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Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

Why should marketers make time to perform a social media audit? In general, any marketing activity that replaces guesswork with relevant data should provide opportunities to improve ROI. To answer this question, it also helps to understand the increasing importance of social media marketing for growing businesses.

According to data collected by Sprout Social in a Harris poll:

  • Social platforms introduced over half of consumers to new brands in the past year.
  • Even more, almost half of consumers increased their usage of social sites solely to learn more about new products.
  • Almost eight out of 10 consumers said that positive social interactions with a company would motivate them to make a purchase.

Social sites allow companies to connect with customers and expand audiences by crafting posts, influencer marketing, or responding to citations and mentions. At the same time, lots of businesses improvise their social strategies without taking time to develop a plan, state goals, or uncover information that will help them improve. 

Even though many brands find social media marketing productive, they also recognize that they have plenty of rivals competing for attention. Businesses can benefit from the competitive advantage that data-based marketing plans can offer. 

A social media audit provides essential insights into critical metrics. It demonstrates which activities offer the best returns and which ones need improvement. In turn, marketers can use this information to improve their results by fixing problems and focusing on activities most likely to yield positive results. 

A quick five-step social media audit template

A term like audit might intimidate some marketers. Don’t worry. This kind of audit won’t require a team of financial professionals. The process should not take long and will rely on easily accessible data and a simple, five-step template. The audit also relies on information that marketers should find easily accessible. 

Best of all, the audit won’t impose any penalties. Instead, it offers insights into areas for improvement. For instance, marketers may find they lack key metrics. Anything missing provides an essential insight into a place for improvement. Solid marketing plans start with measurable goals and the metrics required to measure them. 

Step 1: Make an informative list of all social media platforms

As with any exercise, it helps to begin with a simple warmup. Start by listing all the social media sites the business uses. If a list of social sites already exists, ensure a team member takes responsibility for keeping it updated.

Social media management tools help improve efficiency and team collaboration. Some popular examples include Hootsuite and Sprout Social. These tools may also offer social listening features that help marketers keep track of brand mentions from other sources. For an audit, using one of these tools should make it easy to pull a list of social sites. 

Social media software and apps can save time, help marketers stick to posting schedules, and provide important analytics. If the company uses specific social sites but hasn’t set them up in their social media manager, include a suggestion to update them in the audit report. If the business hasn’t started using a social media tool, this might offer an excellent opportunity to consider it. 

Step 2: Check for consistent branding and messaging

Does the company’s presence across various social networks share a consistent brand voice, according to brand guidelines? Has the company even established brand guidelines that offer team members essential information like the mission, goals, target audience, brand voice, and images?

According to the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, consistent branding benefits companies by developing positive brand recognition, trust, and customer connections. Many marketers only associate branding with logos and other images. While visuals matter, so will communicating values and missions to customers.

Businesses must develop brand guidelines to ensure marketers understand these critical factors and communicate them to the right audiences. Thus, reporting on deviations from these guidelines or even a total lack of them offers an essential opportunity for improvement.

Step 3: Identify the best-performing content

Marketers with plenty of social media history and some successes can gain quick insights by examining posts that performed well previously. Consider various metrics, including likes and shares, views, click-throughs, and conversions. Also, look at these metrics in light of the content’s goals.

With the right social media analytics, this step might look pretty easy. However, interpreting performance can take some judgment. For instance, engagement might help measure brand recognition campaigns, but marketers should measure revenue-generating posts by click-throughs and conversions.

Also, keep the specific platform, goals, and target audience in mind. For example:

  • Light-hearted videos might provide a good way to improve engagement, but product posts, infographics, or longer text posts might do a better job of closing sales.
  • Longer posts often succeed better on video-centric platforms, like YouTube, but Facebook users tend to have less patience and might prefer shorter ones.

Use analytics platforms to ensure the content attracts the intended audience. For instance, a light-hearted, punchy video might have generated plenty of engagement. However, it might not have achieved its goal if it had primarily attracted teenage viewers, but the intended audience consisted of millennial moms. In contrast, if an unexpected audience converted with click-throughs and sales, marketers might reevaluate their targets.

In any case, scouring high-performing content should offer plenty of insights to inform future investments. Similarly, low-performing content can tell marketers what their audiences don’t care for. At the same time, make sure to evaluate performance with other factors in mind, like the social media platform, audience demographics, etc.

Step 4: Spot high-performing platforms

As various audiences prefer different types of content, all social media users don’t share the same platform preferences. Past metrics will show which platforms have performed well in the past. That information offers a quick way to determine which social sites to focus on in the future. 

At the same time, marketers may hope to expand into new platforms or experiment with different content on platforms they haven’t enjoyed a lot of luck with in the past. Combining an understanding of the audience with information about performance on other platforms can offer valuable clues for choosing new social sites.

For example: 

  • Sprout Social offered recent demographic information about popular social media sites. Despite Facebook’s reputation as a network where mom and grandma socialize, average users range between 25 and 34. Men slightly outnumber women. Users spend an average of about half an hour on the site daily.
  • Companies looking to engage with older women should consider Pinterest, with an average user base of women between 50 and 64. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Instagram has similar average demographics as Facebook. If marketing performs well on Facebook, Instagram might provide a logical place to expand.
  • In contrast, TikTok attracts teens and has an audience that skews towards females. Snapchat engages a similar demographic. Twitter attracts a young adult audience with more men than women.

The top platforms attract hundreds of millions to billions of users. Thus, social sites that might not look ideally suited to a specific brand’s target could still have plenty of users that qualify as part of a target audience. Thus, a product aimed at college students might sometimes perform well on Pinterest or Instagram. Use typical audiences on various sites as a guide, but don’t let it prevent experimenting with other venues. 

During the audit, focus on figuring out which sites have performed well in the past. Understand that the reasons the posts succeeded might not carry over to another platform. In-depth knowledge of audiences can offer clues, but only real-world tests can provide verifiable results.

Step 5: Take Action

By now, a social media action report should offer plenty of valuable insights. The completed audit report should contain:

  • A list of all current social media platforms
  • Notes about posts that don’t conform to messaging and branding guidelines
  • Information about high-performing content and platforms 

Marketers should not need to struggle to find plenty of actionable items, including issues to fix, analytics data to acquire, brand guidelines to create or update, and potential types of content and platforms to focus on. Keep the audit document to refer back to, and very importantly, set a date for the next social media audit. The report can also provide a tool for budgeting and meetings with management.

Why conduct a social media audit as soon as possible?

Businesses increasingly depend on social media to connect with customers. Optimizing any marketing efforts requires a plan, goals, and a way to measure progress. The information produced by the report will enable marketers to develop an effective, data-driven marketing plan that should improve returns. Just as important, the audit report will give marketers a way to communicate with other team members and management.

Completing the five steps in this social media audit template should not take long. If the preparer faces obstacles because of a lack of information, the audit has already done its job by uncovering a significant weakness. At least the marketers now know they’re missing data, and this understanding will offer ways to improve to ensure the following audit report doesn’t take much time. Of course, taking actions specified in the audit report may provide plenty of work until it’s time for the next one.

Categories
Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

Research suggests that consumers make most purchase decisions for consumer packaged goods while they’re out shopping. Imagine customers viewing similar products from various brands on store shelves or in an eCommerce shop. Brand packaging that attracts attention and engages interest can significantly influence shopping choices. 

