What’s In a Name?Strategy

by Carmen on May 16, 2014 with 0 comments

We do naming at ThreeDefined. We’ve talked about NOT doing it because it’s… messy. It’s hard to price a project that, by nature, gets locked and spun into our DNA for 1-2 weeks. We think about our clients potential name in the shower, during our daily commutes, in the actual meetings where we’ve set aside time to work on the name, and even in our dreams (true story). It’s the crazy truth about the creative process that people who don’t live the creative process don’t understand and have a hard time paying for.

So when I ran across Booz & Company’s new name, now that they are merged with PwC, I tried to temper the negativity. The name is Strategy&. It’s not a typo. I ran across the name change in an Economist article that called this the “clumsy new name for…” Yes, The Economist folks, as usual, well said. Clumsy. Yes.

Didn’t anyone learn anything from Prince’s foray into naming with a symbol? Well, at least there is a known word for & – the name of the company, “strategy and,” but it is “clumsy” at best. I’ll admit, the name LOOKS better in their logo than it does in print, but I would say print is a big one not to have tested. So, in the spirit of this, and in the spirit of keeping it positive, we’re focusing on the Top 5 Things to consider when you are naming your company.

1. Do you want/need your company to say exactly what you do?

There is a definite trend of using abstract names – it’s creative and fun. If you choose one, then we HIGHLY recommend pairing your abstract name with a straight forward tagline. At least in the beginning, your name and tagline should tell people exactly what you do. Apple, now a household brand, started out in 1976 as Apple Computer Inc. Their first logo had an inscription of ‘Apple Computer Company’. It was not until 2007 that they changed their name to Apple Inc. They were able to drop what they did once everyone knew what they did. When your business becomes a huge brand and everyone knows you, THEN you can get creative with both. And while your name may have special meaning for you, be sure it doesn’t require a 30 minute speech to explain it.

2. Can you pronounce it?

Seems obvious, but often a name looks cool on paper, but when you say it out loud, you always get an awkward smile and a, “what?” We’ve seen companies change their names over this one.

3. Is the URL available?

Again, seems obvious, but we’ve seen clients get their heart set on a name only to find out that it and every possible iteration of it is taken. This is how you end up with really long or strangely abbreviated URLs that are hard to remember or seem unrelated to the actual company name. Ideally, you don’t want it to be your first task to get people to figure out what your website IS. And having your name in the URL will help immensely for SEO purposes.

4. The phone test

Depending on the frequency with which your name will be used over the phone, make sure people understand it over the phone. This is different from saying it in front of someone. Unless you want to spend every conversation spelling your name, test it first.

5. Does it make sense to your target customer?

While we like people to be inspired by their own company names, it also has to make sense to their target market. If you are targeting baby boomers and you use “Phat” Phones as your name, the most important people aren’t going to understand.

So, what’s in a name? A lot. And if yours does come to you in a dream, we recommend running it past a professional before you go for it – we’re here and happy to help.


Why We Don’t Work with B2B OR B2C ClientsMarketing, Strategy

by Carmen on March 28, 2014 with Comments Off on Why We Don’t Work with B2B OR B2C Clients comments

As with most things around here, we have a different perspective on this idea.

Potential clients ask us all the time what our specialty is, but from our frame of reference, our job stays the same whether it’s  B2B or B2C. Marketing foundations stay the same between the two distinctions. So, at ThreeDefined, we refer to it as B2T.

B2T stands for Business to Target and is the concept that stays the same regardless of who you are talking to. From a marketing plan standpoint, Business to Consumer tends to be a tad more overwhelming. How do I reach my target? How do I cut through the clutter? Short answers: know who your target IS, what they want, where they are (physically and online) and appeal to them through branding and messaging.

This doesn’t change for the B2B client. It all applies: know who your target IS, what they want, where they are (physically and online) and appeal to them through branding and messaging.

“But how appealing do I have to be, really?”  Some B2B companies think that visuals are less important, but we argue that behind every company name there are people. Consumers of information, making decisions for their business. People are very visual and strongly respond to aesthetics and tone/messaging. This is an essential part of their overall experience with your company.

Credibility and trust are two things that are often needed both in the consumer and business world, but it can be even more important for a B2B company, if for no other reason than stakes are often higher. Bigger dollars being spent. Bigger decisions being made. An appealing brand can give that first-impression sigh-of-relief that a solution is near. We’ve all encountered the website – the one that make us immediately question a company’s validity and (ACK!) makes us click away. That’s a visual reaction and it happens in seconds.

So clients may walk in B2B or B2C, but they walk out as B2T. And we think that’s right on.

5 Ways Videos Boost Your Online Marketing EffortsMarketing, Strategy

by Carmen on February 14, 2014 with Comments Off on 5 Ways Videos Boost Your Online Marketing Efforts comments

We get a lot of questions about video on websites. Should you be doing it? The short answer is yes, we should all be doing it, but the caveat is always, do it well! We turned to our good friend, Adam Levy at LDRK Media to tell us more about WHY we should be doing it…

5 Ways Videos Boost Your Online Marketing Efforts

Not too long ago, most business owners viewed video as a non-essential addition to their websites.  Good looking and cool, maybe, but not necessary for getting things done.  If you’re still thinking this way, here are five things to keep in mind about video:

1) Video increases your online visibility.  The prime driver behind this is Google, which owns YouTube and believes video is a major cornerstone of the future of the web.  Google is looking for ways to integrate video into search results, especially in mobile.  And even though video is exploding online, far more websites don’t have video today than do.  So if you upload your video to YouTube, follow some best practices and optimize your video with targeted keywords, you stand a good chance of grabbing some great real estate in local SERPs.

2) Video boosts conversions, dramatically.  Once visitors get to your site, good video holds their attention and ultimately drives action.  All of the data bears this out.  The dramatically increased rates of conversion associated with animated explainer videos is the reason virtually all Fortune 100 companies have some animated explainer video content somewhere in their online presence.  They’re not doing these videos for fun–they’re doing them because they work.

3) Video is an online brand enhancer.  Good video on a site reflects well on your brand.   In 2013, when a visitor comes to a site and sees well-produced video content, they make inferences about the quality and level of energy of the company behind the site.

4) Video is mobile-friendly. As people increasingly access sites on phones and tablets, video becomes more important because it’s so easily accessible.  If you’re a local doctor, it’s easier for a prospective client to learn who you are by watching a video that automatically scales to the size of their phone than pinching out the small text on your “About Us” page.  Not only does video being mobile-friendly make sense intuitively, but the numbers bear it out on a large scale.  Video is growing fastest in mobile.  In fact, more than half of all mobile traffic on earth right now is video.

5) Decision makers are increasingly reached and informed by video.  One of the persistent myths about online video is that it is simply a collection of amateur content made mostly by teenagers in their bedrooms.  The idea is that video isn’t a serious part of the business decision-making cycle.  This simply isn’t true.  All of the data points to the fact that business leaders regularly access online video from vendors, share it with colleagues, and make decisions based on it. To get this point across, we actually made a video about it, below.

Why We Love the T-Mobile Superbowl 2014 AdMarketing, Strategy

by Carmen on February 7, 2014 with Comments Off on Why We Love the T-Mobile Superbowl 2014 Ad comments

A lot of our clients come to us overwhelmed, wondering where to start on their marketing plan. It’s not surprising – there are so many options and knowing what to do is enough to make your head spin. The good news is our general rule of thumb to be most effective is to “keep it simple.”  It’s part of what we love about THIS brilliant T-Mobile Superbowl ad. If you haven’t seen it already, check it out:

 2014 T-Mobile Superbowl Ad That We Love

Why we love it.

  1. It’s simple. AND executed so well.
  2. Message + Tone/Voice to Target Market:  “Wireless Contracts Suck.” 
    • BAM. In 2 seconds, they segmented their market – if you didn’t agree with that statement, you were not their target market
  3. Humor! It uses it effectively…”No, we’re not on our 4th margarita” 
    •  Funny and RELEVANT. It enhances the message and doesn’t distract from it – a common fault with humor in ads (“I saw the funniest ad the other day…but don’t remember what it was for”)
  4. Soundtrack. Spot on. I’m not going to put it in my Gym Playlist, but here? Perfection.
  5. Fonts: If you’re going to have a text-only commercial, they better be good. Sure we’re design snobs, but all we’re saying is that this same ad in Times New Roman and you wouldn’t have been able to stand it. Trust us.

Yep, they paid a million dollars (plus) for the spot, BUT, they didn’t have to pay an ADDITIONAL million dollars to make the commercial. No fancy special affects, A-list actors or animation. Just smart, solid writing speaking directly to their customers. It SIMPLY works.

The Importance of Marketing FoundationsMarketing, Strategy

by Carmen on January 24, 2014 with Comments Off on The Importance of Marketing Foundations comments
Foundations are important. Foundations for houses, absolutely, but just as much for marketing. I’m not just saying this because of our Marketing Booster Shot workshop that is coming up (yes, this is a shameless plug). But please do let me explain why a marketing foundation is important.First, what we define as Marketing Foundations.

