Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner. It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.
I attended a luncheon the other day and the keynote speaker was Stephanie Pierole, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Wexley School of Girls. If you are not familiar with them, Wexley is neither a school, or just for girls; it is a full service advertising agency in Seattle that has big name clients such as the Seattle Sounders, the Seahawks, Car Toys, Oberto and many other national brands, to name a few. Ms. Pierole was in Yakima to give some insight into making customers fans, and not the Facebook kind. She was referring to fans, as fanatics, or advocates for your brand. She gave the example that she has a new Ford and LOVES the car so much, she uses every chance she gets to tell others about how great it is. That kind of fan. Exactly what a start-up company wants and needs. She gave three great hints as to what a brand should be. Not just a slogan, although that could be part of it, think 'Just Do It'. She suggests that a brand should be:
1. Simple. Make it easy to understand and simple in delivery. Some businesses try to be so unique to stand out from the crowd, that it can actually confuse the issue. For example, if you are a women's upscale spa and your message is something about 'escape from reality'; it might imply that you have a travel-related busine
. 2. Repeatable. If you are developing a slogan or tagline for your business, it should be easy to remember so people will repeat it. In reference to the Seattle Sounders, Wexley came up with 'Give us your full 90'. It's easy to remember, definitely applicable to soccer fans and repeatable.
3. Pride. A slogan or brand should instill a sense of pride and ownership. Pierone offers that it should have a positive message to garner that pride. For example, Yakima's own Liberty Bottleworks is proud that they are the only U.S. Manufacturer of recycled aluminium water bottles. A Liberty customer takes pride in using a Made in the USA, BPA-Free, environmentally responsible product. Peirole also gave some insight into how they developed the marketing plan for the Sounders. They first went to a loyal group of existing Sounders' fans and asked them what they wanted. It was the perfect focus group - these followers were engaged, interested and genuinely wanted the Sounders to succeed. It was this group that came up with the idea to have scarves, and for fans to give it their all as much as the players. Scarves Up
These three suggestions are excellent if you are just starting out and trying to come up with a catchy message. However the bigger message is that you want your product and message to relate to your customers so they will become regular, life-long customers who buy your product and encourage others to do so as well.