Think Brand Consistency for 2020

It’s December, which means a new year will begin soon. As your company begins planning, take the time to discuss where your brand is (not just your company’s billings). Your brand affects all aspects of what marketers call the marketing mix – product/service, price, placement and promotion.  Here are some talking points and examples to help you stay on track and think brand consistency in 2020!

four_principles_of_the_markProduct/Service:

What are you selling to your clients? Does this line up with your firm’s values?

  • Make sure your company is clear on the product and which values it reflects back on your company. If they don’t line up, there is a problem.
  • For example: Volvo doesn’t JUST sell a transportation vehicle to its customers, it sells safety and reliability, which are values reflected in their marketing efforts.

Price:

What does the price of your product say about your business? What kind of customers are you looking to attract, and how does the price play into that?

  • Generally, a product can be two of three things: fast, inexpensive or high quality. If your values are efficiency, make sure your price reflects that… you’ll get it done fast and effectively, but you’ll be more expensive (or you’ll produce a less expensive item that requires less expensive materials).
  • For example: Walmart prices items very low to gain many customers and make more money. The value for Walmart customers is not in the experience; it’s in the low prices. Target, in contrast, prices their items a little higher, but includes fashion-forward and more associates around the store that can assist customers, placing more emphasis on efficiency and the quality. While this example may focus on B2C firms, the concept applies to all industries.

Placement:

Where do you want to place your physical product? Do you want to use a sales force? What will your distribution channels be?

  • This is where promotional items and brochures come in. If you don’t offer a physical product, make sure information is readily available and place it accordingly.

Promotion:

Where do you want potential customers to see the services you offer? Do you want potential customers to hear about you from editorial pieces, or from traditional advertisements?

  • The editorial route will focus more on PR and is an approach that takes advantage of word-of-mouth; advertising allows firms to seamlessly integrate a brand’s look with their message. There are pros and cons to each.
  • For example: Run Thru The Woods advertises in the local newspapers and running publications because the executives want to target the public in our area that is active and therefore more likely to participate in physical activity on a holiday.

As you can see, brand consistency is more complex than simply slapping your logo on everything, so talk to us if you need help figuring out how to execute the values of your brand. Our goal is to make sure you’re concentrating all aspects of your brand’s marketing efforts effectively and consistently in 2020.

While you’re at it, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn to be a part of the conversation.

Websites and Branding

apple computer desk laptop

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Your company’s online presence is a necessity for success. An understanding of online marketing is key to boosting your business. It all starts with your website.

 

A great website is created with an understanding that:

  • It needs to be functional and easy to use. If you can barely navigate your way through your website, chances are your customers can’t at all.
  • All content needs to be relevant and valuable to your customers. Don’t let your website become too dated or lacking fresh content. Keep up with it and reap the rewards.
  • Communication with your customers is key. Show them your portfolios or post customer success stories. Potential customers want to know they are signing up for a company that’s reliable and professional to their current customers.

 

Your company’s website also needs to be created with the idea of uniqueness in mind. Stand out and be bold. Ask yourself: What do your customers want to see when they see your website? How will they use and navigate through your site?

 

Make sure you maintain consistent branding throughout your online presence as well. If you don’t fully know what defines your brand, ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What makes your company valuable to customers?
  • What is your company’s philosophy?
  • What sets you apart?
  • What kind of customers do you want to have?
  • How can you use your website to showcase your company’s abilities?

 

In order to effectively communicate to your customers, build up your website around your brand.

 

There is no one thing to have on a website to make it successful. Make your online presence unique and creative. Always convey your company’s abilities in the best light possible and remember it’s not just who your company is – but how your uniqueness can serve your customers the best.


LJF Marketing is a full-service marketing communications company that is fully equipped to help you create and enhance your company image. Since 1989, we have been developing innovative marketing strategies, graphics, web development and advertising campaigns to help companies like yours grow to exceed expectations.

 

Allow LJF Marketing to conceptualize IDEAS for your website. It’s our business to grow your business and we love what we do!

