Marketing tools for brands
that just don’t care
It’s well known that there is potential for middle aged people to give up on themselves. They’ve put forth an effort all of their lives, developed a routine and settled into it seeing no value in making any improvements. Their styles are decades old, they don’t work out, they shuffle through life… In short, they’ve given up.
You see the same thing with brands. Usually well established small businesses that are consistently in the black see no reason to change or improve and that’s sad enough. But lately, even start-ups are starting out with defeated images.
We can understand not having the resources to invest in a compelling brand, website and collateral for a new business, but we cannot understand not trying. The easiest way not to try is to limit your marketing effort.
As long as there are people looking for a better mousetrap there will be companies trying to build it but marketing your company is a lot different than catching rodents.
You have a personality, your business has a personality and your brand absolutely needs to reflect the personality and the mission. That’s the premise that VFC was established upon nearly 16 years ago. We help brands define a compelling, accessible personality and support that with targeted campaigns that create recognition, retention and loyalty.
There are a number of companies that are trying to facilitate off-the-shelf, out-of-the-box, easy peasy, DIY marketing and branding solutions with varying degrees of customer involvement. In 2014, if you really want to do marketing yourself there are hundreds of free tools to help you, promising that you can save money and be successful. You can also appear like you don’t give a fig.
Ever since the web became the de facto standard for business communications there have been companies attempting to get rich with WYSIWYG web page builders.
WordPress, launched way back in 2003 but until the interface became simpler it didn’t catch on with the DIY market. Developers used and continue to use it for its open space blogging infrastructure and expandability but more and more business owners are also employing WordPress now to build their websites. There are literally thousands of themes and customizing is possible but it can also yield pedestrian results without upfront strategic planning.
Wix hit the scene in ’06 and hid programming even more, but also offered less potential for brands to stand out, be custom and be excellent. Unfortunately, many companies thought that was good enough and Wix and their "free" website service grew offering hundreds of templates that you and your competitor can both select. There’s even a template category for design agencies… sad face.
Facebook has it’s limitations because it’s not a website and you really do get exactly what your competitors get but you can notice qualitative differences from business page to business page. As with any social network presence, what you put in is what you’ll get out. It’s our contention that, even with strong social networks, brands need their own Internet presence.
With a Super Bowl commercial SquareSpace has taken DIY conformity in the guise of options, savings and effectiveness to the next level. A robust interface tells consumers how easy it is to build a site– and it is affordable too – but guess what? SquareSpace offers the same ease and options to all competitors and nothing is custom. It’s an Orwellian nightmare for brand managers who understand the value of personalized, customized consumer touches.
We’ve just focused on websites here but similar options exists for branded business cards, collateral, apparel… even logos.
As for DIY logo makers, none will ever attempt to understand your offering and position it with custom typography, glyph and tagline like a creative partner can.
Content Management Systems (CMS) is the solution that VFC delivers to our clients. Completely custom interfaces that reflect brand personality and allow customers to update what they need, when they need to update. It’s not free but the customer doesn’t have to build anything, learn anything or worry about being the same as everyone else. We might use WordPress as a development platform if the specifications warrant it, but the theme will be 100% customized.
If anything in your business should be custom it should be the branding. It’s fine to use the accounting software that everyone else does. It’s ok to use the same office supplies. Even sharing vendors with competitors can work as long as you’re getting equitable service. But when your toolbox of potential marketing tactics is exactly the same as everyone else’s, no matter how easy it is to use, you’ve given up.