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The Purpose-Driven Brand

You can probably name a luxury brand. Tiffany comes to mind. Or an active brand, such as Nike or Patagonia. Or a traditional brand, such as General Motors. There are brands that own product names, such as Scotch (brand) tape or Band Aid bandages.


So what is a purpose-driven brand?


As the name implies, it’s a brand that is very consistent about it’s purpose and place in its marketplace. You know what you’re getting with the brand, and you like the brand’s purpose.


You should be able to tell a brand’s purpose by its tag line, for instance:

  • Disney – The happiest place on earth
  • Avis – We try harder
  • Nike – Just do it
  • Capital One – What’s in your wallet?
  • US Postal Service – We deliver
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken – Finger Lickin’ Good
  • Budweiser – The King of Beers


A new report from Kantar Consulting shows that purpose-driven brands consistently outperform brands perceived as without purpose. According to the study, brands with clearly defined purposes grew twice as fast as other brands, increasing their brand valuation by 175% in the past 12 years. Compare this to a 70% growth rate for “low sense of purpose” brands, and you can see why your organization could benefit immensely from having a brand associated with a strong and readily recognized purpose.


Another way to look at this is brand transparency. Adweek magazine recently stated that younger customers want to know what their favorite brands stand for.  According to Adweek, two-thirds of Gen Z and Millennials prefer a brand that stands for something and has a clear point of view.


But it’s not easy to establish


Consumers can tell when a brand is authentic and when it’s created for attention. The recent Pepsi “Kendall Jenner” commercial is a good example of a company trying to create a purpose-driven ad, but not getting it right because it didn’t feel authentic.


The good news is being purpose-driven doesn’t have to cost anything close to what Pepsi paid for its failed Jenner ad.


“As long as you have your customer in mind with everything you put out there on social media and advertising,” says Brien Richmond, CEO of FocalPoint, “you’re headed in the right direction.”


Your marketing team should be always be asking:

  • How does our customer “see” us?
  • How do our customers actually use our products?
  • What is s/he interested in?
  • What other activities are likely to interest them?
  • What are they watching, reading or doing day-to-day?”


“It doesn’t matter if your marketing budget is $10k or $500k, if your marketing efforts consistently support your client’s point of view,” says Richmond, “you are speaking their language. Your brand image is authentic and transparent, and ultimately, purpose-driven.”

Making Corporate Blogs Sing

You blog to inspire interest in what your company does. Hopefully, it will open the door to more web traffic, and with any luck, new business.

That’s the thought for most companies, anyway. But why stop there, when there’s so much more your blog can (and should) do?

What you really want your blog to do is provide remarkable, surprising insight into your industry. New discoveries. New ways to use products. New legislation. New technologies. What’s new in your field and about why it matters.

In other words, you want to make your business blog the “go-to” site for information that your target client wants to know about. You want your blog (ergo your company) to be perceived as the Subject Matter Expert.

Does your blog do that?

Probably not. Most don’t, in fact.

That’s because most corporate blogs are written by the wrong people. Most corporate bloggers are busy folks in your sales or marketing department that blog when they can. It’s often last on their to-do list.

The thing is, for your blogs to do what they should be doing, you’ve got to keep blog material relevant and informative. And well-written to surprise and delight your (busy, distracted) intended audience.

So here’s a good idea for your next blog to get you on the right path: Create an “expert post.” It’s actually pretty easy to do.  Here’s how:

• Reach out to experts in your field with a pertinent, industry-related question.
• Collect the content and organize the post.
• Only use the interesting quotes — new, useful information from these industry sources.
• Tell your readers why the information matters.
• Present the information in an easy to understand format.
• Then, include your own preferences and opinions about the information.
• Edit and polish.

When you’re ready to publish your post, be sure to include links to each of your experts’ websites. Then tag the authors on social media.

The result? A nice win-win. Your readers get great content and your experts get links to their sites, which they will undoubtedly share because it makes them look good. Of course, all those shares will also boost your SEO.

Boom! You have just taken a big step toward being seen as a Subject Matter Expert. Now, keep up the good work!

Updates In Logo Land

Have you noticed all the new logos recently? Logos are definitely evolving. They are getting less intricate, using very easy to read fonts, and any imagery or design is much simpler than earlier versions of the same logo.

Logo redesign isn’t new. Just about every organization revitalizes their logo every so often. But why – suddenly – are so many logos getting a make-over?

