many people mistakenly believe that trademarking is either terribly expensive or simply unnecessary, and neither could be further from the truth.

Claim What’s Yours.

Would you leave your name off the title to your house, your car, your credit card? Not that most legal entities would allow you to do so, but clearly you can relate to the idea of not wanting other people to claim what’s rightfully yours. If you’ve worked hard to build a business and a brand, would you want someone else to come along and steal your customer base by using the same name and a similar logo? Customers may not notice the difference right away and think that you’ve expanded… when in fact they’re patronizing another company. What’s worse, if you’ve got a great reputation with your customers and this “copycat company” comes along and delivers a poor brand experience, you’ll be guilty by association. Trademarking your business name, logo, and identity are smart ways to avoid that problem.

How do I GET a Trademark?

Well, you can start by using an experienced branding company. At Kompani Group we research names and logo suggestions well in advance of any implementation to make sure no other companies exist that are already using the same (or a similar) name. We search locally, regionally, and nationally to ensure you’re as unique as possible. The more unique you are, the more likely your trademark application will be approved. We cross reference our research against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is the federal government body that assigns all ™ , ®, and ℠ marks. The ™ , and ℠ signify trademarks that have submitted an application for registration, while the ® shows that the application has been successful and the name/logo/or other brand element has been assigned to that one business entity.

While the application itself is not expensive, it takes experience to know about various categories and divisions that apply to your business. This is what makes it possible for Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets to both be in business – they are registered in different categories and there is little to no chance that anyone would confuse airplanes and faucets. So too, your restaurant idea name may indeed be the same as a kids toy, but it’s unlikely customers will think your food establishment is selling toys. An experienced branding firm can also help you consider what categories you may expand to over time so you don’t run into an issue if your restaurant does one day expand to a bed and breakfast, or even a resort destination.

How does a Trademark stop others from copying my ideas?

In the early days of your brand assets, consistently using ™ , ®, and ℠ show other businesses that you’re serious about your brand and that you intend to protect it. This is often enough to keep would-be copycats from attempting to pass off your brand assets as their own. After a year or so of consistent use, unless you’re in a competitive field for brand assets like pharmaceuticals, you should be able to continue using your brand without the additional marks. That’s because trademarking offers you defendable protection for your brand.

By trademarking your brand assets you’ve established a timeline in federal court of your use of the brand. This will make it very difficult (if not impossible) for any company to continue using your brand without your permission. You may even be entitled to financial compensation from the copycat to make up for any lost business or damage to your brand.

However, you may be leaving other important assets unprotected if you think trademark protection only extends to company names and logos.

What else can be trademarked?

Individual product lines, manufacturing processes, services, service techniques, and other proprietary assets of your business can also be considered intellectual property, and are therefore entitled to protection from other companies wishing to claim those assets as their own. So even if you’ve trademarked your company name (in this case let’s say ANYCO®), a competitor could “steal” your SilverStar Service Guarantee if you didn’t trademark it as well.

The process for filing for additional trademarks is the same as any other trademark. Begin with a search on USPTO.gov to see if your product or service is already in use or trademarked by someone else. If that’s clear then you can start evaluating whether you’re indeed trademarking a product, or a service.

Product… Service… What’s the Difference?

As far as legal protection is concerned, there is no difference between a trademark and a service mark. In fact, once the registration of your trademark is established, there is no visible difference whatsoever. Your registered product or service will have the ® symbol next to it when used in public. In the meantime, you’ll be using the ™ symbol for products and items, and the ℠ mark for services and processes. The only thing you must be able to prove is that your product or service is, indeed, unique to your business. Perhaps you hold a patent for a particular item. Or maybe you’ve revolutionized the quality control process in a way that’s different from all other businesses in your industry… those would be excellent candidates for trademarking.

Of course, we can help you identify those assets – and help you understand how to better navigate the registration process.

Contact us to get started protecting all your company’s competitive advantages.



