Looking forward to 2010

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Just one more post about the upcoming year?

Yes. And from our perspective, we see many changes, and yet much that will remain the same.

2010 will be different than 2009

2009 was not a year that was kind to all. However, it was a year for many companies and industries to discover what was essential, what they’re good at and where the business should be when it is streamlined and focused. We discovered that. And many of our clients did, too. One of the advantages of a business like ours is we have an overview of different industries and how they have been affected by the economy.

The food business took a hit with a drop in foodservice orders, due to the shrinking dining industry. Private education felt the impact of more students looking for ways to save tuition costs by attending public alternatives or delaying entering college. The wood products industry scrambled to just stay in business, to weather the huge reduction in orders and cement relationships with existing outlets and clients. Others just did everything they could to focus their marketing on building relationships and maintaining sales volume.

Yet forward-thinking organizations also took the opportunity to re-examine their positioning in their market, define and refine their messages, explore new market opportunities and create a whole new context for who they are in business and how they’re perceived … with a new brand. An article quoted by a client referred to “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” So true. We’re confident these organizations will see 2010 as the launching of a new level of success, of recognition and bottom line results. And we’re proud to have contributed to their success.

What remains the same?

The essence of branding is understanding your audiences–who they are, where they are, how they interact with you and what their perceptions are of you, your products and services. This will remain the same. It’s critical every organization be clear about who they are from the perspective of their audiences, and that the message and idea of what they offer is defined from the audience’s point of view. Add to that the need to distinguish and separate one organization/company/product from the competition … in the mind of the target audiences … and you have the essence of solid marketing strategy, the foundation of effective branding.

The power of branding is astounding. When the right message, the compelling idea, and visual impact are created to support that organization/company/product, the results can be phenomenal. And we have seen how even the smallest updates and changes can make a huge difference to all audiences, especially the internal audiences.

The last post referred to the power of employees to build the brand. Your employees and staff, those who interact with your customers, must embody the idea of the brand. Their interactions create the brand experiences and cement them in the minds of your audiences. Often the highest impact of a new message and brand will be seen with your internal audiences.

Thus for Creative Company, we will continue to focus on the defining, strategizing, development and implementation of a brand that has power and substance, that represents visually and conceptually what the essence of an organization is and how that organization benefits its target audiences. And with that focus, we will narrow our attention to the top-level strategy and concepts that set the foundation for ongoing marketing.

How will 2010 be different?

We have learned from the crisis of 2009. Numerous articles in business publications also reference how other organizations have become more streamlined, effective and focused as they navigate through the economic downturn. Many say we will never return to “business as usual.” We believe we will return to “business at its essence” by focusing our energies and resources on what we do best. And we believe the organizations that do the same, that reach for a new level of communication and take a stand for their place in the market will also be successful in 2010, whether or  not the economy rebounds in 2010 or 2011.

Best wishes to everyone for a  prosperous 2010!

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