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.

Putting “Public” Back in Public Relations

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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

In House Vs. Agency Marketing – Which one is for you?

flat lay photography of macbook pro beside paper

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

So your business has grown (or you’re just now starting!) and you’re in decision mode: In-House marketing or partnering with an agency/firm?

There are many positive factors to both. In-house marketing involves people who work directly for and exclusively with your company. It may consist of one person, or even a team that your company hires. As for an agency, they have specific expert employees who each usually specialize in different areas – public relations, digital marketing, graphic design, etc.

Both have qualities that can be very beneficial to your business. Here are some criteria that will help you choose which one might work the best for you.

Let’s look at their skillsets.

In-house marketing employees are paid to work for your business only. They understand your brand through and through due to direct training and are handpicked by your company. However, it’s difficult to find an in-house marketing person who is adept at all aspects of marketing.

Agency-wise, first you research and ask for referrals. They then need to be introduced to your business and brand and make sure they are the correct fit. For agencies, there are usually a good amount of multi-skilled employees who have worked in their respective fields, allowing for more diverse skillsets.

If only one marketing aspect needs to be managed, consider an in-house marketing team for your business. But for a company who plans on expanding or growing, marketing in only one aspect is rare so an agency might be a better fit.

Next, let’s look at the two from a creative perspective.

Some consider creativity to be in-house marketing’s downfall. There tends to be less creativity in a team that solely works for you and your brand. However in-house marketers do have a great understanding of how to combat your direct competitors.

As for an agency, they work with multiple clients that could be in very diverse areas. There is a lot of change and diversity creativity-wise that they have to produce. This exposure to different ideas can help generate creative ideas for your business.

Both can be useful for your business. If you find that your in-house team is in a rut, choose an agency. If you feel that you are confident in your in-house team, keep them on the project.

Then, let’s look at cost.

In-house marketing consists of marketing management that you hire. For example, consider the cost of salary when hiring one manager, or multiple marketing specialists full time. The cost of each campaign will depend entirely on your marketing needs. Crunch your numbers before making a decision.

It may seem less expensive to hire a single, on-hand employee for your marketing strategy, but expect a long hiring process, training, and guaranteeing that a person fits properly over a set period of time. Aside from salary, you will be budgeting for office space, benefits, computers, and programs they may need as well as training for those programs.

A marketing agency has a pre-set, and negotiable price in place when it comes to your campaigns. An agency pays for its own software, tools, tech, and training, which cuts any extra costs on your end. It may seem like more up front, but it might be less expensive for your business in the long run.

So which to choose?

Break down your goals and your needs to help you figure out whether to go with in-house marketing or a marketing agency.

If you’re still unsure about which path to take or just have questions about marketing agencies in general, ask us here at LJF Marketing! We have been serving our community for 30 years and are professionals when it comes to PR, Marketing, Advertising, Design, and more.

LJF Marketing is a full-service marketing communications company that is fully equipped since 1989 to help you create and enhance your company image. Through innovative marketing strategies, graphics, web development and advertising campaigns, your company can grow to exceed your ambitions.

 

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