December 16, 2014

Why We Love Small Businesses -
& How We Help Them.

The Importance of Branding a Small Business
One of the truths of modern business is that there is almost nothing that your competitors can't duplicate in a matter of weeks or months. If you have a great idea, you can be certain that somebody will copy it before long. Not only will they follow your lead, but they may also be able to do a better job or sell the product or service at a lower price. The question then becomes, "What competitive edge do I have to offer that cannot be copied by anyone else?” The answer - Your small business brand identity.

Creating a strong small business brand identity will build mind share — one of the strongest competitive advantages imaginable. As a result, customers will think of your business first when they think of your product category. For example, when you think of tissues, more likely than not, you think of the Kleenex brand. And when you're looking for tape to wrap a present, Scotch is the brand that springs to mind. Likewise, when your child wants a hamburger, he will often say he wants to go to McDonalds. The reason behind these strong brand-product associations is that these companies have built rock solid brand identities.

A brand is the one thing that you can own that nobody can take away from you. Everything else's competitors can steal. They can steal your trade secrets. Eventually, your patents will expire. Your physical plant will wear out. Technology will change. However, your brand can go on and live. It creates a lasting value above and beyond all the other elements of your business.

That value is often called brand equity, or the worth of the brand. Brand equity, unlike other abstract marketing notions, can be quantified. For instance, if you owned the Marlboro Company and wanted to sell it, you would begin to value the firm by looking at the assets tied to the Marlboro brand. You would then identify the cost of the factories, patents, trucks, machines and staff. They are worth a small fraction of what you can sell that brand for; the value of that brand is huge compared to those actual physical assets.

The importance and value of a strong small business brand identity become apparent when an entrepreneur wants to sell his or her company or take it to Wall Street for a public offering or other infusion of capital. It is often the brand that a business owner has to sell in such cases.

Most small businesses have focused primarily on perfecting their product or services that the notion of building a brand hasn’t been an immediate priority. We enjoy creating that transition point into branding.

A brand must be viewed as the “face” or “narrative” associated with a company and creating the proper brand identity is extremely important in the early stages of a company. The BHB Co. enjoys the challenges and triumphs associated with developing a brand from inception to maturity.

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December 16, 2014

AD LIFE: The Life & Times
of Lifestyle Branding

The emotion that a brand evokes in someone — or more importantly, in a specific group of people — has a big impact on a company’s success or failure. Emotions play a huge role in how consumers act and react. Emotions drive decisions, prompt actions, and change mind-sets, leading to strong loyalty and a deep personal connection with a given brand that can extend beyond its rational attributes.

These emotional connections are more psychological than logical, and are usually subconscious feelings. Brands that develop distinct personae in people’s minds project an image that people want to buy into. Someone may buy a product because it makes them feel smart, affluent, or sophisticated (e.g., “I’m really stylish and have good taste because I wear these shoes.“) Generally, people buy products that are consistent with their positive, or aspirational, image of themselves.  

The act of lifestyle branding makes a corporate brand part of the identity of a person or group. People already identify very strongly with their employment, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic status. Lifestyle branding creates similar cultural connections. Their goal is to become another way that people relate to one another. Lifestyle brands sell an identity, or an image, in addition to a product. Lifestyle branding calls attention to who would use this product or what ideals it represents, in addition to what the product actually does.

Lifestyle branding is presented as more of a culture than a consumer good. Lifestyle branding the embodiment of a set of values or aspirations that we all desire. In practice, this can be as simple as presenting the product in fun situations with attractive people enjoying themselves. Most cigarette and alcohol advertisements of the last several decades are good examples of this approach. Companies utilize repetition to embed complex, subtle, and nuance perceptions of their brand in the consumers.

When effectively executed the power of lifestyle advertising and branding can transform products into ‘must have’ social symbols. A lifestyle brand will perpetuate its profits and popularity with branding, in addition to product quality. At its core, creating a lifestyle brand is subtle psychology. Embedding the central ‘ideal’ and ‘philosophy’ of a lifestyle brand into the public psyche requires an increased rate of repetition of exposure to branding.

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DECMEBER 17, 2014

AD FILM: The Rise of Documercials

A young idealistic couple shares heartfelt feelings and truthful fears about parenthood. Scientists separating fact from fiction about the abilities of robots. A race car driver describes his scariest driving experience—bringing his daughter home from the hospital. A 100-year-old doctor reminisces about creating heart therapies for children. You may be wondering what documentary films these scenes are from, but they are actually all moments from commercial campaigns. Numerous companies around the globe have been abandoning traditional style scripted commercials for the free-form advertising campaigns that focus less on the product being advertised and more on consumers who enjoy those products.

Documercials are helping to promote a level of trust between product manufacturers and consumers while allowing those manufacturers the chance to present the ways in which their products will realistically affect the lives of potential buyers. Documentary-style commercials are unique in that they have the ability to find authenticity, doing so by focusing on human interaction with the product, rather than the directly on the product itself. Traditional product advertising have a tendency to have a product anchored at the center of the commercials' world where as documercials properly place products in their realistic place as a life assistant for the user.

Consumers are inundated with information, constant attempts to heighten their interest in learning about the products they may spend their money on and meanwhile shortening their tolerance for advertising gimmicks like the benefits of having the coldest beer of all beer brands. For that reason, documentary-style advertising campaigns have been on the rise.

This brand new movement is gaining traction because its ability to convey the honesty in its message. In the new landscape of instant accountably and viral business gossip corporations need to be displayed behaving responsibly, and it is a good way to promote corporate initiatives. Many forms of traditional advertising have been alienating consumers; Many felt deceived by corporations, and the documercial is an excellent tool in rebuilding that trust. Campaigns that talk to consumers in a more open and honest way will resonate more strongly, and campaigns that focus on the good intentions of corporations, and their products are providing in the environmental and social responsible way. Documercials offer corporations opportunities to build brand equity by showing their commitment to sustainability, accountability, corporate responsibility and their customers in general. While in the creation process of documercials we do not employ the use actors or write scripts. We focus more on the perspective or angle to tell the story. The questions asked of the consumer become imperative. How direct or subversive will the message and/or tone be of the piece be; i.e. For a woman’s skin care product; will the perspective be about the cause and effect or using the product has on her skin and inadvertently her self-esteem or do we take the obtuse approach of what does she feel like to live in her skin with and her day to day life experiences and inspirations? Both approaches would be effective documercials. However, the former’s scope paints it’s concept with a broader brush. Either way, we have found there is no better advertising than the genuine experience of a happy client be it directly or in the abstract. The result will be a testament to the impact your company has on the lives of the people you service.

We can attest to the current communication trends with one other as a society is one of the reasons this trend will continue. Real people share their most intimate moments and thoughts on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets have created a new way of outward talking. This is how we now catch up with each other’s lives and learn about each other. It’s become a part of our culture, so it’s just natural for documercials to connect to people this way. The human connection will become more important and intense the more than technology displaces us from one another.

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