Friday, January 25, 2013

Refresh your brand for 2013

Most of my clients know that I taught art for 18 years, K-12 and adult. Teaching in a content area that is meant to challenge ideas and generate new directions is an exciting process. Regardless of the age of the person there are those that leap in ready to try new experiences and those that conservatively move one element in a direction that for that person is “out of the box”.

Thursday I was part of a workshop put on by the Apex Chamber of Commerce, where PR Marketing firm Gibbs and Soell provided some of their team to re-energize our own company branding. Working off the assumption that each of us in attendance had a solid plan for marketing already, but perhaps one that has become a little stale, their team set about to provide us some fun ways to brainstorm. 

One of the take away tips relevant to many of my “start up” business clients would be to take a risk, ask their client base to define what values and differentiators make their company great. There is really no excuse for any business not to solicit input. Whatever method makes the owner comfortable will work; use newsletters, social media, one on one visits or fish bowls at the point of purchase, survey monkey…. any means of collecting feedback.

Often our perception of what others value in our company or relationship might surprise us. For those of you going through a re-branding or launching a new product campaign this year, you might consider asking your “fan base” what they like about you for a clear direction on what to promote as your “level of differentiation among your competition”. Take a chance, paint without a smock, stick your fingers in the glue and be a bit bold for 2013, it won’t hurt you; most things in our life really are non toxic. 



Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Kitchen Is Not Just For Cooking

What's a great long life highly visible promotional item?
Something for the kitchen. The average American family spends 175 hours a month in their kitchen, while only 31 hours in their family room according to a study done recently by Electrolux Group. Need more proof? Look at social media, folks are always pinning and posting images of food even sharing links to recipes. Americans love their kitchens and the kitchen is a great opportunity for a promotional campaign using functional reusable items. In fact, I have several branded promotional items I acquired as much as 10-15 years ago in my kitchen; talk about long life advertising.
Who can effectively use a kitchen item for promotional advertising?
Many industries because themes for items that cut, measure, protect counters, store food or seal products make connections to security, protection and quantifying results. For instance, food related industries like restaurants, grocery stores and catering companies might consider utensils that make "take out" easier to prep once home or to store left over. While contractors, builders, real estate, insurance and cleaning services might brand with items like yard sticks, fly swatters, flashlights, measuring tapes, mop buckets, car wash kits or other useful materials that extend into their services and have space beyond the kitchen. Financial planners and banks can use scoops and measuring products to relate to words that imply gains, growth or that net results.
Create a fun distribution plan for your products!
If you’re holding an ice cream social at your business, scoop up their flavor in a take home scooper outlining the scoop on how your business can assist. Bundle useful items like grocery lists, notes to teacher, spoons and coffee measure together in a hot pad as a nice gift for a new homeowner to say “thank you” for their business. Are you part of a network of related or referral businesses? Perhaps each of you includes a branded piece together as an acknowledgment from your local network of resources.
What's your favorite kitchen item? Let's turn it into a winning promotion.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Are you a gourmet restaurant or fast food?

Have you noticed that Chick Fil A and Panera are now incorporating strategies that are not associated with fast food dinning?
Think about the difference in atmosphere, menu and presentation when comparing a 5 star dining experience and fast food. Aspects of service and atmosphere in fine dining are not typically associated with fast food. When working with a service business, the experience should be like 5 star dining. A representative of the business is set up to welcome you, take time explain key benefits, have knowledgeable suggestions, adaptable to your specific needs and want to build on an experience that makes you want to return; just like 5 star dining.
Given the choice of service providers how do you weigh the outcome of a future relationship?
Just like trying a taste of wine before purchasing a new brand, review the content of the new prospective relationship. For example, look at the website of Promotional Partners, content rich material such as educational blogs, promotional vocabulary and decoded art requirements are posted to help guide educated decisions. Take a look at the content of your printed materials, your social media and your web site, what taste are you offering clients? More importantly, does that taste match up to the experience clients receive when they work with your company?