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5 Reasons To Build Your Brand In 2017

If you’re an entrepreneur in today’s market – our hat’s off to you. You possess the power to see opportunity where others see obstacles, and you know how to act quickly to take advantage of that window to success. Time, in today’s economy, is more precious and fleeting than ever as our lives move faster with technology and communications.

Besides endless hours of hard work getting your business financed and established, today’s entrepreneur wears an additionally daunting cap—broadcaster and market leader. Building a loyal following of customers and fans is more important today than ever before—and the channels to reach them are increasing in complexity and reach with each passing day.

In the heat of the hunt for immediate results, many new (and existing) businesses dash past the brand development stage, and march quickly into delivering logos, websites and collateral from limited or multiple resources. Who has time to ponder the personality of the language used to describe your product or service? People just want to know about it, and hopefully stop long enough to pay attention.

Breaking that pattern of rushing to market is a key component to building a solid communications foundation that will serve you and your growing business for years. Spending the time creating and defining your brand platform with a team of professionals will not only save you precious time, but precious funds in the short and long-term. If done right, your brand platform will influence every single business decision you’ll make today, and in the future.

So what are the real bottom-line benefits you’ll get from establishing a solid brand platform and strategy?

1. Stand Out From The Competition
So much competition, and so little time to compare for too long, the window of opportunity to connect with today’s consumer is ever decreasing. We multi-task on a variety of devices, all while maintaining several streams of conversation and potential distraction. “New and Improved” simply isn’t enough to attract and keep consumer’s attention today; you must prove your real, authentic value in competition with everyone. Truly standing out in today’s market is harder than ever—and reaps even greater rewards when done well.

2. Communicate Your Value Quickly And Clearly
With a solid brand strategy and well-defined personality and language, you’ll be able to speak with clarity and speed. While speeding down the highway in your car, your billboard will have but a few seconds to be attracted and memorable to a stream of potential customers. The internet is like a highway as well; with similar rules of quick and clear attraction requirements. Keep your message concise and most importantly—make it memorable.

3. Attract Both Customers And Investors
Ask any budding young entrepreneur today who is just beginning to develop business ideas, and they’ll confirm that a strong brand is something they must have to secure funding. “Build It And They Will Come” is notorious as a poor rationale to develop a product or service. As humans, we want to believe that our realm of experience is similar if not exactly like our target markets… which is often not true. Spending the time to clearly define your target market, and give them reasons to buy from you from their perspective and experience is a critical step to financial returns.

4. Enjoy Lasting Marketing Returns
A well-defined brand platform is one business strategy that gives back for years if executed correctly. As the company grows, so do you expand on the foundation that was established through a formal branding process. Without that foundation, you’ll likely change messages and tactics enough to never gain traction in any specific market; and waste critical resources of time and money while doing it. Developing a solid brand promise also translates into better information for creative expression; saving you time, money, and the sapping effort of going through rounds of creative attempts and evaluation.

5. Grow Faster With Purpose
One of the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs is to stay on track. It’s hard to know which opportunities to pursue, and which ones to pass on. Particularly when you don’t have the structure and decision-making processes of a large company. A well-defined Brand should be used as a continual, actionable filter to review everything: products, partnerships, people for fit to your core values. If they don’t fit, even if they have merit, then pass.

Brand platform building, especially defining your target market and your unique positioning is a powerful need for every business. Many businesses see the branding process as a challenge, and not an advantage.

How do you see branding in your business today? Is your brand platform clear to you and your market?

Promoting Your Charity Event

By Ashley Brune, PR + Events Director

In the first of a three-part series on charitable event planning, we reviewed five tips to help you pre-plan for the event. Now that we’ve gotten that covered—let’s talk about promotion.

An effective marketing campaign can have a profoundly positive effect on your attendance numbers. You’re probably thinking, “Does that mean we have to spend a lot of money to get our message out?” It can, but we’re on a budget here, and we need to be diligent about our spending so that we’re netting a profitable amount for our charity. Make sure that whatever you’re spending money on is necessary.

Here are our top six cost-effective recommendations for promoting your fundraising event:

Work with a professional

First and foremost, work with someone who has experience marketing events. This could be an agency and/or committee member. Don’t assign a committee member with this task if they do not have experience and/or the resources to help promote your event. If you do this, you’ll spend more time and resources than needed on this task.

