Category: Uncategorized

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 Their outdated promotional materials did not accurately reflect their capabilities, and their website needed to be redesigned and reorganized to offer a more expansive view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 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…    

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

12/06/2013

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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. (more…)

Get Your Great Ideas Out There

11/15/2013

Great Ideas Are Easy, Great Execution Is Hard

  Blog_Icons_Lightbulb   The Lightbulb Many of us have a notebook of inventions, the next awesome app, or even scraps of the Great American Novel floating around. Ideas are great, because they don’t cost anything. Plus, to get more, all you have to do is think. Once you’ve got that great idea fleshed out, what’s the next step? (more…)

Friday Five Strikes Again!

09/20/2013
    great_ads

The Friday Five - Our Faves

1. Every once in a while we find a collection of flawless print ads magically compiled just for us. First, we get a tiny case of the “why didn’t I think of thats?” then we just feel inspired.  Check them out here. phoneblok 2. About a week ago this video showed up and excited everyone a whole lot. It shows a cell phone that was built out of blocks of parts unique to what you need in a phone. The idea is that instead of tossing an entire phone to upgrade, you just upgrade one part at a time. It would allow users to focus on the parts of the phone that are important to them (camera, memory space, speakers) and potentially cut down on pesky electronics waste. Although it’s still in its concept stage, people are awfully skeptical, especially on the electrical engineering, manufacturing and design side. We’re going to keep an eye on it anyway. robot_turtles 3. Remember when you were three? We don’t, but we’re pretty sure it meant learning how to use the potty, cheerios stuck to our face and maybe learning colors. This board game hopes to teach three year olds how to program. It’s all part of the push to make sure that everyone in the future knows how to code just like they know how to read and write. We’re ordering a game for the office, and when we’re done, Chutes and Ladders championships are on. chipotle 4. We’re about three blocks away from Chipotle; we’ve consumed our fair share of burritos, burrito bowls and tacos from them. It’s a nice step away from traditional fast food models, and we’re not condoning drinking during your lunch break, but they also have margaritas. Their stunning video that is part Willy Wonka, part Fiona Apple and part spooky Tim Burtonesque had us watching at least twice. grumpy_cat 5. Memes are fun. They are simple, make things light, make a statement and generally we get a good chuckle out of them. Lately we’ve been seeing a shift from memes being something you waste a Sunday morning on, to a gold mine of pop culture advertising. This is certainly the case as Grumpy Cat makes her debut as Friskies’ spokescat. Our advice: get memeing.   

