Build consumer trust with strategic brand development

Build consumer trust with strategic brand development

81% of consumers need to trust a brand before they buy from it. Let that sink in. That’s four out of five opportunities walking away if they simply don’t trust you – that means your differentiation, quality, pricing, service and so much not only need to hit the mark but also need to be communicated in a way that does so.

This is the world of brand, friends. It’s where your reputation trumps all. But good news: there is a path to success here and we like to call it strategic brand development. Two things to note, though. First, it is a forever commitment and second, it’s not easy.

Do you have trust issues with your brand?

We’ve established the trust criteria for consumers to purchase. But what about when they are already a customer? Reports cite that only 31% of consumers actually trust the brands they use. This matters greatly because it leaves a huge vulnerability for another brand to take your place and we stand by the fact that it is cheaper to keep customers than to attract new ones. So where are some areas you can look to see if you have trust issues?

Consistent messaging

It is easy to have messaging evolve over time and it is easy for it to get splintered and diluted over time. This can happen even if there are only a few people who are hands-on if careful attention is not paid. As messaging appears in highly visible places online, make sure what is being communicated with stakeholders in business conversations, customers in support calls, and your intended audience at tradeshows is also in line. Inconsistency can lose consumers before you even know their potential interest. Are you consistent more often than not? Give yourself a pat on the back! While this is an anecdotal measurement, it’s an important one as a leading indicator.

Online sentiment and net promoter scores (NPS)

To get more quantified in how things are going, evaluate your brands online sentiment and NPS. Both of these measurements do take a process to get going but they will give you a steady pulse in a measurable way on opinion, which is an indicator of trust. Additionally, while they both are measures of opinion and thus grouped here, they are different in many ways and one should not replace the other.

Conversion rates

Looking at conversion rates will hone in more on the lead generation and sales development aspect of trust. There was enough trust to potentially share an email address but is there enough trust for a phone call? A demo? What are the comments coming out of those conversations? This assessment can yield quantitative and qualitative insights that can be cross-referenced with the previous two types of activities suggested.

Customer attrition

Seeing customers go for preventable reasons makes us sad. It’s terrible for a brand and should not by any means be ignored or hidden from the team. These are opportunities to find out where the weak areas are in the brand and address them immediately. Not only with fixes but with proactive measures with other customers. No matter where in the customer journey attrition is happening, it indicates that there is a break in expectations and reality. It could be how the product works, how pricing compares to value, or even the amount of attention they wanted versus are receiving. It could be a communications and/or operational issue but both will break trust if not addressed.

A brand strategy that can make it through tough times

While trust isn’t built overnight, doing it right and maintaining it over the long term might help it from not being broken overnight. True story. We had a client that took their brand trust to heart for decades. The leadership knew what the company stood for and the employees were clear on how to operationalize it. Customers could feel it; exchanges were familial and NPS was incredibly high.

Then one day the inevitable came for a tech company and an incident disrupted service. The team immediately jumped on it but, in short, it was a multiple day disruption and a big deal to customers. Throughout the incident, leadership clearly and calmly communicated with customers, taking ownership of the situation in full.

Thanks not only to the professionalism and transparency in the moment but the years of investing in building the brand, customers literally reached out to say thank you and that trust wasn’t broken. Not a single customer left because of the incident. An absolutely priceless reward.

Two areas to research to support your brand development

It’s possible to appeal to the 81% of consumers that need to have trust before purchasing. It’s imperative to build the number of current customers that have trust above 31%. This can absolutely be done with a strategic brand strategy.

To get started today, take an inventory of the data points you have available to you. Are there processes you need to get in place to have better visibility on quantitative information? Secondly, survey your customer-facing teams to learn the themes they are hearing in conversations.

What do consumers and customers love about the brand?

What are they surprised by?

What aren’t they asking about?

And what bothers them?

A simple tally of recurring comments will give you a starting point for more research. Once these things are identified, you can revisit your marketing and branding fundamentals and see where updates are made. And, of course, work with your operations teams to ensure items are being addressed on their end(s) because they are a vital part of a healthy, trustworthy brand!

Targeted strategy. Unleashed creativity.

Whether you need to work on brand development or you realize you need to reset the entire brand strategy, you are not on your own. We’d love to hear from you about what you have learned in your preliminary assessment as we can help you get to the next step with additional analysis, facilitation, a partner in your strategy, and even implementation. Contact us today by phone or email.

