The Blog

Small Business Promotional Ideas for March Madness

STANCE has a few promotional ideas for March Madness to offer small businesses.

First, some eyebrow raising numbers.

  • Last year, the NCAA men’s tournament’s Final Four match-ups and Final brought in $198.5 million in advertising revenue for CBS and Turner Sports, according to Kantar Media.
  • Each game last year averaged 10.7 million viewers, according to thestreet.com.
  • CBS-Turner is committed to $11 million over 14 years of March Madness Broadcasting, according to Forbes.
  • The American Gaming Association predicts that $9 billion will be bet on March Madness.

HUGE numbers!

The thing is sports have a powerful pull on our minds…and wallets. Whereas major brands compete for attention, just in the hopes that we might like them; sports have a natural ability to excite passion by providing competition. And we LOVE them for it.

Companies need to take advantage of this! I’m not suggesting you pony up and raid the couch cushions to buy ad placement, because you won’t be able to. Prices at $10 million for ads might just be out of reach.

We don’t fall in love with brands easily, but with sports, we fall in love extremely easily. Supercede all those trust issues by doing marketing promotions geared towards those passionate fans.

Bracket Contest

Not hard to do. Fans love filling out brackets, give them one more to fill out, but offer something special. $500 off the next purchase, maybe? By running a contest you are stating that you are brand that knows how to enjoy themselves, you are in touch with fans desire, and it will create excitement. No one is going to turn down a free opportunity to win something and the interaction will be outstanding.

Local Team Support

Local team in the tournament? Our isn’t but yours just might be. Show your support by running a promotion that offers fans something if the local team makes it to the Final Four. Or directly support the team by offering promotional items. College kids love free stuff.

Create Your Own Bracket

Let’s say you have a bunch of different products. Eye-wear, accessories, shoes, magazine, etc. Create a bracket that fans can vote on. Rank your items according to past sales, and round by round have fans vote on their favorites. This accomplish two things. First, it makes you unique. Second, it allows you to gain insight into customer trends. Did the fourteenth ranked purple paisley shirt make it to the Final Four? Might want to start pushing it more.

Whatever the choices may be for March Madness, be careful. “March Madness,” “Final Four,” and other similar terms are all trademarked. Only official partners are allowed to use these terms in promotions. Don’t push it. If you are hosting these contests online, anyone can report you, and if you are reported, don’t expect to get away with it.

 

How to Create a Meaningful Differentiation for your Brand

The essence of your brand is what makes your brand or service offering hard to copy.

In order to create the essence of your brand, I like to have my clients focus less of competitive differentiation (which in most cases can be mere feature/benefits) and instead focus more on what we call meaningful difference/differentiation. Meaningful differentiation is (in lack of a better term) “uncopiable” and when a competitor does copy it, they only strengthen your position in the marketplace.

In order to create/discover your meaningful difference, you need to figure out your brand’s purpose. Reason for being/why it exists.

To illustrate how you go about creating your meaningful differentiation, I’ll give an example of our branding agency.

As shown in the figure above, you can see our (1) Purpose (2) Focus (3) Difference. We’ve positioned ourselves as “Brand Elevators” and we apply this in everything that we think, say or do.

It’s all about “Elevating”

Therefore, we set our meaningful difference to be “The Elevator Principles“, they are 10 and just like above, we apply them in everything we think, say or do.

Here are the 10 principles, from it you can see how as a branding agency, this can be applied into “elevating” any brand that we work with. Also, if a competitor tried to claim this difference, they’d only be strengthening our position.

Here they are;

1. Be easy to use

Elevators are built with ease of use at the forefront. Get in, press button for your floor, wait for “ding”, done! Brands should function the same way. Over-complicating kills most brands.

2. Let us do the heavy lifting for you

Elevators do the heavy lifting, all you have to do is just be in them and they’ll take you up/down hundreds of floors and you won’t break a sweat. We aim to do the same for our clients, their brand/product/service should do the same for their audience.

3. Be efficient

Elevators are extremely efficient. By using counterweights to offset the weight they’re carrying, they are able to use very little electrical energy. As a brand, find ways to minimize waste as much as possible, it’s one sure way to grow your profit margins.

4. Know your limits

Each elevator has a “max weight limit”, brands should know theirs too. In regards to who your audience is, what your product/service is and what market(s) to compete in. Focus. When you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to no one.

