How do you set your prices?

Seth Godin has a recent blog post on pricing power. Here’s a quote that stood out to me:

We often find ourselve stuck, matching the other guy’s price, or worse, racing to the bottom to be cheaper. Cheaper is the last refuge of the marketer unable to invent a better product and tell a better story.

There’s a school of marketing that says you have to have the lowest price. That’s basically Walmart’s marketing position.

I don’t buy it, no pun intended. If people only buy the least expensive cars, then how does Mercedes Benz stay in business?

Just some food for thought.

 

In all your seeking, get wisdom

Ship sailing on oceanYou might remember the time I told you about the small business that ruined its advertising. I recently found out that the company is closing the doors on the store in question.

It could be the economy, because the economy is tough right now. But if that small business had followed through on its advertising strategy, they would have been in a stronger position to weather this economic environment. They could not be dissuaded from the naive assumption that they didn’t need to communicate with their potential customers.

Treat your advertising as an investment. Start out conservatively and branch out slowly as you build your advertising presence. And don’t be afraid to consult with an advertising professional to get sound advice.

I bet you have an accountant and some sort of financial advisor. Treat your advertising and marketing investment the same way.

Copy-cat advertising

I often have small businesses tell me, “I’d like to have an ad like So-and-so’s.” That’s almost always a mistake. You want to stand out and be different in the minds of potential customers. You certainly don’t want to bring to mind your competition, unless you can do so in a way that shows off your product’s or service’s superiority.

That’s why I was surprised to see this Super Bowl ad from Motorola:

The ad introduces a new tablet computer from Motorola, the Xoom. The biggest problem with the ad? Everything about it reminds you of Apple.

The ad itself is a knock-off of arguably the most famous Super Bowl ad in history, the Apple Macintosh “1984” ad.

The Motorola ad has similar imagery, with identically dressed workers lined up in massive hallways catatonically walking to their destinations, and one lead character who doesn’t fit. That lead character is seen reading George Orwell’s 1984 on his tablet computer.

Even if you haven’t seen Apple’s original ad, when the lead character turns the page of the 1984 e-book, I bet you thought of the iPad. That’s not a great way to launch your new tablet. Everything about this ad reminds you of Apple and does nothing to differentiate the Xoom from the iPad.

It leaves you with the impression that this is just a knock-off, sort of like those watches people sell on street corners. Anyone want a “Roleks?” How about a “Guchi?”

I’ve shared this quote before, but it’s good advice from one the the greatest advertising minds ever:

“In advertising, not to be different is virtual suicide.”

– William Bernbach

You want to differentiate yourself from your competitors? Then don’t copy them. Be original.

Another lesson from Apple

Everyone knows by now that the iPhone is coming to Verizon. Let’s take a look at how Apple advertises this new offering.

Notice that their message is not that their iPhone is now available on Verizon. Their message is that you now have a choice of service providers. Their focus is your experience. They could have just told you what they offer, but it’s not about them, it’s about you.

Remember that when you create your advertising.

We’re now on Facebook!

Facebook logoI really appreciate all the people who have stopped by and visited these pages. I’m currently trying to make it a little easier for you to keep up and stay in touch.

You can now follow Worthwhile Advertising on facebook. Simply go to my facebook page, www.facebook.com/WorthwhileAdvertising, and click the “like” button at top of the page. Any updates on that page will then show up in your news feed.

I don’t want to hog your feed with a lot of updates that just tell you there’s a new post here, so I’m limiting those types of facebook updates to once a week. Occasionally I post something on the facebook page that doesn’t get posted here and that would be an additional news feed item. But I promise not to abuse that privilege. Facebook is less “business-y” and I want to respect that.

You can also subscribe via RSS by hitting the RSS button at the top of the page, or you can have Worthwhile Advertising delivered to your inbox by entering your email address in the field at the bottom of the page.

However you choose to join in, I appreciate your readership. Thanks. I mean that.

You want to be seen

A-B-C, simple as 1-2-3AllBusiness.com has a good article on the ABCs of advertising your small business. Not a whole lot of meat, but it does have some good advice.

My favorite quote:

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.”

– Stuart Henderson Britt

The author also mentions advertising as an investment that earns a return. But if you’ve been reading this blog, you already know about that.

A little help for the upcoming year

Rising ProfitsAs a small business owner, you know that you need to sit down at some point and think long term about your business and its advertising. While I can’t help you set goals for your business, I can offer a little guidance on your advertising and marketing. Here are six past articles from this blog that might help you as you think through and strategize your marketing and advertising for the upcoming year. Click on the title heading and the article will open in a new window.

