What is a marketing plan and why your business should have one

What is a marketing plan and why your business should have one?

A ‘marketing plan’ is a turn of phrase almost everyone in the creative industry is bound to have heard of. However, despite its common and self-explanatory name, many smaller businesses don’t place enough importance on marketing to familiarise themselves with the nature or benefit of a marketing plan.

The fact of the matter is, a business can only survive through establishing a customer base. But, if a business does not plan out how they can most effectively attract and retain customers, they are severely stunting if not killing their company’s chance of business success. So, what exactly is a marketing plan and, more importantly, why should a business (of every size) have one?

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a report that outlines the most important goals your business aims to attain and, through what steps. More specifically, it is an operational document that outlines, in detail, how chosen strategies will be implemented to create market leads and reach target audiences. Within this, most marketing plans should also include a temporal element that outlines the important deadlines that should be met for your company to reach the marketing plan’s goals.

Elements of a marketing plan

A marketing plan is tailored to each company based on general background and market research. This is to ensure a business can meet its own unique goals in the best way for them. However, there are re-occurring and common elements that are integrated into a plan to ensure it is an efficient and worthwhile investment.

Typically, your marketing plan should include:

  • An overview of your business marketing and advertising goals
  • A description of your business current marketing position
  • A description of your current or a prospective target audience or audiences
  • A selection of campaign tools, including platforms (general and specific like the Internet and Facebook social media)
  • A timeline detailing when tasks within your strategies will be completed
  • Key performance indicators for tracking the performance of your marketing efforts and,
  • Metrics for measuring the results of your marketing efforts for feedback

How having a marketing plan helps you as a business owner

As a business owner by simply developing a market plan, you will be able to reflect and refine what your business is about and how it is unique from your competitors. Thinking about your business and marketing goals in this broader way is key to staying competitive. Just by planning your marketing strategies prospectively, you will be able to think realistically and practically about how you should spend time on each task and stay organised in your business activities.

By having pre-planned efforts and methods of their execution your marketing plan will act as a point of reference that will help guide your business in maintaining the appropriate amount of focus on things necessary to reach your goals. As mentioned, a marketing plan is and should be adjusted to suit each individual business and their goals. Besides the fact that tailoring a plan like this ensures a company can get its best return on investment, a marketing plan can provide feedback based on findings of how successfully strategies perform. This means a marketing plan can also be used and adjusted on an ongoing basis so a business can use it as a tool for future improvement on how it should execute and co-ordinate its efforts.

Overall thinking about your business marketing goals and the best methods of executing those goals will pay off. You just have to learn how.

Talk to us for help.

What is organic marketing and why is it important?

What is organic marketing and why is it important?

What is it?

As its name suggests, organic marketing refers to the use of tactics that attract customers naturally and over time. Rather than approaching people with paid links, promotional content and boosted advertising, organic marketing has a more subtle goal.
By creating highly visible, high-quality content that gives prospective consumers value for no-cost, organic marketing aims to naturally attract and convert people who find them.

Why is it important?

One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses and marketers are people’s increasing immunisation to advertising. As advertising is everywhere, consumers have trained themselves to identify and disregard a lot of sales-forward marketing without much, if any, thought.

But – organic marketing to the rescue – while requiring time, organic marketing can bypass this consumer displacement. Instead of approaching people not searching for a product or service, organic marketing tactics aim to attract and convert people who are already motivated in the area of what you have to offer. For example, in 2018 Hubspot found that 70-80% of search engine users only focus on the organic results of their searches; ignoring the paid advertising.

Although it can take time statistics like these to demonstrate how this waiting game, can make easier, longer-lasting conversions out of people already inclined to be interested in a business. Even if they only capture their attention because they don’t seem to be asking for it.

How is it different from paid marketing?

Paid marketing is a direct, inconspicuous and artificial form of marketing. Through its sales-forward and transparent goal of generating sales, it uses sponsored messages and paid advertising tactics to generate a quick result.
But in comparison to the targeted and upfront nature of paid marketing, organic marketing is the opposite. It is unasking, naturally occurring, and gradual, with the aim of generating sales but over time.

Why is it important to you?

Unlike the sales focus of paid marketing, organic marketing can be used to communicate company values, ethos and culture. It communicates brand personality to attract the people who represent the ‘low hanging fruit’ of your target audience.

