Taking a Closer Look at Your Brand
- Hopefully the majority of you know me by now but for ones that
don’t my name is Tyler Kraupp and I am the Owner and Chief
Executive of Kraupp Inc. Kraupp Inc. is a advertising and creative
firm that specializes in small business, non-profit, and
government entities advertising, media purchasing, and creative
direction here in eastern Idaho.
- Before we get started here, I would like to point out that you can
download the PDF version of this presentation at krauppinc.com
You’re probably wondering….
I thought this would be an excellent way to start this presentation
because a lot of you are probably thinking about my age. I’m 21 years
old, I run a successful company, and I am almost a college graduate.
I was born and raised in Idaho Falls. I have a great connection to this
town and have always held it close to my heart. There is something
about this little community that keeps drawing me back.
I started freelancing on web and graphic design projects when I was 16
years old and a student at Idaho Falls High School. Ever sense I could
remember, I have always been interested in business and
entrepreneurship. I have been extremely lucky because I have known
what I want to do in terms of career and my life from a very young age.
After I graduated high school early in 2009, I immediately enrolled at
The Art Institute to start my Bachelor’s Program in Web Design. I joined
the Chamber about 3 years ago and have become grown my network to
include all of you guys.
Now, obviously it’s 2012, and I can say with confidence that I am 18
credits shy of a Bachelor’s Degree. I have one quarter left at The Art
Institute of Salt Lake City before I can come back here to Idaho Falls and
fully plant my roots.
What I do on a daily basis…
As a brand consultant and strategist for many businesses and non-
profits throughout the area my job is to innovate, create, strategize, and
implement. When someone hires Kraupp Inc., they are not getting just a
new website or even some fancy business cards, they are getting a
professional and creative firm that focuses on business growth and the
bottom line. All of our creative roots directly back to the client’s image
and growth visions. That’s my job, to ensure that design effectively
cooperates with the business’s goals.
- I think about people
- I think about culture
- I think about storytelling
Understanding the Principles of Branding
A logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity. Logo design, identity
design, and branding have different roles, which together form a
perceived image for a business or product.
We all know that branding is certainly not a light topic – whole
publications and hundreds of books have been written on the topic,
however to put it in a nutshell you could describe a brand as an
organization, service or product with a personality that is shaped by
perceptions of the audience. On that note, it should also be stated that a
designer cannot make a brand – only the audience or target consumer
can do this.
Many people believe a brand only consists of a few elements – some
colors, some fonts, a logo, and possibly a slogan. In reality, it is much
more complicated than that. You might say that a brand is a corporate
image. The fundamental idea and core concept behind having a
corporate image is that everything a company does, everything it owns
and everything it produces should reflect the values and aims of the
business as a whole. It’s the consistency of this core idea that makes up
the company, driving it, showing what it stands for, what it believes in
and why they exist. That is a brand.
Let’s look at an example:
Apple as a company, projects a humanistic corporate culture and a
strong corporate ethic, one which is characterized by volunteerism,
support of good causes and involvement in the community. These
values of the business are evident throughout everything they do, from
their innovative products and advertising, right through to their
customer service. Apple is an emotionally humanist brand that really
connects with people – when people buy or use their products or
services, they feel part of their brand, like a tribe even. It is this
emotional connection that creates their brand – not purely their
products and a bite sized logo.
You’ve all seen them, lining up at the crack of dawn for the newest
version of their same phone. There is a reason for this, not just their
advertising and marketing materials. They have built a true following
and connection based on their brand identity.
Now that we understand the exact meaning and thoughts of what a
brand is, let’s take a moment and discuss advertising and
The first step to realizing your success and true brand message is to
understand the concept that advertising is one of the biggest wastes of
money if you are not prepared and understand how you are different.
I’m not talking about price or features of your business, that is not a true
differentiator. One of the first things an advertising agency will do when
working a client is to see what marketplace clutter forms they can
reduce in their advertising. Let’s discuss some of the advertising
marketplace clutter that is currently everywhere we look.