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.

Typical marketing mistakes business owners make

Typical marketing mistakes business owners make

You’re not using your marketing and branding fundamentals to save  you time and headaches

Regardless of having a small, tight-knit team or a large, extended team, it can get to a point where it feels like opinions are bringing marketing and branding work to a halt. This might look like conflicting feedback, endless rounds of revisions or diluted messaging. With some fundamentals in place, your next marketing campaign can roll out smoothly with quicker buy-in, more confidence, and clearer results.

Marketing and branding fundamentals are your best friends

Think of it as mise en place, which is French for “putting in place” in the context of preparing to cook. It’s no fun getting halfway through a recipe just to find out you don’t have something on hand. Nor is it fun to get mid-way through a campaign just to start hitting a wall. According to a project management stat from 2022, 70% of projects fail. Ouch! But we know you can vastly improve those odds with the following fundamentals in place.

Audience description and personas

Know who you are marketing to and know them well. Make sure the team at large knows them! It should be no surprise to anyone what’s important to them, how they talk, and what their decision-making habits are. You’ll take a load of mystery out of your work with this piece.

Product/service description and differentiator

What you are selling should clearly solve a problem for your audience and it should be communicated clearly, concisely, and consistently. Have set language for this and you won’t lead anyone astray.

Brand guide

Never argue about a font, tone, or style again. Lock in it to a brand guideline and you’ll find that the boundaries you set will actually give you a bit of freedom (and a lot less explaining over and over).

Key performance indicators (KPI)

Know what your team is working toward and the progress each month. Do not let this fall to the side or be left a mystery. You’ll only ever know if your marketing and branding efforts are working if you have KPIs. And, further, you’ll best prioritize your incoming requests if you know how they will or will not help you hit set KPIs.

Brand strategy and marketing roadmap

Remember that a brand is built every day with every action. Ensure that you are supporting a healthy brand from the marketing point of view with a roadmap that shows channels, themes, and activities.

Content calendar

On a more granular level, be able to present and socialize the content calendar. Content shouldn’t be developed or published in a vacuum. Capture the voice of your organization (after all, it is the bloodline of your brand!), promote your knowledge, and give value to your audience. Last but not least, know and track your KPIs because if you are not tracking, it’s not getting you to your goals. If you have a content calendar before you have the above items in place, you’re not going to be effective with your efforts.

Creative brief

Secure the concept and messaging of your marketing campaign with stakeholders before digging with a creative brief. You’ll get consensus on the goal and objectives, budget, timeline, evaluation metrics and, of course, the creative approach. This should be part of the project’s process every time. No only is it helpful to have going in, but it also serves as a place to record outcomes and have a great record for you to refer back to.

Seamless marketing campaigns, one after another

When you have your marketing and branding fundamentals in place, you’ll find that the framework you work within will eliminate hours of unnecessary work with each marketing campaign that you do. Hours! You’ll switch your focus to creating consistency in getting the word out and doing so in a memorable, effective way. You’ll get the collaboration of co-workers more easily. You’ll onboard new teammates with a shorter learning curve. Your budget will thank you.

We watched a client go through this process over the course of a year. The tipping point was producing a sales video that never got used. It was an unfortunate use of time and resources (though very clever!) because when it came down to it, the marketing team did not have alignment with the product team on descriptions and differentiators. That left the video setting up customers with the wrong expectations. The mistake was not repeated, however, as the teams settled on product messaging together. Then when the project of sales sheets came around several months later, the development was done with confidence and efficiency.

As you can see, the reward for the effort of getting fundamentals in place is great, but you may be asking how to get those things in place while still managing the day-to-day. They certainly don’t come together easily.

Outsourced marketing isn’t the answer to good fundamentals

The first thing to do is take a few hours and honestly inventory what you have. Think about how well it is working for you and don’t hesitate to get feedback from others that tend to chime in on your work. How should you decipher your notes? We like to say “if it’s not a ‘heck yes’ it’s a no.” If it hasn’t been working for you now, pausing one day to look at it isn’t going to change anything.

