Are You Ready to Work with a Marketing Agency? Part 2

Are You Ready to Work with a Marketing Agency? Part 2

When you are ready to work with a marketing agency, it’s important to find a partner who is looking out for your best interests. By working with an agency that focuses on strategy and has experience working with companies on a long-term basis, you can start to see results from your marketing. What makes this a better option than hiring another employee?

1

Hiring and retaining are difficult in today’s market. Working with an agency gives you consistency in your marketing efforts when employees come and go.

2

Pay for what you need. Instead of hiring another employee, you can keep your current department intact while accessing a team of specialists that just work on what you need.

3

Creative geniuses bring depth. Agency teams need to deliver great work as efficiently as possible, and they do it every day for multiple organizations. Plus, they likely work in several industries and have a more diverse portfolio of work than a single employee.

4

Creative geniuses bring expertise. Marketing is changing regularly, so it’s extremely difficult to find a single employee that has the expertise and up-to-date best practices in all areas. Many marketing agencies ensure their employees are engaged in continued education so they can bring their clients the best service.

5

An outside perspective. Many times, companies get tunnel vision and only focus on what they like or what they think. Strategic marketing agencies can bring a fresh set of eyes to your challenges. An agency should be audience-focused, and by bringing that perspective to you can help you identify where you might be going wrong.

6

Capacity for creativity. Your employees are limited to 40 hours per week. When you add in meetings, planning, important conversations, and day-to-day urgencies, it can be difficult for them to deliver necessary creative deliverables when needed. Agencies can solve this capacity problem and often do it for less than adding a new employee.

7

Transition Risk-Reduction. It should be easy to hire – or fire- your marketing agency. If you choose well, your marketing agency should never hold your website or accounts captive, handcuff you to their services, or withhold knowledge of your technology.

Effective agencies help bridge the gap for you.

If it’s the right time to start looking for a marketing agency to partner with, here are some things to look for:

  • Will you have an account manager that is trained in brand and marketing strategy?
  • Can you meet the people you will work with before you sign a contract?
  • What kinds of inputs will the agency need from us to do their best work?
  • Do we have someone with the capacity to work closely with the agency and provide timely feedback?
  • Do they have experience working with clients monthly and what kind of things are they delivering?

Working with the right agency can be a game changer for your company.

Here are some ways our clients describe the impact of their relationship with an agency:

A Creative Partner
“I have been in Marketing and Graphic Design for over 25 years, and it is hard to find the right agency that “checks off all the boxes” of what you need. They have “checked off all the boxes” for us and if there is something that might not be their specialty, they help guide us in the right direction. With the uncertainty of today’s world, it is such a comfort to know that I have a very creative team that will always be there for us!”
–Pam Mills, Marketing Manager | Uckele Health & Nutrition

Lightening the Load
“Hands down, having Hoyden handling our marketing has been the best business decision we’ve made on this project. To the ease of communication with their team, their writing skills, design work and creativity they take care of everything for us. Working with them has taken a huge burden off my shoulders and allows me to focus on the business more.”
–Laura Wanke, General Manager | Chaloner & Co.

A Goal-Centered Approach
“They are always looking out for us and our goals–they take care of the things we need and adapt to what we want to accomplish. We’re looking forward to our continued partnership which has already proven to be extremely successful!”
–Joe Brookstein, Owner | The Hardscape Exchange

Keeping You Focused
“They all are easy to work with and they’re very timely. They help us stay on schedule and have made it very easy for us to focus on what we need to. They run with execution and I can’t imagine what more anyone would want or expect from a marketing team.”
–Eric Blackhurst, VP of Sales and Marketing | Planewave Instruments

Thoughtful and Purposeful Strategies
“I needed a marketing team that understood my audience, primarily C-suite and investors, and how to best interact with them. Their down-to-earth, insightful approach gave me confidence and has helped me go from almost no marketing to a solid, thoughtful, and appropriately scaled plan. It has helped me efficiently and effectively add value to current and prospective clients.”
–Katrina Johnson |  KCJ Consulting

Ad mockups for pets and humans

interested in learning more?

