Choosing a Logo Design

November 10, 2009

Please excuse the brief posting gap. We are experiencing a new business free-for-all picking up several new clients each week, and it is eating into our blogging time. Without further ado, here are some of the many excellent logos we have created in recent years.

Our Logo Designs

If you are thinking your company might need a new logo design, please consider existing brand equity. In other words, don’t alienate your existing customers when you purchase a new logo. Be sensitive in your transition to your company’s new symbol.

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Food Industry Co-Branding

November 3, 2009

This is a case study in a nutshell of how we assisted Purity Premium Ice Cream with Co-Branding. We recommended, facilitated, and developed advertising for the following co-branded endeavors: O’Charley’s Turtle Pie, Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Cream Pie and Goo Goo Clusters Candy. We created 6-color designs for 2-piece paper printed cartons able to withstand freezer conditions, stacking and shipping without scuffing.

These quarterly co-branded products created a halo effect for the entire Purity Premium Ice Cream Brand allowing Purity to increase overall market share by 12% in one year.

As an additional note in a separate campaign we created for the company to support the launch of new packaging, sales spiked 26% within 6 weeks and finished out the first year with a total increase across all products of 32%.

“Bang for Your Buck” – Efficient Marketing

October 15, 2009

***This post starts out with a short discussion of Pay-Per-Click advertising market fluctuation and proceeds to efficient marketing (the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

According to Online Media Daily the highest-priced keyword on Google last month sold for $99.44 dollars a click. The word was Mesothelioma and lawyers are purchasing it in the hopes of attracting clients affected by the lung cancer caused by asbestos. It isn’t the only fluctuation in the market right now. Around 2 months ago we were assembling a Food/Beverage Advertising campaign with the estimated bid of $2.50 a click. Now the same campaign runs $7 a click. Getting in ahead of a trend can make a big difference in your PPC campaign both the size of your initial investment, and the level of return you receive from it. In the case of the Food ad, the clicks increased in price after a series of articles were released touting the growth of the companies being advertised to.

For example, if you purchase a keyword at a lower rate you will reduce the number of impressions (viewers of our ad that didn’t click on it) your ad gets. If you increase the amount you bid for a keyword, you get more impressions (free!), but you pay more for each individual click-through.

Over the next few years keywords will experience the same season-based fluctuations other industries do. It is fascinating to watch this market develop, grow, and adapt like the consumers it markets to.

People develop immunity to certain kinds of marketing over time. There was a time when a newspaper ad would make the phones ring off the hook. Now it seems to be a tool primarily for visibility as support for a larger marketing campaign. Other marketing adapts over time, direct mail is in the process of doing this through interaction with sophisticated online-based campaigns working together.

For a traditional direct mail piece the client might get a 2-5% response rate (closer to 5% with a targeted mailing list or if they offered a discount or special), with some of the new sophisticated campaigns that dovetail online advertising a client can get a 10-20% response rate. Now the campaign costs more than 1 direct mailing, but it would take around 8 direct mailings to get the same response level. The best thing about this campaign is after it’s initial setup the individual send-outs are around the same rate as a regular direct mail campaign.

It’s about cost-efficiency over time. We get it. Our clients get it.

Times Are Changing For Food/Beverage Marketing

October 7, 2009

Times are changing for Food/Beverage marketers according to yesterday’s NYT article. It seems consumers are staying in more to eat and choosing less expensive brands. This isn’t news to those of us closely tied to the industry (or on a tough budget). In fact we recently released research on the difficult battle being waged between Name Brands and Private Label Brands in the Food/Bev marketplace today. It is interesting to note that many of the top national brands have decided to fight back with astounding results. Companies like Campbell’s, Jell-O, Kraft, Lipton Tea, and Post cereal are putting their money where our mouths are with advertising campaigns, packaging, media plans, and the research/development/launch of new product lines. 

There has never been a more vital time for Food/Beverage companies to take market share than now. Check out the article for yourself: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/07/business/media/07adco.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=business

Quality Versus Price, Choosing an Ad Agency

October 2, 2009

It seems these days everyone is shopping around, and advertising dollars are no exception. As a small  to mid-size agency, we often compete with both the larger agencies and the two-man freelance operations. I would like to describe the pros and cons of working with larger and smaller (but not mid-range, which is a great place to be right now) agencies in this economy. Not all agencies will fall into these categories many small and large are quite reputable, but many others will. 

