People tend to think of digital advertising as Google AdWords, and social media ads like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. You can certainly get a lot done with these alone, but there’s more to consider. For example, classified websites, ads on forums, and publication websites can also create a valuable connection with you and your audience.
When considering digital advertising, it’s important to know what your options are. All online advertising, targeted ads based on habits or demographics, and remarketing require know-how to use effectively. If you’ve ever been to a website looking at cars, furniture, or clothing, and opened Facebook only to come across the same website in your feed, you’ve experienced remarketing. Conducting this properly and effectively can mean the difference between making or losing sales.
Here’s a prime example. We recently spoke with a new client about this topic. She had been shopping online for cloth diapers and added a few products to her cart. She wanted the product, but wasn’t ready to commit just yet. She then went onto Facebook and an ad popped up saying that she could save 10% on her order with a discount code, and she immediately went back and completed the transaction. The difference here was between providing a small discount, or losing the sale altogether. On the side of customer experience, she saved 10% and was happy to do so, and was happy with the service, even though she didn’t speak to a single person. Will she shop there again? Absolutely, given that she has more children and needs more cloth diapers, of course.
Knowing who your website users are helps you build the best digital ads. Gathering as much information as possible from your website analytics can shed a lot of light on who visits.
Although there are other important aspects of digital advertising, this is the bulk of it. Moreover, depending on how you set it up and if the landing pages on your website are where people expect to be taken this can be a rather excellent use of limited advertising budgets.
Even in a digital age, print media is still effective in the proper markets. Newspapers, trade magazines and reference books (among other printed publications) can be the right medium depending on the strategy and the goal they are to achieve.
The simplest explanation we like to give people is that your brand is the person your company would be, if it were an individual.
It’s the personality, the way it dresses, the way it smells. It’s also how success is celebrated and the way complaints or negative press are handled. Brand is responsible for the first impression, and every impression after that. Everything from the lighting in your office to the way you answer the phone should be determined by your brand.
The long and short is this: brand lives in the details… every detail! Having a brand strategy will ensure that each ’touchpoint’ your guests or clients encounter is on point with your brand’s intentions. The more details you plan, the less unexpected details you leave to chance.
The idea of brand is usually interpreted incorrectly. Often people we have encountered interpret brand as your logo. This is only a small part of your brand.
Additionally, when establishing a brand (which includes your logo), a brand standards document can prove invaluable. This sets the standard for your font, colour, logo consideration and image use so that any supplier you may work with on decals, print materials or promotional merchandise have the guidelines to follow to ensure that your brand is accurately represented.
Culture – or the tone we set/environment we create is the most important step in establishing the best internal customer service, and becomes the foundation for great external customer service.
We strongly believe in the “right seat on the right bus” concept from Jim Collin’s Good To Great. In addition to having the patience to wait for the right person for the job, (remember skills can be trained and built, but the wrong attitude can be toxic) we believe that your brand should also determine your work environment or Culture.
Culture will attract the people that connect with the purpose of your company. It will deliver to your team the people who believe in your cause and want to be loyal to what you stand for fundamentally beyond the product or service you offer.
At some point in the future, your culture will begin to propel your brand. This will mark that your team has truly become a team of brand advocates, and this is a powerful commodity. Brand advocates will take note of the details. They will make sure that all the light bulbs are working, that the chairs are comfortable and not worn out, that customer service is executed the way that you want it to be even when you are not there. It is consistency in each experience that your client has with you.
It is for this reason, and because brand and culture have been mindfully developed, that companies like Zappos can produce a positive culture book annually (written by its employees), why Apple users wait in line for hours to purchase the newest products, and the reason your company can come to be considered as a place to build successful careers.
It starts with a relationship.
Ideas are 5% and execution is 95%. Project management is essentially people management, and we can work with you on developing process and procedure to streamline your internal communications.
We understand change, which is why we have designed comprehensive and customized methods to assist any organization in identifying needed changes and how to implement them.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. We can help identify risks and find ways to turn them into opportunities.