It’s easy to schedule a discovery call with us to see if we might be the right solution to your branding or marketing challenges. We promise we’ll steer you in the right direction and do our best to help you find the perfect solution for your unique situation.

Overcoming Cobbler’s Children Syndrome

Overcoming Cobbler’s Children Syndrome

Hoyden Logos | Before and After

In 2015, my original business partner and I put $5 in the bank, picked a business name, and started a company. We saw a need for a marketing agency that was more consultative and strategic, one that could come up with creative ideas to fight the mediocre and boring status quo for which most companies settle.

We founded Hoyden with values that we still live by today: always asking “why” to identify and solve problems and prioritize efforts, delighting others through strategic excellence, always striving to make others the hero, and gratefully looking for the lesson in each new experience.

As Hoyden has grown, we have entered new markets, gained expertise in new areas, and partnered with brands that are eager to leave the status quo behind and see their brand elevated in the eyes of employees, customers, and key stakeholders. Now in our 7th year, Hoyden is expanding – not only in team members and clients but also in location. In the past several years, we transitioned to a fully remote team with employees in Michigan, Ohio, and Maryland and are now serving clients in a number of states. 

As the company has matured, it became apparent that our image didn’t meet the perception of our work. The business phenomenon of the cobbler’s children – who didn’t receive the benefits of their father’s shoemaking talents – had played out. As cobblers, we were so dedicated to the needs of our clients that we didn’t take the time to “make shoes” for our own family by updating the Hoyden look to reflect the brand more accurately.

Our rebranding effort was focused representing what Hoyden has become: a talented team of brand strategists, creative geniuses, and dedicated, brilliant women who elevate each other, clients, and brands to greater heights than ever before. Our future is bright, bold, and limitless, and now our brand reflects just that.

Hoyden rebrand

Is Your Public Relations An Afterthought? Here’s Why That Can Get You Into Trouble

Is Your Public Relations An Afterthought? Here’s Why That Can Get You Into Trouble

When you are focused on starting your business or launching a new product, public relations can be an afterthought. But that can be a costly mistake.

Steady public relations not only builds your brand’s reputation in the community, but it makes it easier to market your products when the time comes.

Here are the top reasons why public relations should be a forethought instead of a last-minute idea.

PR Kickstarter

It boosts your marketing

A lot of people think public relations and marketing are the same thing, but it could not be further from the truth. Do they often go hand in hand? Of course. But effective public relations saves time and money for marketers.

While marketing is geared toward selling products and services, public relations is all about how people see your business. When you release something new or open your business, sometimes it’s easy to say, “we should schedule an open house event,” or “maybe let’s put out a press release.”

But you must ask yourself a hard question – why would anyone care about your event or product if they’ve never heard of you before? You can waste a lot of time and advertising dollars throwing information out there without the trustworthiness of your company’s brand to bring in a return on investment.

A solid public relations campaign can help with the following before your product/service is released or your business is even open:

  • Brand awareness in the community and with potential customers
  • Building relationships with local media, trade media, influencers, and industry leaders
  • Creating excitement and anticipation for the release of your product/service or your opening
  • Providing knowledge of where to find your audience and the best way to spend your advertising dollars and social media efforts

A lack of a solid public relations foundation makes the job for marketers that much harder and could cost you potential revenue.

Crisis management

We’ve all seen what happens when a company or organization hits the news with a negative story. Disgruntled former employees take to the news, angry customers find an audience, or a crisis outside of your control like a downed website or slow supply chain impacts your reviews.

All of these things are easier handled and maintained with the help of a strong public relations plan. Being proactive rather than reactive can go a long way to facing any crisis your business encounters with grace and dignity in a way that has your peers and customers looking at you with respect.

