Categories
Business Marketing

The Power of Brand-Driven Storytelling

Brand storytelling is the art of using a cohesive narrative to connect your brand with customers. The key to successful brand storytelling is to clearly communicate your brands’ core values in a way that resonates with consumers.

A recent study found that 55% of people consider buying a brand if they love their brand story. Of those people, 44% will share that story with others, and 15% will immediately purchase the product.

It appeals to consumer’s emotions

It is scientifically proven that human emotions are impacted by stories. Our emotions play a significant role in our daily lives, which also affects our buying decisions. When your brand tells a great story, you are speaking to the underlying reasons why a consumer might buy your product or service. A successful brand story goes well beyond just talking about the product, it’s about making a connection with your audience.

It humanizes your brand

In a heavily digital world, the human element can sometimes get lost behind a brand. Think about the emotions, values, and ideas your company offers to consumers and incorporate those elements into your brand story. A great brand story is always authentic and knows how to relate to consumers on a personal level. When consumers see that your company is made up of real people, it helps to build trust and customer loyalty.

It makes your brand unforgettable

Your brand story can give your company a unique edge and stand out in the crowded marketplace. With so much competition in the digital space, it can be very difficult for brands to stand out. It’s not enough to have a good product or service, you need to have a story that sets your brand above the rest.

Studies have found that storytelling will not only increase your brand favorability to your audience, it can also be up to 22x more memorable than facts. So rather than just sharing facts about your product, tell a story that clearly communicates your company values.

Using storytelling to get to $1 billion

The Dollar Shave Club exploded into the retail market with the launch of a hilarious video that creatively told their brand story with a direct aim at one of the biggest razor blade providers in the world- Gillette. This startup company tapped into a 30 billion dollar industry with Gillette owning about 70% of it. In March 2012, this video was released and went instantly viral – getting more than 12,000 orders in the first 48 hours. Just five years later in 2016, the Dollar Shave Club was purchased for $1 billion.

The Dollar Shave Club brand story was ingenious because it not only built a brand that inspired customer loyalty but it also simultaneously disrupted the brand story of a massive company. The Dollar Shave Club proved that brand storytelling  isn’t about the massive budget, it’s about the strategic brand narrative – one that communicates a meaningful message that immediately resonates with consumers.

Categories
Business Marketing

Building a Cohesive Brand for Your Business

Every business has its own unique mission, brand voice, and goals. Knowing how your business differentiates from competitors is an important step, but knowing how to clearly communicate that to your consumers is what really sets your business apart. Successful businesses must not only build a strong brand, but they must also take a cohesive approach to their branding. 

What is cohesive branding?

Cohesive branding is showing consistency in your brand across all platforms to ensure that your business is immediately recognizable to consumers. Your audience may encounter your brand in various places such as your website, social media channels, landing page, digital ads, commercials, brochures, etc. To resonate with consumers, a strong brand must keep the same tone of voice, colors, graphics, and fonts consistent across all marketing platforms and materials.

Why a cohesive brand strategy matters

  1. Makes a positive first impression
  1. Creates a memorable brand
  1. Increases trust in your brand
  1. Builds brand recognition
  1. Increases conversions and sales

Building a cohesive brand marketing strategy is crucial in a competitive marketplace. If a business fails to communicate consistent branding to its audience, you could leave prospects feeling confused with who you are and what you do. Strong, consistent branding builds recognition, trust, and credibility for your business.

Everything you need under one roof

If you are looking to build and strengthen your brand the right way, partnering with Spectruss could be exactly what your business needs!

Spectruss is a full-service, all in-house marketing agency with over 10 years of experience working with numerous brands and businesses in various industries. We are a team of specialized individuals whose mission is to create stronger, more cohesive brands for businesses.

As a full-service, all in-house agency, we offer everything your business needs for branding, marketing, promotions, and advertising under one umbrella. This not only keeps your brand consistent, but it also saves your business both time and money.

Capabilities:

We tailor our services and packages specifically for each business based on their unique needs and goals!

Strengthening your brand during COVID-19

Creating a cohesive brand that consumers trust is crucial to the success of a business, especially during uncertain times. Through strategic brand marketing strategies, we helped our client, Refine Aesthetic Studio, continue to grow during the global pandemic. In four months during COVID-19, we increased the number of consultations and booked appointments by 90.2%!

