Category: Brand

Time for a new logo?

We all know that brand is not just a logo, but you have to admit a logo is still an important part. I see a lot of businesses change theirs as often as their cars…

So should you change yours? Here are 5 things to consider before you even start the process.

1. Why are you doing this? 
Everything about marketing is building trust and familiarity with audiences. Is there a specific reason you think you need a new logo? For example you might think your business needs a refresh. My question to you would be, “would it be better to invest in things that better the customer experience?”. Unless the experience is dead set perfect, and I bet it isn’t, then the logo isn’t where your attention should be going.

2. Does the existing logo have context? 
“Is this logo any good?” I’m often asked that question with the expectation of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. That’s impossible for me to answer properly, that question can’t be answered without knowing the context. To answer that with any level of expertise, we must first know how it needs to perform, who it needs to attract, the thoughts it needs to conjure and the values it needs to represent.

3. Better to evolve than change 
The only time I’d recommend a business do a ‘complete rebrand’ is when it was in trouble. If the last owners had built a bad reputation (in which case I hope you didn’t pay for any goodwill), or if your product has become irrelevant and you’re keeping the bones of the business but essentially building a new one.

If your business is still relevant and you just want to stay on trend, adopt the Coca-Cola method of logo change, do it softly. In such a way that the brand mark is still familiar. The only time Coca-Cola changed their logo drastically was in 1985, and that became a year of either ‘branding legend’ or ‘attention grabbing conspiracy’. If your ears have just pricked up and you’re curious… watch the video ‘The 1985 Launch of New Coke’ 

4. Test it first
Don’t ask your friends what they think, ask potential and best current customers what they think. Friends don’t know the context and probably aren’t even users of your business. Remember a good logo must attract the people who will be your best customers.

5. Do the switch properly
Depending on how drastic the logo ‘evolution’ don’t have two logos out there in the market place at the same time. It’s just confusing – it creates clutter, the complete opposite of smart marketing. If you can’t afford to make a logo change and take it across your buildings, cars, business cards, stationery, website etc. then save a bit longer. 

Related blog: ‘Your target customer is NOT everyone’

13 Tips for Effective Sponsorships

If you’ve ever given out money under the guise of ‘sponsorship’ then this is an important read!

My experiences over the years have had me on both sides of the sponsorship equation – both the sponsor and the sponsored. After 20 years of delivering events, I know how important sponsors are but I also noticed that many don’t actually leverage their sponsorship well. Some expect it to behave like an advertisement and see immediate conversion of strangers to customers…and that’s a mistake.

Let’s take a look at a few key points on sponsorships…

1. What’s your motivator?
Know how to identify which category a ‘request for sponsorship’ actually fits into – is it philanthropy or a true sponsorship?

Philanthropy – you contribute to a positive event for humanity with little fanfare or expectation of being recognised. It is most often done by the owner of the business, an individual or a committee within a business. Whilst Warren Buffet gave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $31bn in past years, philanthropy is not just for the rich. Most of us have been philanthropists at some point when we give a donation without ever expecting anything back.

Sponsorships – are usually managed by the marketing department and should provide a return on investment including publicity and a strong chance to meet defined outcomes for the business (particularly the chance to generate awareness or initial connections with a target audience). Business is business… you should always expect a return of some degree and this should be much more than having your logo included on something. This must be an opportunity for you to connect with your target audience in a way that will be a competitive advantage for your business – the same as any marketing activity.

The line between philanthropy and sponsorship has become blurred amongst many organisations in the past years. It’s time to get back to doing things for their original intended purpose, not just sponsoring things because ‘you should’. Be clear on ‘why’ you’re doing it.

2. Does it fit your values?
There is no way that Fortescue metals Group  would be getting approached to sponsor a Greens Party convention. It just wouldn’t be the right fit! When your business has clearly defined brand foundations you’ll easily know if the opportunity reinforces your unique brand values. It should build integrity in what you stand for. Having your name aligned with something that doesn’t match your values will water down trust in what you stand for. For example: Effective Naturally supports projects that encourage an audience to re-imagine possibilities, it should affect change by addressing the cause (not the symptom) and should be a touchpoint that leaves a long-lasting impression by bringing people together rather than be divisive. The sponsorship becomes an example of what your business stands for.

3. Does it speak to your target audience?
McDonalds are great at sponsoring items that connect directly to their core market – kids! There is no credibility or marketing advantage to be won by sponsoring something that doesn’t involve your staff or your target market. Origin Energy have a policy on sponsoring things that are important to their employees in turn generating a ripple effect of advocacy from employees and their pockets of community around them.

