Why Your Branding Strategy Needs to be more like Mad Libs® than a Form Letter

If you want to stand out, you can’t copy and paste another company’s strategy.

In today’s highly-competitive marketplace, a solid brand identity is critical. Your branding needs to differentiate what you do and how you do it. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; there are proven marketing tactics that can be utilized for your business. Just think of your branding strategy as being less like a form letter – and more like Mad Libs®.

What is branding, anyway?

Branding is the process of conveying your business’ personality. It involves establishing how you want your customers to perceive you, and then it sets the tone for conveying that message. Your brand identity incorporates more than just your product or service, and it is more complicated than choosing the right logo. Your branding covers your user experience (UX) and every touchpoint your company has with its clients – from postcards and newsletters to your website and product packaging.

Why is branding crucial?

If you can be consistent with your branding, then you can differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
Your branding needs to:

  • Establish your perceived value – While you do need to highlight why customers should choose your product or service over others in the marketplace, you also need to present what value you want customers to identify with your offering. Is it quality, craftsmanship, innovation, affordability, or customer service?
  • Create a connection – The best brands have customers who are emotionally attached to their product. How can you connect with your audience? What makes your offering relatable? What will turn your clients into repeat customers?
  • Be consistent across multiple channels – Every touchpoint needs to promote your brand identity. It’s not just about colors and fonts; your messaging also needs to be consistent. If you muddle your identity with multiple value statements, clients will get confused. What is the fundamental message you want to express?

How do you brand your business?

The first step is to prepare a branding strategy that incorporates your voice, extols your benefits, and propels your vision.

It needs to incorporate:

  • Your daily mission
  • Your vision for the future
  • Your voice
  • Product or service benefits
  • Product or service features
  • What people think about your company today versus what you want them to think

When you accumulate the above information, you will notice one thing: no other business can be exactly like yours. If you try to mold yourself into another organization’s template, you may end up losing what makes your company unique. The best branding strategies recognize this fact.

More Like Mad Libs®

Many companies fail at branding because they try to utilize a strategy that has worked for someone else. Looking at what a competitor has done is helpful, but repeating their exact steps is futile. If you want to stand out, you can’t copy and paste another company’s strategy; it will make your business seem unoriginal – like an imitator instead of an innovator.

You don’t have to start from scratch. Take tried-and-true marketing methods and put your personal spin on them. Customers will appreciate your viewpoint more than you know – especially in today’s content-rich world.
Just like a Mad Libs® story, your brand story can be exceptional – if you fill in your own blanks.

Infographic: Be More Like Mad Libs® than a Form Letter

At Conveyance, we believe that every client has a unique story to tell. Your story is exceptional when you fill in your own blanks.

Creating a Powerful Pitch Deck

A well-designed, brand-consistent, and logical pitch deck could turn into the best investment you’ll ever make in your business.

Presentations are a crucial part of the business development process. Whether you run a company or want to establish one, you can use a pitch deck to sell your services, seek venture capital funding, or ask an investor for money. Since a good presentation could literally propel your business forward – and a bad one could end it – we decided to put together some tips for preparing one that is not only memorable, but successful.

5 Tips for an Awesome Pitch Deck

A pitch deck explains your business – or new product or service – through slides full of data, text, and images. You can use PowerPoint, Prezi, or Keynote to create your deck, but it’s important to note that slides are merely a presentation tool – not the entire presentation itself.

          1. Determine the purpose and define your audience.
            • What is your primary objective for the presentation? Make sure that you design everything with that goal in mind.
            • What do you want your audience to take away from your presentation? This is more than a knowledge transfer; refer to the previous bullet.
            • Who is your audience? The more you know about their backgrounds, expectations, and levels of expertise, the more you’ll be able to gear your presentation to meet their needs.
          2. Create a storyboard.
            • How do you want your presentation to flow? Organize a storyboard that outlines every slide. Make sure that you only touch on one topic per slide, and that you progress through the presentation in a logical order.
            • What do you need to convey? If you are looking for funding, then your audience will want to know how you plan to make money and how much capital you need. If you are trying to persuade a potential client, you need to show them that you understand their pains and prove that you can alleviate them.
            • What are your accomplishments? Regardless of the purpose of your pitch deck, it’s a good idea to feature some of your successes.
          3. Make it look polished.
            • What “look” will represent your company well? Avoid clunky pre-designed templates and invest in custom design that can seamlessly incorporate your brand.
            • Is anything distracting? If a graphic or a piece of animation is too flashy or tacky it will detract from the information on the slide. A little action can keep the slides from being boring, but be careful not to over do it.
          4. Format like a pro.
            • Can you read it from the back of the room? Choose fonts that are easy to read and remember that colors count. A dark text on a lightly-colored background is typically the easiest for everyone to see.
            • How much do you need to say? Your slides aren’t meant to hold your script. Keep it simple and snackable! Avoid paragraphs and think, “less is more.”
          5. Fill it with useful content.
          • What three ideas or points do you want your audience to remember? Keep your content straightforward, with less than 40 words per slide.
          • What numbers substantiate your claims? You don’t want to dump data on your audience, but mix in some statistics that support your cause.
          • What’s your hook? Keep in mind that there’s a purpose for your presentation; include a call to action just as if you were designing an advertisement.