13 Marketing Buzzwords We Hate to Say But Love to Use

09/13/2013

Marketing Buzzwords... Not All Bad

Are you ready to diversify your brand through careful optimization, synergy tactics and ideation of viral contextual marketing? After that let’s discuss possible earned media platforms and the necessary thought leadership of gamification. Ugh. Jargon can be really informative, or it can confuse the heck out of you. We’re here to help you sift through marketing lingo, figure out what it means, and help you understand how those terms can make your brand grow. Let’s Begin Clickability What Is It: Simply put, clickability is headlines, pictures and content with hyperlinks that lead elsewhere. The more clicks the higher the clickability. Why We Hate to Say It: Having visitors click around on your site doesn’t necessarily mean that the content is effective or even good. Measuring clickability is more complex than just number of hits; it’s also about where the links lead the visitor. Why We Love to Use It: We can track clicks and build algorithms off of those clicks. Ideally, keeping track of a site’s clickability over time gives marketers the opportunity to see what sorts of links are just too enticing to pass up. Immersive Experience What Is it: When a site leaves an impression for being super interactive it’s an immersive experience. We’re talking about all the visual and audible bells and whistles of a website all at once. A perfect site experience makes you feel like you’re part of the brand. Why We Hate to Say It: Special programing can be overkill and visitors might end up clicking the “Skip Intro” button furiously, or exiting the site immediately. Especially if you’re browsing in the back of a lecture and sound effects begin blasting. Why We Love to Use It: We’re all for a lasting impression, exciting websites and interesting branding is our thing, so we’d be happy to help you strike that special balance for return visits. Snackable Content What Is It: Remember before recess you got some goldfish crackers? Snackable Content is that, but in information form. It’s giving your customers easy to digest bits of information and leaving them excited for more. Why We Hate to Say It: It can be problematic from the inside. There is always that impulse to explain everything in its entirety, but people are less likely to read huge amounts of information and retain those facts. It can be a tough to filter out information. Why We Love to Use It: We’re experts at delivering snackable content through social media, collateral material or even fast facts on your site. Though pictures and concise copy we can get the right info to the right people and make it memorable. Infographics What Is It: Infographics are visual representations of information. Sometimes there is a little flash animation, or small pieces of sound. They should always be light on text, easy to read and fun to look at. Why We Hate to Say It: They look simple, but they are tougher to make than one might think. There are tons of inforgraphics out there, and some of them are too information heavy, not scannable, or just poorly designed. A bad infographic can really damage a message. Why We Love to Use It: A solid infographic is an great way to deliver snackable content. We blogged about the amazing things infographics are doing for advertising.Plus, one of our designers has a PhD in infographic studies. Participatory Commerce What Is It: You got a grade in participation in your Philosophy 101 class right? Same idea here, customers participate in making the product popular by promoting it or helping design it. Their input has direct value and can be achieved through pins, likes or contests. Why We Hate to Say It: This method relies heavily on word of mouth. You have to trust that customers will help promote your brand, which can be a tough sell if they aren’t on board from the start. Why We Love to Use It: We do the initial work by getting the word out, after that customers may not know it, but their positive participation does our job for us. ROI What Is It: Return on investment isn’t only about marketing. It’s anything you put money into with the expectation that there will be a payoff. Yes, horse races and black jack totally count. Why We Hate to Say It: ROI is a catch-all phrase that means just about everything, so it can be challenging to pin down and define properly for our clients. Why We Love to Use It: The good news with digital marketing and advertising is that there are tools to track the successes of your ROI, and Andrew happens to be Yoda with just about all of those tools. SoLoMo What Is It: SoLoMo stands for Social Media, Local Market and Mobile Site. The idea is that your web content touches all the bases. It is really important  to keep a balance in mind while building a web campaign. Why We Hate to Say It: Sometimes we don’t use certain terms because they sound embarrassing. That’s how SoLoMo is. Despite the popularity of the concept, we wouldn’t recommend using this lingo in the board room. YOLO SOLOMO. Why We Love to Use It: We are thorough with our work. We try to cover all of the platforms of SoLoMo because it’s not going anywhere, in fact there will probably be more letters added to that acronym any day. In SoLoMo, the more expertise you have working on it, the further your brand will go. Engagement Marketing What Is It: Engagement marketing is an ongoing practice that requires customer interaction on any or all of the steps along the way of a campaign. It’s about relationships and how people interact with your brand. Why We Hate to Say It: This term gets tossed around a lot, and just like your live-in-almost-engaged girlfriend, it’s complicated, a lot of work and somewhat never ending. It’s not a goal of marketing; it’s a process of marketing. Why We Love to Use It: Just like that ex, it’s a lot of work, but we promise there is big payoff if you do it right. Whether that means trade shows with customer engagement, email blasts with contest opportunities, or surveys, we'll make note of customer relationships and build on what works. Value Proposition What Is It: This is an easy one, in fact it’s so straightforward it could be a clue on a crossword puzzle. Example: “4. (Across) The intersection between product and customer need.” Now what’s a seven letter word for sponge? Why We Hate to Say It: There are a lot of ways of deciding where that intersection meets up. Figuring it out can be a timely process with a lot of research and trial and error. Why We Love to Use It: This bit of information is at the crux of all marketing and advertising. Once we agree what the value proposition of your product is, it’s a perfect jumping off point for us to put your product in the right place in front of the right people. Growth Hacker What Is It: Growth hacking doesn’t actually have anything to do with hacking at all. It’s just about being a super smart ninja at digital marketing. Why We Hate to Say It: The term is a little misleading and there are negative connotations associated with hacking, but rest assured, no illegal War Games stuff is going on here. Why We Love to Use It: It’s the perfect way to reach the digital market, our growth hackers have lots of clever copy up their sleeve, SEO tricks, a knack for understanding customers and it’s likely their names are Mike or Andrew. Agile Marketing What Is It: A few months ago we put together an entire blog post all about Agile Marketing. It’s pretty important to implement flexibility into your marketing plan because you can only predict market behavior so much Why We Hate to Say It: The term is really new, and as a result it’s sort of popping up in the marketing world everywhere. It can be hard to convince people they should pay for beta testing and creative flexibility. Why We Love to Use It: This is sort of how we’ve been doing business all along. We’re pretty sure we might be responsible for its origin. Our advice is to be open minded to agile marketing because trying multiple approaches and being openminded is key to creativity. 360 Campaign What Is It: A brilliant way to reach clients online and offline. It works to touch all the bases of advertisement. Think TV, radio, billboards, print ads, trade shows, social media, direct mailers, banner ads and email blasts. Why We Hate to Say It: Usually when we hear someone talk about something 360 we think about someone like this guy. Yikes. Why We Love to Use It: It’s extensive, but the hard work pays off. Big brands like Apple and Nike are good examples of companies that put the effort in and as a result everyone knows their product well. Synergy What Is It: When two marketing campaigns work together and generate more interest than either one of the campaigns could on their own, that’s synergy. Why We Hate to Say It: Synergy is the marketing equivalent to college freshman words like “juxtapose” or “colloquial” Mostly it's used to get attention from a professor. Also, it kind of seems like people who throw the word around don’t understand it and sound like amateurs. Why We Love to Use It: The good news is that it’s actually a great tool. We can help combine the right marketing efforts and mix things up for better results. The outcome is especially effective for reaching customers in places single strategies usually miss. In closing, don't be afraid to throw the words "agile marketing" or  360 campaign" around at a board meeting. You are officially a master of marketing jargon.

