The Brand Surgery is qualified to train businesses in the strategic use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Our CSR strategies have been proven to improve corporate reputation and competitive advantage which in turn will grow your business.
Recently I received an enquiry from a company who we will name “CHP” for this blog: “How would The Brand Surgery, with limited budget, work to get new corporate hospitality events into the market and increase the number of hits to CHP’s website as there are not currently enough. We send emails to our own database and do a bit of pay per click. Certainly not enough social media is done though. And what could The Brand Surgery realistically could achieve?”
This is a common question and our response is that online marketing is not a magic wand. It requires the same amount of strategic planning as an offline marketing campaign.
Understand your customers’ objectives
Before you start posting, tweeting and getting carried away, you need to understand your customers, decide what they want to hear and how and when they want to hear it!
Why should companies choose to go to your corporate hospitality events? At a time when businesses are squeezing every last drop out of their budgets, what would your events do for them? What objectives will your events meet?
Do all customers have the same needs or would they go for different reasons? Think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Are prospective clients allowed to access social media sites at work? Do they enjoy using social media?
Are your HTML emails getting through customer’s servers?
Then create a message for success
Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In), SEO, websites and e-marketing are simply mediums for getting messages out there – hopefully louder and more effective than all the other messages. How you deliver a sense-making and appealing message requires the strategic thinking so you don’t damage your corporate reputation.
A little research revealed that half the audience for the corporate hospitality event project were being excluded because many corporate IT servers don’t allow HTML emails through/and company leader’s don’t allow staff to have social media access. A social media campaign of this type would be best complemented by an offline marketing communications (direct sales/promotions) so a budget would need to allow for this. If the correct background work is done (see below) then return on marketing investment (ROMI) will be high.
Is online or offline marketing more effective?
Online and offline marketing are both effective if used correctly. It is all about the right way to get to your audience and we all have different preferences. If you want sales then understand your customer.
The Brand Surgery has all the online marketing and offline marketing expertise required to create the appropriate message for your chosen audience.
We have recently completed the logo design and visual identity for Maternity and Nannies which is an international childcare agency based in the UK. The objective of the rebrand was to grow the business by engaging mothers in the heart of London City. Our client required a logo that looked grown up but also captured the essence of her maternity business. The logo has so far received amazing feedback from our client’s contacts at Mumsnet.com and Bounty.
We designed several versions of the chosen logo to suit different mediums. The top ’stacked’ logo is the default logo which will appear on the website (in construction), business cards, stationery and other marketing communications.
The reversed logo would be used on dark backgrounds – for press advertising or even exhibition banners.
The small logo would be used for promotional products such as pens/usb sticks/key fobs/fridge magnets.
The unstacked logo may be used for a horizontal website banner, promotional pen, or even retail fascia signage.
Logo design rules
If you are recruiting a branding agency to design your logo, it is essential you ask them to design your favourite logo in different formats to ensure it is readable and is eye-catching. This helps to furtureproof your visual identity ensuring a hasty return on your marketing investment (ROMI). A reputable design agency with a qualified in-house Chartered Marketer will know to design a style or colour which will suit your business industry. Here is a related excerpt from my book, Do A Madonna.
“So have you got a vision for your new business corporate identity? At this stage, I would like you to write down what colour or combination of colours you want for your business logo. Then I want to know what inspired you to reach that decision.
I am silently praying that you have not written down reasons similar to this: • I want a red logo because red is Liverpool FC’s colour; or • I want a blue logo because my wife’s eyes are blue; or • I want a brown logo because my horse is brown…
Have you finished? OK. If you have written down any of the above, I am so pleased you have read this far because you are heading for business branding suicide. Do your customers care that you follow Liverpool FC? No. Your customers want to feel safe and secure in your hands. And you need to evoke a feeling of trust and use colours that will appeal to your customers – not colours that appeal to you. Your answer to the above exercise should be: I will choose a colour that suits my industry and target market and I will be guided by the branding agency I choose to work with.”
Maternity and Nannies has also commissioned The Brand Surgery to help with a range of services including Corporate Reputation. After all, you could have the most striking logo in the world, but unless your business delivers on its brand promise and builds up trust and loyalty with customers, it won’t grow and be recognised. We have a range of business marketing packages that can help you with this.
