Brand Identity and Positioning: AMI Bearings
As a mid-level player in the hyper-competitive and price-driven bearing market, AMI had to differentiate from larger conglomerates who could beat them on price. We discovered that because of AMI’s smaller size, they were more nimble and adaptable. They had the ability to offer customization without impacting price or delivery. The larger players couldn’t do this because they were focused on delivering commoditized standard products.
My Role: Worked with AMI’s sales team, executives and our copywriter to create a new brand position, brand identity, LinkedIn ads, trade show booth, and several brochures.
Brand Identity and Positioning: Muller Design + Marketing
Homepage and LinkedIn page banner
We help our clients differentiate by creating solid brand identity and positioning, and felt it was time for our firm to do the same.
We began with our target personas and noticed that clients and prospects are overwhelmed with all the marketing options and need help focusing on what works. We updated our branding around the positioning of “We help companies grow through simplified and focused marketing and design”.
My Role: Developed new positioning, and designed new logo and brand identity graphics. New website is in development.
TRC Group: Brand Identity and Positioning
TRC Group, an IT consulting firm, was one of many players in a “sea of sameness.” Their marketing communication imagery consisted of stock photos, and their messaging was sub-par at best, conveying the same messages as their competitors.
We started by creating a brand identity that would help them stand out from the crowd—out with the stock photos, and in with custom, bold, colorful graphics inspired by the Bauhaus design movement.
We interviewed their clients to see why they chose to work with TRC Group, and a common theme emerged. Not only is TRC a group of experienced experts (their competitors can say the same thing, so this isn’t a differentiator), but they simply made the technology work. They removed the headaches that come with IT management. So we translated this into their positioning statement “Making Technology Work for You” and proceeded to update their marketing communications accordingly.
My Role: Met with the TRC’s partners and developed target personas, a new positioning statement, a digital marketing strategy to increase awareness and leads, a new logo, and brand identity graphics.
Website Design: A Lead Generation Framework
The following is an excerpt from a blog I wrote on how to generate more website leads, as this is one of our client’s biggest needs.
Key components of an effective webpage that engages visitors and converts them into leads can be summarized by the acronym: BASIC.
Benefits—Instead of leading with features of your product or service, focusing on the unique benefits such as how your prospect will benefit from using your company, product or service.
Advantage— What is your competitive advantage? What can you offer that your competitors can’t? Why should a prospect choose your product/service rather than a competitor? The answer to this question is the foundation of your brand positioning.
Social Proof— Social proof refers to the influence, actions, and attitudes that others have on our own behavior. If we see that others have had a good experience with a product or service, we’re more inclined to buy. Social proof plays off “the wisdom of the crowd” mentality. A company can use social proof to say “Don’t take our word for it, just ask our customers.” Examples of social proof to consider using include:
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
- Videos of customers using your product or service
- Industry expert or influencer endorsements
- Product ratings and reviews
- Certifications from authoritative industry groups
Imagery— The quality of your images can make or break your website design, so make sure you’re using high quality, professional photos, illustrations, CAD images, and video that showcase the features and benefits your prospects care about. At the same time, too many high resolution images can reduce your site’s performance and load time. Best-in-class webpages should load within three seconds. Any slower, and visitors may abandon your site, reducing your chances of converting them into leads.
Call to Action (CTA)—After you’ve attracted a visitor and impressed them with your professional design and brand positioning, make it easy for them to take the next step. Use landing pages and offers to capture leads. Some of our clients’ most effective CTAs include:
- troubleshooting guides
- request for free assessment
- market study summaries
- design guides
- request for a product demo
- schedule a visit
Website Design: OMT Vehyl / Built Systems
OMT Vehyl started a new division to focus on the niche adjustable manufacturing workstation market and needed a website to:
- Showcase engineering and design services along with custom capabilities
- Communicate new brand positioning
- Display products across multiple categories
- Allow staff to easily update the site with new product information
- Provide planning and educational resources
My Role: Met with Built’s Sales and Marketing Directors to develop the project scope (requirements, technical specs, and sitemap). Designed all wireframes and screen prototypes. Worked with our project manager and copywriter to generate content. Art directed photoshoots, informational videos, and the web development team.
Web Design and Lead Generation Strategy: Michigan Air Solutions
After reviewing Michigan Air’s analytics we discovered they were receiving only 1-2 website leads per month from their website.
• Out-dated, non-mobile website
• No brand positioning and no differentiation from competitors
• Only 1-2 leads per month
• Lacking compelling content to keep users on the site
• No cohesive digital marketing strategy
The Solution: A Customized Lead Generation Strategy
Develop Personas: We created three main personas which included information about their needs, issues, goals, demographics and phrases used in search engines.
Strengthen Brand Positioning: Positioning is what comes to mind when a prospect thinks of a company and includes benefits and points of differentiation. We asked why a prospect should choose Michigan Air Solutions over a competitor. This resulted in several strong positioning statements that were used as headlines in their marketing materials.
Redesign Website: We helped Michigan Air stand out from the crowd and build trust with a well designed site that is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and clearly states key messages (including brand positioning). We also added an online store for parts and used equipment, creating another revenue stream.
Content Development: We created blog articles, landing pages and offers that addressed users’ issues and needs. Blog articles are also instrumental in helping Michigan Air rise in the search rankings.
