Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What can a red nose do?

According to Laura Ries, President of Ries & Ries based in Atlanta, GA, you can build a brand with a red nose.

“A red nose is the visual hammer for Red Nose Day, a campaign started in the U.K. and has now moved to America. The Red Nose Day fund is a program of Comic Relief, a non-profit that raises money for children living in poverty. Hundreds of charities do similar work, but most don’t become as well-known or raise as much money. The difference? A visual hammer that drives the brand into the mind. It might be a simple or silly thing like a pink ribbon, a yellow bracelet or a red nose. Three visuals that have built powerful, relatively-new non-profit giants.”

Ms. Ries makes 3 points that will help any non profit achieve celebrity status.
  1. Be focused: The best way to affect change is to focus on one issue or one disease or one disability. When you have a broad mission like the United Way, it is difficult to communicate what you do and it is hard to find one visual or slogan that can cover all that you do.
  2. Be specific: Most vision statements of charities are too broad. “To create a just world, free from poverty,” for example. What does that mean? How can you visualize that? You can’t. That is why the more-specific campaign for Comic Relief is so successful.
  3. Be first: Me-too campaigns don’t work. Instead of copying what has already been done (pink ribbons, yellow Livestrong bracelets, the ice-bucket challenge) and trying to do it better, find something you can be first in. Don’t use the same visual in a different color, create a new visual.

What If Your Brand Had ONLY 5 Years to Live?

How would you plan for your brand’s future if it was based on a limited run? Goals and objectives accomplished. Check. We call it “The limited brand” strategy. It’s a brand that focuses excitement and buyer loyalty on short-term goals.

We except change and “the new” everyday, but with brands...we crave it. The next updated software, phone, or the latest fashion trend, the newest music, or popular movie. Yet from a brand building and business perspective, we think brands should stay around forever. Maybe that’s why some brands lose their chutzpah? They need continued energy and creative input, and one way to build that is to attach a closing date. It’s the ultimate limited edition, so to speak. Consider asking yourself the following:

How would I focus my brand if I knew it only had five years to “live”? Would I...
  • follow my performance more closely? 
  • make faster business decisions? 
  • focus more on producing the “got to have it factor”? 
  • see my brand more like fashion or as a trend? 
  • find creative ways to inspire and excite? 
  • add more value without adding cost? 
  • look for a more short-term commitment from my customers? 
Maybe you can get where you want to be by starting with the end in mind. Something to think about.

4 Steps to Successful Brand Planning

We believe consistent branding, advertising, and marketing are the keys to enjoying short and long-term, sustainable public awareness and participation. Below are our 4 steps to get you there:
  1. Create, gather, and analyze research for strategic meaning. 
  2. Select the factors that will most likely influence your marketing. 
  3. Make a distinction between goals, strategy, and tactics. Goals are desired results systematically achieved through the implementation of the strategy and tactics. Strategy is a big picture view of the entire forest, not the individual trees, of how a goal should be achieved. Tactics are actions you take to execute the strategy. 
  4. Implement these distinctions and heighten your ability to succeed. 

Dull Is the New Delicious

When it comes to branding standardization, "dull" can be the spice of life.

Brand standardization builds trust and in order to build trust with your customer base, it’s important to convey stability with conviction. Your brand should secure consumer confidence, this doesn't mean the brand's message can't be fresh and spicy! 

Four ingredients of a confident brand:
  1. Consistent Messaging: With the ever-growing media landscape spanning the traditional and digital methodologies, consistency is more important than ever. A persuasive, simple message disseminated across all touch points keeps cohesion and recognition, eliminating confusion.
  2. Visual Integrity: Visual integrity doesn’t mean everything has to look identical. What visual integrity in branding means is that your message—however your brand makes your consumer feel, whatever it is that builds trust—should be kept front and center of every campaign. The words may change, the images and color may change, but the essence of the brand remains intact.
  3. Professionalism: If a brand changes with the wind, it creates a sense that it is unsure, unsteady, unreliable, and therefore unprofessional. A standardized brand creates an anchor for the company that speaks to its attention to detail and adherence to business absolutes customers can rely on, thereby magnifying a sense of professionalism.
  4. Brand equity: Brand equity is the power of the brand gained from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time through consistency, integrity, and professionalism. They are memorable and can demand a higher price, but only because the brand is standardized.

Simple Steps to Better Brainstorming

A group brainstorming process is a powerful and calculated way to create new ideas, solve problems, motivate, and develop teams.

For “out-of-the-box” thinking, structure and follow these guidelines.
  1. First, define and agree upon the objective (keep it simple).
  2. Agree on time limitations and then stick to it. 
  3. Begin with a series of thought provoking questions and/or suggestions.
  4. Categorize, condense, combine, and refine the answers and thoughts. 
  5. Analyze the possible effects and results.
  6. Prioritize a list of options and rank them appropriately. 
  7. Agree upon action to be taken and time-frame. 
  8. Control and monitor follow-up. 
The facilitator must encourage everyone to participate, dismiss nothing, and prevent others from dismissive actions as well.

During the random collection of ideas the facilitator must record every suggestion on a flip-chart or sticky notes to hang. At the end of the time limit or when ideas have been exhausted, use different colored pens to categorize, group, and then connect the random ideas. Refine the ideas by making new headings or lists. You can diplomatically combine or include the weaker ideas within other themes to avoid dismissing or rejecting contributions.  

Remember brainstorming is about team building and motivation, too. You don’t want it to have the reverse effect on some people.

With the group, evaluate and analyze the effects and validity of each idea on the list. Then develop and prioritize the ideas into a more finished list. Agree on what the next actions will be, a timeframe, and who’s responsible.

After the session, be sure to monitor and give feedback. It’s crucial to develop a clear and positive outcome, so that people feel their effort and contribution was worthwhile. When people see that their efforts have resulted in action and change, they will be motivated to help again.