Why Your Home Page Should Feel Like Home

When I was first out of high school, in 19(inaudible), I got a job working at a small gift shop in Washington DC. It was, literally, a mom and pop operation, run by some wonderful people. But, unfortunately, the shop was a dowdy place, out of step with its hip neighborhood, and relying far too much on an older demographic. I convinced my bosses to change the store's name to better connect with the area's younger shoppers. Then I painted a new sign, brightening up the shop's facade and making the place more inviting. Soon after, it was time to head off for college. A year later, back in DC, I decided to stop off at the old place to see how things were going.

But it was gone.

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Topics: Identity

Seven Ways to Position Your Brand

Commodity businesses. They’re everywhere. What separates one bank from another? One financial planning service from another? One law firm from another? They all have professionally designed logos, snappy slogans. Their websites are competently designed and engineered. And yet, to the consumer, they might as well all be Brand X. Watch as those who make purchasing decisions struggle to draw distinctions between the various options available to them. In the end, depositors go with the banker they like; litigants go with the attorney they like, and so on. But what happens when that banker switches banks? Who retains the customer’s loyalty, the banker or the bank? That’s why it’s a mistake to allow your business to become a commodity. And to those who say it’s impossible to differentiate, a bank is a bank is a bank? I call B.S.

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Topics: Positioning

Strategic branding and the foundation of success

This week’s post comes courtesy of friend, colleague and guest blogger Giulia Iannucci of UK-based  Know Thy Brand.

Just over a year ago a couple of very bright and determined students stopped me at the end of class (I teach part-time at Kingston University) asking for some marketing ideas for their new-born company, Amberstalk. After listening to their project, after seeing their passion, and once I understood the potential that this company had, I was hooked. But, like many of my clients know, I am a firm believer in the importance of developing a strong brand before investing into marketing tactics. And so it all started, for one year the team has been busy building their company and developing their brand. What really impressed me was how easily they understood the key importance of their brand, how they worked on it until they were absolutely sure that they got it right, until they were able to clearly articulate their unique value proposition, their values, their essence.
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Topics: Strategy

Looking For Innovation? Try Talking To Your Market.

After he invented the process of mass production and was rolling Model-T Fords off the line, someone asked Henry Ford if he was manufacturing cars in response to his customers’ wants. To which he famously replied, “If I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’.” It’s a fun story that emphasizes the need for entrepreneurial vision; it’s important to have the foresight to know where the market is going to be. That comes from astute observation and individual conviction. And that’s important to any business. But it doesn’t discount the fact that understanding what your market needs and desires is still important. That point was driven home to me late last year when Boardwalk was conducting a marketing study for Pathway Recuperative Care, a program of the National Health Foundation. Pathway provides temporary recuperative housing and care for people experiencing homelessness in the days or weeks that follow a hospital stay. Pathway has to interface with hospital administration and with the case managers who discharge patients. We wanted to talk to these case managers to learn how Pathway could simplify the process for them.

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Topics: Innovation

Expressing Your Branditude

You’ve heard me talk about the branding-marketing-sales continuum before. To recap, for any business, at the end of the day, somebody has to sell something to someone. That’s sales. But unguided sales efforts are misguided sales efforts. So before sales can begin, somebody has to match the product or service to an appropriate market, determine the value proposition, make people aware and otherwise prepare the ground for the sales force. That’s marketing. But marketing efforts, to achieve maximum efficacy, should be launched from a well-constructed brand platform. So branding comes first, then marketing, finally sales. It gets tricky because the boundaries between the disciplines can become pretty fuzzy. When we’re working on a branding assignment, here at Boardwalk, we often find that, somewhere along the line, we’re expected to start handling marketing roles. And there’s a fine, almost imperceptible line between some marketing activities and sales activities. So it’s a continuum of actions that leads from branding, through marketing to sales. But, once your brand strategy is finalized, how do you then operationalize it? How can you be sure it flows evenly throughout the continuum, adding as much value as possible all along the way?

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Topics: communication

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Best Branding Reads
Week of March 12, 2018

SXSW: Bose Sees Future in Augmented Reality Glasses
Audio augmented reality? Didn’t see (or hear) that one coming.

New Motorola Spots Encourage Us to Take a Hard Look at Our Smartphone Habits
Excellent brand-building by expressing a point of view on a relevant topic.

Airlines invest in tech startup to prevent booting passengers from overbooked flights
It’s a start. But we also need an app for more comfortable seating, more leg room, better food, etc.

One Rule For Making Brands More Memorable
Fascinating idea here. We should all implement it immediately.

New Logo and Identity for Century 21
My only nitpick: Perhaps the beautiful color palette is a bit too muted for outdoor applications?

Giant Readymix Logo
In 1965, who did they think was ever going to see it?

Why Marketing Solutions Are Often Obvious
Sometimes it takes an outsider asking dumb questions to see what has been overlooked.

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