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Now Introducing Re:Vive, a Podcast for Manufacturers

Re:Vive is a podcast for manufacturers from a marketers lens. Our background allows us to offer insights and case studies from a marketing eye, while our clientele of manufacturers allows us to collaborate with them and talk about the issues they face that can help the entire industry.

Re:Vive, hosted by Vivers Austin and Clint, will be a bi-monthly podcast to discuss issues and problems that many people in the industry are facing. We will speak with industry leaders and service providers who have gotten over those humps and found success through marketing, whether it be culture building, new websites, video marketing, social media, Industry 4.0, etc. We will have open, candid conversations about these successes and talk about how our listeners can implement these strategies into their daily business practices.

We are excited to take you along on this journey!

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NPE Conversations Shown Brand Recognition as a Top Marketing Challenge

Throughout NPE, we questioned our booth visitors on what their biggest marketing woes are. The answer? The need for more brand recognition in the marketplace and a strategic approach to increasing brand awareness were the top challenges. This was followed by having outdated or ineffective websites, videos and sales tools.

 

Gaining brand recognition stems from placing consistent messaging and visuals in front of your target audience on a regular basis. Consistency and frequency is key. People see thousands and thousands of brand messages a day and there’s no guarantee your target market is going to see your message – that’s why it’s critical to be in the right place and the right time.

How do you do that? A multi-channel approach will achieve greater visibility and increase brand recognition for years to come. A thoughtful approach to building brand equity happens with a dedicated focus on:

  • Website use experience
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media strategy
  • Webinars
  • Advertising (digital and print)
  • Trade shows
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Attending industry events
  • Creating brand advocates

Out with the SWOT, In with the Zweck

In celebration of Vive’s 10 years in business we take a moment to look in the rear-view mirror, but what’s more important is the windshield and the continuous improvement that’s critical in driving innovative growth of a company.

After years of facilitating a SWOT analysis as part of an on-boarding process for new clients, I came to realize that from a marketing perspective, I was only focusing on one category – the strengths. True, the weaknesses, opportunities and threats helped me understand their business more closely, but those categories were not feeding the main purpose of creating a unique messaging platform which would ultimately feed all the media channels with a consistent message. Therefore, it was time to refine the facilitated workshop to focus on finding why a company exists beyond the things they make. This is revealed through a newly trademarked Zweck Analysis™; a customized, internal deep evaluation into a company’s core to find the purpose for being in business, no longer focusing on weaknesses, opportunities and threats but more on the expertise and values a company delivers to customers and employees.

‘Zweck’ is, in fact, the German translation for ‘purpose.’ Vive has always believed in placing strategy before tactics. The Zweck Analysis™ is no different, as it begins the process of brand storytelling to determine what a company’s unique purpose is – their why.

The onsite workshop typically includes 5-10 executive leaders where I’ll ask specific questions to discover the ‘why.’ The responses are recorded and the Vive team then identifies similar categories and begins to process key differentiators. The workshop typically takes 1.5 hours depending on the group size.

I believe that leaders must create a clear vision to the purpose for being in business. Every company has a unique drive that tells their story and the Zweck Analysis™ helps us discover exactly what that differentiator is.

Culture is Crafted, Not Duplicated

Culture seems to be a buzzword in today’s world of manufacturing. How can you create a culture throughout your organization that makes people want to come to work and make a difference? Retaining and keeping your employees engaged can come at a cost, but it’s vital to maintaining a successful company.

In September 2017, I had the opportunity to visit the Zappos Headquarters in Las Vegas. Zappos is known for their company culture, and it was clear how happy and engaged everyone was during my visit. Culture is something that Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, implemented from the beginning. The common theme employees kept referencing was “slow to hire, quick to fire.” Zappos has a long hiring process, but they want to make sure candidates are a right fit for their culture, and if not, they’d be let go quickly.

Luckily enough, I was able to experience the Zappos tour with numerous others, all in manufacturing sectors. The one thing that seemed to always come up was how to translate Zappos’ culture into our own organizations. The answer was easy – we couldn’t. Tony Hsieh had given Zappos an identity through their culture. He didn’t mimic another company’s ideals and values, he established his own.

