ad

A Successful & Minimalist Print Ad

Transition-Marketing-Services

Incredible design work in this ad. Simple. Clean. No bells and whistles.

Beautifully rendered it creates a Venn diagram out of two minimalist images of two well-known animals. Both possess features that represent the product.

In the middle where the two animals meet is the product itself, showing that it is the best of both worlds. Jeep, the prowess of the wolf with the capacity of the camel. Both hunter and pack animal.

The ad itself in all of its simplicity communicates the brand thoroughly.

Very well done.

Small Business: 4 Valuable Tips To Remember When Developing Marketing & Promotions

Okanagan

Pennies still matter, even if they don’t exist anymore.

Marketing Small Business On A Budget.

We have yet to meet a small business that did not consider their budget to be one of their primary concerns. Let’s face it, our budgets are modest and we need to make every penny count. Here are 4 crucial things to consider when developing your marketing.

Four Points To Ponder:

1. If It Works, Keep It Up.

 New and fresh is good, however if one is achieving success with a specific promotion, don’t scrap it! Too often we scrap our promotions because we are bored with them. This is a tremendous waste. One should not spend their budget implementing new marketing directives if their existing ones are working and effective. Run with an ad or promotion for as long as customers are engaged and reacting.

“How long can ads continue to get results? The Ludlow Corp. ran an ad for its erosion-preventing Soil Saver mesh 41 times in the same journal. After 11 years it pulled more inquiries per issue than when it was first published in 1966. SOURCE” 

But how long can an ad get results? Isn’t fresh content important? Yes fresh is absolutely important, however so is keeping within budget. If a specific ad or promotion still has selling power but contains stale content or information, don’t just throw it out or begin over, instead move forward with updates.

2. Don’t Over Do It.

It can be very easy to suddenly find oneself over budget, “a few extra bucks and you get the extra two pages”, “a few more and you get embossed mailers”. Quality matters yes, however it is easy to quickly over do it.

One must make their marketing decisions based on the realities of their budgets. Do not try to imitate big-budget corporations who go for broke on their materials. Remember that ones promotions and image needs to be dictated by THEIR products and THEIR market, not necessarily by what businesses in unrelated fields are doing

Producing materials that are too fancy or far-reaching for its target audience is simply a waste of money, not only that but it can damage your brands image and integrity, as the consumer base will see the flash and pomp and will immediately question your understanding of their market and needs.

3. Modular (Adaptable) Product Literature.

Image Source: Speedycopy.ca

Image Source: Speedycopy.ca

A common budget oriented concern is how to promote a product or service to multiple markets. Every market presents a different need and the product or service has to be presented differently to each. So how does a small business with a small budget afford multiple variations of their sales literature?

“Module Literature” is essentially promotional literature that is built-in sections.See, a basic brochure layout is created with sections that are capable of being quickly altered  for specific market needs. In a modular layout, the standard sections remain unchanged, but new text can be laid into the one or two necessary sections to create more niche directed literature. By using the same basic layout, artwork etc, one creates literature directed at multiple niches, all from the same basic design.

Most brochures and literature consist of sections. Some, like “Contacts”, “About Us”, “Product Operation” etc. are static and can remain the same from customer to customer. The one or two more sections that focus on specific niche customers can then be adapted and changed as necessary.

By proceeding in this fashion one is able to target multiple customer bases, while saving substantial money and time.

4. Using Re-prints For Niche Literature.

Re-prints are so useful that we actually ran a post last week outlining nine great uses for re-prints of existing advertising and marketing literature (here).

Is is not unusual to see a wide array of request for specialized, “incidental” pieces of product literature:

  • Data sheets.
  • Draft drawings.
  • Specialized sales literature.
  • Product summaries.
  • Product comparisons.

The list goes on. Each of these specific pieces serve a good purpose, educating and servicing customers. Yet trying to keep up and produce multiple copies of varying materials can be both time-consuming and expensive. Simply put, trying to produce literature for every need ones market may hold is far too expensive.

Instead, consider using already bought and paid for advertising and article reprints as sales literature. In the same way that Modular Literature works, one can use existing literature as a cover sheet, while providing inexpensive additional inserts specific to the recipient.

The inserts do not have to be fancy, as the re-prints of existing literature will offer a nice cover page to the valuable information they provide.

Okanagan Small Business Marketing

Transition Marketing Services in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.

Why I Love Coca-Cola’s Advertising – BAM They Did It Again!

