Branding & Strategy
David Addison
by David Addison
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Apple Meet Tree

Apple Meet Tree

The first quarter of the year has closed. The 25 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters showed an 8.9% gain in sales for March 2014 at stores open more than a year. It was the best performance since March 2010. We’re in mid-April folks! Are you on track to meet your goals? It is time to say goodbye to the past and embrace the future—time to think about what we could have done differently, what we've done right, and what we hope to do better over the coming months. It is time to take stock—to reflect on where you are and where you're going. Here at Dirigo we get to work with all types of marketers. From experience we can tell you with 100% certainty that marketers concerned with branding as a whole do much better than those that concentrate on just selling more and more and more.

No matter if we're talking about soap, seeds, vitamins or sink faucets, products carrying recognized name brands tend to cost more and sell better than their generic counterparts. Part of the appeal of a brand name is peer perception. Sure, you love the look and feel of that Under Armour tank top or the feel of that Mont Blanc pen... Why do some folks shell out extra cash for the logo while others couldn’t care less? It's called branding! Brand names spark conversation, inspire self-confidence and make consumers feel cool and trendy. The best brands convert a first date into a marriage. The sincere, emotional (confidence, integrity and pride, too) memorable and distinctive stuff really separates the good from the great. A brand is what the prospect thinks of when he or she hears the brand name. It's everything that the public thinks it knows about your offerings. A brand exists only in someone's mind. We all have a brand. What is yours?

With corporate and personal tax filing behind us, many will be receiving tax refunds over the coming weeks. It's a difficult time of year for most businesses. Before you go off an discount your merchandise—think about how you can really best promote your brand. Discounting is not necessarily the answer to lackluster Spring sales. Tax refund checks are warming consumers' pockets. But, if you're not selling 'spring', then April/May is not a great time to discount. [as an aside, April is National Car Care Month, but truth be told, it is not a great month to buy cars and trucks. This month is not busy for the auto industry so they are really pushing older inventory with little to no big incentives] Rather than have a sale why don't you try adding value. The ominipresent shopper (anytime, anywhere, anyhow) might just appreciate it:

  • Report news in your industry
  • Interview industry leaders
  • Conduct a survey
  • Share a presentation
  • Host a webinar
  • Publish an e-Book
  • Build more high-quality content
  • ... there is more to it than selling

Spend time on your brand. By the end of 2014 you'll be glad that you did! Every person and every company is a brand. You are a brand! I am a brand. Dirigo is a brand. What is your brand right now and what do you want it to be? Don't lose sight of our shoppers in everything we do. "If we focus on the shopper, we'll see the future."

If you are not meeting your sales and marketing goals by April you're likely going to miss your FY2014 goal. Working hard and using a good strategy are the best ways to meet sales target. The most successful sales organizations are disciplined organized that lean heavily on quantitative data to guide decision making. They also rely on people to sell. Digital marketers tend to have forgotten that sincere, face-to-face interactions have always been and always will be an integral component of successful companies’ branding strategies. Positive and frequent contact with clients turn corporations into community members. Keeping one foot in the world of traditional marketing strategy with a focus on customer interaction is a surefire recipe for success. Smart digital retailers recognize that they too need a broad, multi-channel approach.

There’s no reasonable argument against the fact that all your marketing efforts should be integrated into one single, nimble, engaging strategy. This is where the apple meets the apple tree. Interactive, search marketing integration, traditional... all need to fold back into a single discipline.  They've been separate and distinct for far too long. Connecting with your market is the only quotient of success. Methods and tools change as the world evolves, but, the goals have remained the same no matter what the tech or behavior or trend of the day. Marketing is, and will always be, the engineer of the conduit and capability that creates the chain between company value and customer belief.

If you’re fresh out of ideas, give us a jingle. We’re well equipped to help you meet your goals.


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