Branding 101

Build A Brand To Remember

Brands come in all shapes and sizes. Successful brands come in a much more limited set, restricted by guidelines, business values, and investor concerns, among other things.

I have spent more than 20 years working on branding issues. It has been part of my work in creating and developing brands and their strategies for businesses around the world. One primary lesson I learned about branding is, it’s important to always be open to learning from experts who have plenty of experience in branding, even if you have a pure, raw, natural talent for it.

And while that is obviously true for just about any subject, it is even more so in branding, because branding involves making a connection between people, … not just yourself … and the ideas and messages communicated by the brand. And here’s why this lesson is so incredibly important: If you don’t make the emotional or mental connection with whoever sees the brand, then you probably won’t form any further relationship with that person, so you’ve already lost them before you ever had a chance to get to know them.

Branding pre-requisites

Understanding what makes brands succeed or fail is a preliminary requirement before you go about trying to grapple the process on your own. Normally, it involves more than one person to get the job done right.

Without being too metaphorical, a brand is a lot like a tattoo. It’s kind of permanent, if it’s done well, but even the best made brand will experience subtle changes over time. If not maintained properly, it will eventuall fade and become less appealing. If maintained well, it will become more beautiful over time, and can even be refreshed from time to time by great creative visionaries and artists.

Given this idea, it is important to spend some time considering the Pros and Cons of various color palettes and combinations. Test with your instincts, your feelings, your thoughts, and yes, with blind test groups where possible. If you’re a one-person show, then test with a professional graphic artist or brand designer. If you can’t afford to do that, then test with a trusted friend, or better yet, multiple friends, if you can’t afford to do a proper multi-panel test. You’ll be surprised how others perceive the greatness you have conceived.

Don’t just sit there. Decide.

Eventually, you will need to pick a set of colors that you think will work best.  Go ahead. Do it. Don’t be afraid. These colors can be changed .. even if only slowly .. later on.

As an example, here are the main colors I decided to go with for this site, when I got to this point in creating this lesson. They’re nice and richly saturated. They go together, complimenting each other with a strong enough contrast without blinding the eyes.

theme colors for yasha.harari.org from 2014 march 7

And here is the custom cartoon image I created and decided to use as my branded avatar for this website, once I arrived to this point in creating this lesson.

yamaha harari custom cartoon avatar

Then, I put down on paper my thoughts about what I communicate through the SEO and Marketing tutorials on this website. And I boiled it down, pretty quickly, to just three words. Marketing. Savvy. Shared.

Mixing those ideas with the colors and cartoon image of myself and my name, I came up with this branded header.

yasha harari website cartoony brand headingTotal time: 20 minutes, including 15 minutes for the graphics and 5 minutes to write about it here.

Note: If you can’t design well or make cool graphics quickly, hire a pro. It’s worth it. Go to odesk or fiverr or freelancer sites anywhere online and you can get graphics done … affordably.

    Useful Brand Builder Resource:

    Need a cool graphic done on time and under budget?
    Get what you need right now, at

That site has been around many years, and has a network of over 10 Million users. I have used their services often, and I definitely recommend them.

By the way, here’s a great video about branding from a TEDx event, by a guy named Sasha, not to be confused with me, Yasha.

And here’s another clip, which you actually have to read, that explains pretty well (in 2011 terms) a big picture summary of the history of branding and how it has changed over the centuries.

And of course, if you enjoyed what you read in this article and want to help me in my effort to put Google to the test, then please share the link to this page on your social media profile or wherever else it could benefit others.

OK, that’s it for now. Good luck making your own kickass brand that’s memorable, and totally awesome, and stay tuned for the next lesson in building a top website.

Previous Lesson: 2014 Challenge 1 : Build a Top Website

Next Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 2.6 : SEO Overview : A brief history of search engine optimization

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2014 Build A Top Website Challenge #1

Hi there.

As many of you know, I am an avid internet business guy. I have been working this digital medium for 20+ years, and using computers properly since around 1980 or so (when I was still a very young lad). So I think it’s about time that I share some of my really useful lessons and information that you can benefit from.

