Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Visual Branding’ Category

Helping Canberra small businesses to Get Smarter Marketing

By Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Jean Mc talks about the importance of supplementing advertising with other marketing tactics and how a referral plan can help you grow your business.

I’ve had a few chats this week with clients about advertising.  The comments are always the same:  “I’m spending megabucks on advertising and I hardly get any work from it!”

I’m with them in some ways.  In my view the advertising industry is all about money, money, money and getting as much of yours as possible.  Yes it’s very expensive generally and the return on investment is sometimes difficult to identify but advertising does have its merits.

The key to valuing advertising is not in how much direct business it generates – it won’t usually generate much – it’s in the brand recognition it creates.  Advertising is about getting your target market (the media’s audience) to distinguish your business and understand the value of what you offer them.  That way, when they recognise a need for themselves they are more likely to contact your business over your competitors.

Still, there’s a lot that has to happen between the ad and you getting the business.  That’s why you need to have other marketing tactics working at the same time to make that process much easier.

A Referral Plan

One of those other tactics is a plan to generate referrals for your business.

You can bet that 8 out of 10 customers who are asked how they heard about a business will say “a friend told me” or something like that.  In a place like Canberra we truly do have only two degrees of separation.  The trick in business is to get those working for you.

What Goes in a Referral Plan?

Well, like all good plans you need to start with some goals.

  1. Think about how much you want to grow your business by this method, work out what percentage of referrals will lead to business (the effectiveness of your plan will increase this number) and how many referrals you’ll need to get per month and year to achieve this.
  2. Then do a SWAT to identify what you need to take advantage of, and what you need to fix in order to maximise your likelihood of success.  The results of this become part of your tactics.
  3. Given this, work out what resources (people, money and time) you are prepared to put into achieving the goals and any changes you’ll need to make to have those resources available (eg: training, budget, schedule).

You are now ready to put together your referral plan tactics.

Some Referral Tactics

You know your business best and should be able to come up with some novel ideas to get referrals.  Here are a few tried and tested ideas:

  • Revamp your customer service offering – nothing brings people (and their friends) back like getting the service they desire.
  • Develop a relationship with others who serve that market – there are other businesses out there that want to be able to deliver a value-added service to their customers.  Get to know them and offer special packages for their customers if they refer them.  It’s important though to keep these relationships going to achieve a good stream of referrals.
  • Diversify your service – think of other things related to the services you currently offer that you can offer to your existing customers.  Checkups, end of warranty service, reviews, training etc.
  • Referral cards – give out a card to existing customers to pass on to friends and colleagues.  You might consider offering them a discount or a reward for successful referrals.
  • Reminders – at every opportunity – every communication with your clients, don’t forget to ask them to refer friends or colleagues to your business if they were satisfied.  It usually takes 3 contacts at least to get people to take the action you want.
  • Post service survey – give new customers a survey aimed at improving your service.  Ask if they are likely to refer your business.  You may even consider asking them to provide the name and contact details of someone they’d like to refer.
  • Do a contest – Run a “Why I need and deserve….” contest with your customers and recommend they pass it on to people who might be interested.  Collect contact details of potential customers and follow them up quickly. You can select and publicise the answer which best reflects your key messages.

There are loads of other ways you can generate referrals.  It’s just a matter of doing a plan and thinking a bit laterally about how to achieve your goals.

I’d love to hear about other tactics your business has used to generate referrals.

Jean Mc

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

tips on branding and design canberra

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on website management

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Make sure your website looks like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules).
  3. Make regular updates to your site. (clients and search engines like this)
  4. Check your statistics and title tags. (some easy SEO here. That’s Search Engine Optimisation!)
  5. Use a local (Australian) and reliable host.
  6. Learn how to use the sites CMS. (Content Management System)
  7. Use your key marketing messages to direct your visitors to where you want them to go.

7 tips on taming your designer (or getting the most from your designer)

  1. Brief your design professional on your audience and messages.
  2. Let them offer options and ask them why these options will work.
  3. Provide real deadlines. (not just asap, or before lunch!)
  4. Provide feedback and amendments promptly. (so they still remember the job. It may even still be up on their screen!)
  5. Define the scope of your task in the briefing. (this will allow for costs to be estimated up-front)
  6. Provide feedback based on the original briefing scope and direction.
  7. Don’t rely on them to spell correctly! (proof read carefully)

5 tips on electronic publishing

  1. Save on print costs with on-demand printing from PDF.
  2. Apply your brand to everything inc. emails, blogs, PDF downloads, etc…
  3. Make your reports available as PDF downloads from your website.
  4. Send your brochures or fliers to clients as PDF’s by email.
  5. Ask your design professional to make them interactive too!