4. Are you buying connection, awareness, or neither?
Most sponsorships offer your logo being shown on things. The bigger your logo the better right? Not necessarily! We’ve previously discussed how having your logo in the wrong place can do you damage. Even the type of paper your logo is printed on could leave an impression in people minds. Big logos feed the personal ego, but unless you’re a flamboyant brand where bigger is always better, then being subtle will earn you more respect. In our years of producing in-stadium media for the AFL, we were always careful not to chop off the goal replay on the superscreen with a sponsor logo – just imagine how that would upset footy fans! Your sponsorship should always be seen to enhance the experience not interrupt it.

If your product can be used to enhance the experience, and thus get it in the hands of potential customers in a way they appreciate, that’s even better!

5. Be consistent in decisions and justify it
Just yesterday I said no to a great cause for just $50. Why? Because although it was a great cause and it brought happiness to people, it didn’t provide sustainable benefit which is one of our criteria. I explained “We would sponsor every great cause if we could but it just doesn’t help us concentrate in the difference we really wish to make.” It doesn’t get easier and I prefer to do it in person. More importantly, out of respect to the person who has taken the time to contact you (probably because they like your brand) do it within a reasonable time frame (7-14 days maximum).

6. Is it value for money?
This is where the philanthropy side may come in if it’s OK value but you really want to support it anyway. Sponsorships can be a better way to spend marketing budget because unlike an advertisement it gives you a number of touchpoints to build a relationship that one-way marketing doesn’t provide. The best sponsorships will include opportunities to attract new people, get people talking about you (or your event), a chance for you to connect in person and some digital component. Whether it’s good value or not depends on how many of your target market you’re likely to have those touchpoints with in relation to the cost.

7. How does it meet your outcome?
Be 100% clear on what you want and how you expect it to be measured. Have a clear agreement on outcomes, but keep the journey itself flexible and adaptable to maximise opportunities along the way. No sponsorship will ever deliver to the expectations of the sponsor, if the expectations weren’t clearly defined in the first place.

8. Be prepared to spend more
When you buy a sponsorship, you’re buying the rights to leverage off the success and brand of the sponsored item. Some proposals will be highly inclusive of benefits, others will be the bare minimum. I see so many organisations pay a sponsorship sum and have their logo on something but do nothing more to add value to that sponsorship, mostly because they spent their whole budget on getting the sponsorship. This is where they fail.

If you spend $5,000 on a sponsorship, make sure you have at least a couple grand to activate it. If it’s a kids event, you might provide something for the parents that makes their day easier. They’ll appreciate it and you get much more connection with people doing that than you would if they just saw your logo as a Gold sponsor.

A classic case study is the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Ansett spent $40-$50 million dollars to be the official airline but left themselves little budget to advertise the fact. Qantas started planning ahead in 1998 by signing on as a major sponsor for Cathy Freeman so they were synonymous with her by the time the Olympics happened, and bought a $7m Olympics advertising package with the Seven network. They simply activated better and according to Roy Morgan research, more Australians (42%) thought Qantas was one of the Sydney Olympics corporate sponsors than did Ansett (15%).

9. Collaborate and Leverage
If the work you’re doing on a sponsorship ends once you’ve done the agreement then it’s probably not going to be a great deal. One of the first questions a person requesting your sponsorship should ask, is “what do you need to achieve?” – and that’s when the collaboration should begin. There should be a good degree of discussion on how your goals will be met and how your connection with the event / cause will add value to the audience experience. Also look at how you can leverage the relationship with other partners again working together to be bigger than yourself alone.

10. Think Big!
Be prepared to get creative and think about how and when your target audience is likely to connect with the item you’re sponsoring (be it an event, sporting team, flying doctor aircraft etc). When your audience interact or see the item you’ve supported it should give them a positive gut feeling. Don’t be afraid to think big – if you’re a real estate agent, you might choose to support an event that brings people in to your sales location. When those people think of buying, that particular real estate agent would be top of mind. In short, work out how you can be in the right place at the right time in front of the right people.

11. Help people feel good
It comes back to that saying “People forget what you say, they forget what you do, but they never forget how you made them feel”. This ability to ‘move’ people is an unbeatable value of sponsorships. It also builds on Tip. 4 about enhancing the experience.

12. Make it personal
Another quote comes to mind “People do business with people”. If you have the opportunity to create an event around your sponsored item, or maybe include your staff as volunteers to enhance an event then it’s a great way to build meaningful relationships with your target market.

13. Give yourself time!
Most major organisations want at least 6 months notice to activate a sponsorship for a couple of reasons. First so they can budget for it in their marketing budget, and secondly so they can have time to think creatively, get the signage and collateral in to place, maybe order more stock and ensure you get to sprout about the relationship in all of your communications over the period. Of course it also means you get 6 months worth of touch points rather than just activating for the day or two when something’s happening.