1. Product Clutter – this clutter form is basically the culmination of
too many products or services. The advertising messages of
businesses start to be mundane and can easily be blocked out by
their target demographic. Try not to focus too much on your
product or service. Yes, sales and promotions are a great way to
expose your services or products to your potential end user, but it
is rather difficult to set yourself apart from the norm and hum or
all day messaging.
2. Feature Clutter – another form of clutter that reduces your
marketing dollars to background noise for busy families and
people, the feature clutter is a problem that many small business
owners do not realize. As business owners try to separate
themselves from the competition, they forget that many ordinary
advertising messages include some form of feature recognition.
Not to say that you can’t be successful with this avenue, especially
if your product is radically different, but it is usually not. Try not
to overload your particular advertising message with too many
features of your product, they will never remember them.
3. Advertising Clutter- this is the most obvious form of clutter. We all
see the ads every day, rerun after rerun. It seems like the
commercials of large corporations are obviously seen over and
over. Then there’s the small business commercials in local
markets, they are either annoying or do not actively target their
end consumer. Therefore, the majority of advertising messages
are blocked out and people move on. Is it truly the best place your
advertising dollars are going, if its just going to become mundane
and never truly heard or seen.
4. Message Clutter- this clutter form is also very common with the
small business marketing strategy and compositions. If you have
more than one message in your particular advertising form, it is
usually a failure. Your target market doesn’t have time to look at a
website, make a phone call, and follow you on Facebook.
Funneling your message into one call to action is the best way to
generate a customer base. It was recently published by the New
York Times that the average consumer is exposed to 5,000
marketing messages per day. Why should they remember yours?
5. Media Clutter- this form of advertising clutter has been around for
ages. However, with the existence of the Internet and social media
within the 21st century, this type of clutter has never been more
important to understand. Basically, consider all of the television
channels, magazines on the stands, and radio channels to listen to.
How are people going to remember your ad with all of that
clutter? Now add social media outlets, blogs, and even mobile
device apps and your consumer don’t even notice you.
This is one of the most important things that I would like you to take
away from this presentation. There are numerous businesses that are
wasting their money on local advertising and its not making a difference
to their bottom line. Try to create an ad that is different, simplistic, and
resonates with your brand characteristics. Be innovative, unique, and
different and your results will increase rapidly. No matter what media
your company decides to pursue, whether its television, radio,
magazine, or even newspaper, always consider the end-user. Why and
how are they going to notice your ad?
Marketing Messages & Consumer Habits
People don’t trust advertising. Do you truly think that consumers
believe that 9 out of 10 dentists recommend a certain toothpaste? At
this point, isn’t that statement boring and overly used, so we block it
out? That’s exactly what consumer habit and behavior is. For your small
business, consider the consumer habit and behavior of your
demographic. When truly determining your brand values and core
messaging in your advertising, remember that most consumers are
annoyed and frustrated with advertising. Consider how you can actively
change that perception with your business. Many advertising concepts
that have been successful serve the purpose of brand messaging, but it
is also entertainment for the end viewer. Obviously, one of the best
examples to compare this idea is to the Super Bowl commercials. Many
people tune into the advertising that runs between the NFL game as
entertainment and enjoyment. Why can’t all advertising be like this,
instead of wasted time between the newest CSI episode on television or
that awesome Journey song on the radio. As a business, strive for more.
Strive for separation.
Tips on successful advertising messaging
These following tips are really great and different and you should
consider implementing these thoughts into your business’s marketing
The first one, relevance. Go where people are, not where media is found.
Your business is not forced to use those cluttered marketplace forms
that we discussed earlier. If you had the choice to be the only advertiser
in one element of a person’s life, rather than on a cluttered marketplace
that is already diluted, consider being innovative. As a business, you are
not forced to use television, radio, magazine, and newspaper ads to
grow your business. Be innovative and different, try to think of ways to
be relevant in your advertising that truly engages and actively informs
your demographic. Go where people are, not where media is found. I
believe that is a very powerful statement and practically sums up what a
brand and advertising guy like myself believes.