Beyond the Slides

As we mentioned earlie, your pitch deck is merely a tool. Remember to look professional and watch your body language. If you need a pre-written script, make sure that you don’t turn into a robot with no voice inflection or eye contact. Your audience wants an emotional connection with you; stories are an excellent way to engage them and stay engaged yourself. And last – but not least – ask questions. Asking questions will show your audience that you care about their opinions – and it will make your presentation more engaging.

Killer Presentations (in a good way)

With a little effort, you can develop a pitch deck that you’ll be able to use for years. If you aren’t PowerPoint-savvy (or Keynote-savvy), don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. A well-designed, brand-consistent, and logical slideshow could turn into the best investment you’ll ever make in your business.

The Importance of Brand Unity in Your Multichannel Marketing Plan

The image your brand broadcasts to the public must be consistent with your corporate goals, target demographic, and overall marketing strategy.

Believe it or not, brand unity is getting harder and harder to achieve. The days of employees working at one location, during the same hours, are far behind us. In today’s work environment, businesses strive to be flexible – allowing workers to telecommute and work odd hours. In larger corporations, employees in the same department could be spread throughout offices in different cities or countries.
If you don’t see your coworkers every day – or even see the building – living the corporate brand and promoting the same brand message and values becomes tough. That dilemma then bubbles over into your company’s brand unity as a whole, particularly the image that you present to your customers and the public.

Brands need harmony for two crucial reasons: professionalism and cohesion. If your company is perceived as unprofessional, no one will trust your products or services. If you aren’t putting out a cohesive message, then customers will get confused – and possibly angry – at your mixed signals. Being untrustworthy and perplexing are not good ways to earn business.

If you are struggling with brand unity in your own business, here are our suggestions to getting your marketing back into harmony.

Logos, Fonts, and Colors
No matter the size or your organization, create a Style Guide that defines your approved logo, logo usage, tagline, fonts, and color palettes. Designate a brand manager to guarantee that your brand remain steady across all marketing channels – verbal, visual and digital. Share your Style Guide internally as well as with your marketing agency, printer, and promotional product vendor.

Visual Style
Establish one visual style for your business and stick with it. If you keep a cohesive look and feel through every marketing channel, customers will be able to identify you easier. This includes graphics and images used throughout your website and marketing materials. We just visited Ford’s Fish Shack for lunch and their visual brand is spot on – from décor, to menu, to wait staff apparel, and call ahead cards – we knew where we were and who they were! (The food was great too!)

Voice and Tone
What voice speaks to your customers? Define your voice and then preserve it throughout every internal communication and external marketing piece. Live it. If you are casual and funny in one piece and then all business and serious in another, customers won’t understand who are you trying to reach. Setting a homogeneous tone and voice are key to any good marketing content.

Messaging
Once you’ve found your voice, make sure you retain consistent messaging. Just like controlling your tone, you have to keep your message geared towards the same audience – and always with your mission and vision in mind.

Details
Sweat the small stuff. Customers notice everything, especially in the days of social media. All employees should have the same business card, the same email footers, and the same dress requirements. When customers communicate or interact with different areas of your company, they need to feel like they are talking to the same company.

Brand unity is key to projecting a whole and undivided corporate vision to your customers. Find your voice, refine your message around your mission, and maintain the same visual style. The more you can establish a dependable brand experience, the more your customers will reward you.

Event Promotion and Strategy Part 1: Trade Shows

Trade shows are an excellent way to market your business.

Why trade shows?