The Final Advantage: 
 Sponsorships can be a highly valuable opportunity to connect with your audience in this new world of business driven by trust. It’s said that it takes 7 good touch points to move a person from being a stranger to a customer and a sponsorship can help you hit multiple touch points. It should build relationships, leave impressions that reinforce your brand and it should help your business get to where it wants to be. With defined outcomes, the decision on whether or not it meets objectives should always be clear.

If you’d like to read more articles about current marketing trends, perspectives and effective techniques, grab access to my blog here and also see the article about how to track which 50% of your marketing works.

Religion, business & creating brand evangelists

Brand evangelism is something critical to business.

It’s the act of having customers and promoters so in love and so trusting of what you do that they’re excited to tell the world about it.

It is of course the most effective and trusted form of marketing.

The word evangelism is tightly linked to the Christian faith, and whilst I’m not a particularly religious person, I know that business can learn a lot from the way in which religion operates.

Imagine if you could get people believing so strongly in your product or service that they passionately tell others about it of their own free will…

The free will part here is important. People aren’t being enticed by money or incentives, they’re down it because the whole heartedly believe in you and in your business’s values and ethics.

The most famous, if not first user of the term evangelism for marketing was Guy Kawasaki, “chief evangelist” at Apple. 

Justin Bieber labels his fans as ‘beliebers’ – and if you haven’t yet noticed, in the eyes of these ‘beliebers’ Justin can do no wrong.

5 actions you can apply to create evangelists for your business

So what are the 5 actions you can apply to create evangelists for your business?

1. Set the narrative

People connect with what you stand for if you have a story that’s relevant to them. Be clear with your narrative. The best way to do this is to have an easily accessible set of ‘key messages’ that stands the test of time. They’ll likely be messages that you’ll get bored of well before your ‘believers’ do. Then show examples/proof of how those key messages relate directly to the lives of your target customers and how your business delivers on these key messages.

2. Know your audience

What do they need? When are you most important to them? If you don’t know the answers to these basic questions, then your brand is unlikely to find a space in their mind and will have no chance of finding a space in their heart which is where evangelism lives. 

3. Be consistent

The only time most religions come under attack is when they’re seen to have double standards (although the evangelism amongst believers is usually high enough to negate the occasional slip up).

Only through consistency will people feel comfortable enough to sing your praises, because they have to be sure that what they experienced is what their friend is likely to experience.

4. It’s a science of emotions

If anyone has ever been to a church service, especially the more modern churches, you’ll see that many resemble a rock concert. The music has highs for inspiration and aspiration, and lows that conjure the chance to reflect on where you’re at in life.

Every part of the service from the video screens, to the lighting, to the tone of the ministers voice is perfectly timed, to deliver the narrative properly and to reach out to the emotions of the audience. Many pyramid selling schemes, and even corporate speakers also utilise the same techniques to ensure people are engaged with the purpose of being there. It’s not trickery, it’s just plain smart.

How is your business engaging with the emotional journey of your audience?

5. Know how you’re making the world a better place

The thing about religion, despite the fact that religions tend to have both positive and negative outcomes, is that people are driven to take whatever action they’re taking because they intently believe they’re making the world a better place.

Let’s be clear what some people see as loving, others see as evil, but the common thread is that both sides are doing it because they believe it makes the world better. So, how is your product or service improving the world? Know it, show examples of it and keep it clear in your messaging.

The Point: 

Business can learn a lot from religion. And it shouldn’t be assumed that people of faith already know the tips above. In fact because they’re within the cycle, they may even be less likely to see it, or if they’re aware they may just never have thought of transferring the key principles to business.

Word of mouth marketing is always the most effective marketing. It’s less about what you advertise, and much more about your values and key messages experienced through touch points that will bring customers inbound.

10 brand lessons learnt from sport

Let’s be honest here…how long has it been since you last celebrated a win for your business? By win, I mean something that takes you off the treadmill and really achieved a goal…

The footy grand final season is a great opportunity to transfer some of the knowledge from sporting brands in to your business.

Have you ever noticed that sport evokes the deepest, brightest (and sometimes darkest) emotions in fans? Sports teams are a brand just like any other business.

It’s important to note that humans don’t need sport, we love sport. Even people who don’t class themselves as sports fans struggle to not get caught in the hype of the Melbourne Cup, the AFL/NRL Grand Finals, the Olympics or the F1 Grand Prix.

But what is it that wins us over and what makes us loyal or patriotic?

Let’s have some fun with this.

