Another Budget, another wave of promises of ‘support’ and shiny initiatives. This year, as the Wordle shows, the Chancellor talked a lot about the state of the ‘economy’ and focused his initiatives on ‘business’ rather more than families or public services. This is a Budget about ‘people’, ‘jobs’, ‘recovery’, the ‘country’ at large.
‘Tax’ looms largest, though, but not because there’s a lot of it. Quite the opposite: the Chancellor was very keen to stress that he wouldn’t be raising taxes - at least not for those of us on low-to-middle incomes. If you’re a banker or a non-domicile, though, you’d better get ready to dip onto your pockets.
Does this mean this a ‘Robin Hood’ Budget? If it were truly a ‘rob from the rich to fund the poor’ affair, then you might expect the ten per cent duty increase to be on grapes rather than apples. In case you didn’t pick up on it, cider is being ‘redefined’ so that it is subject to the same duty increases as all other alcoholic drinks.
For the small business, the clues are in the words ‘bank, ‘Bank’, banks’, ‘banking’ and ‘credit’. The Chancellor is making an extra £41 billion available as lending to small businesses via Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland. He has also promised a Small Business Credit Adjudicator whose role will be to decide whether small firms have been unfairly turned down for loans.
After all, it is small business in particular that will ‘fuel’ ‘growth’, ‘increase’ ‘jobs’ and ‘pay’ for the ‘future’. But, as the Wordle shows, they may need quite a lot of ‘help’ to do that.
I have recently been spending a lot of time thinking about product launches. My employer, SellerDeck, is a few weeks away from rolling out a major update to one of its ecommerce software products. While we have the advantage of an existing user base, many of the fundamentals for launching are the same whether it is an existing product or something completely new.
1. Understand the Unique Value Proposition
If your product is sat on the launch pad I would hope by this stage you know what it is that makes your offering different from the rest. The importance of your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) cannot be understated; it’s the lifeblood of any product launch. Review, discuss and research until you are totally convinced you have got it right; you only get one launch window.
2. Talk to prospective customers
Get out there and talk to the very people you want to sell your product to. Discuss your plans for the product, both now and in the future. Get their feedback; it could be you missed something.
3. How are you going to sell and market?
Choosing where to market your product can be difficult. Make informed decisions based on research. It might even be a good idea to run several small pilot schemes to see where you get the most success. However prepare to be ruthless if you’re not seeing the results. It’s easier to make decisions before you have spent the entire budget on something that’s not working.
4. Make yourself heard
Find out who the influential people are in your space and hustle, annoy and pester them. That is until you get a chance to demonstrate why your product is the best. Nothing is better than a personal recommendation regardless of the product or service. Go to events, chat to people and network, network, network!
5. Bring the whole team on the journey
A successful product launch requires commitment and understanding throughout your organisation.
When President Kennedy visited NASA in 1961 he came across a cleaner, and asked him what his job was. The cleaner replied “My Job is to put a man on the moon, Sir”. Now that probably is the greatest launch of all time.
Once set, you’ll need to ensure all of the things you can influence are glued together and working toward that unique brand positioning. If you're spending money on marketing materials with different straplines, changeable designs, copy that sounds different or doesn't match up to what you stand for, or products that don't match your brand promise then it's wasting the full potential of your marketing investment. People won’t recognise you, or understand what your brand is about.
Good strong brands do this well and are more stable because of it. Lets take Apple. They tirelessly work on creating innovative new products that work, that people love because of the way they work and because they are at the forefront of the latest technology. They just love making great stuff! So what do they do to back this up and support the positioning? Everything!
Their advertising, website and product brochures all fit together - you know it's Apple as soon as you see it. The products all look cool, even the accessories. Functionally people love to show the product off - look, it can do this! The shops, well they're cool too. And the people in them know their stuff, they help and reflect the brand. They run workshops in the shops on how to get the most out of the products, as well as the usual online support and video tutorials. You can even book time one on one with a ‘Genius' in their shops if you just want some help face-to-face. Everyone loves to show off the product because it's so good. It's just relentless pursuit of their brand positioning.
Apple have got their brand positioning and direction totally clear, and then they execute everything to support it ruthlessly and consistently. Take one area of the business and fail to deliver, or do something a bit different and things start to unravel. Done well, even knitting the simplest marketing activity together like a website, van, you and a business card, and you’ll see dividends.
The benefits of quality design are often lost because it’s so easy to choose the wrong designers to work with. However, if you choose wisely and get your design and marketing team right your business will communicate professionally, consistently and dynamically. The result of such a winning formula is what we all want – increased business. Follow our seven top tips to choose the right designer.
Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to finding the right designer to partner with on a long term basis – a designer who will positively affect your profitability. If you’ve got this far then, well, we tick all of the above so you can always choose us!
The best way to increase profitability through your investment in design and marketing is for you to be consistent. There’s nothing worse for your bottom line than your image chopping and changing. The trouble is the damage from inconsistency is so subtle that many business owners are blissfully unaware of the negative effects on their target audiences. Brand irregularity includes conscious and subconscious confusion, distrust and irritation and can result in customers going elsewhere.
It’s a cut-throat world out there and as competing businesses clamber for ever wiser customers, you should be focused on carving out a competitive edge for yourself. A company has achieved a successful visual presence when their customers can find them easily and, more importantly, when their customers can understand them.
Graphic design is often misunderstood and seen as an unnecessary cost. Many businesses severely under-utilise the power of visual design. But one thing is for sure, design-led businesses stand out from the crowd. Successful businesses of any size are embracing design, using it as a strategic resource to strengthen their products and services in order to achieve profitable growth.
Visual design should not be seen as a cost. If a company is achieving a successful visual market presence, design is not money down the drain. Rather, a strong visual presence gives your customers a compelling reason to buy from you and not your competitors.
Before any potential client even walks through your door, they have undoubtedly experienced the visual identity of your company. This identity can make you look fun or serious, large or small, traditional or forward-thinking, professional or unprofessional. You need to strike a chord with your target audience. Customers know what they want. The question is, can you successfully communicate to them that you know what they want and that you have it?
Here are a few things to think about: What does your logo say about your company? What impression does your company literature give your potential customer? Is your website pulling in customers or turning them away? Why? Can your customers find you and can they understand what you offer?