Secondly, you’ll need to have an honest conversation around how to fill in the gaps when it comes to marketing fundamentals. You will need to have more than just yourself on board. Be prepared to advocate for constructive feedback, a change in priorities to open up time to work on the fundamental pieces, or the budget to bring in help to get them done while you continue managing the day to day. One thing is to be sure, getting the fundamental pieces right cannot be done without input regardless of who builds them. Consider this as you are building a timeline to get them in place.

Maybe you were caught off guard when we said outsourced marketing isn’t the answer to good fundamentals. We stand by that. Having good input, strategy, and decisions is the answer. Outsourced marketing help cannot make decisions on behalf of you and your leadership team in this area. But we can be your trusted, thinking partners in the process.

Targeted strategy. Unleashed creativity.

Don’t waste any more hours, budget, or creative energy. We’d love to hear about what fundamentals you think are missing or not serving you. And if you have them but aren’t sure you are using them as intended, we can talk about that, too. Contact us today by phone or email.

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.

Are You Ready to Work with a Marketing Agency? Part 1

Are You Ready to Work with a Marketing Agency? Part 1

When a company is growing, the needs of the marketing department change. So how do you know if you are ready to work with a marketing agency?

Startup Stage

When a company is preparing for launch, it may decide to hire an agency on a project basis to develop its brand identity (logo and brand guidelines), design a website, or create marketing materials. Working with an agency at this point is likely to be a stretch for the startup’s budget, but it can also help boost initial perceptions of the brand and influence awareness.

Growth Stage

The company now employs about 50 people and has grown by word-of-mouth and by the seat of its pants. The company’s branding is likely inconsistent, with a different look for the website, tradeshow booth, and marketing materials. There is inconsistent messaging, and the employees aren’t excited about the brand. Most companies at this stage have someone assigned to marketing as part of their role, but it’s not their main focus. They may outsource projects (a new website, digital advertising, etc.) but likely are working with multiple vendors and still struggling with finding the right strategy.

Established

The company has at least one to two full-time people that are dedicated to marketing. Now, the challenges circle around aligning the sales and marketing team with the company’s goals. Consistency in brand messaging and style becomes more important and the team may struggle to keep up with all the marketing needs of the organization. They are having a hard time adding more staff to the department or keeping their current staff. It’s getting harder to manage all the vendors they are outsourcing to so they will start to look for a fully integrated marketing agency to partner with instead.

What are the warning signs that you should watch for that signal it’s time to consider working with an agency?

There are key marketing activities that are not being addressed.
For instance, no one has touched your social media for a month. Your website hasn’t been updated in the past few months. The tradeshow booth needs to be updated. Sales materials don’t match the changes that have been made in the company. How we look doesn’t match who we are now.

The employee assigned to marketing doesn’t have time to work on the deliverables.
When employees don’t have time to work on the projects that will move the company forward it’s not only frustrating for management but also for the marketing employee. They may also struggle with not having the expertise needed to effectively complete the project. Marketing any company now requires a very diverse skill set and it’s no possible for one person to know all the nuances of digital marketing, websites, graphic design, social media strategy, SEO, video and photography, and writing. They need a partner agency that can support them in their role.

There is regular, repeatable work to be done.
Certain marketing activities – blogging, social media, social video, digital ads – are ideal for outsourcing to an agency. These activities are often the first to be set aside when a company gets busy, but consistency in these areas is crucial for the long-term success of an organization. These are also the most logical to outsource monthly and with the best ability to monitor progress thanks to lots of available data.

There is a lack of strategy or direction.
Often an outside perspective and a strategy can be the motivator for change in a company. Why? Because sometimes it takes someone that knows little about the company to ask the right questions. Strategy work reveals the true challenges and opportunities so you can align the marketing efforts with the business goals. By partnering with an agency that has strategic processes, it can bring fresh perspectives that elevate the marketing efforts and positively influence the long-term success of the company. 

When you find the right marketing agency, they should be your partner who is looking out for your best interests. They aren’t trying to replace you or take your job. They aren’t trying to sell you something they think you need…they are asking good questions to uncover what you really need. Ready to learn more?

The importance of digital marketing in 2022

The importance of digital marketing in 2022

hands holding phone

When you think of traditional marketing tactics, you might imagine billboards, TV and radio commercials, and paper handouts — which are great for some businesses, but can be expensive and not reach a very wide audience.

