By Mike Kolbrener
For any new venture, an undifferentiated brand and undefined integrated marketing and lead generation strategy are potential barriers to realizing growth. As part of a three-fold effort to (1) Clearly articulate the value of your offerings to prospects, (2) Build the marketing material to communicate this value and (3) Develop a lead generation program to increase inbound opportunities, the following is typically recommended:
- Develop Brand Positioning and Marketing Communications Strategy
- Marketing Communications Implementation
- Develop and Implement an Integrated Drip Marketing and Lead Generation Program
To achieve your goals, you must carve out the unique and compelling reasons for potential customers to select your over competing products and services…and consistently communicate both your distinct personality and benefits in ways that connect with your target audiences.
A good process must walk a fine line between too much and too little, and allows for collaboration and ensures that the outcome makes the highest possible impact.
1. Product /Service Brand Evaluation Research
2. Competitive Analysis
3. Product or service Brand Platform Development
4. Brand Attributes/Definitions
5. Brand Essence
6. Positioning Statement
7. Target “Persona” Development
This comprehensive approach ensures that your brand becomes the thread that runs through all of your discreet marketing efforts…and that each and every effort reflects positive equity back to the overall brand.
By Kirk Littell
A heavyweight ad battle continues to rage during commercial breaks across America. It’s a somewhat equitable battle in terms of dollars spent but my scorecard shows AT&T getting drubbed by Verizon in terms of creativity.
AT&T continues to advertise in “damage control mode” after Verizon’s recent onslaught of ads, with a new spot featuring actor Luke Wilson. If you watched any TV over the weekend you invariably saw him standing in the middle of the US map where he tosses postcards to all of the locations covered in AT&Ts 3G network. This spot is very tedious as he slowly reads city names one by one and adds odd “fun facts” as he throws the cards. The initial ad gains some momentum when you see a second commercial where he continues to throw cards until the map is bursting with them. Kudos on that media buy, but this pair seems like a big “so what”.
All of this was of course brought on by Verizon’s choice to deride AT&T’s coverage areas in multiple ads that coincided with the release of it’s new 3G phone, The Droid. They turned the iPhone’s “There’s an app for that” line into “There’s a map for that” and started attacking the largest US phone company with said maps. This ad (seen in the photo above) uses a classic holiday special to compare the networks. But as entertaining as these commercials are, comparing the maps side-by-side isn’t exactly fair. Or at least that what AT&T argues in their lawsuit against Verizon, saying that they do have 2G coverage in the areas that are not 3G-ready. (Verizon’s map for AT&T only depicts the 3G areas and nothing more; they’ve omitted the 2G and 2.5G coverage areas.)
Bloomberg.com reports: “U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten said that while the ads, which use maps to compare the companies’ third-generation networks, might be “sneaky” or “clever,” they are “literally true.” AT&T will have another chance to ask the court to prohibit the ads in a Dec. 16 hearing. Batten said AT&T is unlikely to prevail.”
Stay tuned, and if you read this blog with your 3G device just stay out of Death Valley, I don’t think either wireless carrier covers it – yet.
By Kirk Littell
This is a TV spot AXIS recently created for the Pittsuburgh Public Schools to help promote the “Pathway to the Promise” to ensure that every student is “Promise-Ready”, meaning that they are academically eligible to receive up to $5,000 per year towards their post-secondary education (college, vocational school, etc.) This is one part of a larger branding strategy that AXIS developed for PPS around promoting this program to the community. It is their commitment to build a culture of expectations, promote aspirations for higher education, and ensure that students are on course to be eligible for Pittsburgh Promise scholarships.
By Kirk Littell
Consider this. Your website is more green if it is black. In January of this year, Mark Ontkush wrote a blog post that claimed if Google changed their page background to black, they would save 750 megawatt-hours a year. As Mark says:
As noted, an all white web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts. I thought I would do a little math and see what could be saved by moving a high volume site to the black format. Take at look at Google, who gets about 200 million queries a day. Let’s assume each query is displayed for about 10 seconds; that means Google is running for about 550,000 hours every day on some desktop. Assuming that users run Google in full screen mode, the shift to a black background will save a total of 15 (74-59) watts. That turns into a global savings of 8.3 Megawatt-hours per day, or about 3000 Megawatt-hours a year. Now take into account that about 25 percent of the monitors in the world are CRTs, and at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, that’s $75,000, a goodly amount of energy and dollars for changing a few color codes.
By Mike Kolbrener
The week’s Advertising Age reports that even after Big Food, 11 major food marketers including Kellogg, Kraft Foods, General Mills and Unilever, voluntarily shifted or eliminated $1 billion in kid-targeted junk-food marketing, critics, watchdogs and regulators such as Federal Trade Commission’s Jon Leibowitz are now pressing for more restrictions on more marketers including media companies. They are going after Viacom, Time Warner, the TV Networks as well as ConAgra, Chuck E. Cheese and Burger King.
The FTC is preparing subpoenas for 44 food and fast-food companies to examine how they are marketing products to kids. What does this mean? Coca-Cola and Hershey’s won’t aim advertisements at kids younger than 12. Mars/Masterfoods won’t advertise any of its candies to kids. PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Kellogg, General Mills, McDonald’s, Unilever and Campbell Soup will limit all their marketing of food to children younger than 12 to more healthy foods. No more Cap’n Crunch. No more “Silly Rabbit” (Trix). No more Count Chocula. Possibly, no more Happy Meals. These developments make me take pause and ask whatever happened to parental responsibility? I don’t see kids younger than 12 checking-out at the grocery store. I’ve never witnessed an 8-year-old placing their order at McDonald’s or Burger King.
Does Congress really need to mandate a study of how products are advertised to kids? Rather than following in the footsteps of “No Child Left Behind”, another federal initiative that has removed parental accountability in the education of our nation’s children, maybe Congress should look at the state of parenting in America. When I was 8 years old in 1980, there were advertisements for Cap’n Crunch during Speed Racer, Big League Chewing Gum during GI Joe, and Hershey bars during the Justice League.
I could have probably sung the Big Mac song, word for word. This didn’t mean I ate Cap’n Crunch for breakfast every morning, chewed gum and devoured Hershey bars all day and ate at McDonald’s every night. Why? My parents. My parents dictated my diet. My parents were involved in my education. My parents . . . well, they were freakin parents. Today, I see too many parents shifting the blame and not taking on the responsibility they should. It’s not my fault or Billy’s fault he’s failing, it’s the teacher, the school, or the school district. It’s not my fault Cindy isn’t healthy.
“It’s all the marketing for the junk-food. I’m compelled to buy it for her.” Really?! I do applaud Big Food for the steps they have taken, but I am equally dismayed as to why they need to.