4 steps You Need to Take to Nail Your Brand Positioning This Year

A staggering 64% of consumers cite shared values as a reason to choose or stay with a brand, which is why clear and effective brand positioning can make or break your organization’s success. Whether you have a strong position within the marketplace, or are a budding entrepreneur building your brand, these four steps will help you nail your brand positioning as you grow.

1. Understand where you’re at today

Partner with a top Florida marketing agency like BIGEYE to audit your digital presence and tell you what’s working and where you can improve. Chances are, how you think you’re positioning yourself may not be as clear to your target audience as you think. Getting a fresh, outside perspective will allow you to step back and objectively confirm how you want to be seen is how your brand is being perceived.

2. Know your audience

Start by creating a mission and vision statement as part of your brand foundation that clarifies who your audience is and what you want to help them achieve. Clearly define how your product provides value and stands out from the competition. Next, set short and long term goals that track your customers’ responses — not just your bottom line. Target specific success criteria such as NPS, engagement, or repeat customers to ensure your brand is resonating with your audience.

3. Learn everything you can about your competition

Identify direct and indirect competitors, then map out their strengths and weaknesses. Think beyond your obvious competition to draw inspiration from related industries and success stories. As an example, an all-inclusive resort might look to similarly priced AirBnB properties, hotels, other all-inclusives, or cruise lines as each of those alternatives offers overlapping features and benefits that the all-inclusive resort hopes to use when engaging their ideal customers. And remember: you can learn something from even your least successful competitor.

4. Create your value-based positioning strategy

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve and for whom, you can start implementing a strategy that will help you achieve your goal. Use your mission and vision statement to create a multi-channel marketing strategy that exposes your brand to your audience at every stage in the customer journey. A holistic brand positioning statement can help you ensure your messaging is consistent across channels and inspires action.

Once you have a strategy in place, you can begin testing what works and refining your brand positioning over time. Contact us today to learn more about how we have helped brands like yours refine their identities and make a splash in the marketplace.

4 steps to creating brand guidelines every startup should follow

Crafting your brand identity guidelines can seem daunting, especially as a startup. Once you have your name and logo created, it’s important (and even fun) to build a brand guide for your team. Brand identity guidelines can help create a cohesive energy among your employees and guide your creative energy. The trick is not to get bogged down in the details as you’re still building your brand, while providing enough guidance for your team to work and make branding decisions independently.
Refreshing or expanding brand identity guidelines as a large, established organization is different than starting with a clean slate. As a startup, you have the opportunity to get it right the first time, break the rules, and let your vision shine. Click here for examples of how our Orlando marketing agency has helped other companies build out their brand, or follow these four unbeatable steps to start creating your brand identity. 

1. Start small when building your first brand identity guidelines:

When people think about brand guidelines, they often think of a large, polished document worthy of your urban-chic apartment’s coffee table. But that doesn’t always need to be the case. Start with your logo, color variations, font choices, and basic placement instructions. For a seasoned designer, mapping out these details should be no sweat. Kick things off by hosting a brainstorming session with your key stakeholders, decision makers, and design team. Bring examples of what you like, make a “dream board,” or do a little free form drawing as you discuss. Your designer should be able to create the basics based on this discussion. From there, you can begin adding elements and refining. As long as these four elements are in place, you can add more details as you go. And we fully support a coffee table book as the 2.0 version of your own brand identity guidelines, by the way.

2. Tie in imagery and symbols that resonate with your products or services:

Don’t be afraid to layer images and symbols that resonate with your brand into your brand identity guidelines. Even if they aren’t part of your logo or copyrighted photos, having inspirational imagery that captures your brand’s tone and vibe can help frame the “why” behind certain design elements, so other employees see their value. Images are also a powerful way to translate ideas without relying on huge blocks of copy. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Including images in your brand identity guidelines can be a visual reminder of your products, forge positive brand associations between your organization and a place or an object, or clarify the look and feel of everything from your office to your packaging and website.

