Friday, January 30, 2015

How a Tagline can, and should, define your business

Does your company need a Tagline?
 … Why?

A short statement (usually three to five words); a Tagline describes what your company does, what makes you different,
and (ideally) inspires them to engage you in business. It may, or may not, complement your company’s logo, but commonly it does.

As a Creative Director, I’ve been writing clients’ Taglines for nearly twenty years. And they’re just as relevant today as when I wrote them 20 years ago. Done poorly, a Tagline will do nothing for your customers and will be easy to ignore. Done right, a Tagline becomes an inspiring reason to engage your company with new business.

If you’re thinking about creating a new Tagline for your business, here are three real examples. These cases should provide you with some valuable insight, from the creating agency’s perspective.

Tagline #1  … Invest. Cultivate. Triumph. @Home

Sutherland Global Services, a global business process outsourcing (BPO) company, had a problem. Attendance at their client focused events (promoting their “At Home” BPO services) was abysmal. To close new sales, they needed their events attended by highly targeted individuals – decision makers at Fortune 500 companies.

Attendance had been so low, their last event cancelled altogether.

… Why did they need a Tagline?

What they truly needed was a persuasive campaign, and effective messaging. Their new campaign ended up hinging on a new Tagline.

Question … How do you get decision makers from Fortune 500 companies to take time away from their busy schedules to attend an event by a company trying to sell them services? You tell them how you’re going to make their lives easier, how they will save money, and how they will win.

Can all that be said with a Tagline? Not entirely, but the Tagline is how we got them to pay attention. The campaign messaging did the rest.

Invest. Cultivate. Triumph. @Home

At project start, the client hadn’t asked for a Tagline. We just knew they needed one. By analyzing their need (specifically passed event failures) we discovered they’d really not made a meaningful connection with their customers. Their capabilities and services were already great, truly. But they’d not thought about how busy their customers were, nor what kind of messaging those customers found meaningful. The new Tagline got their prospects to pay attention. In combination with the campaign messaging, a persuasive case was made and attendance grew exponentially.
As a result … Sutherland Global “overbooked” their next event.

Tagline #2  … Flexible Solutions In Plastic

A fifteen year old plastics company, Finger Lakes Extrusion, had an outdated website, brand and logo. Their company is the sole manufacturer of a product that has notable (more than ten years) brand equity.

Seeking to increase market share, they were uncertain as to what type of marketing or advertising efforts to prioritize.

… Why did they need a Tagline?

Reason #1.  The company name (Finger Lakes Extrusion) doesn’t clearly explain what they do. The word extrusion may position them as a service business who takes on “extrusion jobs” (false). It also may be interpreted that they may manufacture extrusion equipment (false again). Are they a service company? Do they manufacture equipment? Or products? How will their customers know they’re a good fit? As with many companies, their business name was set in stone long ago. Changing it was not an option. But a Tagline would help to clear this up.

Reason #2.  Their cornerstone product (FLEX Tubing) is a brand name their industry already knows and trusts. They’re just not sure who Finger Lakes Extrusion is. And many of their customers don’t know that Finger Lakes Extrusion is the only manufacturer of FLEX Tubing.

How to resolve these issues? Change their company name? Lose existing brand equity, and pay legal fees associated with a monumental corporation name change? Or, add a new Tagline?

… We went to work on their new Tagline.

Learning all we could about Finger Lakes Extrusion helped to narrow potential descriptive words to only those that fit Finger Lakes Extrusion perfectly. After a few dozen potentials, and a few rounds of client reviews, a new Tagline was settled.

Flexible Solutions In Plastic lending to resolution of Challenge #1. The word “Flexible” is cross-functional, in that it implies easy to work with, while simultaneously describing their plastics capabilities. “Solutions” conveys expertise, knowledge, and an interest in giving their customers much more than an end product. “In Plastic” implies an end product, helping to explain that they’re not a job shop. On Challenge #2; FLEX Tubing already had its own Tagline. But, as a result of the Tagline effort and associated branding exercise, the team at Finger Lakes Extrusion now have a defined brand strategy to better address and manage customer perception.