No qualms about it. Coca-Cola has the Social Media Marketing world in the palm of their hand. THEY GET IT! They have built a social media empire with their content, not the least of which is their online video profile hosted at CCTV on YouTube.

Check out their latest video:

Ok, so what is not to like about this video? In a world where political scandal and violent revolution appear everywhere we turn, where magazines and media are cold-heartedly and consistently attempting to cash in on the drama and trauma of society, Coke has decided to wade against the stream.

Coke has decided to cultivate a brand image of “Shalom” -a campaign of love, happiness and peace – all centered around their products.

Brilliant right!? So why are more companies not doing this? Coke appears to understand what actually hits a nerve with people now. We are jaded. What would have been dubbed shocking twenty years ago hardly registers anymore – what impacts us now, are examples of kindness, of grace and of compassion.

People are hungry for this – it is the same dynamic that takes an indie “feel-good” movie from unknown status to stardom (AHEM-Slumdog-Millionaire)

Coke is effectively developing a brand association between themselves and all the greatest things in life: spontaneity, love, peace, joy, happiness and people caught enjoying all if it. What is more, they have done so in such a seamless and genuine way, that they do not come off as simply running another fake campaign for profits – they truly do appear to the public as a happy brand.

That makes them trustworthy.

That makes them likeable.

That makes them relateable.

and that makes them successful.

Transition Marketing Services Okanagan Small Business Marketing

Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists.

Visuals in Advertising (by SmartaMarketing)

Visuals in Advertising – Taken From SmartaMarketing

Visuals in Advertising

The term visualising is used in two different senses by advertising professionals.  At times they talk of “visualisation” in the broad sense of “Shall we put the idea into words or into pictures?”  At other times they refer to the execution of the “visual” idea – the elements, such as layout, illustrations, colours, and the like, that give shape to the idea of the advertisement.  .

Creative advertising professionals must think visually and verbally at the same time, whether they are copywriters or artists.  Below are some guidelines for emphasising the visual portion of an advertisement.

1.         To get a point across fast

2.         When the product is new or not widely recognised

3.         If the product has innate visual appeal

4.         If the appeal is primarily emotional

5.         If mood is more important than factual information or narrative

6.         When awareness of an idea or the package is a more important objective than the action to be taken

7.         When impulse sales in self-service stores are important

The advertising layout is designed to perform both mechanical and symbolic functions.  Physically, the layout is the plan that indicates where the component parts of the ad (headline, illustrations, text, and so on) are to be placed for most effective communication.  The layout guides the copywriter in planning copy and the lettering specialists, typographers, and other production experts in their work.  The layout also provides a guide for estimating costs.  These are among the important mechanical functions of a layout for a print advertisement.

The layout also performs a symbolic, or psychological, function.  The final layout, transformed into the finished advertisement, gives the audience its first impression of the organisation sponsoring the advertisement.  A very formal layout gives the impression that the advertiser is stable, conservative, and solid.  A modern, informal layout gives the same audience the impression of a dynamic company with innovative new products.  Considerable white space in an ad projects an image of exclusiveness and “class”.  Conversely, a layout crowded with elements and heavy black type, or with white type on a heavy black background, gives the impression of a “discount” organisation and is frequently used in retail advertising.

FULL ARTICLE HERE:

13 Small Business Marketing & Sales Tips

Small Business is full of challenges, yet there are many tools and strategies available for success. Below we outline 13 tips to help the small businessman move from surviving to thriving.

13 Small Business Marketing & Sales Tips

Developing a business plan is a must for any small business.

1. Develop A Business Plan. This is absolutely key and not as difficult as you may think. A business plan can (and should) consist of a budget outline, current customer base, current marketing/advertising efforts, current strengths and weaknesses, target markets, areas of high potential and the methods/mediums available to reach targets and high potential areas.

Or more simply put. It should be made up of reasonable goals for your company, the ways available for achieving these goals, the resources available and then a final plan, and a scheduled outline for moving forward.

2. Make It A Long Term One. Every small business is constrained by the almighty budget.

Take some time to determine the areas of easiest and greatest potential gain. Isolate the best prospects for your business then determine how best to access them. Set your goals, make them achievable then proceed.

The key to achieving market goals is to remain consistent in your marketing. Find a plan that works with your resources, budget and availability then stick to it. If you are not certain how best to go about this, many tips and articles (such as the one you are reading) exist.

Or you can contact specialists who can sit down with you and hammer out the right – individualized – strategy for your specific business. You would be surprise how cost effective this can be.

3. Separating Sales & Profits. There are two types of money for the small businessman. Cash & Profits.

  • When you make a sale you make Cash.
  • When you make a sale at more than your overall cost, you make a Profit.