3. Make your brand identity guidelines user-friendly for non-designers too:

When your designer or Orlando marketing agency creates your brand identity guidelines, they will include a variety of design specs so other designers and developers can use your brand guide when creating advertisements or tweaking the website. In addition to these valuable details – which often include specific color codes, font styles or typography, photo cropping and filtering instructions, etc. – having non-design-related elements can be an illuminating addition to your guidelines. Sharing your brand identity guidelines with non-designers is a good way to align the team, so consider including a few stylized quotes, your mission statement, or other images and verbiage that translates your core design elements for the average employee. You should never add “extras” in lieu of your design specs, but your style guide should also make as much sense to designers as it does to your accounting team.

4. Include any “do” AND “don’t” recommendations:

What designers and employees do with your brand elements is often as important as what they don’t do. Don’t shy away from including a “don’t” here and there in your brand identity guidelines. For example, if your logo features a square form, you may not want your employees to superimpose other images on top of or into the square. Your colors may be interchangeable sometimes, but sometimes they may not. Get clear on what you can and can’t do to avoid unnecessary editing. Naturally, you never know what you don’t know. Some of your guidelines will evolve based on trial and error, but if you already know there are a few deal breakers, get them out of the way up front.

The important thing is to start creating. Get something down on a page and let the rest flow naturally. Crafting identity guidelines are a key part of the brand evolution, so let the experience grow with you and your organization rather than waiting until your brand has taken on a life of its own.

Our team specializes in brand creation and refinement, so we’re here to help if you get stuck or need a little inspiration. Remember – this is the fun part!

Top 10 secrets of successful visual merchandising & retail design

Visual merchandising and retail design don’t just improve the aesthetics of your retail space, but they also have the potential to enhance functionality, customer loyalty and brand identity. Want to ensure that you retail store makes a brilliant first impression, as well as a lasting final one? Use these top 10 visual merchandising and retail design tips and tricks to optimize both space and sales.

1. Access matters

A cluttered retail floor is not only unattractive, it’s confusing to the consumer. Prioritize a clean and simple layout above all else when it comes to designing your store. The easier it is for consumers to navigate your space, the more time they’ll spend in your store. A cramped space with insufficient passage, conversely, can quickly send customers packing.

Remember: the ultimate goal is a welcoming space, so forego “don’t touch” signs and instead invite shoppers to touch and interact with your display.

Lastly, keep in mind that today’s customers have brief attention spans. Place items at varying heights, and create visual breaks between long, product packed aisles to help maintain their attention of easily-distracted shoppers.

2. Reduce visual clutter

Clutter isn’t just a matter of physical space. It can also manifest in the form of excessive and overwhelming marketing displays. Rather than barraging your customers with multiple marketing displays, take a streamlined approach. For example, if you’re advertising many different products, consider implementing a rotating digital display board. This has the added potential advantage of drawing a customer’s eye to an item or deal he/she might otherwise have missed.

Factor in the latest research indicating that a whopping 90 percent of in-store shoppers use their mobile devices in stores, and the task becomes less about inundating them with information and more about giving them the means to access this information for themselves — a particularly appealing prospect for today’s “just Google it” Millennial generation.

3. Catch their attention

Reducing visual clutter doesn’t mean forsaking all color and style. Rather, it means incorporating well-cultivated display pieces designed to attract customer attention in a unique way. It’s not about inundating consumers with everything you have to offer, but instead about highlighting particularly relevant or compelling items. Avoid monochromatic displays. Color — particularly bold blacks, whites, and reds — quickly attracts attention.

Take Target, for example. Its signature red is such a principle part of its logo, lettering, and store decor that the company has trademarked it.

Or consider this: consumers are 15 percent less likely to return to stores with orange color schemes than with blue color schemes.

Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup, meanwhile, is a perfect example of how color can drive sales. In the switch from red to green, Heinz experienced historically high sales — a whopping $23 million over seven months.

Additionally, many visual merchandisers and retail designers find planogram software to be particularly useful for gaining a better understanding of how the space will look.

Once you’ve captured their attention, don’t risk losing it by leaving off price tags. Consumers hate having to request a price, so make sure all stock prices are well-displayed.