5. Always function as expected- meet expectations

Sure, every once in a while an elevator will get “stuck” but most of the time, press up and it will go up, down and it will go down. A brand should always function as expected- delivering on its promise. Positive interactions build a brand, while negative ones kill it.

6. Be reliable/dependable

If we didn’t think elevators were reliable enough to take us up/down hundreds (or even 10) floors, we simply wouldn’t use them. If your audience doesn’t think you brand/product/service can get them from A to B, chances are they won’t consider you. The only way to achieve dependability/reliability is by following #5 above.

7. Engage your audience through interaction

Elevators require you to do something in order to get something- however small this is, it’s important. Press a button, I’ll take you to the floor you want to go to. Brands should be designed the same way. Some user involvement is important- it’s a psychological thing.

8. Evolve/Improve

We’ve come a long way since the first elevator. It’s important to constantly improve your brand in order to stay relevant. Now more than ever.

9. Revolutionize multiple industries

The invent of elevators revolutionized many industries e.g. Construction Industry (of skyscrapers) Architectural Industry (builders of these skyscrapers) Steel, Railway etc. Your brand should aim to shake not only the industry it’s competing in, but others as well.

10. Always have a “Plan B”

Did you know that elevators would still be able to carry it’s maximum weight even if all the cords broke and only one was left? Now you do. Did you also know that even if all the cords broke, there’s a fail-safe mechanism that we’ll lock the elevator in place preventing it from plunging? Don’t believe what those movies show you :)

Your brand should always have a Plan B (up to Z- why not).

Ok, enough lessons about elevators, I hope this helps in some way :)

The 3 C’s of Building a Strong Brand

The 3 C’s of Building a Strong Brand

With clutter in current marketplace, building a strong brand is more crucial than ever. The 3 C’s of building a strong brand simplify the sometimes daunting brand development process. They are the basic building blocks of any strong brand that exists.

One thing is certain: A brand has to be nurtured- and it takes (a long) time to successfully build any brand.

In addition to time, it takes thought and consistent application. But it does not have to take big budgets. It just requires you to embrace a mindset that requires both discipline and passion. It’s about caring for the bigger picture and the smaller details- all at the same time.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”stancebranding” suffix=”#STANCEBranding”]When building your brand, adhere to the 3 Cs and your results will make you proud.[/inlinetweet]

C1: CREDIBILITY

A brand has been described as “everything you say and everything you do.” Brands are built on trust. Trust is gained by delivering on each promise you make. A credible brand will always align the way it behaves with the way it is portrayed (or the promises it makes). This close connection will ensure that your customer’s instinctive reaction is one of trust and belief in your brand not one of doubt and uncertainty.

C2: CLARITY

A strong brand is based on clearly defined values, that are important to your customers and that differentiate you from your competitors. Take a (meaningful) stance. Do this by understanding, establishing and communicating what you stand for. A clear understanding of your values throughout your business will ensure that they are communicated clearly through “everything you say and everything you do.” When you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

C3: CONSISTENCY

The value of a brand comes through recognition and recognition comes from consistent application of every visible manifestation of your brand, at every ‘touch point’ that your customers experience your brand. Create brand guidelines, not only for your visuals, but also for your values, systems, processes and everything in between. Ensure every employee clearly understands & applies these guidelines- consistently.

 When all is said and done, strive to build a meaningful brand.

The Rise and Fall of an Iconic Brand: Case Study

The Rise and Fall of an Iconic Brand: Case Study

The Fall

The customers’ perception of businesses has changed, and so has everything around us. Any business that wants to remain relevant and a float, will have to follow the leader – consumers; in making the necessary changes.

The McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries. But come 2003, it was about to make history, but for all the wrong reasons.

As reported by the telegraph newspaper, McDonald’s reported its first ever quarterly loss in Britain, in January 2003. With more than 1,200 restaurants in Britain alone, it made a pre-tax deficit of £198.6 million and an operating loss of £125.6 million in the last three months of 2002. It made a net loss of £212 million over the period but still managed a turnover of £2.4 billion.

The same historical reports were echoed in America, recording its first quarterly loss since going public in 1965. Comparable store sales in America were stagnant for the past decade, and had been falling for 12 months. Mr. Cantalupo, a 28-year McDonald’s veteran was pulled from retirement in January to replace Jack Greenberg, and insisted he would bring changes in just a period of 12-18 months.

