Why the Most Interesting Man in the World Doesn’t Tweet

You’ve probably seen the commercials, and you probably remember the man. Whether he’s freeing an angry bear from a deadly trap, sinking a trick billiards shot out of a person’s mouth, or landing a trophy-sized marlin on a boat surrounded by beautiful women, he is The Most Interesting Man in the World – or so the folks over at Dos Equis, the beer company that runs the ads, want you to think. Yet, in spite of all of his bravado-filled experiences and accomplishments, the world’s most interesting man, played by actor Jonathan Goldsmith, does not tweet.

In a recent interview with Ad Age Magazine, Leysa Lysyi, the Chief Marketing Officer of Dos Equis importer Heineken USA, explained that the brand does not tweet in the popular character’s voice because “anything to do with technology is not something that seems like where he would be spending his time.” In other words, he’s too busy living life to be sitting behind a computer screen. Intentionally omitting one of the most popular and recognizable aspects of the brand is an interesting maneuver for Heineken USA, a company which has been a little more digitally aggressive than some of its peers in the alcohol industry. It seems to be working though – their Dos Equis brand is the fastest growing Mexican beer in the U.S market, a market which is increasingly driven by a young, upscale, socially connected male consumer, one who is easily influenced by a man of such great swagger, regardless of whether or not he tweets.

Not All Leads Are Created Equal: The 3 Steps to Creating Your Lead Scoring Metric

How do you decide which leads are your best? Are they all “hot”?  Even if you have a shortage of leads during this economic downturn, every person that responds to your emails or posts on your Facebook page is not necessarily a hot lead.  (Even if you have the capacity to make every lead hot, you are doing yourself a disservice by scaring away those that aren’t ready to be considered hot.)

Every business that operates through lead acquisition needs a lead scoring metric. You instinctively do this in your mind, but you need a defined strategy to effectively close more deals and spend less time focused on the “non-hot.”  Sounds like a no brainer, right?

To begin harnessing your leads effectively, you can start by:

  1. Develop a scoring model: Extract what you do mentally and put it on paper. Create a 1 to 10 numeric system or sales process system and define what each number is and what specific actions this lead does to become a certain number.
  2. Integrated Marketing: Now that they have a rating, you can decide how to market to them.  A hot 10 would get a phone call and emails about pricing plans.  A 1 gets your generic monthly newsletter until they make an actionable step forward towards another rating.
  3. Use it: It sounds simple, but you must follow the rules established in your metric and make sure the rest of the organization does too. Now, when your CEO comes to you with a lead that her brother’s barber knows, you have a way to not stop the entire business’s operations just to act on this lead.

Be diligent and you’ll see how to effectively navigate a lead ranked as a 1 into a closed deal, without scaring them off with intense pricing conversations right away.

Brand Iron goes to WINDPOWER 2012

Brand Iron recently had the opportunity to demonstrate our branding and marketing expertise at the AWEA WINDPOWER 2012 Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia on behalf of Wazee Companies.  In addition to having a great time, it was a chance for us to exercise some of our industry skills including:

  • Trade show planning and coordination
  • Booth design
  • Sales brochure design
  • Promotional item design and production
  • Website design and development
  • Booth management

The conference was held at the Georgia World Congress Center and took place over the course of four days from June 3rd to June 6th. Thousands of exhibitors from all over the world took part in the event, representing fifty-nine different countries, as well as all fifty U.S states and the District of Columbia.  In addition to Wazee, major exhibitors included General Electric, Suzlon and Mitsubishi.

During our time in the Peach State, Brand Iron was able to effectively assist Wazee with the development of numerous relationships regarding a wide array of clients, vendors and partners.  We also promoted and talked with visitors about the launch of Wazee’s new Wind Warehouse website. Between working with the Wazee crew, meeting tons of new people, and doing what we do best – marketing and branding, we really had a great time and we’re definitely looking forward to next year!

Customer is Always King

Battle for the Grocery Store Customer

Customer is Always King

Who knew that the battle for the everyday grocery store customer would come down to the amount of time it takes to get through checkout and whether you have to bag your own groceries or not?

Having shopped at Safeway for years, I had become accustomed to their stores and liked them. However, as time progressed their checking service have become slower and slower. In addition, it used to be that having a bagger to help you out of the store was par for the course, now getting bagging help has become like winning the lottery, it never happens.

I guess grocery stores think that location is the only thing that matters, but in my opinion, they are wrong.

Much like how SouthWest Airlines began letting bags fly free in response to the backlash people had regarding paying for bag checking, King Soopers has now focused their entire ad campaign on how they offer faster checking and bagging. King Soopers understood that people don’t have time or desire to wait in line to get out of the grocery store, nor do they have any interest in bagging their own groceries. It sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?

