Friday Five!

February 22nd, 2013

Posted on 2-22-13:

 

Five, no, SIX things we really, really like … a lot.
Friday's Five Things

Chocolate, no coffee, no… chocolate
We consider ourselves to be chocolate experts! Jalapeno, espresso, almond, Belgian, Swiss, blueberry, dark and of course, milk. We have tasted all sorts of chocolates from around the world. The best chocolates we have ever tasted (EVER!) come from a little island off the coast of Maine. Black Dinah Chocolates. We don’t know what secret ingredients Steve and Kate put in their recipes (so don’t ask) but they are so good you will hide them, hoard them, and definitely not share them – well, not willingly anyway.

Family Time
Who doesn’t love family time? We don’t mean the holidays, no, no, no – not those stress filled, way too high expectations that couldn’t possibly be met days. We mean just time together doing things we love to do; reading, cooking, laughing, sports, games, laughing. And we have a big family too – everyone who works at Aberdeen is a part of the family! Before someone joins Aberdeen we tell them they must love laughter, must love dogs, must agree to be part of the family. Here, it’s family time 24/7.

Sleep
Having such a big family can be exhausting! The idea of sleeping in on a cold wintery morning sounds very appealing, but…… there are too many great opportunities that we might miss. If our West Coast and East Coast coders would sync up a littler earlier in the day, then we might be able to get a little extra SLEEP! Really though. Those quiet mornings when you wake up and realize you can go back to sleep (sshhh) for another twenty precious minutes – those are pretty heavenly.

Flowers
We’ve had two birthdays, a wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day and one “I’m really sorry” floral arrangement (but we are not saying from whom) over the past two weeks. So we’ve had a lot of flowers come through the office. What we have learned: Flowers are a must in the male arsenal of cures for stupid things. Lilies smell great! Thistle also comes in white. If you run out of space for arrangements, do not put the new one on top of the scanner in your office. A good florist means an arrangement that lasts over a week. And the absolute best arrangements come from McArdle’s Florist and Garden Center in Greenwich, Connecticut!

Being told we do good work
We love it when our clients tell us we do good work and we never get tired of hearing it. Never. Ever. My personal favorite is the email reply that reads simply, “I love it!” We also really like, “Nice job,” “everyone thinks it looks great and I’m not surprised,” and “you make me look good – thank you.” We are convinced half our staff would be willing to work for compliments alone but that’s not a theory we think they want us to test.

Heroes
John Wayne, Bruce Willis, Arnold, Christian Bale – and our newest favorite – Robert Downey, Jr. (or really just about anyone in the Avengers). We love it when the bad guy gets it! A shout out to the actors who play the bad guys – can’t have a great hero without a great villain. The truth is we all have a little bit of a hero complex around here: one reason we shine in crisis management situations and ASAP requests. We love it!

Branding

February 12th, 2013
Branding
Strategic branding is less like
creating a logo and more like
developing personality
traits.

Posted on 2-11-13:

 

Branding is not a logo! Look at the logo in this photo.  There is not one thing special about it and yet, it contains one of the strongest brands in the U.S.  It evokes an entire era and it has personality.

Developing a brand is about being real. How is a brand classified in the mind of the consumer? Environmentally responsible? High value? Easy? Trustworthy? Effective? Exclusive? Traditional? Trendy? Loveable? Yes, lovable.  Getting your customer to associate terms like these with your company takes thought and effort and a good does of reality.

Your brand should be layered into every marketing channel available.  It isn’t just colors … it is personality.  Are you high-end retail that appeals to high-end customers?  Then make certain your marketing material does not scream tacky.

If you are Starbucks, then you are green, responsible, fair trade and patriotic … and it better be present in everything you do because your customer, your client, your people – personally identify with that brand.  Personally identifying means your customers are also green, responsible, fair trade and patriotic.  Buying Starbucks reinforces their self-image.  If it were ever discovered that Starbucks was actually a soulless corporation, then its customers would be more than disappointed, they would be betrayed.  Keeping a brand real is important because to millions of customers, it is very real and they support it with their money and their loyalty.

Famous people, especially political figures, have the same branding issues.  Why did the audience cheer when Charlie Sheen walked onto the Tonight Show stage last week? If he has done nothing else, Charlie Sheen has been true to his own brand. When your brand becomes confused, there is epic failure.  When people lie about there own brand, there is epic failure.  Being real is vital.

A brand is everything: what you say, the way your ad looks, how your radio spot sounds, how your phone is answered, what you post on twitter, and on and on.  A brand is everything and that is why it has to be real.  When the brand isn’t real or if there is a disconnect between what is real and what is marketing, the results are disastrous.  And the bigger the budget; the bigger the potential failure.

Bottom line?  Brands live in the space between the fibers of a company and in the hearts and minds of people.  The more real the brand – the bigger the success.  Brands have to be real or everyone will recognize them for what they are: fake.