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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Marka Discovers the Importance of Branding (Part II)

Last time, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) lead marketer Marka and Brandy the branding expert discussed the basics of brand creation and rebranding. This week, branding talk continues with a discussion of how to use your company’s logo, slogan and outbound communications to create a compelling brand presence. Remember, fire = print.

“So what’s in a brand?” Marka asked with curiosity.

“How about everything?” Brandy scoffed. She grabbed Marka’s coal and started scribbling on a cocktail napkin:

• Outbound “push” communications
• “Pull” advertising
• Websites, microsites, blogs and all other forms of oPresence
• Collateral materials
• Internal company communications
• Public relations work
• Social media efforts
• Sales & customer service staff behaviors
• Company leadership

Marka scanned the list. “Basically, any action or communication associated with FEI represents a potential branding opportunity.”

“Yes.” Brandy replied. “And that includes your company’s logo.”

“I know what you’re getting at,” Marka said. She pulled out her current FEI business card. The clashing colors, ill-advised font selection and poor kerning between the letters F-E-I conveyed mediocrity. The fire pit graphic in the logo looked menacing, not comforting.

Brandy clicked her tongue. “This is just awful. Logos should be visual representations of intended branding messages. If Org or anyone at FEI is aiming for ‘warmth and excitement’ with this logo, they’re missing the mark.”

“Of course,” Marka agreed. After a long pause, she said, “How about removing the fire altogether, placing each letter F-E-I in Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns, using warm fire-like ghosting inside each letter and shading the edges of each letter and column with a shadowing effect?”

“Ooh, let me see if I get it,” Brandy said, telegraphing her love of guessing games. “The columns represent reliability built on the back of an exalted corporate history. The three column styles convey client diversity—B2H (business-to-hearth), B2B and the Olympian Council of Gods. Fire in the lettering suggests that you’re in the fire business, but the ghosting and shadowing means you’re a pleasant business partner, not in-your-face like Pyro.”

“What about our new tagline?” Marka asked. “Should we keep ‘Always There?’”

“I like it,” Brandy said, flashing a charming smile. “I think it works with your logo concept. It’s short and memorable, like a good slogan should be. To create a company tagline, focus on what you want to be known for in the marketplace. Then sum this idea (or ideas) up briefly—the briefer the better! But keep your slogan believable. Nobody would believe a chariot dealer whose slogan was ‘We Make the Best Chariot You’ll Ever See Anywhere!’”

“Definitely not,” Marka agreed. “Speaking of which, I think FEI faces another hurdle in the communications arena.”

“Oh?” Brandy asked.

Marka pulled an FEI brochure out of her toga pocket and tossed it on the counter. The headline read “FEI Fire Good.”

Brandy stared at the brochure in disbelief. Then she said, “Marka, I’m going to hook you up with a copywriting whiz who will teach you to write better than Homer himself.”

Today’s FIRE! Point:

Nearly every aspect of your business—from your marketing communications to your sales and employee behavior—reflects on your brand, for better or worse. Ensure that your corporate identity and every company communication demonstrate the value and positive traits you’re trying to achieve with your business. Create a brand identity that’s compelling and believable, not pie-in-the-sky or commonplace.

Fire! in Action
A Brand can be Two Words

Got Milk? This simple question, the cornerstone of a campaign from the California Milk Processor Board, has become ingrained in popular culture. After the campaign’s launch, milk sales increased in California for the first time in more than 10 years.

Next week: Brandy brings in special guest Cecil to go over the finer points of crafting compelling marketing communications.

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