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11 March 2019 Published in Blog Written by

Brand Refresh Workout

3 Examples of Rebranding Approaches

Sit up straight now, breathe deeply, and relax. Then let’s talk about product rebranding. Yes, changing your brand’s icon is a frightening venture, but often it just makes sense to take the plunge.

When contemplating a brand refresh, you never know how your loyal customers and the consumers will react. That is why a brand refresh is so ominous and often avoided. Always remember your buyer’s passion for consistency ... they like routine. And, when done well, the results can be financially and emotionally rewarding. The examples of three famous company’s rebranding efforts below portray different motivation, approaches and outcomes.

Approach Backfire: Tropicana

Tropicana learned the hard way when they decided to change their look - Tropicana orange juice cartons with the fresh orange stuck with a straw on the front convey ‘refreshing.’ But when parent company Pepsico announced their plan to “simplify” the design to something entirely new, the unexpected happened. Consumers revolted. A 19% decline in sales ($33M loss after refresh launch) was immediate and certainly unanticipated for their brand refresh plan.

When asked, Tropicana consumers called the new design a generic “store brand” and ugly. With such a significant reaction, the fallback prompted Pepsico to roll back its brand refresh plan and return to their original logo and packaging.

The moral of this example is to always trust your consumer’s passion for consistency and sticking to what they know and trust. Some upfront research also provides real market insights. Understanding what keeps consumers coming back to you rather than your competitors is your starting point! Don’t gamble until you do solid research.

Deliberate Approach: Starbucks

Starbucks coffee drinkers are very brand loyal. So, when Starbucks removed the words “coffee” from their logo, the company couldn’t know what the reaction would be. Well, the new brand wasn’t all that dramatic. People immediately recognized the original central design girl-with-crown which automatically prompted immediate association while remaining traditional yet a fresh new look. Their rebranding was a smash; their brand is

Whenever you’re considering rebranding check your data before making any big moves. While trusting your consumers, also follow your intuition since rebranding includes instinct, and in this case, Starbucks chose to do just that.

Homerun: IHOP

One of the best brand “refreshes” was from IHOP. One reason to embark on a brand refresh is to regenerate interest in your company and remind people that you’re still around, still relevant, and have something new to show them. When you offer pancakes … but that’s working now … you announce that you’re more than a pancake house.

IHOP’s new message “In My Feelings” sparked an intense media surge. IHOP’s online draw grew more popular than it has ever been in the company’s history. Millions of posts about IHOP’s new slogan struck a chord with social media enthusiasts. The hype translated from just posts about the refresh itself to a meme later on, keeping IHOP in the news for months. They also gained a 30% rise in stock during the campaign.

We can learn a lot from IHOP in this case. Sometimes, unexpected ideas drive the greatest change. The old slogan … “Change is constant, Change is Good” really fits IHOP’s decision. Remember, just because you’ve been doing one thing for years, doesn’t mean it’s working. And if you add new elements to your offering, you must reapply lipstick to your story!

Consumers may disagree that these companies made “good” or “bad” choices, but we always have to be prepared for some heat, because some folks won’t like the changes you make during a rebranding period.

Again, do your homework. Ask a lot of questions. Do some trial testing. Once you decide to leap and have the strategy in place, stick to your vision and HIT GO!

Rebranding is an adventure. Some win, some lose, some get rained out. But when – not if – your brand begins to sag, or your competitors are taking market share from you, give your brand some thought. As you see, rebranding is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.

New can be fun, try it.

HQZ Experts has worked with clients through re-branding planning and look forward to helping you explore your product or company rebrand journey.

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

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22 February 2019 Published in Blog Written by

Email Headlines 1-2-3

Check My Headline - See How This Works!

Recent studies show that 33% of email recipients open them based on subject line alone. And, since everyone is inundated daily by tons of emails, catching folk’s attention and getting them to stop and read your email … is your objective.

So how do you write email subject lines that cut through the noise? Creating headlines that work takes knowing how to construct it. One researcher in this field has cracked the code for writing the perfect subject line. After hundreds of subject line tests, he filtered proven data to the following five tips that will greatly improve your subject lines and increase your open rates.

1.  Important Words First

What makes your email more important than all the others in their inbox? Just get to the point! Simply changing the leading structure of the headline text with the important keywords can increase open rates by 10-20%. As an example, a recent email headline from Chase to their Sapphire Preferred cardholders said: “Earn 10K bonus points – Invite a Friend”. Rather than asking recipient to do something first, Chase front-loaded the subject line with the benefit the reader will receive. Boom.

2.  Ask a Question

Since people love to talk about themselves and their interests, asking your addressee a question right away piques their curiosity. And, as a result, they’re likely to respond positively by opening more of your emails. One email from a fitness instructor phrases her subject line as a question to engage her recipients: “Need Motivation to Work out? Watch This” The call to action is right there in the headline!

3.  Numbers Often Help

Numbers are easy to read, help us make sense of complex concepts, and set up the expectation (e.g. 5 Things Your Subject Lines Are Missing). Godiva used numbers to do both in this headline idea: “2 DAYS LEFT: Up to 40% Off Flash Sale

4.  Personal Names Work

People really like to see their own names or pronouns - “you” or “your” - for a more a personalized touch. A study by Experian finds that using emails with a personalized subject line is 26% more likely to be opened (depending on industry.) Oddly, 70% of companies do not personalize emails. One SiriusXM recent email about MY free trial ... by adding the recipient’s name to the subject line. Clearly SiriusXM sees them as a person and are truly interested in them. “Michael, Your SiniusXM Trial Just Got More Awesome!”

5.  Rhymes, Alliteration, & Puns Now and Then

Writing a subject line that rolls off the tongue, will get a higher open rate. While it’s not easy to come up with these crafty word plays very often, when you do, they work.  Here are two very good examples: “Social Music Marketing: Bands, Brands and Fans” and “An Unusual Arsenal: Tech Tools to Topple a Tyrant.

Writing appealing email headlines takes practice. You can stop writing clunky or boring email subject lines. Writing them shorter and sweeter works better, so why not take the time to practice. Write several, send them out and watch the responses.

Have some fun. Check My Headline - See How This Works!

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

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13 February 2019 Published in Blog Written by

Homework Makes You Smarter

The More Concrete Your Research - The More Sensible Your Plan Is

Homework Makes You Smarter … Well, Dah! Knowledge gained from research offers stability and provides objectivity to any plan. So, the more concrete your research … the more sensible that plan becomes since it gains strength as your wisdom improves. You get there by using the following tactics:

  • Product or Service: Learn what makes your product/service different, better and more desirable. Find ways to improve and add value to it.
  • Benefits: Research the benefits offered by the product should be reflected in your marketing plan.
  • Market: Plans occur in conjunction to an entire marketplace, so be wise and become expert in your market before starting your planning.
  • Industry: Viewing your industry as a whole helps you see both vulnerabilities and opportunities by highlighting both learned successes and failures.
  • Competition: Realistic marketing plans are created according to dreams adjusted to proven competitive dynamics.
  • Customers: Your customers and your competitors’ customers provide a rich source of data so figure them out and pay attention to them.      
  • Prospects: Marketing plans specify who your prospects are since your research identified and included them in the plan creation.
  • Media: Identify the best ways to reach your target prospects and incorporate what you've learned about the media in your marketing plan.
  • Internet: Vast information is available on the Internet so dig into your niche for sound marketing intelligence before writing your plan.
  • Technology: Utilize all of the technology available to disperse your effective marketing programs.

Now summarize your results; they should point you in the right direction with more than enough momentum to hit your targets.

HQZ Experts can assist you in researching and writing your next marketing plan.
Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

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31 January 2019 Published in Blog Written by

New Year PR Facelift or Not?

A Few PR Tactics To Consider

Each new year forces those in the Public Relations world to anticipate and predict what changes will occur. The following expectations offer food for thought as you set your Public Relations course for your company.

  1. Diversify - More Than Last Year - Traditional PR has evolved from just focusing on reputation management to market/technology-driven activities including:
  • Crisis Management
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media
  • Content Creation
  • Media Influencer
  • Analyst relations

New PR skills should also evolve in ways such as increased digital content (videos and podcasts) dedicated to producing content for a wider range of digital platforms that shape broader awareness.

  1. Coverage - Always King - A well-earned hit in a prime media outlet is sweet - whether in print, broadcast, radio or social.
  2. Social Content on Steroids - When producing podcasts or writing I-articles, the entire scope should have a social facet. Experts predict the 'rapid response' process will become even more social.
  3. Stories Prevail – If you prefer writing whitepapers, articles or blogs, be sure to showcase writing skills with content creativity.
  4. SEO Boost - Whether with links back to client’s sites or links to their social media, every piece of content produced must deliver embedded SEO value for the company.
  5. Spotlight PR To Taste - People always ask “what impact” PR has on their bottom line. What sales growth does PR produce? What’s the difference between PR and advertising? We tell them that PR makes a critical difference to their company. The world quickly spots the difference between a bought placement and true editorial; placed copy feels like hype and it is.

The convergence of PR, marketing and advertising often compete and seem redundant. As editorial and advertising evolve, the pay-for-play content appears more repetitive which means it will be skipped. In the end the market and your audience wind up making the decision. Just remember that a free and impartial press is integral to honest and balanced messaging.

PR by its very nature combines the story, a benefit, relationship to a topic, and background facts that create a platform. This combination builds trust and builds reputation between an organization and its target audience. Each actually needs the other to maintain a bond of trust critical to everyone in the loop.

Pat Dwight - 1-20-19  

HQZ Experts writes effective PR  Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

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