Second, is engagement. Try to actively engage your demographic with
proper elements and fun things that make them think. If you can truly
engage people, many consumers will thank you for treating them like
humans and not customer drones that have no say in the matter.
Finally, context. Context can be something extremely popular and
successful if done right. Many ads become so boring and mundane that
people ignore them. But if they have the chance to skim your ad, make
sure it either puts a smile on their face or actively engages them to look
further into your business.
The Brand Strategist’s Philosophy
Basically, as a brand strategist and consultant, I live by the following six
rules. I try to apply these thoughts to all of my clients advertising
messages and brand guidelines.
A brand is person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or
Happy people = more people = more buying = more profit
Consumers don’t like to be sold to, consumers like to buy
Don’t offer more, offer different
Hit ‘em where they ain’t
Prevalent Brands & Their Characteristics
-- advertising examples
Define your brand
Now that we understand the principles of successful advertising
techniques- separating yourself from the traditional marketplace clutter
and understanding that most consumers automatically distrust ads, we
can now move onto the techniques and tips required to successfully
separate your business’ marketing message. It begins with offering
different rather than offering more. Many small businesses try to
radically give products away to entice consumers to come to their store
(especially when a storefront in just opening). However, from a
professional advertising and branding consultant, I can tell you that
many times it is more successful to offer different rather than more.
This next process is the that Kraupp Inc. uses when hired by a client to
understand and develop marketing and advertising messages. As
Kraupp Inc. has the ability to handle all of your marketing, advertising,
and creative purchasing and execution, if you like this process that we
use, I would highly recommend hiring us to reduce some of your
workload. Kraupp Inc. can handle all advertising purchases and
execution. So if you ever feel like you need some help, I would extremely
recommend Kraupp Inc.
We all have completed the dreaded business plan, marketing plan, and
even some target market research. But it often confuses me why there
isn’t a more universal understanding of a company’s brand and
characteristics in the preparation and analysis phases of advertising. All
of these exercises should be complete before running any sort of
advertising for your company. If you can’t answer all of these questions
with ease, I would recommend that you take a second look at your
Consider Your Unique Selling Proposition & Company
Characteristics as an Avenue for your next advertising message
For example, my firm, Kraupp Inc., worked shortly with a fundamentally
traditional hair salon to improve their brand and increase revenue.
Furthermore, we sat down and considered different income avenues to
shape their message and values. The brand strategists at our firm
considered the traditionalist ideals of the industry- standard pricing,
moving additional product, and focusing on rebooking. After much
deliberation and discussion, we informed and consulted the salon to
take a different pricing structure. Instead of a one-time fee, charge a
recurring monthly membership fee that a person can come in once a
month and get their hair done (like usual). But additionally, they
received discounts, products in the mail, and perks that non-members
didn’t receive. This had two benefits:
1. the hair salon had regular income coming in at the beginning of
each month and
2. the pricing strategy completely allowed them to shift their
marketing message to something radically different instead of
offering coupons and sales.
Try to discover something unique for your message. Many businesses
are lazy in their marketing and go with whatever the agency or medium
recommends. Try to radically innovate and be the trendsetter for your
local industry and market. The consumer will be much more likely to
accept your product and concept.
Some research practices to offer different rather than more:
Consider your pricing structure, could it be revolutionized?
Consider your company’s history? Anything in the past that could
be a marketing focal point?
Discover your products, how are they different from your
What about your management style? Something that customers
can relate to?
Implement a universal ideology of innovation throughout your
company; you will be surprised as to the success that employees
within your company come up with.
Your Vision & Goals
This may sound clich , but one of the most important ideologies you can
establish before successfully innovating your marketing message is your
drive and passion for your company and business. Many people may
think that sounds overrated, but where do you want your business to
go? What are your goals for your business and ideas? Are you looking to
innovate clear up to a billion dollar market or are you happy with
dominating a local spectrum? Consider what is important to you, and
keep your brand messaging standard with those principles. Remember
that a brand is not just the logo or marketing, but how your company
runs. If you live and die by customer service, you had better succeed at
customer relations. Or you will insure the same fate as false advertising
businesses before you.
