Monthly Archives: March 2012
Welcome Back! Now that you’ve seen those funny old brands, we hope you’re ready to hear the adventure we had in getting the new brand up and running. Here’s the process we went through.
1. Thinking up a great name. Once we finally faced the music and realized that the previous brand just wasn’t strong enough for where the company wanted to go, the grind of developing a name began. You may think you don’t have the creativity to develop a name, but if you’re tenacious like me (hence the name “Tenato”), you’ll go to the trouble of actually reading every single word in the dictionary until you find one that tugs at your heart strings. Then, you’ll play around with it until you get it to where you feel you’ve got something. (During this period, I was playing a lot of Scrabble on my iPhone, and you know, shifting letters around actually helps your naming creativity. I highly recommend it!). At Tenato, we’ve developed many names for businesses and brands over the years, and it generally takes anywhere from one week to four weeks, depending on how many opinions need to be satisfied. Once the key “name” is found, there is also some thought that needs to go into determining which descriptive handle words will portray the company’s services best, as well as flowing well with the name.
2. Getting the domain name. Getting the desired domain name can be either a) frustrating if the name you’ve developed lacks in originality or b) highly satisfying if you’ve come up with something unique. For Tenato, and for many of our clients, we’ve been able to get a .com or .ca (and often both) of names we develop because we’ve tended to coin original words from existing words. It takes more effort, but there is certainly a kind of peace in knowing there isn’t some other company out there using your name already. In a globally competitive marketplace, that’s something we really like.
3. Executing a formal name change. Not hard. We paid less than $150 to so this at one of the local registries. You basically drop in there, tell them the name you’d like, and pay for a corporate name search which takes a day or two. Then, if you’re all clear on the name, you come back and sign off on changing the name and receive your official paperwork. This will change the records for the Canada Revenue Agency as well (eventually, although it takes a few weeks to work its way through the red tape).
4. Developing the brand image. Developing an image, colours, tagline, and brand standards helps to set out how the brand’s personality will evolve. This is then forward into the corporate website, social media accounts, brochures, stationery, and more. This is where you see the corporate personality take shape, and it can be a very exciting feeling when you look at your logo (as I personally do every day) and say I LOVE IT!! Further, if you so desire for added comfort, you can trademark any of these items, which will cost a few hundred dollars more from a trademark lawyer.
5. Migrating the old website. This is the tricky part. At Tenato, we left the old site up for a few weeks while we were perfecting the new site. Then, to drive traffic from old to new, we had to “301 redirect” the old links to the new site, and ensure that search engines knew about the changeover so that the new site wouldn’t be treated as a “new business” but rather a “rebranded business.” This is an important distinction because it ensure we retain the credibility that the previous brand had built up over the years. In all, it was a relatively smooth process, although we did drop out of the search engines for a week or so when it initially happened. Now we’re back almost exactly where we were, except that we had stopped promoting the old site a few months before the migration, so we did drop a little more than we needed to. We’re making up for it now!
6. Other to-dos. From there, there’s the administration: Changing the telephone call display (actually very easy – you don’t have to change the official name on the account, but you can just change the name displayed, so it’s immediate), changing how you answer the phone, changing the bank account records, new business cards, new stationery, new signs. It doesn’t cost much, it’s just a bit of a hassle, but anyone can pound it off in a few days.
So, now you’re probably wondering what the cost of this would be for your business? Because we have re-branding skills in house, our cost was lower than it would be to another kind of business. But that said, it kind of depends on whether you need to re-skin a whole fleet of trucks, or just swap out some stationery and signs. I figure for a professional services type of business such as ours, you could expect it to cost around $12K (about $3K for the name, $3 – $4K for the logo and slogan, $3K for website upgrades, and $3K for new stationery) or $25K with a whole new website. On the other hand, if you don’t change the branding, and you have a name that makes a weak first impression every time, what’s that costing you?
At our “Team Tenato” powwow last Friday, we were chatting about the amount of labour involved in re-branding our company’s name, and hence the entire corporate image. Have you ever wondered whether you should seriously consider a re-brand?