Stop thinking about your business as a business for just a moment. Instead I’d like you to think of your business brand as a sports team or in the case that you’re an individual, as a sports star.




Now…let’s take your current game plan to the next level…


1. Good Sportsmanship even when you Lose.

It’s not important that everyone loves you, but it is important that you can at least be respected for the way you conduct yourself. Regardless of whether you’re the winner or you’ve suffered a loss, respect is a priceless commodity.


2. Every Person in the Best Position

It’s a team in every sense. Every role has a purpose and they understand it fully. People can have bad days but it doesn’t tear the team apart. There’s a clear game plan that allows each individual to be the best they can be and make their maximum contribution to winning. Are you making the most of each persons’ individual strengths?


3. Have a Trademark

Footy teams have their club songs, their colours, their uniforms and their mascots. Footy players like Jason Akermanis had the famous hand stand, Ian Thorpe was famous as Thorpedo and Michael Jordan’s ‘Air’. What will help you get noticed and what can you become famous for?


4. Stay Clutter Free

Start with troubled footy players such as Brendon Fevola and Wayne Carey, loose-lipped Anthony Mundine or cricketer Shane Warne… their actions off the field (or out of the ring) take the focus off what they’re really amazing at. While Tiger Woods is back at the top of sports earnings it seems he lost $23m in the year after his personal scandal. Then there’s Lance Armstrong – a person who was doing such great work and making such a difference in the broader health world, but then has his credibility ruined and much of the good work undone. Don’t let clutter distract the attention from what you’re really passionate about. Anything that conflicts with what you want your brand to be known as, is clutter.


5. Be Rock Solid to Attract Endorsement

Are others singing your praises? When other businesses wish to seek your endorsement that’s because they know there’s value/equity in your brand. You need to be solid and consistent because otherwise you could be seen as a loose cannon and strategic partners are wary of that. Think of swimmer Stephanie Rice for example. In 2008 after three Olympic Golds in Beijing she was being described by Monash University Lecturer in retail marketing Michael Morrison as “Healthy, young, bright, cheerful…you can see millions going on there”. It was true and she scored an endorsement deal with Jaguar who wanted to align to those values, together with the ‘aspiration of winning.  But in 2010 she made a homophobic slur on Twitter in the excitement of a rugby union test match by using the word ‘faggot’. The response from Jaguar was this “We have terminated our agreement with her, it’s to do with how we want to associate our brand and unfortunately this is not an association we want to have going forward”. So, do you live your values consistently? In a world where businesses become stronger when they co-operate, being reliable and consistent to your values is critical.


6. Create Vibe

When a team is close to winning, people are on the edge of their seat. When countries race against each other in the pool, they’re screaming uncontrollably for a win, cheering to the point anyone would think that global disease had been cured, unrest in the middle east was over and poverty was eradicated! Anyone who has watched the ‘Supercheap’ Bathurst 1000 knows how much the temperature really heats up on those last two laps.


7. Have a Next Big Thing

What will get you noticed in a sea of others? Out of all the AFL clubs, the Sydney Swans stole the limelight in 2013 by recruiting Buddy Franklin from the Hawks. Love or hate the decision, hardly any other club was getting air time. The story left the sports sections and became main stream news. That’s what all businesses need to do now and then…do something ‘good’ that’s newsworthy.


8. Build a Tribe

Supporter groups are a start, but the tribes are simply the members and fans. I don’t know how many times I have random people say to me “Go Hawks” when I’m wearing my Hawks jacket. We instantly have something in common, we feel instantly connected. The sense of belonging is the same thing a local sports shoe retailer @The Running Company has created through their running club. It’s human nature, everyone wants to belong somewhere. Are you offering people that place?


9. Be Happy to Have Non-lovers

There are a lot of people who don’t like Collingwood Football Club (in fact they’re the team everyone loves to hate) but you have to respect that at the same time they’re also the club with the largest membership. In fact they’re sort of fun to make fun of, and I’m guessing many of their supporters take being made fun of as a badge of pride.


10. Share your Wins

This is why people love sport. People love to win. When they can relate to the sportsperson through a personal journey, or have become one with the team over time it’s like being part of the family. The sporting win is then a win for them and this creates an endorphin release that’s truly addictive. Engage your fans on the journey and when you have a win, make sure you let your supporters know the role they played in making it happen.


“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else”. Albert Einstein


After those action packed points, tell me… are you feeling that instinctive passion to win? Maybe your opponent is a big competitor? Get more tips to help your business succeed by downloading our free eBook ’10 things small business must STOP doing NOW’ and take action.

If you want a coach to help you get your brand in to winning condition, you can book in for a 2 hour session with me either at our HQ in Launceston, Tasmania or via Skype. For more details contact us here.