Yes it is simple, but in my opinion very affective. My last couple of times getting out of Safeway had become a nightmare, and one that I honestly dreaded. My wait just to get through checking had averaged 15-20 minutes, which seems absolutely absurd to me. No wonder King Soopers went after Safeway’s loyal following. With Safeway asking every customer to wait and waste a ridiculous amount of time just to pay for their groceries, there was a huge opportunity for King Soopers. It was time to take it to the competition and position themselves as the leader to a customer base who was dying to be served. Way to stand out King Soopers! Way to show that service still does matter, especially to those customers who don’t have time to waste in a ridiculous line.

This is a perfect example of branding yourself so that your competition doesn’t do it for you. Don’t let your company be the next Safeway, instead champion your brand and be the King Soopers of your space.

The Switch to Facebook Timeline, For Better or Worse

What are we to make of Facebook’s Timeline? Ever since its inception in 2004, Facebook has routinely introduced new changes, some which have been well received, some which received criticism, but most of which were eventually accepted by the general social networking community and eventually forgotten. Timeline, on the other hand, seems to have shaken up the online community in a more profound way than ever before.
Facebook Timeline, for those of you who are not familiar, is a revolutionary new user interface which Mark Zuckerberg introduced in September, 2011. Timeline aims to “Tell your life story with a new kind of profile”. Just as before, Facebook’s new creation essentially seeks to share your stories, and highlight your most memorable posts, photos, and life events, the difference being that now, all of that content is neatly arranged by chronological order, making it easy and convenient for you to see what exactly you had to say to the social networking community in, say, June, 2008, or any other time for that matter. You may be thinking, “that sounds great!”, and initially many people did, and still do. The main concern is that this new method of delivery included an entirely new method of presentation, which didn’t sit well with a significant portion of Facebook’s users.  In other words, to some people, it just didn’t look or feel the same.

While it is to be expected that any change which affects an estimated 845 million people will be met with at least some level of initial resistance, the drastic shift to Facebook Timeline really seemed to rub some people the wrong way, resulting with some users threatening to part ways with the online giant, and many other actually following through.
Most users, however, complained for a day or two, and then moved on with their lives, and many have now come to prefer Timeline to some of the older formats. As one user said, “At first I didn’t really care for Timeline, but once I got used to it on my personal profile I switched the business page over and have adapted to it quickly.” Hopefully, more users will come around as time goes on, because Facebook currently has no plans to switch back to its older format and it appears that Timeline is here to stay.

What does this mean for marketers and businesses using Facebook to communicate to their customer base?

Many people wonder will this layout transition be more of a Myspace trap or will it increase business engagement? The switch to a graphic focused page may take away from the clean, streamlined look that many users have become accustomed too. Consistent feedback on Timeline for businesses sites that it feels more “pushy” and like users are being bombarded by the brand instead of interacting with the information. It will be interesting to see how businesses and users receive the switch after it becomes mandatory for all businesses this coming week.

The Power of Simplified Branding

From the desk of Michael Doyle: 

If you hadn’t noticed campaign season is kicking in, which means it’s time for political advertising and marketing to get started. It is fascinating to pay attention and observe how candidates “brand and package” themselves. In many cases, the branding and packaging efforts are lack luster. Politicians produce contradictory and convoluted messages that are lost in translation when they attempt to convey them to the average voter. However, one candidate has taken a different approach. Herman Cain had been branding himself brilliantly, until his recent sexual harassment accusation, and has jumped from an obscure fringe candidate to a GOP front runner because of his efforts. In this blog, we will not focus on his recent sex scandal and instead focus on the power of his simplified message and brand prior to the accusation.

With a crowded field of GOP presidential candidates, the only way to get noticed is to come up with something different, unique and easy for voters to put their arms around. Step up a former businessman who understands the power of branding and packaging. Yes, he probably learned a trick or two from his pizza days, but the old “KISS” adage sure applies here, “Keep It Simple Stupid”. Cain and his team came up with this simple and easy-to-understand 9-9-9 Tax Plan to jump start our economy.

The 9-9-9 plan, since its debut, has generated significant buzz. Every other GOP candidate and President Obama are all talking about his simple tax plan. So much talk and notoriety in fact that Cain has vaulted himself from the fringe to the front of the class.

A common criticism of this plan is that running the country isn’t like running a pizza company. But the thing that Cain understands that all the other candidates don’t is that it takes effective branding and packaging to succeed in today’s challenging business and political environment. Those that are able to clearly and concisely communicate why they or their plan is different, unique and better, will appeal to those looking for an answer. Despite your political views, Herman Cain is setting precedent for all politicians to place high emphasis on how they brand and package their message so that people can clearly grasp it and make decisions based on it.