At Tenato, there are a lot of reasons we chose to rebrand, and here are the main ones. Consider whether these ring true when considering the re-branding your company:
- Our previous name generally only attracted one kind of client: Small businesses. While we’ve enjoyed dealing with small businesses over the years, we’ve also run successful programs for large, national and multinational clients and were looking to really take our services to the next level. However, people would often look at the name “Start Marketing” and interpret it as “Start-up Marketing,” thinking we only served start-up companies.
- The name also had a certain impetuousness. It implied we “jumped in immediately” and began marketing. When the business was founded 1996, this was somewhat true. Since we’ve evolved though, we’ve put a great deal of emphasis in carefully planning our clients’ strategies, and then in encouraging them to persist with them over the long run. We discovered that success was more than “showing up”—it was about persistence, and staying power over the long run. Hence, the word “tenacity” from which Tenato was derived.
- By changing the name of the company, we were able to get a fresh opportunity to re-examine many of the ways we’d done things in the past, and market to clients with a new message. People who knew the former company were excited to hear new things were developing in a new direction, and have been very curious to learn about the new way we are delivering our services. It’s brought new clients, new associates, and a whole new level of energy and excitement into the company.
- The “Marketing” handle was wrong. The problem with the word “marketing” is that the general public has a limited understanding of what it entails. It makes people assume we only offer advertising or promotional assistance. In fact, our company has always been heavily involved in the strategic aspects such as developing a client’s service/products, pricing, positioning, and sales processes. Beyond this, we also got deeply into visioning and steering the overall growth direction of the company. As a result, many prospects were assuming we were just another “marketing” agency, which was not at all the case. What’s more, it caused us to be “lumped in” with businesses completely unlike ours. When we re-branded to use the word “strategy” one of our most long-standing clients commented that it was blatantly obvious why we did it, and that it was right on the mark. Who’d have thought a word as broad as “marketing” could be so limiting?
- The biggest reason to re-brand is to better match the vision of the company you are working to become. If your existing brand is in conflict with where you wish to go, you have a choice: a) let a new competitor come in with a better stronger, or more appealing image and take that spot from you or b) get rid of the old brand yourself, and BE that newer, stronger, better competitor. The choice is entirely up to you.
For fun, have a look at our logos over the years, and we’re sure you’ll agree with our choice to re-brand! And stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2: How to Re-brand…
4 Common Business Strategy Mistakes
As a consultant, I get to see the inner workings of business after business, which allows me to observe problems that repeat themselves time and again. Interestingly, prospective clients ask us, “What experience do you have in my industry?” believing that industry-specific knowledge is the most important factor in creating a successful strategy. My general observation over hundreds of clients is that IT IS THE ROLE a business plays WITHIN its industry that seems to determine what problems it will have, not the industry itself. Here’s what I mean.
1. Distribution Businesses: These businesses have it tough, often getting price-squeezed by their clients, and mistreated by their supplying manufacturers. The secret to success of a distribution business seems to be not to become over-dependent one line, and to add value by providing services that relate to the product lines sold, like maintenance, or consulting. Then they can easily establish credibility for the lines they do sell by charging for expertise.
2. Service Businesses: These businesses, especially smaller ones, generally don’t charge enough. Most charge hourly rates, and get stuck in the rut of not ever having enough cash left over to grow. Most would do well to create packages of their services and offer flat or project rates to accomplish the tasks they are hired for. What’s more, if they base their fees on the value the service brings to the client, they can get paid far better for the work they provide than if they stay in their hourly pricing model.
3. Manufacturers: Manufacturing or Construction businesses are willing to spend heaps on equipment or property upgrades, but typically do not leave enough budget for their marketing. They seem to think “if we build it, they will come.” Many manufacturers I’ve dealt with have built a marketing plan with good intentions, only to set it aside so they can buy another piece of equipment. In the end, if you don’t have a branded product, you have a yard sale.
