G is for Great Writing


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K is for Kick-Ass Creative

 


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S is for Strategy

 Strategy First. Creativity Second.

Untitled2As a marketer for the past 25 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to move a client forward. Many clients want to go   straight to the creative but I always insist on establishing the strategy (and the budget) first. Because in the process of building a strategy we learn a lot about each other. Strategic marketing has a lot to do with defining who you are and what makes you different. Once that has been clearly articulated you’re in a better position to determine who your target audiences are. Many businesses do not go through this process. It’s not always easy. And even tougher if you have partners because what one person sees as the unique selling proposition is not always agreed to by the other parties. Gaining consensus is critical to building a strategy that will motor you forward. A lot of good stuff comes from this process. Everyone gets on the same page. You know who you are better than before and you’ve clearly identified your Brand Promise. You are focused on your goals and have a plan designed to get you there. All of this good stuff becomes the foundation for the creative ways you communicate your value proposition to the people who care.

So remember, strategy first.

 

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R is for Real

 The Case for Authenticity

photo 3If I could give you one word that sums up how to create and build a powerful Brand that works, it would be ‘authentic.’ Keeping it real is not just something you want to aim for in your romantic relationship, after all. Be real with how you communicate with your audience. Getting real about who you are as a company is the absolute first step to creating a Brand that is unique. Once you are clear about who you are and what you offer, you will have clarity about who your target audiences are. Who’s going to resonate with your Brand? Is it young, busy moms? High net worth individuals? Retired baby boomers? It makes a big difference when you truly understand your audience and you can communicate with them authentically. They will be drawn to what you’re selling when you are real.

 

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Q is for Quiet

Follow Your Own Voice.

phasdfasfoto 3So many companies vying for your attention makes the world a very noisy place. Sometimes, as marketers, we need to take a step back, get quiet and remember what we stand for. The most powerful brands are simple and really know what they stand for. Nike. Apple. Google. BMW. Disney. We all know who they are and what they mean to us. That’s the power of good branding backed up with ingenious ad campaigns and really smart integrated marketing strategy.

If you’re a business owner, or looking to expand your business, shhh. Take some time out. Think about what you stand for and write down, in five words or less, what you bring to your  customers. This will become the core of your Brand strategy and you’ll want to use it on everything you do to communicate who you are and what you offer to the world. True, it’s easier said than done. Just be quiet and trust your inner voice. It’s almost always right.

 

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P is for Perfect

Positioned for Success
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As Westerners, we spend a lot of our waking hours (and one would guess, our dreamtime too) reaching for perfection. The concept that ‘nobody’s perfect’ has been written about, sung about, filmed about … and yet we are inundated with other imagery and messages that conflict, that make us believe on some level, just maybe, perfection is attainable. And so we set out, either consciously or unconsciously, seeking and striving for the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect partner, the perfect kids, the perfect car, the perfect meal, the perfect friends, the perfect Brand Strategy, the perfect website, the perfect blog post, and on and on it goes. No wonder we’re exhausted. No wonder so many of us turn to ways of escaping all this pressure to be perfect.

We might take a lesson from ancient Japanese wisdom. Wabi-sabi is a notion which nurtures what is authentic by acknowledging three simple truths: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the objects and processes of nature. In a word, I would call it peace. An acceptance and understanding of what is. A calm acceptance that life is fluid.

How does this relate to Brand Marketing? As Marketers, we spend a lot of time defining our target audience. What makes them tick? What do they want? What I’m finding these days is that no matter who our particular audience is, they generally don’t want more pressure to be perfect. They want to be inspired, they want authenticity. These days more people are reaching toward the Japanese world view of wabi-sabi. We are looking within more. Letting go of outside influencers that contribute to our need for perfection (which by the way, does not exist). It’s just more sane, really.

Ever since I adopted my puppy, Brodie, a couple of months ago — I have really noticed a change in my perspective. I’m lighter. I’m finding joy in simple things like crisp November morning walks, writing a great headline (although I’ve always appreciated that!) and being woken up way-too-early by the happy spirit of a 5-month old puppy who can hardly wait to start another day. Brodie is helping me be more flexible, too. To see that I can have fun and still be productive. This slight shift has me looking at new ways to approach my work. To be open to the constant changes and find perfection in the fleeting moments in between the big presentations, deadlines and campaign launches. Living a balanced life knowing that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect seems like the perfect way to position yourself and your business for a rich and creative life. Like a way to position yourself for success.

I don’t entirely agree that ‘nothing is perfect.’ I do believe we experience moments of perfection; a breath-taking sunset, the smile of a loved one, laughter of a child, or creating a beautiful ad that inspires. If we can spend more time appreciating those perfect moments, knowing that nothing lasts and nothing is finished we can learn to be more present and less focused on what’s missing from our less-than-perfect lives.

Brodie

Brodie

 

 

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O is for Open

Essential Marketing for New Businesses.

ujujFew things can compare to the thrill of preparing to open a new business. It’s exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at the same time. There are so many decisions to make about the space, the displays, the prices, the merchandise, the services, the staff, the experience you want your new customers to have. The months leading up to opening a new business are likely to be remembered as some of your most exciting times ever. You find yourself leaping out of bed each morning and staying up late as you cross off and add new things to your to-do list. Good stuff.

So often, though, what is not considered is BRAND MARKETING. It’s usually not even in the budget. So many passionate entrepreneurs are dreamy in their visions of success. As they should be. But, the whole “if you build it they will come” concept doesn’t work so well in the bright light of day after you’ve officially opened your doors and are waiting for the phone to ring. The line out the door that you envisioned rarely happens on its own.

Opening a new business is like dating, in many ways. You have to understand what it is you’re offering. You have to understand who’s going to like what you offer. You want to try to look your best. You have to know what you will,  and will not, put up with. (Not all clients/customers are good for you.) And, you can’t expect great things will happen by simply being open. On the other hand, having absolute faith and knowing that miracles do happen won’t cut it either.

So what’s an excited/exhausted new business owner to do? Take a hint from our savvy clients who opened a new yoga studio about a year ago. This dynamic duo was courageous and smart. They had dreamed and they had planned. And when the right space showed up, they jumped in with all four feet. And, from the beginning, they knew they needed a strong marketing strategy. Lucky for them, they turned to us. Lucky for us, they were not afraid to invest in marketing. They already saw the value in it, and knew they had to find a way to distinguish themselves with memorable branding. To articulate a new and unique offering required a professional perspective — and together we hit it out of the park. If you’re considering, about to, or have recently opened a new business, please use the power of brand marketing to propel your vision into a profitable reality.