 2014-Loss-Stats

 Unhappy Meal

Despite the optimism of a comeback shown by McDonald’s chairman, to others, this losses indicated a change in attitude towards McDonald’s. Research revealed the brand was seen as childish; service was slipping – it was slow and unsatisfactory; the restaurants looked outdated.

McDonald’s, once a good example for good service, was ranked the worst company for customer satisfaction in America for nearly a decade, below banks and health insurers. Their share price plummeted from more than $48 in 1999, to hover around a ten-year low of $12. The fast-food market had also become increasingly competitive as rivals such as Burger King, Wendy’s and Taco Bell fought to maintain their market share.

The consumers did not see what value McDonald’s as a brand added to their lives. They could not rely on them for cheaper, faster or healthier food and services. The happy meal had turned into the unhappy meal; hence McDonald’s with all its open branches and franchises all over the world were stumbling down. Drastic measures had to be taken. This was no 5 year plan; this was a rebranding campaign that was well over due; if it was to have any chance in remaining relevant to consumers and stay afloat.

 Unhappy-Meal

 Meaningful Branding

Mr. Cantalupo worked alongside Larry Light; the global chief marketing officer. Mr. Light acknowledged their need for immediate change and said, “We lost relevance, the world changed, but we didn’t.”

Mr. Light emerged with a new branding strategy and in the campaign, he came up with the slogan, “I’m loving it.” McDonald’s introduced a new healthier menu with items such as: salads; yoghurts; sliced fruit and grilled chicken; after intense criticism that its traditional products were too high in fats, salt and sugar a diet linked to obesity. A new Adult Happy Meal was also introduced in the US that included a pedometer to encourage people to walk more.

This was in efforts to show its consumers why they should choose them over their competitors. Finally McDonald’s was involved in meaningful branding; and this proved to be a change in the right direction because it in turn saw recovery in revenues as it posted its highest sales gain in 30 years. Consumers could now see that McDonald’s cared about their health and cared about providing better services at better prices – with the introduction of the dollar menu.

 Untitled-1

 Lightning strikes Twice

This success from great leadership would be short-lived though, as Mr. Cantalupo dies on April 19, 2004 from a heart attack; he was attending a restaurant franchise of owners meeting in Orlando, Florida, when he fell ill.

This saw McDonald’s shares fall by 80 cents or 2.9% to $26.66 after Monday trading started on Wall Street following the announcement of his death.

“The worries are that perhaps there may not be a strong number two, since he was known as the one with the strong vision,” said Art Hogan, chief market analyst for investment adviser Jefferies & Co.

Despite McDonald’s going through this difficult time; the past 12 months were considered one of the fastest marketing and brand turnarounds in the business history.

Fast forward to the present, October 21st 2014; after a decade of doing well and changing hands in leadership, McDonald’s are once again in trouble. It turns in its biggest drop in quarterly profits, and CEO Don Thompson has acknowledged the calamity and the dire need for much needed change.

 Lightening

 Challenges being Faced

One could argue that McDonald’s has been facing significant short term and unrelated factors in posting a 30% drop in quarterly profits and 5% decline in revenue, which is worse than expected. It also faces international challenges: In China a meat supplier scandals continues; in Europe the economy is declining again; and in Russia authorities interfered with their operations in the last quarter.

Obviously all these are factors that are affecting McDonald’s ability to make any revenue and profit. But its biggest problem is that America and the global consumers alike no longer perceive clear meaningful reasons as to why they should choose McDonald’s over any other place to grab a bite. Consumers do not believe the food provides a satisfactory combination of great customer service; fast; convenient and healthy enough menu choices anymore.

“If we do not learn from the mistakes of history, we are doomed to repeat them. George Santayana.” This is something that is too familiar with McDonald’s.

McDonald’s also has been losing its influence and brand standing with its franchisees, who are forced to rely on Monopoly and McRib to see them through and with its traditional customer bases. Teenagers and young adults used to fill up McDonald’s because of the affordable prices, and it had a certain cool factor as a hangout; those days are long gone. And rivals such as Chick-fil-A have seized McDonald’s once-indisputable place at the top of preferred fast food restaurant for families.

 challenges

 Back to the Drawing Board

It’s time for McDonald’s to go back to their drawing board. The same purposeful and meaningful branding it carried out a decade ago is the only way forward. It needs to reassure it’s consumers it can be a consistent brand. Providing what they promise in their branding campaigns and following through. Consumers need a reason to go to McDonald’s as opposed to any other restaurant.

