Tag : blue-ridge-community-church

110: Rebranding Strategies from Super Bowl Commercials

Two of my favorite commercial’s from the 2014 Super Bowl had something in common.

One commercial used self-deprecating humor with 1980’s icons.
The other hired a movie director to shoot an abbreviated action movie scene.

Radio Shack made an established one-liner come to life. “The 80’s called. They wanted their [insert item] back.”

Jaguar leveraged a subtle movie trope and used a white car in a dark ad.

What one point were both the Radio Shack and Jaguar commercials—two very different brands with very different ads—trying to make?

“We’re not who you think we are.”

Both had the same goal: change their respective brand’s engrained perceptions. Radio Shack had been wearing a pocket protector long before Best Buy took its lunch money, broke its soldering gun, and stuffed it in a locker. Jaguar had been showing people it’s yearbooks from the 1960’s, while yelling at Audi to get off its lawn.

Both now wanted you to know that they aren’t old, that they aren’t has beens. Both brands needed to tell you that they aren’t just evolving; they are going in a new direction.

Together, these two strategies encompass the most common ways that brands reinvent themselves. Radios Shack courageously showed you their past in order to contrast and give context to their future. In contrast, Jaguar grabbed a dramatic car from its garage and hoped its raspy exhaust note and some movie villains would wipe your memory of Jaguar’s recent AARP street cred.

Entrepreneurs ask me about how to “phase in our new look,” usually after a logo change, merger, or other important mile marker event. My answer to that question is twofold:

  1. Make the transition period no longer than six months—hopefully shorter.”
  2. Develop as many of the new media templates as you can before launching the new look, so that as many matching media pieces as possible can launch simultaneously. (This requires patience and self-control. If you’re like me, the secret proves a tough one to keep.)

For an auction company, it might be easier to transition a brand than it is for most other businesses, because—in addition to company promotion—auction marketers generate a lot of media to promote their sale merchandise. So, it’s relatively easy to distribute a large quantity of quick impressions for a new company image in a compressed period of time. Also, every once in a while, an auction company will get a premium asset to sell that will make a high-visibility campaign on which to start a new brand look—for that clean break.

Consumers who buy at auction are primarily shopping for specific items. Their search for that item draws them to photos and online mentions of that asset category, specific items, or distinctive attributes. As long as those assets remain the primary emphasis in auction campaign advertising, the brand image should be happening in the periphery, anyway. So, a style makeover—while seemingly abrupt to the advertiser—will not be jarring for the consumer.

Whether you’re showing a new era for an established company or just wowing people with new capabilities to replace old perceptions, don’t linger in the limbo between brands. Go boldly toward your new image.
[tip]

When my pastor and his wife told their country church that they were changing the brand, 75% of people (including family members) left the congregation. Becoming a church that made unchurched folks feel welcomed meant making some church attenders feel uncomfortable. Candidly, every once in a while, I still get uncomfortable when my spiritual mentors challenge me to extend grace like God does—even when there are lots of positive peer pressure at what is now a megachurch.

Changing the dress code or the music style or the Bible translation from those of a traditional church can make you a contemporary church. Moving away from programs and dogmas and denominational jingoism can make you a culturally-relevant church. But I’m thankful that my spiritual mentors didn’t stop there—where form can still trump function.

Successful church happens when Christians don’t hold ownership of their local assembly—when it’s bigger than a brand, when we’re evangelists instead of multi-level marketers. When outsiders feel at home while still challenged by Scripture, growth can’t help but happen. Where there’s growth, there’s life. Often, life requires the death of an old thing for a new thing to sprout. Old things like the way church used to be.

Why I Canned biplane’s Website

Canned WebsiteYou probably didn’t notice that biplane’s website looks radically different than it did a month ago.

It’s okay.  If I weren’t in the process of replacing it, I wouldn’t have known, either.  Hardly anybody visited my old website, and I’m part of that anybody.  Outside of putting blackout dates on biplane’s public calendar or adding names to the “Who we’ve worked for” page, I didn’t really interact with the site.  So, I didn’t expect anyone else to be interacting with my company there, either.

The artist formerly known as biplaneproductions.com exemplified what some experts call a “brochure site” or “web 1.0.”  It was good-looking with its stock photos and Flash animation; but, unlike the auction-filled sites of my clients, it didn’t have new and regular reasons to visit.  While it was more than a giant PDF, it wasn’t much more than a company brochure—a brochure that my clients don’t need and that my prospects don’t have on their radar.

Within the last week, a couple of my buddies and I finished upgrading my blog to a custom WordPress site.  As soon as that went live, I pulled the plug on biplaneproductions.com and pointed its URL to my blog.  There is some biplane information on the site, but the emphasis is on my articles (like this one).  Oh, and there’s an ad next to every article that points to biplane’s Facebook page.

See, that’s where I’m interacting most with the auction industry that I serve.  biplane isn’t alone in that.  Watch TV, and tell me how many ads point you to the advertiser’s website and how many point to their Facebook page.  Even President Obama held his live town hall meeting yesterday—not on the networks or CSPAN but on Facebook.

Facebook is where we live.  At the least, it’s the new water cooler around which we congregate.

My website strategy is not for every company—probably not even for my clients.  What is for everyone is determining who comes to your site and why—and determining how to cater to the answers to those two questions.  My potential visitors are busy, mobile entrepreneurs who want to pull from my knowledge base.  They access my company news and articles through my biweekly emails and their social media streams.  I take my web content to them, so that they don’t have to remember to retrieve it.

How about you and your online content?  What could you do to tailor it to your clientele, and how could you make it easier for them to access it?

