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Brand Development – Don’t put the cart before the horse…

90% of clients that need a brand developed, have their minds made up on their name and general design of their logo before we ever meet. You might think, well, sure, that makes sense, it is their passion and talents, who better to come up with a name and logo for their business? Glad you asked:

  • An objective team made of a marketing strategist and creative director that understand how hard it is to cut through the clutter.
  • A team with years of experience creating brands that get noticed and bring results.
  • A team that recognizes – despite the clients protest that they do NOT have any competition – they in fact do, and quite a LOT.
  • A team that has witnessed client-driven names/logos/messaging crash and burn, because no matter how much the client loves her/his grandmother and her unique name,  no
    one can pronounce it, and it just makes no sense to name their fabulous new software package that will revolutionize how cars get sold online, Jezebel. (all names and products have been changed to protect the innocent).
  • A marketing strategist that knows how to ask the right questions of the client, to pull out of them the true value of their brand, their heart, their passion for what they are doing. Why they are creating this new business, who they want to help. All key to a strong brand.
  • A marketing strategist that researches and reveals to the client what competitors are saying about their similar offering, and the HUGE ah hah in the market that is missing, and how the client’s offering (the heart of their offering, their passion), if communicated properly will fill that gap, and leap frog the competition.
  • A marketing strategist that asks the questions that are needed to determine the needs and desires of the most profitable target audiences and develops personas that are the go to in all branding and marketing efforts.
  • A marketing strategist that understands the value of market research – surveys, focus groups, client or prospect interviews, stakeholder interviews, to determine if the new product or service is actually of value to the target audience.
  • A facilitator that is able to communicate to the client the findings and analysis in a clear and precise way to fine tune the product or service offering if need be and develop the marketing messages that will resonate with the target audiences (aka brand platform).

With the brand platform finalized, let the naming and then logo design begin! While it does take a lot of creativity – with the brand platform as the basis –  the result will be a name and logo that truly resonates with its most profitable target audience.

Branding & Marketing That Bears Fruit!

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Does your brand stand out in a crowd? How do you elevate your brand?

Attended a great webinar with Harvard Business Review, hosted by Peter Sheahan, from Change Labs. Great insights as you look into 2015 and want to move from commodity/low price to a high value, distinct offering.  

Nike+ is not a new sneaker, it is a behavior change platform. How do actually be healthy vs. looking healthy. At one point it was a better sneaker, than a better brand, but now, better health for its customers, leaning into the real need.

But, you can’t work and solve complex problems, unless you have a high-value relationship with your customers. You need an elevated relationship. How do you get out of the transaction based environment? How do you elevate your reputation, to get invited into the room, so you can solve the problems? You need to bring something interesting to the conversation.

  • Move to the learning edge of change. Your buyers aren’t that interested in you knowing how the world exists now, but how it will exist in the future. How can you change your business model to gather intelligence to change your thinking, and make you more interesting in your industry?
  • Take what you learn and share it, thought leadership or content marketing. Be generous! Adobe hired 24 thought leaders to share their message to every conference in the world where digital, online marketing leaders were. Their message? We do more than create PDFs, we help you go digital, we help you with marketing strategy to build your online brand presence.
  • You need to do something with this thought leadership. Play high, play deep, play wide.
    • Play High – Be in front of the decision maker, it’s not just having the content/knowledge, you have to have the courage to do it. The Adobe model is expensive. You need to make decisions that change your structure. Ask your customers what they need, listen to the marketplace, and develop new concepts/ideas to create what they are asking for. Then, take it a step further, maybe it is giving more access to your customers, adding new expertise, more staff i.e., have the courage to make the changes needed to move out of a commodity based situation (transactional based environment, based on price) to a higher level in the industry.
    • Play Deep – you need to know the ins and outs of your client, everything you need to know about your customers. Burberry, over the last 5 years, stocks have doubled. Their biggest hurdle? Burberry online! Their biggest competitor. In order to survive with their brick and mortar, they had to develop a retail store/environment, that is worth paying 25% more than online. 300,000 hours later… In the UK, their store is “smart” beyond belief. From the moment you approach the door, they learn what you’ve purchased before, your tastes, the staff is alerted, so your experience is custom as you travel through the store. The mirrors double as televisions, the footage changes based on the person viewing. When you pick up a raincoat, the mirror changes to show you how it is made.
    • Play Wide – National paint coating company sells to OEMs and collision repair shops. They thought, we need to make a paint that lasts longer. But, the repair shops only care about the insurance companies, i.e., how quickly can you get the car repaired and back on the road. So, they discovered the need a paint that drys fast, don’t care that it lasts longer. They looked at the EcoSystem, creating the right , not just better, kind of paint.

Stand out from the crowd: Learn the real problem, solve the problem, provide thought leadership, be bold, make changes. It will require a great cost up front for research and implementation, but, that is what it takes to get out of the commodity/low price situation for your brand.