Trade Show Booth that conveys technology and data security, marketing strategiesAudience – There may be no better way to reach your target audience than at a trade show. Your customer base comes to you; they are tailored to bring in a specific set of people.
Impact – Trade shows allow you to make a first impression on a lot of prospects at one time. If you do it right, you will be able to make a lasting impact on potential customers … far greater than what a flyer or postcard could accomplish.
Credibility – Your trade show booth is a representation of your company as a whole. Being able to show that you are a qualified, legitimate business in person is much more influential than anything a customer may see online or in the mail.
Leads – There is no better way to get high-quality leads than at an event that is focused on your business niche.
Networking & Investigating – Trade shows are a great way to meet other players in your industry and develop professional relationships. On the flip side, it is also a great way to see what your competitors are doing.

Here’s what you need to create a successful trade show booth

Not only are they great at reaching a particular group of people, but they can leave a lasting impression. One crucial element to a successful trade show endeavor is your booth – you want that first impression of your business to be a great one.

Theme & Design – Booths designs need to be purposeful and cohesive. Ask yourself:

  • Does the design reflect my business?
  • Does the design fit the event?

Marketing Hook – It’s important to figure out how you are going to draw people into your booth as you are designing it. Ask yourself:

  • What would my customers be interested in that also represents my business?
  • What can bring customers to see me versus my competitors?

Booth Flow/Design Implementation – Once you have chosen a hook and an overall theme, consider how you want people to flow through your space. Ask yourself:

  • How should I prioritize my information?
  • How do I ensure the flow?

Media – Using different types of media in your booth will garner much-needed interest. Ask yourself:

  • What can I do to set myself apart from other booths?
  • Are there any restraints on the technology I can use?

Giveaways – Giveaways are a critical component to every trade show. Even if someone doesn’t need your service or product at the time of the show, your giveaway may sit on their desk until a day when they do need it. Ask yourself:

  • What type of product would my audience be interested in?
  • What type of product represents my competitive advantage in the marketplace?

Positive People – It may seem simple, but having upbeat, friendly employees at your booth can be the difference between a successful event and a failed one. Ask yourself:

  • Are my employees attentive and welcoming?
  • Have they dressed appropriately?
  • Are they knowledgeable?

Don’t be overwhelmed by all the details. Hire a professional marketing company to help you plan out your booth, produce promotional items, and design marketing materials. Trade shows are an invaluable way to reach potentials clients, so start taking advantage of them now.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Perception Campaign: How Do Your Customers and Prospects Really See You?

Know What’s Working and What’s Not by Conducting a Perception Campaign

At Conveyance Marketing Group, one of the many services that we offer clients is Perception Campaigns. During a Perception Campaign, we delve into the wins and losses of a business to find out two very important things – what works well and what doesn’t.

Every campaign is customized to fit the needs and wants of our clients. No two companies are alike, so no two Perception Campaigns are alike. We appreciate that each client is unique, and we take that into consideration when crafting the campaign.

Each Perception Campaign is comprised of four fundamental components:

Identification. In the first step, we have you provide us with a list of current clients, past clients, and points of contact from missed opportunities. These are the groups of folks we want to talk with.

Discovery. With your list complete, we begin the discovery process. We have developed a strategic set of questions that we utilize during the interview process. Our goal is to dig in to really understand how you win business, lose business, and build customer loyalty.

  • Who was involved in the decision?
  • What was the key selection criteria used?
  • What was the perception of your company prior to entering the buying cycle?
  • How did their perception change?
  • How did you compare to the competition?
  • What did they view as your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What was the perception of the quality of your sales team?
  • How did they feel the sales team managed the relationship?
  • How was your pricing?
  • If a win, would the customer be comfortable participating in a case study or providing a testimonial?

Reporting. At this stage, we compile all the data from the Discovery phase and turn it into actionable analyses. The findings will layout both the actual and perceived strengths and weaknesses of your business.

Branding. With this type of information at hand, we create a blueprint for future sales success. The branding strategy will address any perceived weaknesses or misconceptions and espouse your company’s strengths. By knowing exactly what your current and potential clients are thinking, we can manage perceptions – both positive and negative.

At Conveyance, we want our clients to grow and thrive. By studying wins and losses, we are able to gather relevant, invaluable data that can then be implemented into a successful marketing strategy. We are changing losses into wins – one perception at a time.

What could a Perception Campaign do for your business?

Branding – Words Matter!

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Benjamin Franklin knew the importance of words. In marketing, words are influential and valuable; they should convey who your business is by promoting your brand. And just like all other branding efforts, your words need to show consistency, differentiation, and customer focus to be effective.

Consistency is crucial in branding.

Your message needs to be consistent in order for your audience to feel like they understand your business. Let’s pretend that you own a therapeutic massage business. If you extol the benefits of massage for athletes on all your digital advertising – like Facebook and Instagram – and then send out mailers talking about prenatal massage, your audience would be completely confused, right? Does your business specialize in pregnant women or marathon runners? Regardless of the media type, your message needs to flow seamlessly from one piece of marketing to another. It also needs to sound like the same person is talking to your customer in every material, because that person is really the voice of your company.