Taking It Personally

One of the most challenging tasks of my spiritual journey is keeping tabs on newer believers.  My church—with scriptural precedence—asks every one of us to grab at least one hand belonging to someone ahead of us on the journey and at least one hand belonging to someone beside us or on the path behind us.  The underlying idea is that growing collectively (and individually) depends on us getting help and then giving help to others in the body.

From the feedback I hear, I do a satisfactory job of that on Sunday mornings and in other church environments.  I even land a few texts, emails, Facebook messages, and sometimes even written notes to my “little brothers” and “little sisters.”  I have healthy conversations with people who come to my house and those who hike with me.

What I need to do better as a “big brother” is to come alongside those with whom I have influence.  Coffee.  Lunch.  Double dates.  I need to take what I’ve been given—the Life I supposedly advertise—to people who could benefit from such.  I can’t wait for them to come to me.  That might not happen.

How about you?  Is there someone in your life you need to be more proactive in discipling or evangelizing?  What can you do this week to move toward that?

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com

78: Take Your QR Codes to the Next Level

Microsoft Tag and the QR CodeYou know how it is.  After you buy a car, you see that make and model everywhere.

I’ve had the same thing happen with quick response (QR) codes.  After over a year of selling QR codes to my seminar and Facebook audiences, I now see them everywhere—on ads, signs, packages, and point of purchase displays—even on a car.

It’s about time, really.  It was 17 years ago that Denso-Wave (a subsidiary of Toyota†) created its “QR code,” their licensed name for a two-dimensional bar code that has since been made generic like Kleenex has for tissue.  Only in the past five years—with the rapid adoption of smart phones—have QR codes grown into the consumer market and then into advertising.

Go to Biplane's Facebook PAgeIn 2007, the same year that Apple released the first generation iPhone, Microsoft divulged it had taken the two-dimensional bar code to a new level with its “Microsoft Tag.”  Like QR code, Tag is Microsoft’s licensed name for their version of a “high capacity color bar code” (HCCB).  Just as the iPhone pushed the envelope for telephony user interface, the Tag changed the ways in which quick response codes could be used.

Despite spotting the QR code a 13-year head start, the Tag has grown in popularity; and multinational corporations are now implementing them—in lieu of QR codes—into their advertising.  As shown in this inset, biplane clients have been using both smart phone shortcuts next to each other on their mailer panels and larger ads.

Biplane Client SamplesWhy should you consider adding Microsoft Tags to your advertising?

Analytics
As with several QR code-generating sites, Microsoft enables its registered users to track how many times a particular Tag has been scanned.  It even charts it on a graph to show you which days during your marketing campaign were drawing the most use of the Tag (and supposedly even location of scans—haven’t tried that part yet).  Thus, the Tag provides just another way to track the effectiveness of your various media.

Scheduling
The Tag comes with programmable start and expiration dates.  You can set it to continue indefinitely or to end at a designated time after your event.  If you have special information that will be released at a specific time, you can set the code to work only after that time.  QR codes can do at least part of this, just not through all code-generating sites.  Unlike QR codes, the Tag will allow you to change your data source—the destination at the other end of the scan—during the campaign, conveniently allowing you to change your advertising message.

Colorful Presentation
While you can change the black portion of a QR code to any high-contrast color and even float it (without the white spaces) on solid-color backgrounds, it’s still a uniform color.  The Tag can be generated in four- or eight-color configurations, while still working in grayscale, too—for your newsprint advertising.  With some advanced tools, you can even give your Tag custom backgrounds (including logos and photos) and even custom scannable shapes.  It definitely will not be confused with other bar codes.

Impression
While most of your audience has probably yet to adopt either the QR code or the Tag, your use of them illustrates your position at the leading edge of marketing technology.  If you have room to use both, I’d recommend both.  Since the Tag requires Microsoft’s proprietary app, the two different codes won’t interfere with each other.  (The Tag requires some white margin around it; so, leave space in between it and your QR code.)

Scan me for a happy surprise!The QR code can currently be loaded with more kinds of information than a Tag—location services, social media connections, emails, Paypal “buy now” links, and even WiFi logins.  So, don’t replace your QR code with a Tag.  Instead, maybe have something different on the other end of each, using them to compliment each other.

The Microsoft Tag isn’t yet a must-have tool in your marketing toolbox, but it gives you another way to prove you’re a step ahead of your competition—or at least, that you’re more colorful.
[tip]
For the past several years, my favorite Bible study environment has been TruthWorks.  Not a class, not a service, it’s just a bunch of people from multiple stages of our collective spiritual journey—all of us circling tables in groups of three to seven people.

Right now, we’re wading through the book of Acts at a pace of roughly a chapter per week.  I took an entire semester of the same 28 chapters in college and didn’t see but a fraction of what we’ve found over the past few months.

It’s not that we’re trying to find grayscale out of the Bible’s black and white by searching for nuances that create differences and debates.  Theologians have been doing that for centuries; and Christianity, especially in our nation, has splintered far from the unity that God asks of the New Testament church.

No, what we’ve found is the color in the Bible—where it comes to life, where it interacts with our immediate circumstances.

I’ve heard over 5,000 sermons and Bible lessons in my life—many of which I’ve watched through the equivalent of a portable black and white television.  In TruthWorks, though, I’m exploring the Bible on a 1080p HD 60-inch display.  I’d love to tell you how we do it.  So, don’t hesitate to ask.

[footer]† Source: Wikipedia.
Stock image of elevator buttons used by permission through purchase from iStockPhoto.com[/footer]

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