No Fooling – Part 5

Visual Identity…

Part 5 of 5

Your chosen visual identity plan should reflect your new look and show customers things they perhaps haven’t thought about.  Basic information about the company should form the package foundation and be kept up to date and on hand for general inquiries.  But don’t forget additional “flexible” promotional material that can be adapted to different markets or be customized for new opportunities that may arise.

The use of illustrations to visually express abstract concepts such as service, quality or heritage, works well on covers of brochures, posters, annual reports and corporate story booklets.  Commercial grade still-photography and video productions of people, facilities processes and products are also convincing proof of the reality of your business.  Combined with creative writing and attention-getting copy, a strong and memorable visual image will be left in the minds of your marketplace.

In the end, going from an uncontrolled and sporadic glimpse of your public image to one that is organized but dull, to one that is distinctive and memorable, is a steady development process.  It all starts with but a single step, followed by a strategy for survival and success by setting a pace you can maintain.

Remember, someone once said “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.

No Fooling!

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No Fooling – Part 4

First Impressions…

Part 4 of 5

To quote advertising industry icon, Stewart H. Britt, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.

It is difficult to market a mystery, so be sure your company name and logo still accurately describe your business as it is today and will be for at least the next three to five years.  The visual impact of the building exterior, the reception area, company vehicles and customer contact personnel are often underestimated. A poor public image adds an unnecessary burden for a sales force to overcome when dealing with new business prospects.

You can only say so much about how professional and organized your company is, when new clients can clearly see evidence to the contrary.

– If you are the owner/president of a medium or large firm, phone from outside your company and ask to speak  to yourself.  See if you get prompt courteous information or perhaps some comment that they “don’t seem to be able to find you right now”.  See if there is a genuine interest in asking your name and telephone number or if someone else might be of assistance.

– Gather up visual all examples of your company’s existence.  This might be such things as yellow pages ads, a complete selection of stationery being used, photos of facilities such as office entrances and other buildings such as plants or warehousing along with location signs and fleet vehicles.  Also, collect past advertisements, brochures or trade show material.  On looking things over you will probably have to update your public image to better reflect the way you are doing business.  Photographs of key people in your organization should also be current and kept on file for unexpected press releases and articles.

Having done your homework you are ready to promote your company.

A unified and coordinated look should be the objective when developing a visually strong public image.  A company’s logo and graphic look should be developed as a complete program.  Carry the new look right through the company.   Include such applications as exterior and interior signage.  Public entrance and reception areas are important to project a positive image.   Meeting rooms, showrooms, trade show displays, fleet vehicles, employee uniforms and dress code, stationery, promotional advertising material and product packaging should all be part of the application program.   Consider a company web site and companies that have one established should keep it up to date and add new features or announcements to keep it from looking stale or neglected.  

Think of this as the front show window of your business.

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No Fooling – Part 3

Visualizing…

Part 3 of 5

Try to view your business form a different perspective by setting aside some quiet time for yourself to think, read, and attend seminars to collect new ideas that could help your business.  Look at your company from the position of someone who has never heard of you. Assess what impressions your business projects or could project by looking at it from the outside.  Don’t rely on what you think others know of your service… ask them.

Set up a casual lunch with associates to discuss their ideas with the emphasis on positive input.  You buy the pizza.  Make notes and discuss your progress on neutral ground to show you’re serious.

Keep things light and encourage humor; it often contains a lot of truth.  Talk to others in your related business in order to see how they view your group and what they know about your capability.

Be business-like about your advertising and self-promotion because it is often the first and only impression the marketplace will have of you, your products and services.  Set goals as to what your message should accomplish, based on what you have learned.  Establish two or three main points you would like the market to know about your business. What service or product do you wish to emphasize? Is it a friendly knowledgeable staff, fast reliable customer service, or is price a promotional factor?

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No Fooling – Part 2

Creative Thinking and Planning…

Part 2 of 5

Look at your company as being in one of three categories, based on the market exposure of your product/service (rather than sales or employees):

A) Large National & Internationally based.

B) Medium Regional & Provincially or State based.

C) Small Urban or Regional Area based.

Companies in the “A” category should be using an agency with national and international experience to provide professional guidance because of what could be at risk.

Companies in the “B” category could do a combination approach using its own internal programs and ideas plus assistance from professionals outside the company.

Companies in the “C” category might find some benefit in the following:

The first thing that any business must do is manage its public image and self promotion in the same business-like manner it uses when handling any other aspect of its day to day operation.

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No Fooling – Part 1

No Fooling…

An article written for London Business Monthly Magazine by Nelson Campbell, President of Artfield Associates Inc.

 Part 1 of 5

Good marketing isn’t just a matter of having snazzy ads. It can also be found in such basics as smart reception, clean vans and up-to-date brochures … all presenting an “honest” identity to customers. Watch out – your public image is showing more than you think.

A few years ago, there was a nasty comment going around the New York ad scene that the large advertising agencies on Madison Avenue were using something in their campaigns they had never tried before: “honesty”. It’s something so obvious, and yet somehow still refreshing.

Now might be a good time to take off the rose-colored glasses and have a good look at your company’s total public image.  This visual image should encompass the public’s total view of your business, including your facilities, the paperwork that circulates to your customers and the advertising and self-promotion pieces distributed directly or through the media.

Does this vision match the one in your mind? The object of this exercise is to convey and project your company’s best attributes; not manufacture a fictional list of ideal ones with which you then try to… fool the public.

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What is Branding?

What is Branding and is it Important?

Branding is a term often used loosely to describe a marketing strategy or structure, but what is it exactly?

Branding and marketing should work together but it should be defined first.

A brand can symbolize a product (Coca-Cola), a service (Google), an experience (Starbucks), a sign (Holiday Inn), a name (Nike), a design (Apple) or a combination of these to differentiate them from the competition.

Branding is about showing your prospects that you are the only one who can provide a great solution to their market needs.  Branding should deliver a clear message of your core values, connecting emotionally while building loyalty and credibility to motivate buyers.

A successful brand is a positive combination of perceptions and experiences that puts your company in a fovourable way in the hearts and minds of clients and prospects.

This can be achieved if it is integrated throughout your company and especially where contact with your public occurs.

Research and time is required to define and strengthen your brand.  Your brand is a promise to your marketplace and is an essential part of your marketing communication package.  Branding recognition by your clients is like a kind of respect you just can’t buy, you must earn it.

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Google

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Google’s mission statement is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. The word “Google”, in the Google logo originates from the misspelling of ‘googol’, which refers to 10100 (that is the number represented by a … Continue reading

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