This is a challenge it will tackle head on if they are to remain relevant and functional in consumers’ lives. Consumers and competitors alike will be watching to see how it approaches and solves the underlying problems and it will be interesting to see what path it chooses. This will mean the difference between being a successful brand or a failed brand.

Will McDonald’s choose to make a stance to be a meaningful brand, with a clear purpose that makes an honest attempt to better the lives of its consumers and bring on the change that people want to see, or will it continue selling features and benefits of the burgers and remain irrelevant and die off? The consumers have spoken; the ball is in their court

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Are Kids Using Social Media to Build Their Brands?

Are Kids Using Social Media to Build Their Brands?

Is it possible that our children are using social media to build a brand?

I had the oddest thought the other day when I sat down to write about social media as a powerful business communication tool.  As I watched my son staring at his phone for what seemed like an hour I had to ask him what he was doing.  He explained he was checking his Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.  It dawned on me that he in essence is creating his own brand using the very tools businesses use to market themselves and increase their brand awareness.

As with any business that uses social media to market to the masses our children unknowingly exhibit the same attributes.

Why would I say this?

Well, one day a college recruiter/scout or future employer may want to know who they’re bringing on board and one of the first things they’ll do is check their social media to get a good picture of their values and type of life they live. They want to know what this person is about just as a consumer wants to know about a product or service.

A survey commissioned by the online employment website CareerBuilder has found that 37 percent of hiring managers use social networking sites to research job applicants, with over 65 percent of that group using Facebook as their primary resource.

The data is based on a nationwide survey conducted by Harris Interactive in February and March, according to a press release from the company. Researchers asked more than 2,000 hiring managers and other human resources employees if they use social networking sites to inform hiring decisions and, if so, what kinds of information they looked for and whether or not those findings hurt candidates’ chances.

Researchers found that 37 percent of the companies surveyed used social networking sites to pre-screen candidates, and 11 percent said that they planned to start doing so in the future.

To maintain a positive brand, here are a few simple rules that should be considered when using social media:

1. Keep it Clean

In a world where big brother is always watching and information never goes away, the content should be free of bad words, thoughts and actions.  The message has to be clean.  If I went to a company’s social media site and saw they used bad language or it contained violent content I wouldn’t be interested in their product/service.

 

2. Be Diverse

social media marketing

I looked at all of my son’s social media accounts and wondered why he needed to have so many.  As I looked at his friend lists I noticed he reaches a diverse target audience and gets a lot of information from different people.  By having the various accounts he has created a huge network of followers and it continues to grow daily.  I began to truly understand why companies use various social media tools to market to their customers.  It’s almost key in increasing your social network and target audience.

 

3. Keep it Positive

I remember the first time my son signed up for Instagram.  His dad told me to look at the page and pointed out it tells you his story and what he values most.  As I scrolled through his pictures and posts I could see he’s into sports, family, friends, and having clean fun.  I didn’t get the impression he was a bad boy, I could see he’s a good, well rounded kid.  Anyone who uses social media is basically telling a story about themselves, they’re communicating a message to an audience. That is what branding is all about. Aim at building interactions that evoke positive emotions. You only get one first good impression and one shot at selling your story.

 Think Different

All in all, after watching my son I found it interesting that at the end of the day he uses social media just as a business uses it to communicate with their customers.  The content he shares or the friends that he has are critical to his image/personal brand.

Anything negative can potentially have an adverse affect on his future.  Doesn’t this hold true for businesses and the the content they communicate to the outside world?

I never thought of my son was using social media to build a brand until I saw him using social media. When I thought about how businesses use it to communicate I realized that’s truly what my son is doing.

The Power of Social Media

He has access to free marketing, has a huge network of followers that he communicates with on a regular basis, and he’s telling a story that others will look at.  Be responsible with how you use social media because if you’re not careful, it can come back to bite you!

Checkout this infographic: Reppler provided statistics from 300 professionals involved in hiring.  

What they’ve found is companies are relying on Facebook and Twitter more and more to recruit people because they’re looking more into the person’s character opposed to just their work history.  Recruiters are looking at social media early in the hiring process.  Companies want to know what surprises might be lurking from new hires, Indeed profiles or stellar resumes simply doesn’t cut it anymore. 

