Monthly Archives: September 2015

September 2015

Spotlight – Marketing Consultation

Are You a Good Candidate for a Marketing Consultation?

If you know your product or service is top notch, your customer service is caring and timely, but your company is not experiencing the growth and sales for the level of quality you are providing, you could benefit from a brand marketing consultation

DO YOU….
• need help deciding between internet marketing or print marketing?

• have a limited budget and want it to go as far as it can with the best results?

• use old tried and true methods but lately haven’t enjoyed good results?

• need new materials that list a new product, service or store location?

Depending on the size of your business, marketing consultations range from 2-12 hours ($85/hr). Most businesses with less than 5 employees will be in the 2-3 hour range.

WHAT TO EXPECT
First we will meet with you (via phone or in person) and review your current marketing items and practices. We will discuss your business goals and your estimated marketing budget. After the meeting, information and research is compiled to generate a report and plan to outline next steps within your time frame and budget.

Give us a call today or get in the schedule. We’re passionate about this business of marketing and branding and we love to serve and see our customers grow. Receive a 15% discount on marketing consultations scheduled by to October 30 , 2015. Be sure to mention the discount when we schedule!


On the Blog:

Do you have more time than money at this stage of your business? This do-it-yourself step from this month’s blog can give you a jump start and reduce consultation time.

Be Your Own Marketing Consultant

Start with a quick SWOT Analysis.

connectivity enews graphicsSWOT stands for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. You may be surprised how much insight you will gain by investing a bit of time answering the following questions about your business. Get a quick glimpse of your business as it stands today, Doing this homework before your brand marketing consultation can help you hone in on the area you would like to address first and keep your time targeted to get the best results. Read More…


Are You Taking Care of Business?

Graphic design samples with prayer cards

Professional Speaker and owner of Dave’s Soda and Pet Shops, Dave Ratner visits retail stores and companies all over the country. He pointed out a few, as he puts it ‘duh’, things businesses often neglect to do that can turn customers away.

ASK YOURSELF:
1. How is the curb appeal of my business?
2. Are the windows clean?
3. Are the shelfs fully stocked (if you are a retailer)
4. Do you have burned out light bulbs?
5. Is your office/entryway/ shop dirty?

Your building is a component of your brand – it can close a sale or lose a sale. Even if you only meet with customers occasionally at your location, staff and vendors also form an opinion. What message is it sending? Not surprisingly, the items on the above list are also feng shu laws that govern favorable or unfavorable energy. As the saying goes, ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression’. Make it a good one.

Now what did I do with that glass cleaner?

Experience The Power of Transformation

brand marketing consultation  lansing  graphic sept blog

Be Your Own Marketing Consultant

Start with a quick SWOT Analysis

You know the definition of insanity, repeating the same action and expecting a different result? Taking a few steps back from your day to day tasks to meet with a brand marketing consultant and look at your business with different eyes can provide clarity. A professional brand marketing consultation will take a comprehensive overview of your company and brand marketing efforts.

A professional brand marketing consultation will consider:

  • your products or services
  • your brand message
  • corporate philosophy
  • corporate climate
  • client demographics
  • marketing goals
  • future plans
  • business goals
  • media preferences
  • and so much more…

A brand marketing consultation often starts with a quick SWOT Analysis.

SWOT stands for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. You may be surprised how much insight you will gain by investing a bit of time answering the following questions about your business. Get a quick glimpse of your business as it stands today, Doing this homework before your brand marketing consultation can help you hone in on the area you would like to address first and keep your time targeted to get the best results.

  1. What are your products/or service?
  2. Who is your customer (demographics – gender/age/location…)
  3. What are your company strengths?
  4. What are your company weaknesses?
  5. What are your company opportunities?
  6. What are your company threats?
  7. Who is your company competition?

Upon review of all the questions what are the considerations / recommendations?

Now how will you tie all this into your annual business marketing goals?

You now have a current snapshot of your business. It’s time to take the next steps. Select the most critical items or the items that are the most likely to have the biggest impact on your goals.

Answer the following questions:

  1. How can you use your strengths to take advantage of your biggest opportunities?
  2. How can you use your strengths to overcome your biggest threats?
  3. What can you do to reduce or eliminate your weaknesses to make the most of the opportunities available?
  4. How can you minimize your weaknesses, so that you are better positioned to overcome your threats?

Many of the answers to these questions will seem obvious to you – even basic. Once your SWOT analysis is complete and you schedule your brand marketing consultation  you will see the power of how putting it all on paper and setting planned goals and actions can truly change your business.