4. Tell a story

Establishing product segment areas — from pet supplies to paper goods — not only helps shoppers understand the landscape, but also encourages them to stock up on related goods. But that’s just the beginning. Establishing narrative “themes” adds both practical and inviting appeal. By setting up a coffee-themed display, for example, you not only appeal to shoppers’ needs, but also to their sensibilities. Use a variety of display props — from tables to wall fixtures to shelving — to keep things interesting while showcasing your wares.

Take Chick-fil-A’s #CoffeeWithAStory campaign, for example. Not only has the brand constructed an appealing narrative around the role coffee plays in our lives, but it also prioritizes engagement by inviting consumers to share their own experiences via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

5. Exceed their needs

A bookstore sells books. A pet store sells pet supplies. A hair salon sells hair and beauty treatments. While these models may have worked 20 years ago, today’s consumers are looking for something more. Bookstores which offer coffee bars and reading areas, pet stores with pet bakery counters and “puppy playdate” sessions, and hair salons that also sell jewelry and other small accessories invite shoppers to stay longer and buy more. By embracing creativity and “thinking outside the box,” enterprising retail businesses build customer loyalty while also generating new streams of revenue.

6. Front and center

Your store window, along with the front area of your store, is essential for enticing foot traffic to venture inside. Not only should you keep new merchandise front and center, but you should also highlight trademark products to reinforce your brand identity and foster a sense of familiarity and trust among shoppers.

And don’t underestimate the value of proper lighting: people are drawn to light. A well-lit entry or display not only makes merchandise more appealing but also beckons to passersby.

Meanwhile, the days of enduring long lines at store entrances and exits are long gone. Rather, a centrally located checkout counter delivers immediate convenience. Stock the surrounding areas with frequently purchased goods to encourage impulse buys. Better yet? Incorporate point of sale solutions to help shoppers buy what they want when they want it while streamlining operations.

7. Build your brand

Visual merchandising and retail design aren’t just about deciding what goes where. They also deliver a valuable opportunity to reinforce your brand identity. Consider popular stores like Apple, Anthropologie, and Lululemon. These stores aren’t just selling products, but a lifestyle. By linking the look of your store with your products, you make a strong, consistent brand statement with which shoppers will identify.

Conversely, the failure of the JCPenney’s widely publicized reboot is largely attributed to lack of culture and the resulting dearth of brand experience. In short, your visual merchandizing and retail design efforts are part of delivering on your promise to consumers.

8. Stop shoplifters

Beyond building brand identity and boosting sales, savvy store design is also an effective deterrent for shoplifters. Make sure store employees have clear sight lines of the entire space.

9. Be dynamic

Customers are enticed by attractive displays, but the same tired display windows and tables have the opposite effect. To keep things fresh, frequently rotate your displays. If sales on a particular item are lagging, meanwhile, strategically mix them in with the latest arrivals to give them new life.

Also, when deciding on new displays, focus on relevance based upon recent purchase trends, seasonality, and new inventory in order to best match customer needs with your strategic business imperatives.

10. Play to wants, not needs

Many customers come into your store to buy a particular item. Odds are, they’ll leave with that item regardless of your visual merchandising and retail design efforts. Rather than highlighting these obvious, need-based buys, focus your efforts on showcasing wants, instead. After all, a shopper can’t make an impulse purchase without first being confronted with an unexpected and irresistibly appealing product.

Ultimately, the look and feel of your store has as much weight in the success of your business strategy as the products and services you proffer. By incorporating these 10 key visual merchandising and retail design techniques, you can enhance the shopper experience, while lending invaluable benefits to bottom line.

These 10 secrets are just the beginning – at BIGEYE, we know there’s a plethora of tips and tricks to help ensure that your brand is primed for success. Contact us today to continue the conversation!

It’s all about Marketing brand culture: Ain’t that a kick!

