The Power of Branding Your Company

What is a Branding Statement?

A branding statement used to be identified as an organization’s name, logo, slogan, sign, symbol, design, or a combination of all of these. These days, a branding statement is what makes an establishment stand out from their competition. A company’s branding statement is a promise sent out into the world that sets the tone for a customer’s first impression of the organization. For example, 360 Direct’s branding statement is “Growing businesses one dream at a time.” When a customer sees or hears this tagline, they connect it to us, 360 Direct. From this simple statement, our customers know exactly what we do, and why we do it.

What Makes a Good Branding Statement?

In today’s fast paced, technical world, a good tagline is important. If an organization’s marketing brand statement is not visually appealing, or is too difficult for the customer to understand, they probably won’t remember the business. However if the branding statement is colorful, fun, and easy to remember, the customer will be more than likely to return to that company when it comes time to purchase a product or service. An establishment’s tagline should promote trust and loyalty from customers, and should communicate effectively with the demographics they are selling to. A good branding statement makes the customer want to purchase the products or services, and keeps them coming back.

How to Find and Create Your Branding Statement

Ask yourself what makes your organization stand out from the rest. Is there something special that your do that your competition does not? Are you an innovator, a visionary? Is your business a leader in the industry? Don’t be afraid to brag about your company. Once you have an answer to these questions, create a branding statement that highlights the uniqueness of your organization. After you have put together your branding statement, incorporate it into your website and across all of your marketing efforts. Place it somewhere that your customers will see and remember it. 

Finding and creating a branding statement is important, but can be overwhelming. If you’d like help creating yours, contact a 360 Direct member today!


Marketing Advice from a Brand Icon

Marketing Inspiration From A Brand Icon

Marketing Advice from a Brand Icon

In June 2016 Coca-Cola celebrated being a source of successful marketing inspiration for 130 years. A dominant global force and world renowned iconic brand, every company marketing a product can learn from them.

Coca-Cola’s sustained success is largely attributed to marketing strategy, innovation and goal-based ad spend. So what can we learn from them? Even iconic brands do not take a break from marketing.

Strategy

Without a strong and precise marketing strategy, it is hard to achieve the desired results. Using an explainer video is a way of advertising concisely what businesses are about and what they can offer to people, it draws consumers/customers in. Coca-Cola are famed for having an extremely disciplined strategy and as such, it is no surprise that they have been so successful over the years. However, this is not to say that all of Coca-Cola’s marketing tactics have been successful. Over the years there have been some failed campaigns:

“Things Would Have Been Better With Coke”-This advertising campaign featured historical figures who had unhappy endings to their lives, such as Julius Caesar and Marie Antoinette. The premise of this campaign: If only Coke had been there, then maybe things might have turned out differently. Sales were down after this campaign and thus Coca-Cola needed to revise the advertising plan.

Innovation

If you look at the genesis of innovative marketing tactics such as coupons, sponsorship and event marketing Coca-Cola are never too far behind the trend. They realize the importance of brand recognition and by starting a sponsorship with the Olympic Games in 1928 they ensure that every 4 years the world is reminded of their global presence. By not being afraid to innovate when necessary Coca-Cola now has an 88-year long sponsorship with one of the worlds biggest events.

With the bravery to innovate does sometime come the risk of failure. Coca-Cola are no different to this phenomena and “New Coke” is a famed historical example. Whilst it was a failed product, it actually gave Coca-Cola a wake-up call from becoming too passive:

“I think we were lazy in really recognizing that we needed to reactivate or reposition the brand. If we had done that through an advertising process, I don’t think New Coke would have ever happened, but there was such resistance to any kind of change in the advertising position of the brand that we introduced a change in the taste,” Mr. Zyman said. “I know, you’ll say that’s ridiculous, and I agree. But it happened.”

More recently Coke has been re-positioning itself as the embodiment of happiness. “If you’re able to own that emotion in people’s mind space, that’s a very powerful thing,” said Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer Joe Tripodi. Once again Coca-Cola are trying to follow the trend and associate a human emotion with a brand. Much like many marketing experts Coca-Cola’s founder believed that you had to advertise and get your product out to the people. Iconic brands know that maintaining a marketing plan consistently throughout the year will reap benefits, that constant evaluation of the brand’s positioning will keep the brand at the forefront, and that resistance to change can hold a brand stagnant. What is your brand’s emotional connection to your consumers? How can you use that emotion to connect with your consumers?