Ways Employers Use Social Media to Recruit
Ways Employers Use Social Media to Recruit
3 Basic Reasons: Importance of Social Media for Your Business

3 Basic Reasons: Importance of Social Media for Your Business

To every new business owner: Here is the Importance of Social Media for Your Business.

[inlinetweet prefix=”Tip:” tweeter=”@stancebranding” suffix=”#socialmedia”]Social Media is the greatest tool at your disposal.[/inlinetweet] Don’t mistake it for just another fad that “kids these days” are talking about and be resistant. Embrace it, love it, and use it.

Look around, this is the new age. The 80’s, 90’s, and even early 2000’s promoting is a thing of the past. Yet some of you still channel your inner Monty Python, throw hands up, and book it, screaming “run away!”I get it. Social Media is daunting, but just like Michael Myers, it will creep up on you slowly no matter how fast you run.

So if it is here to stay, and you want to stay, how can you effectively use it? I have three suggestions that can be used in very simple, basic means.

1. Recruiting:

taken-linkedin-meme-duncan1
Long gone are the days when a paper resume was the only thing that told you the story of who an applicant was. Now employers have a life story at their fingertips. Is this person a good fit? Well he is passed out drunk in his Facebook profile picture. Not very flattering.In order to be successful, surround yourself with successful people who are going to work hard to succeed. Use Social Media to research. Chances are you will find the right person who worked to create positive content to be noticed instead of the wrong one who has pictures of themselves after 20 shots.

 

2. Simplicity:

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Hey, great news. You have a message right? Good, unfortunately chances are we won’t remember all of it! But have no fear! People don’t need to remember EVERYTHING, just the basics, Social Media does the rest. A slogan or tagline is a great way to get people talking, or in some cases overly annoyed enough to start Googlin’.  As you’ve probably heard, “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Quick, easy to remember, and catchy. GEICO uses this tagline to capture the attention, they don’t drone on about HOW you are going to save 15% or more, they just dangle the bait and get you hooked. Keep it simple on Social Media.

 

3. Sheer numbers:

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Every business owner should be comforted by this statistic: Facebook has 1.3 Billion active monthly users, according to Statistic Brain.Let that sink for a moment…1.3 Billion. That is 1.3 Billion people that are part of social network you can connect with. Facebook is not stationary anymore either, it is accessible almost everywhere. Mobile Facebook users are numbering over 680 Million. Our culture is evolving, will you evolve with them?

Start with basics. Use Social Media to recruit, keep your message simple, and connect with a growing social world. The key is consistency and focus. You should be excited by the points above because they serve as basic, fundamental, building blocks. Don’t go crazy, your message will spread you don’t have to be active on every Social Media platform to be successful. Start small, stay focused, aim big.

Why have a Brand with Purpose

Why have a Brand with Purpose

Why have a Brand With Purpose?

Consumers and marketers have conflicting ideas about brand purpose: They disagree on where brands should concentrate their efforts, and on which people are most receptive. As reported on a new research from the World Federation of Advertisers.

Only 40% of marketers thought that listening to and acting on customer needs was important to brand purpose, but in a parallel study by PR Agency Edelman, consumers chose “Listens to customer needs and feedback” as the number one attribute that builds brand trust.

The traditional function of brand positioning has come to a standstill. In other words, it is more rewarding to find your brand purpose and promote it, rather that promoting a competitive edge. One of the Key speakers at the IMC Conference, Jonty Fisher explains why.

“Having a clear and well established purpose for your business will help create much more relevance with consumers by focusing on what is a brand’s real motivation: What is the WHY underneath the HOW and WHAT that you do, hence seamlessly connect with the consumers on a belief and purpose level; as opposed to something that is purely based on a functional benefit that might not necessarily move them emotively. As we know consumer make decisions based on emotive benefits and post rationalize decisions based on the functional benefits that the brand holds. In summary, your functional benefits are your permission to play but your emotive or purpose is your way to win in modern market.”

 


This is the way forward from the standstill in modern market that will enable marketers to reach their intended consumers. This is what Stance Branding Agency thrives to provide all its clients on a daily basis.

 

What is Purpose?

