Take Five Minutes: How to plan your marketing for your best year ever

Focus your marketing - Tips by Ditto

Silly season is peeking around the corner, and our attention is turning to Christmas shopping, ordering the turkey and winding down on work in preparation for the Christmas break.

But that’s no excuse to take your foot off the accelerator.

Putting some time aside now to consider what you want to achieve in 2015 will pay off big time come January. And to help get you started, I’ve got some great tips to get you ahead of the game.

Jot down your goals for next year. Be as specific as you can – do you want to launch a new service, hire more staff, or increase your margins? Whatever it is you have planned, commit it to paper so you have something to focus your mind.

Set aside a budget. So many businesses find it utterly terrifying to commit a proper budget to marketing. But the simple fact is that you have to invest to grow, so the crucial thing is to ensure you spend in the right direction to get maximum return on your investment. Your accountant or bookkeeper will be able to help you put together a budget that works for your business.

Think big. If nothing stood in your way, how would you reach your customers and get heard? Grab a big sheet of paper and brainstorm as many ideas as you can. They don’t have to be realistic or practical at this stage – allow your mind to flow freely and scribble down whatever comes to mind. If you have a team, get them involved to bounce ideas around – the more, the merrier! The more ideas you have on your page, the better placed you’ll be to curate your thoughts into actions which are relevant, easy to implement and work within your budget.

Check in with your customers. How’s business going for them? How can you make their lives easier next year? What challenges are they facing? The better you understand what motivates your clients, the better placed you’ll be to create a marketing message that resonates with them and encourages them to buy.

Evaluate your brand. Does it support where you’re heading? We speak to loads of business owners whose businesses have evolved and outgrown their current identity. If that’s the case then fix it pronto; your branding should set you on a path or growth, not hold you back.

Make a plan. How, precisely, are you going to achieve your goals? Writing a plan now (I recommend thinking month by month, and focussing attention on seasonal activities such as exhibitions or events) avoids those panicked marketing campaigns that are rushed together in response to a period of poor sales. It’ll ensure you stay on track, and help you make the best possible use of your budget.

And if you need a hand…

We have a very limited number of slots available for new projects this year. We want to fill those slots with projects for business who want to communicate with heart and hustle, so to incentivise you into action we’re offering very special rates to those who fit the bill. Tell us what you’re up to and let’s see what I can do to tempt you! Email me at hannah@ditto.uk.com and let’s book a time to chat.

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Thinking of updating your logo next year?

Logo design and brand stying by Ditto Creative, Kent

Are you thinking of updating your logo or branding next year?

Before the rush of Christmas gets underway, take a couple of minutes to consider where you’d like to take your business next year. And then take a look at your existing branding. Is it up to the challenge, or does it need some love?

We have just five slots for branding projects left this year, and we want to fill them with projects for ambitious business owners who want an honest, authentic brand with heaps of personality. If your project fits the bill, we have some fantastic incentives to tempt you to commit to action.

Why is this great news for you?

1. Considering your brand now means you’ll enter 2015 with a good head-start on your competitors

2. You’ll gain confidence, focus and a beautiful, distinctive brand identity which will have prospects beating a path to your door

3. We have extra special rates available for the right projects if you commit before the new year (I can’t make it more tempting than that!)

If you’re considering a rebrand or a marketing overhaul (think websites, newsletters, logos and brochures), please email me at hannah@ditto.uk.com and let’s book a time to talk. Tell me about what you’ve got planned and I’ll see how I can incentivise you to take action.

It’s win-win – you’ll save money and get ahead for the new year.

So what do you reckon – are you interested?

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8 Questions your designer should ask before tackling a re-brand

Considering a rebrand?

If you’re considering a rebrand, it’s very likely that your business has experienced a good deal of growth and change, and that your existing identity just doesn’t cut it any more. A rebrand is a brilliant way to reposition your business to accelerate growth, reconnect with your brand vision and attract new clients. You need to be 100% confident that your designer understands your vision well enough to make the leap forwards a positive, exciting one – rather than feeling as though you’re chucking yourself into the abyss.

It’s your designers’ job to really extract the brief from you, and garner all the information they need to be able to create a set of stunning visuals that capture the essence of what your business is about. A brilliant design will be the result of a carefully considered and thoroughly discussed brief, so if your designer isn’t paying proper attention to this part of the project, you should look elsewhere.

Here are 8 fundamental questions your designer should ask you before they touch your brand design – and these are excellent points for you to consider, too. Ready?

Considering a rebrand

1. What do you do?

This may sound obvious, but without knowing exactly what your business offers, this project is going nowhere fast. Don’t assume your designer knows what you do, or that a cursory glance on your website will tell them everything they need to know. Be specific, and be clear.

2. How do you differ from your competitors?

At Ditto, I like to ask clients what makes them so much more special than everyone else out there. This really boils down to why clients chose your business over the other options available to them, and what it is about your business that they value so much. Don’t be ashamed to blow your own trumpet – we need to know why you rock.

3. What motivated you to reconsider your brand identity?

Has your business changed pace? Perhaps you’ve evolved and outgrown your old brand? We need to understand why you’re looking to make changes so we can bring something fresh to the table.

4. What are you hoping to achieve?

Maybe you’re wanting to accelerate your growth; or maybe you want to attract a new audience. Perhaps you need to shake off an outdated perception that people have of your business. Tel us what you want this new brand to do for you.

5. Who are you out to impress?

We need to know precisely who’s socks need to be knocked off with your new brand identity. It’s not enough to say ‘well, everyone should like it’, or even ‘women aged 30-50′, for example – we need to know what makes these people tick and what motivates them to buy in order to position your business in a way that will really resonate with them. This question is harder to answer than you first think, but really worth giving some thought to.

6. What should clients and prospects think and feel about your brand?

Your brand should show off your business in the best possible light. By rebranding, you’ve got a golden opportunity to really influence the way your business is perceived and what people think a bout you: use it.

7. What are your core values?

What makes you tick? What values do you live by? What’s the culture of your business?

8. How do you see your business changing over the next couple of years?

Your investment in a new brand identity should last you some time. Yes, it should have a fairly immediate commercial impact, but it should also support you in your growth plans. Be upfront about what you have planned for the future so your designer can create something that will continue to win you business even in a few years time.

I hope this has helped? A good designer will expect to spend a good chunk of time with you upfront to fully understand your goals, leaving you free to get on with running your business while they think creatively about your brand. Help them out and do some homework to get you focussed and thinking positively before you get started!

Considering a rebrand

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