Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Merry Christmas 2005

Warmest wishes to my regular readers, and welcome to any newcomers.

What a time to be advertising. Everyone is breaking their necks to spend money on relatives they don't even like. You should be capitalizing on this. My normal spiel is all about getting your brand image right, but when so many potential customers are trying to throw money at anything that comes along, it's a race between who is getting the most traffic through their store. If in the process you acquire many repeat customers, then great, and you should aim to do this, but the goal is to entice the already spending public to you rather than the other guy.

There are so many simple ways to ride the shopping wave. But I might add at this stage that if you are attempting to plan something now to forget it, the boat has well and truly sailed. Some quick and easy ways to ride the Christmas sales craze are:

  • Almost any response driven or retail ad will guide the already looking public to your store. -Press ad, local flyer, Radio Ad.
  • A catalogue in the local newspaper - Since people are developing shopping lists from home, before they set out to battle the shops. You might aswell make it easy for them by providing a catalogue of your products.
  • Mailout /Email out to existing customers to remind them and/or offer some special deals for them to return to your store - This method is extremely cost efficient, AND your existing customers are already farmiliar with your producs, so are more likely to return to your store. (this is one of my favourites since it works so well)

If you are fortunate enough to be located in a high traffic centre then you can still enhance your customer count by:

  • Adding directional signage to the immediate footpath and or street area.
  • Having goodlooking guys and girls walk around the local area handing out flyers and directing people to your store.
  • Arrange a referral system with relevant fellow merchants who are not in your business but who might have customers who are interested in your products aswell.

Footnote on these suggestions:
The noted practices are very retail orientated, but so is Christmas.
If you are already running a retail organization most of this should be obvious, but It's nice to have a reminder every so often.

Merry Christmas and happy retailing.. see you in the new year for some serious 2006 planning, and some articles on the temptation to discount in the first quarter of 2006.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Personal Creativity (taken from chapter 1 of the Big Small Brands book)

Why introduce creativity?

Finding new opportunities within your business can require a new perspective. But looking for that perspective may not require attaching suction caps to your feet and walking on the ceiling but it will require you to think a little creatively.

Injecting newfound ideas through creativity sounds like a big task, and it is, especially if most of your staff are use to the way things are, or are not naturally creative. That's why it's important to start with yourself and lead by example before rolling out new proceedures that might come as a shock to your company culture.

Personal creative development can aid in many aspects of running your company big or small. Equipped with specific creative techniques, and a general creative attitude you'll be turning yourself into a walking talking problem solver.

Change your general creative outlook:
  • Try to be more observant of your surroundings. Especially of things that DO NOT interest you, you'll find answers to totally unrelated problems.
  • Keep a notebook of every idea you have, no matter how mundane. Look back through the book regularly.
  • Change your routine i.e. take the long way to work for a change. You really don't know what could be around the corner..
  • Take a shower. (this is my personal favourite). When in the shower you are bombarded with Negative Ions (from the water in the air), which enhance your well-being and promote a positive attitude. But more important than the touchy feely well being stuff, it enhances your ability to think, and specifically think creatively. - Have you ever noticed that you think alot in the shower? It's not because showering is boring, but because your brain is in TOP GEAR.

Introducing specific tecniques for promoting creativity and better solutions:

The next step is to use specific tecniques when developing ideas and solving problems. There are many sources that you can find new 'creative' ways to do things. New and improved methods for meetings and for problem solving. Creativity can even included rennovating an old method like Brainstorming.

Recommended sources for adopting specific creative techniques:

I don't use all of the tecniques in the above resources, and there are plenty more that I do that are not listed. The point to the listing is to give you a starting point to the process of introducing specific tecniques, and to understand that success comes from intentional use.

Becoming more creative doesn't necessarily mean you need to be a one person powerhouse, but if you become one in the process then great. Business is about results, and getting the best creative solution for your problem may not be something you can do immediately, so there's no harm in buying in that creativity. They key to the results is to recognize good solutions and use them.

The most well kown arena for creativity in business is the advertising world. Where most of the work is done by an agency but the power that you hold is in be able to regognize good creativity and good solutions and inplementing them into your business.

So, go and have a nice long shower, and if you can't come up with your own ideas I'm always here to help :)

Mike Biggs

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sony Bravia LCD TVC - It oozes of a great brand - You can too

Background to the ad.

Sony have not long released their new LCD television range with one all important improvement. Colour. And who am I to comment on whether it's a fantastic technological advancement or not, my CRT television with a fuzzy antenna looks just fine to me.

The Ad itself.