Typically speaking many small businesses have a primary focus on making sales and bringing in cash – a necessary and intelligent step if you wish to survive and maintain a roof over your head.

To move forward as a business however, cash must begin becoming profits. Profits allow businesses to not just exist but to grow. The small business man must analyze where the greatest profit potential lies and develop a plan of attack. These plans can take many forms, and are a necessity for success.

Business sourcing is increasingly shifting to online searches. Is your business visible online?

4. Free Online Listings. Working under the assumption that you already have a website (necessary!) Get yourself listed with Search Engines and get found.

It is said that 97% of consumers search for businesses online. I know that I do. With the advent of mobile technology, online searching has surged. If you are a small business online, increasing your presence is a must. If you are a small business not online – get online!

As Small Businesses we cannot afford to lose even one customer. Creating and then increasing an online presence ensures YOUR business is what turns up when customers are searching.

For things like Search Engine registration no technical expertise is needed. Here are a few good starting points:

  1. Google Business Listings
  2. Google Places
  3. Bing business portal
  4. Foursquare
  5. Yahoo Local
  6. Yelp Claim Your Business

5. Cold Calling Is Not Dead. So unless you are, hit the road. Make the sales calls, contact the prospects and be regimented in doing so. Again, set goals for yourself – three cold calls a day, eight in a week, whatever it is, stick to it.

Build a list of targets – who they are, what they do and why they should be interested in you. Treat it like a job interview, research your prospect and be ready to answer questions. Have at least three reasons they should look to you.

Start with high potential clients first then work your way down. Yes it may seem scary, however it gets easier with time – remember YOU have value for your customers and you know it, therefore YOUR goal is nothing more than to demonstrate that. Don’t focus on selling (it is cheesy) explain and relate – you will see higher success.

6. Keep Following Up. Do not be irritating – but keep your business in clear view of your customers. Remind consumers you are there. Do not barrage them, keep in mind however, that even if they want to purchase from you – they may not necessarily remember you. Stay visible. Follow up.

Survival: All of your marketing exposure, engagement, goodwill and efforts need to lead to one thing – making the sale. Remember that you want more than just the one sale – you want the customer for life.

7. Close The Deal. None of these tips matter if the deal doesn’t go through. Marketing in itself is a means to gain the sale. Yes it creates brand awareness and increases business to consumer visibility, however if it does not result in a sale your business won’t last long.

You need your customers to make the purchase. There are good and bad ways of going about this. Engaging them, building relations, and creating brand trust are all a part of this.

Provide your customers with a strong “call to action” in your Marketing. Provide incentives to solidify the deal sooner. Give them a reason to sign the dotted line.

Don’t be abrasive, but personally and directly ask to take the order and finalize the sale.

8. The Rule Of “Return & Refer”. The rule is simple: If you satisfy a customer, they will return to you and refer you to others. Gaining these two favours is a top priority for any business. Satisfy your customer, then look to them for the repeat business.

Never assume they will remember you years later, so make an impression at the start. Go the extra mile and win their loyalty.

9. Market To Prior Customers (Repeat Business). A solid part of any small business marketing strategy is targeting current and former customers. The first preliminary sale should be considered not the end, but the beginning of your business transaction with a consumer.

Good first impression notwithstanding, not all customers will remember a business name so “market to remind”. Repeat sales typically take less effort and resources to secure compared to going out and winning new accounts – this factors into turning cash into profits. A good portion of a businesses profits will come from these repeat customers.

Make sure your business is still visible to your customers from three years ago.

Image source: Followyourcustomer.com

10. Get A Contact Management System. Every small business needs an organized system for managing business contacts. With mobile and cloud technology it is becoming increasingly easy to setup an online system, accessible from just about anywhere.

You will never need to be without your little black book again. Consider a few of these options:

  1. MS Outlook Integrated System
  2. Salesforce.com
  3. Prophet (By Avidian)
  4. FollowYourCustomer.com

11. Shop Local, Shop Small. If every one of your customers suddenly began making their purchases at the big box stores or online, how would you feel?

That is how the small businesses in your community feel as well.

  • Support your local small business community and they will support you.
  • Build relations with other businesses and make your purchases locally whenever possible.
  • Avoid making the purchases online. Yes there are some deals that cannot be turned away, however small businesses cannot survive if all they are, are showrooms for online retail.

You reap what you sow. Want the community to support you business? Then support them first.

12. Use Social Media. First off Social Media is not going to directly make you profits. Social Media is, in itself, not the means to make the sale.

