Archive | January 2013

5 Things To Watch For When Watching Super Bowl Ads

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I’ve created my fair share of TV commercials and I absolutely have seen more TV commercials than any normal human should see. Have you ever wondered why companies have commercials in the first place? Furthermore, have you ever wondered how some brands actually let a commercial see the light of day? For guys like me, whose DNA contains art direction,the latter question can get me yelling at the TV Screen or whatever device I’m watching!

So what makes a good commercial? That can be debatable and usually depends on a myriad of factors. However, good TV commercials contain similar qualities and are usually created by the world’s largest brands. The consumer has been painstakingly researched, the messaging has been carefully analyzed, directors have been interviewed and selected, scripts written, actors reviewed and chosen, shooting sites picked, sets and wardrobe decided upon and calendars set. Phew! Just to get on TV requires so much work but that can only mean one thing…the consumer, YOU, are that important!

Here are some things you should look for this Super Bowl Sunday when viewing your million dollar commercials:

1. Entertained: Was it interesting to hold your attention for more than 5 seconds?

2. Comprehensive: Could you easily follow what was being said?

3. Emotional: Does the commercial create an emotion that causes you to the react to the brand?

4. Memorable: Do you even remember what company was trying to get your attention?

5. Actionable: Will you purchase the product or visit the website or talk about it to friends?

Well that’s it. Of course, communication scholars will dissect the commercials and can probably add a few hundred things to my list. But at the end of the day, the consumer is the boss. YOU will be the deciding factor. So enjoy the million dollars it took to reach you and appreciate the barrage of commercials on Super Bowl Sunday. I almost forgot, enjoy the football game that happens in between. I know I will!

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5 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant Marketing

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Over the course of the past few weeks we’ve been diving into data looking for ways to improve our service. In doing so, I came to the realization that marketing is whole lot like being in the restaurant business. How do I know? Well I spent 5 years in the restaurant business doing everything from washing dishes to waiting tables. Now I spend my days trying to understand customer needs and product/service value then connect them. Creating a dish, serving it and getting a positive reaction and repeat business.

As the economy continues to recover, it’s estimated that the restaurant segment will grow this year slightly. 2012 wasn’t horrible for most restauranteurs but the sluggish economy kept consumers weary about eating out. Secondly, as healthcare laws kick in and food inflation continues to raise costs, it’s important for restaurants to be consistent with the basics of their marketing plan and to find ways to get more bang for your buck.

Assuming that you have a consistent, killer menu and provide a great customer experience what are the most cost-effective methods to promote your restaurant? Here are some of our suggestions:

1. Identify every instance your brand connects to a consumer and use it.

Entrepreneurs sometimes think that advertising a business means a newspaper ad, radio commercial or online advertising. Actually, any time your brand comes into contact with a consumer that’s advertising. From your outdoor signage to table toppers. Your waitstaff are valuable parts of your marketing mix. Make sure they are well trained and understand your menu and your entire company. If you really think about it, there are several free ways to spread your message.

2. Create things to talk about.

Is January Fajita Month? Or is Willie Nelson doing an unplugged concert in your dining room? Good restaurants keep creating ideas that generate buzz and drive people through the doors. Specials are always winners. Of course, everyone loves free. If it makes sense, do it.

3. Word of Mouth is changing but it’s the most effective way to communicate.

We don’t think of Word of Mouth as a media channel but it is. You can either be playing in that channel or not.

Word of Mouth is now all over the internet. From blogs to review sites. Your social media is becoming significant in forming opinions about your restaurant. By the way, 90% of moms between the ages of 18-36 are online and account for over 2 trillion dollars in buying power. That should tell you something on how you think about your online strategy.

Finally, don’t forget about creating loyalty programs. This is a great way to keep those customers coming back for more and having them spread the word.

4. Be a good business neighbor.

Do you have a community strategy? Are you working with your local elementary school or church? Do you even know who your neighbors are? Restaurants, now more than ever, have the ability to closely connect to their communities offline and now online. In most instances, these people become your core customers bringing friends and families to your business. Get that plan and work it!

5. Local is better.

I find it interesting how people who rely so much on local customers hire companies from other cities to do their marketing. Not only is using local or regional ingredients a popular trend, using local marketing and advertising resources is equally important. Being able to have your team in your city following local trends is so valuable to how quickly your marketing reacts. There might be opportunities that exist in your target that only those who live in the market would know about. Consider your marketers network and experience when hiring.

Of course we believe that if you sit down and build your marketing plan and devise strategies you can maximize your efforts and create buzz and generate sales. So get out there, work that plan or bring in a professional to get more bang for your buck.

Consumer Relationships Mimic Life

Our Mission is to Build, Sustain, Evolve Impactful RELATIONSHIPS between brands and consumers.

Over the holidays our team worked two days to examine our company’s direction and messaging for 2013. A close examination of our capabilities, approach to services, measurement of services and client interactions. In our discovery sessions it became clear that the word relationship kept coming up over and over again. It came up so many times that we changed a key word in our mission to reflect that.

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So why do we believe relationships are important to your company?

All brands started with an idea for a product or service. The product/service then turns into an opportunity to make money. The opportunity to make money turns into “I need someone to buy what I’m selling.” Then the question arises who do I know that would buy from me? And the answer usually becomes family, friends of family, former coworkers or acquaintances, etc. Why are these usually your first customers?

You’ve built a relationship. This first group of people chose to listen to you because they trust you. They’ve seen you work your idea for months. Or they’ve seen your results in a particular service for a few years. They’ve observed your attitude. Seen your passion and are willing to give you a shot. These start-ups are executing the most basic of marketing. Something that we call intro-connecting.  By the way, every company has similar beginnings.

So what are we really saying?

Your product or service becomes a part of people’s lives. So think about it? Who do you want in your life? In that same line of thought, what brands do you want in your life? You want brands that you can trust. You want them to provide a benefit to your life. You want to build a consumer relationship.

This thought, hopefully, begins to open up how your brand is speaking to consumers and ultimately building a lasting relationship. Here are five quick tips to begin the process:

1. Understand who your customer is. – “You like people who get you.”

2. Be where your customers are. – “You feel comfortable with people from your neighborhood.”

3. Deliver what you say you’re going to deliver. – “You don’t want skitzo friends in your life.”

4. Listen – “If you don’t provide attention, your friends will leave you”

5. Improve – “Everyone is changing. Don’t be afraid to change in order to keep your friends. Or go find new ones.”

The really good brands do these things like clockwork and understand the importance of maintaining close and strong relationships with their core consumers. Of course, in many instances, when brands want to amp up their relationships they hire professionals, internally and/or externally, to maintain consistent connections.

So is your brand becoming stagnant? Are you losing your foothold with your consumer? Well think about your relationship. It might be time for a professional to examine it.

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2013 might be the year that you improve that relationship. So get out there and MAKE A MILLION!