Customers can’t open boxes, bottles, and jars in the store before purchasing and certainly can’t open online purchases. At the same time, most shoppers arrive with set preferences and tastes, and they need to rely on labels, descriptions, and branding to figure out if one item or another will satisfy them after they get home. After all, most people don’t spend that much time researching products like yogurt, lotion, or snack bars before they shop. 

A product’s packaging needs to catch a customer’s eye and make a good impression. Brands need to rely on their packaging to tell their stories. The text, logos, and other graphics must do an excellent job of differentiating themselves from alternative options. Find out how brand packaging can influence purchase decisions and explore some real-world package redesigns that had a significant impact on sales. 

How much does brand packaging influence buying choices?

For instance, a scholarly article in the National Journal of Medicine discussed packaging design for cosmetics products. The authors found that consumers made 73 percent of their buying choices at the point of sale. The researchers concluded that the shoppers’ perception of the product and the entire brand’s value begins with attractive packaging. 

An excellent package design can benefit consumers and companies by easing the shopping decision by helping the well-packaged product stand out in a crowd of choices. Elements of using packaging to develop and reintroduce a positive brand identity can include colors, shapes, quality, materials, and convenience. 

Companies invest a lot in developing products that suit customer preferences. For example, cosmetics consumers enjoy attractive packaging that reflects their lifestyles and tastes. Successful brands take time to learn about their target audience and design packaging to please customers. 

Packaging serves as a salesperson on a shelf 

For instance, these shoppers will want to ensure the packaging makes dispensing easy, protects the product, and offers a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative. In a typical consumer’s mind, packaging can add to or detract from the quality and value of the product. 

These factors often combine as a first source of the customer’s perception of the brand’s identity. The researchers referred to packaging as a salesperson on a shelf. If brands want to profit from a 24-7 remote and unsupervised salesperson, the packaging must support and communicate their brand message. 

Examples of packaging changes to support a positive brand identity 

Since packaging’s first job involves engaging the shopper’s attention, it helps to parse out visual elements of recent package design changes. Many companies have boosted sales after learning more about their target audience. This understanding offered them insights to introduce packaging improvements. To understand how these improvements helped attract customers, consider some examples. 

Chobani

Chobani yogurt package redesign

Chobani redesigned its packaging a few years ago. Find the old version on the left and the new one on the right. When the company changed its packaging, it had already produced yogurt for over a decade. Chobani had also beaten the competition to become the best-selling brand in the country. The redesign surprised some observers who associate packaging changes with businesses that struggle and not those that already lead their fields. 

The company’s chief creative officer, Leland Maschmeyer, responded that they didn’t want to wait for a problem that would force them to rush into making impulsive choices. He also said that the company’s leadership position gave them more confidence to make calculated moves to help position the brand for future growth. 

Chobani had learned more about the changing tastes of yogurt buyers and wanted to ensure that their packaging reflected it. He added that rebranding during a downturn might communicate weakness rather than innovation. 

At first glance, the new design appears more straightforward than the old one. Mr. Maschmeyer said this design choice reflected the brand’s transparency and natural, whole-food, simple ingredients. 

The Packaging Lab also reported on psychological studies that help explain how other elements of the changes supported the idea of a natural, simple product: 

  • In places where people read their language from left to right, shoppers prefer reading the details on the left side of an image. The new package moved most of the text to the left side instead of centering it on top of the strawberry. 
  • The company also changed to a bolder and simpler font, replacing the fancier script. A plainer font can also help communicate a more natural and simple image. 
  • Chobani left the basic color scheme the same as customers probably already unconsciously associated these shades with the brand. At the same time, the new design appears less complex and cluttered. 
  • Instead of just one extremely bright, oversized strawberry, multiple realistic berries adorn the label, signaling natural abundance. 

RxBar

In contrast to Chobani, RxBar floundered in relative obscurity before redesigning its packaging about five years ago. Peter Rahal and Jarred Smith founded the company. These two partners designed the original packaging on the left in PowerPoint by themselves just before they launched RxBar in 2013. 

At first glance, the design appears adequate. However, it didn’t do much to differentiate RxBars from its competitors. For instance: 

  • Consumers can find plenty of protein bars at grocery and convenience stores, most of which look similar. Rahal and Smith probably gained their initial inspiration from products they had seen on store shelves. 
  • Most snack bars, even supposedly healthy ones, look like candy bars in the package. Some snack bars also resemble candy more than healthy snacks after reading the ingredients. Thus, consumers might not know the difference between healthy snacks and candy bars full of processed ingredients, fat, and sugar. 

After a few years, the founders realized that most sales the brand had achieved previously came from word-of-mouth emphasis on RxBar’s natural, whole ingredients. They listed the ingredients on the back of the bar, but most people didn’t bother to turn the package over to read them. The company’s founders grew convinced that promoting these real-food, recognizable ingredients would give them a competitive advantage over highly processed competitors. 

After achieving stability a couple of years after launching, the pair consulted with a packaging design company to help them rebrand. Thus, RxBar’s new packaging lists the simple, healthy ingredients in bold letters on the front. The redesign also changed the large photo representing the bar’s flavor to a smaller and more modern graphic image. In addition, the company shrunk the logo, figuring the basic but distinctive style of their packaging would offer plenty of branding. 

Despite some concerns from consultants about making the package look generic, the founder’s ideas worked. RxBar’s packaging won design awards, and the company soon had contracts with major retailers like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. RxBar may have violated plenty of traditional packaging design rules. However, they conveyed their most important message to distributors, retailers, and consumers. 

Luma & Leaf

Luma & Leaf serves the growing market of younger adults who prefer organic skincare products. Bigeye took on the project to revamp the company’s branding while maintaining the company’s playful voice. 

Bigeye took the time to understand Luma & Leaf’s business goals and target market. For example: 

  • The designers understood the client’s core belief that everybody deserves products that help them look and feel their best without adding unnecessary stress. 
  • They also knew the audience preferred natural, sustainable products that offered convenience and a pleasant appearance. 

Skincare product companies must stand out in a highly competitive market. Thus, Bigeye wanted to ensure that the packaging communicated Luma & Leaf’s competitive differentiator in a prominent yet attractive way. Various patterns represent collections within the company’s brand architecture, including Clearing, Soothing, and Illuminating. Each distinctive pattern showcases the natural, plant-based ingredients used to make the product. 

Organic ingredients and sustainable packaging support healthy skin and a healthy environment. The company’s customers care about using natural products on their own bodies. These consumers also express concerns about the environment. In addition to making skincare products with sustainable ingredients, Luma & Leaf also offers upcyclable packaging that customers can use for plant misters, bud vases, and more. 

The messaging paid off. When Luma & Leaf launched the newly designed products on the company’s eCommerce site, they generated thousands of dollars worth of sales within days. Learn more about Bigeye’s packaging design work with Luma & Leaf on the case study page

Is it time for a better packaging design?

Instead of struggling for a few years like RxBar, startups can encourage faster growth by studying their market and designing packaging that offers more value to themselves and their customers. Similarly, established businesses might consider a revamp to meet new trends or reenergize sluggish sales. 

At Bigeye, we’re always eager to listen to your company story and help you communicate it to more customers. Contact us today to get started. 