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Read Full Post »

branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

10 tips on re-newing your brand for growth

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Research your audience.
  3. Ask, why re-brand?
  4. Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
  5. Consider a wide range of options.
  6. Let go of previous solutions.
  7. Package your “stuff” (visual collateral) to keep costs under control.
  8. Use the change to promote your business more, or differently.
  9. Plan to phase out ALL old material.
  10. Ask your design professional for a set of rules for application to ALL your “stuff” (visual collateral).
  11. Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

(oops, that’s eleven!)

5 tips on email marketing management

  1. Keep your emails short and fun.
  2. Allow unsubscribes.
  3. Make your emails look like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules)
  4. Use HTML emails (they look better and nearly everyone can see them).
  5. Track opens and click throughs on links.
  6. Build your database with online subscription web forms.

(still having trouble counting!)

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Read Full Post »

branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can also follow these tips regularly on the Luxgraphicus blog.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on design for start-up businesses

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Research your audience.
Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
Get your brand design done before your website, business card and brochure.
Plan ALL your requirements, then get some done now.
Get the others done later by the same designer.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

10 tips on re-freshing your brand

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) consistent.
Look to “modernise” your logo (keep it’s shape and intent, change its feel and appeal)
Add some new graphics and text treatments
Compliment your standard colour palette with a few new ones.
Choose a small set of iconic images for your marketing and promotion
Change the format (shape & size) of some material.
Change the delivery method of some material.
Use a quality paper stock for your key material.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Read Full Post »

tips on branding and design canberra

We’re disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can also follow these tips regularly on the Luxgraphicus blog.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on why branding?

  1. Your client’s perception of your business is based on how they see you.
  2. They “see” you at every contact point with your business.
  3. This impression is created in a second.
  4. Their perception is often unconscious.
  5. This perception is often not a considered decision.
  6. To your client, their perception IS reality.
  7. When this perception is positive, potential sales become clients, and clients become advocates.

Why are the best businesses watching their branding?

5 tips on branding your business

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Review your brand and it’s purpose regularly (every 6 months).
  3. Apply brand rules across ALL aspects of your business.
  4. Apply brand rules ALL the time.
  5. Be consistent and stick to a single solution.

5 tips on managing your brand

  1. Review your brand regularly (every 6 months).
  2. Follow a checklist to make sure everything is considered.
  3. Create a system of rules.
  4. Make sure everyone follows the rules.
  5. Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) safe and retrievable.

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Read Full Post »

By Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Is competition something to be feared, ignored or confronted full on.  Jean Mc talks about the nature of business competition and ways that marketers can help businesses deal with this inevitable consequence of success.

I was reading in the Canberra Times on 28th February about the demise of Brand Depot and DFO. Both it seems are in danger of closing and certainly both have seen a mass closedown of tennant stores.  They put it down to both the GFC and development and upgrading of other shopping centres in the region.

Wikipedia defines competiton in economics as: ” the notion of individuals and firms striving for a greater share of a market to sell or buy goods and services.” Surely with words like “individuals”, “striving” and “share” this can only be considered a good thing.

Certainly Wikipedia goes on to say that economist consider competition to be a healthy thing (as did my economics lecturer at UC) because it promotes “consumer soverienty”.  This means that the greater the competition – the more choice and control that consumers have.

Competition is a good thing – really!

It usually means that prices come down which (in a narrow way of thinking) is less good for businesses than it is for consumers.  The good thing for businesses about competition is that it tends to keep us focused on our brand and continually innovating new products and ways of promoting them to keep our place at the top of the market.

In short – when the customer is king then it makes sense for businesses to think about newer and better ways to meet their needs.  That folks is the essence of marketing.

Dealing With Competition

I talk about competition a lot when I go around the Capital Region talking about marketing.  It’s not that easy to understand.