Smaller Advertising Agencies

They may be less expensive, but they are less experienced, stable, and consistent. Their portfolios are limited.

They can over-promise and under-deliver because they don’t have an established reputation in the community. 

They don’t have the ethics and non-compete understandings of a mid-to-large agency. Some smaller agencies will take a client’s email list or threaten to pull down a website over a minor disagreement. Others will use confidential information to sell themselves (and your information) to the competition, and why shouldn’t they? They don’t have a contract with you.

Their inexperience leads to poor quality and ultimately unusable work. Now the cost of the project is doubled or tripled by a good quality company having to begin from scratch along with tearing down the old site.

They are unable to support larger projects due to their cash flow and labor abilities.

Larger Agencies

Larger agencies charge larger prices. They have more staff, higher-end talent, and more expensive facilities.

Larger agencies have high-demand clients whose budgets keep their company in the green, and they often overlook the smaller clients.

Larger agencies put out a quality product, but the price and lead time are significantly higher. 

Larger agencies support larger egos and drama, be it with representatives, or  the talent you will be working with. 

Mid-sized Agencies

I know I am biased because we are a mid-sized agency, but I find we are a good fit for most people. Reasonable cost, high client service, and established reputation for consistently excellent work leading to proven increased sales for our clients.

Here is what you should look for when hiring an agency:

1. Good reputation with proven results. Ask to see case studies if you have to.

2. High client service. Ask for a reference, make sure their clients didn’t receive “Not Big Enough To Care For Treatment” or “Missing Rep Syndrome.”

3. Feel comfortable pricing an agency; however, remember you are not buying a washing machine. One company will not honor another’s price. One may sell a well-designed, scientifically engineered product, while another may very well have cobbled his together in his basement. They may look the same, but you will discover the difference when you turn them both on. 

Key Takeaway:

Remember your new ad campaign, website, SEO, jingle, social marketing, print/package design will be an investment. One which will support your business for many years to come. Think quality over cost, but be reasonable with your expectations. Happy Hunting and Have a Great Weekend!

Ouch! Burning Questions

September 29, 2009

Since our upcoming Food Packaging blog is temporarily on hold, I thought it would be nice to question ourselves, our existence, the meaning of life. Or we could just check out these amazing mental_floss advertising questions that generated revenue for Ford, Verizon Wireless, Clairol and other industry greats: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/35550

As always, check out our website if you have any . . . questions?

Client Relationships: Can You Feel The Love?

September 16, 2009

Marketing is an extremely competitive industry, which is only one reason client relationships are so vital to our business. Another reason any B2B will tell you, is client referrals. If you have a client whose sales you have increased 20-58% the relationship changes. The most intense client will mellow when he or she sees the results of their marketing. When everything works out perfectly you no longer have a client, you have a free salesman. Here are some of the some of the great things our clients have said about us. (Please note, as this IS a competitive business they are listed by company only. They are all CEO level or higher.)

“The repackaging of the Barber Dairies ice cream cartons coupled with an introductory TV commercial increased our overall ice cream sales in excess of 30% in less than 90 days. It was a really smart move for us.”–Dean Foods

“The new Vietti Chili label design accounted for an increase in 4th quarter sales by over 40% from the previous year, and we had no additional promotional or advertising support, it was all about the new label.”–Choice Foods of America

“The repackaging of our Baker Girl product line gave us a substantial return in less than 6 months and our share continues to grow. Asen knows packaging.”–Purity Foods

“Asen created new package designs for us that allowed us to get new distribution in stores we hadn’t been able to get into before. It was the best marketing investment we made for the whole year.”–Royal Cake Company

“Family Brands International experienced a 58% sales growth in our BBQ Rib line simply by having Asen remake the label. Asen philosophy of packaging has been instrumental in growing our brands.”–Family Brands International

“The introduction of our new Purity 2 piece ice cream carton created by Asen increased our market share by 29% in the first 6 weeks it was out.”–Purity Ice Cream

And they are just our food clients! Are your customers and clients feeling the love? If not, you might try providing added value in a new or unusual way, connecting them to other people in the industry, developing opportunities for their business to grow, or just brainstorming together. You might be surprised by your new free sales team.

Slogans, Good to the Last Drop!