Categories
Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

How to define product marketing 

How do marketers define product marketing? That looks like an easy question about a standard job. Still, many people will offer different answers, and few can provide a succinct definition. For example, many descriptions center on activities before the product launch, but the job of product marketing lasts through the entire lifecycle. 

In as few words as possible, product marketing refers to all activities involved in bringing a product to market and supporting it throughout its lifecycle. These activities include every step from initial conception and design to customer service and in the end, phasing out the product to make room for the next new thing. 

Product marketers need to understand their company, the product, and their audience of consumers very well. The job involves product design, packaging, product launches, customer service, and support. These tasks may require cooperation between multiple departments in large enterprises. In smaller companies and startups, product marketing teams could wear many hats. 

Successfully marketing products starts with understanding customers

Like all good marketing, product marketing centers around customers. After all, developing the world’s best product won’t do much good unless consumers learn it exists, what it does, how it’s used, and why it can satisfy their needs. Thus, marketers should differentiate their product from potential competitors, define their audience, develop buyer personas, and find out where these consumers gather information to inform purchase decisions. 

Using audience knowledge to develop a brand identity for the product 

Understanding the audience’s values and perceptions can help marketers develop a successful strategy for engaging the market. For instance, Wordstream discussed Apple’s Mac. Vs. Windows PC TV ads from a few years ago. Apple needed to tell a story to convince consumers to spend more on an Apple computer than they would need to spend on many Windows computers. 

Many competing companies offer Windows PCs, but only Apple makes Mac computers. Thus, Apple needed to quickly differentiate its products from the entire ecosystem of Windows PCs. That way, the company could engage customers and develop brand loyalty. If Apple could successfully differentiate their products, they could encourage brand loyalty that most Windows PC manufacturers don’t enjoy. Windows users might choose Windows computers, but they may not differentiate much between such manufacturers as Lenovo, Dell, or HP. 

Apple made dozens of humorous ads featuring a cool Mac guy and a stodgy PC guy. The ads differentiated Apple’s products with such benefits as being easy to use, free from malware bloat, and connected with popular software like iTunes. Primarily, the company understood its buyers. It wanted its target market to view Apple as the choice of sophisticated computer users and Windows PCs as the option for the dreary and conventional. 

Marketing steps for successful product launches 

Consider these essential steps to ensure a successful product launch. A solid understanding of and focus on customers will lead to successful product launches during all phases. 

Research the product: Before anybody considers a launch, the developers, marketers, and hopefully, some outside beta testers will thoroughly test the product to ensure it’s bug-free, works as advertised, and solves the problem as promised. At this time, feedback from various user groups can still yield improvements. 

Craft the product’s story: Document who will want to purchase this product and why consumers will feel satisfied with their purchase. This overview should explain why people should buy this product instead of taking a competitor’s offer. 

Create a launch plan: Successful product launches involve several steps and cooperation from different groups. A detailed launch plan gives the managers a way to solicit feedback, keeps various stakeholders in the loop, and assigns responsibility for each process. 

Conduct launch meetings: Most businesses will invite representatives from various groups to a meeting on launch day. Proactive product marketing managers will probably schedule regular meetings for progress reports, brainstorming, and input throughout the preparation stage. 

Develop content around the products and purchasers: Before the launch, the brand will need sales pages, advertising content, product advertising, and other marketing collateral. A solid understanding of the product’s story and the audience will enable the development of compelling content. 

Align and engage sales, marketing, and support: Various teams have specific jobs, but they still need to work towards the same goals. Accept input from all stakeholders involved in marketing, support, and sales, and make sure they all have the information to handle a successful launch. 

Engage the community: Plan how to develop and react to the buzz around the new release. Take the opportunity to reach out to previous customers, likely influencers, and other stakeholders for feedback. Incorporate any new information into the launch. Track mentions in the news or on social media and prepare to respond when appropriate. 

What responsibilities do product marketers have?

Primarily, product marketers ensure consumers positively recognize the brand. They must combine deep knowledge of the products with a solid understanding of their market. Because product managers must often work with other marketers, sales, support, development, customer service, and customers, it helps if they can also act as ambassadors to represent the overall goals for the product’s marketing. 

Some specific tasks of product marketers include: 

  • Research the market: Deliverables can include buyer personas, feedback from testers or surveys, a marketing story, and suggestions for advertising platforms. 
  • Develop a marketing plan: This plan could include details about the types of assets and platforms the company will need for marketing, including market research, content, ads, and support. 
  • Work on pricing and packaging: Product marketers may help set pricing and sales models. Plus, they help work on packaging that will help the brand stand out online or on physical shelves. 
  • Work on marketing budgets: Product managers should develop budgets they will need to market the product. 
  • Work with the talent to develop marketing collateral: These professionals develop briefs that creatives use to create various marketing assets, like web pages, videos, articles, and social posts. 
  • Develop and manage a marketing calendar: The marketers need to develop a schedule, assign responsibilities, and chart progress. 
  • Interface with other departments: The product marketers should keep other groups informed, accept feedback, and ensure every team stays updated and on track. 

This job requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Beyond market research and developing typical marketing plans, they must work with various stakeholders. For instance: 

  • During product development: Focus groups can offer feedback on the product’s designs, so the marketer might interface with the product’s engineers and designers to consider improvements. 
  • Before launch: The product marketers should work with sales to ensure the salespeople understand the product’s story, view the product advertising, and align with overall business goals. 
  • After sales: Some marketing content might support customer service by offering a FAQ page or how-to articles and videos to ensure customers know how to use the product or can connect with customer service to handle any concerns after sales. 

Thus, experienced product marketing managers generally command relatively high salaries. When they do their jobs well, these professionals start by helping their company grow sales and revenue. They can also help reduce workloads and save money by assisting other departments in running efficiently and staying aligned with overall goals. 

The importance of product marketing 

Product marketers function as product ambassadors for various departments, executives, partners, affiliates, and most of all, the company’s customers. Some marketers describe product marketers as positioned at the intersection between development, marketing, sales, customer support, and the brand’s audience. 

This task requires at least a good understanding of the other team’s functions and a deep knowledge of the product and the audience. Thus, the job requires both hard marketing and soft skills to empathize with and serve various stakeholders. Most importantly, effective marketers will strive to present customers with a positive view of the company, brand, and product. 

Categories
Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

Sometimes, authors do a fabulous job of developing characters, and readers feel like they understand a fictional person’s attitudes, motivations, and actions. If they could encounter this person in real life, avid readers believe they know what the character would do or how they’d react in any situation. These lifelike characters engage readers with stories even after they’ve finished reading. Similarly, our marketing research company strives to develop buyer personas that accurately represent target markets to give us a clear picture of potential buyers. This practice keeps us engaged with the audience. In turn, it gives us the tools to ensure buyers stay engaged with a business. 

Why are buyer personas important for marketing?

Even though the buyers profiled don’t exactly exist, consumers with similar essential characteristics are out there shopping for products. Instead of developing these characters purely from our imaginations, we gather and analyze information about real people to uncover common traits. 

Thus, a description of a semi-fictional character in a buyer persona helps marketers understand real-life consumers’ motivations, preferences, and potential actions. This important brief will provide an essential tool for developing marketing materials, segmenting audiences, choosing advertising platforms, and setting goals for testing and tuning. 

Developing useful buyer personas for marketing 

Our customer-focused process involves science, craft, and considerable testing, similar to developing a compelling story. To better understand our process, step through the methods we use to help clients understand their markets. 