In other words, when people are searching for information relevant to your business’s products or services, the information it provides them is meant to unconsciously cultivate a sense of trust within the consumer that encourages them to chose your business over your competitors vying for their attention.

The greater a business appears to understand their area and what the consumer is looking for, the more the consumer will be inclined to choose them. Hence, people are more likely to invest in your company on the basis you don’t have to use clever advertising to have them believe in your abilities to give the consumer what they are looking for.

Organic marketing strategies boost paid marketing strategies

As the effectiveness of direct, paid marketing styles have gone by the wayside, organic marketing should be used to boost paid advertising strategies. This is because, to best address your business goals, it is now required these strategies work hand-in-hand. This explains why integrated marketing communication has become an essential asset for every company.

Both paid and organic marketing strategies drive engagement, acquisition, and conversion. But while paid marketing drives sales in people who notice your brand, organic marketing helps increase the number of consumers who can notice your brand, despite an oversaturation of advertisements. Essentially, by using organic marketing, a consumer is more likely to engage with your brand because they have already observed and connected with it through its more natural introduction tactics.

All your business has to do is use organic marketing to drive more consistent sales.

Talk to us for help.

Why customers are willing to spend a premium on some brands but not others

Branding

Branding

Why customers are willing to spend a premium on some brands but not others

Why is ‘Colour-Pop’ and ‘Kylie Cosmetics’, makeup product’s produced in the same factory with nearly identical formulas, selling for entirely different prices? With a nearly identical liquid lipstick selling for $16.82 at Colour Pop and $40.13 at Kylie Cosmetics, the question is perplexing. The answer: Value beyond a product. The who behind what they do.

Getting started

When a small business first enters a market, its natural practice for them to focus on the ‘what they do’ to establish themselves and their financial stability. To get themselves out of the gates and in the race, they must first market what they are going to offer.

Becoming more than just your product

As a start-up, no-one is thinking about the homestretch. However, once a business establishes itself, to cut away from the clutter of competitors, that business must do more. To move away from what they do and become who they are.

But, how does a business make customers perceive their business as offering more than just their product? Their brand.

Creating a brand

To create value beyond the characteristics of a product, a company must add meaningful associations to their brand. This is mainly because consumers now use products as a means of self-expression; a way to communicate their lifestyle or identity through using a brand that speaks the same language. But this can be a challenging task!

The challenges of creating a brand’s personality

When a company decides to think about branding they often find themselves trying to maintain its current and reliable customer base while evolving to appeal to a new customer base (with a higher willingness to spend). Luxury brands are examples of companies who have orchestrated this process really well.

Nike

According to Forbes, Nike surpassed Louis Vuitton in the ranks of the most valuable apparel brand in the world in 2016. The industry embraced high-priced athleisure as a status symbol so, Nike evolved, successfully maintaining its range of lesser expensive footwear while expanding its offerings to a higher end of the price scale. Through shifting the focus of its advertising and innovation efforts to higher-spending audiences, Nike now produces shoes from around fifty U.S dollars to special edition shoes worth tens of thousands of dollars!

Clearly creating a brand that reflects aspects people strive for in their lives is a recipe to success. If a company’s brand captures the values of their ideal customers those customers can identify with the brand in a way that reassures them they are making the right choice.

Branding can be difficult but, your choice does not have to be so hard. Talk to us for help.

You’ve captured your audience’s attention, now what?

audience attention

You’ve captured your audience’s attention, now what?

If your toast lands on the floor, we all joke about the slightly questionable ‘fact’ that we can still eat it; as long as it’s picked up within five seconds! But, when it comes to capturing the attention of an internet user with written content, how long does that toast have until the public will no longer consume it?

The answer…2.7 seconds. 

The fact is, people, want you to capture their attention. But, it is still no secret that the internet’s buffet of information has created consumers with a fussy palate. At the same time, the internet is stuffing readers with ‘food for thought’; content curators are going hungry if they fail to engage before their shocking 2.7 seconds ‘used by date’.

So, how do we capture a reader’s attention?

The fact of the matter is, getting a reader to where you want them to be is no longer enough. Once a potential consumer has landed in a place where what you want them to read is accessible, you still need to – cue shock and horror –  make them want to read it. The way to do that? Professional copywriting.

