The Latest From Echo-Factory

MagLite: Rebranding an American Classic

08/07/2014

Maglite_Weather_Banner

MagLite on The Weather Channel.

The Weather Channel is a cable and satellite TV station that has been broadcasting weather forecasts, analyses and news since the early 1980s. The channel is received by nearly a billion American households and has a viewership of about 210,000. When we had the opportunity to produce two commercials for MagLite on The Weather Channel, we knew the spots would bring vital exposure to the MagLite brand and feature the flashlights at their best. We wrote scripts for both a :15 and a :20 commercial that met the challenge of making an impact in a short timeframe.

“Lights Out”

In this :15 spot, titled, “Lights Out,” we created a desperate scenario that was resolved with the comforting and familiar click of a flashlight. To make an impact, we relied on a strong visual and heart-pounding audio. We wanted viewers to have the sense that, when conditions are bleak, they can count on their MagLite. In order to direct the viewer toward a specific purchase, we created two versions of this commercial, each ending with two featured MagLite models.

The tagline reinforces a sense of security as well as national pride:

“Turn Your Light On, America.”

“There When You Need Us”

In this :20 spot, titled, “There When You Need Us,” we feature a man depending on his MagLite in several extreme situations. Since our deadlines made live action prohibitive, we used custom photography and CG effects to illustrate the message that MagLite can see a person through nearly any unpredictable circumstance. As with the :15 spot, we left the viewer with a CTA image of various MagLite models.

We’re loving working with MagLite, and we think these commercials turned out great. For more insight into this project, check out our most recent press release.

In our next MagLite update, we’ll introduce their new website, still under construction, and discuss the process and logic behind their reorganized and redesigned online home.

Like what you see? Check out our work page to view more Echo-Factory projects and clients.

R.W. Lyall & Company: An Established Industry Leader Expands into New Markets

08/05/2014

It’s been a busy summer here at Echo-Factory, and we’re excited to share one of our recently completed projects: the R.W. Lyall & Company rebrand.

Headquartered in Corona, California, with a factory in New Berlin, Wisconsin, Lyall is a family-owned-and-operated business manufacturing pipeline component products for the North American oil and gas industry.

With sales territory stretching across the continental United States, a new and bigger Wisconsin facility, and a push to enter new markets, Lyall needed to update its brand image to better reflect its position as a market leader. Their outdated promotional materials did not accurately reflect their capabilities, and their website needed to be redesigned and reorganized to offer a more expansive view of their technological expertise. The site also needed to be refined to better serve as a sales tool and lead funnel.

 

EF_EB_Lyall_2

New Logo

The Echo-Factory team started by updating the Lyall logo with a new typeface and font, adjusting the placement of the flame to work in new digital formats. We also rebranded Lyall’s marketing communications, presentations and product brochures, refreshing the copy and giving them a clean, sophisticated look.

New Tagline

Next we crafted a new tagline that speaks to the company’s experience and longstanding commitment to excellence:

 “Keeping the Oil and Gas Industry Moving Since 1970.”

New Website

And finally, we completely redesigned and rebuilt the Lyall website. The new site features custom photography of products and manufacturing processes and expanded overviews of all the markets that Lyall serves. Downloadable product brochures, detailed illustrations of product applications, and installation instruction videos enhance the user experience. The site is more easily navigable and is designed to take advantage of all current SEO and SEM opportunities.

Lyall now has promotional materials that reflect who they are—an industry leader poised for growth and expansion. We are proud of the work we have done thus far and are grateful for the opportunity to work with such a great business.

“It was a dedicated effort and true collaboration between our employees and their team to build a website and materials that precisely reflect our company’s expanded capabilities and longstanding commitment to excellence.”

- Jeff Lyall, President & CEO

We encourage you to visit the new website:

rwlyall.com

Stay tuned for more updates on the latest projects from our growing portfolio.

