Is it as tough as it sounds?
Choosing an idea partner takes thought and consideration. It's not like snatching your favorite brand of ketchup off the shelf at the grocery store - although we've had plenty of experience convincing consumers to do just that. This is a considered purchase. One you need to evaluate and think about. What follows is a list of questions and answers designed to help you in making this very important decision. We ask that you read through them carefully. They are drawn from years of experience. If you have additional questions, we'll be happy to answer them. Whether we or another firm becomes your new idea partner, our purpose is to let you know what you should expect from your partner in order to cultivate a lasting and successful relationship.
What are you selling us?
Your idea partner is selling "Intellectual Capital," or more simply put - ideas. The minute prospective clients hear the term "Intellectual Capital," another question pops into their minds.
What is "Intellectual Capital?"
It has been defined as human capital employed in a productive enterprise. We like to think of it as unexpected ideas that captivate customers and motivate them to act. It's a Big Idea that is driven by a powerful and effective marketing strategy - one that separates you from your competitors and distinguishes your brand. And a Big Idea well executed, that is a true reflection of the company or organization, its philosophy, its culture, its employees and its leaders, can turn a company or organization with mediocre performance into one with extraordinary performance.
Can a Big Idea really impact our bottom line?
A Big Idea can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line, your staff and your customers or your non-profit contributors. As your brand is strengthened and becomes recognized and remembered and you begin to own a unique place in your category, your reputation and your revenues will grow and so will the respect and importance the brand holds for customers, contributors and employees alike. Think about some of America's best known brands - Apple, FedEx, IBM, American Express, Coke, the American Cancer Society. How did they become such recognized icons? What is it that makes them stand out among their competitors? Why have they been so successful? Each has a well established, well developed brand identity.
How much should it cost?
What may seem expensive to you initially will more than likely return thousands, even millions more than your original investment. And that's not just in revenue, but also in employee productivity and morale. We like to think of brand building as taking stock in who you are and what you do and through measured, ongoing investments, your brand will flourish.
Why can't we do this ourselves?
Do you have a staff you can devote to this effort full time? Marketing your company is not a part-time job. Is the staff you intend to devote to the job experienced or educated in both the art and commerce of marketing? Make no mistake; this is both a right and left-brain profession. Business minds are not necessarily creative minds and vice versa and you will need both to achieve success. Like medicine, law or accounting, marketing is a discipline that requires training and continuing education. Above all, it requires imagination. Without it, there's no catalyst for generating big ideas that will put you on the map and in front of your customers. It's the spark that can propel a company forward. Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is greater than knowledge."
Can't anybody come up with an idea?
Sure, anybody can come up with an idea. The question is just how good is that idea? Is it focused? Is it strategic? What does it do to differentiate you? Does it have legs or is it just a "one shot?" What does it say about your company? Is it memorable? Does it fit your brand personality? What is your brand personality? Is it something you can own? Does it have emotional properties? What are its functional benefits? Can your competition make the same claim? Does it truly define you? Or does it simply confuse your customer? And the questions go on and on. But a great idea that's grounded in a smart strategy operates from a true point of difference. And connects on an emotional level, can do wonders for your company or organization.
Why do we need you?
Why do you need your accountant, attorney or doctor? Because they have specific knowledge and experience that you value and they are continually updating that knowledge. Next to technology, marketing and advertising is one of the world's fastest moving and constantly evolving professions. A true marketing professional has to be on top of new trends, new media and new ways of reaching your customers. He or she must understand business; the economy and how it affects your business; your audience; and what stimulates that audience to act. The Web and its capabilities are developing at such a rapid pace that even the savviest marketing professionals are having trouble keeping up with the constant evolution. We also have to know a lot about a lot of different things. Our clients come from many different categories: technology, fast food, banking, insurance, retail, non-profits, automotive, packaged goods, hospitality, tourism, real estate and the list goes on. Finally, if you aren't engaged with marketing professionals who know as much as possible about your business, you need to look for another marketing partner.
How about trust?
Trust can be the toughest part, but it's the most important part. It's established through belief, knowledge, conviction and commitment. Without these qualities, the relationship won't work. However, with a shared sense of purpose, trust will evolve and the ultimate result of trust will develop and that's respect. Believe it or not, one of the biggest challenges you face is not trusting in their decisions or their work. The irony? That's the reason you hired them in the first place. So trust in their decisions, their recommendations and their work. They wouldn't be making them without your input and involvement, because this has to be a partnership in its truest sense. They cannot succeed without your help and you cannot succeed without theirs. The definition of trust: success in every sense of the word.
What is the true litmus test?
Chemistry. Do you really want to work with these people? Do they really want to work with you? Is it simply revenue they're interested in or is it forming a successful and mutual partnership that will help you grow? If it's the latter, the revenue will follow. Chemistry determines the future direction and success of your company or organization. Go ahead. Ask your potential idea partners,"Is it us or is it our business you want" See how they answer. Chances are, you'll have the answer to your next marketing partner.