Category: Branding

Build, Maintain and Protect Credibility with Marketing Trigger Systems

03/01/2017
Marketing Trigger Systems Announcement Protocol   Building, maintaining and protecting credibility is critical for all companies, but even more so for newly established companies – particularly in B2B, new tech and new sectors. These days, startups are not only developing innovative products and services, they’re working in brand new industries, where shared knowledge is minimal, skepticism is high and history is counted in months rather than years. The road can be incredibly tough for these types of companies to expand operations, build new customer bases and attract either investors or offers of acquisition. This is because new entities – no matter how exemplary they are – don’t have the benefit of time and reputation to help establish that baseline trust so often required for inking a deal. (more…)

Thinking About Acquisition? Think About Branding

08/03/2016
(article written for CSQ magazine)

Branding can play an enormous role in creating or destroying value during an acquisition

  Bringing in a CFO to “clean up the books” before acquisition is a common process. Even if the books aren’t particularly dirty to begin with, a good CFO has the ability to help cast the company in the best possible financial light to potential investors. (more…)

How to Build a Website No One Visits

04/07/2016
how to build a website no one visits Today, most websites are created based on the outdated belief that if you build it, they will come. This may have worked in the big-fish, small-pond days of dial-up, when every new website was, by virtue of its existence alone, a marvel of marketing innovation. But the small pond has evolved into a roaring ocean swarming with millions of schools of wandering websites, the majority of which are, now, by virtue of their existence, terribly insignificant. The simple combination of “attractive, informative, and intuitive” may be sufficient to support existing customers, but it won’t likely attract new ones. And while good SEO might get people to your site, without the right messaging, it won’t do much more than make your site bouncier than an Olympic trampoline. And the more booming your industry is, the bouncier your site will be. That’s why messaging is essential. (more…)

Rockview Farms – Our Newest Client

10/29/2015

Rockview Farms LogoEcho-Factory today announced that it has been named agency of record for Rockview Family Farms, a leading dairy products company operating facilities throughout Southern California and Nevada. Rockview owns its farms and cows and represents one of the last family-run and independently operated fluid milk plants in Southern California. The company offers competitively priced products with the highest quality ingredients and is set apart by its unique relational approach to customer service. (more…)

Our newest client: Spiral Toys

02/07/2015
Entertainment Tech Company Spiral Toys announced that they've selected us to lead their branding and marketing effort, which began with the transition of the name and Stock Ticker Symbol to Spiral Toys (STOY) http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/11G031568-001.htm Spiral Toys Logo Kids today are growing up in a purely digital age, a world where computers, tablets, game consoles, and smartphones have become an integral part their lives. Some five-year-olds know more about navigating the Web than their grandparents or even their parents. Where many adults a few years ago were trying to wrap their brains around connecting to the Web without an Ethernet cord, kids today can't imagine a world without the cloud and wireless technology. Technology has even re-shaped children's interaction with toys. cloudpets in a row They look like typical stuffed animals, but CloudPets are connected through the cloud to a mobile device application, allowing users to send messages back and forth between the toy and the app. Spiral Toys, a developer of innovative products in the mobile connected entertainment space that launched its Toy-Fi line last June, was acquired by Rocap, Inc. (formerly OTCQB:ROCP) last July. On Wednesday, the company announced the completion of the name and ticker change to Spiral Toys and "STOY." The company also said that as part of the re-branding effort, it has partnered with Echo-Factory, a full-service advertising and design firm. Echo-Factory has a pretty impressive portfolio, working with household brands, such as Mag-Lite and General Electric (NYSE:GE), and superstars like Taylor Swift as part of a promotion with Altura Credit Union. "Echo-Factory understands the space we're in, and they have the vision and talent to help us continue to build our brand so we can eventually own that space," commented Spiral Toys CEO Mark Meyers in a press release today. "We're excited about Mark's vision… and to be honest, the technology is just so cool, and that makes Spiral Toys a dream client for us," added Mike Schaffer, principal at Echo-Factory. Further, Spiral Toys said today that it has partnered with international toy distributor Jay@Play and On Demand Global to launch CloudPets on Direct Response Television on March 1, 2015. Jay@Play, a division of Jay Franco and Sons, is the distributor behind the popular plush animal brands "CuddleUpPets," "Hideaway Pets," "Seat Pets" and more, so the Spiral Toys look to be a natural fit for their distribution channels. Spiral Toys also says it plans to release CloudPets into mass retail stores across the U.S. this August. In a bid to gain exposure, CloudPets commercials will be airing on major kids television networks such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Junior. Spiral Pets has management with top-level experience in the business and has aligned itself with some marketers that can get the job done. Shares are moving the right direction in the past three months, from a low of 30 cents to 45 cents per share in Wednesday trading (up a penny on 14,000 in volume), equating to a market capitalization of only $18.6 million. Now, the company had better get some product in the warehouse.