Ad Spend

Flashback to 1922 when Coca-Cola reached an unheard spend of $1 million for their ad budget. Today, the company spends $2.9 billion globally on advertising across 206 markets. Though Coca-Cola’s marketing spend is unattainable for most, the spend did contribute to Coca-Cola becoming the worlds most recognized brand. This marketing spend may be scary, but a marketing budget should not be. A marketing spend needs to be a relationship between your comfort zone and the goals you want to achieve.

Be Aware of the Relationship Amongst All Business Activities

New Coke taught Coca-Cola much about how their business practices and marketing activities relate to each other. For instance, Coca-Cola ran into a challenge of communicating with the bottlers when New Coke was introduced, which partially lead to New Coke’s demise:

“It was very exciting at the beginning, because all of a sudden we had almost a rebirth, a renaissance of the brand. Consumers were looking at it and business was booming. Consumers wanted the brand; they appreciated the brand; they knew what the brand was all about. And it was a great opportunity for us to actually reformulate the overall proposition of the brand. But the system was very tired, the bottlers were very tired. Remember, a bottler is in a small community. They were attacked by their neighbors. People in the golf club made fun of them and all that. They wanted a break. So the company lost focus again. I got very frustrated, and I left the company.” -Sergio Zyman, marketing executive.

Stay focused, understand business relationships, and know the importance of asking and listening. Local Marketing Agencies, when used correctly, should work with all components for a successful business. A company is most powerful when all aspects of business understand and integrate with each other. Take advantage of the relationship value of each activity to each other, and eliminate silo thinking.

What Should You Do?

We can all say, “Wow, 130 years, congratulations Coca-Cola!” How does your brand stay around for 5, 10, 30 years? 360 Direct is available whether you need a milwaukee Marketing consultant, or a full marketing team. We help you establish strategy, goals, and a budget that fits your particular needs. Call 262-289-9210 or email us today, and get a complementary 30 minute discovery consultation.

Sources:

“Best Global Brands.” Business Week. Retrieved fromhttp://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/07/top_brands/source/1.htm

Zmuda,Natalie. (2011, May 2). “At 125 Years Old, Coke’s Story is StillBeing Written.” Advertising Age. Retrieved fromhttp://adage.com/article/news/125-years-coke-seeks-double-revenue-10-years/22730/


Importance of Social Brands

The Importance Of Social Brands

Importance of Social Brands

In a world where social media and marketing run hand in hand it is imperative to know about social brands and how you can take your brand or company into this new world.  How can you take an inanimate object such as a brand, product, or business and make it social with feelings, reactions, and thoughts?  How can you make a brand animate with human characteristics when by its very definition it is not human?  You can’t.   

Instead, think of social brands in the context of SIM City or Second Life as an example. Let the consumers build and create their world with your brand or company in it.  Let your brand or company be the backdrop to their social world, in a way where the consumer needs your brand or company within their social context.  This aspect can be as simple as having the consumer “like” some aspect of your business, with a desire to show their social network what they “like” in order to define themselves.  

Keep in mind that the consumer has to feel the internal connection to the product or business before declaring it to his or her social network.  In the context of Second Life, that internal connection is building your avatar with character by who you talk to, what worlds you visit, and what you look like. For the advanced, it’s what world you build a home in, who you invite to visit, what your home looks like, and how you want to attract other avatars like yourself.  People invest time and thought towards the personal development and projection of their avatar, which demonstrates the real life core essence of a person’s connection to social brands.  All you have to do is add a brand name to the connection, and then utilize the brand to consumer characteristics within the social digital context.  For instance, currently, Pepsi is running a viral program called the “Pepsi Refresh Project”.  Pepsi’s Facebook page for the “Refresh Project” seeks connection to those with great ideas.  In this way, Pepsi seeks to connect a personal connection of those with great ideas to Pepsi.  

How do you meet this challenge?  Determine why people need your product or place of business in their world, i.e., why would they put your product, service, or business in their virtual world?  What consumer emotion or feeling do you want to connect to?  More important than ever, you have to define the target market by more than age, income, and marital status; you have to build a personality for your target consumer.  Only by personality will you gain access to your target’s social digital world, as only those who can relate will pass through.

You can’t bring a brand to life, a brand has to be a part of life.


Furbies teach us about branding

What Can Furbies Teach You About Branding?

Furbies teach us about branding

I’ll preface this post by explaining that I grew up in the 90s.