Search Marketing Strategy: We identified which keywords the personas are using and created corresponding blog articles, content and landing pages. Those pages were then optimized for the search engines so they will rank higher in the search results. We also created pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to supplement organic search efforts resulting in a dramatic increase in traffic. We then fine-tuned the ad campaigns to keep costs down and engagement up.
Email Marketing: Instead of blasting out a monthly newsletter, we recommended segmenting the email database and sending content that is more targeted—resulting in higher open rates and website visits.
Social Media: We implemented a LinkedIn strategy that raised awareness and helped the sales team connect with more prospective customers.
• Website traffic increased over 300%
• Average time on site increased by nearly 90%
• Higher search rankings for target keywords
• Leads increased from 1-2 per month to 40-50 per month
My Role: Met with Michigan Air’s owner, general manager and sales manager to map out the strategy. Conducted market and competitive analysis, and interviewed staff about customers’ needs in order to create the target personas. Played a lead role in creating all marketing tactics. Designed the web screen prototypes, art directed photoshoots and project managed the developers. I also generate monthly detailed analytics reports to show ad spend, traffic, leads generated and online sales.
Website Design: Westwind Construction
Westwind needed to update their site to better showcase their broad industry expertise, completed projects, and assist in recruiting talent during a time of rapid growth.
My Role: I met with Westwind’s leadership team to learn more about their business, competitors and the industries in which they operate. I then created personas, a new positioning statement and a website strategy (requirements and sitemap). I also designed wireframes, screen prototypes and worked with our copywriter, photographer and videographer to produce content. We photographed over 20 completed projects and created several client and staff video testimonials. I worked with our project manager to ensure our developers completed and launched the site before their annual industry conference.
Note: We trained the admin staff how to update the site. Some of their updates have resulted in a slight degradation of the design.
Website Design: Grand Rapids Iron and Metal
GR Iron and Metal’s website was dated and could no longer be scaled to accomodate new products and services. We designed a new website that:
- Utilized more video to showcase the recycling process better
- Included more impactful copywriting and key messages
- Showcased the numerous material that can be recycled
- Communicated their new brand positioning
- Helped GRIM compete with larger players, such as Padnos.
My Role: I met with GRIM’s owners, general manager and sales team to map out a marketing strategy, which included the website. I assembled the requirements, personas, screen prototypes and worked with our copywriter, photographer and videographer to produce all new content. I also managed the project and art directed our two developers during the development phase.
Website Design: Foremost Graphics
Foremost needed a site update that reflected their commercial print, mail and fulfillment business, and their recently acquired packaging division. The site requirements included:
- Restructure site to better delineate main business
- Update brand position, identity and key messages
- Showcase printing and packaging projects across multiple markets
- Highlight broad range of services to portray Foremost as a “one-stop-shop”
- Make the site easy to update
My Role: I met with Foremost’s owners and VP of Sales to review marketing and sales objectives, the competition, and the projects that they wanted to highlight. I created the website requirements, personas, screen prototypes and worked with our copywriter and photographer to produce all new content. I also managed the project, trained the staff, and art directed our web developers to deliver the site on-time and on-budget.
Search Marketing: Michigan Air Solutions
As mentioned above, we developed a comprehensive strategy that incorporated all aspects of SEO and SEM including:
- On-page optimization
- Website structure
- Organic search
- AdWords campaigns
- Re-marketing (display) campaigns
- Local search (Google My Business)
My Role: I created the strategy, conducted keyword research, optimizing pages according to Google’s top search criteria, updated the site structure to include pages that correlate with search phrases, created AdWords campaigns, re-marketing campaigns, designed the ads, and optimized local listings. I currently manage the campaigns and generate monthly analytics reports.
Search Marketing: TRC Group
Because TRC is focused on a specific, geographic area and the fact that IT consulting is hyper-competitive, it’s cost-prohibitive to conduct a normal organic and paid search campaign. We recommended re-marketing (display) campaigns for each of TRC’s services due to the lower cost ads, geo-targeting and target audience options.
With a fairly limited budget of $1000 per month, TRC is able to drive over a 1000 prospects to their site at a fraction of the cost of AdWords ($.20 vs $10-$18.)
My Role: Keyword research and analysis, competitive analysis, conducted AdWords campaign ROI, created and managed re-marketing campaign, designed ads, and ran monthly analytics reports.
Social Media: Michigan Air LinkedIN Strategy
My Role: Michigan Air had virtually no social media presence, so I developed a strategy that focused mainly on LinkedIn. I designed post templates, provided a graphics library, copywriting assistance, and a social media calendar.
Digital Marketing Strategy: Target Personas
All marketing activities should be preceded by the development of a solid marketing strategy. An important part of the strategy is defining who your target audience is. Another way to approach this is by developing Target Personas—which are detailed profiles of your ideal customer including their demographics, psychographics, expectations, problems, and needs. This helps create customer-centric rather than company-centric marketing which ultimately will be more effective.
Pictured: Sample persona for Sparks Belting Company which helped them create client-centric content for their marketing communications.
My Role: I met with the CMO and VP of Sales to create several personas for each of their industries. The process also involved competitive and market research, along with several client interviews.
Positioning is what comes to mind when a prospect thinks about your company. One of the biggest benefits of strong positioning is differentiation from your competitors. Positioning can also help a decision-maker choose your company over a competitor. A good place to start when evaluating your positioning is to ask: “Why should a potential customer choose you rather than your competitors?” The answer to that question is the foundation of your positioning.
Pictured: Graphic to educate clients on how personas and positioning are foundational for effective branding.