The Faux Resurrection of Branding

01/26/2015
(Article written for CSQ Magazine)

Invest In Helping Your Customers Like You 

It has been announced that branding is dead, and perhaps has been for some time. Wired claimed it in 2004. Fast Company agreed to it in 2008. A bearded creative director confirmed it just this year. Consultants preach it. Commentators bemoan its loss. One book even goes so far as to suggest that branding is not only dead, but also an art only fit for cows. The apparent causes of its demise are many. Some attribute branding’s passing to a prolonged bout with transparency, often brought on by unprotected contact with social media. Others point to the more vague “digital age” as branding’s ultimate undoing, or SEO, or packaging (as though packaging were somehow totally separate from branding), or even the supposed education of the consumer class. It’s that last one that I find particularly hard to stomach. You only need to spend two minutes reading YouTube comments to realize we consumers haven’t come too far. But every consumer, even those commenting on YouTube, can recognize that branding is alive and well. When you look behind the “branding is dead” headlines, you usually find that what the author actually means is that the definition of branding has, or should be, expanded. But you and I both know we’re more likely to read an article titled “Branding Is Dead” than one titled “The Definition of Branding Has or Should Be Expanded Slightly.”   We’re all suckers for a punchy headline.   Branding Is Bigger Than Ever Branding has grown not just in definition, but in value. Interbrand, a branding agency that manages to maintain 33 offices in 27 countries despite the supposed death of its core offering, recently published its 2014 Best Global Brands report. This report lists the “contribution of the brand to business results.” It’s the closest we can come to quantifying the value in dollars of a brand, and those values are staggering. Perennial branding favorite Apple’s brand is valued at $118 billion. Another textbook branding case study, Nike, comes in at a $19.9 billion brand valuation. If you mention the word “branding” in a classroom at ad school, Apple and Nike are the first two words likely to be shouted back at you, so nobody’s surprised that their brands are thought valuable. But there are also plenty of less recognized branding powers that made Interbrand’s list. Ever thought about the power of a brand to absorb bodily fluids? Pampers gets swaddled with a $14.1 billion brand value, while Kleenex comes in at $4.6 billion. Brands are also plenty capable of planting stuff in the ground and moving dirt around, as evidenced by John Deere’s $5.1 billion and Caterpillar’s $6.8 billion brand valuations. All told, Interbrand’s top 100 global brands this year account for more than 1.4 trillion dollars, which is a lot of money. So much that it starts to lose its meaning. So let’s look at it another way. As the most valuable company in history, Apple currently has a $483 billion market cap. Interbrand estimates that its brand alone accounts for $118 billion. In essence, Apple’s brand accounts for about a quarter of the company’s value. Sound Investment Advice No one has ever accused me of being a financial wizard, but here’s some investment advice I’m confident standing behind: You’re probably not investing enough in your brand. Unless your name’s Tim Cook, you’re not at the helm of Apple, but your brand is probably worth more than you think. Or at least it could be. Branding is much more than just a logo and a tagline. Branding is anything that influences a customer’s perception of your company. And that’s a lot of things. When a customer emails your company, how long does it take to get a response? Is that response helpful? What does the response look like? What tone does it take? When a customer visits your website, how easy is it to find the information they’re looking for? Is your site pleasant to use? Does it look as good on their computer screen? Does it look good on their smartphone? When a customer reaches out to you on social media, do you respond? Do you have an active presence? Do you have something interesting to say on social media, or is it obvious you just have a profile because someone told you that you should? Branding isn’t magic. It’s just making sure that when your customers come in contact with your company, they like what they find. And chances are, you’re probably not investing enough in branding. If you do make that investment, I’ll bet that you’ll not only make your customers happier but also increase your company’s value. Not bad results from something that’s been the subject of more obituaries than I can count.