New website coming soon
Keep an eye out for the new Maternity and Nannies website which we hope will be live before Christmas. Of course it will be integrated with social networking functions, blogging facility and be linked to our e-marketing software to keep customers up-to-date.
Call Sussex’s No 1 branding agency for advice on all of the above on 01903 824229. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
FACT 1: Managing your corporate reputation increases your competitive advantage because if your business is pitching for a project and your fees are the same or close to your competitor, the business with the best reputation will win.
FACT 2: Competitors cannot copy or steal your business reputation.
FACT 3: It has been proven that companies with tip-top corporate reputation have a healthier bottom line.
FACT 4: Businesses with a healthy corporate reputation recover from crisis more quickly than businesses without.
FACT 5: Good corporate reputation means that you will be able to increase your pricing as your goods will be perceived to offer higher value.
So how do you ensure that your business grows and maintains a healthy corporate reputation?
First of all you need to ensure that there are no gaps between your perception of your business (corporate identity), and your public’s perception (corporate image) of your business. Davies et al, 2003 says “a distinction is made between ‘identity’ (as the internal stakeholder view of the company) and ‘image’ (as the external stakeholder view of the company)”.
The first thing to understand is that corporate identity includes a lot more than logo design, letterheads, brochures and website design! Corporate identity is actually a combination of symbolism (logos/visual), communication and behaviour.
Symbolism includes the attributes that make up the visual identity of your business, eg, logo, colours, tagline, signage, location, website, reception area, history, uniform, livery, music (if you advertise on radio) etc. It is important to keep this element consistent; as a business grows, quite often the symbolism evolves and after a few years your business could be sending out mixed signals. It is important to revisit this area annually and commission a good branding agency to help you to audit your business messages and achieve your desired market position.
All businesses should have communication plan as well as a marketing plan. A communication plan sets out your strategy for corporate reputation and includes your corporate communication mix. It will prioritise your stakeholders and how your business expresses itself to engage key stakeholders, eg investors or local government if your business is looking for planning permission. A communications plan will also include a risk assessment to mitigate reputational damage to your reputation.
If you make promises within your marketing messages, these need to be delivered to create and sustain trust. For example, if you portray your business as a friendly, family run business – you need to make sure that the person who answers your telephone is friendly and approachable. If you are reading this and you are the owner of a family run business, you may find this article interesting: family business information.
Vicky Vaughan (MD, The Brand Surgery) is a Chartered Marketer and is qualified to help your business with corporate reputation including corporate identity and corporate communications plans. Call her for a confidential, no obligation chat today on 01903 824229. The Brand Surgery is based in Worthing, West Sussex and has been established for ten years.
Contact The Brand Surgery, branding and marketing agency in Worthing, Sussex to discover how you can measure and improve your business corporate reputation.
We have now had time to catch up after returning from our week of event management and marketing at the Coronation Festival, Buckingham Palace in July 2013. If you missed our previous blog, we were organising an exhibition stand for Manhattan Furniture who are proud owners of the Royal Warrant. The event was a corporate hospitality day and also the launchpad for the Planet2050® kitchen specification, created by Vicky Vaughan, which was extremely well received by all who attended.
The Planet2050® kitchen showcased many futuristic gadgets which wowed Manhattan’s guests and visitors and key attractions within the stand included the Manhattan ultra-sustainable bamboo breakfast bar and fabulous low-energy wine cooler and beer dispenser. We would like to thank Shepherd Neame who provided the fabulous beer, and of course Her Majesty, The Queen, for allowing us to exhibit in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace. The temperatures soared all weekend, and we are very grateful to all of Manhattan Furniture’s guests who made the effort to attend. We were honoured to receive visits from some prestigious VIPs including Katie Melua and The Duke of Gloucester.
Corporate Identity and logo design – Planet2050®
We created the sustainability strategy, corporate identity and logo design for Planet2050® which is being used for point of sale material and exhibition banners.Planet2050® is an ultra sustainable kitchen and a sustainability strategy that has been created to help Manhattan Furniture to assist The Housing Construction Industry in meeting its Climate Change Act 2008 environmental targets.
Call Vicky today on 01903 824229 or email for advice on corporate identity, logo design and sustainable marketing.
The Springboard Project is a community based charity that provides safe, inclusive, recreational play and leisure opportunities together with information and support to parents or carers. Springboard House is open as a drop-in centre for any family to bring their children and enjoy our facilities during the week. The house is fully accessible with a lift, mobile and ceiling hoists with child and adult changing facilities.
