Tell Us About You
Clearly understanding who you are and what your needs are is essential in developing a design strategy. We’ve worked with start-ups as well as corporate giants and not one of them has had the same problems, nor the same solutions. Below is a list of questions that you may need to step outside of your business to answer. These initial questions help identify, at sky-level: What is the perceived value of my product or service? How is my product unique? What can I offer that my competitors can’t (or don’t)? How much time and resources can I realistically commit to my needs? Once these questions are answered, you’ll have a baseline to start from.
What space do you currently fill?
Stepping back and analyzing your current space provides you with a foundation needed for planning. Answer these basic questions:
- Who are your customers and where are they?
- What are their needs and what are their wants?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Who are your major competitors?
- What are your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?
- What short-term/long-term changes or trends do you foresee in your industry?
What unique selling propositions do you possess?
These are often your most hidden and possibly your most effective attributes that consumers are attracted to everyday. They are what your product or service has to offer. It’s not enough to say that your products are “fresher” or “better”. . . rather “Why” your products are “fresher” or “better”. They answer the question “Why”. This sometimes requires some in-depth review of a company’s operation areas.
What’s your objective?
The objective defines “what” the web site, campaign or design will be built to accomplish. Advertising helps communicate and accomplish marketing objectives by increasing awareness, acceptance and preference. Examples of Marketing Objectives could be, but are definitely not limited to:
- stimulate trial by non-customers.
- convert secondary customers to primary customers.
- mitigate image issues.
- reinforce positive attributes (cleanliness, convenience, service, etc.)
- proactively answer common questions taking the mystery out of a product of service.
Define Your Current Strategy
An advertising strategy is defined as the course of action, expressed in a plan to accomplish your company’s advertising objectives. This strategy must be formulated into a message that will favorably impress the potential buyers of your product or service as well as those who can influence conversion. Select a strategy or a combination of strategies that:
- will best acheive your objectives.
- is within your capabilities, both financially and operationally.
- is based on your market and defined target audience.
Define Your Target Audience
As defined the Target Audience is the desired or intended audience for advertising as described or determined by the advertiser. Usually defined in terms of specific demographics purchase or ownership characteristics (age, income, sex, etc). In short, the Target Audience defines “Who” we are trying to reach.
What’s Going On Now?
If you’re an existing business, my hope is that you’ve currently got something going that’s working. I don’t feel the need to have my client’s on my total creation. If what you have has been working, let’s build on top of that and see how we can improve it, lean it out or streamline it. If you feel like you really have no bones to work with or if you’re just starting, let’s start from scratch and create a foundation that you can build on for the future.
Be Prepared to Commit?
“Advertising” and “Branding” are very different things. You can advertise daily or weekly to sell your products and be successful. Advertising usually shows short-term, noticeable, quick profit. Branding refers more to your company’s or product’s “perceived value” by it’s customers and/or community. Branding involves long-term, if not life-time commitment. Be prepared to realistic commit to each option as you put your campaigns together. For instance, most of the customers I work with want to start a blog or monthly newsletter which is a great way to gain interest, build SEO, etc. (this is usually done to stabilize brand awareness and instill legitimacy). Rarely do those clients follow through after the 2nd or 3rd iteration. The time we put into building those assets is not only wasted money for the client, but leaves a negative impact on those potential customers who expected to get more later. Realistic, how much time, interest and financial availability do you have now and in the future?
“Lane built a great looking, affordable website with the functionality & design we were looking for and has been proactive & responsive in hosting & maintaining our site. We could not be more pleased & highly recommend!”
Owner – Creative Housing Group, llc
Alison Crowley (C-IAYT) – Co-Founder and Creative Director
Bolster & Bridge: The Foundation
Henry Suarez and Associates
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