The answer is simple. Smaller screens.

Older logos full of visual information and hard to read fonts just don’t translate on cell phones’ smaller screens.

Another factor is that logos need to pop – getting easily recognized within seconds – no matter what else is going on around them. After all, logos don’t exist in a vacuum. They share space and compete with other information on pop up ads, newsfeeds, even on their own websites.

So what does that mean for your organization’s logo? If it’s been more than 5 years since you’ve taken a fresh look at your existing logo, it’s time.

Here’s how to begin a logo update:

• Get real about how your logo will most often be seen. That might mean on your store front and on your website, and mobile website, business cards, ads, possibly even on the items your company manufactures.
• Does your logo use a lot of space? Does it look similar to lots of other logos? Is it very horizontal or overly vertical? All of these issues will make it more difficult to use in a variety of applications.
• Pull out your phone and take a look at several different apps. Now look at your logo on this screen – perhaps from your website. It should be immediately identifiable.
• Does it tell people who you are and what you do in 3 seconds? Or does it need a tag line to make that clear?
• What’s in the background (behind the letters in your logo?) The more “stuff” cluttering your logo design, the less effective it is.

After you’ve taken a look at your company’s logo with fresh eyes, it’s time to look at logos that others use that you and your team like:

• Make a list of what you like and why.
• Notice things like colors, fonts, and size of letters.
• Note upper and lower case.
• Check out background colors.
• Register how warm or cool (and any other emotions) the logo suggests.

It’s always a good idea to look at your competitions’ logos. What do they do well, and what don’t they do as well? Be sure to notice dominant logo colors in your industry.

Once you have some pretty good ideas of what you like and don’t about your logo and others in your industry (as well as logos in general), talk to a marketer like us, one that consistently provides excellent professional logo design. Ask for samples of recent work. Have a conversation about timing and pricing.

After consultation and sometimes marketing research, a company generally receives several design “rounds” in which to fine-tune a new or redesigned logo. You have a hand in the design process.

Logo design isn’t rocket science, and there’s no single solution to your update. That said, it can be a lot of fun seeing your older logo evolve into a hipper, crisper, leaner looking version of itself. And – perhaps more interestingly — you’ll learn a lot about what is important to you and your company as a whole, during the process.

Romancing Social Media

Business relationships are actually quite similar to romantic ones. Both thrive on attention. The more positive, the better. The more consistent, the better… with an occasional unexpected perk.


Like, what?

Flowers for no reason would be the romantic metaphor. One printing company we enjoy working with would, for no discernable reason, occasionally give us a printing job for free. “Thanks for being one of our favorite customers,” was the stated reason.


Wow, we thought, how cool is that? Interestingly, that printing company only had to offer that perk once in a blue moon. Because it made a lasting impression. Obviously, we enjoyed the sentiment. And the perk. Of course, we wanted to keep being that favorite customer. So we gave them more of our business.


In social media, you can do something very similar.

And for lots less.


All it takes is time and intention. It all boils down the organization’s commitment to sustaining excellent relationships with clients and prospects. And the key to that?

Romancing the client:

  • Frequent reminders about how important they are to you
  • The occasional perk
  • Use client examples of great work on social media
  • Send those posts to your client – with feedback when appropriate


While FocalPoint knows it’s important to keep up traditional communication and PR, we also believe our clients should also be romancing their relationships through online forums

  • Website updates
  • Frequent blogs and vlogs
  • Use the NOTES application in Facebook to create a special, limited-time “friends and family” promotion, tag friends and clients and ask them to pass along your exclusive deal.
  • Tweet out contests, shout out to loyal customers and promote events. (And don’t forget to retweet loyal customer tweets.)
  • Name drop on LinkedIN shares


Interesting conversations are happening all the time, so why not participate in a very visible way that says to your clients, “I really like you and you are the heart of our business.”


LinkedIN romance

Join as many groups on LinkedIN as you can that are related to what you sell and post a question or a tip on a regular basis. Client name drop (it’s free and it works wonders!)


  • Mention a client If you have a blog or e-newsletter
  • Post a client announcement to your Linked-In groups with a link whenever you release a new issue or blog posting.
  • You’ll look great to lots of business people
  • …and so will your client.


Romance isn’t dead. It’s on line and doing fine!

The Persuasive Art Of Email

Email is old school.