If you’d like to learn more about how Spectruss can help strengthen your brand, give us shout! We’d love to talk with you.

Categories
Business Marketing

Podcast with CEO of Chattanooga Whiskey, Tim Piersant

In this podcast special, Sam Silvey chats with CEO of Chattanooga Whiskey, Tim Piersant, about all things regarding brand authenticity and strategy, overcoming obstacles, the effects of COVID-19, and other important topics. Tim shares the inspiring story of Chattanooga Whiskey and its 10-year journey of establishing its brand in the marketplace.

Listen now to understand more about how Founder and CEO of Chattanooga Whiskey triumphs through adversity as his company turns global.

How it Began

In 2011, Chattanooga Whiskey was founded by Tim Piersant and his partner, Joe Ledbetter, two friends with a vision to reform the ban on distilleries in Chattanooga, TN. Before 2013, it was illegal to distill whiskey in Hamilton Country due to the decades-old prohibition laws. With a mission to bring back “Whiskey to the People”, they set out to overturn those laws and began the Vote Whiskey campaign. Utilizing a broad marketing strategy centered around empowering the Chattanooga community, the successful Vote Whiskey campaign gained huge traction across the city. In May of 2013, the laws were overturned. Not only did the Vote Whiskey campaign open the doors for Chattanooga Whiskey, but it also created significant economic opportunity for all of Chattanooga, TN.

Following this milestone, Chattanooga Whiskey became the first distillery in the Chattanooga area in over 100 years. In 2015, they began the process of crafting their own unique bourbon whiskey recipe. After four years and over one-hundred recipe variations, Chattanooga Whiskey perfected and released the first ever Tennessee High Malt, a local whiskey that celebrates Chattanooga’s rich distilling history.  

Brand Authenticity

Over the past two decades, white labeling in the spirits industry has become so common that finding a truly authentic brand with a real story is very rare. With the momentum and name recognition that came from the Vote Whiskey campaign, keeping the same white label product would have been an easy solution for Chattanooga Whiskey (the product was already doing well in several states), but that was not the Chattanooga Whiskey way. They were born to be trailblazers, so instead, they decided to be true to themselves and create a completely unique and entirely new bourbon recipe – the Tennessee High Malt. Although creating a new product was a significant risk, it was a risk they were willing to take to be an authentic brand.

In the video, Tim Peirsant shares the story of Chattanooga Whiskey’s recent launch in Kentucky and how it was received in the market. Kentucky consumers are known for their appreciation of bourbon, so it was important that Chattanooga Whiskey stood out as a unique brand. By sharing their authentic story of how Chattanooga Whiskey created the only Tennessee High Malt, it gave them a better chance to succeed in a market like Kentucky. Chattanooga Whiskey is a progressive brand because they not only have a true authentic story, but they also deeply believe that their flavor is unique, better, and different.

Brand Strategy

Tim explains that markets operate very differently in the spirits industry – some are independently driven while others are chain driven. This is important to take into consideration when building relationships, utilizing marketing resources, and implementing marketing tactics. An important strategy for Chattanooga Whiskey is to invest heavily in consumer education. Rather than using a “Spray and Play” tactic which would spread them far too thin, Chattanooga Whiskey has taken a more focused approach to share their story and build relationships the right way.

Even though naming a brand after a community can be limiting, Chattanooga Whiskey has gained major brand recognition across the United States. They are the only real branded Chattanooga product that is available in a third of the country. Chattanooga Whiskey is already available in nine different states and will soon be in twelve.

COVID-19 Challenges

Although whiskey is somewhat of a “recession-proof” product, the industry has faced some very difficult challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. Big whiskey brands produce and sell approximately 80% of consumed alcohol. Although craft distillers only make up for a small fraction of sales, they are a huge economic and market driver. Tourism and social activity are major factors for the local spirits industry as they grow and build their brand. With COVID-19 causing the shutdown in the hospitality industry, distillers across the nation are suffering. A recent study found that 60% of craft distillers were doubtful that they would survive in the next one to two months.