 

 

 

 

Early Stage Branding – Ignore At Your Own Peril Part 2

08/01/2014

Early Stage BrandingIn part two of our series on the importance of early stage branding, we take a look at strategy, promotion and expertise.

by Hayley Raynes

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

            Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Okay, so in part one we convinced you that you need to brand and brand early, but that’s just part of the deal. You also need strategy. Branding does not mean throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. You need an in-depth, long-term promotion plan built upon a solid knowledge of your business, your industry, your competition, the marketplace and selling mediums, and, of course, your customers. You need to craft a targeted message that speaks to your potential customers in a voice that they will welcome, understand, trust and hopefully become loyal to. Oh, and you have to strategically position this message so that these individuals—your future customers and champions—will see it at their most receptive moments, embrace it and take it upon themselves to share your awesomeness with the world via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, personal blog, text, and…drumroll please…face-to-face interaction with other like-minded human beings!

Then you need to track the success and failure of your promotion strategy and revise, revise, revise.

No small task, this is, young Padawan.

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

            Mark Twain

Branding, strategy and promotion are the secrets to success, not only because they whack a path through that crazy overgrown jungle we refer to as the open market, but because this kind of deep business analysis helps you to truly know your company’s strengths and weaknesses in addition to knowing your audience. It allows you to create measurable goals, and when started early, it maximizes what is likely to be a pretty puny budget—which is crucial, because competition is fierce, and you can count on the big boys and girls in your industry to be throwing the kind of money into their branding and marketing campaigns that would make God cry.

Good promotion also helps you to attract the best talent in your industry, positioning you for future growth and continued relevance. It establishes credibility both inside and outside of your industry and creates opportunities for partnerships that can provide the capital and influence you need to develop the next phase of your business. But if you promote incorrectly, you simply won’t get anywhere at all.

And don’t think that just because you are still in the funding stages you can put this stuff off. VC’s want to know that you have a clear “go to market” strategy, because, let’s be realistic, investors might look upward on Sundays, but Monday through Saturday, they bow to mammon. If you can’t prove to them that you can make them money, the risk goes up—and in the world of post-2008 finance, risk is no bueno. A clear promotion strategy goes a long way in calming the skittish investor—a most dangerous creature.

With a startup’s limited resources, knowing where and how to promote is key to stretching those ad dollars, and there is no boilerplate method—every industry has its own pathways to success. What works for retail may not work for B2B, while marketing an app is different from marketing a restaurant. You have to seriously consider your audience. This includes age demos, regional marketing trends, political leanings, religious affiliations, shopping habits, extracurricular activities, tastes in art, music and culture, historical influences, Internet surfing habits, etc., etc., and then this compilation must be used to sculpt a single human persona—a detailed, insightful representation of an honest-to-goodness individual—someone who is unique and special—but also representative of an entire group. And you have to do it with the least amount of bias possible.

 “Excellence is not a skill. It’s an attitude.”

            Ralph Marston

If you dig geeking out on research, then have at it, but let’s be honest, don’t you have better things to do—like, um, I don’t know, perfecting your product? Why would you want to get caught up in this seriously time-consuming business, when you could simply surround yourself with experts to do it for you?

We work with a lot of startups and are confronted again and again with the same situation—they know their technology and they know their financial goals, and because of this, they think they know the best path to market. But unpack this attitude and the logic just isn’t there. Knowing one aspect of business development is not knowing all. Think about it, Peyton Manning is debatably one of the greatest football players on the field today, but just because he can throw a football, and be the successful face of a football company’s branding campaign, does that also mean he could make a football without sewing his fingers together in one of the big industrial machines? Of course, he could learn, and one day even excel as a maker of footballs, but why would he? That would take time, money and effort—resources he’d probably rather use to get better at football. Because his is an attitude of excellence.

Peyton Manning knows that to be truly great at playing football, he needs to focus on playing football. The same goes for any enterprise. If you are a tech developer, you need to work on your tech—there’s always room for improvement. If your aim is to offer the best service or product available, then that’s where your focus needs to be. Marketers and brand strategists, if they’re worth their salt, are experts, too. They’ve spent years researching, hypothesizing, experimenting and theorizing. They’ve stood at many positions on the field and have had plenty of successes and an equal amount of failures, and this cumulative experience has helped them to develop the kind of hard-won insight and know-how that you—as a fledgling business developer—simply don’t have time for.

