branding don't buy in

The NHL and Branding

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As you probably know, the NHL and the NHLPA have finally ironed out a new collective bargaining agreement and the current hockey season will be salvaged starting next week. The excitement of some fans has been dampened by bitterness that an agreement wasn’t reached earlier. I’m sure some fans share the dissonance this is creating for me. While I am very much looking forward to watching my beloved Maple Leafs (who are still “sitting in a playoff spot”), the critical customer side of me can’t help but wish I had the gumption to boycott the NHL like I would any other business that closed its doors and offered me, a loyal patron, nothing for months on end.

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4 Reasons Why You Should Never Add People To Your Email List Without Permission

4 Reasons Why You Should Never Add People To Your Email List Without Permission

Lots of spam cans

(photo credit: Spam.budwin.net)

  1. If you add someone without permission what are the odds that person stays subscribed and actually reads what you send?  Don’t kid yourself Charlie Brown, 95% of people could care less about your company. Who do you think you are, Cirque Du Soleil? The more you try to pepper people with your boring company “news or current events”, the more you alienate potential customers. No you don’t need to “just get your message across”, this is a major assumption most organizations make. Why do public entities think we want to hear what they have to say?
    If you must communicate with customers make sure you ask the most important question you know they’re going to ask, “what’s in it for me?”. Are you going to solve a problem that they have or are you going to entertain them? If you’re not doing either of those two you’re wasting their time. 
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Thinking Differently This Year

Throughout my teenage years, I loved to ride BMX. “BMX” encompasses more than the more commonly known racing aspect and includes street riding, dirt jumping, park-riding, and basically any type of 20″ bicycle expression.

During those years, I was constantly torn between the more rigid team sport of hockey and the absolute freedom of making my own rules on my bike. Now I’m not saying that there’s no room for freedom and creativity in hockey – because I’ve found plenty of that – but turning an old tree stump (affectionately deemed “The Stump Jump”) into a launch ramp or an old cement pad into hours of fun was some of the most fun I’ve ever had.

The sport/art/lifestyle of BMX has progressed exponentially since my bike got stolen a few years ago, and what some consider to be more astounding than a double backflip are the results of outside-the-box thinking. Take a look at the video below and see the skill and humour behind Tate Roskelley’s ingenuity. In many areas of life and business, it’s helped me to view the seemingly inflexible *dramatic pause* as a world of opportunity.

Music: Beach House – Myth

5 New Year’s Marketing Resolutions

FireworksIt’s that time again. People are making lists of things they want to change, things they want to do less, and things they want to do more of in order to improve their lives in the upcoming year. The changeover to a new year can be cathartic and feel like a new beginning. As we all know, follow-through on resolutions tends to weaken partway through the year. The personal consequences tend to be minimal and go unnoticed.

The new year is also a great time for businesses to adjust their goals and make resolutions of their own. Here are some changes that we suggest for businesses in the new year and how they relate to those token resolutions we hear all too often. Unlike those personal resolutions, a lack of follow-through on these can be very costly.

1. Spend More Time With Family Measurement
The old adage “what gets measured, gets improved’ still rings true. Still too many marketing efforts are shots in the dark. As more and more people spend time online and do business there, measuring everything has never been so achievable.

2. Focus on Fitness Conversions
Don’t just count traffic; track conversions
Advertising agencies have historically done a great job of “driving traffic”. While traffic is important (web, in-store, or otherwise) , it’s useless if it’s not being met with quality content or value propositions that establish connections and ultimately create conversions. Measure these conversions rates. Perhaps the most basic way to improve them is to view this traffic as it really is: real people.

3. Lose Weight Unnecessary Marketing Initiatives
While millions of people are hitting the gym to rebound from a holiday season of indulgence, your business can be doing the same by trimming your marketing efforts. Instead of continuing to travel down older marketing avenues while trying to dip your toes in every new, seemingly cheap online or social effort, focus on the ones that are measurable and suit your competencies. Spreading yourself too thin will eat up a lot of time and money. If you’re having trouble deciding where to direct your focus, take a page out of Gary Vaynerchuk’s book who said it’s as simple as “Go(ing) to where people are to get them to do what you want them to.”

4. Help Listen to People
Learn Something New Get Feedback; Embrace the Negative
Too many marketing decisions made either on a whim or for poor reasons. These shots in the dark often end up as costly misses and sometimes even end up doing more harm than good. A research stage should take place before any marketing initiative is executed. Finding out what people love, hate, and are indifferent about regarding your company can help you make important changes to improve what people tell others about your company and develop long-term relationships. Embracing the negative feedback will likely be both the most difficult part and the most rewarding part.