Step 1: Define the anticipated target market 

Inc. Magazine observed that all marketers should define target markets to build a solid foundation for marketing. Understanding the market matters if the business intends to produce buyer personas or not. Primarily, most companies don’t have the budget to target everybody, and that’s probably a wasteful exercise anyway. Targeting general subsections of the population, like seniors, stay-at-home parents, or busy professionals, might prove too broad. 

Instead of casting a wide net, we prefer to select two or three tightly defined audiences to start. For example: 

  • Our research for a natural skincare company might uncover that the products appeal to women with concerns about dry skin and women who want to support natural, sustainable products and packaging. 
  • After digging deeper, our research could reveal that members of this population between ages 35 to 50 who live in dry or cold climates appear receptive to the products and the online subscription sales model the business employs. 
  • Just as valuable, surveys and interviews found that almost half of the women concerned about dry skin follow beauty bloggers and content producers on Instagram or YouTube. Members of the other market tend to consume news about ways to run a more eco-friendly household.

Sometimes, an existing company’s customer base provides plenty of information. Other times, startups don’t have a large pool of current customers. We may need to conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups or rely on market research from other sources. Sometimes, the angles potential competitors use in their ads offer inspiration. In any case, we make data-based choices to fill in the details.

Step 2: Craft buyer personas to represent the audience 

How do marketers take the information they gather about their potential audience and turn it into one of these semi-fictional descriptions? According to HubSpot, marketers should begin by looking for common traits shared by many people in the audience. 

The basic helpful traits could include: 

  • Such demographic information as age ranges, ZIP codes, incomes, family status, education level, or professions 
  • Communication and entertainment preferences, like social networks, texting vs. email, favorite sports, or publications 
  • Challenges the individual might face that hinder meeting personal or career goals 

More in-depth information should prove helpful in developing a complete picture of the person. Examples of psychographics, more personal than simple demographics, include personality traits and motivations. For instance: 

  • Might the individual belong to organizations for networking, charitable causes, or fitness? 
  • Do they subscribe to blogs, publications, or Youtube channels that provide information about social matters, finance, health, the environment, or cooking? 
  • Would this person prefer to spend time off riding a bike, reading, or going to a club or concert? Do they view themselves as outgoing or reserved? How would the individual prefer to shop and gather information about shopping choices?

The better the persona describes things this semi-fictional person already does and cares about, the more it can help predict how they’ll react and what they’ll do in the future. The details can also provide important clues about media consumed and messages or even tones that would make the audience receptive. 

The information can help businesses avoid missteps that might offend audience segments. For instance, an Audi commercial from a few years ago attempted to use humor to attract attention. At the same time, the advertisement compared buying a car to choosing a wife by having the mother-in-law at a wedding “inspect” the bride. 

Unsurprisingly, this advertisement made many viewers uncomfortable. Indeed, the ad failed to attract female car buyers. Meanwhile, surveys in the US find that women play a role in 85 percent of auto buying decisions. 

Step 3: Find marketing platforms the audience already consumes

No matter how well a market research company narrows down audiences and crafts buyer personas, they won’t help their clients if the audience isn’t listening to the message they want to broadcast. That’s why we seek information about how audiences consume media and communicate. 

The better job we do of finding out where our audience “listens,” the greater chance we can ensure they will hear us. These days, businesses have plenty of platforms to choose from, including the internet, smartphones, radio, TV, print, and physical spaces. Each of these media types consists of countless outlets and platforms. Few businesses have the resources to test all of them, so we must use our research to choose the best candidates. 

Ideally, customers or prospects will fill out surveys, directly communicating their preferences. Without direct information, marketers can look for trends regarding the typical habits of the general population. For instance: 

  • Typical Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram users tend to be older than typical TikTok and Twitter viewers. 
  • Twitter attracts more men, but TikTok appeals to more women. In contrast, LinkedIn, the social site for business, draws a roughly equal percentage of men and women. 
  • Beyond the basic demographics of these social sites, savvy marketers will look for specific content, influencers, or tags that can attract the right sets of eyeballs. 

Step 4: Set goals, test, and optimize 

Despite their best efforts, few marketers have ever developed a perfectly optimized marketing plan on their first try. Businesses should look at testing and tuning as a way to improve as they learn more about their market. Sometimes, companies get lucky, and a well-considered but untested marketing campaign might succeed, but nobody will ever know if the lack of testing led to missed opportunities to improve. Sometimes, slight improvements in engagement and conversion rates can differentiate between profits and losses or growth and stagnation. 

Productive testing should begin with a theory to prove or disprove, measurable goals to measure success, and a test plan. Tests with narrow scopes may take more patients but can often yield valuable information for a low cost. 

The essential components of a test plan can include: 

  • Audience: Use one of the audiences used to develop buyer personas. 
  • Theory: A stated hypothesis about a change to marketing that could improve some aspects of marketing, like post engagement, website visitors, brand recognition, conversion rates, or sales. 
  • Goals: Include measurable goals for improvement based upon the theory. 
  • Metrics: KPIs, like post reactions, website visitors, filled shopping carts, conversion rates, and revenue, can measure results at various points of the sales funnel. 
  • Test type: A/B testing against the current advertising or another test ad that supports a competing theory. 

These tests will do more than prove or disprove theories if done correctly. Marketers can find weak spots in their overall plan. For instance, the current advertisement might do an excellent job of engaging the audience and attracting visitors to a website. Still, a problem with an online shopping cart or the sales page could hinder sales. Thus, these tests can help identify additional weak spots that need further testing. 

Consider market research and testing an ongoing process 

As a marketing research company, we don’t consider research, developing buyer personas, ad platform selection, or testing a one-and-done deal. Besides believing that we can constantly improve, we know that our client’s businesses can change quickly. Economic or political changes, new technology, and competitors can transform or even disrupt markets at any time. Thus, we may cycle through the four steps described above multiple times. 

We don’t just strive to help our clients keep up but to thrive by constantly seeking to add new audiences and expand their markets. Our efforts center on getting to know the audience very well, as if they’re our family, acquaintances, and friends. Since these people support our clients, we value them like friends, even if they’re semi-fictional representations developed into buyer personas. 

Categories
Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

Many of today’s hottest brands began by marketing directly to customers instead of seeking retail intermediaries. Fast-growing brands like Misfits Market, Smile Direct Club, and Allbirds have benefited from DTC marketing advantages, including lower overhead, strong customer relationships, and a growing base of consumers who enjoy the convenience of online shopping. 

The increasing importance of developing a winning DTC strategy 

Even the increasing popularity of DTC businesses with consumers does not mean that it’s time to neglect the basics. Some market factors that sparked the DTC boom also threaten to impede it. Thus, DTC marketers have observed that they’re now operating in a less forgiving marketplace than they enjoyed last year. 

For instance:

  • According to a CNBC report, even the most prominent examples of DTC successes during the past few years need to cope with ongoing issues with supply chains and perhaps even worse, consumers worried about their economic futures and less willing to buy impulsively. 
  • Also, social distancing during the pandemic encouraged online shopping, and DTC companies benefited from this boom. Still, increased competition from internet retailers crowded the market and made advertising more expensive. At the same time, technological changes, such as Apple’s new privacy features, have worked to diminish the supply of available ads.