Tagline #3  … Tying it all together

Yes, I write Taglines … but I also wholeheartedly believe in them. Here’s how my Agency’s Tagline came to be, and why it means everything to our company – as yours should to you.

… Why did MG Lomb need a Tagline?

It was probably ten years of writing Taglines, before I knew what the “right” Tagline could do for a business. The moment it became clear was when Tying it all together became “my” Tagline.

MG Lomb was founded in 1996. Like most businesses, it took us awhile to figure out exactly who we are. As we evolved (MG Lomb, our team, our services, the U.S. economy, the world, lol!) we figured our Tagline out, in kind of an “Ah ha!” moment … and “Tying it all together” (an idea – not a Tagline at this point) had everything to do with it.

I’d been giving client presentations, for my creative services agency, for over a decade. And during one particular presentation I suddenly realized, I’d been using the same phrase over and over … Tying it all together. During the course of my presentations, I’d say to my clients, “Here’s all of the things we do. And by the way, from a brand continuity standpoint – we’re extremely effective at understanding and communicating your brand, consistently, we Tie it all together.”

By the end of my presentations (all of them, not joking … every single one), the client would be repeating back to me … “We’d like to focus on Tying it all together.”

That’s when I knew I had it … my Tagline. Today, that experience is the meter by which I write all of my clients’ new Taglines. When everyone is excited, saying” This is it!” … then you’ve got it. It’s an excellent measure to work from.

On February 6, 2006 … MG Lomb Advertising, Inc. legally adopted our trademark Tagline … Tying it all together. From a legal perspective, being the first and only marketing or advertising agency to officially use it starting in February 2005, it’s ours.

TIP:  It’s worth engaging an appropriately experienced trademark attorney, to legally settle related issues. At the very least, if you think you’re free and clear with your new Tagline, write a simple statement of intent-to-use document, naming your Tagline, on your company stationery. It will help to establish when you created it, and make clear how you intend to use it (see example here: Tagline Document of Intent 2006 ).

In Summary.  Taglines are an invaluable tool that help a company to differentiate and distinguish itself. Sure, you can live without one. But in my professional opinion; providing your customers with a clear, ever-present statement, defining your business in a few summary words, and establishing your commitment to a set of principles and standards, will help your customers see your business exactly how you want them to … by way of your Tagline.

Michael Lomb is an experienced Creative Director (and writer of Taglines), of over 20 years. He is the Managing Partner of MG Lomb Advertising, Inc., a full service marketing communications agency located in Upstate NY.

Monday, June 3, 2013

MG Lomb is proud to unveil our new Client Ad Campaign!

MG Lomb is proud to unveil our new Client Ad Campaign!
For:  Costanza Enterprises … Temple Building Luxury Loft Apartments.

How do you advertise luxury loft apartments, in the heart of Rochester’s City Center? With an Ad Campaign people will actually pay attention to!

We were thinking Mad Men!
What makes the point of luxury city living better than Mad Men?  Style … sophistication … creativity … and luxury. A campaign that gets the attention of those it’s supposed to – is a winning campaign.

We at MG Lomb think that “Mad Men style” is fun and memorable. It says everything visually about loft city living that needs to be said. It creates a fun buzz about the Temple Building loft apartments, and tells the story of what they’re all about.

So check out our new creative (see the Ad) … or better yet – go and see the Temple Building luxury loft apartments! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creating Product Videos for Trade Shows

Video is being hailed as the “future” of marketing and advertising. At trade shows, videos are shown in nearly every booth. But how effective are “your” trade show videos? A short walk around the show floor will quickly reveal how your videos stack up against the competition.
Trade show videos, especially Product Videos, are extremely effective. Not only can videos perfectly represent products, they can also explain them – especially complex machinery – in ways that aren’t possible on the trade show floor.
How can you create effective Product Videos? If you’re looking to create a Product Video that attracts people to your booth, gets them interested, and excited about features and benefits, then read on.