 

Visit http://www.ljfmarketing.com/web.htm to see examples of our satisfied client’s websites and more.

Putting “Public” Back in Public Relations

LJF_FebBT.indd

When your public relations plan is considered, it’s important to recognize different facets of public relations – public speaking, press releases, social media and crisis management, to name a few. However, it is even more crucial to define your “public” before your company tries to relate to them. With your public in mind, your public relations strategy will yield greater results, because they will find the information you provide useful.

To have a complete profile of your public, you simply need to understand the following questions about your target market:

  • Who?:
    Who do you need to be targeting? Decide which demographics your ideal client falls within; if you already have your ideal clients, define their similarities, so you can gain more like them. Below is a list of several qualities to consider (don’t limit yourselves to only these, though):
    –  Age
    –  Gender
    –  Education level
    –  Field/business practice
    –  Cultural/ethnic background
  • What?:
    What are they interested in? What is their story? Given that you now have an idea of what type of business they own and what their background is, brainstorm what items of news likely appeal to them. If I target potential male clients with some form of post-graduate education that own B2B-focused businesses, the following news pieces would likely get their attention:
    –  A LinkedIn post for a business-related skill that can better them
    –  An article in their trade publication about what problem is solved by my company’s new product
    –  A presentation at a Chamber of Commerce on your personal insight into issues that affect the local market
  • When?:
    When do they read the media you are considering (if they read it at all)? Take our client from the previous example – do you think that client would be on Pinterest? Do you also think they will be likely to read something that is posted at midnight, or attend an event later in the evening? Probably not, so tailor when you send the info accordingly.
  • Where?:
    Where are they concentrated in? Suburbia? The big city? If you want to target the well-educated businessman, they could be concentrated in both geographic areas, which means you will need to tailor your message to specific issues affecting them.
  • Why?:
    Why do the do what they do/why are they motivated? Your messages need to tap into these factors. If you’re not apparently trying to help them fulfill their goals more effectively, the value in your PR efforts will be missed. Some  very common motivators are:
    –  Making more money
    –  Helping other people achieve success

Take the time to figure out who your public is and what makes them tick. Pick your media and your messages accordingly to leverage your public relations potential. Contact us if you would like some guidance through the process, or just need someone to implement the message.

You can get in touch through whichever means is best for you – like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn.

Translating Brand Experiences to Trade Shows

While trade shows are a great opportunity to meet other professionals in your field, it can be daunting to think of a great way leave an impression after show-goers leave your booth. Each brand wants to capture their essence and give something memorable. Still, whether you’re doing some last minute planning for OTC, or starting to think of ideas for next year’s trade shows, we have a few solid options that will actually be useful to your booth’s visitors. The best free things are the one’s that we use often – isn’t utility a quality you’d like to be associated with your business?

 

7900-04_LOGOTote Bags

These are always a great option – and the eco-friendly varieties available eliminate some of the waste often associated with freebies.

 

 

 

 

Sunglassesraybans

It’s always impossible to find your nice pair of sunglasses when you actually need them. A pair of sunnies are both economical, relevant and convenient (as no one minds keeping a spare pair of these in their car).

 

 

 

 

ibcGetAttachment-1(Good) Pens

Stick pens are great, but no one is going to go out of their way to keep it around. Want to increase positive feelings about your brand AND generate brand recognition? Give out pens with a nice grip, in an industry-appropriate color, because we always appreciate a trusty pen.

 

 

 

1732Mints

Networking and coffee are not the best mix. Assist networkers by handing out mint tins that they can keep in their pocket or purse. They’ll appreciate the helping hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not too late to get products in time for OTC, so contact us if you need price quotes and assistance!

 

Please don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn for more updates on our business and ideas.

 


Founded in 1989 by Linda Freede, areas of expertise provided by LJF Marketing include public relations, graphic design, media planning, web page development, corporate branding, corporate specialty logo products and social media planning and support.