In some ways, your business is in competition with my business and every other business that people might spend money in.  If we agree that consumers (business, Government or household) have a limited amount of money in their pockets to spend – and even less discretionary money to spend – then in this way each business competes with every other for this money.

Plumbers compete with gymnasiums, with supermarkets, with financial planners and with charities for all the money that households have to spend.  This is probably how accountants see it.

How to Have No Competitors

Marketers see it a different way.  Marketers start with fully understanding the needs of the target market (through research) and how your business could best meet them.

A marketing savvy business works out how their unique resources (skills, knowledge, people, technology, experience etc) can be packaged together to meet the needs of the target market in a way that no other business can match.  Promotion of the business then becomes about building a desire in the market to have their needs met in this way.

An example

Mary has a shoe store.  She conducts some research about how her market feels about shoe shopping.  She discovers that her potential customers look forward to shoe shopping as a way to relax and make them feel special.  With a bit more research, staff input and some customer feedback – she develops a ‘Valet Shoe Fitting Experience’ where customers can come and relax, mingle, drink and eat and have a customer care specialist give them individual attention.

Mary found that women in her market were prepared to pay a premium price to have their special needs met in this way.

You might say “but not every woman would find that appealing”.  That is the whole point.  Mary has specifically targeted a small section of women with specific tastes and values and put all her resources into serving them better than every other shoe store.  Of course she did sufficient research to identify whether there were enough women fitting in to this niche group to be able to support her business.

In this way – having created a need for this valet service among her market – Mary  has removed all the other shoe stores from her competition.  She simply has no competitors in this market.

Research is the Key to Removing Competition

If you would like to be like Mary and remove the competition then the place to start is with research.  You need to research these things:

  1. Characteristics of your target market (size, income, location, age, spending habits etc)
  2. Values of your target market (what’s important to them, what do they put a premium on?)
  3. What they need (needs and desires – fears they want to allay)
  4. Where are the gaps in the market?  (Who is meeting these needs and who is not – how are they positioning themselves?)

Once you have a good understanding on what the market needs you can then start to develop products (goods and services) that meet their needs better than other businesses and start to eliminate your competition.

Marketing Angels can Help with Research

If you need help to understand what makes your target market tick – contact Marketing Angels for expert help on marketing research.

I’d be interested to hear about your experiences with competition and how you have managed it successfully.

Jean Mc

Read Full Post »

Brian Miller – Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

Last week I was asked  – “what would a business person be saying that would indicate that they might need a new business identity or re-branding?”

Chances are that those most in need of new or re-branded identities wouldn’t be saying anything about it at all! Those who would interest a designer as a potential client however might be talking about their marketing plan, or plans they have for growing their business, or entering  a new market. They would be giving off clues that they were proactively taking their business on a path towards success.

Have you had a light bulb moment lately?

I answered a research survey from a personal development coach today. By completing the survey and returning it I identified myself as their target audience. I was clearly ready to begin to accept the help of a coach in my development. All people would benefit from these services but it is vital that they, themselves see that they need and are ready for this help. Like the light bulb which can be changed by the single psychiatrist, so long as it wants to change, I was accepting that I too was ready to be helped. The questionaire survey raised several issues which swayed me in the direction of the coaching help, but just by taking the time and effort to start the survey rather than dump it in the bin, was evidence enough that I was ready to take the first steps with the coach. We could all do well by working with a development coach, but we have to want to. In fact it is often those who most need the help that are most unready to accept that help.

Similarly, all business could do well by working with a designer on the audit and review of their existing visual identity. Ongoing management of its application and access to its components for operational and marketing activities will ensure a consistent message delivery. This involvement can also identify areas for improvement and potential need to re-brand or re-fresh the existing branding details.

Those businesses in most need of this service will probably not place any value on it. They will dismiss the effort and resources required as unnecessary or wasteful. They are not ready for the change. They are not the audience of the designer. The designers audience are managing their business towards success. They have plans and they are carrying out those plans. A marketing plan will be key amongst those plans and the delivery of its messages will rely on visual design.

The business person may not know they have need for new design, but they will accept that doing an audit of their visual material is a worthwhile process, and one which could help them on their path towards success. Like the coach’s questionaire, accepting that doing the audit is not a waste of time is the first step in working with a designer to drive the success of the business.

It only takes one good designer to create a fabulous business identity, but the business has to want a fabulous identity!

Brian.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »