Monday, September 21, 2020

Transitioning to e-Commerce



I am conducting a free two-hour workshop on transitioning to e-commerce for artists on Sunday, September 27 from 4 pm until 6 pm. You are invited to attend.

This workshop will teach artists how to develop, host and promote websites for e-commerce including becoming familiar with different web development and hosting services, e-commerce platforms and payment methods. It will also briefly cover content creation, blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, lead generation, marketing automation, search engine optimization, online promotion, web store organization, privacy policy generators, terms of use generators, and virtual museums, concerts and other events.


Register HERE now!



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Comprehensive Brand Positioning Course



This course will provide you with everything you need to position your brand to win. It is based on a proprietary process and set of tools that have been used to successfully position hundreds of brands throughout the world. 

This unparalleled brand positioning process was refined over 30 years and has been used by more than 200 highly successful brands in almost every product and service category.

To unleash your brand's full power, you must create a unique value proposition that is emotionally compelling. This requires a rigorous brand positioning process based on deep customer insight. And it requires an understanding of how brands can connect with customers through shared values and exceptional experiences.

This brand positioning process is part art and part science, using both the left and right sides of your brain. 

The course includes examples from many world-class brands and all the tools, templates and information you will need to position your brand to win.

The course is comprised of a video, seven handouts and links to 28 relevant blog posts. I will instruct you to use the handouts at appropriate points throughout the video. 

While the video is an hour and a quarter in length, the total course length with exercises and blog post readings will require between two and four hours to complete. You can stop and restart the course at any time based on your schedule. 

You can take the course here: Positioning Your Brand to Win

Monday, August 31, 2020

Marketing and Marketing Communication Are Not the Same



Frequently, I encounter organizations whose marketing departments consist solely of marketing communications professionals. Those organizations view marketing solely as marketing communications. The department is tasked with writing marketing copy, providing content to websites, running social media campaigns, creating brochures, crafting event announcements and the like.

But who is developing the brand's unique value proposition? Who is identifying its target markets? Who is determining the product mix? Who is deciding on each product's functions and features? Who is setting prices? Who is creating the distribution strategy? Who is crafting the customer service strategy? Who is responsible for publicity? Who is responsible for event marketing? Who is responsible for marketing research? Who is developing the overall marketing plan?

Often the answer is "the product planners" or "product development" or "sales" or "the business units." If the organization is a not-for-profit organization, the answer often is "the development person or function" or the "membership coordinator." But sometimes the answer is "I don't know," or worse yet, "no one."

If your marketing department consists only of people who write copy and design graphics and nothing else, you don't have a marketing department. You have a marketing communications department. While there is nothing wrong with having a marketing communications function, it does ignore all of the other marketing levers. It is akin to having a tool box that only consists of a pair of pliers. While the pliers come in handy at times, they are not helpful if a screwdriver or hammer are needed instead.

So please broaden your thinking about what marketing encompasses.

For further reading, consider these blog posts:

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Marketing to Human Needs



If one is not marketing to human needs, that person should not be considered a marketer. Marketers, and especially those who craft brand strategy and marketing communications, must deeply understand human needs to perform their jobs well. I have written a number of blog posts over time that speak to addressing human needs. I have compiled links to them here to help you more easily find them.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Brands & Storytelling



Stories are the glue that holds societies together. Consider the stories of Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims, the Boston Tea Party, the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, the Civil War, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. These are the basis of our American Heritage. They provide us with a sense of history and values and common purpose.

Consider the Biblical stories of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, Jonah and the whale, Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, and more central to the Christian message, the birth of Christ, Jesus feeding the 5,000, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. These stories unite more than 2 billion Christians across the world today.

Consider your own family's stories. Your wedding night. Your honeymoon. Your first child. Your best vacation. Your child's first major accomplishment or recognition. A favorite place to which you returned year after year. A very funny moment. A shared tragedy. A special holiday. These memories are the glue that holds your family together.

I have been involved in Boy Scouts for more than 50 years. The memories that keep me coming back are the summers spent at Massawepie Scout Camps in the Adirondack Mountains, the 70-mile trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, the National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill near Bowling Green, Virginia, and the World Jamboree at Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia. I can and do share these memories with other Scouters across the US.

Republicans enjoy recounting tales about famous Republican presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. While Democrats like to reminisce about the personalities, values and accomplishments of Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Barak Obama.

Whether you are a corporation, a not-for-profit organization, an industry conference, a brand of single malt scotch, a sports team, a rock band, a seaside town, a resort community or something else, you have your stories and your shared history.

Every society throughout history has had its stories. Every culture has had its myths and its folktales. Every religion has its parables and its stories about its founder and its history.

Stories provide context and meaning. They reinforce shared values. They tell cautionary tales. They imply standards of behavior. They provide a sense of heritage. And, most importantly, they create a sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself. They are what bind tribes together.

What are your brand's stories? Do they talk about the brand's origins? Do they convey certain personality attributes? Do they reinforce shared values? Do they reinforce your legendary service? Your extraordinary quality? Do they create a sense of community? Do they establish an emotional connection with its intended audiences? Are they memorable? Do they create a rallying cry?

I would contend that if a brand does not have its stories, it may be a brand in name only. I wish you great success in crafting and telling your brand's stories.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Marketing Needs Survey



If you are responsible for marketing in your organization, please share your marketing needs with us for a chance to win a Brand Aid book, two hours of free marketing consulting or an Amazon gift card. The survey will take less than 8 minutes of your time. I will post our findings in this blog when we have finished fielding this survey.

SURVEY LINK HERE

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Brand Research Topics



These are some of the areas of customer, brand and marketing research that I think could better inform brand management and marketing activities and decisions:
  • Understand how well this generic four part segmentation scheme applies to a wide variety of product and service categories: (a) price conscious customers, (b) convenience oriented customers, (c) brand loyal customers, and (d) category enthusiasts who love to try new products and brands. Determine to what types of products and services this segmentation scheme mostly applies. 
  • Identify the top few visual triggers for each of the top 100 brands. Include auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory triggers as applicable. 
  • Determine the primary and secondary personas for people who prefer each automotive brand, make and model. 
  • Understand what categories and brands are most effective in signaling social status within each social class. Categories to explore might include college/university affiliation, private club affiliation, religious affiliation, political party affiliation, city or town of residence, housing preferences, vacation preferences, hotel preferences, automobile preferences, hobbies, sports, musical preferences, food preferences, etc. Explore which brands across all categories are the most accurate and powerful indicators of social status. 
  • Related to the previous bullet, identify the top 100 brands that serve as self-expressive badges. 
  • Segment the US population by anxieties and fears. 
  • Develop complete psychological profiles of each Democratic and Republican segment including attitudes, beliefs, values, hopes, anxieties and fears. Better yet, explore these segments independent of political party to identify organic groupings of voters.
  • Identify price sensitivities across product and service categories for different customer segments.
  • Determine the degree to which trustworthiness, consistency, reliability and dependability contribute to brand loyalty. 
  • Determine the degree to which emotional versus rational appeals influence purchase decisions in different product and service categories. 
  • Develop a brand loyalty scheme that considers whether and under what conditions (including scarcity and extreme price variance) people will substitute or switch to another brand versus waiting until they can purchase their fist choice brand.
  • For different categories, determine what going upmarket or downmarket does to brand perceptions and loyalty for current customers. 
  • Understand the categories in which aspirational brands can have the biggest impact.
  • Understand what elements must be present for people to believe a brand's claim of social consciousness. 
  • Understand the impact of brand message repetition on believability, quality perceptions, preference and sales. 
  • Understand the effectiveness of reach versus frequency in generating incremental sales by product or service category. The incremental sales could come from current customers, new customers or both. 
  • Explore the effectiveness of different types of humor used in different ways in brand advertising. 
  • Identify the top 10 value-aligned brands in the world. Explore what values they embody and to what groups of people those values most appeal.