Identity, Promise, Value
There’s a lot of thinking that goes into figuring out just what your brand is and how to promote it. It might seem quicker and easier to design a logo and start throwing promo products out there for maximum visibility. But if you know anything about us at Silver Cube, you know that there’s a lot more to a brand – it’s something much deeper that needs to speak to consumers, clients and colleagues alike.
If the task of understanding what really makes up your brand seems daunting, allow us to suggest a simple breakdown to tracking how you’re interacting with the world around it. There are three key components that make up an awareness of your brand.
In the most basic promotional terms, your brand’s identity comes out in the design of your logo and in the type of promotional merchandise that you choose to push it with. Often these are the first impressions you get to make on behalf of your product or service so considering how your brand is going to fit into the lives of potential consumers and current clients goes hand in hand with establishing just who you are and what you’re all about.
If your brand were a person walking into a room, what would it project into that space?
But a brand is a promise, too. What we mean by this is that an intrinsic part of what people see when they interact with your brand is the promise you make about what you’re going to bring to clients. If you think in terms of ‘promise’ it will help to distil what is essential about you and yours. What is the pledge that your brand makes to clients? Where will you get them? What will you bring? How will things change for people if they accept that pledge?
This is the step that sets up the ways in which your brand will be different and worthy of the faith placed in it by customers. This is the introduction you make, extending a hand for a handshake that will seal a bond between company and client.
What are the promises your promotional strategies make to the world?
And lastly, what is a promise if it isn’t kept? The value you bring will be measured in terms of the products and services you deliver. This has less to do with the way you brand and manage your promotions, but it all follows on from the way you walk into that room and extend your hand. Make the promises you want to build your value around.
When you brand and promote, do so with the end goal in mind of how you want your clients to think about you after all the branding, all the hard work and all the products. Start the relationship the way you want to maintain it.
Identity. Promise. Value.
Emails and the Lifecycle of a Sale
Although we’re a promotions company, we know that communicating with your customers via email is important. But a mistake that many companies make is not considering the way they shape these conversations. Just bombarding people with an assault of communication can have the opposite effect to developing brand loyalty and recognition.
And it’s not just about attracting new visitors either, it’s equally important what you do before and after the sale, with the customers you already have. So here are a few different types of emails to consider when you’re planning how to engage your consumers with your mailing list.
Before the Sale
Make sure there is a solid foundation for the relationship you want to have with potential clients and customers – make a brief introduction. From the first mail you send, the tone you want should be clear. How are you going to talk your customers’ language? Finding the right way to communicate is so crucial because get this first message right and you instantly earn patience, get it wrong and you’re just another company looking for a sale.
Perhaps a day or so later, welcome them with some real information about what you do, what you offer and what they’re in for. Already you’ve reinforced the fact that this is a conversation and a relationship, not just a sales pitch.
The next mails you send should be content-focused in the form of offers. Think of a good initial offer to make and, if that one doesn’t take, have a waiting period after which you can come in with a ‘plan b’ offer, which might include a more conversational tone to make sure they don’t feel targeted. Balancing offer-driven mails with the right ‘voice’ is a difficult task but if you’ve laid good foundations you can keep pitching potential sales as long as you want.
After the Sale
The first email to come is usually the confirmation of the order. The benefit of this one is that it tends to use a standard format that is easily read and familiar to customers, making them feel good about the purchase. But you can also do something interesting with it. Consider what music outlet CD Baby do with theirs. Have fun:
If the person hasn’t yet, a couple of days after the sale is the perfect opportunity to invite them to subscribe so that they can receive updates. If you communicate well and your brand is one that people feel good doing business with, and your email strategy has been successful, people will be happy to take this plunge.
And from there, setting a regular interval for something like a monthly update will make sure that customers aren’t overwhelmed by your mails but rather they become a regular feature of an ongoing business relationship. Hit the marks we’ve set here or dream up your own and you might just find your regular offers become regular sales.
The same way you wouldn’t just throw any old promo item at someone, don’t just hit them with emails that are a dime a dozen. A little thought goes a long way in branding.
Climate Change and a Changing Market: Perception, Trust, Communication
Climate change is the defining issue of the 21st century. People are becoming more conscious of their environment with every new heatwave, which is changing the way people interact with the world around them. So what does this mean for brands’ relationships to their clients?
Many companies have begun to realize that customers want more and more eco-friendly solutions to their needs. This shift in consumer consciousness means greener products and more sustainable strategies – which often means digital solutions. It is even necessary to have the ability to adapt to new trends in the timing of product releases. Climate change has affected when seasons come and go, how hot and cold it is during them and thus, people’s behaviours and wants too. Adapting your choice of products and services, particularly those utilized in your branding efforts, is vital.
Customers’ perceptions of eco-friendly companies have changed so much that even if a client is not too concerned themselves with the environment, they are likely to benefit from the social currency of appearing to be eco-conscious. This new kind of consumer means not only does marketing need to be tailored to providing a new set of values to clients but branding itself, as the physical analogue to digital marketing, needs to be carefully considered.