So, without wasting another finite two point seven seconds of your time:

Here is a mixed bag of tricks that makes content hard to click away from:

  • Break it down – Use headings and subheadings/bullet points. We all scan-read these days and frankly, it’s unavoidable. Cater to scanning and provide clean content that makes them want to read on.
  • Use quotes and visuals –  Paragraphs should not be the only thing breaking down a text. Seduce skimmers into reading on by presenting clear, short points made exciting by visuals that break them down and back them up. People are on the internet for a reason; give them quick and easy answers!
  • ‘Flow’, not ‘office memo’ – Use a flowing body/tone in your piece. This means content should read and progress naturally, informing a reader without distracting them. Spelling and correct word use are important (because a reader can be distracted by this) but grammar isn’t as noticeable, within reason.
  • Subtle selling/relatability – Throughout your copy, gently remind people to do business with you. The effective copywriter gets the reader imagining themselves as a customer. But remember! Content creators have to sell themselves as well as what they are selling. Ensure you stay on brand and speak your reader’s language; use storytelling to get your message across. Don’t use too many buzzwords.
  • Inspire – Readers retain and respond best to information they feel a need to act upon. You want your reader to do something about what you are telling them? Call them to action. It gives everyone what they want.

Do you want to hold your audience’s attention beyond those 2.7 seconds? Talk to us for help with your content.  Just click here to book in.

A simple introduction to split testing and how you can use it to boost your advertising ROI

A simple introduction to split testing and how you can use it to boost your advertising ROI

Split testing sounds incredibly scientific, doesn’t it? Well it kind of is but it’s also a fascinating way to find out what works – and what doesn’t – with regards to your advertising activities. After all, you’re spending a decent wad of cash on paid advertising campaigns; you don’t want to just throw your money up in the air and see where it lands.

What is split testing?

In a nutshell, it’s a way to determine which of multiple strategies is more effective. You start by segmenting a small part of your database into equal portions and then send a variant of the same advertisement to each segment. Once you determine which variant is most effective, you can then send that out to the remainder of the database. Alternatively, you can split test the entire campaign from the beginning, and use the results as a way to improve future campaigns.

Here’s an example

The subject line of an email is, arguably, the most important item of real estate in the whole message. After all, if it doesn’t capture the reader’s curiosity, it could get lost in a sea of other emails they receive that day. Your email subject line will determine your open rate, so one key measurable figure you can use to test the effectiveness of each of your split test options is to see how many people open each variant.

Boring: A message for you from Viking Tyres
Split test option 1: Your tyres are bald? Lucky we’re on sale!
Split test option 2: 30% off compact car tyres – today only

Boring: We’re looking for blood donors
Split test option 1: Free snacks, a short nap and save three lives … you in?
Split test option 2: 500mls of your lovely blood can save THREE lives this week

Don’t forget to track the results of your split testing

Remember that the goal of split testing is to see which version of your campaign delivers the best results, and to do that, you need to be able to track results. This can take a number of forms and will depend on your campaign goals. In some cases it could be that you would like visitors to visit a particular page of your site; another may be that you would like them to book in a meeting, or it may be as simple as a purchase.

What aspects of a campaign can you split test?

Throughout an ad campaign, there are multiple points that can be plumped to be more powerful. Be mindful of split testing too many components at once, or you won’t be able to pinpoint exactly what change is that’s delivering better results.

  • Choice of images – Will provocative imagery or soothing, warm-and-fuzzy imagery be more effective? Could you swap out a couple of product photos for pics of people actually using the products? Consider two separate approaches as your A and B options and see which performs better.
  • Headlines – Option A could be hard-hitting and factual and option B could be a question that appeals to your audience’s sense of how it relates to them.
  • Use of graphics – Infographics, graphs, pie charts and tables don’t appeal to every person. Some prefer to digest their content in word form. Option A could be graphic-heavy and B could be word-heavy.
  • Calls to action – Experiment with different CTAs; not just the wording but the presentation as well. Whether it’s print or digital, the CTA could be red text on a white box or yellow text in a black circle. Try out different colours, shapes and sizes of ‘buttons’. Explore various versions of the text, such as: ‘Buy now’, ‘Shop now’ or ‘Click here to purchase’; or ‘Make a booking’, ‘Book now’ or ‘Claim your appointment here’.
  • Length of message – In a campaign with greater volume such as a blog post, landing page or direct marketing flyer, you can experiment with the length of the message. Short, sharp and concise may be perfect and bring you lots of conversions. Or, you may find that a longer, more detailed approach works better. Split testing will help you figure it out.
  • Freebie offers – Sometimes, the promise of a free product or service can get fingers clicking or dialling furiously. At other times, it can cheapen an offer. Same goes for ‘limited time only’ deals. Or, you can try out both. Create a free product offer for option A and a ‘limited time only’ offer for option B. The results could surprise you.
  • Testimonials – If you’re trying to decide whether a long-format or short-format campaign would be best, one way you can lengthen the item is by inserting authentic customer testimonials. They could be text-based only or could feature a photo of the customer and, if a business, the business’s logo. Quality over quantity is key to whether short- or long-format is best.

