Sparks April 2008 -

Sparks April 2008

In the News

Building your brand in a recession
Do marketing and staff training seem like the easiest “expenses” to cut during tough times? Think twice.

Particularly for small businesses, marketing should remain steady or even increase during recessions. Why? Because the big box stores cut their marketing budget, thus opening opportunities and niches for you!

Marketing is not an expense; it’s an investment. Building a brand means building a relationship with your customer. What relationship works when one partner disappears when times get tough?

To build brand loyalty, you need to stay visible, stay engaged, and even ramp up brand-building efforts. People are more likely to stay loyal, even in a recession, when they have strong emotional ties to a brand. As Barry Silverstein notes in Brand Progression in a Recession:

The bottom line for a brand facing a recession is that its owner must aggressively and tirelessly build a compelling case for the brand’s singularity. The brand must be perceived as truly special, with attributes unique enough to create a strong and lasting value proposition.

Otherwise, when money is tight, consumers will make a necessary if unpleasant choice: They simply won’t buy it.

Look for ways you can create an even more compelling experience for your customers. And make sure your marketing channels keep delivering! Your business will be more likely to survive and even thrive.
Learn more about brand-building basics

Template for social media press releases
Issuing press releases should be a common, automatic function for any company. They help keep the company in the public eye, create familiarity with press outlets, and create the opportunity for your company to receive additional press through articles or being interviewed as an expert.

But in the age of social media, how do you master your content to fit Web-based needs? SHIFT Communications has come to the rescue with the online-friendly social media press release (SMPR).

The SMPR includes areas for every kind of social media imaginable: photos, video, RSS feed, podcast links, and MP3 files, as well as prompts for visitors to bookmark the release through digg and

Check it out!




This month’s winner: Georgia Gorringe!
Our champ wins a digital print featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a print of your custom design suitable for framing! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

On sale = “cheap”?
All businesses advertise special offers periodically. It helps spur customers to take action.

But surprising research shows that putting your product or service on sale can make it appear “cheap” in your customers’ eyes! By offering it on sale, it becomes a commodity that could be priced lower because it’s not high quality. What’s an entrereneur to do?

You must, repeat, must, include a time-based component. “Sale! Three Days Only!” According to the research, customers maintained their perception of the product’s quality while still being motivated to purchase.

Their perception is molded exclusively on this one aspect. So while your regular price makes a product look valuable, and a sale price makes it look cheap, a time-limited sale makes it look precious.

Source: “Broadening the Scope of Reference Price Advertising Research: A Field Study of Consumer Shopping Involvement” by Daniel J. Howard and Roger A. Kerin. Journal of Marketing, 2006.