How Black and White Can Lead to Green

Using White Papers to Support Sales & Marketing Efforts

Once reserved for highly competitive technical fields like medicine and finance, white papers are becoming powerful tools for nearly any company in any industry. Communicating the “how it works” message makes for a compelling, interesting, and useful read for consumers and potential clients looking to make an educated decision in what is often a confusing marketplace. More importantly, a white paper can be the catalyst for new sales or relationships. How?

  • The neutral tone of a white paper “breaks through” marketing and advertising clutter
  • Straightforward, fact-based messaging creates a strong market position for your product or service
  • White papers provide clients and customers with the evidence for “why this company?” or “why this brand?” and makes the decision their own idea

And while those reasons are enough to give white papers a try, it’s the opportunity for industry-wide or even global exposure that’s most exciting. Create a thorough, precise document with meaningful information on a relevant topic, and you’re likely to find that media publications, industry authorities, and other business stakeholders will want to redistribute your white paper to attract more readers and build their own audiences. And more exposure for you, is more opportunity to make and maintain sales.

At Kompani Group, we’ve had a great deal of success with this unique content marketing technique. In fact, many of our recent clients have had white papers republished in important trade magazines (and their corresponding websites), regulatory agencies, cities and municipalities, and other key opinion leaders. Along the way, the brands originally presenting those white papers have become respected authorities within their fields, and a trusted resource among clients and consumers.

We can help you do the same… get in touch today!


Google Search Goes More Mobile

Make sure your website is set up for Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm

There’s a change going on in web design right now – and the shift is caused by the growing use of mobile devices to access web content. What used to be fundamental truths about navigation, font size, page layout, and more are rapidly vanishing in favor of more fluid design.  With this in mind – Google has started evaluating mobile usage as part of its search engine rankings. Users searching for a resource from a mobile device will automatically receive mobile-friendly sites higher-up in their search results.

Here’s a list of the four most common issues you should be aware of:

  1. Viewport not configured / Fixed-width viewport
  2. Touch elements too close
  3. Small font size
  4. Content not sized to viewport

So why is Google doing this? Quite simply, they want to remain the gold standard in internet search. If users keep finding themselves at unusable or inconvenient sites, they may cease using Google for future searches.

How should you Respond? The answer is in the question itself. Make your website more responsive. If you’ve spent time and resources towards SEO and search engine rankings – your hard work could be for nothing if mobile users can’t (or won’t) use your site. Google has even provided a guide to mobile-friendly sites and there’s a mobile-friendly test.


SEO, HTML, SME – Content Marketing All Spelled Out

In a world that is increasingly relying upon abbreviations and acronyms to streamline communication, it can be easy to forget that content is still what drives site traffic and web presence. In fact, any smart SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy will make use of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) text as its foundation. Since graphics don’t communicate as words to search engine indexing programs and abbreviations don’t always reflect the way people search, actual relevant content filled with words is the most reliable way to present yourself or your company as an SME (Subject Matter Expert). Want to learn more? See our most recent free report on the subject.


Optimizing Traffic to your Website

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, remains one of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood concepts in the internet and marketing world. In simple terms, SEO is the process of structuring a web page so that it is found, read, and indexed by search engines in the most effective manner possible. While search engines change their algorithms for how they evaluate pages somewhat regularly, the purpose of that is to help sift through strategies and techniques and just find sites that are what they say they are, and to rank those sites according to the value those sites offer to web searchers.

We work with our clients to optimize their websites above and beyond a standard WordPress development in an effort to help web crawlers know what the most important elements of a the site are, and to help our clients know what other content may be valuable to add to the site. Both quantity and quality are important. Ultimately, where your site turns up in search results is a function of the volume of traffic that visits your site and the duration of time visitors spend there.

That said, Google recently announced that another factor that its web crawlers would include in ranking criteria is the security of a site. Read what Google has to say about SSL here. While not entirely specific, this announcement from a company who owns 68% of the search engine market share, strongly encourages website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Ultimately, purchasing and installing certificates is not overly costly, and it does add an additional layer of protection for all the data being transmitted through the web.