4. Retail Businesses are either very loud or very quiet when it comes to marketing, but most think too much about the products and pricing (especially discounting for temporary sales), and too little about the service and expertise they offer…or a unifying angle to make them stand out. But when retailers take the time to know their customers personally, this guides them toward the right products, and price be comes far less an issue.
So there you have it: If you’d been in my shoes as a strategy and marketing consultant over the past few years, that’s a taste of what you’d have observed. I’m sure that regardless of the business you operate, you’ll find a grain of truth in what I’ve learned…and maybe take a little tip to get you going in the right direction.
Pricing can be one of the most difficult aspects of marketing any business. That’s because asking for any amount of money is both an art and a science, and one for which good training and information is often hard to find. We hope you’ll find this short primer helpful. Here are 9 basic steps to follow when considering how to price your good or services:
1. Study your competitors. You’ll need to know what they are charging, even if it means spending your money there. You will also need to examine their product/service quality against yours. Chart out the quality and pricing on a grid to see how your offerings compare.
2. Consider your competitors’ target markets vs. your own. Do your target customers have deeper or shallower pockets than your competitors’ target customers? If deeper, you can go higher, if lower, you may need to aim below your competitors.
3. Consider your costs. Assess all your costs, including sales time, overhead, etc., and obviously the costs to purchase/process materials to create the product. Typically, you will want to charge cost times 2 – 10 (if you can justify it) to be your price. This will vary greatly by industry.
4. Set a rough price as a starting point. If your product or service lasts twice as long, or is twice as good as a well-known competitor, then in theory, you can justify charging twice the price. You may want to offer slightly less than a double though…to give better value. Never believe that because you are small, or new, that you must be cheaper. You will only be shooting yourself in the foot – by having no cash left over to expand. Always make a near-linear relationship between price and quality. People expect to pay more for a better service or product. Remember it is critical to point out the product/service’s points of differentiation clearly on the packaging or sales material – so that people will understand why the price is higher or lower. (Note: A higher price makes people ask “What’s better about this one?” A lower price makes them question, “What might be wrong with this?” If you’re cheaper, make it clear how the product has been “simplified”)
5. Examine value. Once you have a rough price, examine the dollar value your product or service provides (if this is applicable to your products.) How much, financially, can the customer save or earn, by using your product or service? Is it a sure-thing, or a hopeful-thing? If it’s a very sure thing, you could charge up to 25% (or more) of the dollar value you provide. If it’s iffy, come down to 5 – 10%. This number may be significantly different than how your competitors are charging. If this is the case, and especially if it is much higher, you should seriously consider a strong marketing program to dramatically differentiate you from competitors…i.e. demonstrate that you are in a “whole other league” of your own. It is much better than holding back your price. This is where you’ll need to make a serious strategic decision…and it is up to you how bold you are able to be.
6. Consider bundling. Rather than let the customer choose the services they want, and reject others, bundle a program that is sure to succeed in fulfilling their needs well. That way, the value provided will increase, and your dollar value charged can increase, too. It is much more efficient to make a $5000 sale, than a $500 sale.
7. Try to get away from hourly. If you’re thinking of billing by hourly rate, reconsider. Unless the project is riddled with uncertainty, you can probably do a lot better by giving a project fee for the whole value you provide. Isolate out only the uncertain areas, and place hourly rates, or bracketed ranges of total fees, on these areas. If you must bill by the hour, take what you’ll pay the labour (including benefits) and multiply by 2.5 – 3 times to get your billing rate. This will ensure you have enough to cover overhead, and leave some profit in the business.
8. Pick a number. A price that appears just below a big round number looks as though it’s already been discounted. Instead of $10.00, try $9.99. It gives people the impression that you’ve made it as low as you could. It might not be a good technique for high-end products and services, however – as appearing discounted cheapens the impression. So, if you aren’t concerned about the price appearing too high, then use whatever numbers you wish.
9. Should you offer a discount? When considering volume discounts, refer to your suppliers – use the points where they give you price breaks as their client to provide your own volume breaks. If there are none, then you shouldn’t offer volume discounts either. Volume discounts should only be given when there is a real cost reduction in the business.