September 8, 2009

I just wanted to take a minute to talk about slogans and love notes. A slogan is a brief catchword or phrase summarizing the creative message of a marketing strategy. The phrase must fit in with overall brand consistency, as discussed in the previous post. Slogans are easier to remember if they use rhyme, alliteration, a play on words, or parallelism.

Example: Saturn – “A different kind of company. A different kind of car.”

A good slogan also takes on one of two forms of alignment with a brand; it can be a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or a love note.

In order to be a USP, it must make an offer to the consumer. If they purchase this product, then they will receive a specific benefit not offered by the competition.

Some examples of Unique Selling Propositions are:

Olay – “Get younger-looking skin”

M & M’s – “The chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand”

Domino’s Pizza – “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less”

A love note takes a slightly different approach in a positioning statement transcending traditional relationship boundaries to deliver a passion for the brand creating loyalty beyond reason. Love notes are connected to the consumer’s passions and inspirations.

Some examples of Love Notes:

McDonalds – “I’m lovin’ it”

Capital One – “What’s in your wallet?”

Allstate – “You’re in good hands with Allstate”

When considering a love note, it is important to consider future applications of your slogan. For example, can it be sung? Is it easy to remember, easy to pronounce, and say? A slogan created now might be used for decades, become affiliated with the logo, or turn into a jingle. Think long-term use.

Here are a few slogans we have developed for clients:

LeBlanc – “Your Future. Our Expertise”

Vietti Chili – “A Kick in the Can”

TNEH – “Designed to Inspire your life”

Green County Bank – “Simply. Your Bank”

Barber’s – “Freshness Guaranteed”

Barber’s – “Everyday Goodness”

UT Basketball – “Be on the Team”

Cades Cove BBQ – “An outrageously rich barbeque experience”

Buddy’s – “Your Kinda’ Barbeque”

And last but not least our slogan here at Asen Advertising & Marketing, “Essential Logic. Creative Magic.”

The Importance of Consistency in Branding

September 1, 2009

The Importance of Consistency in Branding

What is Brand Consistency?

Brand Consistency across the branding spectrum occurs when all messaging conforms to a consistent set of design, emotional response, and message values. This way the brand represents a storage point for information about a company, service or product. It also becomes a vessel for the consumer’s emotional awareness of the brand.

Why do we need Brand Consistency?

The purpose of brand consistency is to enhance recall of messaging, and develop rapport with the consumer on an emotional level. This occurs over time as the brand’s message, image, and association develops over time as recognition patterns form. It serves as an ideal way to make a space for your product and everything it represents in the customer’s mind. 

The advantages of branding consistency:

Easy recall for consumer

Consistent messaging is stored in consumer memory  (Ambiguity or clutter of advertising destroys messaging recall)

It increases the chances of a brand being recalled despite the recollection clutter of everyday life.

Brand linking, how the mind stores and retrieves information.

 What are the 3 most common words in Real estate…

                        Location… location… location

Words you need to remember about  branding…

            Consistency…consistency…consistency!!!

Practical Applications of Consistency in Branding-

Logo

A Logo should have the same position on ads whenever possible, with consistent size, color and uniformity. Logos are particularly important because they represent the brand visually within a short period of time.

Tagline

A tagline is a slogan, clarifier, mantra, company statement or guiding principle that describes, synopsizes or helps create interest. Taglines can be singular statements that embody the Universal Positioning Statement or the Unique Selling Proposition. The tagline should accompany the logo.

Typeface

Using the same families of type allows the consumer to readily recognize the advertiser’s brand and the messaging to connect with previous messaging/taglines to multiply frequency and allow for recall of brand.

Color

Color creates emotion, triggers memory, and creates sensation in the consumer’s mind. Consistent color immediately communicates to the consumer who the message is coming form.

What companies do you believe have the strongest color ownership???

            Kodak                        Yellow

            UPS                            Brown

            Coca Cola                 Red

            Target                        Red

Voice or personality of brand

The messaging should maintain a consistent tone of voice.

Ad Layout

Consistent ad layout becomes easily recognizable with consumer and enhances recall.

 Overview of Consistency in Branding

Consistency in branding can make or break the advertising strategy of a company. Regardless of the amount of time and money spent on an ad campaign, if the brand lacks consistency, a significant portion of their effort will be lost. Take care to innovate for your brand within the confines of their new or old image, or suffer the worst possible fate of a brand, being forgotten.

July 31, 2009

Paul went in guns blazing on a pitch today. The team is feeling pretty euphoric.