Tag Archives: advertising

Start Up Branding and Marketing

Start Up Branding & Marketing

Michelle Cardenas writes this week about branding and marketing for start-ups. Read on…

You are ready to launch your new business. An incredible amount of time and effort has most likely gone into creating a business plan, securing funding, preparing a location and hiring staff. Did you think to include a branding and advertising strategy as part of the company’s start-up budget? If not you probably need to break out the calculator and re-budget if you really want to succeed. 

Remember, you want to inform the public that a great event is about to take place. A clever strategy will generate interest. The public will be waiting expectantly for your doors to open. By the time you open for business, there is a curious public with the potential for becoming loyal customers ready and waiting.

How Much

That is probably the most frequently asked question about advertising. Every business knows they need to invest in branding, marketing and advertising. However, the price tag for investment usually leaves business owners scratching their heads. There are different methods to derive at a number. However, with a new business, some of the factors to plug in to formulas are lacking. For a start-up, it may serve a business well to trust the advice of experts at Iowa State University. They suggest committing about 20-30% of your annual budget to advertising and marketing for the first two years. 

Branding Effectively

To brand effectively, use a strategy that contains these three key elements:

  • Storytelling that uses language delivery in the manner a human brain prefers for processing.
  • Philanthropic purpose is indicated as strongly desired by consumers in the latest data. Take a stand for a good cause.
  • Separate from the pack. This means defining what sets your business apart from the competition. It establishes why a consumer should prefer to do business with you above all others.

The Value Of Experts

Effective marketing and advertising is critical to success for a start-up. Don’t under-estimate the value of investing this mission to experts. Please contact us and let us expand your own good ideas into even greater ones.

How Branding and Advertising Form Your First Relationships

David Gusaas talks about how branding and advertising  form your first relationships.

“Friendship is so weird, you just pick a human you’ve met and you’re like ‘yep I like this one’ and then you just do stuff with them” – Step Brothers

Though they of course have their differences, businesses as a whole are not that different from people that we form certain types of relationships with. If we’re lucky enough, they are just as weird as we are, and we come together like a Catalina Wine Mixer. Though, maybe not like the one in the movie..

In starting a business, everyone wants to get to that sweet spot where instead of going out and knocking on doors, people are coming and knocking on yours. The easiest way to do this is through branding and advertising.

Not just understanding this, but taking action on this, requires a strategy that includes branding and advertising as part of your start-up company’s budget, with someone who understands the dynamics of how this works most effectively, while retaining and conveying your company’s unique quirks and personality.

“There are millions of people walking around, there are millions of businesses to choose from – however both of them must earn the right to have a relationship with you.”

This quote from former Ogilvy & Mathers CEO Charlotte Beers, emphasizes this idea that businesses function on a relationship basis, and in a way similar to how our relationships with people in our day-to-day life may become friendships.

Strategies like cold calling and other traditional transactional outreach are at times necessary and even effective to a degree. But without a cohesive human element, and a personality so to speak to attach to the company, a brand to form a relationship with, the transaction remains just that, and is easily replaceable by a newer or cheaper competitor.

The relationship formed by connecting in a human way with a brand that speaks to something in someone else’s own personality, whether it be a certain sense of humor, world view, or other similar sensibilities, leads to identifying with this brand and developing a loyalty to them.

Within this equation, advertising plays a dual role. First, it introduces the brand to people who would otherwise be unaware of it, and it reminds them of the brand afterwards. Additionally, through the type, style, and way you advertise, you further the brand narrative, and connect with potential customers and clients who you will then form a relationship with.

This touches only briefly on how branding and advertising are a vital investment and a necessary part of your company’s successful future, and there is much more to it, so please contact us today to continue the conversation!

Creating Real Product Differentiation Is Hard, but It’s Still Worth It

Creating real product differentiation. Hard. Worth it? Contributor David Caissie thinks so, Read on.

Does anyone really know what ever happened to that fifth dentist that didn’t recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum? All most of us can remember is that Trident had this distinction of somehow being the optimal choice by dentists all over the country. Actually the slogan may have not even been about recommending Trident. I think it just said sugarless gum, but everybody still remembers Trident as having this advantage—or competitive edge if you prefer. Whatever you want to call it, they did a great job of creating a significant product differentiation.

The problem with trying to repeat what Trident managed to create decades ago is that it’s flat out harder to create real product differentiation today. When Trident created their successful branding campaign it worked because most of the competition they were facing was from tooth decayers like Bazooka Joe and Juicy Fruit. Today a lot of brands of cell phone companies offer unlimited texting, a lot of pizza is made with “fresh” ingredients, and most cars in a similar price range offer relatively similar features. It’s a big challenge today to create that special branding that consumers can develop an affinity for.

Creating differentiation may be harder, but it can still be done. You can appeal to value customers by offering a perceived notion of “more bang for their buck.” You can also effectively use promotions and free trials to bring in new customers, hoping that once they try your product they will undoubtedly fall in love with its uniqueness. The key at this point is to make sure you drive home that air of uniqueness with effective advertising that reinforces it.

Appealing to vanity

What about appealing to a consumers sense of affordability or luxury. Some buyers will always buy the cheapest option, and it’s not entirely dependent on income level. Plenty of wealthy people still purchase the cheapest detergents, sneakers, and paper products. On the other hand, other folks will always pay more for a luxury product because of a perceived increase in quality. Within reason, this isn’t entirely income dependent either.

