Branding for the Cattle

I wrote last month about some ideas for marketing your website, I thought it'd be good to follow up with a few things I've learned about people and the psychology of modern marketing. Now I'm sure some folks in the business may disagree, but we can't all be right about everything and this is a rather fluid industry with things changing everyday.

These are some basic rules that Paragon follows.

Dare to be different- Every industry worldwide encounters competition. In fact, your market is inundated with competitors. So how can you stand out? How will you be the one picked by the cattle? I was researching for a realtor client recently and found over 500 cookie cutter websites for Grand Junction alone; they all had the same color scheme and text with just a few image changes.

We encourage our clients to take a leap of faith and dare to try a new approach. The status quo is to follow the herd because the "that's just the way we do it" mentality is safe. When in fact, this thinking is actually what keeps businesses mediocre and stale. This approach is extremely evident in the real estate market. Have you ever looked at a half dozen realtor business cards side by side? If you have then you know that every one has a portrait of themselves along with at least 4 different points of contact written so small you can barely see them. I can't tell the difference from one to the next, so which one I call is usually the first one in the stack. I would be more inclined to pick the one that went through enough trouble to actually sell themselves to me through the testimonials, track record, qualifications, and ability to differentiate themselves through their own website than by a nice picture on a business card.

Keep It Simple Sam- Today, with the invention of the internet, we've created a place to direct people, at their convenience and leisure, to a multitude of websites that provide them with unlimited information. So, why do marketing firms still clutter up billboards and TV ads with so much info you just ignore the whole thing? Beats me! Drive visitors to your website through curiosity, then sell them.

Call to Action- I can't tell you how many marketing pieces and websites I've seen that are missing a call to action. If you have a captive audience, then tell them what to do. Call us today to get your company's website done right!

Brand Awareness- We believe its essential to sell to your customers long before they're ready to buy. Its not as difficult to become a household name as folks seem to think. If I say tissue paper, you say Kleenex. In fact even if you don't buy Kleenex brand paper, you probably still reach for a Kleenex when you need it. We create an image and / or tag line to generate sales long before your customers are ready buy. A good example of this is luxury cars. If and when I buy an expensive car, it will most likely be a Lexus. Why? "Relentless pursuit of perfection" I like that attitude, it appeals to me and Lexus has done a fine job in selling me on their cars through TV ads that exploit their strengths. When we design a logo, we use colors and images that are unique and grab attention and often times have multiple meanings to people, this starts the brand awareness train.

Cohesiveness- Your message and packaging should be the same across the board. Letterhead, billboards, website etc. should all carry the same look and feel - the same cohesive message. This will re-enforce your brand in peoples minds. Tailor tag lines to venues. Paragon's billboard out at the Grand Junction Motor Speedway has our logo on it, but we added a venue specific tag line to it "High performance websites for high performance business"

Less is More- How many websites or brochures have you seen that have so much info for you right off the bat, you're overwhelmed and don't even know where to begin? We've found that less is more. Put small but inviting pieces of information in front of them and let them decide if they want to go deeper. If it's well planned out on your part you will convert more sales.

Getting in your head.

I have a client that we did an ad layout for recently. She told me that it seemed like my team was in her head looking around at her vision. We nailed the branding of her new and very successful company on the first try. That's what good marketing should do. You want to get into peoples heads and push the right buttons to convert them into customers. It really does matter how you are perceived by potential customers. All so often businesses will spend $10,000 a year on ad layouts that have a 10 minute shelf life. Then you go to their website and it looks like their office manager built the thing using Front Page or worse yet, their 13 year old kid did it over the weekend.

This is serious stuff here, your reputation is on the line and you should put your best foot forward in every aspect of your company. We see it everyday, million dollar a year company that could be a two million dollar a year company has a $1000 budget for their website? Its as important as having your sales force dress nice and shave for Pete's sake.

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