Chattanooga Whiskey has been fortunate during these unprecedented times due to its growth, price point, and amount of time they have been in the industry. Because Chattanooga Whiskey is a retail-centric brand, they have been able to weather the storm and continue to grow. Chattanooga Whiskey has seen a 62% increase in sales compared to last year, whereas 42% of distillers are going out of business.

Categories
Business Marketing

Impact of COVID-19 on the Outdoor Recreation Industry

 

As the U.S. continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking to outdoor activities as a solution to staying occupied and healthy amid social distancing mandates. Research shows that consumers are shifting discretionary spending away from typical summer travel plans and focusing instead on family-oriented outdoor activities. As a result, several outdoor categories have experienced exponential growth in recent months.

While the sports & outdoor industries typically see increased activity during summer months, this year those numbers have skyrocketed. Top retail websites like Dicks Sporting Goods, Academy, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, and Camping World collectively saw an 86% year-on-year increase in May 2020. With consumers increasingly seeking outdoor activities, sales of bicycles, boats, water sports, and camping gear have exploded.

Boating

With many summer vacations canceled, the boating industry experienced a major peak in interest to get out on the water. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 70 percent of boating dealers reported they experienced significant sales growth in May 2020, the strongest number recorded since July 2018. Personal watercraft sales have spiked by 75 percent compared to May 2019. Boating has given consumers a way to get out of the house and enjoy summer days on the water while still maintaining social distancing recommendations.

Paddle Sports

Before COVID-19, the paddlesports category such as kayaks, paddleboards, rafts, and canoes experienced a decline in sales. From an inventory management standpoint, these expensive and bulky products typically gave retailers a challenge for making sales. With consumers looking for family-based activities, these products have been selling at unexpected speeds. In recent months, Google searches for water-related products increased by 70 to 100 percent. And in June 2020, sales of water sports products increased 56 percent compared to the previous year.

Cycling

The cycling industry experienced significant growth soon after the stay-at-home order was announced in the United States. In June 2020, bicycle sales were up 63 percent compared to the same time last year. Most sales were generated from family-friendly bicycles during the early months of COVID-19. In recent months, the industry has seen an increase in full-suspension mountain bikes and road bikes. This is believed to be attributed to the shortage of family bikes, along with people taking up cycling as a more permanent hobby.

Camping

The camping industry has recently experienced a surge in performance due to the increasing consumer interest of backyard adventure. In June 2020, sales increased by 31% as more people camped at local destinations or even their back yard to spend quality time with family outside of the house. Recreational tent sales grew almost two times as fast as backpacking tents, which are typically purchased by serious campers. This indicates that as camping continues to grow in popularity, the family recreation niche could be a major boom to the industry. Offering more affordable equipment to new campers will also provide value during current economic uncertainty.  

Categories
Business eCommerce Marketing

Marketing in the Covid-19 Age

To say that 2020 is a unique time for businesses around the world is an understatement. There is no playbook for a health crisis such as COVID-19. This global pandemic has significantly altered consumer behavior and attitudes, ultimately changing the way people interact with your brand, find your site, and access your products. The ever-changing cultural window of COVID-19 is requiring brands to create at significant speeds just to keep their content relevant to the consumer.

Challenging times like these require marketers to be extremely nimble and develop an actionable plan to optimize business performance. This is where smaller, more agile agencies such as Spectruss have the upper hand. At Spectruss, we have the ability to quickly pivot in our marketing strategies to help businesses adapt in changing circumstances. By closely monitoring data, our team can test, learn, and adjust in real time to ensure your brand messaging remains relevant and your advertising efforts are correctly allocated.

As a marketing agency who has worked closely with brands during this time, we have found that businesses who quickly adapt their messaging, digital, and e-commerce strategies set themselves up for success. During this time of social distancing, our team implemented new digital solutions for our clients, allowing them to continue to serve their targeted audience in a unique way.

Social Media Campaigns

With the stay at home order sweeping the nation, cosmetic surgeons and medical spas were drastically affected, as they rely on face-to-face consultations with patients. For one of our clients, Refine Aesthetic Studio, we launched a social media campaign that offered virtual consultations for their clients. Utilizing digital technology gave the studio the ability to continue to help their patients, even with their office doors temporarily closed.