LJF Marketing provides full-service marketing communications support, serving local, national and international clients within a variety of industries. For more information, visit www.ljfmarketing.com or call 281-367-3922.

Marketing Research Done Right – Getting to Know Your Audience

audience

When you are thinking of conducting market research for your company, it’s important to do it the right way. You may think back to the hours you spent on research projects in college and high school. In my youth, I thought I would never use that stuff again! However, the steps you took then will help you conduct successful market research now. Luckily, if you have social media outlets, some of this can be done yourself!

Follow the steps to get to know your audience in a whole new way.
*For the purposes of this blog post, pretend I am a women’s boutique owner in a college town. This is a completely hypothetical situation.

  • Step 1 – Identify a problem. Say that I end up putting a lot of things on sale at the end of each month and losing money.
    Example problem: Everything ends up on sale.
  • Step 2 – Choose your topic. You’re not trying to solve a problem here (though market research can have that positive side effect). Pick something general you want to find out about your market that may relate to your problem.
    Example topic: College students’ spending habits
  • Step 3 – Find basic information. While basic trends and common knowledge come from some parts of the truth, don’t simply rely on stereotypes; having a general understanding of your target audience is an essential foundation that will help you move into deeper subject matter. Wikipedia can be a good place to start for finding basic information.
    Example info: College students use Facebook a lot. Some students also have a lot of discretionary income from their parents, but most live on a budget.
  • Step 4 – Refine your topic. What is unique to your market but still relates to other markets? This part is where you narrow your search to make sure you actually get relevant information. You should also decide whether you want qualitative or quantitative information.
    Example: College students’ spending habits/budgets for clothes in Texas
  • Step 5 – Conduct research. Using relevant sources (i.e. sources with more credibility than Wikipedia) find information and studies on your refined topic. You can also do customer surveys through Facebook, conduct focus groups, etc. depending on if you want qualitative data. Make sure you are consistent in your research approach in whatever you decide. Take notes on your findings.
  • Step 6 – Summarize your findings.
    Example: Female college students spend 25% of their money on clothes. The average amount of extra money college students have is $500/month.
  • Step 7 – Apply and assess implications to your business.
    Example: Since most female college students are on a budget of some sort, it might be worth it to offer a wide variety of items that vary in price points. This would accommodate the needs of smaller and larger budgets.

We also found another great article that can be a vital resource for you in this process.

Remember: we’re here for all of your marketing needs. Contact us if you have any questions.


 

Founded in 1989 by Linda Freede, areas of expertise provided by LJF Marketing include public relations, graphic design, media planning, web page development, corporate branding, corporate specialty logo products and social media planning and support.

LJF Marketing provides full-service marketing communications support, serving local, national and international clients within a variety of industries. For more information, visit www.ljfmarketing.com or call 281-367-3922

Mix it Up: Creating the Best Content for Your Audience

In our recent social media posts, we referenced Bill Gates’ article from 1996 about how content would be definitive of a brand’s success on the Internet. We think he was right.

But do you know what defines quality content, or how to create it?

Quality content is content that engages users. On social media, the most measurable way to see that is through viewing the number of likes, comments, retweets, or shares generated by a post. There are ways to view the number of clicks a link receives as well. If content is resonating with the people you target, you’ll see higher numbers.

Creating content doesn’t always mean generating it – a better phrase for creating quality content is curating quality content. Your content can be articles that you like, some business-related and some that reflect the personality of your business. It can be pictures from company events. It can even be current event-related, if that’s what you suspect your target is interested in. A few guidelines though:

  1. Content plans should be unique to your business and should reflect a personality. Define what that is before you create your content.
  2. They should be a mix of different media and topics. This is where mixing it up comes in. In general, people use social media for live updates, so it’s wise to provide new information with every post; you can discuss the same topic a few times, but you should be shedding new light on it. The same old stuff gets, quite frankly, boring, so avoid reusing it (even though you would want to do that in other forms of advertising).
  3. Your target audience should reflect what you post. LJF Marketing wants to target people who need marketing expertise, so we try to provide some of that for them. A daycare would post information relevant to parents and even single parents, more specifically.

