Posts Tagged ‘brand’

What is this “point of choice” idea?

August 27, 2010

We’ve come up with a process and framework that really helps us create more impact from the budget available for each client’s branding and marketing program. Here’s a draft of an article that we’re submitting to SEDCOR, the local economic development membership organization.

Point of Choice – Generating a bigger return from your marketing investment

As a business person, you know it’s a good practice to build your brand by marketing to your target audiences at their various touch points – the places where you connect with and communicate to potential buyers or influencers. But in today’s environment, the number of potential touch points and media choices for even a single target audience can be overwhelming. Time and resources often limit which touch points are addressed. Whether marketing online, in print, or in person, how do you choose where and when to invest your marketing budget to generate response and the highest ROI?

The secret? Market at the audience’s points of choice. Instead of spreading your budget to any and all touch points, prioritize your marketing investment by focusing on the points at which potential buyers are making a decision and taking action to take the next step. Where do you start?

Step 1: Identify your target audiences.

Well-planned marketing must always start with identifying your target audiences—defining who they are, what benefits they’ll receive from your product or service, and what they will respond to. Most manufacturers and B2B marketers have multiple targets, each with different perceptions and expectations.

Step 2: For each target audience, identify the stages in the sales process.

Start at the beginning, when a potential buyer first finds out about your company, then identify the stages involved in this process. What happens if they find you online? What’s the process after a trade show meeting? What about a sales call? Where is the interaction that will move them forward towards a purchase decision?

Step 3: Identify the buyer’s decision points in the sales process.

Next, identify what information and action is needed by each target audience in order to move forward in the process. For example, a buyer might find your website by searching for the products you offer, then visit your website (and others) to conduct comparative research, request more information, or to make a purchase. Or at a tradeshow, a prospect will learn more about what you have to offer, and accept or decline the opportunity to talk further.

Step 4: Develop marketing strategies focused on these decision points.

Not only do you want to encourage the potential buyer to take the next step, but you also must ensure the buyer has the information and tools to make that decision and seamlessly follow through. If a prospect has received a referral to your company but can’t find your website through a search engine, you have a problem … and an opportunity.

For both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) marketers, one of the most powerful points of choice is the internet. Organic search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click online campaigns are critical components to support and drive audiences to your website. Social media is a growing tool, but may not be appropriate for all audiences. Thus it’s vital you have a strongly branded website with distinctive messaging, clear calls to action, and tools and information for taking action. Offline points of choice vary greatly based on your industry, product or service offering, and target audiences.

It’s important to note in a recent survey by GlobalSpec, industrial (B2B) firms cited the best new lead sources are the company website (70%), tradeshows (44%), and e-mail marketing (33%).

This is a quick overview of the point of choice concept. As with all effective marketing—know your audiences, evaluate your sales process, and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What’s in it for me? For a bigger return, optimize your brand first at the key points of choice for each target audience.

Looking forward to 2010

December 31, 2009

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!

Online Tactics for Branding and Sales

June 12, 2009

Wondering how to spend your marketing dollars online these days? According to a Forbes study as reported by eMarketer, if the goal is to generate sales businesses of all budget sizes should start with SEO.

“Fourty-eight percent of marketers said that search engine optimization (SEO) was the best method for generating conversions online.”

Supplement SEO with email marketing and pay-per-click search advertising. SEO and paid search will both get you in front of people who are already going out of their way online to find information about your industry or products. And email marketing builds a communication stream with folks who’ve said they’re interested in you.

If the goal is branding – building, maintaining, or changing perception – site or page sponsorships were considered the most powerful, presumably because of the high visibility and brand-value communication that this kind of adversiting provides. Next in line for branding? SEO again… everybody’s doing it. Are you?

Hurst’s Berry Farm Website is berry-licious

January 19, 2009

Husrt's Berry Farm

Hurst’s Berry Farm in Sheridan, Oregon, has a new Website that is simply mouth watering and schweet. Hurst’s Berry Farm is the leading shipper of fresh berries in the Northwest, growing and distributing a variety of fresh berries to grocery stores across the U.S.

It was a good week! (election week, that is)

December 3, 2008

Well, it was quite the week, and you can now thank your own God that it’s finally over.

Lucinda Williams has a new CD out, which for once doesn’t make you want to commit suicide, and Shooter Jennings also has a new one, covering some of his dad’s (Waylon) songs, and it sounds real good.

We also have a new Prez-elect and a new American “Brand”–-Obama.
It’s been an experience watching them all–-Obama, Biden, Mac and Palin–attempt to persuade us to “buy in” to any one of them.

If you think of Obama and McCain as two distinct brands, which one do you think maintained consistency with the core values and identity that he represented?

My friends, Mac has always been branded the “straight talk express,” but over the months he really deviated from that persona and went off the rails. In branding terms he went “off brand,” which caused confusion and lost him votes.

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Hey, what’s your story?

October 26, 2008

A clear identity can create an emotional connection to a product, service or company. This is not strange as basically everything stems from identity, the individual as well as the artifacts have an identity both from a social and psychological point of view the identity is the core, the material physical objects really don’t exist.

Some have said:

“I like it when clothes and objects have an aura, or a secret story”.

We believe a product won’t be durable before it tells a credible story.

People like storytelling, it’s a part of human history. As soon as something has a story, it becomes important. It gets a soul. And if it’s important it will soon be durable.

So, what’s your story?