Who’s In Love With Your Brand?

Ovaltine and IBM

A few months ago, I was in the grocery store, considering which hot chocolate flavoring to purchase. Usually, I’m a Hersey’s syrup kind of gal, but for some reason, I was in the coffee and tea aisle, with Nestle’s Quik in one hand and Ovaltine in the other, reading the labels for sugar, sodium and fat contents.

A woman in her late 50’s was trying to pass and I murmured “excuse me” and stepped toward the shelf. She saw what I was holding and said, “Oh, buy the Ovaltine.” I smiled at her in return. Encouraged, she said dreamily, “Ovaltine means so much to me. When I was little, I had terrible trouble sleeping because I was ill for a long time. Every night, my mom would make me a hot mug of Ovaltine and read to me until I fell asleep. Ovaltine makes me think of my mom and the way she helped me.” Her face was far-away, lost in nostalgia, thinking of long-ago bedtime stories, a mug of hot chocolate to soothe an ailing child, and most of all, her mother’s beautiful, patient expression of love. For her, that’s what Ovaltine is all about.

Well, of course I bought the Ovaltine.

Later that week, someone mentioned IBM, saying something about “Big Blue” and how that might just be the most internationally-recognized, powerful brand on the planet.

And that’s when it struck me full force, like a bag of quarters in the kisser; while brands have a carefully constructed and communicated message managed by their internal and external partners, for many people, that message has nothing to do with their own perception of the organization.

Because, you see, to me, IBM is not about computers. IBM is about my dad, who worked for that company his entire professional life.

Hearing “IBM” makes my nose instantly remember that Bud-Rollins aroma of WD-40, dry cleaning fluid and newspaper ink. I can really, truly smell it. I can see his felt hat appearing in the alley at the end of his walk home from the train, I can feel the wool of his suit as he gathered me for a hug. IBM is the heavy briefcase filled with tools, middle of the night departures when a machine went down and Christmas parties at the Museum of Science and Industry.

And the really crazy thing? When I called my brother and asked him what he thinks of when someone says “IBM”, he replied “Dad and that IBM smell, you know what I mean?” Yes, Rich, I know exactly what you mean. Our brand of IBM is all about love too.

So what does this all mean to you? It means, to certain individuals, your brand has nothing to do with your carefully constructed message. No matter how much you promote outstanding customer service, unless it really is, 100% of the time, there will be someone out there whose personal experience brands you as having horrible service. Your brand is influenced by your messages, but it is determined by your audience.

That’s why thinking and acting in terms of the brand, for absolutely every single person in your organization, is vitally important – 100% of the time.

 

Do you prefer Ovaltine or Hersey’s? The twentieth person to let me know gets a lifetime supply of their favorite!*

(Yep – that’s my dad in the photo above, Harold “Bud” Rollins, Senior Customer Engineer with a mad comb-over installing a 2470 terminal)

*Not really. But I will send you one bottle or can!

We Know Direct Mail Like Arborist Knows Ash From A Hole In The Ground

Ed Ritzema was really bummed about the lack of response in his direct mail efforts. He spent alot of money, mailed to alot of people and just didn’t see the return on his investment. He is passionate about saving ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), now gaining ground faster and faster in the south and southwest suburbs. “People need to understand that I can save that heritage tree in their yard. The injections are cheaper and you get to KEEP YOUR TREE.”

 

Having lost two of my trees to this voracious invader before we could take steps to save them and feeling that pain, I couldn’t understand why people weren’t responding to his offering.

Then he showed me the card he was mailing.

OUCH.

The card was a hot mess of everything that Ed, a certified arborist, could possibly provide – including lawn care! Everything was just about the same size. There were multiple promotions and discounts offered. Recipients were completely confused about what this company did, why they should call and how 4 Seasons could help.

But the biggest barrier? Most people don’t know types of trees are planted on their lot!

So we created a mailer that zeroed in with laser-focus on Ed’s biggest mission – saving those white and green ash trees. The call to action is simple – Ed will identify every tree in your yard for free, no strings attached. There is information about the Ash Borer’s size, hole shape and symptoms, but the overriding push is that you can’t save a tree if you don’t even know what it is.

With Ed’s assistance with identifying about 10,000 homes in neighborhoods known to have EAB, we mailed even more cheaply than EveryDoorDirect by using postal route discounts. (Our mailing house ROCKS).

Ed’s phone started ringing and he’s now meeting new customers and saving their trees! Even better? Even if responders don’t have an ash tree, Ed has personally introduced himself, he’s now their expert resource. That homeowner now has a trusted arborist, one they can turn to for pruning, for emergency services – even for lawn care.

Interested in direct mail or other forms of response-driven advertising but oh so wary? Give us a call at 708-614-9766 or send us an email. We can help.