If you are selling your brand with a physical product, that product needs to be used intelligently. Flooding clients with unnecessary paper or plastic products shows wastefulness and a behind-the-times attitude. That doesn’t mean you can’t use those materials, but a more creative strategy for distributing them needs to on the agenda. Think quality, not quantity – always a good lesson to keep in mind when branding.
An environmental concern is something to be very happy about for brands out there – after all, it’s just another way to build trust and brand loyalty. Last year we saw Volkswagen exposed for “greenwashing” the evidence of tests they conducted, and the massive hit the company’s brand took. The importance of brand promise and brand value have never been higher, especially with the access people have to information on the internet, as well as the fact that digital tech means brands must cast a wider net than ever to reach consumers.
So communication is key. Communication in the personal sense of learning more about the concerns of your clients, which in itself will open them up to trusting your brand in new ways, as well as in the broader sense of communicating effectively through branding strategies.
Brand Engagement and Why Promos Matter
The 20th century idea of what a brand is was all about creating something that could be consistent, where every aspect was under control. But the world has moved on and it’s important to understand how. Nowadays it isn’t the company that controls how its brand is seen. Digital technology allows the consumer to decide where and when, at any time, they want to interact with a brand.
These days, everything about a brand has to be geared towards how it interacts with the world around it, how it responds to the constantly changing ways people will see it and engage with it.
This means two things.
First, it’s obvious that the ways in which a brand is marketed digitally and the way the brand experience is designed massively impacts whether or not there will be any staying power for it, whether it will attract new customers or retain old ones. In fact, there is a bigger need than ever to stay up to date. As opposed to the way in which a brand used to be judged, in a strange way, on staying the same, now it’s judged on how it evolves all the time.
Secondly, though, it means that the way in which a brand utilizes the possibilities of promotional work is more important than ever. This is the only way left that a brand actually has control over how it is engaged with and how it projects itself to its potential clients and consumers. Finding the right promo product to pin your logo on, particularly if it is a product with shelf-life or staying power, provides a unique way to resist the ever-changing landscape of the world around us and show real consistency in a digital environment where nothing is certain.
Get Ahead with These Promo Headphones and Earphones
3 Tips for Cheaper Trade Show Exhibition Stands
It’s tempting to do the Full Monty when it comes to standing out at the next trade show. There’s always pressure on you to make your logo pop and your brand catch every eye, especially as the bigger the show, the busier.
But the focus of your efforts shouldn’t be on the booth, it should be on the products you’re showing, right? That’s what all those potential clients coming past should walk away with. So with that in mind, here are 3 quick tips for catching eyes without breaking the bank.
Tried and Tested
Vintage is very in these days. Not only can you reuse your own walls, shelves and pieces from older shows, but put those creative caps on and consider how you can repurpose them to form part of a new theme and a new version of your brand. You can also buy used products and supplies to try something different. Sometimes a small change in the way something is used can be much more effective than an overblown, overdone vanity project.
Think about adding a wall on the inside of your booth to give you extra shelving and display space, as well as to increase the possibilities for the area you have to work with. In addition to this, finding ways to employ some lighting of your own that separates you from the bland lights in whatever hall you happen to be in can frame what you’re offering with even more clarity. Combine this with a simple backdrop and your space can take on a modern and dynamic shape.
Stay on the Level
Consider your customers. Firstly, it’s important to make sure that any key information and signage shouldn’t be too high or too low, outside their natural field of vision. Make it as easy as possible for them to just walk straight into the world that awaits them with your brand. If you have a well designed logo that is memorable and recognizable, making it even easier to for them to engage with will up the effectiveness of your booth without having to resort to pricey bells and whistles.
Also think about space to relax and rest up and maybe a treat or two (even if its just a branded water bottle and a free promotional pen) to refuel and those clients’ gratitude will go a long way to making a positive brand impression.
Three Common Causes of Brand Failures…and How to Avoid Them
If we think back even 5 years, there are many brands we realize were ‘everywhere’ once upon a time but that now we barely see or hear from. Some of them might be brands that were a big part of our lives in one way or another. It would have been hard to believe that companies like Nokia or Blackberry would lose so much of the marketplace they dominated just a short time ago.
For the most part there are important things to remember when thinking about how you promote your company and how that promotional strategy interacts with the products or services you provide. Even when your brand is established, there are things to bear in mind if you want to stay relevant in an ever-changing field.
The Best Doesn’t Always Win
First, it’s an important and often misunderstood fact that best product is not always the one that dominates the marketplace. A brand is made up of the promise it makes to its customers and the way it makes good on that promise.
If a company neglects its promotional presence either in terms of the budget it sets or the attention it pays to how it is marketed, far fewer people register and access that company. Similarly, if there is not a consistent presence in people’s lives, a relationship isn’t built and that puts any brand at a disadvantage, no matter the products’ quality.
