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Re-Branding To-Do’s and Pitfalls

“A brand should strive to own a word in the minds of the consumer.”  It’s one of the key messages in Al and Laura Ries’ book, 22 Immutable Laws of Branding.  I use this gem in every marketing and branding presentation I give, using national examples (Volvo, FedEx, Nordstrom) and a few locals (Beef O’Brady’s, Beltz & Ruth, and Dr. Monticciolo). The idea of owning a word can be applied to personal branding, as well as large corporate branding. Small-to-midsize business owners may also get the opportunity to name a new product or service. It could be a resalable white-label offering from a vendor or something developed entirely in-house. Regardless of its origins, businesses and individuals should invest considerable care in coming up with a worthy moniker, otherwise the new offering may never get a fair reception from potential consumers.

Walter Cronkite owns the word trust.

Walter Cronkite became an American icon when he took over the CBS Evening News in 1962.  Known for his slow, steady, authoritative delivery and his unerring standards of responsible and ethical journalism, Walter’s voice is associated with the country’s most significant events of two decades. He ended each broadcast with his trademark, “And that’s the way it is,” except when it followed an opinion.

These days, it’s hard to imagine opinion or commentary that isn’t delivered as news.

Uncle Walter died in 2009 at the age of 92, an owner of the word trust.  And I don’t think anyone will ever take it from him.

The important part of owning a word is that it has to be true. You can’t just say your product is safe. You can’t just say it will be there overnight. You can’t just say you’re fair and balanced. It has to be true.

Mistakes Were Made.

From a strictly business perspective, there are a number of errors marketers sometimes make when naming the things they want to sell. Below are five whoppers to avoid, as demonstrated by companies that were big enough to know better.

Enamored of a concept. Consider a couple of naming failures from the haircare product manufacturer, Clairol, in the early 80s. First came, ‘Look of Buttermilk’ shampoo. Quite understandably, consumers didn’t know what buttermilk hair should look like, and weren’t willing to find out. Not to be deterred, three years later Clairol gave us ‘Touch of Yogurt’ shampoo with equally disastrous results. Fortunately, the company abandoned the sensory-appeal concept before potentially presenting the buying public with the ‘Smell of Cheese.’

Key takeaway – We’ve all been guilty of coming up with creative ideas that we love like children—expecting others to love them as well. Unfortunately, sometimes the baby is ugly, and when it comes to our creative concepts we may have to listen and accept the bitter truth.

 

Poorly represents the product. If you had told someone, “I just ordered Qwikster,” would he or she have clue what you meant? Probably not. Nor would it have helped had you said, “Netflix Qwikster,” especially since that name referred to the much, much slower DVD-by-mail movie-rental service rather than the company’s streaming video.

Key takeaway – While people expect a little exaggeration in marketing, they won’t tolerate outright lying, so be sure to avoid misleading or misrepresentative names.

 

rebranding marketing

Ginger’s favorite joke

Tiresomely “clever.” Have you ever known someone who has a favorite joke, quip or pun… and they never miss an opportunity to throw it into a conversation? In reality, the half-life on “being clever” is pretty short. Consider, for example, Ralston-Purina’s Freakies cereal (1972 – 76). The commercials were chuckle-worthy (once), but would you want to admit actually eating the cereal? And how many times could you have stood hearing your kid sing the theme song at breakfast?

Key takeaway – You want to give your offerings a name that will last a lifetime. So unless silliness is part of your brand identity, don’t sacrifice a descriptive or allusive title in favor of a novelty name that your customers can’t take seriously.

Ego-driven. A brand is about the company, but a product or service should be about promising to satisfy the consumer. Therefore, it’s generally best not to name it after the business owner or family member, as that comes across as a bit egotistical and provides no clue as to the product’s value proposition. For our example, look at (probably) the most famous product failure of all time: The Edsel. Named after Henry Ford’s son, this automobile had a lot of problems—starting with a high price and not particularly well-made—but such shortcomings have never been a problem for Italian sports cars. So instead, ask yourself, who would want to drive an Edsel?

Key takeaway – Names that are meaningful to you may carry no significance at all to your customers, and they may even be a bit put off ordering the ‘Bobby Jr. Special’ when they are with their own little Michael.

 

Clueless (What were they thinking!?!). Back around 2001, Bosch Siemens Hausgeraete, a subsidiary of global conglomerate Siemens AG, filed applications with the US Patent & Trademark Office to use the name, Zyklon, across a range of home products, including gas ovens. If that name rings a bell, perhaps you recognize Zyklon B as the poison gas used on Holocaust victims in Nazi concentration camps. Making matters worse, Siemens is widely alleged to have taken advantage of slave labor supplied by the evil German regime during WWII. Siemens said they wanted the name in conjunction with their line of vacuum cleaners which uses cyclonic technology. (Zyklon is German for cyclone.) Honest mistake or not, the company wisely gave up the idea.

Key takeaway – Step outside your inner circle—whether that’s the people you work with or friends and family—and consult thoughtful, knowledgeable people at large about your potential naming ideas. Or at least do a Google search! Note that in terms of product quality, the aforementioned products weren’t especially terrible. And if the product is good enough, it may even survive a bad name. (For example, Nad’s for Men—a hair removal cream—has been around quite a while.) But why bring your new product or service into this world saddled with an inherent disadvantage? Remember, a rose by any other name may indeed smell as sweet. But if it’s called a Farkenglart, chances are that no one will go near it to find out.

If you want to own a name and brand the way Walter Cronkite did, honesty is your greatest tool. If you’ve recently gone through a rebrand, we’d love to hear more about your experience, and if you’re thinking about rebranding, get in touch with us. We’ve ushered Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike through the process with great success.

 

Zodiac Marketer: Aries

aries astrology marketing_news

Our next zodiac sign is Aries: birthdays between March 21 – April 19.

Aries is a fire sign with the following strengths: courage, determination, confidence, enthusiasm, optimism, honesty and passion. As with Pisces, there are plenty of Aries traits that apply directly to marketing. We’ll also take a look at Aries’ weaknesses: impatience, moodiness, short temperament, impulsive and aggressive. Some of these are definite no-no’s in marketing and bad for business as a whole.

Courage in Marketing

Some of the best advertisements and marketing campaigns are incredibly bold and, quite frankly, take a lot of courage to execute. Enter an agency brainstorming session and you may hear some off the wall ideas being tossed around. Sometimes it’s the gutsiest, most implausible idea that ends up being the winner! As a creative, you have to be willing to push the envelope and try something new to stand out from the crowd.

Confidence in Marketing

Confidence is essential in any profession, but in marketing—this ever-changing industry with state-of-the-art technologies, popular culture, and creative trends—you have to exercise extra confidence in your campaigns and business choices in general. One of the best ways to maintain confidence in the marketing world is to educate yourself. Staying on top of creative and technology trends, or knowing about them, is a step in the right direction. Finding a great application or software that you tested and decided to fully integrate into your workflow is even better. You can use and test technologies to be able to recommend these beneficial products to your audience, your clients, and your colleagues. This positions you as a cutting-edge industry leader.

At the same time, having confidence in the creative aspect of your work is essential. When a business is considering hiring a marketing agency or when you are pitching a new idea for a campaign to your vice president, you want to have confidence in your idea and your ability to execute that idea. If you don’t, there are a dozen others who know their design ability is incredible and worthy. If you want someone to have enough confidence in your work to hire you, you first must demonstrate confidence.

Enthusiasm in Marketing

It’s difficult to market a product that you don’t feel connected to at least in some way. Enthusiasm for what you’re selling, whether it’s advertising or marketing, gives an authenticity to the work you do—without it, your copy may feel forced, the creative may wilt, and your interaction with the client or audience will feel fake. And, if you can be passionate about what you’re marketing, even better—you’re sure to create amazing campaigns that excite your audience.

Avoid: Impatience in Marketing

As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries often have a tendency to be impulsive and rush out to be first. However, great design doesn’t happen overnight and neither does great copywriting, or really, any element of marketing. Of course, there’s the occasional fluke where you get that winning idea in the shower, but don’t bank on those ideas.

A good example is website design and development, which can be an incredibly heavy workload, even when you stay organized and precise. Patience is key during a process of this magnitude, and not just for the creators. You have to learn how to manage the expectations of your stakeholders, so they fully understand the amount of time you need to do your best work for them. It’s ok to compress a timeline here and there, but be realistic about your deadlines and don’t let an impatient person rush you. Rushing a set of design mockups into development is not going to produce great work, and you may end up revisiting the rushed piece and spending more time and money in the long run anyway.

Avoid: Moodiness in Marketing

This one applies to nearly every aspect of life, but it’s especially true in the marketing world where you may be dealing with tight deadlines, budgets, and stakeholders. We know that being moody in business is taboo. Sometimes personality matches between teammates, employees, clients and vendors are as important as the work itself.

Moodiness also hampers productivity and morale. So, if you or your colleagues have a stressful project load with tight deadlines and budgets, having a moody co-worker adds more unnecessary stress. Check your emotional status and leave the mood swings at home.

We hope that you can take some of the above recommendations and apply them to your business or marketing plan. Stay tuned for the next zodiac sign, headstrong Taurus!