Purpose is the deepest expression of a brand, drawing on its essence to determine its path in the world. It captures the relationship between corporation and community, touching on the financial, social, and environmental arenas. Today, people think of companies as corporate citizens. They expect companies to put their skills and resources to work for the common good, and they’re ready to reward those that do.

In China, 80% of consumers say they are willing to pay a premium for a product that supports good causes, compared with just 28% in the U.K. and 39% in the U.S. In India, it’s 71%, while 55% of Brazilians and Malaysians are prepared to pay more.

five-shocking-credit-card-debt-statistics

 

 

What is Brand Purpose?

Brand purpose is a natural outgrowth of the values embedded in your corporate culture. Call it corporate citizenship or corporate social responsibility; companies that have integrated this approach into their business strategy are seeing the profound benefits of taking an active role in changing the world. Social good and business good are deeply entwined in today’s corporate model.

The WFA surveyed 828 brand marketers from 33 countries, representing more than 400 companies and together accounting for $170 billion in global marketing spend, via email. The Edelman consumer study, which surveyed 8,000 consumers in 16 markets, makes it clear that brand purpose in 2014 is more about customer relationship management than corporate social responsibility.

Mr Loerke added, “It becomes clear that purpose isn’t necessarily about saving the planet. It doesn’t have to be worthy per se; it can be about taking small and meaningful actions.”

Marketers may be convinced that having purpose is crucial: 88% agreed that it is increasingly important to building brands. That is why huge companies are changing their marketing strategies with marketing campaigns to ensure they have a meaningful brand that appeals to the public in an deeper, emotional level. Showing that they are part of consumers’ lives and not just pushing for their products and services blindly, because the consumers are the market kings thus dictating the markets share.

Meaningful-Brands

What drives your Brand?

Purpose driven branding, while not new, has taken on new significance in this era of anxious consumers; not to mention anxious employees. A company that looks at its brand and asks not simply what promise does it make, but what purpose does it serve, to its customers and its shareholders, and brings this purpose to life through every customer experience will be the company most likely to beat its competition.

The consumers have spoken, and if any marketer wants not only to remain in the modern market but also remain relevant and profitable; they have to embrace this ideology. That’s why here at STANCE we help you answer the question “What value do I provide?” in a positive way, hence at the end of the day both your brand and your audience benefit.

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.” ― Howard Schultz

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What Our Logo Reveal Means

What Our Logo Reveal Means

Can you communicate a concept in approximately 5 seconds? We attempted to do just that.

Challenge:

Communicate what STANCE stands for in 5 seconds…

Results:

A 5 second logo reveal animation. Here’s the breakdown…

Before reading this, watch the video below and see what you make of it. Then come back and read the creative direction behind it.

 

The Breakdown

The STANCE logo reveal opens with 5 bars which stand for the 5 counterweights that we leverage to elevate a brand.; Purpose, Strategy, Design, Video & Technology.

This results to the “Λ” icon which we call “the elevation symbol”, that also stands for the “A” in our logo.

As a result of leveraging the 5 counterweights, a brand is elevated- this is reflected in the transition as the elevation symbol elevates and fades out at the top of the frame.

The final frame fades in show our full word mark. It fades in, in an upward movement to reinforce what we stand for followed by our tagline “Elevating Meaningful Brands™ to declare our positioning.

Simple!

Watch video below and let us know if we nailed the concept or not…

Brands Realize Being Meaningful is the New Black | Whirlpool Case Study

Brands Realize Being Meaningful is the New Black | Whirlpool Case Study

Whether you agree or disagree, I think it’s pretty obvious that most brands have realized that being meaningful is no longer an option. We have always know that customer is king, so how do you talk to the king? Actually, you will be surprised to find out that it is quite simple. You achieve that by speaking in a language that the king understands.

Right now, consumers want brands that carry a deeper meaning beyond their core product or service offering. They want brands that support the causes they believe in, they want meaningful brands.

meaningful-brands-index

A study conducted by Havas Media (who by the way coined the phrase “Meaningful Brands”) revealed some shocking statistics…

Most people worldwide would not care if more than 73% of brands disappeared tomorrow.

That’s insane!

Think about all the money spent globally on marketing, communication and public relations. Then think that for more than 73% of the companies who are spending it, their brands wouldn’t be missed if they disappeared entirely.

Only 20% of brands worldwide make a significant, positive effect on people’s well-being.