Creating Effective Product Videos
for Trade Shows
So you need to show off your product; what it is, what it does, and why it’s better. You’ll probably have your product at the show, and you might even run it on site. But showing off what it can really do … on the trade show floor … that’s complicated.
This is where animated Product Videos come in.
So what “is” an animated Product Video? What can it do? Let’s consider two different types of Product Videos:
Ø  Complex Machinery
Ø  Consumer Products

Complex Machinery Videos
If you exhibit at trade shows, you already know how difficult and complicated it is to show how complex machinery works. Certain features & functions are just impossible to show.
For example:  Maybe your machinery washes or sterilizes something, inside a sealed chamber. How do you show that in your trade show booth? You probably can’t keep the door open while scalding hot water, and caustic chemicals, clean and disinfect instruments to perfection. But you can use animation.
And what if your product has lots of options? Do you pull accessories out of a box at the trade show floor and attach them right there?  With animated Product Videos, it’s a lot easier. Limitless features and options will just simply … “appear.”
Check this link for an example of how this is done using an animated Product Video.

Consumer Product Videos
Animated Product Videos are just as effective for consumer products.
Consumer Product Videos might look more like a TV commercial, but the benefits of using animated Product Videos for consumer products are the same.
In one example, a toy, it’s accessories are where the real fun plays out. With an animated Product Video, these accessories come to life … they turn, pop up, light up, whistle; all those things that your product “can” do, it “will” … perfectly, every time.
The best part is … with an animated Product Video, your product won’t get stuck, or fail to work like it’s supposed to. With an animated Product Video, your product will perform perfectly, every time.
If you’ve experienced complications of “getting it right” at your trade shows … that’s a pretty comforting trick.

What Does it Take to Make an Animated
Product Video?
Unless you have an internal creative department that uses 3D animation software, you’re probably not going to make your own video in-house. That said, below are a few of the steps involved in creating Product Videos.
CAD                 Agencies that create Product Videos can use your actual engineering files (CAD). It may sound complicated, but it’s not. Most every product already has engineering files available. Simply “export” the CAD file, and the creative team will use your actual real product to build your new Product Video.
A Story            Animated Product Videos are essentially short movies. Have a favorite movie? It probably made you excited and kept you really interested. Your Product Video needs to do that too. Your new video may be expected to “explain” your product (sometimes called “Explainer Videos’) but it still needs to be told like a story. So a script and storyboard are needed. Your creative person will help guide you through the process. Typically, you, or a subject matter expert from your company, will provide technical data – and the video developer will turn that into an interesting, captivating story your customers will love to watch.
Time                It takes some time to make a good Product Video. Depending on how complex your product is, it might only be a couple of weeks. But if you’re product is highly complex, and you want something really spectacular, plan on one or more months.
Experts            Like anything else, you “can” do it yourself. But I don’t recommend it. Engage some experts – you’ll get a video you’ll be proud of, and can use for years. Look at examples of their work, and ask what they charge.
Cost                 It’s going to cost you a couple bucks … probably a few thousand dollars for a simple Product Video. Long complex Product Videos are going to cost quite a bit more. Cost is always tied to complexity, but so is ROI.
When thinking about cost, always consider what an animated Product Video might “save” you. You’ll be surprised how quickly they pay for themselves.
The price is worth the investment – you can use your Product Videos for every trade show you go to, on your website, on YouTube and even as advertising.

Animated Product Videos are highly effective at attracting and retaining visitors at your booth. They do an incredible job at explaining products, complex or simple. And they can pay for themselves by reducing the need for the physical product at trade shows, while outperforming communication of a products’ features and benefits over the alternatives.
Copyright 2013.  By: Michael G. Lomb, Senior Marketing Consultant & Creative Director of MG Lomb Advertising.