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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!

iTunes: Subscribe

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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 This was followed by having outdated or ineffective websites, videos and sales tools.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 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.

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.

MAPP Inspires Once Again

vivemappAnother MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference is in the books! Vive plans and prepares for this annual plastics industry event with plenty of anticipation. It’s great to reconnect with those in our network and meet new plastics professionals across all areas of the business. There was high energy right from the start as the association’s executive director, Troy Nix, got all 550 attendees excited about this year’s theme, Perseverance.

The theme of perseverance was apparent throughout the entire conference. From a Stanley Cup champion to a prisoner in solitary confinement, everyone showed how they persevered to become the successful people they are today. The presentations were moving experiences and every one of the speakers focused on connecting their stories of perseverance to the plastics industry.

The conference concluded with Lieutenant Colonel Rob “Waldo” Waldman. His fear of heights and what he had to overcome in order to be a fighter pilot certainly moved the crowd. He had people standing up screaming “Push it up!” with their hands in the air. The biggest message taken from Waldo was don’t let fear outweigh your passion. As Waldo explained his fear of heights but his passion to fly, he persevered and overcame his fear to do what he loved.

Just like the conference began, Troy Nix brought the event to a close by encouraging everyone in attendance to make necessary changes in order to persevere and be successful. The Vive team came home inspired to make positive changes individually and as an organization. We’ve already marked our calendars and are making plans to return to Indianapolis for next year’s annual MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, Oct. 12-13, 2017!

The Journey to the Real World

Emma_UpdatedHeadshotWe understand the importance of shaping our youth and preparing them for a future in the workforce. Earlier this summer Vive was excited to announce the arrival of our new Marketing Intern, Emma Nowak. Emma will be a sophomore at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse this fall with a business major.

Being an incoming sophomore in college, I never expected to have an opportunity as great as the one I was offered to join to Vive team for the summer. As nervous as I was to start my internship, I was very determined to try my best and learn all that I could out of this experience.

This internship is a way for me to set the basis of my future career goals and offers an opportunity to get a better grasp on what a marketing job would entail, as I continue my college career with a degree in marketing. I hope to be able to build my personal portfolio and develop a more professional presence. Sitting in on multiple client calls and emailing back and forth with the Vive team, I have begun to understand the type of communication that is expected. The amazing office with an even more amazing view, along with the great team at Vive has made me even more excited to begin this new chapter in my life.

My goal in college is one that I’ve embraced as long as I’ve been in school: to try my best and be proud of my work. I strongly believe that if someone feels confident they have done their best – whether it be for a paper, speech, or even a tryout – you have been successful, no matter the results. Another major goal for me while in college is to narrow down my career options. As of now I have a declared major but there has been very little thought into what I would want to do in marketing. My ideal job as of right now would be to work for a marketing firm in a large city like New York City or Chicago. Although my goals for college are very broad in a sense, they are goals I had set for myself a long time and they’ve always helped me achieve new things.

Why Outsource Marketing? Let Us Explain…

The team at Vive prides ourselves on being an extension of your company, offering our best insight to help you succeed in the marketing department of your business. With proven success in the industry, Vive should be your go-to source for all marketing needs.

Outsource-Marketing

Marketing in plastics can be a troubling ask. It is a booming industry with a lot of players all trying to make their brand stand out. Hiring somebody without the experience and expertise needed to be successful can be detrimental to any company. A direct hire needs training and resources to help your company become successful in your industry.

Working with Vive brings in an outside perspective that allows us to offer reliable objectivity and fresh ideas you wouldn’t receive from a direct hire. The team at Vive works collaboratively every day, bouncing ideas off each other to come up with the best possible solution. Our team provides depth, with a multitude of different talents that serve a plethora of marketing needs. Having the ability to work with a team of marketing specialists that all have knowledge and experience in the plastics industry sets us far above a direct hire.

Our team can provide insight on the best publications, tradeshows and events to help your brand achieve maximum exposure. Having decades of experience in the plastics industry, we know how to get things done and how to gain exposure. The Vive team will guide you every step of the way to ensure your marketing department achieves its goals the best way possible.

Maintaining a marketing department is a daunting responsibility and key to successful business. Our competitive advantage is offering creativity and critical thinking as a catalyst for meaningful change that is immediate, enduring and effective. Vive has the resources and expertise, no training needed. Let Vive be your marketing department.