You can dance if you want to. And if you’re a football player – make that fùtbol (better known as soccer in America), Spanish magazine, Libero, will actually make you get up and tap your toes in your cleats.
In an effort to better emphasize marketing the brand’s “Culture” section of their sports magazine, the publication creatively turned soccer players’ casual warm-ups, feints, passes, and other tricks into dance moves by looping video footage of these practice hijinks to music. While no one needs (or wants) to hear the “Can-Can” ever again, we have to say, watching those boys “dance” is worth the earworm that you risk inheriting by viewing the associated ad. (And you have to admit, we’re all too familiar with those musical earworms that you just can’t seem to shake – “Shake It Off”, anyone?). But in any case, as if you needed another excuse to watch these gifted athletes put their impressive skills to work, we encourage you to check out all of the #footballdancing videos here.

Speaking of magazines, while the argument that print media is “dying” may be up for debate, it is true that magazine sales are, indeed, slipping a bit. In 2015, newsstand magazine sales dropped 15.8%, while there was a 13% drop in revenue. Convincing folks to pay for subscriptions or purchase a single copy is getting far trickier than in years’ past. So, how does a medium combat this potentially weakening sales and maintain relevancy? Although Libero has only been in circulation since 2012, and despite being relatively new to the print media game, the ultra-modern sports mag has made quite a name for itself thanks, in part, to these intriguing, cheeky videos used effectively to market brand culture to readers – and viewers – alike. For instance, the publication’s first set of ads from January 2014, featured women explaining how to best tackle day-to-day tasks such as taking out the trash, dating, relationships, and the first instance of meeting the father-in-law – and even rounded things out by leaning on breakthrough fùtbol examples and lingo. The ad’s slogan was pretty inventive: “If you explain it with fùtbol, it makes sense.” You have to admit, it’s sassy, light-hearted, and pokes fun at the “meathead” sports fan stereotype – all the while successfully promoting the magazine.

This time around, and in order to further highlight the soccer mag’s same “Culture” section, Libero uses the #footballdancing idea to prove that even the most athletic men can still dance – well, at least, with the help of some film editing and alongside perfectly fitting background music. A football gal myself (particularly of the collegiate variety), I found myself intrigued by these brand culture ads, and was compelled to visit the magazine’s website. While I’m not fluent in the Spanish language, the ads still resonated, crossing international language barriers – and leaning on the notion that our appreciation of talented athletes is universal, and doesn’t require a translation.

While print publications may be experiencing a downturn in sales, there is no shortage of soccer fans here in the United States. The sport is gaining undeniable popularity among the masses – and perhaps, even an increase in American readership of Libero. For Orlando City Soccer, which just kicked-off its 2014 season, more than 62,000 fans packed into the team’s current venue, the Citrus Bowl, for the inaugural match. Due to such high demand, Orlando City president Phil Rawlins recently indicated that the team is open to the possibility of constructing its new stadium – slated for completion in time for the first game of the 2016 season – with a higher capacity than the currently planned maximum of 25,500. If you ask our team at BIGEYE, its an exciting time – and an interesting soccer ball spin – on scoring a branding goal that has resonated with a fan base receptive to creative, unique brand culture marketing efforts.

We couldn’t be more excited about the new stadium and the early success of Orlando City Soccer – even for a college football gal like me. GOOOAAAAL!!

Are you looking for innovative ways for your brand to reach your target audience – channeling the perfect media mix, with lasting impact to increase your company’s ROI? Contact us today to develop your game plan!

