Title Image

Brand Development Tag

How Hot Will Your Brand Be Tomorrow?

The hottest newest brand or brands attract a lot of consumer and media attention. When they’re hot. But whatever is hot today is rarely still hot next quarter.

 

Updates, fads and trends are coming faster and more frequently.

 

That’s why former hot brands like Dell soon get crushed by Microsoft. And Microsoft gets toppled by Apple. And Blackberry moves out of favor as iPod comes on the scene, and so on.

 

At FocalPoint, we think there is a lesson in all of this for the rest of us. As soon as a hot brand becomes exceptional, it’s hard to grow, move ahead and make changes. Why? Because the ‘wow’ is working too well for you at that moment, and it’s hard not to drink your brand Kool-Aid.

 

We think brand evolution and flexibility are the best responses to the ever-changing, fast-paced competitive marketplace. So we work with our clients to continually improve our client’s brand. Even when it’s hot. This is particularly true in today market.  I just came from a speaking event where the subject was in part how the product lifecycle has changes and you really do need to be reinventing your product or service while it is still a hot commodity.

 

We want to be sure our clients’ positioning re-earns attention and re-connects in new ways so it stays in line with what’s important to their customers.

 

We make it a point not to drink any brand’s Kool-Aid here.

0

Big picture. Small steps

Spearheading a new product launch or marketing initiative? Although all of us understand change is ubiquitous and needed, it does seem to be in our very nature to resist it. And that we all do, in big ways and small.

If the marketing launch you are undertaking is massive, here at FocalPoint, we recommend taking small steps from the gate. Here’s what we mean:

For instance, separating communication about the initiative from action. Start by outlining what’s changing and provide a clear “why.” Customers, staff, senior advisers and folks on down the line – even the voice in your head – all need that.

Follow that first step by parsing out a series of additional ‘bite-sized’ steps, and attach a dateline to each. This way, you can provide those in your organization with a chance to taste success one step at a time, and build confidence along the way.

Every couple of weeks, provide a status update and remind your team (and your customers, as appropriate) of the big picture.

Breaking any big marketing change down into smaller elements while keeping the big picture in mind can help everyone in your organization appreciate the ultimate goal, gain positive momentum and contribute to its ultimate success.

In 3… 2… 1…

You’ve got less than 5 seconds to pique someone’s interest enough to click on your link.

The first few sentences of any presentation determine whether your idea gets heard.

Studies show that each of us has to connect on some level with any new idea or product at least three times before we are willing to give it a chance with our pocketbook.

How does the information above square with your marketing campaign?

Here are basic questions to ask before you launch any new marketing campaign:

  • What need does this fulfill?
  • Are there typos?
  • Is the idea sexy?
  • Is the design compelling?
  • Is it this offer too good to be true?

You can’t blame your prospects for ignoring you. You’ve got to know the game and cut to the chase differently, faster, and most importantly, memorably.

Stand apart from the crowd in a way that is memorable. And timely. Then you will be heard above the fray.

0
shake-things-up

Shaking it up

Do you want your marketing to fit in with everyone else’s? You want to stand out. Get noticed.

We thought so.

At FocalPoint, we know it takes real work to become a stand out. It takes questioning basic assumptions and trying a few crazy new ideas to create something different. Something of value.

If you have a vision that’s different from the norm and a passion that pushes you to move forward with it, here at FocalPoint, we consider that a gift.

We like to work with the movers and the shakers in the business and tech world. We enjoy working with folks that aren’t looking for different just to be different. Like us, they are looking for different to be better.

If that sounds like you, let’s shake a few things up together.

0

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.

0

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.

0

Entrepreneurial Marketing, Selling the Sizzle

What's-Your-StorySteve Jobs was famous for entrepreneurial marketing. He created gadgets we didn’t even know we needed, and then marketed them so effectively, we knew we craved whatever he blessed – asap.

At FocalPoint, we’re quick to give Jobs his due, but we also appreciate that he’s not the only one to market entrepreneurially. There are many great examples of reading the marketplace correctly and capturing consumers’ attention, from hot movie franchises to new cars, popular political slogans to toy manufacturers.

According to Adrian Slywotzky, author of Demand: Creating What People Love Before they Know they Want it, “Demand creators figure out how to solve the big and little hassles we all face.” They tell a story about how their product will make our days more convenient, more productive and more fun. Then, they market that hassle-relief instead of the product itself.

It’s a great strategy, but not a new one. That theory used to be called “selling the sizzle, not the steak.” And it’s still a very effective way to market new products and new ideas because it relies on human emotion.

But it’s not always the first entrepreneur that succeeds in a big way. It’s the first to market to the emotional business or marketplace. Effective entrepreneurs and marketers have the uncanny ability to turn “fence-sitters” into customers by correctly pinpointing and marketing to buying triggers.

How can we help you use this marketing philosophy to help you with your business?