Tag Archives: budget

Branding and Advertising as Part of a Start-Up Company’s Budget

Joshua Andrews writes this week on Branding and Advertising as Part of a Start-Up Company’s Budget. Read on …

Build it and they will come?

What comes to mind when you think of a start-up company’s budget? Maybe the first thing you think of is inventory. Having a product and enough money in the budget to supply that product to the public is certainly an important consideration, but is it the most important thing? What about equipment, or facilities? These are also things you cannot live without when it comes to starting a business but there is another important budget item that you do not want to overlook. You want to make sure you are leaving enough room in your budget for branding. 

First impressions count.

When you are starting a business, you are not just striving to sell a product or service, you are creating a brand. You are building your image. You want to make sure your image is something memorable and instantly recognizable. You are not just selling a product, you are selling a personality. 

Who are you?

Thanks to the phenomena of social media, everyone is branding themselves these days. We all make a point of ensuring that our personal social media accounts are not just reflecting us but that they are reflecting the side of us that we want everyone to know. For millennials in particular, brands are incredibly important. Do not let your start-up be left behind. Think about who it is you want to present to the public and reflect that in your branding. And make sure that you have enough room in your budget to do so. If you want to learn more about branding, get in touch with us today. 

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.

The Key Ingredient Your Start-Up is Missing

MAD Contributor-Freak Carrie Schuessler wants your brand to start out right.

You’ve put money into a facility, insurance, equipment and inventory. But if that’s all, your start-up isn’t ready to… well… start up. You’ve forgotten branding. It’s as if you’re about to publish a book without a cover. No matter the incredible content, why would anyone pick it up off the shelf?

Branding answers these key questions:

  • What do you offer?
  • How is it different from the competitor?
  • What promises are you making your customers?
  • What is your company’s “voice?” Quirky? Formal? Off-beat or straight-laced?

In his article for Entrepreneur, The Basics of Branding, John Williams writes,

Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

But why make branding a focus at the earliest stages of your firm’s launch? Why not focus on the nuts and bolts of the operation before delving into elements like logo design and packaging? In her article How Important is Small Business Branding Really? Jessica Bosari of Forbes writes,

Brand recognition is vital in securing business; a buyer can’t purchase your product if he can’t remember who you are or how to find you. The best companies are those whose brands are easy to remember and instantly recognizable.

How much should a start-up spend on marketing? The Small Business Administration recommends spending anywhere from 3 to 8% of projected gross revenues on advertising and branding, although many retail firms may need to spend as much as 20%.

We know what you’re thinking. Money is already tight. You can’t incorporate branding and advertising as part of your start-up company’s budget. But think again. At The MAD House we specialize in this very service at a very competitive rate. By hiring freelance talent from giant national agencies, we can put together an impressive branding campaign to suit any budget. Contact us today to get started!

Why a Smart Business Owner Should Use Traditional Media in a Social World

By MAD Contributor-Freak Chris Coffee

For more than a decade now — as the internet has grown and developed an identity — the grip that traditional media held on the advertising dollar has loosened. The advent of venues such as YouTube and Facebook has provided businesses with a relatively inexpensive advertising platform.

And why not? The opportunities are vast; they provide advertisers a way to hit their target audience (via geo-fencing, honing in demographically, etc.); results are tracked and verified; and costs are built on cost-per-impression, cost-per-click, cost-per-thousand, and so on.

However — be it television, print or radio — there is a place for traditional media in a social world. When approached logically, traditional media can target a specific audience (a 25-54 demographic, for example) with verified results and at a controlled cost.

All media have their pros and cons. A simple Google search will give you plenty of material on why TV, print and radio are each better or worse than the other. However, know that advertising in your local media builds trust with your customer and shows commitment to the community.