Know who you are talking to.

This blog is a perfect example of knowing your audience. We target customers and potential customers by talking about topics they may find helpful, and in a tone that is relatable and conversational. There’s no doubt that both grammar and spelling are extremely important, especially in the age of digital marketing. One misspelled word or missing comma could spell disaster for your brand when an image gets shared a million times. When it comes to grammar, though, you have to consider who you are speaking to. Sometimes being grammatically accurate just sounds funny on paper… and sometimes it doesn’t press the importance of a point you are trying to make. So go ahead and end your sentence with a prepositional phrase if it makes sense for your audience, but never egregiously confuse “your” and “you’re” or “its” and “it’s.” Never.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Words can be used to guide, impress, and persuade. Like Ben Franklin said above, write something worth reading. Don’t just fill space with useless information in order to make your website or a brochure look better. That information should not only be beneficial to your audience, but it should be dynamic. No one wants to read boring content. If you bore people, they’ll stop reading, and if they stop reading, then all your efforts will have been fruitless. Inspire people and motivate them into action.

Words are everywhere: blogs, websites, newsletters, brochures, flyers, and billboards. If you want to reach your audience, you have to make every sentence count. Use the power of words to explain to customers who you are, what you do, and why they need you. Use them to express yourself. You will find out quickly that words can win business.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Brand Basics – Know Who You Are

Finding your voice, knowing your strengths, and outlining your goals are all crucial to brand development and knowing who you are as a business.

We live in a world of judgement: it’s human nature. We size up every business we come across and decide whether or not we like it – all within a matter of seconds. In this environment, it’s imperative to define your brand values and know who you are as a business. If you aren’t certain, then how will customers know who you are?

Establishing the brand personality of your business is quite easy …

Institute a mission and vision. Many new businesses skip the basics. Owners assume that their businesses will take on their own personalities – by osmosis – so they skip the creation of any official guidelines that define their business’ identities.

A business doesn’t take on its owner’s personality unless it works hard to do it. Employees and customers don’t know what you want for your business unless you spell it out; they are strangers. A mission statement lays out the objectives of your business and a vision statement outlines its purpose and values. By having these in writing, customers can decide if your goals meet their needs. Employees can also use these statements as rules to live by in the workplace. Your mission and vision set the tone for your business, so decide upon them early and consistently abide by them.

Identify your key differentiators. Knowing your business is partly comprised of knowing what makes you different. Your mission and vision statements might touch upon these differentiators, but sometimes you need to do a little homework on your competition to figure out key ways that your business stands out.

Do you promote customer service in an industry that lacks it? Do you have an exceptional product guarantee? Are your employees better-trained and therefore produce better results?
Each business should be able to sum up its key traits in approximately thirty seconds. You don’t need to list thirty things that make you different. Find the top two-to-four attributes that you are most proud of, and then run your business in a way that showcases and “owns” those features.

Live your brand. You have to be consistent, customer-focused, and know your key differentiators to live your brand. Your office environment should flow with your logo, and your logo should make sense with your promotional campaigns. Your business needs to live and breathe its personality if you want your customers to understand you. There’s nothing worse than when a business constantly shifts its focus; it confuses customers and pushes them away. The more you exist within your brand, the easier it will be for your customers to recognize you and set you apart from others.

Finding your voice, knowing your strengths, and outlining your goals are all crucial to knowing who you are as a business. If you can’t do these things, your customers will have no idea what you represent and what drives you. A little planning and branding goes a long way when it comes to defining yourself.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Product Marketing: Creative Ways to Sell

Showing your audience why your product is better and how it fits into their lives takes a lot of skill.

Selling a product is challenging and presents unique hurdles. Consumers seek reviews and referrals, align themselves with certain brands, and are price-conscious. With all these things to consider, marketers are becoming increasingly innovative with their sales tactics.

There are four basic ways to get creative when it comes to selling your product:

  1. Show it in action.
  2. Present it in an original way.
  3. Be thought-provoking or inspirational.
  4. Use humor.

Show it in action.

With the onslaught of video everywhere on social media, sometimes all you need to do is actually show consumers how well your product works. It may seem simplistic, but some great action footage can enhance your brand and generate consumer interest.