Five essential components of a DTC marketing strategy 

Rather than resting on their laurels and accepting slower growth, today’s market leaders have responded to market changes. For many realistic and budget-constrained marketers, adapting in the next few years won’t mean making dramatic changes. Instead, it’s time to revisit an effective DTC strategy’s basic and most essential parts. 

Targeted branding

Direct marketing gives businesses a chance to understand their customers. Even before a DTC business attracts its first sale, it should develop comprehensive buyer profiles and understand its intended audience’s potential pain points and values to develop an appealing brand. 

Billie projects itself as a source of affordable, convenient products for women, a solid social voice, and an element of fun and relatability. For example, Billie markets women’s razors. Right from the start, this brand associated itself with the goal of eliminating the “pink tax” that occurs when women pay more for seemingly similar items than men do. 

Unique messaging and packaging

Successful DTC businesses avoid having their products considered commodities through unique, appealing messaging and packaging. Some brands can even use DTC packaging to express their voice, notably since the package generally offers customers their first physical contact with the company. 

DTC package design doesn’t have to be extra flashy to help brands stand out on virtual shelves. For instance, the Big Eye blog highlighted Misfit Market’s mission to reduce food waste by selling produce that’s not shaped uniformly enough for grocery stores. The company furthers this socially responsible business goal by using recyclable cartons for shipping. 

Other DTC brands use packaging to make their brands memorable and not just another product on a virtual shelf. Examples include using reusable packaging to ensure the customer sees their brand long after the product’s used up and making packaging more useful, like businesses that print instructions on the inside of the box. 

Customer experience

DTC businesses thrive by adopting a customer-first business model. The attention to their customer’s needs gives these companies an advantage over non-direct competitors that consumers perceive as commodities. 

As an example, Casper practically reinvented the customer experience for mattress buyers. Before this company debuted, almost everybody went to a furniture or mattress store to let a salesperson guide them to products that fit budgets and requirements. 

Casper grew from nothing to $750 million in just four years by delivering quality mattresses in a box, offering easy returns, and helping their customers understand the importance of replacing outdated mattresses and getting a good night’s sleep. 

Conversion optimization

Seasoned marketers understand that optimizing conversions can make the difference between profits and losses. The best advice for improving conversions involves setting goals, determining metrics to measure progress, and then tracking and testing. However, this advice doesn’t offer any suggestions for how to improve. The importance of tracking and improving conversion rates always rises with the cost of advertising and market competition. 

Take some inspiration from a DTC business called Crossrope that offers premium jump ropes, accessories, and a fitness app. 

  • First, the company moved from other hosting to Shopify to use the vast ecosystem of apps they could use to streamline and enhance the shopping experience. 
  • The product pages incorporate high-quality videos of people using the products. 
  • An app combines ratings, pictures, and reviews to make it easy for prospective customers to learn how current customers like the products. 
  • User-generated content, like personal stories and before and after photos, engages website visitors. 

Crossrope began to develop a global reach. The company turned to an app that could display local payment options and prices. This change alone produced a 20-percent improvement in conversions. Crossrope also relies on an app to track conversions and automatically adjust checkout-page messaging, resulting in a one-percent conversion improvement. The app also offers personalized suggestions for additional items based on the initial selection. 

Full funnel marketing 

Many marketers think of a customer’s journey as linear, like a trek across a map. Today’s shoppers gather information about purchases from multiple channels simultaneously. Full funnel marketing acknowledges these shopping habits and simultaneously provides information about a brand on multiple channels. 

For instance, the Amazon Marketing blog reported that almost 70-percent of in-store customers would check products on their smartphones as they browse the shelves. About the same proportion of people will pull out a second screen to research something they’ve viewed on TV. 

To conform to today’s consumer shopping habits, a consumer package goods agency might analyze various platforms for the way consumers might use them to interact. For instance, TV commercials might focus on developing brand awareness, a social page could help develop a community, and a product page can deliver in-depth information while focusing on closing the sale. The shopping cart page should offer a good user experience and might provide a chance to suggest other purchases to complement the selected product.

How the best DTC brands succeed 

Marketing directly to customers offers plenty of advantages. At the same time, even prominent DTC unicorns have struggled to maintain growth during the past few months. Startups will face steeper challenges as they lack a large, loyal customer base to provide some support. Marketers need to ensure their DTC strategy excels at branding, user experience, and conversion optimization to make sure they can survive and thrive.

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Insights Real Estate

We found out everything you wanted to know about the makes the Windy City so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Chicago, IL Research Report to review all of the details.

Chicago, Illinois: Fast Facts

Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the 3rd largest city in the United States.

According to the US Census, Chicago’s population is 2,671,635.

Chicago is currently declining at a rate of -0.28% annually and its population has decreased by -0.89%

Chicago has several nicknames, some being Windy City, Chi-town, and Second City. 

Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed.

Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the US, while a small portion of the city’s O’Hare Airport also extends into DuPage County. 

The median age for those who live in Chicago is 35 years

23% of residents of Chicago have a bachelor’s degree. 

International hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.

Demographics:

White:50%

Black or African American: 30%

Other race: 11%

Asian: 7%

Two or more races: 3%

Native American: 0.31%

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.03%

“Chicago is an incredible city that I’ve been lucky to call home for over 5 years. Incredibly diverse with rich culture in every neighborhood, the windy city has something to offer everyone. As a queer person, I feel incredibly safe here and am surrounded by community. The CTA, our public transit system, and the city’s bike-friendliness have allowed me to happily, easily live here without a car. The winter’s are tough, but the summers are worth it!”

Current Resident

Chicago Neighborhoods

Hyde Park: This neighborhood encircles University of Chicago to the west and the Museum of Science and Industry to the east. The area overflows with art and culture, with many things open for the public. Home to one of most iconic masterpieces in American architectural design Frank Llooyd Wright’s Robie House, a UNESCO world heritage site. DuSable Museum , the country’s first institution dedicated to African American history and culture.  

The Loop (Downtown Chicago): Named for the L, which forms a rectangular loop around the area, downtown Central Chicago is mostly home to the financial district and high-rises. Popular for those looking to live walking distance from their offices or college students who live near DePaul University. Within a few blocks from the Art Institute of Chicago and Lyric Opera to Broadway in Chicago theater performances. On the lakefront side of the loop, you’ll find Millennium Park Campus, home to the famous Cloud Gate ( The Bean). Skydeck at Willis Tower allows you to step on The Ledge, a glass box that extends outside the building, 1,353 feet up.

Bucktown & Wicker Park: Known for its indie-artist vibes, entrepreneurial spirit, and buzzing “six corner” intersection. Both historic homes and sleek modern condos. Damen Avenue which goes through the heart of the neighborhood, full of bars, eateries, and unique shops. One of a kind boutique shops, esoteric book and record stores, countless art galleries and performance venues. 

Lakeview: A large geographic area that encompasses different communities and neighborhoods like Wrigleyville, Southport Corridor and Boystown which all run beside Lake Michigan. Shopping thrives along Broadway in East Lakeview, or at the Southport Corridor for local boutiques, record shops, and vintage treasure hunting. Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play , is a key place to visit for any baseball fan or Chicagoans. The Music Box Theater which specializes in art-house and repertory cinema can be found in the Lakeview area. The famous Laugh Factory, a stand up comedy club that has big name comedians like Dave Chappelle and Kevin Nealon put on shows.