Chances are if your brand or business has any kind of marketing strategy, you’re already incorporating digital marketing of some kind. Digital marketing is everywhere, but knowing how to strategically incorporate it into your marketing strategy will be the key to reaching your marketing goals this year.

Here are some of the key digital marketing tools that your business should be using in 2022:

Web-based advertising

Businesses can run advertisements on platforms like Google and Facebook, which can be more attention-grabbing and reach a much wider audience than traditional advertisements on a billboard or in a newspaper. The ads can be specifically targeted to your desired audience and will link directly back to your social media or website, offering an efficient pipeline for interested potential customers to find out more about your business.

Email newsletters

Email newsletter marketing is a great tool to reach your customers at regular intervals with business or product updates, critical information, or engaging content. Most email marketing platforms can offer you an insight into new customer leads and outline what content is being clicked on by readers.

Social media

Social media is key to a successful digital marketing strategy and can be used to accomplish many different marketing goals. You can use social media platforms to get new information to your customers, reach new audiences, network, and promote your business’ style.

Using social media from a business marketing standpoint also offers helpful analytics and insights that you don’t see on your personal social media accounts. You can see how many people viewed your post, how they’re interacting, and what time you should post in order to best reach your target audience.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is all about ensuring your website is found by users looking for information through search engines. Search engines use keywords and phrases from web pages to offer users relevant information and results.

Optimizing your content for search engines shouldn’t be a guessing game. With tools like Google keywords, SEMRush, and others, you can uncover how to angle your website’s pages towards potential future customers.

If it sounds like your business would thrive with some new digital marketing tools and tactics, it’s time to revamp your marketing strategy with professional help. Our marketing team puts strategy at the forefront of all we do, and we can help your business find even greater success in 2022.

In Strategy We Trust

Marketing resolutions you should adopt in 2022

Marketing resolutions you should adopt in 2022

On the eve of every new year, we make resolutions that will drive us towards our goals in the months to come. While many of us may give up on our promises to only eat salad early on in the year, keeping your promises to your business can make the difference between growth and decline this year.

 Many businesses throw marketing to the wayside and don’t understand how strategic marketing resolutions can truly propel your brand’s success. Whether it’s January first or the middle of August, it’s never too late to adopt a marketing resolution so we’ve rounded up some common goals and the resolutions you can adopt to make 2022 your brand’s best year yet.

Goal: Gain a social media following
Resolution: Stay consistent with social media

The secret to a top-tier social media strategy is no secret: it’s all about consistency. This means interacting consistently, posting regularly, and taking the time to create unique and memorable content for your audience. It can be time consuming, but the increase in engagement and conversions is worth it.

Goal: Get your brand recognize
Resolution: Maintain brand consistency

Brand recognition takes time, effort, and- you guessed it- consistency. It’s important to know your brand’s identity inside and out so you can build upon a solid foundation. Keeping your logo, brand colors, and style the same while you build your brand will help your audience build recognition.

Goal: Spend marketing dollars more wisely
Resolution: Set a marketing budget

While you can do all your marketing yourself, it can be a time-consuming endeavor if you already have a full schedule running your business. Your marketing dollars can be spent on social media management tools like Hootsuite or Sprout, improving your ad visibility on Google and Facebook, and/or hiring an outside marketing team to help you meet all your marketing goals.

Goal: Increase conversion rate
Resolution: Regularly analyze marketing data

To increase your conversion rate, start by collecting as much marketing data as you can so you can analyze your strengths and weaknesses. If you understand where your website visitors are clicking on your website, you can learn where they are when they decide to leave your website and focus on creating new content, landing pages, and calls to action that keep them interested. Make sure that you’re collecting enough data to make informed decisions — 10 page views or a week of social media engagement is not enough.

Goal: Generate new content
Resolution: Start a blog

Starting a blog for your business’s website can have numerous benefits for your brand. A blog offers your audience a glimpse into who you are, your expertise, and can act as a conversation between you and your audience. You gain credibility with your audience by writing about your products and services. Plus, blogs are a wealth of content that you can share over time on your social media accounts.

Whatever marketing resolutions you choose, sticking to them all year round is the key to helping your brand grow and reaching your goals. With consultation services, marketing campaign assistance, outsourced marketing, and so much more, the marketing professionals at Hoyden are always here to support your marketing goals and help your brand have its best year ever.