Some of the crisis management plans established by a PR team include:

  • Who is the company spokesperson when there is a crisis? What should employees do if contacted for comment?
  • What is the process and timeline for creating a solid message around the crisis events?
  • What is the communications structure during a crisis?
  • Where do you post emergency communications – on social media, website, etc.
  • Who handles social media during a time of crisis, and responds to questions, concerns, and complaints all the time?
  • Who responds to online reviews, whether negative or positive? What is the message you want to use? How can you prevent yourself from starting arguments online with those leaving a negative review?

Having all these questions answered before a crisis happens can go a long way toward handling it smoothly.

So many fans, so little time

On the opposite end of the spectrum from negatively gaining attention is when you suddenly get a popularity increase if a social media post or news story goes viral unexpectedly.

This is a great thing, right?

It’s like striking gold, but if your business is not prepared for the sudden onslaught of attention, your fifteen minutes of fame can be just that. An effective PR program can help you prepare for the time when your business hits its stride. No one wants to be scrambling to update that old website or get canceled because of something in their past.

Some of the things public relations can help prepare you for if you go viral:

  • Make sure your website and social media is always up to date with the latest information.
  • Thoroughly review all past social media posts for problematic content.
  • Review negative reviews and news stories from the past and prepare messaging in case those resurface with the new positive attention.
  • Create talking points about your products and services so you can maximize the time you are in the limelight.
  • Establish a spokesperson in case there are press requests.
  • Have a plan in place to handle additional phone calls, comments, reviews, and requests for services, etc. Nothing tanks a business faster than when they suddenly get an wave of customers and their services lag as a result.

Keep it in the forefront

Making public relations an afterthought in your business can cost you a lot of time and money in the long run. By building a concrete PR foundation, you are not only ready to get the news about your business, services, and products out in the world, but you are ready to face any crisis or sudden attention that comes your way. The business leader who has the forethought to plan how they will share their brand with the world sets themselves up for success.

If You are in These Professions, You Have a Personal Brand (whether you know it or not)

If You are in These Professions, You Have a Personal Brand (whether you know it or not)

What is a personal brand?  In a nutshell, it’s who your business associates* perceive you, as an individual, to be.  Not your business, not your organization – YOU.

(*”business associates” can be client/customers, employees, co-workers, vendors, or the general public.)

While you may not think you have a personal brand, if you are in one of the professions listed below, you do…whether you know it or not.  More importantly, if you think you don’t have a personal brand then you probably haven’t invested enough time developing your brand…and that could be hurting your business.

So, if your profession is listed below (or if you are in a similar profession) read on to find out why your personal brand is important and to learn some helpful tips for building, improving or rescuing your personal brand.

Real Estate

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important financial decisions people make.  It stands to reason that they aren’t going to trust just anyone to help them through this process.  But how do people choose their Realtor?

Primarily, they choose someone they know, or someone referred to them by friends or family.  If this isn’t their first home buying/selling experience, they’ll use a Realtor they’ve worked with in the past as long as that Realtor has stayed in contact with them, or they have seen marketing and advertising that tells them they are still active in the industry.

And, if they don’t have a Realtor on top of mind? A quick Google search provides them with a long list of options.  But how do they choose from the results? They evaluate personal brand.

Finance

99% of Americans don’t use a financial advisor. So, how do you capture the attention of the 1% that do (or, convince one of the remaining 99% to take the leap?)

It’s all personal brand. 

Trust and understanding are crucial factors people use when choosing a financial advisor – or even whether they will begin to use a financial advisor. Potential clients will look to your personal brand to decide if they can trust you and to determine if you are someone who will understand their personal financial situation.

Contractor

As a contractor, you want to be the first person who comes to mind when developers, architects, designers, and property managers have a new project. This will happen if you are reliable, do good work, complete work on time and at or under budget, and have other qualities that make completing the project easier for them, rather than harder.

How do they know if you can do this? Personal brand.

Sales

Modern day salespeople are strategic partners with their clients. They provide their clients with ongoing support and education, not only for the products or services they sell, but also on other, related topics, such as industry trends, up-and-coming technologies, competitor insights, and much, much more.