- Michael Doyle

How to Cheat Your Numbers

How to Cheat Your Sales Numbers and Increase Your Odds of Success

As a branding agency, we think of branding and marketing as a way to support sales and drive revenue. By thoroughly understanding your company’s revenue goals, you can learn how to work backwards to “cheat your sales numbers” and make sure your efforts are going to produce the desired results. The more you know how to cheat your numbers, the more you increase your odds of getting new business. Here are eight ideas you should apply to your business to increase your odds of success:

1)     Know your numbers

Know just how much marketing and sales activity you need to have in your pipeline in order for you to obtain your forecasted revenue goals and objectives. Understand and know your close ratio and how that affects your numbers.

2)     Have a large pool of prospects in the database

Most companies don’t understand that marketing and sales is a numbers game, it takes a large pool of quality suspects and prospects in the database to make the numbers work in your favor. So to cheat your numbers and reach your sales/revenue goals, you must have a big pool of prospects that you consistently stay in touch with.

3)     Use a CRM tool/database

It is consistently baffling that there are a number of companies that don’t have enough suspects and prospects to call upon to get the results they are aiming for.  Even more surprising is the number of companies that do not utilize a true Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. A CRM system can help manage the client information and provide help and real-time information on how you’re tracking against those numbers. Many companies are still relying on an outdated excel sheet to “manage” their clients, when using a CRM tool is far more effective.

4)     Regularly reach out and touch prospects

They say most sales people give up after 3-4 touches, which sounds about right; yet they say it takes 7-12 touches in order for a prospect to get to know your company and make a purchasing decision. Make sure you are a company that makes enough touches to get them in your store.

5)     Use strategic partners to help build relationships

One of the most effective things companies can do is to tap into strategic partners for referrals and co-market each other’s products or services to both customer bases. Utilizing a key contact for leverage and an introduction is priceless and often can be one of the most effective things companies can do to shorten the sales cycle. Get a quality referral, and stretch your marketing efforts.

6)     Identify your unique position and own your space

It is critical to not only be different, but also have strong value points spelled out clearly and concisely. These value points need to verbalize why you are better and what differentiates your company, making you the clear choice and the only real option available.

7)     Utilize a strong call to action

In order to help get the response you need for your marketing, advertising and sales efforts, make sure you have a strong call to action. To do this, utilize an impending date or deadline that a special offer expires, a value add that they can only get for a limited amount of time, or an added incentive or bonus to sweeten the deal if you act now.

8)     Reevaluate and refine your efforts

To ensure you’re going to reach your goals, you need to consistently evaluate whether your efforts are producing the desired results. If they aren’t, you will need to make adjustments, tweak your offer, or find other strategic partners that understand the benefits of a reciprocal partner relationship.

Cheating your sales numbers is like adjusting the carburetor on your car, a little fine tuning is sometimes required to have a smooth running engine. Once you get the engine running just the way you want it, you can blow the doors off your competitors.

Michael Doyle

CEO of Brand Iron

Branding Is About Winning

If you think branding is about flashy logos, being trendy and unquantifiable results, you are dead wrong. Branding is about winning, producing tangible results and reaching both your personal and corporate goals. Here are a few qualifiers on which you can measure your brands success and see those results.

#1 Branding is about owning your space in the marketplace and being the #1 brand whether you are a consumer product or a service company. Winning in your space means you will be the most frequently sought out brand in your industry.

#2 Branding is about quantifiable results which allow you to see an actual increase in the number of leads generated, greater number of overall sales, increasing revenue and ultimately more profit towards the bottom line. These results are not just for the company, they’re for your entire executive team who will also help you to reach your personal goals.

#3 Branding is about winning the hearts and minds of your employees. I call this Internal Branding. It is so important to have everyone within your company understand your brand, your position, your value proposition and how to make it a great brand experience for your customers. Communicating the brand message to the marketing team, the sales department and the operations team will help your company deliver on the brand promise and produce results.

#4 Branding is about gaining market share, expanding into new markets and regions, and increasing your brand recognition both locally and globally. This includes introducing new product lines, expanding service areas and allowing you and your company to grow as experts in your field.

#5 Branding is about being the go-to resource and the expert in your space. As an expert you will be the one the media calls on for information regarding your industry. Your company will be the one they follow and write about. Winning also means staying ahead of your competition and having other companies strive to emulate your brand and be like your company.

Beyond the look and feel, branding is about winning and producing results, it’s about branding and positioning the company and yourself to reach your bigger picture goals and objectives. A strong brand has the ability to help your company get to the next level, raise capital for growth, go public, and maybe even get acquired so you sail off into the sunset….

-Michael Doyle, Brand Champion

Re-Birth of a Classic Surf Brand Icon

As it officially becomes summer and the swimsuit suit season arrives, let’s look at a rebirth of a classic surf brand icon.