The science of retail visual merchandising and consumer behavior

Consumer spending habits – what truly drives behavior? We’re not talking about simply coercing prospective shoppers into your store, we all know (as does your bottom line) that at the end of the day, it involves so much more than the simple volume of foot traffic. Truth be told, we ALL want to compel consumers to actually transact business, which comes down to exploring the science behind those all-important strategies and proven effective retail visual merchandising techniques that will generate an uptick in sales. Here’s the million dollar mystery: how do we captivate customers and capture their attention in a fast-paced, competitive retail landscape? At BIGEYE, a retail visual merchandising agency, our goal is to transform businesses by helping them better understand these buyer behaviors and purchasing decisions –  and to design messages that reach, resonate, and compel customers to take action. This could be why I have more throw pillows than I’ll ever need – honestly, one more accent blanket and my living room could look just like the Pottery Barn display. Gets me every time.
[quote]Oftentimes, when playing “psychologist” and conducting focus groups and other exploratory research, we uncover a disconnect between a brand’s ideal essence, and the in-store presence that is being communicated via visual merchandising displays – unbeknownst to the client. [/quote] When engaging with a skilled retail visual merchandising agency, our approach starts with a gap analysis to determine a company’s strengths and weaknesses inherent in its existing retail strategy. This process affords us with the opportunity to make changes that have a lasting impact on a potential customer’s decisions to purchase specific products, drilling down by factors such as color preference, price point, and a number of other characteristics. While this gap analysis serves as the initial brand “discovery,” it always leads us to the identification of  areas of improvement and easy, high-impact wins (talk about two birds, one stone!). Taking this information, we then work with our clients to redefine their retail strategy. In some cases, this may mean updating the business’s brand strategy, or even embarking upon an overall rebranding process.

Then, we look to actual retail visual merchandising services, and identify tactics we can use in order to drive success. Here’s one way to break down our approach: identifying tangible and intangible techniques that we may use to better implement and stimulate customer interest in the specific products being sold.

With tangible techniques, we’re focused on how customers are influenced by aspects such as window displays, brands, signage, sight-lines and other clear, visible aspects of the design – elements that as a retail visual merchandising agency – we’re able to control. The intended results of our efforts include altering these techniques, and making ongoing revisions to continue to both compel, and to draw in more customers. I’m an uber-savvy consumer, too, and as a result of a number of these strategies being implemented in-store, I find that one minute I’m just looking, and next thing I know, the sales associates are offering to help me carry my overfilled shopping bags. It’s okay to admit it – you know you’ve been there, too, right? Proof positive that using tangible techniques simply works, albeit when implemented correctly, of course. For the tangible, we emphasize those tactile aspects of building displays that will capture our customers’ attention.

To highlight the winter campaign for London-based men’s clothier, Ben Sherman, images of London at night were used as large format backdrops in the store’s windows, featuring twinkling LED lights, capturing the Christmas spirit in a dreamy and luxurious way. Additionally, Hostem, another London clothing store featuring progressive Japanese brands, accentuates their avante-garde fashion through the use of visual merchandising. The impressive (and award-winning) displays are always unique, yet fitting to their aesthetic; using items like vintage church pews, ladders, old beer kegs and cases – even a Chesterfield sofa from the 19th century. It is this use of visual merchandising that truly allows shoppers to experience complete immersion of the brand when walking through the store.

On the other hand, when it comes to intangible techniques, we’re looking into the deeper psychology of how people react to certain stimuli – all of which are impossible to touch. For instance, we may look at customer influence via the senses (sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing), reactions to combinations of color and light to create visual effects, and the use of furniture to create social familiarization. For instance, many stores employ specific scents, think warm cookies fresh out of the oven – all in an effort to elicit a sensual consumer response, where shoppers are “hungry” to spend more. In addition, offering samples of products – food, perfume, or even makeup – may entice a customer to purchase the specific goods and products being promoted. Through the exploration of intangible techniques, we take a more theoretical approach to consumer behavior, based upon plenty of inferences, and supported by detailed, qualitative data. This is why I’ve yet to enter a Target and leave with only the items I planned to purchase – see, once again, the power of psychology is at play.

The benefits of partnering with a retail visual merchandising agency are tenfold, and through our exploratory research and based upon client implementation and testing, we’ve uncovered that both of these types of tactics have the potential to have significant positive impact on your bottom line. In research done by IJESIT on the effect of visual merchandising, 85% of the study’s participants agreed that color, lighting, ambience and attractive visuals (and we mustn’t forget welcoming scents, as in the prior home-baked cookie example) make them spend more time in store. In applying both tangible and intangible tactics, we are able to create cohesive retail displays that generate an emotional association with a brand’s target customers. Be it the individuals who prefer the heavy discounting of “sale” goods, or the power of a stunning display that seemingly – and rather inexplicably –  compels a person to buy, BIGEYE‘s skilled team members understand each company’s need to master such practices in order to ensure that shoppers are drawn into a store, and that they remain interested in its inventory throughout the customer experience.