Hoops to jump through – Often, the more steps you expect your readers to take in order to perform the action you want them to perform, the more likely you are to lose them along the way. Requiring them to fill out too many fields in a form, expecting too much personal information and having them click through to another new tab are all barriers to conversion. But try the split approach and see which works for your particular audience.

Hopefully, by now, you understand what split testing is and how you can test it out on your own next marketing campaigns. If you need help or would like Emroy Creative Group’s in-house marketing expert to help with your strategy, head over here.

How to boost your word of mouth sales exponentially

How to boost your word of mouth sales exponentially

Word of mouth sales are the ‘holy grail’ that every business strives for, and why wouldn’t they? Consumers discuss specific brands casually around 90 times per week (source). 92 percent of people will trust recommendations from people they know (source). This represents a gold mine of sales waiting for you!

When interviewed, 4 out of 5 businesses wondered why they aren’t attracting enough word of mouth sales (source).

So why do so many businesses fail in attracting word of mouth sales and what can you do about it? Read on.

 

word of mouth sales statistics

Tip #1: They need to remember you for word of mouth sales to happen

You may have the perfect product, coupled with fantastic service and offered at a great price. But in order to refer you, your customers need to actually remember your business when a conversation arises. Sounds simple enough? But how do you do that? You create a strong brand. If your brand fundamentals are strong and consistent (logo, colour, fonts, etc.), it will be easier for people to remember you.

It’s common knowledge that consumers need to see a business multiple times before they can remember it. Unfortunately, the number of times they need to see your brand is exponentially increased if what you are showing them is inconsistent.

Tip #2: They need a way to tell people about you

This used to be simple. You would leave your business card or flyer with a client and they would pass it along to someone else. While this still works exceptionally well, you have many more avenues available to you now.

A lot of word of mouth sales are generated via online reviews (especially on social media) these days. So make sure that the process of leaving you a review is simple, easy and straightforward. Ensure your business has an official presence on the most common places where people leave reviews. For example, places like Google My Business, Facebook, WOMO, Yelp and so on.

If you send out regular advertising material such as email newsletters, make sure you include a prompt or a button which allows readers to easily forward it on to others.

Tip #3: Give them something to talk about

Those ninety brands people talk about on a weekly basis normally have something happening that is worth talking about. Something like “Did you know Sandhurst Fine Foods has a new olive range that’s 100 percent grown in Australia?” (which they do, and it’s fantastic) is something that can easily and organically come up in conversation. But it won’t, unless you give your audience something to talk about and effectively get this news in front of them.

Tip #4: Reward them for sharing

‘Refer a friend and get…’ is incredibly common, because it works. People love freebies, discounts and bonuses and if you offer these to them as a reward for referring your business, they will be more inclined to do so.

If you aren’t receiving as many word of mouth referrals as you’d like, don’t automatically assume it’s a failure of your product, service or business. It means your marketing isn’t set up in a way that allows it to easily and organically happen.

How to correctly boost your social media following using offline advertising

How to correctly boost your social media following using offline advertising

Over the last couple of years, social media has become an integral part of most organisation’s communications strategy. It’s used to advertise, engage and to build brand awareness. To amplify your reach and make it easier for your customers to follow you, you will want to link your social media in as many places as possible – such as your website, email signatures, etc. But what about your printed material? Here’s how you promote your social media correctly.

All they need is a prompt

Let’s start with the basic question. Should you include social media in your offline advertising? Short answer, yes (with a few stipulations we’ve listed below). The reason is, people are more inclined to do something if they are prompted to (that’s why a call to action is so effective).  By including mentions of your social media on your offline advertising, recipients are more likely to interact with you.