Look for an agency or recruit a committee member with a proven track record who can connect you to the right resources. Try partnering with an agency that has a vested interest in your cause. If this happens, you can offer partial sponsorship trade for their help. Make it worth their while to partner with you. If they accept, you’ll decrease your out-of-pocket cost and have the necessary professional help to promote your event and reach your attendance goal.

Design

Have you decided on a name for your event? A theme? Work with a graphic artist who can take these ideas from conception to design. They can create a professional brand package for you to market your event and stay on message.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen organizations put out collateral pieces that are not consistent with their brand or message. If your collateral pieces are not on message, don’t expect your potential attendee to understand what you’re promoting. Remember, this is the first piece of information that your potential attendee will see—make it look good.

Website

It’s no secret that we live in a digital world where people demand access to information 24/7. Therefore, it is important that you have an online portal of information. Utilize your nonprofit’s current webpage to build a landing page devoted to your event. This is a cost-effective way to provide information and take online reservations. Make sure you link all of your promotional material back to this portal.

Social Media

Be sure to leverage your nonprofit’s social pages to promote the event—this is a sure way to hit a demographic that already supports your cause.

Create a consistent social media campaign leading up to the event that highlights significant components such as high-profile auction items, notable speakers, menu, entertainment, etc. The more visuals you provide, the better. You could even host a contest for ticket giveaways if it makes sense for your organization.

If you’ve created a Facebook event (which we suggest you do), put a little money behind it to create an ad. The cost on this can be very minimal compared to traditional media.

And, be sure to encourage your existing supporters to share these posts. Another idea here is to create a bank of images for your supporters/partners to share on their pages.

Traditional Media

Online presence is paramount, but don’t disregard traditional media. There is still a place for it when promoting your event. Depending on your demographic, this may be the best resource for hitting your target audience. Find out if your local media outlets have nonprofit rates. If budget allows, develop a very targeted campaign leading up to your event. If it’s not in your budget, and you feel that it is a necessary component, see if one of your supporters/partners has the ability to donate an ad(s) promoting your event.

Additionally, develop a series of media releases, highlighting the differentiating factors of your event and why it should be important for people to attend. More often than not, think empathy factor here. The goal is to land stories (earned media) to promote your event and increase awareness of the nonprofit.

Media Partnerships

In the fundraising world, media partnerships are gold! More often than not, nonprofits have a very limited budget and that usually means funding for marketing is sparse. This is where media partnerships come in.

First, identify the media outlets in your community that would be a good fit for your organization, and then see if there’s an opportunity to work together for the greater good of both organizations. Remember to not approach competing media here—no one likes a greedy event promoter. If you can afford it, a small buy would help round out your promotional efforts.

If you’re working with an agency, they will easily be able to help you with this process. Otherwise, this could take some research on your end.

These are just a few examples of cost-effective ways to promote your event. The list is endless! Next up, we’ll discuss post-event evaluation.

Next up, we’ll discuss post-event evaluation.

 

 

You’ve set the date for your perfect charitable event, now what?

Part 1 of 3 by Ashley Brune

Fundraising dinner parties, awards galas, recognition balls and the like are all excellent ways to raise funds for and awareness of your nonprofit. But, it doesn’t happen with a snap of the fingers after you’ve set the date!

At BLG Agency, we work with a number of nonprofits and have seen the good and the ugly when it comes to event planning. The most successful events take vision, pre-planning, organization, and a solid marketing campaign. As the event organizer, you must remember that it truly does take a village to plan and promote your event. You can’t do it all on your own, and that’s ok! From recruiting a capable committee to hiring an agency or event planner, there are resources out there to help you throw the perfect fundraiser while keeping to your budget.

In this three-part series, we’ll share tips on planning, marketing, and post-event evaluation.

Here are the first 5 tips to get you thinking about pre-planning. Organization is key!

Objective

This is the most important first step to setting a foundation for your event. Is the objective to raise money? Is it to increase awareness of your organization through publicity opportunities? Maybe it is both. Identify what your objective is and then set goals around it.