To begin, I must explain a little about my background. I grew up about a mile from the beach in Carlsbad, California. As far back as I can remember, we would ride our bikes down to the beach and spend the days of summer soaking up rays (pre-sunscreen days), catching waves, playing beach volleyball, tossing the Frisbee around and yes, girl-watching. I was a surf rat. I worked at a surf shop in Oceanside, California which was then called Hobie Oceanside, and has since been renamed Surfride. I grew up on brands such as O’Neil, Gotcha, Quicksilver, O.P. and Reef. My first job out of college was as a rep for several of these companies.

As a rep I learned early on that many of these brands were using sex to sell their products. Beautiful women in bikinis became a central feature of surf posters displayed in stores and on surfer boys’ walls. It had become a way for companies to make a name for their brand and to sell their product, and one of these famous surf companies did just that to stand out from the rest. Reef designed a marketing campaign that would change the face of “bikini girl marketing,” putting their models in tiny thong bikinis which they coined the “Reef Girl.” And what do you know; the idea of women in thongs was so outrageous that literally overnight this little flip-flop company became a world-wide brand. It catapulted them and their brand above the rest. From posters to calendars to bikini contests, Reef girls became the signature of the Reef brand.

After years of success in the surf company industry and wide spread popularity of the Reef brand they felt that Reef could survive without the marketing ploy of the
Reef Girl contest, and were confident that the Reef brand could stand on its own. Did they know they were cutting off their nose despite their face? The Reef Girls were such an important piece of the Reef brand, it had become their signature, and in a way it had become their brand. With the disappearance of the Reef Girls came the drop in sales for the company and Reefs marketing presence dissipated as other surf companies jumped at the opportunity to show off their own brands. Well, it wasn’t long before customers, dealers, and young boys came clamoring for their thong bikini babes to return on calendars, posters, and pictures on the website. And yes, for the Reef Girls and their bikini contests to return as well.

Following a two year hiatus, the Reef Girls returned. So is it coincidence? Could the brand and its products stand on their own without the wildly popular thong bikini stunt? Is it that the timing of repositioning their brand beyond a marketing stunt and the recession created a “perfect storm”? Is it because they listened to customers, dealers, and young boys around the world and relented to pressure? Or is it that this little marketing stunt which helped to propel their brand into a world wide recognizable one may have actually been a good idea in the first place?

Whatever the reason, they’re back and you can vote for your all-time favorite Miss Reef as well as enter to become a judge at the next Miss Reef bikini contest in Panama at http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/bikini-contest–win-reef-bikini-girl-trip_27263/. As for me, I am positive the return of the bikini thong girls will be driving tons and tons of traffic to their web site and creating quite a stir as well as helping to sell tons of flip flops. I’m also crossing my fingers that I win that contest!

by Michael Doyle, Brand Iron President

“Staying Power” from the Great Depression to Today

Every day we are reminded that we are in a recession…the countless news reports, articles and blogs remind us constantly about how to cut costs to assure survival during these tough economic times. As a struggling citizen of our latest societal problem, I couldn’t help but think “how did we get here?” In my lifetime as a working professional, I could never recall any economic times as tough as they are today. In fear that my generation may have to experience similar hardships as the Great Depression, I started to research more about how people (more specifically businesses) were able to prosper during that time. And what I started to discover was amidst all the negativity, we are forgetting what made some companies even more successful as a result of the Great Depression.

 

No doubt during “normal” economic conditions, companies wouldn’t dream about cutting their marketing budgets, so why should we stop now? In fact, since most companies are cutting their commercialization, wouldn’t now be the time to get your brand noticed while most of your competitors have gone silent? Additionally, wouldn’t you want your brand to be perceived as stronger than your competitors? Ironically the companies that advertised during the Great Depression became even more successful, once spending finally did increase. Their “staying power” actually gave the public a reason to be loyal to that brand and they came out on top while their competitors tried to gain lost ground. The common denominator among companies who persevered during the Great Depression: they did not decrease their ad spending. Therefore, those businesses who actually tried to save money and stop advertising, actually wasted the brand building dollars they had previously spent.

 

You could say I’m biased because I’m in marketing or perhaps that I’m overly optimistic, but with companies such as GE, Disney, HP and Microsoft all emerging out of recessions, perhaps we should all be reminded of the advertising and marketing history lessons of the past. What businesses fail to realize is, that even in recessions, people still spend money, they just look for better deals (and appreciate it more) when they do. Therefore saving money by cutting budgets in a down economy doesn’t automatically lead to successfully surviving a recession…especially if you’re not looking to stay top-of-mind of the consumer! 

Written by Rebecca Watry