If it’s not relevant, get rid of it

It should be of no surprise that space is a valuable commodity when it comes to printed media. As such, your social media information should only take up as much space as absolutely necessary.

What this means is that even if you’re across all of the social media channels, then you should only include your most relevant to the target of the advertising. If the piece you are working on is targeted towards the business community, Snapchat wouldn’t be relevant, but other platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook and twitter would.

Don’t include social media if you’re inactive

We’ve spoken numerous times about how important content marketing is. If you’re not actively using your social media, then don’t acknowledge its existence at all. The only thing worse than no social media presence, is one that hasn’t been updated since MySpace reigned supreme. The odd lull-period is fine, (within reason), but if you’re not going to engage with fans on these platforms, then don’t waste their time, and yours, by telling them to look you up. If you’re struggling with content, or simply remembering to push it regularly, it might be time to call in some support.

Don’t alter their logos

Screencap of Instagram's branding guidelines page-

Like most multibillion-dollar companies, social media platforms are pretty protective of their branding and logos. So much so, that breaching their style guides could actually land you in legal strife. Now a good graphic designer will already know this and should advise you of these legal discrepancies during the design process, but it’s better if you understand this from the get-go.

Now realistically the lawyers of Facebook have probably got better things to do than to send cease and desist letters to “Jim’s plumbing”  over a stretched out logo on a business card, but the point still stands. Where you may come into greater problems is on larger print collateral where the logo alterations become more obvious. When using another organisation’s imagery, always consult their style guides if they’re available (a quick Google search will do in most cases) and when in doubt, play it safe. Not only is it poor form on your part, but it also looks unprofessional. (No, Brian, the LinkedIn logo would not look good on the side of a can.)

Another important thing to note is that you need to make sure you’re using up to date logos. Facebook, Twitter, etc. have all altered their logos over the last few years, and it’s incredibly telling when an organisation uses an outdated icon.

Finally, the inclusion of these social media icons shouldn’t draw any attention away from your own branding. Leave them as they are (often times they’ll have a solid white/black/etc. variation which you can use) and keep it simple.

Displaying your social media handles

The last time we posted an article like this (around 3 years ago) we recommended that you include your social media handle to make navigation easier. As the search functionality on all major social media platforms has grown and evolved, this is no longer necessary. Most customers will find you by searching your business name in the correct field. As such, leave them off, they are just clutter.

Here are four of the easiest ways to show your customers you care about them.

Here are four of the easiest ways to show your customers you care about them.

Please prepare yourself for the biggest revelation you’ll hear all day.

Ready?

Customers like it when you’re nice to them. Better still, they love it when you go the extra mile for them.

This isn’t just basic common sense, however; according to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Given that clients are a business’ most important assets, it’s understandably in your organisations best interests to foster and maintain a positive relationship.

This doesn’t have to be overly complicated however, just a few small gestures can go a long way to winning the hearts of your customers. Here are our top 4 tips your business can use to create long-lasting client relationships.

Holiday cards

It may seem like standard procedure nowadays, but the impact of a thought out, considered card during the holidays could be considered monumental. Cards for Christmas, Easter, Lunar New Year, (Valentines Day?) are all really simple ways to execute this strategy. Holiday cards will reassure your client that they haven’t been forgotten in addition to making them feel special and acknowledged. Such cards also help keep your services fresh in their mind during what are often very busy periods for businesses.

The important part to keep in mind here is the “thought out”. You don’t need to write as though they’re your lover, but something with a little more depth than; Dear X. Merry Christmas. From Y Business.” is better. We’ve written about this in more detail here, but the lesson is, put a bit of effort in. You’re already investing in this strategy, so why not do it right?

Birthday cards

As you get older birthdays become less celebrated and so a card from your business will be a welcomed surprise. Keep track of your clients’ birthdays in your business calendar, and be sure to send out a card at the start of the month to each client due to celebrate a birthday that month. Clients rarely expect businesses to celebrate their birthdays – this gesture will show your business cares and help it stand out in your client’s mind.

Congratulations

Show your clients that you’re proud and supportive of them by sending your congratulations when they hit significant achievements. Your clients’ achievements and milestones deserve to be celebrated, and your business’s acknowledgement of this will show how invested you are in this relationship. You don’t need to send them a bottle of scotch (though I’m sure they wouldn’t say no!) just a card showing you care is enough.