I spent decades learning this stuff, and I have decided to give away what I know, for free, so you don’t have to struggle as I did, to learn the hard way how this is all done. I’m about to blow your mind, by revealing deep insider secrets about how you can make your own successful website, and if you’re so inclined, earn your way up to the point where you can quit your day job if you wish, or keep it as a side income. You’re welcome. :)

So without further ado … here we go.

Challenge #1

On March 3, 2014, I decided to put this website, my little blog, to the test.

By following only strict white hat SEO rules as layed out in Google Webmaster Tools and other best practices used by professionals throughout the search engine optimization industry, I began testing what effect this will have on this website’s popularity with people and with google going forward.

In other words, even though this website is published by an SEO and digital marketing professional, and covers the topic of SEO and Affiliate Marketing, this site does not use any SEO strategies, tricks or techniques to artificially increase backlinks or pump up its own rankings in search results (aka: SERPs) in Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo or any other search engine. Not even my own (Yes, I have built / coded search engines from scratch). All I chose to do for this web site is follow the white hat SEO rules. Nothing more, nothing less.

Let’s see if Matt Cutts is correct when he says that all a webmaster has to do to get a site well ranked and successful as an authoritative site in any niche, is to just publish great content that people will want to share, or at least use a lot even if they keep the knowledge just to themselves.

My Promotional Strategy

To be clear, all I will do to promote this website on its path to success, is:
A) Post in forums like DigitalPoint, TrafficPlanet & WarriorForum
B) Get involved on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.
C) Comment on blog posts (with relevant links to my tutorials where appropriate)
D) Set up some commando Google Alerts to discover new sites and other places where I can get involved
E) Ask people to share the page to get exclusive access to my unique professional set of resources
F) Directly ask people to share
G) Ensure that it is easy for you and other people to share my content, connect with me on social media networks and subscribe to my e-mail updates.

Hopefully this simple and straightforward method, together with great content, shall suffice in growing the blog into a successful one.

Learn. Replicate. Customize. Enjoy.

By the way, if you would like to study and apply the methods of how I have grown this site from nothing into what it is today, you may simply follow and copy my work step-by-step as outlined from here on out.

Of course, your site could be about any topic; Arts, entertainmant, news, SEO, Zelda, just to name a few. And it can offer any product or service. How you pick your niche is a whole other lesson. I plan to release a post about that.

For now, lets’s say you already have your idea, and you’re ready to start to put your site up. Now what? Where will you register your domain name? Who will you choose as your web host? What about privacy? Ecommerce features? Other options? The answers to those questions will also be adressed.

Lesson 1, Step 1 : Pick a domain name registrar and web host.

The first step for newbies or anyone thinking of building a new website, is to get signed up with a domain name registrar. A registrar is simply the company that registers your domain name. Many of them also provide high quality web hosting, which is where you store your website so that it is available to people around the world.

There are many great web hosts that can handle any new website you might want to setup and run. They include Dreamhost, GoDaddy, Bluehost, Gandi, HostGator, and so many more. There are literally dozens of great ones to choose from, and they are all very affordable. Your location, and where your audience is primarily based, is also key to picking your host. Also, things like easy software installation and management, easy domain management and other goodies and freebies which hosts often give away (including hundreds of dollars worth of free PPC ads on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) can be compelling bells & whistles that may help you decide which is the best option for your needs and your budget.

If you would like to see a great registrar and web host at work,

They always have great offers. I know, they have a lot of critics. Of course, every top web host has many critics. That’s what happens when you’re successful. Still, GoDaddy has remarkably great service, and really low prices. At least that’s been my experience with them over the years, and I use many web hosts simultaneously, to handle all of the different websites I run.

Another solid domain name registrar and web host I recommend is,

Although I have more experience with GoDaddy than with JustHost, I can say that so far, I have only had great service with JustHost, and they also offer very competitive package deals with great features and low prices.

If you like what you read here and would like to contribute to this effort to put Google to the test, then all I ask is that you please share the link to this page on your social networks or anywhere else with anyone you know who could benefit from it.

While you’re thinking about that, have fun looking at these pictures and videos.

OK, that’s it for now. Be sure to check back soon. I’ll be updating these lessons.

Next Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 2: Branding 101

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