Facebook Marketing Survival Guide: 9 Ways To Win

09/09/2013
So, you’ve got your company page up with, you’ve been posting about once a week, there are some pictures of that office retreat in an album. Likes trickle in from non-employees from time to time. Everything seemed simple enough. Then stuff started to get complicated. Underneath the like button on your personal page there is another world of social media strategy, but never fear, Echo-Factory has got your Facebook survival guide all ready to go. It’s got all the tips, tricks and info you need to navigate your way through Facebook marketing, Facebook ads and building a Facebook fan base. We’ve also thrown in some basic survival tips in case of zombie virus outbreak, bear attacks and avalanches.

 Before You Start

You might question social media marketing, but it’s actually a really important skill set in today’s advertising.  So, take off you luddite hat and if need be, enlist some professional help. Here’s Some Facts: Over the last few years social media has become more than a presence in business; it’s become entire 40 hour per week job titles (Social Media Coordinator, Community Development Specialist); there is an entire degree offered in Social Media (Northeastern University, Masters in Social Networking, University of Florida Masters in Communication emphasis on Social Media), and some companies function only through Social Media (Lyft cabs and Spotify aren’t available unless you have a Facebook account). The chances of you getting business from Facebook marketing (not just Facebook presence) increases by more than 60% over regular outbound marketing. Now that you’re sold on its value, let’s get started.