Bonus tip – An easy way to keep track of these is simply to follow their social media channels; at the very least they’ll appreciate the extra engagement!

With compliments slips

With any official correspondence, it’s always nice to include a small, informal handwritten note to warm things up a little. To no surprise, a with compliments slip is perfect for that. In these situations remember to keep your message brief; there’s no need to write an essay. Even a simple ‘thank you’ will speak volumes to your clients’ and show that you are grateful for their business.

Greeting cards and ‘with compliments’ slips are great for businesses on a budget. You can pre-print these in bulk and ahead of time to save money, making them a great low-cost option to strengthen valuable relationships.

The art of brand language. Slogans, Taglines, and Mission Statements.

The art of brand language. Slogans, Taglines, and Mission Statements.

Slogans, Mission Statements and Taglines. We all think we understand what they are, but do we really?

Is McDonald’s “I’m lovin it” a tagline, or a slogan? If you guessed slogan, you would be sorely mistaken. The language we use around our brands is critical to telling its story and selling it to our customers and stakeholders. You might think your mission statement is just a puff-piece that every business is meant to have, but one that’s been executed well can significantly shape and define your company’s internal culture.

Similarly, a lot of businesses will slap together a slogan and shoe-horn it into some of their marketing, without any consideration for what it actually means when tied in with the rest of the collateral.

There are a lot of mixed opinions on terminology when it comes to this sort of language, so here at Emroy Creative Group, we’re here to set the record straight. Here are the three core types of brand language and what each of them actually means.

Just do it.

Taglines are the little phrases at the end of branding pieces that reinforce that companies identity. They should be short and powerful, the bit of copy that your customers would recognise first. Think Nike’s Just do it or Woolworths’ The Fresh Food People. Now, a lot of people would argue that these phrases are actually slogans. They are wrong. A slogan should be your business’s ‘why’, where you tell your audience why they should pick your product or service, what you do, or why you do it. Just Do It, or The Fresh Food People don’t really tell you why these companies exist. Oh, Woolworths has fresh food? Well, knock me over with a feather.

Like a clever punchline, this brief statement is used in marketing to create a memorable brand and can often change over the years with the advent of new campaigns. Your business’s tagline should, of course, be relevant to its values and what it does, but at the end of the day, it’s not your why. It’s a brand marker, short and memorable so that consumers can recall your brand more easily.

But why?

In just one sentence, the slogan needs to convey your ‘why’. Why should customers spend their money with you? Basically, in the context of a goal or point of differentiation, what is it that your brand does? While it should be concise, your slogan should be just long enough to evoke some emotion, while also identifying what it is that the company offers.

In Nike’s case, their slogan is actually “Inspiration and Innovation for Every Athlete in the World”. Just do it doesn’t tell you anything about the company. Outside of the ingrained brand association that Nike has created between them and their tagline, there is absolutely no way you could draw ‘just doing it’ and ‘shoes’ together. Inspiration and Innovation however, does. What does Nike do?  They develop innovative shoes with for every athlete that will help inspire them to achieve better.

Another well-celebrated slogan is FedEx’s “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” Straight away you understand their point of difference and their why. Why are they different? They’ll make sure your stuff gets there when you need it to. Why? Because you need it to be. That, is an effective slogan.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it.

When I think of mission Statements, I generally think of this scene from Daddy Day Care. It’s a long-winded, wanky document full of buzzwords and irrelevant jargon that no one understands and no one other than senior management cares about. This is not what a Mission statement should be. At all. Instead, a Mission statement should inform and inspire the organisation from within, giving employees and other stakeholders the why and how of your business. While the Mission statement can be shared with your customers, this statement is most effective when designed to be an internal document; one that is created in collaboration with all of the decision makers of the brand, not just one department.

Taking another look at Woolworths, we can see that their Mission statement is currently “We bring a little good to everyone, every day”.
So why is this a Mission statement and not a Vision statement or a slogan? Well, if you look at other Woolworths collateral (such as their Annual Reports) the idea of bringing a little good – good food, good prices, and good acts – is consistent with current company-wide goals and motivations. Everyone working at Woolworths can bring a little good to everyone, every day. Whether you’re the Managing Director or a service cashier, everyone can make someone else’s life a bit better.

