Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jump Start Your Resolutions
The first thirty days are crucial to your success

By Jim Walton
CEO, Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Indianapolis and Charlotte

With the holidays behind us and all the gifts opened, it’s time to drag out that list of New Year’s resolutions for a quick review. Right at the top of the list are the usual items such as weight loss, financial management, etc. Many companies and communities also write a list of resolutions. It’s often more of a wish list. At Brand Acceleration, we’re often part of the list development process, helping to develop strategic plans and tools required to carry them out. Such a list might look something like this:

Develop a Strategic Plan
With the economy showing signs of recovery, now is the time to take a big-picture look at your future. Are you content with your brand position or is it time to examine who you are in comparison with your long-range vision?

Now is the time to develop long-range brand strategies that are focused on a BHAG. A Big Hairy Audacious Goal, according to the 1996 article entitled Building Your Company's Vision (James Collins and Jerry Porras) is "an audacious 10-30 year goal to progress toward an envisioned future." Shorter term, what are your plans for 2011?

Is your Web Site more than Two Years Old?
It's hard to believe that web sites outdate that quickly, isn't it? But, when you consider the many changes that have likely taken place at your company or community, coupled with the massive technological changes, your site may be outdated. All those new apps and remote devices like iPhones and iPads also play an important role in the functionality of your web site.

Brochures: Sometimes They Just Get Outdated
Take a look in your supply closet. What do you see? Are your brochures fresh, contemporary and consistent in their appearance or are they fragmented and dated? Sometimes it just makes sense to throw out the old materials that still show the young lady with the 80's hair style and replace them with pieces that will position your organization as one that is poised for the future. Often, these tools are responsible for making the all-too-important "first impression."

Pride Campaign – Internal Branding
Among your best advocates are those people who live in your community or work for your company. A well thought out internal communication program can not only inform your constituents about your activities, it can develop a positive emotional connection that can pay dividends. Simply put, you want your team to be with you, not against you. I’ve seen great plans struggle because the troops were not committed.

Target Marketing is Powerful Marketing
In these days of tight budgets and very demanding bosses, many organizations are opting for highly-targeted direct marketing efforts, reaching out to clearly defined and qualified audiences. Whether direct mail or e-mail marketing, messages are crafted to resonate, based on a clear understanding of audience expectations.

Maybe it’s Time for a Fresh, New Logo
Every now and then, even the largest and most respected companies change or refresh their logo. Simply put, the old one gets outdated. Times change and so should companies and communities. Doing so demonstrates that you are a cutting edge organization which is positioned for the future rather than living in the past.

Meetings, Retreats, Mission Trips, and Trade Shows
Even with all of the advertising and other marketing communication tools, there is nothing like getting face-to-face with clients or prospects. Our clients often add scheduled meetings, retreats, and mission trips to their wish list. A carefully planned visit to a target city or country can go a long way toward building fruitful relationships that can boost business. In conjunction with trade shows or conferences, such efforts can be amazingly effective. Powerful trade show marketing is far more than just popping up an exhibit and sitting behind a table.

Done Right, Media Advertising Still Works
“We tried advertising once and it just didn’t work.” I hear this all the time. “What do you mean when you say it didn’t work,” I ask. “We didn’t get any calls,” is often the answer.

This is clearly a case of unrealistic expectations. Anyone who runs an ad and waits for the phone to ring is living in a fantasy land. Sure, it happens, but the reality is that media advertising is better suited as a brand building effort that positions a company or community for future activity. In a nutshell, if the prospect knows you and has a positive opinion of you, you’re much more likely to get a shot at their business when the need arises.

My Wish for You
After a couple of very challenging years, it’s finally beginning to look as if we’re in an economic recovery. Whatever is on your list, my wish for you is that 2011 is a year of success and abundance. If we can ever be of assistance, I hope you’ll give me a call. We’d be honored to be part of your team. Now is the time to get started.

Make the first thirty days count.

Brand Acceleration is a full-service advertising, brand management and public relations firm operating from Indianapolis, Indiana and Charlotte, North Carolina. The agency’s focus is on economic development, architecture/engineering/construction and real estate.

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