Friday
Oct152010

Employees: The Extension of Your Brand

As you peruse the papers or click through TV channels, you’ll note that a number of companies use their employees in their print and media advertising. Alder & Associates has discovered that this can be highly effective in relaying the value a company offers its clients. It also reinforces the value of positive client experiences to its employees and cements the employee’s role as brand ambassador. We’ve developed a strategic and systematic process that incorporates both employees and clients in the advertising campaigns we create, and have experienced some very, very positive results.

Let’s face it: A company’s employees are the “front line”. They are the company’s “face”. They deliver the “customer experience”. Employees are responsible for a customer visit that is remembered positively for a week – or a poor one that is remembered for a lifetime. Customers frequent a business because it sells what they need, but it is their interaction with employees that often offers the experience that brings them back again and again.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, “a brand is the emotional response an individual experiences when a product or service name is viewed or mentioned.” Similarly, your customer will have an emotional experience (good, bad, or neutral) when they interact with your staff and that impacts future business.

Do your employees offer positive customer experiences? Do your clients have an ongoing relationship with your employees? If you’ve been considering alternate ways to relay your service and brand, why not consider the power of your employees!

(c) Alder & Associates

Friday
Oct082010

Bank Branch Merchandizing – It matters – and works!

It’s no surprise. There’s a ton of competition for the consumer’s attention and it has increased steadily through time. Each day, a typical consumer will face multiple sales messages on the radio, on the Internet, in print, television, direct mail, and outdoor billboards, even on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. 

Countless studies have been conducted to better estimate the number of messages that bombard consumers daily. Numbers have ranged from 1,900 to 5,000 each day. For those of you who find this number unlikely, try counting the ads you see on TV, the commercials you hear on the radio, the ads in your daily newspaper, the billboards as you drive to work, ads on Facebook, the posters in your local supermarket, and on and on. These are the messages against which yours compete. 

If you own or run your business you already know that advertising messages don’t come cheaply. Costs can range from $1.50 per thousand viewers for an outdoor billboard to $11.00-plus per thousand viewers for a 30-second ad on network television (Jeffries & Company Media Dynamics… 2009). In all, you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for one campaign alone. It’s a marketer’s nightmare, but most of these messages are forgotten in about the time it takes to flip a newspaper page, click to the next Internet page, or flick to the next channel, leaving you… nowhere…

But here’s some good news: Community bankers have a powerful method at their disposal to reach consumers and close deals – advertising “space” that has already been paid for: their branches. 

An effective Point of Sale campaign, in support of either newspaper, television, or radio advertising can increase sales and there are some studies that show it can increase by as much as 70 percent* (although I’m sure there are many who would be happy with even a 10 perecent lift!) Your branches offer the best possible sales environment: your customer, the product, and your trained representative.

Branch merchandizing provides a visual cue for the customer. It gives your representative a reason to speak with prospects. It offers common ground for both. It presents a visual storyboard to which customers and representatives can relate. Branch merchandizing can promote a product, the product benefits, the superiority of your offering, and can help build your bank’s image, all at the same time. It can be aspirational. It can enhance the look of your offices. It can provide your representatives with something they can be proud of and something will help focus their efforts.

The beauty of an effective Point of Sale campaign is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. There is an endless array of Point of Sale campaign alternatives that can bring activity and excitement to your business and help you meet sales goals.

* Multiple studies including Prime Conulting Group study, Point of Purchase Advertising International study, J.C. Williams Group study for Bell Canada.

(c) Alder & Associates

Thursday
Sep302010

“Brand” in a Nutshell

Having been a marketer for the past – ok, I’ll admit it – quarter century, I’ve been involved with market research, new product development, the marketing of consumer products, communication of ideas and concepts, and have been asked one question over and over and over again both by clients and colleagues alike. If you read the title, it's no surprise that the question is: “What exactly is a Brand?” 

Leaf through any marketing textbook and you’ll understand why so many are confused by what a brand really is. You’ll find definitions that include words such as “perceptions…images… tag line… impressions…” and so on. Even the most creative of creative directors will get misty-eyed when they describe the all-powerful “brand”, usually in a somewhat circuitous manner.

Books have been written, classes have been taught at all levels, and yet, a basic, understandable definition of Brand remains elusive… If you boil all of the brand discussions, all of the definitions, all of the gesticulating and eye-numbing text, the definition of a brand is really quite simple:

A brand is the emotional response an individual experiences when a product or service name is viewed or mentioned.

Pretty straightforward. An example: How do you feel when someone mentions “Coke”? Do you pleasantly remember the tingling of carbonation on your tongue? Do you imagine the cool cola taste trickling down your throat? Do you relish snapping the tab and can you almost hear the bubbling as you pour it over ice? Is the feeling positive? Fun?

That’s the brand in its most pure sense. Of course if it was really that easy, every Tom, Dick, or Harry would think they were brand experts. You know who I mean…  

The critical take-away is that Brand is emotion. And your clients make emotional decisions when purchasing an item or service. A favorable brand experience will favorably impact their action. But, how a brand is positioned is also critical. How the brand interacts with the pricing, promotion, distribution and other elements is important.

In a nutshell, it really is all about the brand. How do you feel when you think of your favorite brand?

(C) Alder & Associates



Friday
Sep242010

Three Questions That Matter for any Marketer!

There are three simple but important questions that can positively impact the development of an ad, a brochure, a poster, or virtually any communication. These questions aim to streamline the thought process and amount and type of information to be relayed to a target audience. The questions bring focus to the message and maintain communication priorities. The combined answers are known as a creative brief – used with clients to develop communication or any marketing.

The development of a creative brief is a first priority when Alder & Associates starts work on a project with clients. The brief can eliminate confusion before, during and after the development process. While the questions used to develop the brief are relatively simple, it can take hours to answer them well and bring focus to the development of an ad, brochure or other collateral. And, the brief can mean the difference between a highly successful campaign or one that falls short of goals.

If you’re in the marketing business, you’ve probably used this or a similar method when working with clients. If this is new to you, here are the questions that need to be answered:

What is it? - This is the Identifier. In what manner do we want to be perceived or thought of by the consumer. This question and the following two questions must be answered in a simple, non-run-on sentence. This forces clarity of thought which is essential for the creatives.

How is it different? - This is the Differentiator. How is your product or service different than all of the rest – which “thing” makes it stand out from all others? This is where we as an ad agency assist our clients in honing their responses. For example, “good service” is not a valid differentiator.

What it means to me (the consumer)? - This is often an emotional response to “What’s in it for me?” It could be viewed as the main benefit or at times, might be derived solely from the differentiator. The answer to this question will result in what you’d like your target market to see and appreciate.

A creative brief with a basis of three simple questions. Seems easy enough – but since clients have often struggled to determine which of the many differentiators they believe important and often have difficulty in reaching consensus, you may want to provide these questions well before your first meeting on the project. Once answers have been developed and summarized in a creative brief, the brief is “approved” by all key stakeholders – those who will have a say in reviewing ad concepts, copy, etc.

The creative brief also serves as a “stress test” when reviewing the final material. If the ad or copy meets the brief, then the material is on-target and properly focused... and all will go smoothly from then on. Well, we can hope…

(C) Alder & Associates

 

 



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