The Power of Epic Branding

A brand is not a logo or tagline. It is the collective essence of tangible and intangible assets. A brand is what your audience says it is. Branding is a journey in creative, intellectual, emotional, and visual excellence. Answering the following questions is critical to building a lasting brand:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • Why do you do it?

Branding separates the winners from the losers. Presentation really is everything.

How can we strive for impactful branding?

The answer lies in our ability to catalyze a lasting emotional connection with our customers through unique content, which can and will lead to advocacy.

Despite the overwhelming number of channels available for communications, uniform identity combined with real-time relevance can catapult an interaction into the realm of activation.

Consumers are led by curiosity, prodded with the stroke of genius, and inspired with the power of why.

 

(Design is Unique – Image credit)

Journeys in Integrated Marketing Communications

The American Marketing Association defines integrated marketing communications (IMC) as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.” Integrated marketing communications is built on a cohesive storytelling telling approach at every point of customer contact. Let’s expand a bit upon the idea of touch points. It’s no surprise that mobile and tablets are increasingly becoming the tools of choice for entertainment, networking, and access to the information highway.

Today’s plethora of new technology means a landscape of multiple options for changing tastes and evolving markets. IMC specialists call this fragmentation. The available channels for reaching new customers are numerous with each commanding a strategic approach to capturing interest and attention. New tools mean new lingo and legitimate marketing challenges. How can brands expect to be all things to all people? Enter emerging ideas and techniques like responsive design, growth hacking, real-time marketing, and device agnosticism. These are fancy terms for the simple truth that individuals, brands, and organizations must accept today’s communication reality of increasing channel options.

Flurry, a mobile app analytics and advertising platform, measured 224 million monthly active users of mobile apps in the United States in February of this year. During the same month, comScore counted 221 million desktop and laptop users of the top 50 digital properties in the United States. From this, Flurry was able to conclude that the U.S. audience that is reachable through apps, albeit more fragmented, is now roughly equal to that which can be reached on laptops and desktops.

Let that soak in for a moment.

In terms of brand relevance and standing out from the crowd of marketing noise, choosing the right communication channels is critical. The good news is that an increasing number of students, industry specialists, and IMC champions are rising to the challenge of uniformity across multiple mediums. One such example is West Virginia University’s INTEGRATE conference.

It’s billed as the largest professional integrated marketing communications conference offered by a university program. Whether you are a seasoned professional, or someone who is considering enrolling in an IMC program, the INTEGRATE conference is a unique opportunity to explore the hottest topics in IMC.

In addition to industry events, there are numerous ways to build your IMC toolkit. The following are a few tips for becoming well-versed in the arena of integrated marketing communications:

  • Join the conversation on twitter by following the #IMC hashtag.
  • Expand your horizons. Think beyond traditional media.
  • Know the tools available at your disposal.
  • Focus on uniformity across all advertising.
  • Read. Read. Read. (One recommendation is A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.)

With the right mindset and appreciation for channel orchestration, businesses can move into a position of strength in understanding the new meaning of ‘Place’ in the 4 P’s of marketing.

 

 

 

5 Key Trends Impacting Your Business in 2013

As we move toward closing the curtain on 2012, a few ideas and important trends remain top of mind and play a critical role in making sure your brand is fully primed for success in 2013. How many predictive posts and articles have you read lately? They’re sprouting up all over the place. So, without further ado, here’s our list of 5 trends to be on top of in 2013:

Integration

Targeting customers is becoming increasingly difficult thanks to a growing number of technologies and communication channels. If you’re not working on an integrated approach that unifies your brand communications across all of these touchpoints you’re on a direct path to irrelevance. Customers demand meaningful experiences at every point of interaction with your brand.

Content

Everyone from newspapers to brick and mortar shops are now being described as media companies. Gone are the days where marketing is just about offering information and making a pitch. Enter the all important area of content development. Marketers are now required to create unique content that is inspiring, entertaining, and informative.

Responsive Design

Device agnostic experiences is a fancy term for making sure that your website looks beautiful across multiple platforms such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. How, when, where, and when users interact with your content is super important to making sure your brand stays relevant in today’s changing new media and technology environment.

Entrepreneurship

New players arise everyday and are changing the makeup of almost every industry. Think open education models and crowdfunding. These two areas alone are responsible for billions of dollars in new industry. Crowdfunding (a term that’s not even in the dictionary yet) is now a $2.8 billion dollar industry and is on pace to hit $6B plus in 2013. Open education startups such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX are new players that are sure to continue to make headlines. Smart marketers are aware of these trends and are seeking ways to create their own innovations that answer the call of progress, purpose, and social impact.

The Hispanic Market

Latinos are the fastest-growing and youngest demographic in the United States. They are trendsetters, increasingly mobile, and early to adopt new technologies. If your brand isn’t looking for ways to engage this audience you’re missing out on a $1.2 trillion dollar opportunity for impact and business growth.