Human Resources / Policy Creation:
Our consultant works for one of the most recognized names in agriculture in a company that is nearly 180 years old. We are able to assist in building an HR plan, creating a hiring strategy, conducting layoffs, reviewing and implementing benefits packages, to name a few. We also assist in creating policies for any organizational needs. Policies are a key part of a strong business foundation.
Business Management / Finance / Acquisitions:
Our Business Management, Finance, and Acquisition consultant has over 30 years of experience. He has been an integral part of the growth team of one of Winkler’s largest employers over the past decade. He will work with you to determine gaps and opportunities in how you manage your business. The goal is to equip you with all of the information and direction you need to manage your business in the most effective manner, regardless of market conditions.
Includes reviewing your cashflow, reviewing books, negotiating with banks and lending institutions, and more. Having a solid understanding of your finances will enable you to manage your business more efficiently. If you are looking at purchasing a business, it is good to have another set of eyes on the deal. Our consultant has been a key part of many acquisitions and can help you during this process. Having an outside view can help spot potential pitfalls and opportunities.
Design is in everything we do. Without it, nothing else happens.
There are a number of considerations to be made in design; from colour selection, platform use (signage, print, online) to demographic and target audience. There are trends that will resonate with certain generations, as well as timeless elements that can speak to a very different group. There is a place and time for both, but both can be used together strategically.
This of course is all determined by the strategy set forward with the client.
Our designers are educated, driven, and passionate about learning their craft. This ensures that we are on top of the changes in design trends and best practices. This also ensures that when it comes to trends, we are able to weigh them against our clients brand to determine which trends are valuable.
Your logo is your brand’s face, but not the whole body. Your brand has a visual identity and your logo is one part of that identity.
Your logo is the simplest and quickest way people will recognize and know your brand.
Being immediately recognized takes time. Often years. A logo has a big job to do: It needs to deliver a message, convey feelings and be memorable. Because a logo needs to complete such a huge task and is often only seen for short amounts of time, it needs to be as simple as possible while also having a unique and recognizable appearance.
Logos do not need to tell people about every product you sell or service you offer. This creates a logo that is far too busy and therefore difficult to recognize or remember.
Your brand’s name in a specific font that represents your brand well.
(Example: Pepsi, Apple, Nike, Puma Twitter)
An image or simplified version of the logotype. This is especially important to have in situations where there is not enough space to use the logotype.
(Example: Pepsi, Apple, Nike, Puma Twitter)
Often but not always a combination of the logotype and logo mark.
(Example: Adidas, Nasa, Levi’s, Lego, Tostitos, Burger King)
Photography & Videography
Professional photography and videography are useful in almost any marketing campaign. Whenever you provide a visual representation of your brand, your product, your facilities, or your people, utilizing professional photography and/or videography is key to the overall success of the campaign, website, brochure, or any other purpose it serves.
Have you ever picked up a camera and thought “Yeah, I can take pictures” followed by “Why don’t my pictures look as good as theirs?” The answer may lie in that professionals endlessly study their craft and invest in equipment.
The learning curve from casually taking pictures to becoming a professional photographer is steep. Understanding every detail of the shot and the mechanics of it (from the rule of thirds and balancing elements to symmetry and viewpoint) is just the beginning producing a high quality photo. Then we get into editing, which is an entirely new domain.
All of this is to say that skillful/professional photography is key.
The same can be said for videography, only with this, there are a lot more moving parts. It is crucial to understand the video process and to know what it takes to actualize the vision of the video, and the purpose for which this video has been made. Again, there are a lot of point-and-shoot video cameras out there, and each have their time and place. Ultimately, if you are looking to produce a high quality product or company video, going the professional route is your best bet.
If you are creating social media content, plenty of it can be self managed if you know what you’re doing. With some training and minor technical know how, a quality video for social media purposes is easy to accomplish for almost any organization.
In order to create consistency for your brand, it is also highly recommended to have professional video bookends created. This creates a more professional appearance in even the most basic projects.
