One Team, One Message, One Brand (via GaWrilla)

April 26, 2010

A national tv commercial used to be an effort in branding. It used to be the only effort in branding that really existed. And it was in a time when “branding” as a marketing concept didn’t really exist.

Today, branding exists in every facet of your company. And one of the major features of a good brand is that there is one succinct message being communicated to the public. Commercials, websites, online ads, phone conversations, emails, etc. all communicate the same thing, the same dedication, and the same vision.

To read the full blog post, head over to the GaWrilla Blog.


Create Unique Customer Interactions (via Gawrilla)

April 6, 2010

If you’re in business to make money, you need customers. And if you have customers, there has to be some form of communication between you and your customers. Hey, even if you fail to get customers, you are communicating in other ways to those people you had hoped would become customers.

Either way, your communication style goes a long way toward developing your brand and garnering loyal customers. Any interaction with a customer, no matter how minor, is important. This is because it’s the one time that your customers get a chance to feel like they are having a conversation with the company they are purchasing from. It will tell them who you are, and either reinforces the fact that they want to be in business with you, or helps create a divide between you and them, eventually ending with another lost customer.

To read the full post, hop on over to the Gawrilla Marketing Blog.


Post Apparently Puts the “NO” in Innovation

September 17, 2009

Post is not a company that you would expect to innovate much.  Their variety of cereals are very standard and they make a nice profit putting out the same products that they have put out for years.  They recently played on that by releasing this commercial, exclaiming that “We put the NO in innovation”.

I would argue that Post has probably made some big changes over the years in terms of production and distribution, perhaps even in corporate structure and ethical standards.  I don’t know if any of these can be called real innovative moves, but change is necessary to keep up with the times.  I get the whole “we don’t change our products because they are already what consumers want” message, but let’s not call an end to progress and innovation altogether.

All in all however, it’s a pretty decent commercial.


Krispy Kreme Contest thats Spreadable

August 17, 2009

krispykremeWe love to highlight companies that are doing something that has the potentially to virally spread from person to person, from website to website, and from network to network.

This time, its the donut industry leader, Krispy Kreme.

Krispy Kreme is holding a contest to find their biggest fans.  Contestants will submit photos with a short caption to explain how Krispy Kreme has made their lives better.  Winners will get a year’s supply of donuts, a trip to Krispy Kreme headquarters, and a chance to design and name their own donut.

The idea of asking your customers to design or build a product of yours is becoming increasingly popular.  And this is a generally new way of doing it, holding a contest for everyone and allowing one winner to design the donut. I think because of that, this contest has the potential to get a lot of attention online.

To view more about the contest and enter to win, visit the website here.


Email Newsletters: Get them Right

July 24, 2009

E-mailIf you own or operate a brand, whether it is a big company, a small business, or just your name, email newsletters have become a popular way of adding value for your clients, customers, or friends.

Some popular email newsletters that I receive are the Yoast WordPress News, which gives tips and tricks for using wordpress as a blogging platform; Media Bistro’s daily news feed, which offers journalism news and updates; Daniel Scocco’s daily blog tips newsletter, which does exactly what the name advertises; and the Change.org weekly newsletter, which keeps tabs on key political issues under the Obama administration.

All of these newsletters add value to my day to day life because they keep me informed on things that I am interested in.  When a person or a website tries to cram a newsletter down my throat, I don’t even give it a chance.  I choose no when given the option, or unsubscribe as soon as I get the first email.  The ones that I am subscribed to right now were all recommended to me by friends and people I trust.

Whether or not a newsletter is designed to make money, either through a paid subscription or advertising, it has to add real value.  Put information in there that people would not find any other way.  Add personal tips that you do not share on a blog or on social networks.  For an email to be worth reading, it has to be unique.  I have to feel like I am getting privileged information.

An example of a terrible newsletter is Motley Fool’s “investor newsletter”.  I get it almost every single day, by now it goes to my spam folder.  It usually carries a headline such as “This Stock Will Make You a Millionaire by 2011”.  Then it follows that up with a large amount of copy explaining how they did their research and advertising the paid version of their website, which I am not signed up for.  In the end, it gives you no information about the stock unless you sign up for their monthly payment plan, which I would never do.  This is not helpful, you are trying to trick your readers.