At Hub 81, we are excited about what the future holds and are looking forward to continuing our work in activating awesome brand experiences.

Cheers!

Is Your Brand Ready to Lead Meaningful Branded Interactions?

Brand_social_graph

At the speed of technology lies unique opportunities to drive branded interactions. Digital and social have created an abundance of opportunities for brands to build deep experiences that win the attention and interest of a customer base.

People are connected. Our audience is an audience of audiences. Consumers face profound levels of information overload in today’s attention economy. What are brands to do? How can businesses compete with the speed of technology and plethora of entertainment options available to consumers?

The answer is in all simplicity based on your ability to craft winning branded experiences.

Delight your customers with creativity and the power of digital interactions.

Devices might add fragmentation to a complex media environment but they also serve as unique windows of interaction and opportunity to wow your audience.

Successful marketers recognize the synergies that lie at the crossroads of traditional and new media and craft meaningful interactions that inspire, entertain, and inform. Media is an outlet for real engagement. 

The question: What can we do to drive meaningful branded interactions?

Here are five steps:

  • Know your audience.
  • Listen attentively.
  • Be present.
  • Optimize time and place.
  • Execute with digital dexterity.

Don’t be afraid to delight your audience.

Winning digital experiences spread and help build awareness leading to bottomline results.

Rethink bold.

 

Hub 81 is a digital experience agency based out of the beautiful Central Coast of California helping clients large and small connect with today’s consumer. For more information, visit hub81.com.

Three Reasons Why You Should Hire an Agency

Bridge

An agency is only as good as the client relationship it has manufactured. Today’s brands deserve access to knowledge, industry experience, genuine know-how, and a trusted partner to help deliver messages that resonate with audiences. The right agency should act as a bridge between a client and its target market.

The benefits of hiring an integrated marketing communications agency partner are numerous. From specialized experience to unique industry exposure, the reasons for selecting an outside agency to handle your marketing and communications needs are varied but no less important.

Speed

Access to tools, connections, industry trends, and insider know-how make the process of generating creative ideas and relevant strategies a more refined and efficient undertaking for an agency specialized in brand building.

Dedicated Focus

Great insights are found at a thousand feet. A good agency has the big picture perspective and ground level attention to generate relevant results. Stay too close to the action and you miss the grand scheme of things.

Objectivity

A good agency isn’t afraid to point out flaws and can serve as an advocate for transparency and tangible results. The agency partner isn’t afraid to ruffle the feathers of stakeholders which can prove valuable in helping brands overcome the status quo.

An integrated marketing and communications partner should be focused on a process of adding value to the client/agency relationship and recognize the dynamics of synergy.

It really does take a village to build a brand.

 

The 3 Most Difficult Questions Facing Your Brand

Branding-is-not-hard

Please allow us to take you on a little journey to a place oh so very familiar…

Our destination?

Brandtopia.

Yep…that place where mission statements, value propositions, and meaningful attributes collide to form your unique story.

Maybe you’ve spent hours upon hours fine tuning your brand voice or perhaps you have the chuspa and unique ability to conversate with anyone anywhere but the honest (and let’s be honest) truth is that some questions are just a tad bit more difficult than others.

Following, are three important questions that each of us regardless of our industry must be able to answer with ease and the excitement of a kid in a candy store.

 

Who Are You?

This question is probably the easiest because it usually begins with something like “We are…” or “The leading…” and so forth. Answering this question is usually accomplished by stating the obvious.

What Do You Do?

This one’s a little bit more difficult. We all do a variety of things but the real winners are those who are able to convey what it is they do in a specific, concrete, and interesting manner. For this very reason, being able to identify and own your niche is so key.

Why Does It Matter?

Being able to answer this question depends on your ability to recognize the intangibles (knowledge, processes, market position) of your brand. Why is your company, product, or service so important? What makes it different from the million other entities offering the same widgets? The ability to capture, define, and communicate your unique selling position is of the utmost importance in being able to answer this difficult question. 

Knowing your raison de’etre* is a surefire way to be ready to answer these three important questions facing today’s individuals, organizations, and brands of all types.

 

You have a unique story to tell. Share it with the world.

 

*rai·son d’ê·tre: The most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence.

Changing the Game with Real Content

We live in an information society. News, tips, blogs, tweets, and similar content all compete for audience attention. Consumers are on information overload happily overlooking anything that seems ‘business as usual’. The ability to capture audience attention is an important skill requiring creativity and vision.

Content is indeed king but in order for it to rule the awareness economy it must be novile and useful.

Here are some questions to ask yourselves as you embark on that elusive path of engagement.

  • What incentives are you offering your audience for listening to your brand?
  • Do you make it easy for others to share your story?
  • Are you simply too focused on efficiencies to let your creativity run free?

Don’t just stand…stand out!