Tougher in a global marketplace

It may be a tougher challenge in today’s highly competitive global marketplace to create real product differentiation, but it’s definitely still a valuable edge. Just take a look at those that do it best like Apple and lululemon. Whether you do it through price, promotion, advertising, or some other creative method all of your own, product differentiation needs to remain at the forefront of your advertising focus.

The MAD House knows exactly how to create real product differentiation to give your company a competitive edge. Please contact us today for more information.

 

Don’t Ditch Traditional Media Just Yet

Everybody knows that social media is the next big marketing tool, or perhaps has already taken over as the go-to tool for marketing departments. But don’t give up on traditional media just yet. While social media may be the new kid on the block, there are many reasons why it won’t depose traditional media for a while. Here’s why.

Families Don’t Use Social Media

Most often, advertising on social media platforms will only reach one set of eyes each time the content is delivered. This is because, for as social as social media sounds, people are usually alone when they use it. True, they’ll share stuff they like. But chances are, putting ads in traditional settings means multiple people will be listening or watching when your ad comes on. This can lead to conversation about a product or service that can lead to more sales as opposed to someone who is scrolling through their news feed. You remember conversing in person with one another, right?

 You Can Be More Creative

Many times on social media, a large amount of hard work (i.e.time) can go into creating a social media campaign. Most of this work, however, doesn’t go towards the creative aspect of the campaign, but rather towards fitting all the content a business needs onto a minuscule screen. Larger screens (on TV) and more ad time (radio) allows for marketers to push their product without seeming so pushy.

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 Reach More Engaged Audiences

Aside from different demographics, most people are more engaged when dealing with traditional media. Whether it be reading a newspaper, watching TV, or listening to the radio, there is a greater chance that people will be not be distracted by other content such as notifications, text messages, or other apps vying for attention. When your ad is front and center, people are more likely to remember your name.

If you’re interested in traditional media and how it can benefit your business, contact us and we will set you on the path to marketing success.

A New Office and More

ToniPano

Well folks, in June The MAD House packed up all of its stuff and bid Austin, Texas farewell. We landed in a little slice of paradise on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast, or as the marketing pieces call it, The Forgotten Coast.  So, our address says Carrabelle, but we’re not actually in Carrabelle. That’s where our PO Box is. Many reasons for the move, mostly personal. Let’s just say it was time and we’re glad to be here.

Cow abunga
Cow abunga

We miss Austin and all of its cool. We miss our friends, Barton Springs, the music, Maudie’s, Bert’s BBQ, Gueros, Gourmands and too many other favorite restaurants, and the crazy-good craft beer scene – all of the things that will make it fun to visit Austin. We don’t miss the trying-too-hard-to-be-hipness, the insane traffic, the overtaxed (literally) and underperforming infrastructure, the 100-plus degree days, and the influx of outworlders – all things that will make it easy to come back home to Florida after visiting Austin.

Life moves a different pace here. Many restaurants in the area are only open Thursday through Sunday when the tourists flock to the area for fishing, beaching, birding, golfing and exploring. I found a few places with craft beer. There’s even a craft brewery (Oyster City Brewing) over in Apalachicola and another in Tallahassee (Proof). Beer festivals are in full swing right now with fests within easy “driving-to” range – though, a hotel in lieu of the “driving-back” is probably a good idea. For a fairly rural area, Florida’s law enforcement agencies give this area of the state plenty of attention. Following the rules of the road makes for a happy trip.

DSC_1051

We find that extra planning goes into our travels to nearby bergs. You know, while in Crawfordville (30 miles away) visiting the screen printer, be sure to stop at WalMart for bacon (because name-brand bacon costs twice as much at the local IGA, and I needs my bacon). Or, if I’m heading to Tallahassee (50 miles away) to go to the airport or, say, meet with that beer prospect, better hit Costco for gas, bottled water and K-cups. Then swing by Whole Foods for produce (making sure to take the ice chest so I can keep things cool and fresh until I get home), and grab shrimp at that seafood place in Panacea because the seafood place in Carrabelle is closed today. These little things can have an impact if not carefully planned. Can’t just run over to the HEB for dinner fixings or grab a T-Man from Bert’s for lunch anymore.

MeandMrsMADHouse

 

Yep, it’s a bit different here. That’s what we fell in love with when we first visited a couple of years ago. Work is still the same for us both. We both are able to work from our home offices like we did in Austin. As long as we have cell coverage and internet, we’re in good shape. The airport’s an hour away when we need to travel. And work, we do. It can be quite consuming. Sometimes, even though we’re in the same house, we don’t see each other the entire day.

And that’s O.K. Because, on a Friday afternoon, we can knock off a little early and head for the beach. In the evening, I can take Mrs. MADHouseLarry to our favorite spot on “the island” for hot shrimp, redneck caviar and cold craft beers while the blazing orange sun sets into the bay. We like this place. It’s a delightful blend of locals and tourists all ready to put the week behind them and slide into island time for the next two days. Everyone is happy. Everyone is friendly. No one is trying-too-hard-to-be-hip.

Sunset following a summer storm over Appalacicola Bay

Ahhhh.

Next time:  Some new stuff The MAD Freaks have been working on.