That is the wrong way to do it.  If you operate a website, and would like to explore the idea of an email newsletter, please plan it out beforehand.  Launching it in the wrong way can really get under people’s skin.  Add value that we could not get off of the website already.  Because, if done the right way, it is a great way to expand the brand, explore new revenue opportunities, and create a loyalty among your readers and customers that can not be achieved in many other ways.


How a Birthday Gift Can Make You a Million Dollars

July 20, 2009

gift-main_FullThis coming Saturday will mark the day I was born 25 years ago, MY Birthday!

Thinking about my birthday, and birthdays in general, I became interested in what a birthday gift can mean.  And I am not talking about gifts that you or I get for each other.  I am talking about a company or business that gives gifts to their clients and customers.

I wrote a post about a month ago about information.  The more you know about your customers, the better you will be able to serve them.  Knowing their birthdays is a small, but potentially important part of that.

If you know your customers’ birthdays, you have options.  You can send them a discount on your products and services as a thank you for being a loyal customer.  Or you can get them a gift, apart from what your company offers, that really makes an impact.

What if you sent a gift certificate to all your customers for their birthdays this year?  You could do it through email, and make it $20 or less.  How much would that cost you?  I think you will end up pleasing enough people, and generating some real long term customers, that it will more than make up for the cost.

But instead, what you sent something concrete?  What if you sent something that you knew most of the recipients would use?  And what if you branded that product so that when they used it, they were helping to spread the word about your company?

You could send a t-shirt, a hat, a computer accessory, a cell phone case, or anything else that people use on a daily basis.  On it, you could put a slogan that would resonate with people, along with your company name and website.

Chances are that…

1)the customers that receive this gift will be thankful for it because they are not used to a company going out of their way to give back, turning them into more loyal customers, 2)some of those newly loyal customers become brand ambassadors, actively telling their friends and associates how great your company is, and
3)the branding that goes along with the product gets people talking, or at least noticing you more.

It is a generous gesture that fits right into a solid marketing plan.  Do something out of the ordinary for your customers and they will take notice.  And the more they take notice, the more likely they are to talk about your brand.

So maybe one birthday gift can’t make you a million dollars, but giving back to your customers on their birthday could prove to be a pivotal part of developing lifetime customers and start some positive word of mouth marketing.  I know if any companies did that for me this Saturday that I would take notice.


Home Depot vs. Lowe’s: Where is the Difference?

July 6, 2009

battle-homedepot-lowes-200x267drWhen multiple companies operate in the same space, the space has to be big enough to support them all, or one of the companies will eventually differentiate themselves and prove victorious at controlling the market.

 

Sometimes, the market is big enough to support more than one leader.  And when this happens, you most often see two companies that are so similar, it is hard to tell them apart.

 

I saw a commercial for Home Depot this morning, and without seeing the television screen, I assumed it was for Lowe’s.  They both say the same thing, the voiceovers even sound the same (even though Lowe’s tries to use Gene Hackman’s voice to stand out).

 

It got me to thinking, what is the difference between the two companies?  I have shopped at both, purchased from both, and been satisfied with both.  But after thinking about it, I can’t come up with one single point of emphasis or difference that would cause me to choose one over the other.

 

Both have brand awareness, but has either worked towards brand loyalty.  You would think that one of the two companies would try to differentiate themselves in such a way to gain market share over the other.  But, from what I can tell, both are satisfied sharing the market with the other one. 

 

There is a danger in becoming too complacent.  If neither company is actively pursuing an industry that they can dominate, where is the innovation and creativity coming from.  There is no motivation to change and grow.  Eventually a new player can come along and stand out from the rest of the industry.  And when that happens, it may be too late to change and adapt.

 

These two companies may be comfortable coexisting in this way, but if you own or operate a company, you should be very careful how similar you are to your competitors.  Standing out is the best way to build awareness and loyalty at the same time so you can grow and keep your customer base.