The point here? If you’re serious about being a brand worth talking about, you need to surround yourself with excellence, hire experts to do the things you don’t know how to do, and then listen to their advice and resist the compulsion to stick your finger in every pot. There’s a crush of competition at every stage of the game. Strategic thinking, planning and promoting is how you get to the end zone.

 

 

 

 

Early Stage Branding – Ignore at Your Own Peril Part 1

07/25/2014

Early Stage Branding

In this two-part series, we examine the importance of early stage branding, strategy and promotion for startups.

by Hayley Raynes

Recently we pitched branding, marketing strategy and promotion to the founder of a tech startup who had achieved some initial success in his industry. The man was skeptical. While he conceded that branding is important, he didn’t think it was necessary at such an early stage in his business’s development.

Of course we jumped at the chance to convince him otherwise, because we know that early stage branding is the best and most important kind and that, without strategy and promotion, the risk of failure goes up exponentially. Thankfully, after stating our case, we convinced him to move forward with a strategic branding effort as soon as possible. But it made us realize that his is probably not the only startup out there holding off on this critical aspect of business development. That’s why we decided to put this article together to explain:

-Why it’s of vital importance to begin branding efforts as early as possible.

-Why it’s important to have a strategic plan that fits seamlessly into a business’s overall goals.

-Why hiring a team of experts will save time, money and potential disaster.

“Know Thyself”

            Inscription in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi

In order to effectively communicate who you are to your target market, you have to actually know who you are. And while most businesses think they know, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve started asking fundamental questions regarding operations, budgets, forward strategy, key markets and company goals only to get the following answer: “Let me get back to you on that one.”

Developing and positioning a brand to reflect a company’s identity, speak to the right people at the right time and send the right message communicated in the right tone requires that business operators know their company and know their audience inside and out. This means being able to articulate—on demand—the business’s mission, culture and values. The earlier a company tackles this hurdle, the better. Because it’s one thing to have the next game-changing technology—it’s another thing altogether to actually position that technology to change the game.

“You may delay, but time will not.”

            Benjamin Franklin

You have the product; you have your key people; you have an opportunity to present your product to an investor that could catapult your business into the stratosphere.

But wait. You don’t have any marketing materials. Crap!

Quick. You need a logo—one that can see you through at least the next three to five years. You need a tagline, too—something that sums up who you are in 10 words or less. Oh no, they’re asking for a website? You can’t show them that mess your niece threw together after securing your domain. What about a brochure? A business card? Heck, you’re going to need something—anything that makes you look like you’re actually working out of an office, rather than the garage.

More than 33 billion dollars was handed out by venture capitalists in 2013 in the U.S. alone. But getting a piece of that capital is not just a matter of standing in line with your hand out. You’ve got to wow the crowd. Have you been on Kickstarter lately? If so, you may have noticed these wooden map guys. They run a simple business—selling wall art in the form of machine-cut wooden maps. They had a modest financial goal—$7,500 for equipment that will help them expand their product line. As of this writing, they have raised $15,697 and earned a feature on the Kickstarter discovery page. Small potatoes, sure, but relatively speaking, they are killing it. And here’s why: They look legit. They’ve got a website, a YouTube video, professional photography, a blog (though they could post more often)—the works. The result? The world of (Kickstarter) finance takes them seriously.

And think about it, if this kind of complete marketing package was necessary to convince the average Kickstarter funder to throw them five bucks, imagine what kind of game you’re gonna need to get in with the big VC firms, angel investors and private equity seed financiers.

Still not convinced? Don’t take it from us; check out point three in Paul Jackson’s Entrepreneur article about how to secure funding from a VC firm.

Because here’s the deal, branding is campaigning. Branding is shaking hands and kissing babies (metaphorically speaking). Branding is persuasion. It’s convincing people to like you, to support you, to promote you, to be loyal to you. There are other choices out there—good, dare we say great, choices. It’s your brand’s job to convince customers—whether they are investors or end users—that you are the best choice, now and in the future. And everyone knows the first rule of politics is: “Control the message.”

