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Entries Tagged as 'Branding'

Hello? Is there a human inside?

July 11th, 2012 · Branding, Customers/Clients, Voice

Honestly — haven’t you felt that way more than once when you’ve dealt with a business?

Either their marketing materials are so full of corporate speak that you can’t figure out what the heck they’re talking about or the service you get is lackluster at best and that’s being kind.

As consumers continue to get more jaded coupled with the fact that every business has plenty of competition out there — what consumers want and need from us is to know that we’re human.  They don’t expect perfection.  They just want to know that you’re real, that you care and that you’re not blowing smoke up their skirt.  That’s how they are going to choose.  They’re going to pick the company they like the best and they can’t like you if you are invisible to them.

So the question becomes — how do you show your human side?  How do you give your customers and prospects a sense of who you are and what matters to you?  If you and your brand are playful — how do you reveal that?  If you have a deep passion for what you do, where does that show up?

I don’t think too many businesses ask themselves those kinds of questions.  But we need to.  We need to actually make a connection long before the cash register rings.  Depending on your business — you might be able to do that in a one-to-one way.  But for most organizations, that won’t cover it.  They need to find a mass produced way of being real.

Yup — a mass produced way of being real.  How?

Here are two great examples.  One is the note from the company CEO that comes inside every package of Cold-EEZE.  The second is a grocery bag from Capital Market. (Hat tip to Tom Narak for sharing the grocery bag photo with me)


Can’t you just hear their voices?  Can’t you feel their spirit and don’t you have a sense of what it would be like to interact with them?  I don’t know about you, but I want go to that grocery store.  I’d expect to be completely delighted by the experience.

I can hear you now.  “But Drew, those are consumer products.  In the B-to-B world, we can’t do things like that.”  I call bull on that.  Yes, you can.  Every company has a spirit.  We can call it your brand or your true north or your core reason for being.  But it’s there.  And it’s your job, no… your responsibility to show it to us.

All of us, every consumer on the planet, desperately wants to know if there’s a human inside.

Show us.


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What can content marketing do for your business?

May 22nd, 2012 · Branding, Love Affair with Customers, Storytelling, Strategy

Content marketing.  It seems like everyone’s talking about it. But what exactly is it and what can it do for your business?

Odds are, if you’re doing any marketing at all — you’re at least accidentally dabbling in content marketing.

First — it goes by many names.  Some people call it custom publishing or branded content.  Other people slap the label of social or digital marketing on.  And all of those names are accurate.

Content marketing is a broad term for any marketing technique that creates and distributes valuable, helpful and relevant information that demonstrates that you know your stuff.  These tactics draw the attention of people who are already your customers or could be your customers and they consume, share, and value the content.

The ultimate goal of content marketing is to create a sense of trust and comfort that will lead to someone making an initial purchase, making an additional purchase or referring you to someone who’s ready to make a purchase.

There are other benefits as well.  It’s a powerful way to establish yourself as an expert, to shorten the sales cycle, to impact SEO results and depending on your business – to educate, entertain, and inspire your audience.

I found an infographic from Visual.ly that I think does an excellent job of not only demonstrating many of the different possibilities when it comes to content marketing — but also gives you a sense of which tactics deliver what outcomes.

Check it out! (click here to download larger version)

Browse more data visualizations.

With all those possibilities — are you confident that you’re doing all that you can to harness the potential and the power of content marketing?

Are you doing some things that you could be doing better?  More often?  More intentionally?

I want to challenge you a little — are you really leveraging this marketing strategy to the extent that you should?  If not…why not?

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When you set the bar — better keep your eye on it

March 20th, 2012 · Branding, Customers/Clients, Marketing, Psychology · 7 Comments

In almost every category, there’s a champion. Apple, Harley Davidson and of course…Disney. Each of these brands set the bar. They’ve defined excellence and their competitors struggle to catch up. They are the gold standard. An enviable position to be sure. Or is it? Last week, we spent our Spring Break in Orlando.  If you’re a [Read more...]

What is the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement?

February 20th, 2012 · Branding, Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Strategy · 38 Comments

This seems to be a question that torments organizations of all kinds and size. What is the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement? Here’s how we explain it to clients: Your mission is what you do best every single day, and your vision is what the future will be like because you [Read more...]

Mercedes uses visual storytelling

October 2nd, 2011 · Branding, Media, Storytelling · 15 Comments

Mercedes Benz released this print ad series earlier this year and as it often goes, it is just starting to get some viral buzz. It’s a great example of story telling and connecting with your customers.  It’s a visual version of the Mac versus PC TV spots that we all loved. Interestingly, the copy on [Read more...]

Is your business really different?

September 25th, 2011 · Books, Branding, Strategy · 11 Comments

It may be the greatest of all business cliches — you have to differentiate yourself.  I’ve said it myself more than once.  While it is certainly true… many businesses struggle with how to bring the idea to life. And even when a business believes they have achieved that level of uniqueness — their customers can’t [Read more...]

Where does your brand live?

August 30th, 2011 · Branding · 4 Comments

…How does your brand come alive? When we talk about a company’s brand, in most cases people’s minds jump immediately to their logo.  No argument – a logo is a vital element of how you communicate it.  It is the visual representation of who and what you are.  But your logo is just the beginning [Read more...]

Can your brand co-exist with your company’s brand?

July 28th, 2011 · Branding, Business Owner/Leader Stuff · 6 Comments

…How do you balance your personal & company brand? Earlier this week, we explored the idea of how your personal brand influences and sometimes becomes your company’s brand.  If you are an author, solo consultant or solopreneur that can actually work to your advantage, as we discussed. On the flip side, if you’ve got an [Read more...]

Am I the brand?

July 26th, 2011 · Branding, Business Owner/Leader Stuff · 12 Comments

…Is who I am as a person my company’s brand? For many small business owners and solopreneurs, when people think of their business, their mind immediately goes to the person and that person’s attributes become the attributes assigned to the business as well. If you are truly a consultant or solopreneur, that’s probably okay as [Read more...]

If you look just like your competition…

July 21st, 2011 · Branding · 10 Comments

…Windows version of the Genius Bar …then how will I know it’s you? I was at the Mall of America earlier this month and came upon a Microsoft Windows store.  I’d never seen one before, so we wandered in.  And it wasn’t a Microsoft Windows store. It was an Apple Store with Microsoft products in [Read more...]