Tamagotchi. Furbies. Backstreet Boys. These are just three examples of brands that remind me of sleepovers at my cousins’ duplex where we’d listen to our Boom Boxes for hours to record our favorite songs on mix tapes, munching on sugary Dunkaroos and drinking Hi-C. To say I have an emotional connection with dozens of now discontinued brands of snacks, toys, and TV shows would be an understatement. And I’m not the only one, either. There’s even an unsuccessful petition or two floating around to bring some of them back.

Remember those flying fairy dolls called Sky Dancers? They were recalled for randomly smacking children in the face and causing blindness, broken teeth and ribs. However, 90s memorabilia die-hards need not fear, you can still buy one in mint condition for four times its original price.

And Surge, Coca-Cola’s late 90s answer to Mountain Dew, can now be enjoyed for a mere $99.99.

But what is it about these toys and snacks, some of which were later deemed dangerous, if not downright disgusting (really Heinz, purple ketchup?) that moves consumers to spend thousands on Ebay for the chance to experience them again?

Branding. It’s the emotional connection that customers have with you and the product you provide.

It’s behind the product placement of Reece’s Pieces in E.T. The Power Rangers action figures that kids lobbied their parents for after watching the movie. My very own light-up Lion King sneakers that made my 5 year-old-self feel instantly cooler because they had Nala pictured on them.

So why should you invest in building your brand? Because emotional connection can supersede quality, taste, and apparently even the safety of a product. The impact of good branding can last for decades, even after that product is no longer available for purchase. At 360 Direct, all our clients are infinitely proud of the products they produce. How much more effectively could you communicate your own company pride with a brand as solid as the Polly Pockets still available on Ebay? At the end of the day, your product should help tell a story surrounding consumers’ varied, emotionally charged experiences in order to garner their loyalty. That story is your brand.

So nurture your brand, and create customers for decades.


Color is important

Color is important - Consumers cry out to Coca-Cola

Color is important

Let Coca-Cola take the big chances, and then learn from their results. Today, we study the case of changing color and the white cans. A couple of years ago Coca-Cola decided to create a holiday campaign that turned the can white and silver with only a limited amount of the traditional ‘Coca-Cola red’. Their goal was to create awareness in order to raise funds for the protection of polar bears. This created an uproar in the strong Coca-Cola following who claimed the can was too similar to Diet Coke, with some customers even claiming it caused confusion in taste between the two drinks.

Historically, Coca-Cola has created iconic holiday changes to the can, with the recent use of polar bears and Santa, however each year the ‘Coca-Cola red’ remained prominent. The biggest learning point- a definition of color for your brand or company is important to brand identity. Coca-Cola spent billions ensuring their red is recognizable from afar and the failure of the white can proved that the Coca-Cola red is still important and demanded by consumers. Ultimately this failure acted as a proof and testament to the strength of the brand identity that Coca-Cola have already created! Color, through association, can even alter the mind’s perception of flavor, as some avid Coke consumers claim.

Take it from the consumers of Coca-Cola, be aware of your brand’s color relationship. To start, make sure your PMS color is defined, and decide what feeling you want to create. Then identify rules of use. If you would like, 360 Direct can help you sort through all of the “if this” and “then thats”, so that you can go grab and enjoy a Coke.


Color matters for branding

Should your Business 'Sole-ly' Trademark a Color?

Color matters for branding

Does your business own a color? Should you invest and exclusively trademark a color? Your answer is absolutely, yes. Today, the use of distinctive colors to identify products can be seen everywhere. Whether you’re marketing to pop culture, need people to recognize your business while driving, or develop consumer product recognition, using a color as a visual representation of your product or business is extremely beneficial. Color plays a huge role in visual processing, as well as conveying information. Trademarking your desired color is crucial due to the fact that other brands with similar colors may confuse a consumer. Recently, the importance of color as a brand identity has become a larger legal issue, as well as the question of whether trademark law protects distinctive colors which have become strongly associated with a particular product. Therefore, it is of great consideration to claim a trademark of your business color.

For example, Tiffany’s notorious “Robin’s-egg Blue” color, the French shoemaker, Christian Louboutin, uses the color “China Red” to coat the bottom of his expensive, high-heeled shoes. Louboutin’s signature red-soled shoes creates an iconic and memorable trademark of the 21st century. In the fashion world, the ability to trademark a color for marketing establishes brand equity. For years, well-known brands, such as Louboutin and Burberry, have been distinguished and recognized by consumer’s for their designer patterns. From the repetition of these patterns or color, they have established valuable brand equity. The red-sole shoe is a precious asset to Louboutin.  For example, celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, on the Oprah Show, sport Louboutin’s heels, and every time she crosses her legs and flashes the red-sole underneath her shoes, the public notices and thinks of Louboutin. The trademarked color has brand value, for which consumer’s have been conditioned to know the brand, which further helps advertise it.