  1. Target Customer (s)
  2. Your Positioning (what are the main attributes differentiating you from your competition)
    1. Messaging – explains positioning to your target customer.
    2. Branding: logo, colors, fonts, and tone/personality represent you and your brand – stay consistent

That’s it. Three things that hopefully you’ve been rolling your eyes at because they are so easy for you to answer or present. If they caused you take pause, however, don’t fret. Just take a moment and answer these for yourself (or come to our Marketing Booster Shot and we’ll give you a structure in which to work on them).

Once these foundations are established, you are ready to take on your marketing plan. As with everything, there are choices. Endless choices! Many business owners become overwhelmed with the choices they face and they don’t create a plan at all. Your foundation will help you to make smart decisions. For example:

ONLINE ADVERTISING: You know should be doing some, but don’t know where to start. Do you do search advertising or advertising through certain channels and websites? PPC or CPM? Do you have to use Social Media? How? How much should you spend? What are my objectives? Do I want to drive people to sign up for a promotion or is this for general awareness?

How your Foundations Answers can help: (with a real life example)

Business: Yogurt Shop

Target: college students (ding ding ding! Narrows to a specific demographic, and in this case, geographic target)

Challenge: location is a bit off the beaten path on campus so they need to generate awareness (campaign objective!)

Positioning: Healthier than other shops – they believe health-conscious students will walk an extra couple of blocks for a ‘better-for-you-treat’ if they knew it was there. (primary message!).

SO:

Online Advertising: Ensure Google knows about you (Google Places for Business) so you come up naturally through Search. Knowing that the target customers frequent Twitter, Facebook and Yelp, you can use Yelp to offer a promotional coupon (online advertising). Use Facebook and Twitter (social media) to stay fresh in the minds of those who already know/follow you. Because you have a limited budget, partner with other businesses on campus: gyms, pilates and yoga studios and campus clubs to cross-promote. That is 3 campaigns you can manage and track to get started!

See how this works? These foundations facilitate all your other marketing decisions. As businesses age, new challenges arise. Foundations may need a bit of tweaking – perhaps a new customer segment has arisen that you now have time to focus on – but that’s still part of your foundation. A new business’ messaging is usually very clear while a more established business may need some creative help in coming up with clever ways to communicate their shtick, but ultimately, that messaging should be sticking to their core competency.

You’ve heard the term ‘building a brand’.  Things are always built from the foundation up.

A Little Intel Goes a Long Way: How Small Businesses Can Benefit from ResearchMarketing, Strategy, Uncategorized

by Carmen on December 13, 2013 with Comments Off on A Little Intel Goes a Long Way: How Small Businesses Can Benefit from Research comments

This is brought to you by one of our ThreeDefined friends at CB Research Services. We believe strongly in using research to back up and validate lots of business owners ‘gut feelings’ about their business. Gather data and then trust your gut on the inevitable decisions that come up around what to do with it. It’s true, however, that many small businesses don’t think research is something they can afford. Casey Bernard has 5 tips for how any small business can incorporate consumer research into their marketing plans:

 

A challenge many small businesses face when it comes to marketing is working with a small budget. Often, consumer research is seen as a ‘big company’ endeavor. However, taking a small portion of the marketing budget for research could save costly mistakes.

Most business owners think they know their customers and business well. Yet, sometimes what is most helpful is to view their business from the outside. Research opportunities are endless, but to get started, here are five key ways research can help small businesses.

1) Understand Your Customer

You may think you understand their business and their experience – but until you actually ask them, you might be making assumptions that aren’t true. This eye-opening information can be learned by one focus group among key customers.

2) Learn About the Non-Customer

After profiling who your customer is, explore who your customer isn’t. From there you can examine how to frame your business to reach those non-customers or reposition your marketing to capture the attention of those who aren’t using your company – yet.

3) Understand the Competition

Where does your company stand in comparison to your competition? Interviewing the competition’s customers may shed some light. You can also learn a lot by examining the marketing efforts of the competition to see what they do better or where the opportunities are for your company to shine.

When a client was frustrated that customers were confusing their brand with another’s, a public relations audit revealed the competition had much more media coverage in recent months, explaining part of their awareness challenge.

4) Measure Your Marketing Efforts

While the number of times your phone rings may be an indication, not everyone is ready to buy. There may be those who recognize your company and brand, but don’t understand the value you bring. Conducting an awareness study will answer those questions.

5) Test Your Website’s Usability

If your product or service relies heavily on a functioning website, consider conducting a usability test. Usability testing is a fancy and expensive-sounding name, but it doesn’t have to be costly. It only takes 10 users to participate in a study to identify problems with navigating your site.