We were asked to rebrand Springboard’s website late last year as it was looking a little dated. Springboard wanted the new design to reflect the strapline and mission: Where fun is compulsory! The client also wanted to be able to make amendments to the website to keep ongoing costs down and have more control. So we created a Content Managed System (CMS) using Wordpress which is easy to navigate.
This website was a challenge because the client wanted to keep the club logos which had been designed by children at Springboard. These logos were completely different styles and colours so we brought them all together in complementary toned circles which wiggle when you roll your mouse over, capturing the essence of fun.
Social media and online marketing services
The website also links up to our e-marketing system, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. The Springboard e-newsletter system is proving to be popular with hundreds of subscribers already and it is an excellent way to capture data and keep in contact with your prospective customers.
Choose The Brand Surgery, Sussex’s No. 1 branding agency for your website design needs. We have in-house Chartered Marketing expertise, so not only will your website look pretty and be functional, it will stimulate active interest from your target audience. Call us on 01903 824229 or email email@example.com.
ICTR - logo design for IT asset management business
We have been working with ICTR for a few months now and have recently finished the logo design part of the rebrand. We are currently working on the new website which will be launched in July 2013. We are particularly pleased to be working with a business that shares the same ethics as our own – mainly sustainability. Steve Coates, CEO of ICTR was recently awarded Entrepreneur of the Year at the Government’s Improvement and Efficiency awards in Westminster, for his innovative ideas to help companies dispose of IT assets in the most responsible and safest way. Steve introduced The Brand Surgery to the concept of The Circular Economy.
The Circular Economy – Sustainable marketing concept
Nature has a circular lifecycle but the economic lifecycle is linear: manufacturers generally design and build products for disposal at the end of a short product lifecycle promoting profit from replacement, but also depleting our planet of scarce minerals and filling landfill. How could nature get it so right – and the economy get it so wrong?
With the Circular Economy concept, manufacturers would design and build products to last, then at the end of the much increased product lifecycle, the product could be re-used, not recyled or disposed of. The Circular Economy strips the ineffective current system back to basics and has launched a new way of thinking: What if manufacturers kept ownership of products that were built to last and consumers would rent the product and therefore would not have to pay extra for replacement parts? This way the manufacturers don’t lose profit, consumers don’t have to replace/dispose, the products are kept up to the latest specification and the planet is one step closer to being saved. Everyone wins!
ICTR and the IT Circular Economy
There are currently huge gaps in the IT Circular Economy and ICTR is committed to closing the gaps. ICTR responsibly refurbishes IT assets so that they can be re-used – not recycled. Only when a product is well-past its refurbishment state will it be responsibly recycled. ICTR is ADISA merit accredited which means that all data is securely erased before refurbishing to Government standard meaning that your business reputation is safe from any data security breaches. ICTR works with businesses with over 60 employees.
For this exciting project, The Brand Surgery carried out:
Logo design and corporate identity
The ICTR logo design and corporate identity was created to align with the corporate world. The circle design represents the IT Circular Economy and the gaps which ICTR is committed to filling. The logo is being used on uniforms, the website, signage and minimal packaging.
The Planet2050® marketing project consisted of a sustainability strategy and an eco-kitchen specification, formed of ultra-sustainable elements from the extensive Manhattan kitchen ranges, which helps Manhattan’s clients to gain upto 17 credits in the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes scheme and BREEAM. Planet2050® demonstrates how value, quality, style and sustainability work together.
You may already know that Manhattan Furniture and Paula Rosa have joined forces and we are very pleased that Planet2050® is being rolled across the expanded organisation.
We are proud to have been involved with Planet2050®. There were many elements we worked on contributing to the success of this project which included:
• Customer research and Key Account Management to establish is most important to our clients.
• Researching the BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes guidelines
• Researching Manhattan Furniture’s product offering and picking the most sustainable elements
• Writing the sustainability strategy brochure
• Designing the Planet2050®logo and corporate identity and producing an online brochure
• Registering the Planet2050® logo trademark with the Intellectual Property Office
• Promoting Planet2050® with key accounts and the media (PR and marketing communications)
• Co-ordination design and installation of Planet2050® eco-kitchen for launch at Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace in July 2013.