Blendtec has been producing a show called “Will It Blend?” since 2006. It appears on YouTube and shows short episodes of Tom Dickson, the Blendtec founder, crushing some unusual things in a blender. An iPhone, super glue, and scrapbooking supplies (complete with scissors) are just a few recent things that Dickson has blended. When an iPhone is reduced to a piece of metal and black dust, it’s pretty impressive.

Another product that excels at showing itself in action is Flex Seal. During this Flex Seal Liquid commercial, the announcer shows a boat made of screens that he covers with Flex Seal and then pilots through an alligator-infested swamp.

Present it in an original way.

A little creative product placement can go a long way. Sometimes, you just need to remind customers that your product exists… and why they need it.

This Folgers campaign features manhole covers that have been transformed into steaming hot cups of Folgers coffee. Nothing makes you want some hot coffee more than seeing huge steaming cups of it on your way to work on a cold morning.

Click Here to see the Folgers ad.

In this IKEA commercial, a kitchen is cooked up in a skillet. IKEA is reminding us that its kitchens can be customized to meet our needs and wants – but they are doing it in a way that really makes consumers feel like they understand cooking.

Be thought-provoking or inspirational.

If you can make your audience stop and think, then you are one step closer to them remembering your name and then choosing your product off of the store shelf.
Take a look at how Beldent, a chewing gum in Argentina, convincingly makes you feel like chewing gum will make you more likeable.

This Nike campaign simply inspires people to keep moving.

Click here to see the Nike ad.

Use humor.

Humor is always a great attention-getter. The new Hyundai Genesis commercial with Kevin Hart proves this, as they promote their Car Finder feature.

 

Take a look at this Dirt Devil commercial. It starts off like the scene of a horror movie, but switches gears right when you’re about to hide your eyes.

Click here to see the Dirt Devil ad.

Showing your audience why your product is better and how it fits into their lives takes a lot of skill. A little imagination can go a long way, though. Some creative action, thought, inspiration, and laughter will drive sales.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Branding with Creative Imagery

Be imaginative. Be expressive. Be original

Creative imagery is alive and well in today’s marketing campaigns. It is simply imagery – the ability to form mental images from things or events – that is imaginative, expressive, and original. It’s truly amazing what some companies come up with to brand, package, and market themselves.

Every business should use some creative imagery at one time or another to enhance their advertising. Here are the three way to bring creative imagery into your marketing efforts:

Creative Imagery in Branding

Branding includes consistency, differentiation, and customer focus. No one is better at branding than Apple. Their message is always consistent; they are modern, refined, and product-focused. They never veer from that message. They have essentially taken the sleek, minimalistic look and claimed it. It has set them apart from their competitors and has allowed them to really feature their products in a way that keeps the focus on their customers. It’s brilliant.

This is an ad campaign that was launched this Spring for wireless headphones with Mac computers, iPads, and iPhones. Simple, product-focused, and elegant.

Creative Imagery in Branding Apple Spring Campaign

Harley Davidson is a great at branding, too. They always promote the freedom and individuality that their products encourage. This print campaign featured images of bike owners that were created by pieces of dismantled motorcycles. The tagline says, “Build yours.”

Creative Imagery in Branding HarleyDavidson

Creative Imagery in Packaging

Packaging can sell a product. As an extension of a company’s branding, packaging is there to create a perception of what the product inside is like. Craft beer companies have become really great at packaging – coming up with catchy names and powerful images for their bottles to intrigue consumers. On the flip side, store brands and smaller companies have always struggled to compete with the packaging of larger companies… leaving their products to seem inferior merely from the look of the box, can, or jar.

Don’t these Beehive Honey Squares look delicious?

Creative Imagery in Packaging Beehive Honey Squares, Branding

Or, would you try these headphones?

Creative Imagery in Packaging Note Headphones, Branding

Creative Imagery in Marketing

Creative imagery can enhance or extend any advertising campaign. The images don’t even need to be flat; they can be three-dimensional. As long as they capture your audience’s attention and create images in their heads about your product or service, the imagery is doing its job.
Nothing says smooth like this couch extolling the benefits of Nivea’s Good-Bye Cellulite Gel-Cream.

Creative Imagery Nivea, Branding

Or, even though it’s obvious this is picture is a giant floor sticker at a mall with people walking across it, it will still make you itch!

Creative Imagery Frontline, Branding

Using creative imagery as part of your marketing strategy can help you reach your audience, maintain your brand, and build a perception around your products or services. Imagery is persuasive. It’s compelling. It’s dynamic. Remember: that image is worth a thousand words, so make it count. If you need help with generating imaginative, expressive, and original ideas and images, contact us we’d love to help.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.