Goals

Now that you have established your objective, what are your goals? If the objective is to raise money, then determine what that number is and gear all of your efforts to making it achievable. Think in terms of net, the amount you plan on raising after your event’s costs are deducted. If the objective is to increase awareness of your organization and the great things you are doing, make that a top priority. Why should people help your organization versus another? Get your message on point from the beginning.

Budget

This can be a tricky one for most organizations to fathom. The hope is that you raise enough money to cover your expenses, while also raising money for the organization. At the end of the day, no one wants a wash. This is where the pre-planning comes in. Make a list of all the expenses that will be required to put on your event and give yourself some wiggle room for unforeseen costs. Then, go out and get your bids. Start filling in your expenses from there.

Sponsorships

Whether you know it or not, there is someone who has been touched in some way by your services and/or mission. Find those key stakeholders and tap into them and their resources for sponsorships. Come up with a clear sponsorship package (keep your costs in mind). This could include the obvious title and table sponsors or maybe you have other costs that need to be covered, like printing. Just remember to give your sponsor ample recognition for their donation. Some ideas here could be a photo booth sponsorship, incorporating their logo on the photos or a red carpet sponsor, including their logo on your visual display (aka “step-and- repeat”). The sky’s the limit here!

Committee

Teamwork makes the dream work. As an event organizer, learn to delegate. There are plenty of capable people out there who truly want to help. Recruit individuals to your committee who you know will get the job done, not individuals just looking for a line item on their resume. Now that your objectives, goals, budget and sponsorship packages are solidified, it’s time for your fundraising committee to take action. Assign committee roles based on strengths, contacts and expertise. This committee should be your major source for enlisting sponsorships, selling tickets or gathering auction/raffle items.

If you’re embarking on your first fundraiser, or need a refresher, keep these 5 tips handy when initializing your event. This is the first of a three-part series. Next, we’ll provide tips for promoting your event.

Time To Rebrand

The ever-evolving brand.  As communication professionals, we see it all the time.  For all our efforts to work toward creating a story about our client's brands, it becomes evident when it's time to revisit everything you've created; and think about it from another perspective.

This happens to even the biggest of brands - whether they're products, personalities or services.  There comes a time when the brand should evolve with the ever-evolving consumer, and a re-expression of the culture and its roots is in order.

Unsurprisingly, it's happened to our beloved Biggest Little Group.

For nearly five years (time does fly!), Biggest Little Group has grown into one of the "biggest little agencies" in the "biggest little city".   While that's a fitting tribute to our very fertile terra firma, it's more often confused with our agency name, and we are regularly announced as the "Biggest Little City Agency".

Don't get me wrong...that's not a bad thing - it's just not correct or accurate.  For a company that creates and builds brands, that can be a frustrating problem.

And so today, we announce a slight change to our company name - now BLG Agency.

We think this is a bit more direct about what we do, and who we are - while still paying homage to our hometown roots.

And while we were at it, it was time to revisit and freshen-up our logo; while maintaining some of the familiarity we've built over the last handful of years.  We remain rooted in our favorite color: purple (the color that elicits creativity).  With four partners, each of us brings our own "shade" to the mix, and today, we're happy to announce a slightly happier (maybe even hipper) BLG.

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You'll note the addition of two words "advertising + pr" to our logo image.  For us, the tried-and-true combination of advertising and public relations provides our clients the basis of their ongoing, growing communications needs.  That's what we do best - and what we'll continue to do with great appreciation and passion.

So let's have some fun with it... let's express ourselves in a brighter, happier way - while maintaining the solid foundation we've built.

It's a subtle change, but a big one to us - and hopefully a bit more clear to our potential clients and followers what we do.  Because at the end of the day, it's not all that important that they get your name right - but it is important that they remember what you did, and how that made them feel.

Which brings us to taglines.  Little words do carry big messages.  After some thought and brainstorming, we've developed a new tagline for our agency:

Be Seen. Be Heard. Be Remembered: BLG.

We think this tells our story in as few words as possible.  Our passion to have our clients seen in the very best light possible.  To be heard above the din of media.  And most importantly, to be remembered for their story - and make a lasting impact on everyone.

Raise a glass with us in celebration of our "bigger brighter" BLG Agency.  And when you're done with that drink, give us a call, and let's have another to discuss how we might be of service to your brand.

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