I personally recommend Ed because he’s worked on my trees.  I think of him as an Ent because he is indeed a Keeper of the Trees, deep in his heart. If you suspect you have the EAB, or just want to get to know your trees a little better, call Ed Ritzema at 708-371-5439 for a free tree identification!

Just Hand It Over And We’ll Handle It All

You don’t have to start all over again to start all over again.

Dr. Kidanu Birhanu is a physician with decades of experience, with multiple fellowships, certificates and recognitions achieved (including one of USA Today’s Top Doctors in 2011). In shifting his practice to concentrate on weight loss, anti-aging and sexual health in both women and men, he needed our help. 

His first need was a name and slogan for this new focus. We brainstormed dozens of ideas and presented him with a list of about 8. From this list, Dr. Birhanu chose 3 that he felt completely comfortable with. We created a focus group of women within our networks, both business and personal, formulated a brief survey and got input, feedback and results to tally, analyze and confirm. The name “ReNewYou” won by a considerable margin. That affirmation build a foundation for Dr. Birhanu’s success. The slogan was also determined by research, worded in such a way as to inform viewers of the entire practice subtly, with professionalism.

We went to work on a logo, again presenting Dr. Birhanu with many options. His three selections went in front of our focus group, in different color formats, to ensure that what we were planning on putting out there really answered what patients would recognize and respond to. When the logo was identified, we put together his website, selecting images, designing and writing the copy.

We’ve also created business cards. As Dr. Birhanu begins to market his practice through seminars (we’ll help him there too), he can leave behind a wonderful resource with a long shelf life, a bookmark. We’re helping with social media construction and with content, working to build Dr. Birhanu a following (Please LIKE on this Facebook page!)

Uninspired by your current marketing materials? Give us a call at 708-614-9766. We can help.

Do you know someone requiring design, advertising or marketing savvy, either starting from scratch or starting over again? Just forward this blog.

If you’re looking for a patient, thoughtful and attentive physician – who will really listen –  to help with general health and weight loss/bariatric surgery challenges, make an appointment with Dr. Birhanu via email or telephone, 708-229-1395.

Sometimes, It’s Best To Let The Client Do The Talking

 

“I just wanted to send you a quick note to say thank you for helping make our 2013 tax season a success. I was hesitant to implement another postcard campaign because I attempted one in 2010 which was not very successful. I did not like the postcard the company created…it was a little cheesy for the type of clients I wanted to attract.

However, the postcard you created has helped our firm create a professional image and attract higher quality tax clients. Everyone that came in with the postcard liked it. Majority of my new clients this tax season were a result of the postcard mailing.

I am considering another campaign this summer to promote financial planning and proactive tax planning. Thanks again for your assistance, it is much appreciated.”

-Renee

While we stop blushing, you think about your next marketing outreach program. We can help!

Anyone you know looking for a unique image within corporate requirements? We provide design, advertising or marketing that fits that brand.

If you need accounting, tax planning or financial services, visit rkctaxcpa.com. We promise she’s as professional and accomplished as she is complimentary.

A perfect location deserves a “perfect” advertising campaign.

As my advertising hero Don Draper likes to ask, “What’s the benefit?” In my own marketing philosophy, I always add, “What makes the product unique?”

Sometimes, in marketing a town or a region to attract tourism dollars (“heads in beds” or “feets in sheets”), the tendency is to emphasize benefits that are very commonplace. You see hundreds of the same billboards across the nation; “Great food! Charming downtown! Historic landmarks!”

Don’t you see Don shaking his head right now (and probably pouring a glass of scotch)?

The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) needed a new campaign for 2014 – and we needed to think about the unique benefits that could attract real dollars, across four entirely different markets; leisure, group tour, meetings and conventions, and sporting events.

We designed a campaign built around assets that can’t be found anywhere else in the whole U. S of A. and how those assets, as a matter of fact, make the Southland the right choice for these four markets.

For the leisure market, we emphasized the extensive (and yes, unique!) natural areas, forest preserves and outdoor activities, along with the largest outdoor sculpture park in the country. Group tour operators see the Southland as a perfect place to stay the night on cross country trips, with clean, safe hotels at a very reasonable cost. Sporting events also race to the Southland, with its plethora of facilities. Meeting planners like the newly-expanded Convention Center and Iron Oaks team building facility. The Southland’s biggest asset, applicable to all markets and emphasized as such, is its prime location, at the crossroads of America’s major interstates, both north-south and east-west. Free parking, highly beneficial and also unique, is strongly emphasized too.

The campaign includes QR codes unique to every publication, ensuring the CVB can track hits effectively, determining which magazine and guides are giving the most return on investment.

Unique benefits. Everyone has them. Make Don Draper proud and use them in your advertising.