Both photos and videos are generally long term solutions. A great photo will last for years, as long as the content is still relevant. The same goes for video. Both mediums are great ways to provide information.
According to 2016 statistics by HubSpot, video on a website landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. YouTube reported that mobile video consumption increases by 100% every year. One third of all online activity is video, and 92% of videos viewed on mobile devices are then shared with others. Video is by far the most engaging way to reach your customers, and doing it with good content that your customers care about will increase sales.
Print materials are a great way to assist with sales and marketing efforts.
Print collateral can include business cards, brochures and any other printed material needed to further your brand recognition, sales efforts, or internal training and/or processes.
The biggest consideration aside from clarity and quality is consistency.
All of your materials should be cohesive and they should share a brand standard as per your brand standard document, as well as work toward a common goal. This goal can be multifaceted, but should accurately represent you as a company.
Here is a short list of the print items we can either print in-house, or have outsourced for our clients:
- Business cards
- Envelopes (standard and custom sized)
- Vehicle decals
- Tradeshow materials including full structure backdrops and smaller pop up banners
- Invitations/Wedding invitations
- Postcards/RSVP cards
- Carbon copy booklets (including driver logs, bills of lading, receipt books, etc)
- Ballot pads
- Presentation folders
- Large order company photocopying
- …and much more
Social Media Marketing has quickly become a powerful and necessary tool in business and non-profit organizations.
We not only offer social media management and design, but also training, strategy, and planning (depending on your needs). Whether you’re looking for guidance or to have us manage accounts, we endevour to build your company a presence that engages your target audience.
Our strategy is to do research continually to stay on top of the latest trends, as well as determine your market, and meet your market’s needs. To reap the most benefit for you, we closely examine what is working and what is not working. We are always increasing our knowledge in order to maintain mastery of ever-changing platforms.
Social media, together with Google Analytics, is also a great tool to determine your target audience. For instance, “Remarketing” and Google Adwords are effective tools to help drive customers through your doors and see business growth.
We can build the unique software application your business needs. Let’s chat about opportunities.
There are many things that we can create within the walls of our office. For a number of the things that we have not brought in house, we most definitely have access to and can assist you with.
These include, but are not limited to custom print items (envelopes, cheques, labels, door decals, carbon copy books, etc.) as well as promotional items (pens, mugs, jackets, etc.).
Vehicle and trailer decals and wraps have been great creative projects for our team. More than the basic information, your vehicle or trailer presents a mobile billboard opportunity. Again, our strategy is brand consistency. From the quality of the vinyl, to the colour accuracy, we work with local pros to make sure your projects look great, and last!
Additionally, we have worked with a number of clients to both design and purchase a variety of signage. Both lit and unlit, with a number of mounted and freestanding options, we look for the highest quality at a reasonable price to make sure that your brand is well represented.
We are please to work with local suppliers whenever possible on these items, as we believe that building into our community both our privilege and responsibility.
A strategy cannot be etched in stone. Instead, a strategy must be fluid, and it must change over time as you learn and grow.
Fluidity is key. The ability to make initially unplanned changes is necessary for fine tuning plans. We created strategy by taking a look at what we know, what we’re assuming, and what our goals are.
What we need to know is who our customers are (% of male, % of female, age, interests, hobbies, positions and titles), we need to know where they look for information (forums, websites, publications, trade shows, social media), we need to know why they buy your product or service (quality, consistency, service, price point, value, etc.). Based on this information, we can make qualified projections for future efforts.
A strategy is the roadmap of accomplishing goals. The goal acts as the anchor for the strategy, so if the latter falls short, we can adjust the strategy, but preserve the goals. Is the goal to set up new dealers for your manufacturing business? Is it to make more people from other communities aware of your new restaurant? These are defined goals, and a strategy can be used to accomplish them.
Depending on your service area or product, creating a valuable strategy can be done in a couple of weeks, or a couple of months.
Trade Show & Events
First, the plan.