Lincoln Park: Named after Abraham Lincoln, the community was originally populated by Irish and German immigrants in the 1870s. Lincoln Park presents a unique mix of bars, restaurants, and entertainment spots. Armitage Avenue contains small boutiques and high-end retailers.Chicago’s largest park that spans 1.208 acres and holds Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. Home to DePaul University, one of the largest private universities in the country. 

West Loop: Blocks away from Chicago’s Greektown and the United Center where the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks play. Randolph Street known as Restaurant Row is where many neighborhood’s most celebrated spots from high-end menus to hidden ramen joints to fourth- generation sandwich shops are.

Doing Business in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois was named #75 for “Best Place for Business and Careers” by Forbes in 2019.

Key Industries: Manufacturing, printing, publishing, insurance, transportation, financial trading & services, and food processing

Major Employers: U.S Government, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago, Advocate Aurora Health, Cook County, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, University of Chicago, Walmart Inc., Amazon, and Amita Health.

Cost of Living in Chicago

Cost of living in Chicago is 23% higher than the national average. Utility prices are 10% lower than the national average. Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 27% higher than the national average. Healthcare in Salt Lake City is 8% higher than the national average.

Median Household Income of $70,211

Huntsville Apartment Living

Average rent in Chicago is $2,091 with an average apartment size of 750 square feet. The neighborhoods that are the most expensive are Dearborn Park  ($2,777),  Printer’s Row ($2,777), and Streeterville ($2,819).

Studio apartments are the smallest and most affordable, 1- bedroom apartments are closer to average, while 2- bedroom apartments and 3- bedroom apartments offer a more generous square footage.

“My experience in Chicago has been life learning. Moving to a new state all on your own can be intense it’s rare you find such a people pleaser city but Chicago is a strong as the wind”

Current Resident

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Chicago

Stand outside one of the tallest buildings at The Ledge, an all glass balcony at WIllis Tower’s Skydeck Chicago

The Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations- a 3,300- foot pier over the Lake Michigan waters, offering exhibits, rides, parks, and family attractions. 

Take a selfie with Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean” at Millenium Park, just a block away from the heart of downtown Chicago. 

Take a stroll through the sandy beaches and green space on the 18-mile Lakefront Trail. 

The Chicago River floats its way through the Windy City past some of the city’s most notable architecture like the Willis Tower, Wrigley Building, and the Navy Pier. Offers opportunities for locals and visitors to explore the river through river cruises, kayaking, and canoeing.

Chicago’s Sport Teams:

Chicago Cubs (Baseball) 

Chicago White Sox (Baseball)

Chicago Bulls (Basketball)

Chicago Sky (Basketball)

Read the full research report: Chicago, IL. We interviewed the people that live there to find out what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

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Insights Real Estate

We found out everything you wanted to know about the makes the Valley of the Sun so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Phoenix, AZ Research Report to review all of the details.

Phoenix, Arizona: Fast Facts

Phoenix is the 5th largest city in the United States. According to the U.S. Census, Phoenix’s population is 1,608,139 as of April 2020. Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, and is the largest city and capital of Arizona. It is the most populous state capital in the US, and the only state capital that surpasses 1 million residents. The metropolitan area of Phoenix is also known as the Valley of the Sun part of the Salt River Valley.

Phoenix is currently growing at a rate of 1.54% annually. Forbes placed Phoenix No. 1 on fastest-growing cities in the United States.  (in 2019) The median age for those who live in Phoenix is around 33.8.

A variety of industries thrive in the Phoenix area. The first being aerospace, electronics and semiconductor manufacturing. Tourism, business services and back-office operations are also important sectors.

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Phoenix was:

White: 72.87%

Other race: 10.01%

Black or African American: 7.12%

Two or more races: 3.91%

Asian: 3.79%

Native American: 2.08%

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.21%

 

“The job rate is excellent; it’s very easy to find a job here. There are many places to eat and the nightlife is great. I moved here in April of 2021 and I met tons of friendly people and their family’s. I highly recommend Phoenix for vacations because of the many attractions suitable for children and adults.”

Current Resident

Phoenix Neighborhoods

Downtown Phoenix: The heart of the city, offering a modern vibe away from suburban life. High-rises that consist of a mix of posh living with professional and commercial spaces. It is Arizona’s center for arts, culture, and entertainment. Cityscape covers three blocks of downtown Phoenix that includes shops, eateries, bars, and clubs. Roosevelt Row is where the artists go to show off their skills. This art community has art galleries and murals that take over the street. The major League baseball team, Arizona Diamondbacks, play at Chase Field located on East Jefferson Avenue. 

Arcadia: Arcadia was home to the Greek gods and a place of pure, harmonious nature. Located near Camelback Mountain and just 10 miles from downtown. The stereotypical Arcadia-style home is a post-war, one-story ranch on an oversized lot. However, some have been restored while others have been transformed into custom home builds. This area also possesses a top-notch public school district, specifically the Scottsdale Unified School District, that has had the highest ratings in the state. 

Scottsdale: Known as a high-end resort and golf community, it’s the perfect place to raise a family and has been named one of the top ten retirement destinations. Thriving in the art scene, having the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art located in downtown scottsdale. Explore the galleries along Marshall Way Arts District, home to popular and long-running weekly art walks. Scottsdale can be pedestrian friendly, however offers visitors free trolley service. Encountering major points of interest including Old Town, the Marshall Way Arts District, Fifth Avenue Shops, Southbridge, the Waterfront, and Scottsdale Fashion Square. 

Paradise Valley: Named the “Beverly Hills of the Southwest”, being Arizona’s wealthiest municipality and filled with luxury golf courses, spas, and dining. According to zillow, as of May of 2021, the typical home value is a little more than 2.4 million. 16th best school district in the and 8th best district in the state for athletes. Residents have the pleasure of experiencing the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, viewing Arizona’s local artists at Cosanti, or dine at many delicious restaurants they have to offer. 

High Street: Located in North Phoenix, it consists of modern and stylish neighborhoods ideal for young professionals or anyone who is in search for a primer spot for all things restaurants, retail, and residential. Connecting the lavish lifestyle of Scottsdale to the comfortable living of Phoenix together on one easy street. 

Glendale: Home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, the State Farm Stadium and the Gila River Arena can be found in the area. The Westgate Entertainment District offers a display of specialty shops, eateries, and entertainment. Being the 6th most populated city in Arizona, affordable housing options are available. The Historic District is where Native Americans, cowboys, ranchers, and farmers shaped Glendale into the city that it is today. It has more than 75 public parks with hiking trails, swimming pools, dog parks, playgrounds, and sports fields for visitors or residents to enjoy. 

Tempe: Arizona State University resides in Tempe, offering a suburban college- town feeling.  In the summer-time, Big Surf Waterpark is infamous for its 2.5 million- gallon Waikiki Beach Wave Pool. Tempe Town Lake provides boat rentals, walking and biking trails, kayaking, stand up paddling, and many more recreational activities. Mill Avenue District provides a diverse shopping, dining, and other nightlife options. 

Doing Business in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona is home to Arizona State University and multiple high-tech and telecommunications companies. Benefit from seasonal tourism and recreation, especially the golfing industry.

Forbes listed Phoenix as #26 best places for business and careers in 2019.

Key Industries: Aerospace, Electronics, Semi- conductor manufacturing, Tourism, Business Services, and back-office operations.