With all this in mind, be certain to have your marketing “ducks in a row.” That is, be able to show the value you are providing, and make the product’s appearance and marketing match its price. If you are pricing high, you’d better look the part. If you’re pricing low, everything had better look efficient and no-frills. Practice explaining your price to your staff, partners, associates, friends, or family – see if they believe the numbers makes sense. If so, you’re there. If not, find out why – is it how you sell it? Is it because you seem unsure? Practice it until you feel solid, and fair about presenting it, and until those listening feel convinced. And if you need more help on selling or presenting a price, give us a call…we’re here to help!
How the “Boobie Bus” Helped this Boomer “Think Forward and Move Forward”
by Judi Gunter, BA, APR, FCPRS, L.M.
As a Public Relations professional who “came of age before computers” I have been feeling scared and intimidated by social media. But the Alberta Wild Rose Party “boobie bus” incident got me thinking forward……
Was that social media storm sprung on purpose? Were we just tweeted to one of the best political one-liners ever with a campaign launch that led off with “Guess we’ll have to make a couple of changes huh?”
What if it wasn’t an accident but rather part of an overall media strategy to bridge the social and traditional and a cleverly-executed publicity stunt? Eureka! The time is long past for me to stop feeling scared and intimidated and to move forward.
Maybe it’s time for me and many of my Baby Boomer colleagues to take our greying heads out of the sand and take “social” seriously.
I do still worry about the potential of ‘the few’ to use social media networking and technologies to arouse, anger, and incite ‘the many’ and to accelerate disorder. How can reason prevail in 140 characters?
For example, I think social networking played a destructive role in last spring’s Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver and this year’s St. Patrick’s Day riot in London. The “old fogey” part of me fusses about that abuse of power. ( I wonder if my ancestors said the same thing about the invention of the printing press and the telephone! )
Nevertheless, the flip side of that power is exciting.
The power to inspire, engage, organize, raise awareness and simply communicate like never before has increased exponentially.
So as a 21st Century PR professional I am “taking social seriously” which means I am learning the “what” and “how” of internet and social media platforms and networks by literally taking the tools in hand, attending workshops and courses and hanging around some very smart younger people who are NOT scared or intimidated.
Even more important though is that I won’t get so enamoured with the tools that I lose track of the need to understand and answer the question WHY? I must always ask if using this or that tool of communication is an appropriate tactic to move an organization’s overall strategy forward.
The reality is that just because we have many more tools of communication in our PR toolbox, what hasn’t changed (and never will) is the need to consider them in the context of an overall strategy.
Note to other “Came of Age Before Computers” PR people:
My colleague Ernest Barbaric is involved on the committee presenting Social Media Shift 2, a conference on May 10, 2012 at Mount Royal University focusing on “Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Marketing and Social Media”.
It’s never too late to learn.
Okay, so there’s a big hubbub regarding the new Wild Rose party campaign bus. It looks like the graphic designer’s head was either a) not screwed on tight enough or b) a wee bit devious, and in need of either fun or revenge. Either way, the result is hysterical.
Most Albertans would probably agree that Danielle Smith usually appears angry when she’s in the news. She is continually fighting, threatening, or accusing someone, in general, of something – and although you could argue that as an opposition leader, that’s her job, it is also a shame to always have to be in this role. In the opinion of this marketer, we now have a golden opportunity to give her campaign a much-needed “lift”! Humour to the rescue – all you have to do is laugh Danielle, and keep that bus!
After all, thousands, and possibly millions of people will be dying to get a look and a laugh at this one. And, if she wants to put a positive “spin” on those wheels, well, let’s donate a few pennies to breast cancer research for every kilometer she puts on that bus (just add a nice big pink looping ribbon to that bus to show her support!)…now that’s the way to get positive traction.
Tenato Strategy Inc.
*P.S. Edmonton Journal, we’ve used this photo with credit but without direct permission. If you’d like us to remove, just say the word. Thanks!