There are several reasons why traditional media still is a viable option for advertisers. Consumers still tune into their local media sources for various reasons. Local media are the go to source for weather and news. And, despite the introduction of MP3 players and satellite radio, your local terrestrial radio stations have popular morning shows, run contests, cover local sports, and typically offer a variety of music or talk genres.

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Consumers are drawn to local media that develop their own content. This is everything from local news events, up-to-date weather, area sports coverage and so on. As the pie continues to grow and shares continue to shrink, it’s this local content that’s vital to advertising success. Content is king.

If available, you should choose advertising opportunities that engage the consumer. Consider sponsoring or developing contests, sponsoring events, branding on specific pages, or even developing your own niche (i.e. being the legal or medical resource for the news department, or your restaurant being the house chef for the morning news program). The ideas and opportunities are virtually limitless, but it takes thinking outside of the box.

If you need someone to help you think outside of the box or have questions about another topic, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Things Small Businesses Need to Know About Working with an Advertising and Design Firm

by MAD Contributor Fiana

There is a partnership that comes with all businesses. However, one of the biggest partnerships you will need is with a great advertising and design firm. Why? Well, first of all, as a small business it is very hard to get out there without good advertising. Sure, there is word of mouth, and flyers – and social media has made a lot of things simpler. However, no matter what, your advertising and design firm will be that one thing that helps launch your business. Well, how do you maintain a great partnership? Here are some things small businesses need to know about working with an advertising and design firm.

1. Treat them like a partner not a vendor
Notice, that we have written “partnership” over and over in the intro. Get into the mindset that it is in fact a partnership and not an investment or a, gasp, vendor. They would like to work with you, and be treated with the same respect as any other partner. Your success is good for their business, too. They want to help you get this thing going, so keep them in the loop. They can help you bounce ideas. Talk to them like they know what they are doing, because well, they do! A great partnership with good communication will really help them relay to potential customers what your business is all about!

2. Be up front about budgets.
They understand that not every one is made of money, which is why they are there to help you work within your budget. They want you to get the most bang for your buck! So, be up front with your budget and from there they can get you what you need without costing you an arm and a leg.

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3. Make sure they understand the goals.
This goes back to being a partnership. If you do not clearly let the firm know what you want, chances are you won’t get it! If you don’t get what you want then no one is happy. So, always be clear with where you want to go and how you’d like to get there. Communication is key.

4. Be realistic regarding timelines and deadlines.
Some firms might just be miracle workers, but not all. Even those who are have someone working over time to meet an impossible deadline. Is that the best way to get their best ideas? Make sure to let your firm know when you want things done. If you can, draw it out for them! Let them know what your timeline is so they can work with you to get what you need done in a timely manner.

5. Listen to them, they are professionals.
They don’t claim to know what your business is all about (although they will try their best to learn your business inside and out) but what the advertising and design firms know… is how to advertise and design! So, please understand that they are the professionals and that they know what they are doing. All those questions they ask — are to help them better understand how to solve your advertising or design issue. However, definitely bounce ideas around so that there is a healthy mesh of ideas that satisfies everyone.

6. Keep the lines of communication open.
Communication is key. If you don’t speak up, they won’t hear you. Be clear, and keep constant communication. Keeping the lines of communication open guarantees a successful outcome. Closed lines of communication lead to delays and missed deadlines.

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7. Limit the number of people involved in approval of work – just the owner, or a very small team.
When there are too many opinions flying around the room, chances are that nothing will get done. Keep the approval of work to a small team or maybe even just the owner so that everything is done correctly the first time.

Last, but not least:

8. Pay them on time.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Just pay the firms on time. If you do not pay the firm on time, then they can’t pay their workers, bills, etc. Not to mention, the work they are doing for you will take a backseat to the clients who do appreciate the firm and pay them on time. It is a whole domino effect that just simply is not necessary if you budgeted properly (refer to #2).

If you read this whole article and you are ready to launch your business, contact us and let’s get this ball rolling! The MAD House helps build brands that bring enjoyment to life.

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