Five Reasons Why Your Custom Photography Should Come From a Studio That Knows Advertising

12/02/2014

Custom Photography featured image

Whether You Need Product or Lifestyle Custom Photography, Working with an Experienced Agency Makes the Imaging Process Easier.

By Hayley Raynes You’ve got a game-changing product. It’s beautiful, perfectly engineered and far superior to that of your competition. It’s time to show the world, and you’ve got a plan: one of your employees dabbles in photography and has developed a pretty decent following for your business on Instagram, and thanks to all of those amazing filters, your stuff is looking pretty good. This same guy knows his way around Photoshop, and now you’re set up to do all the photography in-house. It’s going to save money and you’ll have complete creative control. You’re golden, right? Not so fast. When you transfer those photos to your website, they just don’t look right. When you try to design your own product catalog, again, they seem off somehow. And now you’ve bought an ad in your industry’s top magazine, and compared to the rest of the ads surrounding yours, the quality of that lifestyle shot you sent over looks inferior. You can’t put your finger on it, but there’s definitely something wrong—and everyone knows it. Issues like these can kill a brand. They make you look like an amateur—and unless you’re a dimple-faced 8-year-old hawkin’ lemonade at a garage sale, amateur just don’t sell. That’s why working with an experienced agency photographer can be such a benefit to your business.

Here’s a list of our top five reasons why you’ll save in the end by doing it right from the beginning as illustrated by one of our most photogenic clients, Troy Lee Designs:

5. Lighting Custom Photography Lighting Example   Mariah Carey is known for bringing a professional lighting team to her publicity events. Why? Because she knows that when cameras snap, lighting is everything. Lighting is a subtle art, and it takes experience to get it right. Throw in variables like inconsistent background quality, odd-shaped products and lack of experience in highlighting and shading and there’s just too much that can go wrong without the aid of a professional. An agency photographer has taken, literally, thousands of photographs. Positioning, camera angle and light placement are second nature.   4. Composition Custom Photography agencies understand composition for ads   There are photographers, and then there are agency photographers. What’s the difference? Agency photographers have an implicit understanding regarding the purpose of their photos. They know that the photo is just the first step. Product shots will end up Photoshopped onto new backgrounds, while lifestyle shots will serve as an anchor for headlines, copy and logos. A general purpose or amateur photographer may not consider these factors while arranging the composition of a photo, making the eventual ad design look jumbled and disorganized.   3. Models Custom photography working with models   Finding that perfect look to serve as a complementary backdrop for your product or message can be easier for agency photographers, because they routinely work with professional models trained in how to walk, position their bodies and look at the camera in the most compelling way. Agency photographers are connected with talent bureaus, and they can quickly find the professionals you are looking for, in addition to providing professional hair and makeup artists.   2. Deadlines Custom photography working with deadlines   Producing quality work under pressure is just another day at the office for a seasoned agency photographer, while an amateur or non-agency photographer can become flustered and make poor choices under riding deadlines. If it needs to get done yesterday, an agency photographer is the best bet.   1. Creativity Custom photography agency creativity   When a photographer has the backing of a quality advertising agency, he or she has access to creative directors, designers and conceptualists who can not only make product and lifestyle photos look great but can infuse them with the power of persuasion. Agency creatives are trained in color theory and design; they are trained to know what makes a product sell and what doesn’t; and their years of experience simply cannot be bought or faked. Plus, if you need them to, agency creatives can develop campaigns, provide compelling copy, design the ad and work with the publication to be sure the ad complies with its specifications. This saves time and money and results in a higher quality and more cohesive product.   Conclusion The marketplace is tough enough without adding the Achilles heel of poor image quality. In this digital and social age of photo-sharing, there is certainly room for experimentation in your media plan, but at the end of the day, consumers have certain standards and they likely always will. Agency custom photography is one surefire way to meet those standards. Want to see some more great images? Visit our portfolio.