E-commerce

As consumers stay home and shift their shopping habits towards online, it was imperative to quickly provide an e-commerce solution for our client, The Furniture Shoppe, a high-end furniture store in the Chattanooga area. Our team took immediate action towards building a beautiful, functional e-commerce website which significantly increased the store’s online presence. This not only gave our client a solution to continue sales during the lockdown, but also created a platform that would maximize their revenue intake for years to come.

During this constantly evolving time of consumer behavior, it is imperative for businesses to quickly adapt. While we all hope that things go back to “normal” soon, companies must be prepared for the lasting impact on the consumer landscape. Brand messaging, digital, and product strategy may need to significantly evolve in the post-COVID-19 age.

Categories
Events Marketing

Why Brands Should Embrace Experiential Marketing

In today’s world, it’s harder than ever to get the attention of consumers. Brands are always looking for new ways to stand out against all the noise and truly engage their customers. An increasing amount of businesses are turning to experiential marketing, which offers immersive, memorable campaigns that help deliver a brand’s message without distractions.

So, What Exactly is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing has been a buzzword over recent years and is gaining increasing momentum in the marketing world. This powerful campaign strategy brings a whole new light to the way consumers experience a brand.

Experiential marketing focuses on direct engagement with consumers by using creative interactions to leave a lasting impression. These experiences could include a live event or a pop-up installation. Its central focus is to provide consumers with a live, engaging experience.

Many brands have found huge success in experiential marketing. Check out some great examples of successful campaigns below.

JetBlue- The Icebreaker

Who doesn’t want to take a trip to the beach in the middle of freezing cold winter? JetBlue airlines used this opportunity to promote their new direct flights from New York to Palm Springs in a very clever way. They put various summer-themed prizes such as beach attire, golf clubs, and free tickets to Palm Springs inside a huge block of ice and told passing New Yorkers that anything was up for grabs.

A social media campaign was launched along with this unique experiential strategy, resulting in a huge success for JetBlue. Everyone loves free stuff, right? Giving away prizes in a unique, creative way gave consumers an engaging experience they wouldn’t forget.

Gatorade Combine

The Gatorade brand is widely known for its close association with professional sports. To create an engaging experience for consumers, Gatorade used experiential marketing strategies to test individual athletic abilities in the form of a combine. A combine is an examination of athletic skills that athletes must complete before going to the professional league. Gatorade worked with a number of companies such as Xbox, Kinect, and Sparta Science to create electronic stations that executed interactive combine tests for each participant.

The results for the Gatorade combine tests provided accurate information for consumers, giving them data and knowledge to apply to other areas of life whether it be workout routines or dieting. Experiential marketing proves extremely impactful to consumers when it not only offers entertainment but also valuable information.

Red Bull- Stratos

The whole world held its breath when Redbull performed a record-breaking, supersonic skydiving jump. Known for its bold actions and involvement in extreme sports, Redbull decided to take its marketing strategy to new heights – – 24 miles about the earth’s surface to be exact! Redbull developed an experiential marketing campaign known as “Stratos” and partnered with Felix Baumgartner, a skydiver from Austria, to accomplish this incredible stunt.

Redbull streamed this event on YouTube and received over 8 million views (the highest viewing traffic of any live stream broadcasted on Youtube!) Don’t be afraid to think big and push the limits with your marketing strategies. Leave a lasting impression on your consumers by using the power of suspense and giving your audience something new to experience.

Categories
Marketing

Why Experience-Driven Commerce Matters: 2018 Study

Using the 5 W’s to provide memorable experiences for shoppers

Global e-commerce sales are expected to eclipse $2.8 trillion. While this statistic confirms online shopping is on the rise worldwide, this growth is dependent upon a new finding from a recent Episerver report: Reimaging Commerce: Global Findings. Only 17% of people say shopping is their primary purpose when they visit a brand’s website for the first time. So, online shoppers log on to do more than purchase. The finding reveals a new modern definition of “commerce”, which no longer means making a purchase, but rather encompasses the entire journey from research to final sale. This suggests business should look beyond transactions and focus their efforts on other powerful engagement opportunities that are present throughout the entire online customer journey. Investing in all aspects of the online shopping experience and providing memorable experiences sets businesses up for long-term success.