Basically, it clearly defines the company objectives and how they go about fulfilling them. It tells you succinctly what Woolworths does in today’s market, and why. It doesn’t get carried away with exotic language and hollow sentences; instead telling its audience very clearly what they believe. Woolworths wants to bring a little good to everyone, every day. It doesn’t map out an exact strategy, determine who ‘everyone’ is, or any other super-specific details. It just tells you their overarching mission. Bringing a little good to everyone, every day.

In a similar stream of Mission statements we’ve got Facebook’s, which is “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”  Again, short and to the point. What does Facebook want to do? Give people the power to share and make the world more connected. Straight away you understand what they’ve set out to achieve and broadly, how they’re achieving it.

To the unfamiliar eye, brand language can often feel like waffle thought up by someone trying to justify their paycheque. Often times this is true. However, when it’s done correctly, the right brand language can significantly influence the trajectory of an organisation and its campaigns.

Establishing your brand from a point of difference

Establishing your brand from a point of difference

If your goal is to establish brand loyalty in your customers (and why wouldn’t it be?) then you need to establish a point of difference (POD). All too often I see the same, confused look on a client’s face when I ask what should otherwise be a simple question; “What is your business’s point of difference?”. In other words, what makes you ‘special’?

This one question should underpin every business decision you make going forward.

Effectively, you shouldn’t be consulting with your graphic designer without a clear marketing plan. Having your business goals on paper is critical to ensure branded assets are constructed with clear intention. Building your marketing plan will allow you to reflect on what makes your business different to your competitors; allowing you to gain better insight into who your target audience is. It’s this knowledge that allows you to successfully target the right audience, with the right message, via the right medium.

Don’t just know – live, breathe and embody your brand! After all, your brand should be a reflection of your values, your service and your commitment.

It’s not all about the money, money, money.

Often times when asked this question a business owner will tell me that they’re cheaper and better than their competitors, and in theory, this is a perfectly fine POD. However, if you are going to do a price-based point of difference, you need to be able to commit to it and deliver it consistently. This may lead to having to cut into your bottom line.

A price point of difference is generally a more effective strategy if you can capitalise on economies of scale. If you’re not sure what this means, basically the greater your buying power, the more you can negotiate on price. For large corporations like Bunnings and Officeworks (both have a “beat it by 10%” type guarantee) this works well. In contrast, if you’re a corner store, you’re probably not going to be able to compete against the likes of Coles or Woolworths on price alone. This is where other strategies come into play.

What makes you so ‘special’?

Here’s the thing. Every business exists to make a profit. Yes, there’s the desire to provide a solution to a problem, do good, and to make a difference. Fundamentally however, you’re here to make money. Everyone knows this, that’s just how businesses work. How you differentiate yourself after that is what’s important.

Let’s say that you’re running a cosmetics business. There are more businesses in this sector than you can shake a pore strip at. So you need to stand out, be different. Your brand uses predominantly natural products that are vegan-friendly and aren’t tested on animals. Awesome. There’s one already. The ingredients you use are locally sourced to support Australian farmers. Bingo, now we’ve got two. These are the qualities that shape and influence how your brand should be perceived by your target audience. Too many brands opt for a stock standard industry “look” rather than taking the time to consider what makes them special. In many ways your business is a living entity. It’s the sum of your goals, ethics, and values: these all influence just what your brand is, and how it is perceived.

If you truly want to carve out a position in the market, then you need to have a reason to be there.

Scream it from the rooftops!

Determining your POD’s is a fundamental part of setting your business up for success. It’s these POD’s that (if done well) will underpin your entire branding and marketing strategies going forward. Unless you’re after a run of the mill, middle-market standardised product, having the lowest price probably isn’t going to be the greatest concern to your target audience. Instead, they want to know how and why your brand connects with their values. Going back to the cosmetics example, just by determining and acknowledging what your point of difference is (ie, that they’re eco friendly) you can very easily establish who your target audience is. From here, a good designer, marketer, and web developer can forge a brand identity that is receptive to your customers’ wants, needs, and desires.

As noted earlier, knowing what your point of difference is, also means knowing who your target audience is; meaning you can then determine how to market to them. If your customer base is eco-conscious mothers living in suburbia, then LinkedIn probably won’t be your channel of choice when it comes to getting your message out there.

When you know your POD’s, you have a golden path to sales. You can market what makes you stand out and make sure potential and new customers know what makes you special.