Understanding the goal is step 1, so we can build the rest of the plan around it. Understanding the space and the tactile surfaces is also important. Everything a person comes into contact with in your trade show space reflects on your brand. Taking those details into consideration and being mindful of them leaves you in control of your overall impression.
Next we need a design. Once we are aware of the goals and the space, we can design backdrops, banners, projected images, and more. Your booth layout should be open, allowing people to feel welcome and not crowded. If you’re used to filling up your space with products, it can be worth it to change your strategy and create an inviting atmosphere in which no one fears getting trapped in your booth, but rather, welcome to come in and explore your brand.
Structures, banners, tables, coverings and materials are the last step, but nonetheless need to be planned out long before this stage. Once we know why we are at each tradeshow, and how we plan to best engage our visitors, we can plan what materials need to be set in place. These items need to be designed and ordered well in advance to make sure your space is complete before the tradeshow.
Something to consider is choosing a soft flooring material for trade shows and opening the space for customers. The people then feel the soft flooring under their feet as opposed to the hard concrete that they have been walking on all day.
What was true of a tradeshow strategy is also true of any event. There has to be a plan in place, and it has to enable the goal! This can (and should) be the longest part of the entire event. We are firm believers in being sure that an event serves a purpose. Every dollar should be going towards enabling the goal of the event.
Rental considerations, including tables and chairs, sound equipment, signage, and linens as well as contacting media, need to be part of your initial date planning so that you know that all of the pieces of the puzzle will come together on the appointed date.
In addition to invitations, event branded print materials for the day of, and announcements (whether digital or print), promotional items (branded as well) are a great addition to further promote your brand especially once you’ve hosted the most discussed event of the season!
For events hosted in a rented venue, it is wise to ensure that the
bathrooms are clean, that the garbages are emptied, and that the venue is in good shape. This too is a reflection of your brand, which can be either very positive or negative.
Websites are often the first point of contact a person may have with your brand.
Your website may act as an information hub, an online salesperson, or a shopping and buying experience. Our strategy begins with determining your target audience. Who they are, where they currently look for what you offer, and how we can best present what they desire.
Once we understand this, we proceed to plan out how the information is formatted so that it is never more than 3 clicks away. If a person cannot find the information they’re looking for quickly they will move on to the next company. We strive to make your company the easiest to access.
We build custom websites, and use a content management system for our clients to easily edit their website.
There are still many businesses that do not have a mobile friendly website. This is a problem. It has been our experience that most online searches happen on mobile devices. In April of 2015, Google changed their mobile search algorithm to give mobile friendly websites a significant boost over non-mobile friendly websites.
We are often asked if a template website ‘will work’. The answer to this question generally brings up a larger discussion, so we will just outline 3 main points.
First, template websites are intended for use as they are, and have limitations to their customization. When we work at modifying these templates, it can take as much time in the end as if we would have built them from scratch.
Second, these are built to be a low cost solution, so often, but not always, SEO is not at the top of the developer’s priorities. This means that you are often less likely to be found than your competitors.
Third, this is a template, so it’s highly likely that someone else will have used that template, meaning that there will be multiple websites that resemble and function similarly to yours.
Search Engine Optimization is another critical aspect of your website and it is a practice that helps search engines determine if your website is relevant to what your customers are searching for online. The Google algorithm is a closely guarded secret, however with enough SEO service providers experimenting, there are a lot of things that we know.
- Relevant Content
- Alt Tags
- Cross Linking
- Keyword Integration
- Frequent Updates & Functionality
Search Engine Marketing often takes place alongside active SEO work, in order to drive users to your website through paid advertising.
The last thing we’ll touch on are your website analytics. You can gather a lot of information on your website users from this. You can also find potential spam issues, and discover who is talking about you and where they are. When we gather this type of information, we gain great insight into how and where digital advertising should be, and which markets offer potential growth.
In the end, a website should certainly be seen as a necessity, but also as a long term strategy. What is good for now will likely not last long, and with intentional planning, a website can be built today to grow with you, saving you time and money in the long run.