You see, in the absence of a brand, your audience—whether they are investors or customers—will create one, because not caring about the brand is branding. Appearing not to have a budget for branding, is branding. Cheesy, thrown-together-at-the-last-minute branding materials is branding. Would you go to a job interview (outside of Silicon Valley)with your tie askance, shirt untucked, bed-headed and furry-toothed? If so, that’s probably why you’re reading this in your PJ’s at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday, instead of working. Image matters.

And from our side, branding early just makes the whole process a heck of a lot easier. Because if we are involved from the beginning, we won’t have to spend a ton of our time (and your money) undoing the damage of your “non-branding” efforts. Scrubbing an image from the hearts and minds of investors and consumers can take a long time—time you just don’t have in today’s competitive marketplace.

Like what we’re saying? Stay tuned for part two in our series on early stage branding, strategy and promotion…

 

 

You’re Not Reaching Your Customers Because You Don’t Know Who They Are.

05/30/2014

Persona Development

Building Personas As The Foundation of a Successful Marketing Campaign

According to a 2013 Forbes magazine article titled, “Five Reasons 8 out of 10 Businesses Fail,” the number one impediment to success is that businesses are “[n]ot really in touch with customers through deep dialogue.”

Here at Echo-Factory, we agree that dialogue is important, but we’d take the analysis a step further and contend that most businesses fail because they never even knew who their customers were, let alone engaged them in deep dialogue. Sure they might have a vague idea—gender, 10-year age range, region, that sort of thing—but have you ever tried to have a deep dialogue with a 28- to 35-year-old female who is ethnically neutral, is of average income, enjoys the outdoors and lives in the Southwest? By its very nature, this type of broad stroke consumer identification is impossible to engage with any kind of depth. Because this is not a person—it’s a range.

getting setup for the workshop

getting ready for persona development

 

That’s why one of the first things we do whenever we take on a new client is research the heck out of them—their industry, their history and their pain points, their goals, wants and needs. Then, after we’ve developed a thorough understanding of our client, we dive into understanding their customers. And not in general terms—we get out the fine-tipped brushes and fill in the lines. Does this woman enjoy base-jumping or bird-watching—or both? It matters. Is this woman 28 or 35? It matters. Is she a resident of Ocean Beach or Newport Beach? It matters. It matters because when you’ve got the details, you’ve got an actual person capable of participating in a deep dialogue. It matters because you now know where to reach her and what she cares about. You can speak to her in her language in a way that will engage her rather than alienate her. We call this process persona building, and it’s basic procedure for us. If you want your business to succeed, it should be basic procedure for you, too.

Knowing your customers and communicating with them effectively is crucial, but all too often this vital strategic element is either totally ignored or relegated to the bottom of the list. And it’s a shame whenever this happens, but this misstep becomes truly unfortunate when the businesses involved are innovative, ethically minded, socially responsible, environmentally conscious and human rights driven.

We don’t like to play favorites, but the truth is that we love brilliant people who want to do good in the world, and more than anything, we want to see them succeed. That’s why if we ever have an opportunity to share our expertise with a socially progressive company, we don’t hesitate. So when the LA Cleantech Incubator invited Echo-Factory principal, Mike Schaffer, to speak on the topic of persona building for their LACI Design Thinking Series, he jumped at the chance.

design thinking workshop

design thinking workshop

The incubator is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit dedicated to building LA’s green economy through providing affordable office space, mentoring and CEO coaching, and access to extensive investor and customer networks for the area’s most promising cleantech start-ups. The Design Thinking Series features four seminars at which various industry experts lead talks and practice groups on various business-building topics to help young entrepreneurs identify, understand and design products and services that will best serve the needs of their customers. Other companies involved include industrial design firm Pull Creative and creative engineering company Motivo. The series’ working subject was to develop a product that would address the issue of asthma in children who live within a quarter of a mile of a freeway.

As persona building is a foundational element to any successful business, Mike’s seminar, titled, “Identifying Personas and Crafting the Ideal User Experience,” kicked off the series. Attendees learned about the importance of developing personas in order to meet their customers’ need, and then they put that theory into practice by conducting market research and developing three preliminary personas to be built upon throughout the remaining seminars.