10 Creative Website Trends (With Examples!) for 2019

Many brands, big and small, have been giving their websites a stylistic refresh. These little touches can be simple tweaks to their logo and typography or added design elements that attract more attention, like illustrations and animation. There’s a reason for doing this and it’s quite simple; users are attracted to good design.

It’s All about the User

Users respond better to a well-designed website. We all know this intuitively when we’re searching for something on the internet; we are more likely to stay on a great site for longer and finalize purchases when the site is well-designed. And design trends seem to change every couple years. The list below is our look into the 15 creative website trends for this year. Many of these will be in style for quite some time, just because of their user-friendly ways. So, we encourage you to read about them and see how your site measures up (examples included).

10 Creative Website Trends

  • Organic Shapes

Web pages usually have a grid structure with squares and rectangles that give a sense of stability, but can feel clunky, too. Organic shapes are irregular and asymmetrical, providing depth to make page elements stand out. These elements are drawn from nature itself and develop a visual flow.

  • Retro

Those styles from years past never went away—they went underground. Experimenting with nostalgia finds the juxtaposition between the old and new. For many young people, retro designs can feel new or unique. Retro design elements can make a brand standout.

  • Asymmetrical Layouts

Pages don’t have to be on a grid anymore. It’s easier to make them more asymmetrical and it’s becoming more common to see out there. This pushes the boundaries of design, which helps draw more attention.

  • Illustrations

Companies looking for depth to their design should take a serious look at 3D and iconoclastic illustrations. The creative potential illustration brings can extend a brand outside what their competition is doing.

  • More Video

Integrated video captures the audiences attention quicker than text. It also boosts SEO ratings, because users spend more time on the page. Video is strategic.

  • Overlapping Design Elements

Much like asymmetrical designs, overlapping elements can bring more emphasis to content on the page. It also makes pages look more three dimensional when boxes are layered.

  • Large Navigation

Experimentation with navigation isn’t a new thing. So, websites choosing to push the boundaries with their design should look at making their navigation very large and the focal point of their site.

  • Storytelling

Better writing, such as storytelling, will keep visitors on the page. This is also a strategic move. More companies are looking for an emotional response from their marketing and this is definitely a great way to get it.

  • Serif Fonts

The style, arrangement, or appearance of letters on the page matters. Serif fonts create elegant titles and sophisticated headlines. Some can be retro with a modern twist.

  • Screen-Dominating Text

The text does the talking. It’s a headline they can’t ignore. Much like large navigation, this design makes the message the focal point and it should also entice users to investigate.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are other design choices on the front end that draw users in, and on the back-end there are ways to enhance performance, such as programming and plugins. However, some of these backend adjustments tend to require complete overhauls, depending on your current developer’s method. Some of these are best to add when you are completely redesigning your website, which you should consider doing every 3-6 years.

Our examples above are supposed to spark your imagination, hopefully showing you a few tweaks that may increase traffic and conversions on your website. Let us know which ones are on your wish list.

Max Dempster Wins 2018 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award

Ad 2 Tampa Bay’s immediate past president, Max Dempster, received the 2018 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award at the American Advertising Federation – Tampa Bay Chapter’s ADDY Awards held on February 21 at Armature Works. Presented annually by past recipients, the award recognizes the young professional who demonstrates the most outstanding contributions to Ad 2 Tampa Bay, the advertising industry, and the community.

Professional development has always been a passion for Dempster. He immediately volunteered for the education committee chair position when he joined Ad 2 Tampa Bay six years ago and subsequently worked in various executive board positions to focus on building his own knowledge as well as that of the members. Each year, he led the initiative to refine and enhance the chapter’s participation in the American Advertising Federation’s Achievement Awards competition which enabled the club to continue its National Club of the Year streak of seven years running. His leadership was recognized by AAF in 2018 when he earned District Club and President of the Year, and National Club and President of the Year honors.

“Max’s contributions to the local advertising industry go far beyond his involvement in Ad 2 Tampa Bay,” said Ginger Reichl, president of Pinstripe Marketing and former Ad 2 president. “He directly oversaw the creation of Tampa Bay’s inaugural Advertising Week that was officially recognized by several local government entities. His leadership is also acknowledged by his frequent invitations to speak at local colleges and universities.”

Dempster is a copywriter at Dunn&Co. in Tampa.

About Ad 2 Tampa Bay
Ad 2 Tampa Bay, Inc., an affiliate of the American Advertising Federation, is a non-profit organization of advertising professionals under the age of 32. As a 17-time National Ad 2 Club of the Year, the organization takes pride in providing both members and the community with quality educational programs, national award-winning public service campaigns, professional interaction, member employment services, fun-filled social events and much more. For more information, please visit www.ad2tampabay.org.

