Branding, advertising, creative: it’s all about one question: “Why should I buy from your company, and not your competitor down the street?” That’s what your market, prospects and clients ask themselves every time they see your products or services, brand, or even your name or logo. And it’s the question we try to answer with every piece of your marketing communications.
To help ensure this answer is nailed down and communicated loud and clear, Ruckus Creative has developed Brand Alignment™, our proprietary process that: 1) answers the question of differentiation clearly 2) confirms the brand strategy / positioning aligns with what your market thinks about your company (your brand) and 3) creates massive value for your products or services.
Also, to keep our creative razor sharp and creating more revenue for your company, we have developed Ignition 7™ – our proprietary checklist we use to evaluate the effectiveness of every communication produced – from large-scale ad campaigns and service / product brochures, to the smallest postcard or direct mailer.
Our favorite list of “tions”, Brand Alignment is a 5-step process to hammer out the “why”. Why your company and not your competitors? Done right, it can help create the perception that only your company offers what you offer, and the market has to buy it from you. In essence, creating a monopoly where you can raise your rates and raise your profits:
BRAND ALIGNMENT PROCESS
FOUNDATION: The internal view, “what we sell, and why people should buy it.” This starts with the Creative Brief to outline goals, parameters and response mechanism, and moves through key executive meetings for synchronized client leadership, marcoms audit, marketing plan review, competitive landscape, and so forth.
VALIDATION: Now we know what you sell, what do your clients buy? Simple research is enacted to validate the brand / creative strategy, and make sure it is aligned with your market’s mind.
INNOVATION: This the fun part – the creative process, this is the reason we get up in the morning. Where the message and brand are created and combined to solve the marketing objective. Key client concepts and corporate ID guidelines considered while developing new positioning, strategic message, core value, personality and tone.
IMPLEMENTATION: Final creative and design is applied to marketing communications; brochures, catalogs, websites, ad campaigns, etc. Copywriting, photography, design and final production delivers what you need, when you need it.
EVALUATION: retrospect analysis to determine effectiveness and future considerations.
IGNITION -7, CREATIVE KEYS TO SUCCESS
Now that we’ve determined what you sell, why they buy from you, and started the creative process (Innovation), how do we know if we are on-track or not? Our agency has taken the thousands of “should-do’s” and “shouldn’t-do’s”, along with common sense and good old gut-intuition, and boiled them down to 7 clear attributes to what we think makes an effective ad campaign or design:
CLARITY: Let your prospects say “no” because they don’t need what you offer. Don’t ever let them say “no” because they don’t understand what you’re offering. People have no time for “discovery” – if your agency or designer has to explain their concept to you, it’s probably not a very effective solution.
And for internal direction, every communication needs clarity of purpose – what do you need it to do? What is the objective, key takeaway and response mechanism?
DIFFERENTIATION: Usually, what most companies offer is not that different from their competitors. But the only way to sell “sameness” or “me-too” positioning is to under-cut the competitors’ prices by lowering your price and lowering your margins – not a healthy way to do business. The key is to create the perception that only you have what it is you offer and, in essence, create a monopoly where you can raise your price and raise your margins.
OVERT BENEFIT: You can’t hammer a nail sideways – you have to have a point. And the sharper the better. Focus your brand on one or two reasons why people should buy from you, and this message should scream from the page. Unfortunately, your market doesn’t have time to read or remember the top 15 reasons why to use your product or service.
PROOF: Don’t just say it, prove it. Skepticism is at an all time high. Kids are even taught in elementary school to see through lies – make ’em believe and leave no room for interpretation.
RESPONSE: Communication is a 2-way street. It’s a dialogue, not a monologue. What do you want the customer to do – become more aware of your brand, call for more information, call for an order, come into the store, to take a test drive, order online? Creating a response not only creates a targeted piece, but defines a measurement of success for evaluating your communications.
CONSISTENCY: Some “experts” say a brand is like the scar on the cow, it doesn’t wash off with the mud. But we believe a brand is more delicate. Sending just a few incongruent messages will confuse the market, and if they don’t know what you stand for, they won’t have the trust to buy.
REPETITION: You can’t hammer a nail in sideways, and you can’t hammer it in with one hit. You need to bang it over and over until it is sunk deep. And one nail is not going to keep your roof on – you need to sink lots of nails to create something solid. And, although your executive team might see your brochures, web site or ads hundreds of times, and start to get tired of it, your customers will only see them a few times before making a purchase decision. Resist the urge to change unless things stop working, or you’ve created something better.
Creating a brand and creating some noise can be a complex issue. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time with any questions or comments. We’ll be happy to discuss any situations you might be looking at: 714-514-1482.