Whether you are going to be a valued partner or just another peddler of goods is conveyed in your personal brand.

Consultant

As a consultant, you sell your expertise, but you also sell yourself.  You may be the most knowledgeable expert in your field. However, if you have an abrasive personality, have a condescending communication style, and act as if you’d rather be anywhere but working with your client, it will significantly devalue your expertise. And, your clients will take their business elsewhere.

All of this is reflected in your personal brand.

Building Your Personal Brand

It may not be easy, but putting work into building your personal brand is critical your business success and will pay big dividends in the long run.  We’ve included some quick tips below.

However, if you are serious about building a personal brand that will position you for the greatest possible success, you should seek out the assistance of an expert. Contact us today for a free Personal Brand Audit. We’d also be happy to provide you with a quote for a full Personal Brand Development, Redevelopment or Triage.

Personal Brand Quick Tips
  1. Know your target market and develop communications for them.
  2. Know your off- and online reputation. Play to your strengths, and recognize and work on your weaknesses.
  3. Know what differentiates you from others in your field and communicate that to prospects and clients.
  4. Know the products or services you sell better than anyone else.
  5. Develop a passion for your work.
  6. Position yourself as a thought leader in your field? Create a blog or podcast, contribute to industry websites, and attend and speak at industry conferences.
  7. Ask for and share testimonials from your clients.
  8. Offer presentations, workshops, and speaking engagements as part of your services.
  9. Publish content regularly on your personal and professional social channels.
6 Branding Ideas You Should Avoid

6 Branding Ideas You Should Avoid

Not all that glitters is gold, so the saying goes. Many companies feel this when they put time and money into rebranding, yet it’s still not connecting to customers. Then they are stuck trying to figure out what went wrong. 

Deciding to rebrand your company is an important step in growing your business and building trust with your audience. However, a few missteps in the process can have you throwing a lot of time and money at something that will not achieve your goals.

Going in without a plan, trying to copy other brands, or doing an incomplete job can bring even the most well-intentioned projects down.

To help you steer clear of these missteps, we’ve compiled a list of the top 6 ideas to avoid when it comes to rebranding your company.

rebranding checklist

Imitation is not flattery

When you are prepping for a rebrand, the easiest place most people go for ideas is their competition. If their branding is working for them, why not try something similar?

But there is a problem with that line of thinking. If both of you look the same – why would people buy from you over them? Especially if they have already built loyalty through their brand. An important part of rebranding is about setting yourself apart from your competition and letting potential customers know why you are unique.

It’s not just about you

You’ve put a lot of hard work into your business. Sometimes even your heart and soul. You may be the face of your organization, but one common mistake in rebranding is making it all about you.

Branding is all about how you appear to others and building loyalty. And while you may love your products, what you love about them might not be what someone else does. The reasons you need it might not be the same for everyone else. There are so many types of people in the world, and you could miss out on a lot of potential customers by basing your branding just on your preferences.

Sometimes, it can be tough to connect with a potential customer from a different demographic or lifestyle than yourself. Some of these areas include:

  • Age
  • City vs. small town
  • Parent vs. non-parent
  • Single or married
  • Working, retired, stay-at-home
  • Type of career

Brand experts can help you do consumer research so you can build a brand that will appeal to a wider audience, especially ones that are not exactly like you.

Another thing to consider is the possibility that something else could attract potential customers beyond your profile. What brings someone into your business may not be the years of experience and talent you possess, but a unique product you offer that they can’t get anywhere else. Making it all about you narrows the number of people that you could potentially reach.

It’s not just about a logo

When some hear the word rebranding, they often think about just getting a new logo. However, the logo is only a small piece of the larger brand picture, which also includes every touchpoint with your audience, including your employees and the mission of your company.

Rebranding is not “just” anything, and part of the process is making sure every element that represents your business is of the highest professional quality to draw in new customers.

