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Branding

What can we learn from our competitors?

The answer is quite a lot.

Your competitor is not your enemy. He’s an educational opportunity just waiting to broaden your horizons.

Chances are great that your competitors do all kinds of things you can learn from. If your competitor frequently hires staff out from under you, for example, find out why. What benefits do they offer that you don’t? Ditto for the people that you’ve tried to hire away from them. Ask why they chose to stay, even if you offered them more.

Ask yourself:

  • What does your competition do they do better than you? And how do they get it right?
  • How and where do they market their services?
  • What are the best decisions your competitor or your predecessor made recently?
  • What do they do or make that you could produce better?

It’s always a good idea to pay attention to your competition in an open minded way. It’s easy to get in a rut with insider thinking. Looking at the way your competition does things can unlock new ways of thinking and open doors to biases you didn’t even know you had.

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See the Fork First

More than a few famous poets, authors and songwriters have waxed poetic about the point along the road where one has to decide which direction to take.

At FocalPoint, we think the key to making the best decision about the road less travelled, the road not taken, or the fork in the road is NOT the crucial part of your journey. We think that first you have to SEE the fork, and recognize it for what it is.

That’s a huge thing in marketing and communications strategy. Many, many organizations misstep by failing to see that there is a critical decision to be made at a particular juncture — and do not understand the importance of the fork in the road.

How does one develop the insight to take the right path? At FocalPoint we set out these reminders for ourselves:

  • Stay focused on shifting currents
  • Be open to change and stay nimble
  • Be accessible and approachable
  • Consult with others and listen
  • Understand the way it always was is not the way it is

Recognizing the significant, life-altering twists in your company’s path is difficult. It helps having a company by your side to help you anticipate change.

Together, we can decide which new direction to take to forge ahead.

 

 

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Short. is. in.

Less is most definitely more these days.

Short attention spans are in evidence everywhere.

To stay connected to your audience, you’ve got to be brief. Your points crisp and concise.

This applies to meetings, presentations, advertising, emails, Tweets, web sites, and memos.

Short is not only the new black, it’s the only way to be heard over instant communication.

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What makes a brand memorable?

How many Super Bowl commercials can you remember, a couple of weeks or so out from the game? And of those you do remember, how many do you also remember the brand?

Chances are good, not many.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with folks over the years about an ad they “loved,” but couldn’t remember the name of the product.

And then, there are the generic brands. They don’t advertise because they aren’t going for brand recognition. Generic products like black and white cans labeled “Cat food,” or “Dish soap,” don’t want brand recognition. They are just filling a product need with direct, brutally obvious, hyper clear messaging.

And that labeling is certainly marketing, too. And it works for stuff where we don’t care about quality; we are just filling a need as cheaply as possible.

But for the majority of brands, making a connection with potential users of the product is what is at stake. We want that connection to last. Like the Doritos Super Bowl commercials, for example. You not only remember that the chips are Doritos’ brand, but you also remember the commercial’s payoff – humor. In fact, Doritos brand was the one most often mentioned when folks were asked which commercials they remembered a week after the Super Bowl.

What other brands do you recall immediately when you think of a product? Hoover, Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Beatles, Apple computers… all of these products have name recognition because of marketing tying brand to product.

But how to get there — especially when you don’t have the corporate budget of Apple computers? The best idea is not to do it in house. A group of untrained folks searching for a word or phrase tends to push toward obvious or generic way of thinking about a product. And generic advertising doesn’t stick. Instead, you need a hook, something memorable to link your product and brand to your customer’s need.

That’s where we come in. Folks experienced in marketing, who will see your product from a different perspective, and explore how to set your brand apart. Maybe with humor, maybe with elegance. Perhaps with music or a tag line that sticks.

So if you’re exploring new ways to get your brand to stick like a Doritos ad, we would be delighted to share some of our interesting branding work. Give us a call. We’ll provide the chips.

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