 

Brands that focus on optimizing for experience over conversions win sales by knowing:

When a brand personalized experiences, a quarter of shoppers are more likely to purchase from the brand again, 20% are more loyal and 20% trust the brand more.

Fifty percent look at the product they came for first when visiting a brand’s website or mobile app. Consumers mirror in-store behaviors online and are loggings on to find information regarding deals, shipping information, payment options, returns, and more.

Businesses can identify future investments opportunities within their e-commerce experiences by determining where online shopping has disappointed consumers in the past.

 

The top 10 reasons for site abandonment:

1. Shipping was too expensive

2. Couldn’t find what they were looking for

3. Price concerns

4. Just browsing

5. Not enough info

6. Found a better product

7. Looking for store or brand info only

8. Shown irrelevant products/services

9. Checkout too long

10. Digital content wasn’t personalized

 

Most important content:

Product descriptions

Customer Reviews

Images of Products in Use

Company Information

Images of Products Not in Use

The increasing popularity of smartphone browsing indicates that brands must offer mobile-responsive websites and should start exploring location-based marketing strategies. Brands that can best satisfy shoppers’ diverse device desires position themselves to earn sales when shoppers are ready to purchase.

Adding new tech functions to activities like browsing and research can help shoppers see new technology as helpful partners along the path to purchase.

 

Categories
Marketing

Why Use Video Marketing?

Video marketing is here, and it’s here to stay

Today, video marketing usage is rising rapidly among brands and marketers. Having a strong video marketing strategy plays a crucial role in the success of your outreach and branding efforts. It’s one of the most effective ways to thrive in your industry and attract more clients. This is mainly because it’s the fastest and easiest way to learn and retain information. Hubspot recently reported that 99% of those who already do use video, say they’ll continue to do so in 2018 and 65% of those who don’t currently use video, say they plan to start in 2018. What does this mean? That video is here to stay.  Think about this: A Facebook executive predicted that the platform will be ALL video in less than five years, and we already see that coming true. 

Other reasons why marketers rely on video:

  • 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
  • 95% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
  • 76% of businesses say it helped them increase traffic.
  • 83% of consumers would consider sharing it with their friends.
  • 80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their website.
  • 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018.

How to use it to your advantage:

Live Video/ Live Streaming

  • 82% of consumers prefer live video from a brand instead of social posts.

Live videos give a unique perspective on the behind-the-scenes of our company. Here you can live stream interviews, internal and external events, Q&As, presentations, and encourage engagement with viewers by commenting with questions.

Video Tutorials/ Demo

  • 91% of customers have watched a tutorial video to learn about a product or service.
  • 79% of customers would rather watch an explainer video to learn about a product than read text.

Showcase how your product or service works. Here you can take someone who is unfamiliar with your products and walk them through how it works to allow prospects to fully grasp its value and potential.

Brand Video

  • 81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.

A solid brand video is the best way to increase relatability and trust by showcasing your company’s vision, mission, value, or products and services. You can even display your employee’s individual passions to allow viewers to connect. The ultimate goal is to build awareness around your company and attract your target audience.  Check out the Spectruss video.

Case Study and Customer Testimonial Videos

  • The top three most effective video types are product demo videos (49%), tutorial videos (50%), and customer testimonial videos (51%). (Forbes)

One of the most effective ways to build trust is by showcasing your happy and loyal customers. Describe the challenges and how your company helped them meet their goals.

Expert Interviews

  • 94% of marketers who use influencer marketing find it an effective practice, and can generate up to 11x the ROI of traditional advertising.

Find the influencers or thought leaders in your industry and conduct short interviews on camera. This is a great way to build credibility and establish authority with your target audience.

360-Degree/ VR Video

  • 90% of Americans believe that content will be better in 360-degree video than in a traditional one.
  • 59% of businesses that used VR video for marketing purposes said that is was an effective marketing tool.

Virtual reality allows viewers to navigate and control their experience. Brands should consider leveraging virtual reality at conferences and industry tradeshows.