Cost of Living in Phoenix

Cost of living in Phoenix is 5% lower than the national average 

Utility prices are 4% lower than the national average

Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 8% lower than the national average. 

Phoenix has grocery prices that are 3% lower than the national average.

Healthcare in Phoenix is 2% lower than the national average.

Median Household Income of $57,459 (as of 2019)

Phoenix Apartment Living

Average rent in Phoenix is $1,477 with an average apartment size of 804 square feet.  The neighborhoods that are the most expensive are Downtown Phoenix ($2,045) and Desert View ($1,870) located in Scottsdale. 

The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Phoenix, AZ is currently $1,270 . This is a 27% increase compared to the previous year.

What Phoenix Renters Want

Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property.

  • Location
  • Safety and Security
  • Move-in Conditions
  • Appliances included
  • Outdoor Spaces
  • Open floor plan and storage

Phoenix was a city of transplants and imported cultures. Over the years Phoenix has developed its own unique “Phoenix” culture. This is apparent when you attend First Fridays, try a local business, or go to school. The city is blessed with a diverse group of people with lofty dreams, and the passion to fulfill them”

Current Resident

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona, boasts year-round warmth and sunshine, earning it the nickname of the Valley of the Sun. The city is a desert metropolis with equal parts cacti, sandstone, historical sights and modern architecture.

Desert Botanical Garden is located in the Sonoran Desert and showcases thousands of species of cacti, flowers, and trees. Offers 5 different hiking trails, sunscreen and water recommended. 

Hot Air Balloon Rides offer breathtaking views of Phoenix and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. Multiple companies provide rides in the early morning or just in time for sunset. 

The Arizona Balloon Classic is one of the biggest festivals in Phoenix Arizona. One weekend in January allows families and spectators to walk around the balloons on the field before lifting up. 

Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza is in the prime position of main street in Old Town Scottsdale and the ideal place to begin exploring Phoenix. Scottsdale City Hall, a library, Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, and an outdoor amphitheater can all be found here.  

Stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Papago Park which holds the iconic landmark Hole in the Rock. Just a short distance from downtown Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo are located within the park. 

In downtown Phoenix, Roosevelt Row hosts a local art showcase on every First Friday of the Month. One of the country’s largest self-guided art walks. 

Camelback Mountain offers the best view of Phoenix when climbing the trails that lie between Paradise Valley and Phoenix. There are two trails that will lead you up to the peak: a steep, rugged trail called Echo Canyon and a less strenuous trail called Cholla

  • Phoenix Sports Teams:
    • The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals
    • NBA’s Phoenix Suns
    • MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks
    • NHL’s Arizona Coyotes
    • WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury
    • Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers
    • USL’s Phoenix Rising FC

Read the full research report: Phoenix, AZ. We interviewed the people that live there to find out what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

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Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

A distinctive brand asset has two characteristics—it must be ‘unique’ in that it only evokes the one brand, and it must be ‘famous’, meaning that everyone who sees it, thinks only of that brand. Of these two, uniqueness is most important. Ehrenberg-Bass Institute

When most people see a pair of golden arches or hear the “Two all-beef patties, special sauce….” jingle, nobody needs to mention the brand name to know which fast-food chain they come from.

Not everybody loves McDonald’s or Burger King. Still, most people stop for a sandwich, at least occasionally. Since hungry diners know what to expect from these brands, they stand out as popular choices. Families and friends don’t have to discuss the menu because almost everybody believes that BK’s burgers taste better, but McDonald’s wins on fries. Thus, this distinctive branding provides these chains with a valuable asset.

Most importantly, nobody confuses these two brands with each other or any similar fast-food chains because they’ve developed distinctive and unique brand assets, which are also famous. Dig into the art and science that marketers rely upon to develop these critical assets.

Semiotics

Academics call the study of meanings behind signs and symbols semiotics. Humans almost certainly responded to symbols before they invented writing, and people may have this ability to assign meaning to signs hard-wired into their brains. For instance, people can learn to communicate with sign language as adeptly as others respond to spoken words.

In today’s interconnected world, where people interact without always speaking the same language, semiotics sometimes still trump spoken language in importance. For instance, each country’s flag uses simple graphics to express something about the land it represents. The U.S. flag displays 50 stars for each state and stripes for the original 13 colonies. The Canadian Maple Leaf represents hope and prosperity.

The golden arches form an “M” for McDonald’s, but they can also signify an open archway or entrance, inviting hungry patrons to enter. The golden color can indicate quality or at least the standard of consistent quality people expect from a global chain of fast-food burger joints. Thus, marketers should consider visual elements of branding in light of how consumers will interpret them.

Designers who use semiotics use different tactics to achieve the desired result:

  • Bottom-up semiotics begins with selecting potential symbols and asking key questions to uncover the meaning people associate with them. For instance, a coffee company might start with various images of steaming mugs or coffee beans and learn how survey groups react.
  • Top-down semiotics starts with an abstract concept to find out what sort of ideas or associations it conveys. The coffee company might begin with concepts they want people to associate with their brand, like freshness, aroma, or energy to learn which images people associate with these ideas.

Brand logos

The way consumers interpret logos can give consumers an instantly recognizable and positive reaction to a brand… or not. As discussed on the Big Eye blog, no creative type wants to design a logo so jarring that 50,000 local residents sign a petition to remove it, as with London’s Olympics logo in 20212.

In 2016, Uber changed its logo to represent a “bit” that was supposed to evoke the company’s digital nature, but to most people, it just looked like a backward C. In 2018, Uber relented and changed the logo to its brand name, wasting two years of branding opportunities in the process.

Better examples of distinctive, evocative logos might include: 

  • The arrow in the Amazon logo points from “A” to “Z” to demonstrate to shoppers they can find almost anything to buy on the retail site.
  • Chick-Fil-A’s logo designer cleverly made a chicken out of the “C” to emphasize the main ingredient in most of this brand’s food.
  • Burger King’s logo framed the brand name with the top and button of a simple, stylized hamburger bun, making the meaning obvious.

Besides merely designing a logo that might look good on an outdoor sign, brands need to consider other ways to use the graphic. For instance, the same design will probably appear in ads in various sizes and mediums or on packaging. One primary challenge designers face will include designing a distinctive image that can scale and adapt to different sizes and mediums. 

Brand audio

According to the National Library of Health, most people demonstrate a preference for a visual learning style. Interestingly enough, that percentage might rise to as much as 80 percent in higher education, perhaps suggesting that the educational system serves that population best or trains students to prefer visual learning. Maybe that explains why most discussion of distinctive branding focuses on images.

Undoubtedly, scientists consider most visual learners, but even people who don’t prefer it also learn verbally. Successful brands take advantage of this by producing distinctive audio. For instance, radio, podcasts, and music stand out as popular mediums.

For example, consider the T-Mobile ringtone, the Windows startup tone, and famous jingles that people recognize decades later, like the Oscar Meyer and Burger King Whopper advertising jingles. According to Live Science, sounds form lasting cognitive and emotional memory connections. Thus, businesses can develop distinctive tones or vocals to make their brands memorable.

Does distinctive branding extend beyond verbal and audio?

As a note, odors can also form strong emotional connections. Still, marketers don’t have a way to broadcast the fragrance of roasting coffee or a chargrilled burger over TV, radio, or the internet. At least, nobody has invented one yet.