“The three foundational elements we drive with each of our portfolio companies are intellectual property strategies, investment prep and design thinking. The first two are very common in the start-up world but the design thinking side has been undervalued for far too long,” said Erik Steeb, VP of Programs at LACI. “Design is a critical element of any business, and it starts with really understanding your customer. To get the best result, we partnered with the best. The combination of Pull Creative, Echo-Factory and Motivo Engineering has been a great asset to our companies.”

We love being involved in projects like these, because we want these socially responsible entrepreneurs to succeed and we know they can’t without the proper tools and knowledge. We want to see eight out of 10 businesses succeed, not fail, and developing accurate personas is one of the first steps to making that happen.

“Onboarding” and Other Awful Buzzwords

02/22/2014

Onboarding/onboard

To get up to speed; a bastardization of the phrase “to get someone on board” and making it into a verb.

As in…
“Make sure the new guy onboards with the tracking software. We’ll need him up to speed by next week.”

The other day I was on a conference call, being trained in a piece of online lead tracking software, and the presenter said, “The next step in the onboarding process is…”

I just about choked on my microphone.   Really?  Onboarding?

Buzzwords are, in my opinion, mostly lazy attempts at sounding clever.  They’re jargon.  Designed to make the speaker seem smart, and the spoken-to seem out of touch.

Perhaps worst of all, they get in the way of perfectly decent words that carry much more useful meaning.

“Onboarding process” sounds ridiculous, and has no shared meaning outside of tech companies trying to sound trendy.  Swap out “onboarding” for “training” and you’ve got a sentence that means something.  And doesn’t sound silly.

So long as I’m having a curmudgeonly rant, let me share three more of my current least-favorite buzzwords:

  • Cloud Based — When it was first coined, this term meant something.  A distributed online computing architecture. That’s a real thing.  But it’s been so horribly abused that it’s lost all meaning.  Most often, it’s used interchangeably with “online.” In which case, “online” would be a much better word to use.
  • Gamification — Please stop it.  I’m not going to sell out my entire address book to your online service just to earn another badge.  Check out Phillip Trippenbach’s excellent article on the topic: Kill it With Fire: why Gamification sucks and Game Dynamics rule.
  • Disruptive — Sure.  You’ve got a great idea.  Your startup is awesome.  And you’re totally going to upend Facebook/Amazon/The Goat Industry.  I’m thrilled.  But please figure out a way to stop using Silicon Valley’s most pernicious cliché.

I could go on whinging all day.  But I’ll end by linking you to a great infographic with 30 buzzwords.  At least it’s self-aware enough to list “infographic” as one of those buzzwords.

 

 

The Good, Bad & Ugly of 2014 Super Bowl Ads

02/04/2014

It’s time for the 5th annual installment of our popular(ish) critique of the year’s Super Bowl ads. Unless your license plate says “Washington” on it, this was about the most boring football game of the season, which means that this year’s ads had an even bigger entertainment challenge than normal. So were they up for it? Were they good enough to entertain us from the single-sided butchery that was happening on the field?

Let’s see.

The Best

Car Companies

This year, car companies led the field with the best ads of the big game.

Volkswagen’s “Wings” commercial was excellent. I get shivers down my spine imagining the client meeting where someone from Volkswagen’s agency sat in front of a marketing VP and said, “So, then at the end, when a car hits 200,000 miles, a rainbow comes out of his butt.” I’ll happily buy a round for the creative team at Argonaut for convincing a client to let them run that ad on national television. I’ll buy a second one for managing to keep the ad on message and suggest that an average Jetta could really make it 200,000 miles.

Chevy’s two truck ads also deserve a special mention. Before their Super Bowl spots, the automaker’s “A man and his truck” campaign was completely uninspired. It was the same “drive a Chevy and be a manly cowboy” tune they’ve been singing for the past few decades. But, “A man, his truck and an aroused cow” takes things in a whole new direction. No one expects Chevy to take a chance on advertising that might make viewers uncomfortable, so they deserve recognition for taking a risk and pulling it off. Their “Life” commercial was a genuinely sweet counterpoint to the merciless thrashing happening in MetLife Stadium.