Pick a Side
Don’t try to please everyone. Figure out who your brand is for and what it represents and drive that home in your promo efforts, your online presence and what you produce.
This seems simple enough but it isn’t a static identity. As the market develops it’s vital to keep re-examining where you fit in. This way, you will ensure that you can continually evolve and grow (because your clients and consumers definitely will).
Roll with the Punches
As new competitors crop up and try to establish themselves, you can bet that they will launch with strong ideas about whatever industry and brand identity they are dealing with. And if your brand is not moving with the times it could get ugly. Companies like Blackberry and Nokia, for instance, failed to take into account the way the digital revolution was really changing not just how our phones work but the ways we actually use them and what they mean to us.
When you brand and when you promote, especially when you find a successful promotional strategy or product, make sure you understand just who you’re talking to, why it’s working, and how things are changing. Because they always are.
What Have the Biggest Promo Trends of 2016 Been?
The PPAI (Promotional Products Association International) Expo, held annually in Las Vegas, is the world’s biggest expo of promo merchandise and branding strategies. This year has sped past, and the 2017 expo is closer than ever. So, looking forward, what have the big trends for 2016 been so far, according to the PPAI?
#1: Cheap isn’t Enough
We’re not saying that finding a good old cheap and cheerful promo product to give out as a branded gift is a total no-no. But more and more, people are moving away from responding to merch that feels like the brand in question has just slapped its logo on any old thing. One of the reasons for this being the need to…
#2: Keep it Eco-Friendly
One of our favourite things to go on and on about is the need to respond to the fact that the vast majority of people are trying to live their lives in a more ecologically responsible way. And your promotions should reflect that. Branding the first cheapo product you see is not only irresponsible, it’s ineffective because, frankly, even if people aren’t living their lives eco-consciously, they like to think they are, and your brand will benefit by playing into that. Plus, eco-friendly products like bamboo look great, which is fantastic because in promotions, you really can…
#3: Judge the Book by its Cover.
It’s no longer just a promotional product itself that creates the impression. These days its so easy to go online and get anything you want at the click of a button, so taking the effort to deliver a branded product whose packaging matches the identity the product itself is developing with the aid of your logo makes it seem much more real, more personal, and worthy. One of many things that have changed since…
#4: Technology is King
Another thing that we really can’t say much more about than we’ve already said. Technological gifts feel modern and present a branding opportunity that is effective because it is about more than just getting a logo into someone’s hand. Promotional products that make use of the digital age we live in might become obsolete more quickly, but they make a much stronger impression on prospective clients. The fact that they merge both classic and modern promotional strategies is key, considering…
#5: Integration is the Name of the Game
The biggest thing to be learned from the way the promotions game is going is that as important as it is to have a presence online and to play the digital game, it is equally important to match this with a real-world branding strategy. What this also means, however, is that the more time you take with your promo products, the more effective they’ll be.
There is so much more to picking a branded promo than there ever has been, and more potential than ever for maximizing the product you match your logo with than ever before.
Promo Tea and Coffee Sets to Make the Morning Yours
Yeah, sure they say money makes the world go round. But that money doesn’t get made if it’s not for the most essential workplace fuel – tea and coffee. In fact, you’ll find some of these sets right in the heart of Silver Cube’s offices. For those long nights or early mornings, and everywhere in between, there’s nothing like this perfect promotional gift for your clients to start or end their day with your brand.
Our most popular promotional coffee machine, which is perfect for making a damn fine cup of tea as well, the barrister gives you a no-nonsense wake up with a simple design that does the work for you (because hey, if you were awake you wouldn’t need the caffeine injection). Boasting an overheat protection feature that ensures the quality of that cuppa and two understated ceramic mugs, this is a perfect promotional package for your office or your clients’. Brighten your workplace by bringing a colleague a cup of java when they arrive at work and make their day. You’ll find this gift will be sure to make any client’s day, every day.
The coffee revolution in the last few years means that more and more people know their slow-brewed from their quick and instant. With this promo plunger you can give your customers control of their own morning wake-up by letting them press their own kick-start at their own pace. Or, hey, if it’s just too nice to give away, why not break this set out during showroom or office meetings? Nothing says sophistication like a brand that settles for nothing but perfect. With its simple but elegant design, you’ll find this set will leave you full of beans.
Coffee and tea don’t just belong in the workplace. So give your customers a sip of something warm and delicious no matter where they are. When your clients open this beautiful branded presentation box and find an aluminium flask and mug set that makes all their others look a bit useless (we’re just being honest), they’ll be taking a holiday just to test it out (come to think of it, why not send this one to the competition to get them outta the office!). Whether on road trips, safaris or just on-the-go workdays, your brand can keep your clients happy anywhere. Heck, you can ‘work’ all the time too by showing off your brand on your own holiday mornings.