It is however:

  1. A primary means of increasing online presence.
  2. A direct TWO WAY line of communication with customers.
  3. A monitoring feed for following trends, communications and competitors.

Social Media is a free resource, but as with any Marketing avenue, should be approached with a plan.

  1. Who will post on behalf of your business?
  2. What will they post?
  3. How often will they post?
  4. Who are they targetting?
  5. Why are they targetting them?
  6. How are they to handle direct feedback and/or criticism?

It may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t that scary. Simply sit down and answer each of those questions in turn until the strategy is in place. We also recommend checking out a few of our previous posts on Social Media Marketing:

13. Create An Annual Newsletter Utilizing Cloud Services. We have mentioned newsletters before, however they bare repeating. They are a prime tool for budget friendly Marketing.

No a newsletter does not need to be boring. It is simply put “news”. Broadcast sales info, new products, customer stories… the options are endless – as are the sites that can facilitate this.

  1. Mail Chimp
  2. Constant Contact
  3. Vertical Response
  4. Emma

Now-a-days, by utilizing a cloud service you have access to built-in analytics – that is information on “opens” and “click-throughs” etc. Which is highly useful for monitoring your efforts and the results.

Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds.

We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions.

TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists

From Brand To “Being” – Humanizing A Brand

Humanizing A Brand.

It is a common problem. All brands face it, although many of the larger brands, and those that have been in existence, longer seem to struggle with it the most.

Establishing humanity within a brand image – also known as “humanizing” a brand.

Humanizing is literally defined as:

hu·man·ize  [hyoo-muh-nahyz or, often, yoo-]

tr.v. hu·man·izedhu·man·iz·inghu·man·iz·es 

1. To portray or endow with human characteristics or attributes; make human.

Humanizing your brand

Image Source: Socialfish.org

The concept here is to create within the customer, an acknowledgment or association of a Brand with relate-able, human, ground level understanding. Essentially it is a matter of making certain the customer can relate to and trust a brand.

Humanizing is considered an essential part of modern day branding success. Examples of it abound in businesses like Coca-Cola, Apple, Transition Marketing 🙂 , Nike and Google.

There are many different avenues a business can take, whether in initial branding or re-branding campaigns. The key is to position (or re-position) your brand as one that is for the people, one that is engaging and REAL, one that wants to know its customers. One that is more than just a cold-corporate automaton.

Having Fun Is Human.

One sure fire method of creating human emotion, reaction and association with a brand, is to have fun.

Seriously.

Have fun and make sure your customers have fun (Gamify anyone?)

The more a brand can portray itself as fun, carefree, and humorous even, the more relate-able it becomes. This does not mean supplying the plant floor with Super-soakers (although an argument could be made for it’s YouTube worthiness), but it may mean rethinking everything that has been done to date.

Humanizing a brand, like any branding campaign, is about more than image. It needs to be rooted deep within the core of the company.

Where Is More Profit To Be Had?

It may mean letting go of certain preconceptions. For instance, is their greater overall brand and business profit in running your Customer Service Team lean and reducing head count, or could an argument be made for hiring that extra person to create a more relaxed environment where your CSR reps can dialogue with customers and promote brand integrity?

My years working with the Customer Service team for a leading Western Canadian Brand taught me that, by creating relationships with your regular customers through more relaxed communications, a brand can soar above it’s competition. When your CSR team has the time and motivation to get to know your customers by name, and when they can take a few minutes during a phone call to talk about non-business topics, they are developing your brands humanity – they are humanizing your brand.

Focused hiring, training and leadership are required for this. It is shameful when a brand contracts out their service department to the lowest bidder, or hires employees with the wrong caliper and skill set. Doing this ensures their brand will suffer.

Have Fun Or Else!

It is important to note that “fun” cannot be enforced. Too often we see Human Resources, Managers and Leadership attempting to force smiles and relaxation through faulty training exercises, well intended (poorly executed) mixers and events, or mis-directed communications (office space hawaiian shirt day anyone?)

There are a number of reasons that these “enforcement’s” fail:

  1. The training may be (or may be seen as) another “flash in the pan” from corporate. Often these training modules are mandatory programs, which get zero buy-in from employees. They often lack realistic application to brand specific scenarios and seldom last more than a few months. The more modules you go through, the more jaded your employees will be.
  2. Mixers and Events are typically well intended. However employees do not want to attend after-work functions if there is not already a relationship with their colleagues. Similarly after work functions, where spouses etc. are not invited, or the employee is even remotely financially responsible,  is seen as an intrusion.