Online Brand Marketing Consultations

Connection Group provides in person brand marketing consultations to local Lansing, Michigan, Grand Rapids, Michigan clients and all areas in between.

For businesses outside of lower Michigan, online brand marketing consultations are available. We will review your website, business social media profiles, all internet advertising and digital marketing. When applicable, we also request all print materials and promotions be mailing or emailed to us for previewing prior to meeting with a brand marketing consultant. Getting a comprehensive view of all company branding and marketing, both in print and web, will help us offer the best brand marketing guidance for your company goals.

 

The Importance of Visual Content

Free facebook cover photos - inspiring importance of visual contentTop 5 ways to present your brand professionally

Yes the cover does sell the book and yes a picture says a 1000 words – boom. The importance of visual content on your website, social media graphics, print and brand marketing can’t be measured completely. I looked – I found stats on conversion rates but that is a whole other blog post. This blog offers tips on creating or discovering where you can find quality visual content for your custom brand marketing.

1. Build a Professional Website

So your cousin/niece/son just took a web design class at Lansing Community College? A professional does not one website design class make. Did they add any images that truly don’t represent your brand or aren’t in the brand style? Hand drawn illustrations can work with brands with a young audience but may look juvenile with a corporate communication.

The next questions is do you own it? Google images, graphics, photos or images taken from the internet hold copyrights and sometimes trademarks. Legal action can be taken if they are used without the owners permission.

One of our customers was forced to pay a stock photo company $1200 for use of two photos on their blog. An intern grabbed the photos from Google Images and uploaded them. The large stock photography company found that the small healthcare business in Lansing, Michigan had not purchased the images. The stock photo site insisted on payment from our client or they risked being taken to court. Removing the photos from the blog, claiming ignorance, blaming an intern is not a valid defense. Where did the photos on your website or your social media graphics at photos or graphics do you need to remove or replace?

2. Stock Photos and Graphics

Small businesses seldom have the budget to develop original photography or graphics for each project. What items are your working on? Are there images that can be found for purchase online? Stock image websites abound on the net, just look into the user agreement and understand the terms of use for photos or graphics you purchase and download. Options usually include low, medium and high quality resolution depending on your use (low is typically for website/blog use only, the others can be used in print; medium images can be used for many print design projects. Large stock images will reproduce in print larger and are often chosen when a quality cover photo, poster, trade show display or exhibit booth is needed.

Remember, you do not own stock photos and graphics, you only have permission to use them. The terms of use outline the marketing and advertising media they can be legally be used in.

Stock sites can find their images on your website – if you have not purchased them, they can legally charge you. (see #1 above)

Often times trained graphic designers can customize stock photos and graphics to a point where most people would never know they started as a stock image. This additional design work may add more time and cost to your project but the customized look achieved can be used time and time again. (This doesn’t eliminate the need to pay for use.) It does provide a custom image nobody else can lay claim to. Where can you find images for legal use online? (some stock photo and stock images websites are listed in the Resources section).

free social media graphics for sharing3. Web Graphics – The Importance of Visual Content

Use your brand visual elements to create graphics for your website, social media profile pictures, avatars, visual media for blog posts, etc. If a graphic design firm has created your logo, be sure to get digital files in a variety of formats. Creating original social media graphics and web graphics using your brand imagery can help boost your brand exposure and connect with you audience. How can you add more brand images to your website or social media posts?

inspiring quote for sharing on social media4. Design Social Media Graphics

Statistics show graphics or memes are shared and shown in the Facebook news feed algorithm more than text only page posts. People come to the web to be entertained — not to read. Whether graphics or videos have industry tips, trending topics, popular quotes, etc. people respond to them and share them. What web graphics can you share or create of interest to your audience?

5. Original Digital Graphic Files

When you purchase or hire a graphic designer to create a project, determine where you will be using it; online, print, tv, etc. All of these media require different formats. It’s best to let your graphic designer know the media channels your art will be used in ahead of time. Creating art for print and web is different. Save time and money by considering all uses ahead of time.

A custom web graphic created for your home page will require the graphic designer to rebuild it, and will cost additional fees if you decide you also want to use it for your corporate brochure or other print promotions.

We recognize the importance of visual content,  we love graphic design and our most fun is creating social media graphics usually with inspiring quotes. leadership quotes for business, holiday greeting social media graphics and more. We post new ones to our social media outposts -so be sure and  follow us to get the next trending design. You can also visit our downloads page for free social media graphics and share them to  your hearts content!