Status Updates

You’ll need a little more than just a confession about “What’s on your mind?” Now Is The Time to Put Your CTAs to Work fingers-01Post for Engagment -Facts: Use them to stir curiosity -Tips: People respond to free advice -Links: Short URLs get more clicks than long ones, so use bit.ly to keep those links short (plus get them tracked!) -Ask: A question, a punchline, or use a CTA fingers-02Use Strategy -Think about SEO and Hashtags as the same family. It’s about relevant key words, use them wisely. -Be highly responsive. It’s not just about showcasing; it’s also about conversation. People love knowing someone is listening, and if you’re positive and understand that social media is about being social you should be golden.

Photos

fingers-03Everyone Loves a Meme -Don’t be afraid to put some text on top of your pictures. It kills two birds with one stone. -Take risks. Puppies might have nothing to do with your business, but everyone loves a good fluffy picture. -Look at the facts; photos get twice the response that status updates do. Market from the image. fingers-04Use Prime Real Estate The cover photo feature is pretty new, and it’s a perfect place to get attention. Think billboard attention. Facebook adjusted it’s rules on call to actions, so that you can put them right into the cover photo (as long as it’s less than 20% of the image space).

Followers

Understand Those Pesky Algorithms  We’re not going to make you do any math, just understand that Facebook uses them. Facebook uses algorithms to determine where posts show up on news feeds, the more interaction, the more relevant. If you know the system, you can work it. fingers-05 Insider Tip: The Algorithm system considers: -Age of post -Interaction with post (Comments are better than Likes for news feed visibility) -Past behavior of individual user, in other words, a browser that prefers photos will see lots of photos. It’s your job to appeal to a range of personalities.    fingers-07Find a Fan Base More Loyal than 12 Year-old Girls There are lots of types of friends and fans you can have on Facebook. We broke it down for you. -Potential Fan: A friend of a fan. -Engaged Fan: This person likes your page, but doesn’t drive traffic there. The engagement stops the second he clicks Like. Your content may or may not show up in his news feed. -Advocate Fan: Any comments from a fan are great, and if you can start an actual conversation or convince them to share the content will show up more in their news feed, plus their friend's news feed. They are the app using fans. -Purchasing Fan: A fan that gives basic data permissions and purchases from you. -Super Fan: (Crying at the feet of One Direction) The best type of fan. He gave you basic data permissions, purchased from you, and engaged enough to lead another fan to buy from you.

 Ads

Facebook has their own ad builder set up, it’s fairly straightforward, but if you need help with it we can certainly give you a hand. Before you write the ad you’ve got to figure out what type of ad you want and where you’re going to put it. fingers-08Follow the 20% Text Rule Your ads can’t have too much text or you’ll get penalized, and still have to pay for the ad. It’s okay though, because pictures can speak louder. The Right Content fingers-09 -Offers: For people unfamiliar, but interested, a limited amount of a package creates a sense of urgency, offer fans a deal they won’t want to miss. -Custom Audience: Facebook allows you to import your contacts to a custom audience list, so those who have done business with you in the past will see your ad. This has the greatest ROI. -Promoted Posts: Be careful with these ads, they can look like spam to a user who doesn’t like your brand already. Instead make use of promoted posts only with preexisting fans. fingers-10Remember, Location, Location, Location  -Side Bar Ads: These ads do really well for Like ads, people might be interested enough to click it, but not want to leave the current page. -News Feed Ads: For sales driven ads, you’re better off embedding them in with the newsfeed, and in the mobile app that ad space is 2.5 times more likely to get clicked on.

 

Got it?

Those are the basics. If you’re still not sure you can survive with out a social networking sherpa, we’re here to help.  Oh, and here are the other tips we promised you: -Bears are clumsy on the downhill. You have a better chance of getting away from a bear running downhill, but still, you’re probably toast. -When an avalanche of snow starts dragging you under, just revert back to your swimming classes. Paddle and kick uphill to stay above the snow as much as possible. Also, ditch the gear if you can. -In the event that a zombie attacks, remember that the motorcycle is the best bet for fleeing infestation of the undead. It’s fast, easy to maneuver and no hops ons. Plus we know where to get riding helmets. bottom-image