A concept many advertising and branding consultants follow is the
principle of an obituary or epitaph of your company. Yes, it sounds
dreadful, but it helps a business owner intuitively understand what they
want in the future. You may have a plan in your head (which will most
likely make this exercise easy), but try writing it down and analyzing it.
Are you on the money with your principles? Once you understand your
mission, goals, values, and philosophy - your innovation will come much
A few questions to answer in your short business obituary:
What was your downfall (recognize your business fears)?
How long did you succeed?
Where does your passion come from?
Where does your business and yourself have the most
experience? Where did it lack?
What gives your business credibility?
After you can understand the final product of each of these questions,
you can begin to build your ideals through these principles.
Defining Your Territory & Competition
The next ideology of consideration when determining your small
business marketing and advertising campaign is to understand your
competitors and territory. This is one of the most common systems that
small businesses hear about. Learn your competition; discover their
weaknesses and attack. Well, that is radically different from what I
believe. I feel that innovation in itself is enough to separate your
business. Your business will most likely fail if your only separation
ideology is having a lower price. That is no way to successfully run a
company. Back to the previous point, try to intuitively understand your
consumer to change.
However, sometimes it is essential to understand your marketplace and
competition. Not to truly beat them with price or advertising dollars, but
to understand where they are innovating. If they are innovating in a
particular area- product development, customer service, pricing
structures- try not to step on that territory. It was save you money, time,
and resources if you develop your own path rather than copying others.
Consider the infamous Apple. They were innovative in their
development of the iPod, iPad, Macbook, and many other products. They
have seen extremely successful profits, as they were the initial
innovation in the marketplace. Now consider their competitors and why
they haven’t seen the same brand success and radical following:
Windows copied Apple with their computer concepts and beautiful
design principles. Verizon and Google copied Apple’s iPhone with their
next best item. Amazon tried to step on the boundary of the iPad. See
how everything can be compared to the original. Try to be the original.
Another ideology to realize is your territory and market. Many small
business owners have extreme innovative principles or creative ideas,
but will it work in your landscape? Consider your target market and
area. If you want to innovate with technology, social media per se, make
sure your location can handle it.
What is Your Differentiation Statement?
One of the most important concepts that a business can successfully do
is radically differentiate their vision and goals. Every business has the
same goal and vision of good customer service and good solid products
for their consumers. How does that make you different from any other
local business? That does not work anymore in the 21st century. In
order to be successful, your philosophy, brand goals and core values
need to be something universally creative and independent from your
industry. Throw out all preconceived notions of your industry and
consider what you add to the marketplace. Why would your grocery
store be successful if it offers the same thing as the large chain down the
street? Determine how you can be different.
Many advertising, branding consultants and professionals follow one
simple exercise to innovate and separate your brand. To develop your
brand philosophy, consider the following statement: what makes you
the only? For example, fill in the following statement: (business) is the
only (industry) that (does this).
So what about you? What makes your small business different from
your local competitors? Back to the grocery store example: Kraupp
Family Store is the only grocery store that delivers your groceries to
your house or Kraupp Family Store is the only grocery store that allows
you to purchase groceries online or through Twitter and Facebook. See
how that is universal and innovative? Now your marketing message is
easy to separate and simple to creatively execute.
Who Makes Up Your Demographic & Community
Going back a few points, it is always essential to understand your
demographic and your brand followers. This idea is even more
important than establishing your competitors in my mind. The
underlying ability to understand your current customers and clients will
allow you to refine your marketing message even further. If you truly
understand your brand community, than you can effectively gauge their
interest and habits, thus increasing your marketing dollars. Consider
some of these quick tips to determine and understand your community
and brand demographics:
Consider sampling current clients; discover their interests,
hobbies, thoughts, and involvements.
Target those ideals with your new customers. Try to recruit
customers that share your principles.
The easiest ways to understand your demographic- find
customers that are the same as you. Try sampling statistics within
your local government officials. If you have having more success
with gender, race, location, income, education and other guides.
Funny & Happy 4th Conclusion