Humanizing is a delicate procedure. Creating a fun “human” spirit within a brand begins within the bedrock of the business. As with all aspects of a brand campaign, it must be rooted in every aspect of the business. Consistency is crucial.

Humanized Brand Success Stories.

We will wrap up with a handful of “humanized” brand examples.

1. Google:

Google continues to dominate many key markets. Their brand has become so well known that they can get away with “altering” their logo at will.

Google employs top notch minds to develop and innovate, they have the leading search engine algorithm and have generated a great deal of talk with their “super-empire” and more recently their consolidated privacy policy.

Yet at the base of this behemoth business, there is a spirit of fun. While not all of tech savvy, in-the-know types would agree with Google and all of their practices, the basic consumer is easily sold when greeted with a sense of camaraderie and of fun by many of Googles tools.

A Handful Of Google Easter Eggs:

Get your Google page to speak “Pirate”, “Swedish Chef”, “Hacker” and many more.

Try searching Google Maps for directions to “Mordor” under the “Walking Category”.

Try plugging in “Find Chuck Norris” using the “I’m Feeling Lucky” option.

More Easter Eggs Available Here:

Many of these Easter eggs are mainstream now, widely shared on social media platforms and amongst friends. It is this type of “inside joke” and the subsequent dialogue it creates, that has positioned Google, one of the largest brands in existence, as buddy-buddy with so many people.

2. Apple:

Apple has succeeded beyond all other brands before them, due to their acknowledgement of what truly matters to consumers. They have built a brand that is associated with care, quality and fun and they have gained their customers trust by standing by their products and being about more than just the bottom dollar.

A large part of this success can be summed up by one of there credo’s “We are at our best when we deliver enriching experiences”. 

Apple is (or projects a brand image of) being about people, about service and about products that go beyond the standard.

“Their Customer Service department excels thanks to careful interviewing, training, and a willingness to hire relate-able people. Mohawks, tattoos, piercings are all acceptable among Apple Store employees. Apple hires people who reflect the diversity of their customers”. – Taken From 14 Things Brands Can Learn From Apple

Apple’s success in humanizing their brand through light-hearted marketing is exemplified nicely in the Apple VS. PC Guy, ad campaign:

The campaign challenges you to decide for yourself, who you would rather hang out – who belongs by your side and in your social group? who is most relate-able?

3. Nike:

Nike has recently been seeing a lot of spotlight with their social engagement campaigns. They have been very successful in their efforts to reach out to consumers. Here are just a few examples:

The “Extra Day to #makeitcount” Campaign.

Nike launched the campaign in conjunction with the leap year. Based around a live 24 hour countdown broadcast on in-store screens and XTP screens through-out the London tubes. For 24 hours on February 29th they encouraged consumers to tweet about the extra day and how they were going to #makeitcount.

She Runs The Night -> She Runs…

Nike engaged its female audience with the she runs the night campaign, a 13km event that took place in Sydney’s Centennial Park on May 3rd. The race took place at the Royal Hall of Industries in the Entertainment Quarter. The course was fully lit underneath a halo of light.

Nike took that one step further hosting a Facebook page specifically for its female running market. The page, “Nike She Runs” is dedicated to creating a dialogue and engaging this very specific market.

4. Coca-Cola:

Coke is one of the all time best branding success stories. They hit some waves in the early 80’s but regained their stride and have since been batting them out of the park with their Social Media and engagement efforts.

Take for instance the Coca-Cola hug machine. Simply put, you hug it and it reciprocates with a free Coke.  Check out the video:

In a similar move there was also the Coca-Cola Happiness Machine, which dispensed multiple bottles to several surprised college students who then shared the Coke products with their friends.

Coke has also been involved in all manner of guerrilla street advertising, with non-traditional bill boards and signage geared at grabbing the eye.

Of course there is the whole Coca-Cola “My Coke Rewards” campaign as well. Purchasing their products gives you points that can be used to redeem online coupons and perks. Imagine the number of customers at any given moment clicking through to a brand controlled webpage. The customer gets their perks, and Coke gets their attention.

Humanization and Social Engagement are the key to brand success in the new millennium. These are achieved through creative,  fun content and reaching out to the consumer base. It is not enough to advertise it though, Branding, and the Humanizing of a brand must take root in every aspect of your business model. Your employees must take an active role in it, if it is to succeed.

Ben Erickson is the Specialized Services Manager with Transition Marketing Services Contact us anytime for questions, conversation or for a free consultation.