Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The SweetSpot: Vol. 7, Is. 3

Letter from the Editor:
Genius, Faith, and Perseverance

Dear Friends,

Americans love an underdog story, I think mainly because it's rooted in our nation's beginnings—a small group of rebels up against the world's greatest super power. Branding can be a lot like this...the dominant players of a market segment versus the upstarts who challenge their supremacy. These upstarts can sometimes be scruffy, have fewer marketing resources in their arsenal, and a smaller presence of an army in the marketplace. Yet, somehow many of them overcome these obstacles with bold, innovative and risky moves...surprising the competition. This is what I call the challenger mindset.

In Superbowl XLIV, the Indianapolis Colts were highly favored to beat the underdog New Orleans Saints (who'd never been to the championship game). Trailing 10-6, the Saints kicked off to start the second half. However, rather than make a deep kick, as many expected, the Saints went for the risky and unexpected onside kick. They recovered it. The Saints then drove down field, took the lead and went on to win the game.

It would be easy to say the Saints' tactics were "desperate" and they won the game on a trick play. However, I think their motives are more about the challenger mindset than one act of desperation. They had persevered and prepared for this very moment and it showed.

Advertising mogul, David Ogilvy said, "Any fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith, and perseverance to create a brand." Given the current economic environment, it can pay to embrace a challenger mentality. What would you do if you had a limited budget and knew you were going to be outspent by the market leader? Would you get to work, take a risk, get creative, innovate strategically, have faith, and persevere? If you do, no doubt you'd be on the right track to challenging the leader and on your way to becoming the champion!

Always the best,

Chris Hornsby


How's Your Brand Doing?

How long has it been since you gave your company's brand a real wringing out? Maybe you have been operating under the same brand for years without giving it much consideration. If that's the case, maybe your company's brand has been passed by in light of the all the changes going on within your industry. Maybe the company's brand needs to be repositioned or maybe the firm needs to be re-branded.

A clear corporate brand provides focus for new business, direction, and organizational support. If you understand who and what you are, a clear corporate brand will provide discipline for the company's new business accrual program as well as which prospects to go after and which prospects not to go after. A clear brand attracts prospects and aids in obtaining new business because it does the following:

  • Shows what you stand for
  • Demonstrates your view of what's important
  • Provides a focal point for all your new business activities
  • Defines a corporate graphics package
  • Offers a social media focus
  • Guides corporate decor
  • Determines corporate stationery & collateral
  • Directs website functionality and design
  • Steers corporate listing on search sites (establishes an SEO strategy)

This process can be a major learning experience for all involved because it opens up the entire language of branding. Usually we recommend using input from clients and prospects. Find out what they think the key benefits your company offers and which are most important to them. Looking at the company's personality and what that means in terms of fit to clients and prospects is helpful as well. Then pull this information together, and review at a Corporate Brand Retreat. There's a whole new enthusiasm unleashed when everyone at the firm understands the brand, wears it proudly, supports it fully, and helps to build it.

A Typical Brand Retreat Agenda:
  1. Client input review
  2. Impact of client input on the brand
  3. Who are you now and who do you want to be in the future
  4. The brand building process
  5. The Company's core values, attributes, and personality
  6. The Company's brand competency story
  7. Introduction of the Company's brand
  8. Brand training methods for Company staff
  9. Description for prospects
  10. Business timeline and calendar
  11. Delegation of brand responsibilities
  12. Support materials, content and design
  13. Target market: "A" and "B" lists of prospects
  14. Responsibility for outreach
  15. "First encounter" personnel delegation
  16. Publicity plan delegation
  17. Supplier/media rep open house
  18. Projected economic impact of new business program
  19. New business payout analysis
  20. Staff meeting outline
  21. Client meeting outline
  22. Competitive positioning
  23. Search consultant positioning
  24. New positioning maintenance and sustenance
  25. Building proof
  26. Reasons for believability

"Mastakes" are the Tuition Fees You Pay for Graduating to Success

According to Inc. Magazine, rethinking how corporate honors programs are awarded is a fascinating study into what we actually should be motivating and promoting. We have the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys, and now the "Screw Ups."

Actually, SurePayroll's a $23 million on line payroll-processing company based in Glenview, IL, new program is called the SureChoice Awards, a ceremony that rewards the "Best New Mistake," which lures brave employees to nominate themselves with their compelling errors, resulting in more than 40 proud admissions a year. Three place winners are selected with first place receiving $400. The "new" part is emphasized because "there's no award for making the same mistake twice." The award was dreamed up to remind SurePayroll's employees that "in a culture of innovation, failure is always an option. If you don't encourage people to take risks, then you end up with incremetalism forever."


Word Up: MOST

Imagine any and every field possible. There are so many brands, so many choices, so many claims, so much clutter that the central challenge for an organization or individual to overcome is to rise above the fray. It's not good enough anymore to be "pretty good" at everything. You have to be the the MOST of something: The MOST elegant, the MOST colorful, the MOST responsive, the MOST accessible. For decades organizations and their leaders were comfortable with strategies and practices that kept them in the middle of the road--that's where the customers were, so that's what felt safe and secure. Today, with so much change and uncertainty, so much pressure and new ways to do things, the middle of the road is the road to nowhere. As Jim Hightower, the colorful Texas populist, is fond of saying, "There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos." We might add: companies and their leaders struggling to stand out from the crowd, as they play by the same old rules in a crowded marketplace.

Are you the MOST of anything?

Source: William C. Taylor is a cofounder of Fast Company magazine.


Brand Glossary—Learning the ABC's of Branding


Crowdsourcing: The act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a "crowd"), through an open call. Jeff Howe, one of the first authors to employee the term, establishes that the concept of crowdsourcing—because it is an open call to an undefined group of people—gathers those who are most fit to perform tasks, solve complex problems and contribute with the most relevant and fresh ideas. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, refine or carry out the steps of an algorithm, or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data. The term has become popular with businesses, authors, and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals.


Things That Make You Say, "Hmm". . . .

More good reasons to communicate well. . .

Wait for it...wait for it....
There! A fishing line that would
need to reach more than 900 ft.
below just might be enough said.

Perhaps AP should hire the 7th grader to write their headlines?


When you are word-finding...improvise!

Huh, which way do we go?

That extra 6 minutes really cleared things up.

Maybe they wear kilts in this Asian country.


The Creative Corner:
Thinking Outside the Box. . .

Trigger word solutions. An opening between two rooms might trigger the word "door" to an architect, and so goes his design, like every other Tom, Dick, and Harry. But what if his trigger word was "passageway" instead? His design would reflect something much different like maybe a hallway, a tunnel, a courtyard, a trellis, or an air curtain. Different words take us on a different journey in our thoughts and actions. Instead of going with the same ol', same ol', think of new and innovative trigger words to call your idea. What new trigger words can you think of for your solution?


Hornsby Brand Design

Hornsby Brand Design specializes in creating sticky brands. They mix the magic of creativity with the logic of business strategy. Hornsby Brand Design has garnered more than 90 local, national and international awards for creative/strategic solutions in print, web development and broadcast, along with being published in Print and How magazines' prestigious design annuals. A few of the regional, national and international organizations Hornsby Brand Design has served are the American Cancer Society, Regal Entertainment Group, Jewelry Television and the Brunswick Boat Group.

Services provided: Brand Design, Development, Marketing and Surveying, Web Design and Development and PR.


Contact Us

Hornsby Brand Design
P. O. Box 51204
Knoxville, TN 37950
Tel: 865-660-7261
Fax: 865-690-7265
hornsbybrandesign. com

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