Other strategies to improve your rankings

While optimizing site content, adding metadata, and now installing a security certificate are all part of a strong foundation for offering your site to the world, additional content marketing strategies are becoming increasingly important. Producing new content that engages readers serves a critical purpose of helping people know who you are; sending that content out to people who will read it keeps them coming back; and driving those additional users to the site tells the web crawlers that people do want to come to your site and thus you should be higher in search so others can find you too.

There are numerous other strategies that can be implemented, and frankly, those outlined above can be refined and enhanced routinely. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself the same thing we constantly ask ourselves: How can we deliver even more value to those that would want to hear from us in the first place?


Kompani Group Launches New Website on 3dcart Platform: Bloomsbyheinau.com

The use of the 3dcart shopping platform, more than just accommodating.

Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) July 08, 2014

Kompani Group has been building e-commerce solutions for clients for the past 10 years, and have tried almost every platform and custom code imaginable. When it came time to build a new site for their own http://www.BloomsByHeinau.com they knew they wanted to go with 3dcart for several reasons, among them “ongoing support and automatic updates, a devotion to “e-commerce best practices and intuitive user interfaces” which are standard, not multi-modular based on subsequent purchases, stated Adam Olen, Managing Director of both sites. From the basic tabula rasa, provided by 3dcart, Olen and crew were able to create a functional, aesthetic and customizable website in “Blooms by Heinau” a custom flower shop dedicated to excellence and distinctiveness with arrangements guaranteed to last a minimum of 6 months with no water and no maintenance.
 
As Olen described in a note to 3dcart: “As icing on the cake, the functionality you have provided, while in some cases is even more than we may ever use, has also proven to enhance our core business. Because of features provided by 3dcart, we are now launching a corporate gift program so businesses can easily sign up and receive discounts for sending our long lasting and beautiful arrangements to their customers/clients/contacts, and we are also beginning to offer affiliate opportunities. 3dcart has essentially created two new revenue channels just because of the functionality that is included with our monthly package.
 
“As Managing Director of Kompani Group, a firm of business strategy and brand development architects, neither I nor my colleagues took the selection of an ecommerce platform lightly. Our store is a strong reflection on our credibility in the industry and we felt very good about selecting 3dcart for one of our portfolio brands. Thank you for developing a great product and for your ongoing support.”
 
As Joe Palko reiterates; “We have come quite far, since 1997, in many ecommerce functions, uses & aspects, offering online store enhancements such as fraud watch, the addition of multiple and international pavement gateways, integration with eBay, outstanding merchant-focused customer service, content and social media marketing and a host of other benefits and advantages over the run-of-the-mill retail website shopping cart. We are pleased that Adam and Heinau Flowers have benefited from 3dcart’s platform.”
 
About Blooms by Heinau:
Blooms by Heinau, the direct to consumer division of Heinau Flowers offers 100% natural, fresh-cut blooms that last 6 months or longer and serve as decorative accessories in homes, offices, and 5 star hospitality resorts. For the first time, the pure and natural elegance of freshly cut flowers can be yours every day at a genuinely affordable price. If you buy flowers on a regular basis for your home or business, we can cut your annual flower budget by as much as 75%, without sacrificing a single sensory indulgence. Our blooms are 100% natural flowers – and will add a beautiful sense of subtle elegance to help color your life. Visit us at http://www.BloomsByHeinau.com to learn more. Call 786 594 0437 or e mail them at sales(at)BloomsByHeinau(dot)com.
 
About: Kompani Group
We are business strategy, branding, marketing, and web development architects. Our experience and expertise have been acquired from helping build and grow hundreds of companies across multiple industries, as well as from building our own portfolio brands. Our main focus is always to empower our clients and brands with effective solutions, know-how, improved processes, training and tools that immediately generate measurable results. Our core business philosophy is centered around the fact that our partners’ and associates’ compensation is solely contingent on how well our creative business and brand strategies perform for our clients and our own portfolio brands. We are hands-on involved in every aspect of implementing business and brand strategies for our clients and our own portfolio brands. We like to say that once we get involved “we live and breathe our clients’ businesses and brands.” We offer comprehensive strategies to develop and grow your business, but we are also prepared to take on specific projects such as helping you overcome your greatest challenges (one at a time). Place yourself in good Kompani and success will follow.



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