What do you really sell?

All good strategy’s start by getting down to the basics. You might think you sell furniture, but your customer may be looking for a lot more than that.

How do your customers identify you?

Does your logo, business cards and other advertising and marketing truly reflect the work that you do?

Are you living up to your advertising?

You can say all the good things you want, but if those things aren’t true then you’re going to lose customers instead of gain them.

Make your message strike a chord.

What makes an ad stand out? Its message sticks with you long after you’ve moved on to other things.

The Secret Formula for Successful Advertising.

This was the first post ever published on this blog. It gives a simple explanation of how advertising works.

What are you saying?

Here’s two simple rules to making an effective advertisement.

There’s a lot of food for thought there. I hope this will help you and your small business get off to a good start this upcoming year.

spam irony

No Spam!I get lots of comment spam. As readers, you don’t see it because it gets filtered and eventually deleted. But every now and then one catches my eye because of the complete idiocy of the attempt at advertising. Here’s one such example:

Hi, i simply needed to come here to inform you of a super inexpensive service that posts comments like this on millions of WordPress blogs. Exactly why you might ask, well you may wish to sell something and target webmasters or merely just increase the quantity of backlinks your website has which will improve your Google rankins which will then bring your website much more visitors and cash. Take a quick take a look at this website for much more info. <*link removed*>

So… a spam comment that tells me how I can post comment spam on other people’s blogs. Oh, the irony!

It’s stuff like this that gives advertising a bad name. How you advertise says a lot about who you are.

A well-designed logo

I’m excited about today’s post. Not only do we look at an outstanding logo, we get to hear from the designer, Caleb Chang!

While spending the holidays up in the Pacific Northwest with my family, I attended church in White Rock, BC with my in-laws. During the service, I noticed their logo. I think its a little above most church logos I’ve seen and I wanted to share it with you.

White Rock Community Church logo

WRCC logo on a promotional banner. Logo designer, Caleb Chang.

What I really like about this logo is how it contains a subtle message about this church’s mission but yet that message doesn’t get in the way of clearly identifying the name of the church. Under the words “White Rock” is a simple line. The line adds a nice visual element but also is reminiscent of an open book or Bible. The “spine” of the book points to the letter “t” in the word “Community,” which is shaped as a cross. What I see when I look at this logo is a subtle message: the Church’s foundation is Scripture, and Scripture points to Christ.

What’s neat about this is that this message doesn’t get in the way of telling the reader the name of this particular church. Most small businesses would love to have this much symbolism in their logo, but only end up cluttering it up so much that their identity is lost and unreadable.

After asking about the logo, I discovered that I had met the designer just a few days before. Caleb graciously agreed to share a little about the design process for this particular logo. Here’s an excerpt from Caleb’s email:

A logo should also have staying power because let’s face it – most small businesses or not-for-profits don’t have huge budgets when it comes to marketing. As a general rule of thumb, unless you have the time and money to revamp your logo every 5 years – don’t follow the latest design trends.

White Rock Community Church (WRCC) wanted a logo that reflected the fact that they were an intergenerational, Christian community that valued practical teaching from the Bible and long-lasting relationships. Their mission was to help people reach their God-given potential in Jesus Christ. So how do you create a logo that reflects all of that without it looking like it was drawn up by your artsy 14 year old niece?

Create a wordmark, a distinctive, text-only typographic treatment, instead of a logo. I proposed using the wordmark with different photos and let the photos tell the story. Well, the client wasn’t totally convinced so we reached a compromise – we integrated some basic symbols into the wordmark.

The intergenerational aspect of WRCC is portrayed by blending a 1930’s face (White Rock) with a modern classic face (Community Church). The visual divider between White Rock and Community Church is a bible and the “t” in the word “white” and “community” were changed into a cross.

Ministries within the church followed the same look and feel:

WRCC Student Ministries identity

Great work, Caleb, and thank you for sharing your insight.

You can reach Caleb at his website, changstein.ca. And yes, that’s a Seinfeld reference. 🙂

What is a logo really worth?

A so-so logo that is used consistently in all marketing and advertising can become quite valuable. A great logo that is rarely used is worthless.

I’m always surprised at how many small businesses invest in a logo and then don’t use it consistently. That includes making sure it looks the same every time it is used.

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