Sure, your niece’s boyfriend may be great at computers, but that doesn’t mean he should be in charge of designing your logo. There are so many things that can go wrong in this scenario. Here are a few examples:

  • They could produce something that you don’t care for, but you may be reluctant to express your opinion because of the personal connection, or because they are doing it as a favor or at a discount. No one wants to be using a terrible design on their marketing materials with a phony cringe-hiding smile on their face.
  • You could run into legal issues if they use artwork or even fonts without paying for them or making sure they are free to use.
  • You have limited possibilities based on their skill, rather than being able to find a designer that suits your vision.

It’s okay to ask for help

One big thing to avoid when rebranding is being closed off to outside opinions. You are an expert when it comes to knowing about your business. But what about how others perceive it?

While it’s hard to bring in an outsider, a brand expert can help you in ways you never knew you needed.

Here’s what a brand expert brings to the table:

  • Years of expertise on rebranding – what works and what doesn’t
  • Knows the right questions to ask to reveal the heart of your business
  • Can find the strengths of your business and identify your mission
  • Discovers weaknesses in your brand and has a game plan for improvement
  • Has tools for testing brand awareness
  • Brings knowledge of the latest tools and trends for creating and promoting your brand

Though it may be tough to hear, an outside expert is not emotionally attached to branding that was in place in the past and can provide an unbiased opinion on what can be kept to tweak or what needs to be let go.

Your website is too basic

One mistake that people make while building their business’s brand is thinking that their website just serves the purpose of people finding them online. They create something with just a plain landing page and basic information, not putting a lot of thought into it.

Keep in mind that your website is the first thing people often visit before setting foot in your business or reaching out to you for more information. Your website is a salesman for your services and products, and it’s important to think about what impression that salesperson is giving.

When you hire and train an employee to represent your business, you train them on the way they should treat customers and give them all the important information they need to know to make the sale, and your website should be the same way.

Some things to consider for your website:

  • Does it look professional and welcoming? Or is it poorly designed or plain? The look and feel of your website will impact a visitor’s impression of your business.
  • Does it have all the information your potential customer needs to make a decision? Look beyond just your contact information and hours. What can they expect when they come into your business?
  • Are your business’s unique qualities, products and mission accurately represented on the site?

A brand expert can help ensure your website is an accurate reflection of your business and attract customers.

Writing your own content

Creating content to promote your business is more than just listing your features and benefits. Sometimes people may not even know that they have a need for your product – how will you let them know?

Most people look for a brand, product, and service first. Then they will focus on what features and benefits set you apart from the competition. An important part of rebranding is being customer-focused in your messaging. A brand expert will help you get in the mind of your potential customers and help answer the question – what problem are they having that we will solve for them?

For example, a cell phone company may really focus their messaging on their family plans, knowing that many parents are faced with the problem of their bill going up once their teenagers are added to their plan.  This marketing message helps bring customers in, and then you can sell them on your benefits and features.

Brand experts bring experience in finding the right message for your business. They know to produce clear and concise content to promote your brand.

You’re the expert at what you do, why stretch yourself thin doing something that is not normally in your wheelhouse? Bringing in a branding expert helps to ensure your business makes the best impression it can, which provides a huge return on your investment.

If you are ready to discuss what rebranding could look like for your business, we would be happy to offer you a free consultation.  You can learn what the project could look like, how long it will take, and what research will be done.  We love helping brands grow!

7 Signs You Need A Strategic Marketing Consultant

When starting your own business, you tend to wear all the hats for a while. If your business was a TV show, opening credits would look something like this: CEO, starring you Human Resources, starring you Finance, starring you Custodian, starring you Marketing,...

3 Easy and Effective Ways to Wow Your Clients

Let’s pretend it’s a warm, sunny day and we’re running a lemonade stand. You walk by, purchase a cup, and declare “Wow! That is some seriously good lemonade. What do you guys do so different?” Truthfully, a recipe isn’t that hard to follow: proper portions of water,...
How Would You Grade Your Brand?

How Would You Grade Your Brand?