Culture is something tailored to your organization. There isn’t a general roadmap you can follow that magically creates a great company culture. It comes from the people within the organization that all believe in the same vision. People that want to be working with each other to help achieve an end goal. Inserting a monthly happy hour or interviewing employees to see how to make the workplace better won’t necessarily solve your culture problems. It’s about having the right people there in the first place. It comes from the people within the organization that all believe in the same vision with similar values.

Trade Show Success by Design: A Three Part Series Part Three: Trade Show Lead Follow Up Basics

In the Trades Show Success by Design series, we’ve addressed the importance of trade show planning and maximizing your booth onsite.  The final blog of the series focuses on trade show follow up. Your new contacts are out of sight, but should not be out of mind. You’ve reached and acquired new leads and now is the time to cultivate those leads to nurture conversions. But before you start, having a strategy will help you reach your return on investment quicker.

Prioritizing Leads

Not all leads are equal. Prioritize your leads based on your sales approach. Some companies have detailed lead scoring that includes key demographics and behaviors. Many other companies use simple A/B/C or hot/warm/cold categories. Find an approach that works for your type of organization and is manageable. If it gets too complicated, then it’s less likely to be effective.

Follow Up with Your Leads…Quickly and Often

People buy from people. After a trade show is completed, it’s time to connect with your leads and match your solutions to their needs. Trade show follow up isn’t a single touchpoint but requires a series of touchpoints that may include phone calls, emails, LinkedIn or direct mail. Statistics float around that state nearly 80% of trade show attendees don’t receive follow up. While the exact number is debatable, the point is there is still a grand perception among attendees that they won’t hear from the companies they’ve engaged with at a trade shows.

Marketing automation is one way to keep the momentum going during the follow up process. There are various platforms ranging from sophisticated software that integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) systems to free email marketing platforms such as MailChimp (depending on number of contacts and email volume) that offer triggered email campaigns.

Messages that Matter

Don’t let your message get lost. Go back to prioritized leads and tailor your message to their interest level. Sending a “ready to buy?” message to a cold lead will not position your company for success. Customize your message while presenting key offerings and benefits of doing business with you. But, the key is to think past the first message. Establishing a strategy for communicating throughout the lead nurturing process offers direction to keep the follow up process on track.

Trade show success can be achieved through design. A focus on planning all elements of exhibiting at a trade show – from nearly a year in advance to six months following the show – offers direction and a means to recognize a positive return on investment. This three-part blog series highlights key areas for success, but if trade show management is paralyzing for you, contact Vive Marketing and we’ll help craft a trade show plan that works for your company.

 

Trade Show Success by Design: A Three Part Series Part Two: How to Maximize Your Booth

 

In part one of the Trades Show Success by Design series, we addressed Tips for Planning a Successful Trade Show. Now you’re onsite. How do you maximize your time and resources for the most gain?

Forklifts and hand trucks are scurrying off the show floor, final carpet installation is happening and somewhere someone is trying to get their lead retrieval system working on their phone. In minutes the doors will open and it’s show time!

Qualify your leads.

Every booth staffer is essentially on a sales call. Be friendly and courtesy, yet quickly get to know your booth guest. Open ended questions about their role and current challenges will help you quickly determine if that person is just visiting or an interested prospect. Even if they aren’t a prime candidate for your business, don’t forget the power in word of mouth advertising and networking. They could share your product/service information with someone back in the office or with their colleague at lunch.

Give them something to see or experience.

Once you’ve determined the interest level of your booth guest, be sure they leave knowing what your company offers. Let them experience your brand and the essence of your company through strong storytelling (i.e. video, virtual reality, etc…) and personable interactions. Do you have equipment to demo? Be sure subject matter experts are nearby to share its features and benefits. Consider having a different level of promotional items for different levels of prospects.

Make new friends but keep the old. 

