Sparks March 2005 -

Sparks March 2005

In the News

Five steps to brand evangelism
Loyal Sparks readers know the power of a strong brand: a passionate customer base willing to pay price premiums and stick with you through thick and thin.

But how do you get there? By moving customers through five stages:

      1. Awareness
      2. Acceptance & understanding
      3. Ready to defend
      4. Utilize & internalize
      5. Passionate advocacy

Brand awareness begins with a strong visual identity (logo, color palette, typographic treatments, and more) that’s communicated clearly and consistently to your customer base. For small businesses, brand awareness is often built through word of mouth rather than through exhaustive marketing campaigns.

Once customers are aware of your brand, they engage with it in some fashion, moving into acceptance and understanding. If their brand experience meets your brand promise, they are ready to defend their choice to others.

The more they utilize your brand (think of how many coffees you’ve had at Starbucks or how many times you’ve found the perfect gift at your favorite boutique), the more customers internalize your brand’s qualities and values. From there, they become passionate advocates (what we call “brand evangelists”), ready to actively encourage others to try your brand.

Brand-building is a marathon, not a sprint! It takes ongoing management and commitment. It can take 18-24 months to turn an ailing brand around, because your customers need multiple experiences of your brand to internalize the changes. The more consistently you deliver on your brand promise, the more quickly people will believe in you and become a passionate advocate for your brand.

Reaching women on the web

Women are a key demographic for almost any company or organization doing business online. Women influence 80% of household spending and constitute 63% of online shoppers.

Women are highly savvy web users, viewing 40% fewer pages than men and zeroing in on information and products that are targeted to their health, family, and life. They’re most likely to be online around 9 pm, and 63% of them want websites to be thoughtfully planned and carefully designed.

While the typical approach to planning the architecture of the site is to base it around the question “What’s on this page?”, a more effective approach for reaching women is to ask, “What can she do at this step of her experience?” Because women are also looking to the web for connection, think about how your site can help connect her to valuable information, products, or communities at every step of that experience.

The bottom line is that if your site isn’t relevant to women, they’re gone—and they’re 30% less likely to buy from you offline as well! Designing a rich, streamlined, relevant online experience for women is essential to your success.
Learn more about women’s online habits




This month’s winner: Bridget O’Keefe!
In addition to surprise, Bridget 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 T-shirt with a custom design! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Bloomington Parks & Recreation
The Bloomington Community Farmers’s Market is a time-honored and much beloved tradition. It’s also one of the strongest brands in Bloomington. When we were approached by Julie Ramey, Bloomington Parks & Recreation Community Relations Manager, to redesign the Market’s outdated brochure, we jumped at the chance.

Due to tight scheduling, we turned around the project quickly, focusing on communicating the most important aspects of the Market. Our warm and cheerful color palette evokes the fresh vegetables and warm sunlight of a typical Saturday Market day. We created a chunky border to go along with the Farmers’ Market logo art and selected typefaces that related to the art and established a warm feel.

We completely re-vamped the copy, orienting it around the experience of being at Market rather than a simple listing of produce. We expanded the content to include Tuesday Market, Holiday Market, and A Fair of the Arts. Julie supplied us with a wide range of great photos, allowing us to select the ones which most clearly communicated the Market experience. The brochure is finished off with a clearer map that makes finding the Market that much easier.

As the Market heads into its 31st year, it has a fresh new marketing tool to help it continue to grow!