What I was impressed with was the TV Ad they are running. If you have not already seen it click on the link below and you can view it. Set in a San Fransisco street giving the desired incline, 250,000 coloured bouncy balls were set loose. All captured from a range of wonderfully directed angles and played in slow motion to capture the mood of beautiful chaos. To top it off the soundtrack is so emotionally charged yet 'cool' the ad is a work of art.

You too can create a presence like this.

The only thing that links this ad to Sony is the logo at the end. If we exchanged it for another brand name it would then stand for their brand. This is a weakness in brand advertising of this nature but by the same token, once associated with Sony (and we expect nothing less from them) the value to the Sony Bravia brand is phenomenal.

This execution (ad) cost a mint to make especially since they did it for real and refused to use computer generated effects for the coloured balls. But you don't need to spend this kind of money to get an equally effective ad. The strength in this ad is the solid idea behind it. The balls, both evoke an emotional response AND connect to the product attribute. A great ad is a great idea no matter how you make the ad. As proof of my big small brand idea- you can develop a brand as strong as this and you don't need to spend Sony money to do it.

If you have a fast connection click:

If you have a slower connection click:

Sony were so confident of the ad's success and popularity amoungst Advertising types and the general public they have erected a site dedicated to it. It even had downloads, I suggest you get the wallpapers they are very uplifting!!


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Outdoor Advertising for the Finance Industry

Below is an article that I wrote for the November edition of Australian Broker Magazine (printed version).

How to Successfully Advertise Outdoor

Creating great outdoor advertising takes more than just choosing a billboard location that fits the budget and some vague idea of how many sets of eyes might see it.
Furthermore, Outdoor is more than just billboards, with examples ranging from impressive to cost effective.

Outdoor Advertising can be:
Large Billboards (highways/ airport), smaller billboards (train stations/ corner store), Bus Ads, Street Posters (bus shelters), and Mobile Scooters/Trucks. These are the main categories but there are some specialized areas such as Skywriting, Retail Signage and Ambient media like ads on doors, bus tickets, or in restrooms.

With many new production techniques available today Outdoor has never been so creative. You can have 3D signs, cutouts that protrude from the standard shape, and even modifications to the environment for the full integrated effect. Really the list goes on, only being limited by the imagination. The world is so visual now, every day we are all visually stimulated in more ways than we realize. Whether a good thing or not it’s the new way people use to communicate, and Outdoor makes the most of it.

The benefits of Outdoor Advertising include:

It contacts consumers during the day as they are making purchasing decisions
Its nature allows it to become part of any environment
Creates a localised feel for your company/brand and allows increased targeting
Good research figures are available from the suppliers
Site images available before purchase

Like all media, Outdoor is good at performing some tasks and terrible at others. If you set out to achieve one particular goal and use a media type that is incapable of meeting it, you will no doubt be disappointed with the lack of results.

What Outdoor can do for you:
Raise awareness of a new product or service
Reinforce a product or service
Create or change perceptions
It can reach a lot of people in a geographic market in a concentrated timeframe.

What Outdoor cannot do:
Convey a lot of information
Tell a detailed story
Evoke a call to action

Knowing what it can and can’t do allows you to set reasonable objectives for your Outdoor. You can expect different results based on a number of factors so you should look at the following when deciding what to expect from the Outdoor Advertising:
Is it part of a campaign that includes other media?
What specifically do you want the viewer to do when they see your ad?
How will you measure the success?

At the very least this process of developing the objectives will give you a better idea of what you really want from the ads; at best it can help you to enhance the development process in order to achieve better results.

Develop one message to be conveyed in the ad:
Since most Outdoor viewers will be moving you only have a matter of seconds to get the message across
Keep you message to one specific thing
Develop the creative content to convey that message most effectively, by engaging or entertaining the viewer
Remember what your objectives are for the ads

If you are in fact running a campaign rather than a stand alone outdoor ad you should ensure that the same message is being conveyed in each media. A campaign should work together to increase the effectiveness and likelihood that one message will get through.

Outdoor fits into a campaign in many ways, but in all cases works with the other media and should not be expected to do all the work on its own.

Outdoor Advertising in a campaign can:

Create brand awareness for a new product – before or during other activity
Act as a precursor to an information heavy campaign via press
Reinforce other media as a reminder
Create a local presence in a national brand campaign
Guide the decision making process when close to point of action

Most financial services organizations will use Outdoor to establish themselves or their brands in the marketplace. Outdoor does it quite well with high impact leaving a strong impression. If your company is an unknown then developing a presence is particularly important. New and unfamiliar products and services can also be launched with the use of Outdoor creating awareness and credibility for that product or service.

Remember that Outdoor is a component in your media mix. Be sure to use it in combination with other media that will enhance the overall effectiveness.

By Mike of Big Small Brands

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

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