Win more tenders with a professional sustainability strategy
Tender Pre-qualification Questionnaires for most industries require that you list your environmental achievements and accreditations. Not only will you will benefit from a huge competitive advantage if you have a robust sustainability strategy, you will also save money because we can help with your energy and waste management. Vicky Vaughan, Chartered Marketer, can advise on reducing your carbon footprints and can also write and design your sustainability strategy. Call us now on 01903 824229 for a confidential chat on your sustainability needs.
Manhattan Furniture joins the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace
As a proud Royal Warrant holder, our client, Manhattan Furniture has been invited to exhibit at The Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace, between 11th-14th July. 30,000 people including royals, press and the public will be attending this prestigious event and it it a fantastic opportunity for Manhattan to showcase its latest kitchen specification.
Vicky Vaughan is co-ordinating the Coronation Festival event for Manhattan Furniture and the project includes stand design which incorporates the new Planet2050 kitchen design, corporate hospitality for 200 guests, staffing rotas/hotels for stand/kitchen installation and exhibitor staff, security and logistics, marketing communications, PR, copywriting and stand graphics.
Manhattan Furniture will be accompanied by over 200 Royal Warrant holders and its stand is in the Homes and Gardens section which is one of four sections. The other sections are Food and Drink, Design and Technology and Style, Pursuits and Pastimes.
In the evening there is a fantastic show with a line-up including Catherine Jenkins, Katie Melua, Russell Watson, The Feeling, Royal Ballet and the National Youth Orchestra. Tickets have all sold out now, but if you were lucky enough to grab some, please do come to the Manhattan Furniture stand and say ‘hello’ ….
If you have an event that needs co-ordinating, call The Brand Surgery on 01903 824229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Choose The Brand Surgery for all your event marketing communications.
A good number of books were read on my journey to becoming a Chartered Marketer. As you know by now, branding is much more than logo design and these books certainly prove that concept.
My Top Five favourite marketing books for 2012/2013 were:
1. Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results This is a short book and a MUST READ for any business owner or manager who has a problem with unmotivated staff. If you hear the words: “That’s not my job” or “I’m too busy” or your staff are arriving late/leaving early – you know who you are – then FISH! will help you to motivate your team. It sends of a really bad signal to your customers and to the rest of the team if you do have unmotivated and unhelpful staff and it is bad branding! However glossy and brilliant your brochure design is, it won’t patch over the cracks of bad work attitudes which can stem from personal problems. This book gets to the bottom of it – at only £5.99, it’s far cheaper and more effective than giving your staff a pay rise! The author also recommends a a wonderful free document called “The Road to Self Renewal”. Click here to download – it is great for sharing with staff or friends who may have lost their way in life.
2. The New Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line
I love this concept and The Brand Surgery in in the process of introducing the Triple Bottom Line which looks at Planet and People as well as Profit. It makes sense if you look after your people (staff) because you increase productivity and decrease sick days which improves your bottom line. If you look after the planet, by introducing green energy management and waste management, you will save on landfill tax and energy bills which also improves your bottom line. This book is packed case studies showcasing the huge profits by all businesses that have introduced the Triple Bottom Line. The Kindleversion of this book is much less expensive than the paperback.
3. Here Comes Everybody: How Change Happens when People Come Together Is all about the power of online groups with excellent case studies which will have you thinking of creative ideas on how to use social media more effectively. The first story is about a lady who had her mobile phone stolen and then returned after the pressure of a huge online community gained momentum and the police, who originally were not interested, had no choice but the act. A book that makes you think differently about social media and also emphasises the importance of business transparency as the online public now have significant power.
4. The Hidden Persuaders A look at buyer behaviour with some interesting twists including a company that spent millions on market research and then launched a new product based on this research, and the product flopped! The author asks what is a business selling? Is a cosmetic company selling skincare or hope? The Brand Surgery is selling vision. With this in mind, do you know what your company is selling?
5. If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice This is all about Knowledge Management and every business owner and manager should read it. Even if you are a small company now, it’s good to encourage this knowledge management concept with all new employees. The book explains the barriers of implementing such a scheme, and also describes the business types out there. For example, is your business a silo, a by-the-book or a bolt-it-on company? This book advises on how to adopt better practice throughout your entire organisation.
As I continue with my professional development (CPD) I shall be continuing to recommend the business and marketing books that really stand out.