Monday, February 16, 2015

What's A SweetSpot and How Can I Hit It?

In sports, the sweet spot is that one special place on the bat, the golf club, or the tennis racket that pounds the home run or drives the ball farther, faster, and with less effort than when it’s hit any place else. Consumers have sweet spots, too, and when your marketing or advertising idea hits it, your idea is communicated and your sales will go flying. Through Hornsby Brand Design’s Sweet Spot process of focusing (Brand Insight + Consumer Insight = the “SweetSpot”), we find the information necessary to create high-achieving ideas that cut through the mediocrity.

4 Steps to Building a Successful Brand

Branding is a strategic process that involves commitment. It's more than writing new ads or developing a new logo. Your brand is THE expression of your company’s image and beliefs. For it to be successful, and fly high, you'll need to believe in your promise and support it both internally and externally. You need to look at it deeply, closely, and critically to find its best expression. With teamwork, perseverance, honesty, and leadership, your brand can reach its true potential.

1) Everyone on the team needs to be seriously committed to a branding exploration.
Key decision-makers should be involved from the beginning to the end. Branding takes an honest look at who you are, what you are good at AND what you aren’t. The team should be willing to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly and have the vision to think differently about how they present themselves

2) Your brand promise should be meaningful AND deliverable.
Brand positioning (why you are better or different) is all about finding new opportunities for your product or service. Whether it is a distinct point of difference -- “cleans better than the #1 brand” or an emotional benefit “We bring good things to life” -- every brand has some unique benefit to its customers. That’s why surveying your customers will help you discover new insights into your brand. If you discover a benefit that your customers say you are good at, then it’s worth the effort to deliver on that promise. Your customers are excellent judges of what makes you special. Don’t ignore it

3) Stay the course.
Branding efforts follow a process...first conducting discovery with the internal key players, then auditing the competition, and then surveying the customer. Along the way valuable learning is accumulated that will ultimately help in the development of the brand platform. A consistent, dedicated client team is extremely important in the process of building a competent and competitive brand.

4) Leadership is THE key to any successful branding effort.
The client must rally the team behind a common mission, keep the herd together and designate the ultimate decision-makers. In the end with this kind of effort and a great branding design partner (We have a suggestion on this one!) your brand’s success will be well-heeled for not only talking the talk, but walking the walk.

What are Your Customers Really Thinking?

“People don’t buy 4-inch drill bits; they buy 4-inch holes.” --Author unknown

Because people don’t buy products, they buy what they can do with them, we have a suggestion. In your next meeting or on your next advertising project (or for one in progress) ask yourself and team members these three questions:

1) Are we defining our customers the way they think about themselves?
2) Are we looking at life from their point of view?
3) Are we thinking about ways to bring our products and services to them rather than expecting them to come to us?

Your product or service is simply a tool for the customer to get what he/she really wants and needs. Define the customer’s real wants and needs, and tailor your marketing and advertising around it. This is the first step toward developing that all important consumer insight.

Sweet Tip of the Month

"The mathematics of collaboration is nothing less than magic."

Challenge: It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. Don’t assume the business owner knows best. The business owner is uniquely qualified to view his company or product subjectively, which can lead him to answer questions no one is asking. He’s on the inside looking out, trying to describe himself to a person on the outside looking in.

Solution: Hire someone from the outside who understands and speaks the language of your customers.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

4 Tips to Communicating More Effectively

Tip 1: Establish your credentials
When presenting the services your company offers, don’t forget to cover the basics in describing your firm: 1) the six Ps--philosophy, process, people, products, performance, and price; 2) organization; 3) service structure; 4) business strategy; and 5) compensation plan. This usually applies when prospects meet you for the first time, but sometimes even existing clients need to be reminded of your credentials and other key facts about your firm.

Tip 2: Deliver Confidence
The physical appearance of your presentation and marketing literature conveys expertise, talent, and quality. A coherent system of communication saves time (and, by extension, money). A coherent system allows you to be prepared at every point in the sales cycle, from introduction to first meeting to client communications. Perhaps most importantly, a coherent package of information sends this critical message: “We have our act together.”

Tip 3: Know Your Competition
Clients need a reason to hire you. Any successful marketing communications program must answer the following questions, “How are you different from your competitors? What can you offer clients that they cannot find elsewhere?” Hone in and hit home the answers to these questions when presenting, selling, and strategizing. Make a clear case for the difference you possess to your client.

Tip 4: Respect The Rules Of Storytelling
Covering the basics does not mean pouring yourself straight into the philosophy-process-people mold. Keep in mind that your competitors will be presenting similar information. Capture the imagination of your audience by emulating the elements of any well-told story: a strong opening, passion, universal truth, satisfaction as the plot unfolds, and a memorable close.