 With these shocking statistics, it’s no surprise that brands are doing their best to adapt or die. Read industry news and you will see all sorts of desperate efforts to be meaningful. From publicizing how your company supports the local cancer awareness foundation, to sponsoring kids from developing nations, to others rethinking their entire approach to Marketing via full-blown campaigns.

Major brands are adapting

A few days ago, I came across such a campaign by the veteran brand Whirlpool. The mega corporation markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht  and other major brand names. So when they make such a move, you know it is something worth looking into.

While I might sound angered by these attempts of what others would call “fake” or “rigged” ways to buy into what your customers (kings) want, I personally think that any attempt whether forced or genuine is a move towards the right direction. This specific 103-year old brand is making steps towards the right direction and adapting to change.

PROOF: The Whirlpool Case Study

WHIRLPOOL BRAND CHALLENGES INDUSTRY MARKETING NORMS; CHAMPIONS THE IMPORTANCE OF DAILY TASKS

The above is the headline in a press release for Whirlpool’s new campaign “Every day, care™”. The veteran brand aims to transform cold machine mentality into acts of love. Emotional branding is a powerful thing, our friends at Emotive Brand know this best.

Watching videos from this campaign and monitoring Whirlpool’s social media interaction, you can tell they are making a shift to be a meaningful brand.

Whirlpool has shifted from trying to sell features and benefits to reminding people that each act performed with one of their appliances is an act of caring. This in itself is a meaningful stance. By taking this position and positioning their brand as one that promotes care, people can relate to them at a deeper level. I was surprised the other day as I strolled around my local Lowe’s store Whirlpool appliances caught my eye, even though I had never paid attention to the brand much prior to this. As I mentioned earlier, judging from their social media, engagement, the brand is making waves and people are responding positively.

everyday-care campaign whirlpool

Still, I find it fascinating that brands are just now seeing the need to be meaningful.

So, how does your brand take a meaningful stance and position itself as a meaningful brand? Is it possible? Is it too late? Let’s take a look at how we did it. Hopefully this will shed some light into how you can tap into your own unique purpose

STANCE: The Meaningful Branding Agency

When I founded STANCE, I didn’t look at industry trends, or what’s “hot” in the market right now. I looked within and asked myself one questions: “What kind of company will I look back at the end of my life and be proud to have built?”, the answer- a company that truly positively impacted people’s lives. Later came to realized they had a term for it, “meaningful brand”, hence the meaningful branding agency was born.

This is not just something we say to be cool, we truly believe that great brands stand for something and that brands that commit to a meaningful STANCE—and those who engage with them—win.

That is why our purpose is to be advocates for all meaningful brands. We envision a world where brands genuinely exist to positively impact the lives of those they serve. This is reflected on our purpose which is to elevate meaningful brands so they can elevate the lives of those they serve.

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A Reflection on your brand…

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#MeaningfulBrands”]How is your brand impacting the lives of those you serve? [/inlinetweet]Have you taken a meaningful stance? What kind of legacy will you leave for your children and grandchildren? Is your brand meaningful? Only you can answer those questions honestly.

Branding is all about Consistency

Branding is all about Consistency

Maintaining brand consistency is extremely important for any business, as it’s the key to successful branding. To avoid confusing your consumers you must deliver a consistent message across all advertising channels. You must stay relevant and bring fresh, new ideas to your campaigns while ensuring that everything you do remains consistent with your brand message if you are to achieve successful branding over time.

The first way to maintain brand consistency is to keep your visuals consistent. Whether it’s on newsletters or on billboards, the images and colors you use across your campaigns should correspond with one another. If your company has a friendly, youthful look in your ads, don’t give your emails a stuffy, formal aesthetic and vice-versa. Paying attention to little details like these will greatly improve your brand consistency over the long run.

 

The second thing is establishing your voice. Your voice is the personality that you use to communicate with your customers. Your company could be geeky and smart, quaint and old-fashioned or elegant and refined. Whatever the persona, make sure to be consistent across all of your marketing efforts. This will ensure your customers remember you much better.

Brand consistency is an absolute necessity in this day and age where marketing stretches across so many different mediums. Standardizing your brand will help you build relationships and maintain your customers’ trust over time. It’s been proven that customers are more likely to choose the brands they are more familiar with; and the best way to achieve that familiarity is to have clearly identifiable images and messaging in your communications so that there is no confusion about who your company is and what you do.


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