Many people think a brand is just a logo and website, but it’s so much more than that. A brand is the way your organization is perceived by those who experience it. And having a bad brand influences not only your sales but the ability to attract the best employees to your company.

  • 69 percent of job candidates have said they would reject an offer of employment from a company from a bad employer brand, even if they were unemployed
  • According to the Harvard Business Review, companies with a poor employer brand must offer a minimum of 10 percent pay increase to lure top talent
  • 95 percent of candidates have said they consider a company’s reputation as a key consideration when exploring new career opportunities
  • Only 49 percent of employees would recommend their employer to a friend

A strong brand:

  • Builds a reputation in the industry
  • Provides motivation and direction for employees
  • Generates referrals for both customers and employees
  • Builds loyalty
  • Provides business value

So, what does this mean? You need to proactively manage all aspects of your brand. You can start this by grading your current branding to see how it fares when it comes to creating a positive perception of your business.

Grade the following categories from A-F (A = extremely strong, F = extremely weak)

Vision

The first category to grade your brand on is vision. This is the purpose of your company beyond making money. Having a shared vision helps you and your employees be on the same page when it comes to representing your brand. It also helps customers know what to expect when interacting with you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when grading your vision:

  • Are the purpose and values of my business clearly identified?
  • Is my brand position clearly defined and distinguished from my competitors?
  • Do I have visual standards that are defined, documented, and enforced?

Culture

What your staff experiences on a daily basis is also an important part of having a strong brand. People want to know what the vibe is before coming to work for you – they want to know about management style or how you communicate with your employees.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when grading your culture:

  • Is your company culture built to reinforce the brand?
  • Are there internal programs that support the brand?
  • Is there training for employees on brand and how to support it?

Experience

Experience includes your brand “touchpoints” – each time someone comes in contact with your business. Touchpoints aren’t just tracked through direct sales, but also through your website, vendors, customer service, tech support, human resources, etc.

Here are some questions to ask while grading how someone experience’s your brand at every touchpoint:

  • How well is the brand perceived by customers and employees?
  • Do customers and employees perceive me how I want them to?
  • How likely are they to recommend my business to others?

Engagement

Engagement is the story of your brand, or what it’s saying to other people. This is key because when people are engaged with your brand, it builds their loyalty.

Here’s what to ask yourself when grading your brand engagement: 

  • Do employees know what your brand stands for?
  • Does your brand help you achieve your sales and hiring goals?
  • Do people have an emotional and cultural connection with your brand?
  • How well does your brand maximize the value of employee relationships?

What your grade means:

Okay, so you’ve looked at your brand and given it a grade – now what? Is it time for a complete overhaul of your brand, or just some updates?

If you gave your brand an A or B, it might be time for a slight brand update. Change some minor things here or there if you found some weaknesses in some of the categories, but you’ve got a good foundation to build upon.

If you gave your brand a C, it is time to take your minor updates to the next level. It’s time for a refresh. You don’t necessarily need an entire rebrand, but it will be smart to go through and make improvements so your brand can connect with people at every touchpoint.

If you gave your brand a D or an F, don’t panic. This score means your company is due for a rebrand. How exciting! With a rebrand, you will undergo major changes and investments to make your brand stronger than ever. This will lead to an increase in brand value, which means happy employees and more clients.

Some of the tools you can use to rebrand include a brand audit, brand development and strategy, employee surveys, and competitor research.

The endgame of having a successful brand is love. You love your people, and your people will love your brand. This makes your company worth more to everyone who experiences it.

 

We want to help your business succeed, no matter what stage it’s in. Give us a call or shoot us an email and let’s do something great together!

2021 Marketing Roundup

Every brand has different marketing goals and strategies. All year long, we watch our favorite brands try out new marketing strategies and now we’ve rounded up some of the biggest, best, and most notable marketing moments from 2021.

2021 Marketing Roundup

Every brand has different marketing goals and strategies. All year long, we watch our favorite brands try out new marketing strategies and now we’ve rounded up some of the biggest, best, and most notable marketing moments from 2021.