My husband and I went to a Korean BBQ restaurant in our neighborhood last night. It’s been through several management changes almost every year. What’s funny is each time it changes, they change a few things about the décor. Usually it’s the paint color and some light fixtures. This time, they removed some booths and added some condiment shelves to make more room for the slew of Korean side dishes that always accompany Korean BBQ.
What was more interesting was the branding. They renamed the restaurant with a catchy American name and mascot, along with the traditional Korean name to appeal to both locals and Koreans. They had it plastered everywhere and it still sticks in my head. I couldn’t even come close to what the other names of this restaurant were in past years as they were Korean names that I could barely pronounce.
They also had reminders painted on the wall in huge letters that took up an entire wall at the entrance: “Don’t forget to check-in on Facebook, Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter,” and more. I’ve seen the same stuff at other places, usually on a business card, but not pushed in this way. Right when we walked in the door, that’s the first thing I saw, not the hostess or seating area, just their social media marketing. Those little reminders to customers seemed to be working. The restaurant was packed by the time we left.
If you are using social media, make sure it’s visible where your customers can see it. And think outside the box so that it’s memorable.
FREE isn’t a word we often associate with marketing. In fact, while creating your marketing plan and/or strategy it’s difficult to decide how to spend your budget and what the best use of the dollars will be. There are however some FREE resources out there that are surprisingly useful and can make a big difference when it comes to research, performance, and tracking results for your marketing tactics. If you’re not taking advantage of these tools, you should be. Here are a few we’re hot on lately:
1. Google Analytics – duh. If you aren’t using this one, you’re missing a huge opportunity to see how people are interacting with your website, where they are coming from, and where your missing opportunities may be
2. Marketing Grader – a tool that gives you a full report on how your website is doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) wise, and how you rank against your competitors
3. SimilarWeb – website traffic insights for any website
4. Broken Link Checker – a quick way to find out whether your website has any dead links that may be turning customers away
5. GTmetrix – uses Google Page Speed and Yahoo! YSlow to grade your site’s performance and provides actionable recommendations to fix these issues
Facebook announced earlier this month that it was redesigning its News Feed. There will be bigger photos and videos. The right side ad column will be de-emphasized. The new design will be the same across all platforms including mobile, PC and tablet.
In addition to the newer, more image driven news feed, users will be able to adjust their news feeds to a “friends only” feed. Mark Zuckerberg is pushing Facebook as “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” This could be a downside for marketers since it would allow users to only see their friends’ posts and not ads. However, Facebook will likely make up for the smaller ad column with Sponsored Stories. These would be stories that companies would pay for in order to get into a user’s news feed. In the past, content marketing was really all a company needed to get ‘likes’ and visits to their page. Now, companies will have to add paid advertising into the marketing mix, along with great content. On the upside, if you do pay for an ad, you’ll get a larger image that’s front and center. And that might be exactly what your customer needs to see to get his or her attention.
Would your company be willing to pay to get into user’s news feeds?
How to Cheat Your Sales Numbers and Increase Your Odds of Success
As a branding agency, we think of branding and marketing as a way to support sales and drive revenue. By thoroughly understanding your company’s revenue goals, you can learn how to work backwards to “cheat your sales numbers” and make sure your efforts are going to produce the desired results. The more you know how to cheat your numbers, the more you increase your odds of getting new business. Here are eight ideas you should apply to your business to increase your odds of success:
1) Know your numbers
Know just how much marketing and sales activity you need to have in your pipeline in order for you to obtain your forecasted revenue goals and objectives. Understand and know your close ratio and how that affects your numbers.
2) Have a large pool of prospects in the database
Most companies don’t understand that marketing and sales is a numbers game, it takes a large pool of quality suspects and prospects in the database to make the numbers work in your favor. So to cheat your numbers and reach your sales/revenue goals, you must have a big pool of prospects that you consistently stay in touch with.
3) Use a CRM tool/database
It is consistently baffling that there are a number of companies that don’t have enough suspects and prospects to call upon to get the results they are aiming for. Even more surprising is the number of companies that do not utilize a true Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. A CRM system can help manage the client information and provide help and real-time information on how you’re tracking against those numbers. Many companies are still relying on an outdated excel sheet to “manage” their clients, when using a CRM tool is far more effective.
4) Regularly reach out and touch prospects
They say most sales people give up after 3-4 touches, which sounds about right; yet they say it takes 7-12 touches in order for a prospect to get to know your company and make a purchasing decision. Make sure you are a company that makes enough touches to get them in your store.