According to Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), lead generation is 80-85% of the reason for companies to exhibit at a tradeshow. But, it is also affords valuable face-to-face time to meet with current customers and prospects in the sales cycle. It could take a salesperson three days to travel and meet with several customers and prospects, but only one day or less at a tradeshow! Nurturing relationships should not be underestimated in the buying cycle. Maximize your hours at the tradeshow from morning coffee meetings to booth appointments and evening dinners.

Maximizing your booth to convey who your company is and what it offers is key for successful conversations. But, it’s the conversations that will turn leads and prospects into future business. It’s like a poker game – know when to hold them and know when to fold them. Stay tuned for Vive’s final installment in the Trades Show Success by Design series focusing on best practices after the show closes.

Trade Show Success by Design: A Three Part Series Part One: Tips for Planning a Successful Tradeshow

You want a successful trade show experience, but how do you make that happen? We’re going to answer that in a three parts: Pre-Show Planning, During the Show and Post-Show Follow-Up. Let’s begin with the planning.

It all begins before you even step foot on the exhibit floor. Echoing a statement by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” You need to commit to your trade show goals and ways to achieve them with purpose. Crafting a trade show plan serves many purposes by:

  • Organizing the approach in one place.
  • Defining the overarching goal, objectives, key messaging, strategies, tactics, timelines and budgets.
  • Providing direction when deciding on tactics.
  • Assisting with onboarding team members new to the initiative.

Planning can take almost more time than putting it into action. Here’s a few starting points.

Start early with research.

Ask questions – a lot of questions. What “big things” will your company have to talk about at the time of the tradeshow? Did you have a big success to showcase your capabilities that could be demonstrated at the show? Launching a new product or service? Are you rebranding? Often a company will hold releasing “big things” to have something new and exciting to promote at the tradeshow. This is important not only in outlining your goals and objectives, but also in determining your messaging. Also ask: What does a successful tradeshow look? Is it all about the sales numbers, or is it building your brand, quality leads and fostering current relationships.

Define your budget.

You can have all the ideas in the world, but how much money you have to spend will really determine which ones are feasible. Start with the booth experience. Estimate your structure expenses (renting vs. owning), graphic design needs, promotional items, sales collateral, lead retrieval systems, electrical, internet, etc. Don’t overlook the costs to be there. How many team members do you need to account for travel, lodging and meals? How will you promote your tradeshow presence? Include costs for trade show promotions and communications in addition to any tradeshow advertising and sponsorships that could boost your brand presence.

Set deadlines and delegations.

Starting with the show date. Then work backward and begin plotting out key show deadlines, such as shipping and service orders. Know registration and hotel deadlines. Fill in with dates to communicate your show presence and what channels – this can begin up to six months before a show like NPE2018! Then back up further and assign dates to complete booth messaging and establish the look. You’ll want that to infiltrate through all the tradeshow communication before, during and after the show.

When the trade show plan is complete and all decision makers have signed off, then it’s time to implement! Who will do the work? Gather your marketers, public relations, graphic designers, subject matter experts and any other key players you need to execute your tradeshow plan. Is it just you? Need help – ask Vive how we can help with tradeshow support. We like to say tradeshows can be like Thanksgiving dinner — it takes 10 times as long to prepare than it does to devour!

Vive welcomes Rebecca Easton

As the newest Viver on staff, the team has welcomed me warmly as I’ve welcomed this new opportunity in my career. I’m happy to be back in Milwaukee, and even happier to be at Vive. The culture here is friendly and upbeat, and there is nothing that makes a job better than working on a talented team in a beautiful lakeside office.

My professional experience spans print and digital, with emphasis in design and photography. And while I’ve made creative arts my profession, I also possess the ability to toe the line between left- and right-brain thinking. My educational background reflects that, as I studied creative advertising at Marquette University and recently completed my MBA from UW-Madison.

When it comes to my career, I am most interested in ways that creative design can assist in business development and traction for organizations. That is why working at Vive is refreshing in that I am involved in all aspects of marketing for our clients. As Creative Marketing Manager, I specifically ensure that our creative is top-notch and all-encompassing for the industry.