All Starbucks don’t look the same, but fans of the brand can’t mistake the universal fragrance of roasting coffee when they step inside the door. Such local businesses as coffee houses, candle shops, and hamburger restaurants often use the scent of their products to attract customers. Even if marketers lack the technology to broadcast smells through internet connections, they can consider using visual images to evoke them, like the steaming cup of coffee in a Maxwell House ad. 

Why invest in distinctive brand assets?

Distinctive brand assets help people instantly recognize businesses, with clear associations for brand expectations. Images, words, and even sounds and smells can serve in this way. As in the case of branding mishaps, even by large organizations, businesses need to ensure they’re evoking positive associations that attract customers and not negative ones that might draw scorn. As a DTC branding agency in Florida, we’re here to ensure customers’ memories of our client’s brands are good ones.

 

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Salt Lake City, Utah: Fast Facts

Salt Lake City is the largest city in Utah with a current population of 200,831 as of 2021. Salt Lake City is one of two major urban areas in the Great Basin, the other being Reno Nevada. Salt Lake city is located East of the Great Salt Lake and West of the Wasatch Range.

There is a population growth rate of 0.07%. The median age for those who live in Salt Lake City is 32. 46% of residents in Salt Lake City have a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

A variety of industries thrive in the Salt Lake City area. The first being Educational Services, followed by Health Care and Social Assistance.

The highest paid industry is Mining, Quarrying, and Oil & Gas Extraction. 

The city is known for being the religious center for Mormons. 

The racial composition of Salt Lake City is 65% White, 20% Hispanic, and 2% Black. 

“When I relocated to Utah back in 2009, I never expected to fall in love with Salt Lake City. I figured I would spend a few years working at my job, get itchy feet, and move away again. What I didn’t anticipate was how Salt Lake City would reach out and wrap its arms around my heart.”

Current Resident

Salt Lake City Neighborhoods

Downtown: This area is the heart and soul of Salt Lake City. A hub for art, restaurants, music, shopping, and nightlife. Downtown, you can visit a wide array of restaurants lining Broadway and Main Street. Visit the historic Temple Square, that Mormons built when first arriving in Salt Lake City. Farmer’s Markets, art galleries, live music, and Utah Jazz NBA allow for endless entertainment in Downtown. 

Sugar House: This neighborhood is known as Salt Lake’s artesian flair. Being one of Salt Lake’s oldest neighborhoods, it is now the epicenter for eclectic local shops, restaurants, bookstores, and art galleries. This area is the #1 spot to shop in Salt Lake City. Sugar House Park is the crown jewel, with 110.5 acres of hills, mountain views, bike paths, a large lake, this is definitely a breathtaking experience. 

Central City:  Just East of Downtown, Central City is known for its outdoor attractions, art galleries, and Trolley Square (a partially enclosed shopping center in a historic trolley barn). The Gilgal Sculpture Garden is an outdoor art museum featuring Mormon scripture and historical statues. Central City’s Liberty Park is the perfect outdoor spot for a picnic by the pond, nike ride, or visiting the large greenhouse. 

University/Foothill: This neighborhood is home to the University of Utah. This college town is not only meant for college students. With beautiful art museums, arboretums, and clubs, Foothill has plenty of entertainment. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is the perfect trail located on the hillside above the campus.  The Red Butte Garden encompasses trials, a pond, an outdoor amphitheater, and gorgeous views. 

Capitol Hill:  In Capitol Hill you can get the best view in the city. At the high elevation of Ensign Peak, you can catch a view of the entire Downtown area. Capitol Hill is home to beautiful architecture; From the Capitol building, to its Victorian style homes. The area outside of the Capitol building is known as the Marmalade district, home to many fruit trees planted by pioneers who first inhabited the area. 

The Avenues: The Avenues is Salt Lake City’s largest historic district. This area has views of the Wasatch Mountains and the Salt Lake Valley. There are many hiking trails, local eateries and shops, making this area walkable. The Avenues is the perfect blend of historic and contemporary. Memory Grove park is the start of many trails and has monuments, creekside paths, and picnic areas.  Governor’s Mansion is a sight to see for a French Chateauesque lover.

Doing Business in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, Utah was named #21 for “Best Place for Business and Careers” by Forbes in 2019.

Key Industries: Educational Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, and Retail Trade.

Major Employers: University of Utah, State of Utah, Intermountain Health Care, United States Government, LDS Church Religious Agencies.

Cost of Living in Salt Lake City

Cost of living in Salt Lake City is 6% lower than the national average 

Utility prices are 22% lower than the national average

Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 7% higher than the national average. 

Salt Lake City has grocery prices that are 2% lower than the national average.

Healthcare in Salt Lake City is 7% lower than the national average.

Median Household Income of $73,778

Salt Lake City Apartment Living

Average rent in Salt Lake City is $1,478 with an average apartment size of 836 square feet. The neighborhoods that are the most expensive are Sugar House ($1,603) and Capitol Hill ($1,575).

The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Salt Lake City increased 14% compared to the previous year. The average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment increased by 15% compared to the previous year.

What Salt Lake City Renters Want

Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property.

  • Security Features
  • Secure Online Payment Options 
  • Move-in Ready Condition
  • Updates Appliances
  • Outdoor Spaces
  • Flexible Lease Options

“I love this city! I was born and raised and am still here 27 years later. We have so much to do and are so close to the amazing national parks. So much to be thankful for in the city.’’

Current Resident

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Phoenix

Salt Lake city is known for its outdoor vistas. From its many hiking trails, like Dry Gulch Trail, to its short drive to the mountain tops, like Mount Olympus, Salt Lake City is a nature lover’s dream. 

Every year in June, Utah’s Art Festival takes place in Downtown Salt Lake City. This weekend-long extravaganza includes over 165 visual artists, live music, food vendors, and more. 

There are 9 ski resorts within an hour of Salt Lake City.  Some include Alta Ski Area, Brighton, and Snowbird.

Located in the University/Foothill neighborhood, Utah’s Hogle Zoo is 42 acres and houses 800 animals. This zoo offers many exhibits (such as the Rocky Shores exhibit with polar bears and sea lions), zoo classes for children and adults. 

One of Salt Lake City’s biggest events is their Sundance Film Festival. This takes place once a year for two weeks. It is the largest independent film festival in the United States. People travel from all over, even some celebrities. 

Being that Salt Lake city is in a valley, there are many opportunities for hiking with breathtaking views. These trails range from easy and family friendly, like Ensign Peak, to challenging, like Red Pine Lake.

The Leonardo is an art, technology, and science museum located near Downtown. Their Art Through Experience exhibit is an immersive exhibit featuring artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci, and more. 

Liberty Park and Sugar House Park are the perfect spots for an afternoon stroll. Liberty Park has many paths, picnic tables, a large greenhouse, an aviary and botanical garden, a pond, and much more. Sugar House Park had many pavilions, playgrounds, a pond, and during the winter, the perfect hill for sledding.

Salt Lake City has great options for shopping. The Gateway is an urban outdoor shopping plaza in Downtown. There are many options for shopping, dining, as well as an Urban Flea Market on the weekends. 

Salt Lake City Sports Teams:

  • Utah Jazz (basketball)
  • Real Salt Lake (Soccer)
  • Utah Royals FC (Soccer)
  • Utah Warriors (Rugby)
  • Utah Grizzlies (Hockey)
  • Salt Lake Bees (Baseball) 
  • Utah Utes (College Football)