When creating your video, think about these questions:

  1. Who’s your target audience?
  2. What’s the goal?
  3. When and where to share your videos?
  4. What’s the budget?
  5. Are there additional creative requirements?
  6. Who will be featured?
  7. How long should it be?
  8. Is it a series of videos?
Categories
Marketing

Content Marketing: 10 Editing Tips

A few tips to better your editing skills

 

As the content manager, editing is an integral part of my job and is expected to meet high standards. At first, this role was intimidating because I know everyone makes mistakes. After editing hundreds of pieces and learning from past mistakes, my fear turned into confidence. Within this process, I discovered ten editing tips below from hard-learned lessons that can improve your editing skills.

1. Start with technical errors

Here is where you extensively check for spelling and grammar. I recommend using grammar-checking apps like Grammarly.

2. Pick up some of the proofreading tricks below:

 

Switch up the time and setting you’re reading in

Isolate each sentence

Have someone else read it

Read out loud

Change up font type, size, or color

Point at the screen as you read

3. Check consistency

Overall, your content messaging should be consistent throughout your piece. Read through your content and eliminate any unnecessary words that don’t make sense. Sometimes these words are used to express a thought or used repeatedly.

4. Have style manual handy

Having your preferred style manual by your side is extremely helpful during uncertainty.  I personally use the Associated Press Stylebook as a reference guide.

5. Double check EVERY name, link, fact, stat, etc.

You never want to misspell someone’s name, especially a client’s name. Incorrect information can be misleading and audiences will question your credibility. The only way to uncover these preventable mistakes is to question and check everything.  

6. Look for passive voice

This is commonly known as a bad writing habit. You always want to try writing in active voice. Eliminate passive voice by making the subject do the action. For example, “Tickets may be purchased at the gate.” is passive. To be active, say, “Purchase tickets at the door.”

7. Cut down the number of words, but not ideas

Check to see if you’re using words exactly the way you intended. Start cutting down words with adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions.

8. Keep a list of past mistakes

A list of your editing mistakes isn’t there to remind you of failure. It’s there to remind you not to make those same mistakes again.  A successful writer can identify their editing weaknesses, and having this list in front of you can help reinforce them.

9. Use Command + F (Mac) or Control + F (PC)

This simple feature can save you from making a mistake at the hit of a button. All you do is press Command or Control + F, type in your problem word or phrase,  let your browser take you to the word in your piece, and swap it out with the correct one.

10. Finish where you started

Check spelling, grammar, and confirm names one last time before publishing. And again. And again.

What are your favorite editing tips? Share them in the comments section below.

 

Categories
Marketing

5 Tips for Better Marketing on Social Media

If you’re looking to try and boost your social media platforms and gain more attention, consider these 5 tips.

 

1. Create a voice for the company
Social media is similar to an employee, their role being the brand ambassador for your business via the web. With that in mind, they should have a consistent speech pattern for all post, responding to comments, answering messages, and visual presence. This brings consistency on your social media pages and also makes it feel more personable for customers. All around less like they are talking to an automation.

2. Post regularly
Stay up to date with all the latest happenings within your business on social media so people can learn about what you do. This is another way of letting people know that there is a group of hard working individuals behind your business. Regular content also helps by giving you frequent chances to appear in customers news feed. Don’t be afraid to talk about things your community is interested in that are not specifically about your business. While you should post about yourself, you also need to engage in the scenes that your customers are there gain respect in the community.

3. Find times of day that promise most engagement for posts
Check your social media analytics page/records to see what time of day people most often engage with your social media pages. Use this data to start posting at high traffic times to get more results. You can also look into what types of post do best over others and consider regularly posting more like-minded statuses to the ones that do well.

4. Talk to your customers
When people comment, comment back. Engage with customers and let them know that they are heard. Even on the little things. If someone leaves a bad review or comment, take a moment and evaluate how best to handle the situation without escalating the problem or speaking as the company in a manner you could later regret. Rember that there are people on the internet who cannot be pleased and you may run into them. Evaluate the situation and execute with the utmost care.

5. Use graphics designed specifically for each platform
Don’t post the same images and words to every social media platform. There are ways to make content more appealing specifically to each platform. For example, a generic candy ad will not do well on Instagram, people will scroll right past it. But a picture of a hand with bright colored candies taken by a camera phone will look more spontaneous and do well on Instagram. If you don’t know if your image is good for a platform, check out your competitors and see what they do with like-minded content.