Zodiac Marketer: Pisces

zodiac compassion in content marketing_news

In astrology, people belonging to each zodiac sign allegedly have individual inclinations in personality, relationships, and even fate according to the alignment of the stars at the time of birth. Whether or not you believe in astrology, it can be interesting to read about the different personality traits, relationship tendencies, career paths, and the various aspects of a person’s “sign.” In this series, we will approach marketing using the different characteristics of the zodiac signs.

Pisces is a water sign, with the strengths: compassion, creativity, intuition, gentleness, wisdom, and they are musically inclined. This is a no-brainer. So much of marketing encompasses so many of these traits. Let’s also take a look at Pisces’ weaknesses: fearful, overly trusting, desire to escape reality, can be a victim or a martyr.

Compassion in Marketing

How do you apply compassion to marketing? The truth is, we marketers do it every day, probably without even knowing it. If you really think about the word compassion, at its root is empathy and understanding. In a sense, compassion is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. A good marketer will do this with every piece of marketing material she or he creates.

Some examples:

  • We think about how the user will experience our website designs. Will the flow of the site and the content be easy to navigate? Is the text readable? Is the overall design pleasing to the eye, or are there clashing colors or fonts that will cause an unpleasant experience? We are concerned first and foremost with user experience.
  • When we are creating a new logo, we think about what the end customer is looking for in a company. Are they looking for a solid, trustworthy partner or a fun, cool experience? This will influence everything from the color palette to the font selection.

Creativity in Marketing

This one couldn’t be any simpler to apply to marketing. Creativity is at the heart of design, certainly, but it’s also a key part of marketing strategy. When we create marketing campaigns, creative problem solving is incredibly important. We start with the objective and a set of goals, and from there we develop a strategy of how to best reach those goals. The content development and design process is inherently creative, but applying creative thinking to public relations, media buying, and even management reporting can make all the difference between success and failure.

For example, in one client’s marketing mix, we reallocated a portion of their budget to create more digital ads with analytics. Our rationale for this move is to get a better sense of keyword performance from the digital advertising analytics and then apply those top performing keywords to other parts of the campaign to step up organic web traffic and eventually increase leads, sales, and ultimately revenue.

Intuition in Marketing

Intuition is defined as quick and ready insight or the immediate apprehension or cognition of something, without the need for conscious reasoning. It is one of those “soft skills” that thought leaders are tossing around a lot lately. How do we apply our intuition to a design project? Number one: WE LISTEN. We ask a lot of questions, and then we listen. We ask for a client’s favorite examples, and then we listen. We spend a lot of time listening, watching, notating reactions, passions, subtle hints. During this discovery process, we are experiencing what the client shares and says without judgment. Once we’ve collected our notations from this discovery meeting, we let the full weight of the experience set in and start the process of design or strategy outline. When you’ve spent the entire meeting listening, often there is little need to spend hours toiling over the next step. Sometimes it will even begin to manifest itself during the meeting so that it flows, intuitively, onto the page.

Avoid: Fear in Marketing

As in any business, fear is crippling to marketing and is to be avoided at all costs. Marketing is one of the fastest moving industries – the technology, applications, solutions, and tools are constantly evolving. This is no place for fear. A marketer must be curious, not fearful. You must be willing to try a new shiny tool and have the confidence to either adopt or discard it. You must trust your instincts when you make these decisions, and don’t be afraid to consult with colleagues, read up, take a course! Forge on, be spontaneous, educate yourself constantly – these are some ways to crush fear and thrive in the marketing world.

Avoid: Playing the Victim in Marketing

Let’s frame this from the perspective of online reputation management. Without going into great detail about this topic, which you can read more about HERE, we will touch on the one item that is most relevant to the Pisces victim role. That is – don’t respond to negative reviews or comments with anger, defensiveness, excuses, or any other immature chaff. This is placing yourself in the role of being the victim of someone else’s negativity. This type of response often leads to a pathetic comment battle, in which nothing is accomplished, except that your business looks petty and ridiculous. Instead, play the role of responsible, concerned customer service professional who wants to turn the negative into a positive.

By reacting in an authentic tone that shows that #1 – you want to try to make this right, #2 – you accept responsibility for the mistake and #3 – you plan on using the incident to improve future customer experience, you will often gain the trust and appreciation of the dissatisfied client. In some cases you will turn them into a raving fan. However, even if they are still not happy, at least you’ve demonstrated to other potential clients that you handle sensitive situations with genuine concern and the desire to improve.

We hope that you can take some of the above recommendations and apply them to your business or marketing plan. Stay tuned for the next zodiac sign, fiery Aries!