The clever offroading Smart Car spot was Sarah’s favorite, and Jeep and Kia did a good job of respectively reinforcing and changing perceptions of their brands. Audi’s Doberhuahua was a big winner in our office, being picked by Sydnee, Roni and Hayley, giving it the most “favorite” votes of any spot.

As relatively obscure luxury brands, Maserati and Jaguar both ran very good branding spots that should help 5 Series and S-Class shoppers at least take a second look before they hand over their large wads of cash to BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Even Kia’s Morpheus ad made me stop and think, “Huh, maybe it would be nice to ride around in a Kia.” That’s something I’ve never ever thought before.

The only real exception to the whole bunch of good and great Super Bowl car ads was Hyundai’s “Nice”. It wasn’t necessarily bad, just boring. Proof that paying celebrities to be in your ad isn’t the secret to advertising success. Oh, and Chrysler’s Bob Dylan spot, which was so boring that I forgot about it until just now. Bob Dylan’s a legend. His commercial wasn’t legendary.

Other Standouts

Dorito’s Time Machine was on both Mike and Carl’s lists of favorites, and Mike and Sydnee both like Stephen Colbert splitting open his head for Pistachios. Also, does anyone know how Pistachios™ became a brand? Are almonds going to spend $4 million on a spot next year? Will walnuts start an intensive social media campaign in the fall? What about legumes? When will lima beans get a trademark?

Mike, who’s no fan of Bud Light, admitted that Ian’s adventures just might be enough to get him to drink one. I don’t know what more you could ask from a $4 million spot. He also liked Duracell’s very inspirational Derrick Coleman spot. I agree, though I’m not sure it will influence my battery choices next time I’m buying double-As at Costco.

Coca-Cola deserves recognition for knowing that its multilingual “America the Beautiful” commercial would enrage our country’s racist nut-jobs, and choosing to run it anyway. Check out Atlanta news anchor Brenda Wood’s monologue on the topic if you’re still not sure which side of the nut-jobbery fence you’re settling on.

Mixed Reviews

Sarah and Mustafa are wonderful people, but I totally disagree with them when it comes to Greek yogurt advertising.  I hope we’ll be able to stay friends. Oikos’s Full House reunion got Mustafa right in the nostalgia, but I thought it was too forced, and didn’t really say anything about the product it was trying to sell.

On the other hand, I thought Chobani’s rampaging grizzly was great, but Sarah picked it as her least favorite for being “random and pointless”. I guess Chobani’s messaging wasn’t as clear as I thought. It’s also worth noting that about five years ago, no one in America had Greek yogurt in their fridge, and Sunday we watched at least $8 million worth of advertising for it during the country’s biggest television event.

I’m also on the losing side of intra-office opinions on Tebow for T-Mobile. I love to see a celebrity make fun of themselves, and before now, I’ve never seen Tim be anything but sincere. Mike thought it was a good idea, poorly executed. Carl thought it was straight-up awful.

Mike was also conflicted about Radio Shack being called by the 80s. He felt it was a good spot, but in his own words, “Too bad a commercial can’t actually get me to their terrible store.”

The Worst

Here’s a line I could copy and paste into every Super Bowl roundup we’ve ever written. “GoDaddy’s commercial was awful.” Like my hero Richard Sherman once said, “When you pick a sorry registrar like GoDaddy, that’s the result you’re going to get.” Or something to that effect.

At least this year the GoDaddy commercials were slightly less awful than normal, and managed more inclusiveness by objectifying both men and women. That’s progress.

Mike’s uncontested pick for the worst ads of the 2014 Super Bowl went to Budweiser’s A Hero’s Welcome and Puppy Love spots. Don’t get me wrong, every veteran deserves a parade like the one they threw for Chuck Nadd, and interspecies friendships are adorable. But as Mike put it, “in advertising, using war veterans and puppies is cheating.”

Weigh In

Think we got it wrong? Didn’t give GoDaddy a fair chance? Totally misinterpreted the meaning of Tim Tebow? Then tell us in a comment, or leave us a nasty message on Facebook. We’re adults, we can take it.

Why Snapchat Had No Choice But to Apologize

01/13/2014

Snapchat, the app that allows you to view images for seconds before they disappear, turned down a $3 billion buyout from Facebook last fall (despite the fact that they have absolutely no revenue). Now they might be kicking themselves.