Consider Hiring a Professional

While there are plenty of DIY tools online for conducting surveys and focus groups, it’s worth working with a professional who can be the impartial guide through your research exploration. Especially when conducting customer interviews, having an outside partner gives your customers comfort in knowing they can be honest if there is something that should change.  A professional research consultant can also identify opportunities for learning and guide your company through the exploration.

 

Casey Bernard is a marketing research consultant and consumer storyteller in Austin, TX. Using a combination of tools and techniques, she helps brands and companies to understand the experience of their customers to make informed marketing decisions.

Client Spotlight: Girls Will BeMarketing, Strategy

by Carmen on November 8, 2013 with Comments Off on Client Spotlight: Girls Will Be comments
Girls Will Be (GirlsWillBeHQ.com) is an awesome new brand of girls apparel that recently launched in Austin TX. We had the great fortune of working with Sharon Choksi, Girls Will Be co-founder. The branding & website was designed by Sharon’s sister, as this is a family business, but ThreeDefined got Sharon on the web. Her brother is the graphic designer of the shirts. We love that it’s a sibling, mixed-gender team and as three women, we absolutely love what Girls Will Be stands for: CHOICE. In a consumer world that gives girls a surprisingly narrow selection of options, Sharon’s brand truly stands apart. Here’s what Sharon shared with us:

3D: First, we like to ask, “what’s so great about you?” Tell us about the brand and what inspired it?

GWB: Girls are so many different things. And we think their clothing options should reflect that!  Because not all girls want to wear pink, sparkles, ruffles and bows (at least not all of the time!).  Our clothes break free of the stereotypical “girly” styles that dominate retail, and give girls more options to express their individuality!

My amazing 8 year-old daughter inspired me. She has always known what she likes (in terms of colors, clothes, toys, activities, etc) and never cared whether someone else labeled it “for boys” or “for girls.”  Even when almost everything she liked was “for boys.” After years of her asking “Why do boys get all the cool stuff?” while shopping for clothes, I decided to do something about it.  Because shopping in the boys department shouldn’t be the only option for girls like her.

3D: What are the three words that you would say best represent your brand?

GWB: Empowering, unlimited, and fun

3D: You’ve had an amazing launch and your brand has “gone viral.” No one really understands when this is going to happen (otherwise every marketing plan would build that in!) but what are thoughts on what is resonating so strongly right now?

GWB: While you can’t predict if something will go viral, the odds of it happening definitely increase if you are solving an unmet need, with a unique product, a compelling story, and a clear and simple message. I think Girls Will Be hit on all of those elements. Everyone you talk to knows at least one girl like my daughter, yet finding clothes for them is like finding a needle in a haystack.  So when people heard about our clothes, a lot of them said “Finally!” and just had to share it with everyone they know.

We are also at a point in time where a lot parents feel the gender-fication of children’s clothing, media, toys, etc. has gone too far, and they are looking for alternatives that more accurately reflect the likes and interests of their children. You have seen engineering-based toys for girls (e.g, Roominate, Goldie Blox) and campaigns to ask Disney to “Keep Merida Brave” (instead of the “sexy” versions being used on some merchandise) go viral too.

Thanks and BEST OF LUCK to Girls Will Be! We are rooting for you all the way!

It’s a Great Halloween Ad, Charlie BrownMarketing

by Carmen on October 31, 2013 with Comments Off on It’s a Great Halloween Ad, Charlie Brown comments

We stumbled upon and love this Halloween ad (here). But, like any good marketing expert geeks, we didn’t just love it – we analyzed it, discussed it, watched it backwards and assessed it’s merits to exhaustion. Here are some of the reasons WHY we think it is a success.

  1. SEASONAL MESSAGING: Can be done really badly and heavy-handed, but this is clever, timely, positive and fun.
  2. HITS THE TARGET: Nailed it – parents will love this (and kids too). Whamo. Entertaining enough to watch over and over (saw on YouTube originally, and did just that…then sent to other friends/parents of young kids)- a Marketer’s dream.
  3. WELL DONE: Sure, it’s Crest and yes, they have LOTS of money to make great commercials. The lesson for small businesses is: Do it well. Whatever your budget, doing fewer things great is a better decision that doing more things halfway.
  4. CONSUMER RESEARCH: OK, it’s a funny nod to it here, but we love the example of consumer research to get honest feedback. More companies could benefit from this and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
  5. YOU MADE US LAUGH! Consumers are emotional people. If you tug at our hearts or our funny bones, we are going to remember you, forward you on to our friends and buy your stuff.