Finally, we take our learnings and incorporate them into a business’ media mix, identifying ways to create brand alignment in all channels, including both interactive and traditional media. The goal of this portion of the process is to retain customers and encourage them to become brand advocates, serving as active members of our brands’ communities.

If you’re in search of a customer-centric retail visual merchandising agency that possesses the know-how to drive success for your brand, contact BIGEYE for a consultation at 407.839.8599, and discover how we can assist in taking your company – and your products and service offerings – to the next level!

Client Appreciation That Creates Real Brand Advocates

On this, “National Customer Appreciation Day” – how do you go above and beyond the “call of duty” to show your clients how much you care about them? I’m often asked if it’s more costly to pursue a new client, or if retaining existing clientele has the greatest impact on a company’s bottom line. While it might appear subjective, it’s a fairly widely held opinion – and the data tends to support the notion pretty consistently  – that it’s both pricier and consumes a greater portion of your employees’ time to generate new business. That’s all the more reason to ensure that your existing clients are busily singing your praises, isn’t it? Seriously, who wouldn’t want to ensure that current customers aren’t also your most valued brand advocates?
Thinking back, you’ve likely had at least one highly positive and thoroughly memorable customer service experience that compelled you to quickly share the good news with your friends and associates. As a company, how do you make that type of behavior the norm, in which your employees are empowered to provide only the highest level of client satisfaction – and that they proceed to do so every single time you’re “at bat” with your valued customers?

Consider, for instance, the selfless act recently recounted to me about a sales experience with a national retailer that was “share-worthy.” Rather than ordering a book via Amazon or another online merchants, my friend decided to trek to her local bookstore – a less convenient brick and mortar destination – to purchase a much-anticipated book as a gift for her spouse for his birthday. After searching the racks of new arrivals to locate her target gift, she came away with little success. Arriving at the customer service counter, Starbucks in-hand (a frothy latte always seems to make any shopping experience that much more pleasurable), she provided the name of the book, and waited patiently as the associate researched its availability. No luck – the coveted present was already sold out, with the bookstore’s next expected delivery shipment at least one week away.

Rather than turning my friend away with little time left to place an online order in time for her husband to unwrap the best seller that topped his list of “must reads,” the associate willingly called the store’s major competitor to offer additional assistance. Sure enough, they had a copy, and my friend left the store with a broad, caffeinated smile, knowing that the book she so anxiously sought would be ready and waiting for her with no further effort on her part related to her search – even if it meant paying a visit to the competition.

What compelled the associate at my friend’s first bookstore shopping stop to take the extra step, and go the extra mile, to ensure that her purchase was easily attainable? This example can be translated into nearly any industry – it’s interchangeable. My friend couldn’t wait to tell others – to excitedly share the news with me and my fellow guests at her spouse’s birthday celebration. You could sense her delight when she recounted her experience. That’s employee empowerment: the bookstore employee helped my friend walk away feeling appreciated and valued, even without completing her purchase with the initial retailer.

At our Florida advertising agency, we strive to do just that – to provide the necessary expertise and support to allow our clients’ goals and objectives to be attained, while ensuring that expectations are consistently exceeded. [quote]The service that we deliver is more than compelling creative and sound marketing strategy – it’s personal.[/quote]The service that we deliver is more than compelling creative and sound marketing strategy – it’s personal. It’s reminding our clients – as often, and as readily, as possible – that we are delighted to serve alongside each and every one of them as their agency partner.

So, keeping in mind the bookstore experience, how do you effectively guarantee that your client’s expectations are continually exceeded – so much so – that they’d be willing to refer new customers to your company, based solely upon their sheer satisfaction with a routine job well done? Contact us today to allow our team to help you gain, and retain, highly satisfied brand advocates – for life!