They made a big mistake.

They messed up. They goofed. The company that’s built entirely on a promise of privacy for photos and phone numbers got hacked on New Year’s Eve. 4.6 million panicked users later, they had a PR nightmare on their hands.

Getting hacked is pretty awful, but most people realize, a company never wants that outcome, it just happens.

The real issue: Snapchat didn’t address the situation appropriately. In fact, users felt that initially, Snapchat accepted shutterstock_132591887none of the responsibility.

It took about a week, and after the CEO failed to apologize on the Today show, the company finally apologized in a blog post. “We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you and we really appreciate your patience and support.”

Thanks Snapchat. But is it too little too late?

 Your behavior in times of crisis reaches further than your customers, it impacts your investors too. Especially potential investors that have been watching Snapchat pretty carefully since the billion-dollar turndown.

When a major flop like this happens, we say, admit it, and make your customers feel like their feelings matter. It’s not about who’s at fault; it’s about how you approach the situation and its solution.

Pride can be very flattering, but arrogance doesn’t look great on anyone. Your job is to make sure your product delivers on its promise. If you fall short on delivery, it might be wise to bring in some pros.

What’s the lesson?

The takeaway from all of this is that Snapchat could learn a thing or two about being honest, upfront and apologetic to their customers.

They could even take a page from Lululemon, who faced a potential PR disaster last year when they failed to address an unfortunate situation of see-through yoga pants properly. Their stock plummeted, and they promptly apologized, fixed the issue and, now, they are back on track.

It turns out, transparency can be a good thing.

The (Hard) Life of Alex

01/10/2014

13-triumph-streetriple675-4

 

We’re often accused of having, to put it bluntly, too much fun at Echo-Factory.  Today, we’re here to put those fears to rest.  In fact, just the other week our very own account manager, Alex Dunstan, took time out of his busy work schedule to perform a valuable public service.  Namely: racing around the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway on several brand new motorcycles, and telling us which was his favorite.

Alex performed this bit of selfless drudgery on behalf of Motorcycle USA, in the service of their “2014 Triple-Cylinder Street Bike Shootout.”  He endured literally hours of testing the latest 3-cylinder sportbikes from Triumph, MV Agusta and Yamaha.

After tireless testing and serious deliberation, Alex chose the Triumph Street Triple 675 as his top pick in the category.  You’ll have to head over to Motorcycle USA and read the article to find out why.

Echo-Factory Becomes Part of Fashion History (Again!)

12/06/2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 10.17.19 AM

A look through our site indicates pretty quickly that we’re no stranger to fashion. From the early days of Matisse shoes to lunch bags and protective gear, if you can wear it, we’ve worked with it.

We’re also pretty pro when it comes to startups and small companies working to figure things out. We love strategy and helping brands grow into something they can be proud of, and usually, we’re pretty proud too.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 10.19.56 AMSo, when Mike met Gordon McDougall at an investor meeting in Pasadena, he thought Gordon’s business model sounded like a great fit for Echo-Factory. Think perfect storm.

Gordon explained that Bitzio, a mobile app company, was transitioning into a fashion acquisition company. The plan was simple: find emerging apparel brands with a few years of success behind them, but with capital and resource barriers that prevented growth. Then, help these brands grow into strong voices within the fashion industry. He wanted to make fashion a democracy, where there is strength in unity and sustainability through diversity.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 10.19.14 AMGordon built a team of experts and transformed a struggling mobile app company into a fashion apparel acquisition company that is certain to disrupt the industry as we know it.

Sounds pretty great, right? It gets better. Luckily for us, Bitzio needed an marketing agency. So we got to work.

We came up with a new name: Democratique, fashion brands for the people, by the people.

Then we built a website, gave them a fresh new logo and tagline and helped write some relevant blogs. Things were coming together pretty quickly.

When we learned Bitzio was planning to head the LD Micro Conference to announce the launch of Democratique, we knew it was the perfect opportunity to get the word out.

So we designed some collateral material, including postcards and brochures.

With lots of hard work and collaboration, our new client is looking great.   http://democratiquela.com/