5) Use strategic partners to help build relationships
One of the most effective things companies can do is to tap into strategic partners for referrals and co-market each other’s products or services to both customer bases. Utilizing a key contact for leverage and an introduction is priceless and often can be one of the most effective things companies can do to shorten the sales cycle. Get a quality referral, and stretch your marketing efforts.
6) Identify your unique position and own your space
It is critical to not only be different, but also have strong value points spelled out clearly and concisely. These value points need to verbalize why you are better and what differentiates your company, making you the clear choice and the only real option available.
7) Utilize a strong call to action
In order to help get the response you need for your marketing, advertising and sales efforts, make sure you have a strong call to action. To do this, utilize an impending date or deadline that a special offer expires, a value add that they can only get for a limited amount of time, or an added incentive or bonus to sweeten the deal if you act now.
8) Reevaluate and refine your efforts
To ensure you’re going to reach your goals, you need to consistently evaluate whether your efforts are producing the desired results. If they aren’t, you will need to make adjustments, tweak your offer, or find other strategic partners that understand the benefits of a reciprocal partner relationship.
Cheating your sales numbers is like adjusting the carburetor on your car, a little fine tuning is sometimes required to have a smooth running engine. Once you get the engine running just the way you want it, you can blow the doors off your competitors.
It’s July – we just had our Independence Day and we have been in a recession for years. Millions of people are and have been out of work. We are facing a debt and budget crisis. Our political parties seem to just be jockeying for positioning instead of getting real things accomplished. The people of America want and a need a Brand Champion.
Brand Champions don’t come up with catchy slogans or cool-looking logos. No, they understand that real results come from developing a brand promise that people can get their arms around, and they deliver on that promise by creating a great brand experience, consistently.
America is just like any other business or organization that needs a leader to take charge. Who will define what an organization wants to get accomplished, craft and create how that is going to happen, and execute that on a consistent basis. We need someone – anyone – within our government to step up and be our Brand Champion, and act as a leader who builds consensus and builds bridges. We need someone who has not just an idea or an agenda, but a real action plan. Someone who has tactics that will help us as a country overcome our problems, (debt and budget) and put people back to work. This requires a Brand Champion that all people, not just one party or the next, but all people can believe in, stand behind, support and have faith in.
Like other brands our Brand Champion has to be real, in that he can connect with his constituency with real ideas. He must use tactics that will show signs that we are making real progress. He can’t be all hat and no cattle, he has to deliver the goods and produce economic stability that helps businesses and the markets buy into his plan. This plan needs to work and signal stability, and with that stability, businesses can start to hire again: bringing down the unemployment rate, stabilizing the housing market, and generating cash into the marketplace.
America and I need a Brand Champion that we can believe in, whoever this Brand Champion is will probably get elected or re-elected this coming year. Whether that Champion is our current president or someone else, I pray that this Brand Champion stands up soon and leads the charge to a real plan that produces results, because that is what real Brand Champions do. They deliver real results through their leadership, consensus building and ability to get things done and execute.
Will our America’s next Brand Champion please stand up, NOW?
Do you think about your value proposition and how it is helping your business? According to a recent survey by Marketing Experiments only 10% of businesses are considered to have a strong, unique value proposition and an overwhelming 30% have no real value proposition.
Considering how important value propositions are in every process of business plans and branding this is startling and makes us wonder how you can set yourself apart and captivate your audience.
Paul Cheney, a blogger for Marketingsherpa Blog offers some important advice on these issues and how to distinguish yourself among competition. He notes how in the movie “Elf,” Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, believes a storefront sign boasting “The World’s Best Cup of Coffee.” We as consumers know not to believe such a claim so, the issue many companies are faced with is creating a value prop that is believable and different from competitors.
Cheney says that a value prop will not be determined it is discovered. This involves a certain shift in thinking and can be created with the implementation of these steps.
1.) Why buy from you over your competitor?
2.) Compare what you are saying with what your competitor is saying, if your competitor can say the same thing about their products and business without lying then you do not have a strong value proposition.
3.) Your value proposition must be instantly credible, use a statistic with as much specific information as possible.
4.) You need to be able to test your value proposition by making it visible in every step of your sales process.
I want to introduce you to the Brand Champion’s blog. Over my 20-year marketing and branding career, I have realized that successful companies and brands succeed because they have a Brand Champion — someone who “champions” the business cause — pushing them to be the very best they can be, ultimately reaching their goals and objectives.
Branding isn’t only about logos, websites or looking cool. No, it’s about real business results. I have worked with hundreds of clients over the years and one thing stays consistent: the top brands have a leader who is committed to driving the company to be the best, being the best, and owning the space in which you do business in. They also identify and bring on the best people that produce the best results. I call these leaders Brand Champions.