5. Stop Start Smoking…Smokin’? (K, so this one’s a bit of a stretch – but still important)
Focus on the BEST Part of Your Company
Many attack the new year with a plan to incessantly put their best foot forward and show the world they’re a force to be reckoned with. At Strategy Lab, we believe that identifying the best and most easily talked about part of your business is an important part of the research stage. Once you’ve discovered what it is, go forward with confidence and build your marketing around it. This way, you can be smokin’ without blowing smoke.

5 Reports in Google Analytics You Need To Start Using

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If you’ve had a website built recently you should be able to request Google Analytics to be installed and you given access to for free or a relatively cheap price. It literally takes 15-30 minutes for a developer to set up, depending on if he takes a break 10 minutes in to eat a doughnut or not.

Google Analytics is your command central for your website. You can tell where people found your website, what they searched to find your website, the pages they visited on your website, and a whole lot more. Below are 5 of the first reports I started using. Please ask if you have questions!

1. Traffic Sources Report

All traffic report in Google Analytics

Why is it important?

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What Does Strategy Lab Actually Do?

I was in a meeting this year and a lady, not knowing what we do, asked this most important question I had ever been asked around a boardroom table.

What do you actually do?

Simple right? Unless you’re a part of a brand new marketing strategy company who specializes in Social Media, marketing strategy and web design. What do we actually do? Make organizations smarter.

What we actually do is quite simple. We find out why you make sales, we find out why sometimes you don’t make sales and together we try and do more of the stuff that makes more sales. We find the best parts of your business and put them online for the world to find.

We base our strategy on the methodology, research, create, engage, measure.

Research: we find everything we can about your organization and your competitors.

Create: we develop your story and begin telling it somewhere (yes somewhere, we’re not sure until we talk to you, it could be Facebook, Twitter, a website, who the heck knows where!)

Engage: we establish a communication strategy including a method of acquiring feedback from your customers.

Measure: finally we develop a way to measure sales increases based on online lead generation. Yes we measure social media, no it’s not impossible we’ve done it lots before. Besides measuring lead generation and conversion rate we also use a lovely customer service measurement tool called Net Promoter Score. And remember, if someone tells you that you can’t measure social media, give them a Ken from Street Fighter uppercut.

We don’t claim to do anything we can’t, and we don’t try to be bigger than we are. We help smart companies who want to grow, with their marketing and strategy. We help you make more informed decisions based on data. We help you measure what matters to your business.

If you think we might be able to help you or if you just have some questions on marketing we’d love to chat. Leave a comment below or check out our contact us page (it’s pretty sweet…)

Consumer Behaviour: Luxury Buying with Starbucks’ Stainless Steel Card

‘Tis the season for giving. But, as you’ve probably noticed, ’tis also the season for buying for oneself.

Undoubtedly cognizant of this, Starbucks has announced the sale of its $450 stainless steel gift card. The card comes loaded with $400 worth of redeemable Starbucks…bucks. The other $50 covers the manufacturing fee. Cardholders become Gold members (expected to make 30 transactions per year), receive free drinks on birthdays, and can acquire free drinks or food every 12 purchases.

Let’s crunch some numbers.

The card will get you: 106 grande Frappuccinos, 119 grande lattes or 205 16-ounce cups of brewed coffee.
Side note: That’s 42,840 calories if you stick with the lattes (Caramel Brule)

Assuming two birthdays over the course of the card’s usage = 2 free drinks
Assuming a combination of fraps and lattes (112 total and 1 free drink per 12 purchased) = 9 free drinks

Earning potential with card and Gold membership = 11 free drinks = $52.25 in savings
That’s just enough to recoup that $50 manufacturing fee in two years’ time if you use the card once a week and don’t have the misfortune of losing it.

So, with a net gain of $1.12 over the course of one year, are you going to be one of the people trying to get your hands on one of the 5,000 limited edition cards available?

I know my answer. What’s yours?

How do I come up for ________ in Google search?

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Google

Coming up in Google for phrases your ideal customers are searching for is one of the most important tactics within your marketing strategy.

Think about how customers will find you in the future. Will they go directly to your website? Will they be searching on Facebook? Will they just ask their friends? Will they simply just ask their friends on Twitter? Will they look you up in the phone book? Will they see your coupon in the mail and go to your store and buy?

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