Follow these guidelines and you will be on your way to social media success.

… And while we’re at it, is there a content type you prefer to see? If you really like something, let us know by following us and commenting through one of the many media available to you: Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

PR is Presence in the Community

We may use our Facebook often, but, as we’ve established, public relations is much more than just using Facebook; social media is one small part of public relations that influences a brand’s identity, so Facebook has an even smaller scope of impact.

Think of it in terms of yourself – if you have big news, you would probably make a phone call to your friends and family first. After letting the information dissipate to your business colleagues, you would put the news out on your social media outlets. Generally, you will not put the word out on Facebook before your closest confidants know your news.

That’s where having a presence in the community comes in.

Is your company involved in giving back to the community? Do you attend events and functions for your local chamber of commerce? Have you built your network to its full potential and has your network had the opportunity to see what you’re passionate about?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your business is likely missing out on an important piece of its identity – you! Our recommendation is to get involved in some aspect of your workplace’s community because you are the face of your business.

Reasons to get involved:

  • Share your individual passion
    Becoming involved will allow you to make contacts and work as a team on projects with people who have different personalities and backgrounds. These undertakings allow you to share experiences in ways that are not possible during a regular day at the office. Your business relationships will quickly grow deeper and will likely result in long-term opportunities.
  • Brand recognition and awareness
    When you make acquaintances at events, people start recognizing your name and company; essentially, this can have the same effect as advertising but with more personal touch. When people view your business as represented by a person, rather than a faceless entity, they are more likely to do business with you.
  • Enhance brand image
    If your company sponsors an event or charitable cause, attendees will again, notice your name. In business terms, this is a win-win situation, because not only are you sponsoring something you are passionate about, but attendees will think of you as a company willing to support a good cause and be involved in the community outside of the business.
  • Put a face with a name
    It’s simply nice to be able to put a face with a name of a person whose company you’ve always heard of. Making this irreplaceable human connection is a good reminder that companies have human beings who happen to work for them. There is comfort in knowing the faces that exist beyond the Facebook page.

Once you develop contacts through community involvement, you will find yourself with individuals who support your business and WANT to hear when big things happen.

Any questions? Ask and we’ll answer below.


LJF Marketing has in-house design capabilities and printing options, so please contact us if you’re interested in tailoring any of the above sales collateral to your company’s unique vision.

The Power of Planning

Image
Image Source

Planning is obviously important when it comes to how your business operates – and it applies to social media. You probably know what message you want to send, but the execution is a little more complex.

Here are some quick tips to help guide you when planning out your social media. Take these into account before the day you want to post and it will make your life so much easier.

  • Plan to post your message to all of your social media platforms.
    Doing so will help you go up in Search Engine rankings, as well as keeping any of your followers on different platforms from missing the memo. You might not have the same followers on each platform, so if you want everyone to hear your message, say it – everywhere! But when you do, make sure you…
  • Plan to tweak your message for each platform.
    I cannot emphasize this enough – all social media platforms are NOT the same. They are very different animals. If you’re wanting to get the word out about a charity your company is volunteering for, you will need to construct the status update for Facebook different than the tweet for Twitter. For example, you might post on Facebook, “We really enjoyed helping out with this charity this week. Thanks to everyone who came out to help!” with a picture from the festivities, whereas on Twitter you would say “Had a great time with this charity today and can’t wait to help out again! #service”. Both allow people to chime in with a response, but the Twitter one is more casual.
  • Plan to schedule posts.
    First off, decide when and how often you want to post. Then, map out a schedule on a calendar for each social media platform. You can either set reminders for yourself to post at a certain time, or use a scheduling tool – like Hootsuite – to make sure the posts go out on time. Also, keep in mind that a post at 12 at night is not likely to spark much conversation – you’ll want to thoughtfully research and consider the time of day you post.