CONCLUSION

In order to make your brand, product or business more marketable, the use of color as a representation is necessary. Conditioning consumer’s to associate your brand with a color creates consumer recognition. Keep in mind that a color war is exploding and the use of color is generating lawsuits. Therefore, in order to avoid competition, it’s important to trademark your color coordinate numbers and application in a clear and defined way.


Build an Online Community

5 Free Tips to Build an Online Community

Build an Online Community

As the ancient Greeks are to being one of the largest contributors to present-day civilization, social media is to building an online community. And it is not going away anytime soon.

It can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you:

• Have no interest being on Facebook
• Believe social media is not useful to obtain leads
• Think your customers aren’t on social media

Not to worry. This blog may change your mind.

5 tips to build (and justify building) an online community for your business:

1. An online community helps build value to your business – having quality information on your website, or adding informational posts on your LinkedIn page gives something of equity to potential and existing customers.

2. Show your ‘usp’ – stand out from the competition with your unique selling point and create a community that supports and virally promotes your usp by posting related topics.

3. Make community building part of your strategy and goals – write a blog every week about a subject your customers want to read about. It helps keep you working on and not in your business.

4. Continue to set new goals – commit to giving a new social media tool at try, like LinkedIn or Pinterest. This will encourage trying and testing new marketing tools in this digital age.

5. Show that your business is modern and current – be the thought leader. Communities like to know that they have the best and most up-to-date information.

Would you be interested in learning more about how to build an online community, or interested in having someone do the work for you?


Connect with Consumers

L‘I’ve Marketing – Connect with Consumers

Connect with Consumers

How do you bring a brand to life?

How can consumers feel connected to your brand and remain loyal? Today’s consumers need, want, and desire more: a brand that’s more than attractive colors and images. Such superficial marketing tactics bring fleeting emotions, but a trusting relationship holds long-term value. Consumers feel connected when they use their senses to relate with the brand—to see, taste, touch, hear, smell, or feel emotion. Think of how to build a relationship between consumer and brand. In marketing, two prominent methods exist to create experience for the consumer and thereby evoke the senses to secure a long-term relationship: the digital and the live marketing worlds.

L‘I’ve marketing gets the consumer to say, “I had fun at the Brand X event” or “Brand X gave me tickets to the Madonna concert, and I had an amazing experience.” The idea is to connect your brand with a positive emotion that transcends into memory retention and brand loyalty. Some ways to utilize live marketing are through sampling (taste), interactive displays (hear/smell), exclusive events (experience), meeting a celebrity (feel emotion), and sports competition (see). Disney World could be considered the grandfather of live marketing. Once you enter the gates, you enter another world and instantly feel like a kid again. The brand comes to life and resonates as a positive memory during the point of purchase.

The key is to understand the consumer more than just from the aspects of age, income, and marital status. You need to know what drives the consumer to get up in the morning and continue through the day. What are their personality traits? What makes them tick? What makes them happy? Brands used to define the consumer. Now the consumer defines the brand.

You can start the experiential marketing approach by thinking in the realm of your own relationships. How do you connect? How do you make a relationship last? The main ingredient in a lasting relationship is trust. Trust is more than just image; people gain trust through freedom of negative experience. A brand should do the same through image, positive experience, and positive interaction. You can really solidify the message and gain insights by using social media techniques that directly pull consumer information and allow them to take an active role in brand development.

The next step in experiential marketing is to identify where the consumer lives. For instance, if you want to reach a consumer who likes live music in an outdoor environment, who is highly sociable, who likes to experience festival flavors of food, and your brand possesses the essences of freedom, social connection, and an identifiable relation to music, then use an event like Summerfest. You can either utilize the surrounding event environment with product sampling to enhance your brand, or you can create an extension of the environment by enhancing your brand with a display area. The display area could contain splashes of your brand colors, controlled signage of your marketing message, brand ambassadors who embody the life of your brand, and activities to engage the consumer. If the budget allows, you can extend experiential elements throughout the whole festival, like allowing consumers to text a message to a concert screen with their thoughts on how a particular brand makes them feel. For example, Corona might want to identify with a feeling of escape and relaxation, so the brand asks consumers to text, “What’s your escape?”

Keep in mind that experiential marketing brings a brand to life, but you must uphold your brand message, connect and establish trust. Listen, observe, and engage your consumers. They really have all the answers.