I believe that great design has purpose and intent. One reoccurring theme in my career is that good creative is the difference. You can have a good marketing plan, but adding strategic, well-thought-out creative takes your good marketing plan to the next level. Vive has a very talented team, and it is my goal to collaborate in making great creative marketing strategies for our clients.

The 4 W’s and an H of an Elevator Pitch

One way to ensure your employees know how to communicate your company’s message is to develop an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is an effective way to share your company’s capabilities and unique differentiator.

What?

A simple and quick summary of what your company does and what sets you apart from your competition. With only a few sentences, your employees can paint a vibrant picture in the listener’s head of what your organization does and how you build successful relationships with your customers, community, etc. This statement gives your employees more to say than “we manufacture plastic parts.”

Who?

All employees. Everyone in your organization should understand and be able to communicate what your company does and its unique value proposition.

Why?

An elevator pitch creates a consistent message across the organization. Your employees are true ambassadors of your brand. When asked “what does your company do?” your defined elevator pitch should be consistent. Without a strong message, an interaction can be a missed opportunity.

Where?

An elevator pitch was designed to be recited in a short period of time, like an elevator ride. However, there are numerous other instances when an elevator pitch is beneficial, such as:

  • Sales calls
  • Industry events
  • Networking events
  • Family functions
  • Community events

How?

Start by creating awareness. Then provide the tools. It’s very important to ensure organizational buy-in. Start by asking your employees “what does your company do?” This can reveal if there is a disconnect and how to combat it. Once the disconnect is understood, it’s time to remove it by crafting a tailored elevator pitch that is easy for everyone in your organization to remember.

 Ensuring your organization is being conveyed with a consistent message is very important for a successful brand. Gather your team and make sure you’re all on the same page with a straightforward, simple elevator pitch.

In the Eyes of the Federal Brand Investigators

The Federal Brand Investigators (FBI) are a true force in the world of marketing, and their jurisdiction encompasses anything and everything that has to do with your brand. Below are a few scenarios when the FBI should be called upon.

Brand Colors

Your logo is the face of your brand. The colors need to be specific and cannot be changed – it keeps your brand consistent and recognizable. Just because an employee’s favorite color is red does not grant them permission to change the original blue logo to red. According to the FBI, that’s against the law. Simply put, a logo shouldn’t be tarnished. However, there are exceptions to this law. A color change for a logo is appropriate, for example, during special events or holidays such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month or Independence Day.

Social Media

One of your employees enjoys working for your company, so he decides to changes his profile picture to the company logo. It’s great your team member is taking pride in their work, but this is a major offense in the eyes of the FBI. The problem? Anything posted on their social media page is now a direct reflection of your brand. There is no supervision and this employee has the potential to create a very poor perception of your company.

Logo Quality

An employee takes a screen grab of the company’s logo on the website and tries to use this low-resolution logo in marketing materials. This is a chargeable offense per the Federal Brand Investigators. People put in tireless hours to make a perfect logo. Never let anyone tarnish your image by using a low-quality version of your logo. Your logo doesn’t need to be available for the entire company, but it should be accessible for marketing materials.

Elevator Pitch

A brand goes beyond a logo; a brand is communicated through messaging too. Keeping a consistent message of who the company is and what it does with an elevator pitch is an asset in ensuring a consistent brand. Let’s say an employee is out to dinner and happens to be sporting a t-shirt with your organization’s logo plastered on the front. Yes, it’s great brand exposure, but what if that employee doesn’t know how to accurately describe what the company does? Employees are always representing the company during and after hours. If they aren’t sure how to explain to a customer/neighbor/vendor exactly what your organization does that can be detrimental to your brand. An elevator pitch helps to build the personality and value behind a brand that customers learn to recognize and trust.

Don’t be afraid to dispatch the Federal Brand Investigators to make sure all employees are abiding by the rules. Implementing a Brand Standards Guide permits employees to know what variations of the logo, typeface, and colors are acceptable. The Brand Standards Guide plays the ultimate Federal Brand Investigators role, and should be enforced throughout the organization.