These suggestions will save you time and money in the long run. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us and we will set something up to meet with you.

Message Crafting in the Midst of March

In the craziness of work, life, numerous tasks and even Spring Break, we often forget the main reason we do everything we do. The same is true of companies – it’s easy to neglect the purpose behind all of your business transactions when a lot more work is coming in than usual.

It’s crucial, however, to remember your purpose in times like these, and make sure it’s transferring to the way you promote and market your business. After all, doesn’t a sense of purpose get us through the busy times? When we forget it, our tasks seem to be more difficult and executed less intentionally.

The point: your company’s message should be an expression of your company’s purpose.

Here are a few facets where your company’s message should be present in any marketing campaign:

  • Graphics – did you know that even the color scheme you use is important in conveying your message? In certain industries, some colors are seen as negative, so you will want to avoid those colors in your marketing strategy and advertising campaigns.
  • Tagline – a tagline is a short phrase or statement that describes either what the particular campaign’s message is or what your company’s message is (in general). It’s necessary to have a snappy tagline so people know what your firm is all about.
  • Body (if needed) – Think back to when you wrote papers in college: you needed a thesis and the rest of the paper was supposed to back it up, right? The same is true if you’re doing a brochure, website, or anything other than an ad (you don’t need a body for an ad because too much text detracts from the core message); everything in paragraph form should back up your company’s message.

LJF_BT_MarAdvertising will turn into action with the right target, message and frequency. The message is crucial, but it’s just one part of the big picture.

If you need assistance with the right message or your advertising in general, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

Love our content? Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn.

Target Your Market: Making the Most out of Promotional Products

As the holiday season approaches each year, many clients ask us for ideas to get in the spirit of giving. Promotional products, when done correctly, are a sincere way to get your company name in front of the right people and put a smile on their face. If you take the time to give your contacts something useful and thoughtful, they are an effective way to target your market.

We’ve provided options in several categories of items with ideas to help you delight colleagues this holiday season:

Staff staples: Form meets function with these options. Choose to either give these to your employees, who have worked hard to do a great job this year, or present these to your clients and potential customers. Whether given together or separately, these items are sure to help your customers’ and employees alike do their jobs more effectively and will leave a lasting impression.

Who doesn't love a good journal?

Journals

… because we all love a good journal.

 Lunch Cooler

Lunch coolers

Fill them with goodies such as bakery items or office supplies and hand them out.

 Padfolio

Portfolios

A good portfolio is hard to find, but whenever they are used, they display the professionalism the company whose name is on it. Some even have room for tablets.

 Flag/Sticky Note Dispenser

Desktop flag dispensers

Every time a colleague reaches for a flag or sticky note, they’ll remember who gave it to them. These are also a great item for trade shows.

Technology treats: Your colleagues will thank you for these tech-savvy gifts. Since so many people are embracing tablet technology in the business world, these are useful, modern gifts that will keep the receiver looking sharp. Plus, your company will demonstrate that it has an understanding of current innovations.

iPad Case

iPad and tablet cases

Stay top of mind by helping clients keep their tools looking polished.

 Stylus Pens

Stylus pens

No one likes fingerprints on their screen. Bonus: put your website URL on here to make it easy for clients to find your website on their tablet.

Golfer goodies: These items make gifts if you regularly go golfing with your clients, or if you are planning to sponsor a local golf tournament (like The 25th Annual Woodlands Celebrity Golf Classic and Gala).

 Pro V1 Golf Balls

Pro V1 golf balls

Generally, golfers don’t use the least expensive balls. Give them a ball they’ll use every time they tee off!

 Golf Cap

Golf caps

Shield them from the sun’s rays when they’re on the course all day.

 Moisture Wicking Golf Shirt

Polo shirts

Moisture-wicking fabric is a welcome surprise if you feel obliged.

If you’re wondering how to get them in time for the holidays, contact us here; don’t delay though – your order will need to be in soon!