Or is it?

Worldwide, there are roughly 2.6 billion daily email users. And more than 4.3 billion email accounts. With 1.7 email accounts per user, email is definitely still relevant. More so, when you want to communicate to those in business.

Here’s how to use email persuasively and effectively:

Begin with a killer subject line

  • Your subject line is crucial. That’s what draws your reader in.
  • Lead with something strong, such as “What your competitor doesn’t know” or “Pay off your student loan in half the time” – called a Gain
  • Pain headlines work well, too, i.e., “Say this, but never this,” or “The one word that kills a sale,” to absolutely draw readers.
  • It’s human nature to want to know pain and gain secrets and inside information. Pique your readers’ curiosity.
  • Keep it short and sweet (or search engines will truncate it for you.)
  • Make your subject line handheld display-friendly. Smaller devices show between 6 – 10 words, so the ideal subject line is between 4 and 7 words (50 characters max).

Then satisfy that curiosity. Almost.

Keep your information short and crisp. Show your knowledge but don’t tip your hand. It’s a delicate balance.

Dangle bits of information and use key words and phrases consistent with your targeted market segment.

Promise more information by motivating them toward next steps. “Click here to find out 5 more ways to drive your best customer away,” is a good tactic.

Communicating scarcity or quick action still works to compel readers to click (or act). However, if you overuse this tactic, your readers will quickly become immune to it.

Show your email recipient you know something about them

People want to feel special. The more personalized your email is, the better. This means you need to segment out your email list. But that time and energy generally pays off.

If you are targeting Boomers, make sure you are speaking their language. Ditto for Millennials, restaurant managers, small business owners, or recent college grads with huge student loans. The more personal, the better.

Humor works

So does using the unexpected in a new way. “How to break all the rules and still beat your savviest competitor,” is a great example of that. Be irreverent and have fun. You’ll come across as a company that will be fun to work with. And who wouldn’t want that?

Good design + good content = increased readership

Outdated, confusing or convoluted design can greatly diminish your content’s effectiveness. That’s true whether your content is web-based, or a PowerPoint, newsletter, print ad, or social media.

But a well-constructed, thoroughly planned design can brilliantly lead the eye through content, illuminating key points, and facilitating understanding.

Effective marketers know that design and content are intricately linked together. They are also very good at understanding what drives human behavior. Because (of course), the nature of human behavior affects everything we do. And buy. Which means that to be an effective marketer, you’ve got to be focused on what will persuade your potential buyers to see, appreciate and “get” what your product/s are all about, no matter what format you are using.

Powerful persuasion is the point. And it is both an art and a science.

To get there, you’ve got to use effective design and psychology to engage readers in specific behaviors, leading the eye and the brain toward creating calls to action at the ‘right’ times.

Good design persuades users to engage with your product or content in the way you want, leading to a specific outcome – brand influence, product awareness, understanding, reinforcement, and/or the desire to purchase.

The opposite is also true. If your user confronts five pop-up ads, a long loading time, or a sea of disclaimers before they reach your primary content, chances are good they won’t stay long enough to be persuaded.

So how do you get someone’s attention long enough to present them with information, using good design and good content?

That’s where the true art of persuasion comes into play. You not only have to be good at understanding human nature, but you also have to be a good storyteller – on two very distinctive levels.

That first level of effective storytelling is a very central one. It is message and fact oriented. You reach your audience with Focal Point Designinformation specifically framed to reinforce attitudinal thinking. For instance, “This paint is formulated to cover colors better. Here’s how…” This is sometimes referred to as central route processing.

The second level of good storytelling uses secondary influence such as visual appeal, presentation and enticements like sex or humor to engage users on a more superficial level. For example, “Look how rich, colorful and smooth this paint can look when applied to your (drab and boring) walls.”

The best marketing uses both effectively, since some people are more drawn to having all the facts and want to know the “why” behind what they purchase, and other folks are more interested in having what’s cool and beautiful. Since most of us seek a little of both types of information, the best messaging and design addresses both as seamlessly as possible.

In summary, truly effective marketing understands what will drive all types of end users. The advertising messages need to be relevant to the consumer and easy to access and understand.

They must be written and designed professionally — in a way that takes into consideration psychology, design, and technology — to influence or motivate a desired outcome, a purchase decision. Because if one of those elements is missing, the desired outcome is far less likely to happen.