You don’t have to be the CEO to be a Brand Champion. You just have to be committed and willing to kick ass and produce real results. In this blog I will periodically introduce you to all kinds of Brand Champions – those who live for their brand, set the company up for success, and set good examples for brand ambassadors — individuals within the organization who may someday represent the brand and be a Brand Champion.
If you have a Brand Champion within your company that should be recognized for their efforts, let us know and we’ll highlight them.
Most of us have a favorite color, all of us know what color our mother thinks looks best on us (and which colors look horrid) and consciously or not we all associate certain feelings with certain colors:
Our eyes absorb light, convert it into a form of energy and allow us to see color. The way that people feel or react to certain colors, or why they choose to favor one color over the next, alludes to how it makes them feel. Scientists have studied this energy for years to understand how certain colors affect our moods, health, and thought-process. And it’s a good thing they have because color has the ability to condition an action, for example (and for effect), consumer buying habits. In layman’s terms, the color of a product or a brand can encourage or dissuade a sale.
Let’s do a quick mind test. Think of a brand for each of these colors:
Now, think of a color for each of these brands:
I bet that when you pictured each brand you immediately knew how you felt about that brand, if you liked it or not. In some cases, you may have remembered the last time you enjoyed a warm bowl of tomato soup or how you could really go for a cool refreshing soda right about now.
The color of a logo, website, package, etc. is the first impression that is remembered and registered by consumers. It will be the color associated to the brand. If the color sends the right message and invokes the right feeling to a consumer, the company may encourage a sale and a brand ambassador. There’s good reason why brand management is occasionally referred to as the study of science and art. To have a successful, lasting brand, it takes more than listening to the customer, it takes understanding their emotions and how those emotions trigger their purchasing decisions.
So the next time someone asks you what your favorite color is, know that they may actually be reading a little farther into your personality.
Hello! My name is Madeline Smith, I go by “Maddie” and recently graduated from the University of Colorado in May of 2010 with a Communication degree. I grew up south of Boston right on the harbor or “hahbah” as Bostonians would call it…they tend to frown upon the pronunciation of R’s. I decided to leave Boston for college after witnessing my sister’s lifestyle throughout her four years at CU. Although, I miss the ocean, I love the never-ending sunny days, mild winters, compared to Bean Town, and of course the fresh powder out west.
During my senior year of college I worked with a natural consumer goods company, Justin’s Nut Butter based out of Boulder, Colorado. I loved working with a start-up company and was able to dive into many PR, Marketing, and Advertising aspects from a client perspective. I also loved working in an industry with two of my passions; food and health. This exposure made me want to get into the agency side of this line of work. After making the big move from Boulder to Denver I did some contract PR and Marketing work for Scream Agency. I realized I wanted to stay in the agency side loving the variety of clientele and day to day work.
I am thrilled to be apart of the Brand Iron team. I love the diversity of clients, the work we do, and of course the team here at Brand Iron, Patches included. I am looking forward to baseball season as well….but not The Rockies…Go Red Sox!
Minus the long hair and leather pants, today seems a little too much like the 80’s if you ask me. It was the time where being rebellious was “cool” along with listening to “the devil’s music” and smoking cigarettes after school. Today’s cigarettes and devil’s music are still around; they’ve just changed a little. Today its racy television shows and gory video games that are making parents cringe. And the more the parents seem to cringe, the more the kids seem to watch, buy, and play.
Advertisers are using this to the fullest extent. The popular video game DeadSpace2 has built its entire advertising platform on the slogan “your mom will hate this”. And television shows are using movie like ratings PG-13 and R as a bragging right instead of a warning. So why the big move towards “rebellious” advertisements? It seems the more outrages the ad or promotion, the more controversy. And controversy means people are talking about your product, service, goods, etc. and that’s exactly what advertisers want.
Check out this Redbull ad which blatantly advertises one-night stands and “hook-ups” with multiple people. Do you think it’s appropriate? Does it make you want to drink a Redbull?
Another TV spot getting some major attention is the MTV show Skins, based off of a British teen show, the new hit is causing quite a stir among parents as it depicts “the life of real American teenagers.” The controversy might have something to do with the fact that these “real” teenagers are drug addicts, alcoholics, party-animals, and law breakers. So would you let your kids watch this? And if you told them they couldn’t do you think they’d find a way to watch it anyways?
The bottom line is it works – this is nothing new, we saw it in the 80’s with rock and roll, we saw it in the 90’s with sex and today is no different. If you tell kids their parents will hate it, or don’t want them to see it, it makes them want it more.
Have a comment? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what you think about these new ad’s and the impact on kids.