Best of 2020 Building Materials Marketing Tips

Building Brands Ep 24 - Best of 2020 Building Materials Marketing Tips

Tim Bouchard recaps the first season of Building Brands by pulling the best building materials marketing tips from a few of the awesome season 1 guests that have shared their experiences with us this year. You’ll hear about how brand, market, and business work together, the value of knowing your audiences really really well, why an amazing brand identity is important, what to consider when launching a product, how to position your company within a niche, using social as an customer engagement platform to strengthen the consumer connection, and what the value of all of this brand stuff we’ve been talking about this year is.

Episode Links
Find Michael Bustin on LinkedIn
Visit Durasein Online

Find Kevin DeMars on LinkedIn
Visit Thermory USA Online

Find Josh Taylor on LinkedIn
Visit SIXINCH USA Online

Find Amy Gath on LinkedIn
Find Meghan Howell on LinkedIn
Visit Formica Online

Find Christopher Lyon on LinkedIn
Visit Tournesol Siteworks Online

Find Julianna Arjes on LinkedIn
Find Taylor Friehl on LinkedIn
Visit MORTARR Online

Episode Transcript
Tim
Welcome Building Brands listeners, we have had 23 amazing episodes together for Season One of the Building Brands podcast here in 2020. For this 24th episode, I’m going to the well and pulling the best building materials marketing tips from a few of the awesome guests that have shared their experiences with us this year. And this episode, you’ll hear about how brand market and business work together the value of knowing your audiences really, really well. Why an amazing brand identity is important what to consider when launching a product, how to position your company within a niche, using social as a customer engagement platform to strengthen the consumer connection. And what the value of all of this brand stuff we’ve been talking about this year really is. Enjoy the episode.

Tim
If you’re an owner or marketer in the building materials, manufacturing, distribution, or contracting spaces, looking to set up your brand for success now and in the future. This is the podcast for you. on this show, we talk about brand and market strategies used in the real world that grow companies and truly connect with consumer audiences. So sit back, listen in, and let’s get to it.

Tim
All right, so since there is no guest this week, and we’re doing the recap of 2020, I’ll be your guide to this amazing experience. As always, thank you to everyone who’s been listening this year for coming along on the ride during the first year of the podcast, which of course is always one of the hardest years to get through as you’re trying to have people learn about the podcast be into the guests that you’re you’re bringing out a ton the topics that you’re talking about. So I appreciate everyone that’s been listening throughout. If you’ve just joined us towards the end of this journey, please go back and listen to some of the older episodes, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. I can’t say how much I’ve enjoyed meeting the expert guests that have been on the season from all the different types of companies all across the country. And it’s been great to be able to have these guests on to share their experiences in marketing strategies, brand executions and sale systems. It’s been both educational and inspirational every time we’ve been talking to someone, so it’s just been a real pleasure. As a heads up, just so you guys know the podcast will be on hiatus in December to take a little bit of time to regroup, start booking people for the next season. And then we’re going to be back at it launching episodes for season two in January. And we’ll hold the same bi weekly cadence through November of next year. As always, if you or anyone in your network has an amazing story about how your brand is making an impact in the industry, please reach out I’d love to have you on for season two, you can contact me through the luminous site or direct message me on LinkedIn, wherever you might want to reach out, please do I’d love to have you involved. Now if you’ve been listening to the podcast all year since its launch in January, this will be a great recap and a motivator heading into 2021 as we’re all planning our strategies and budgets for marketing in the new year. For those of you that have joined us later on and haven’t had the opportunity to listen back on older episodes, I hope you find some inspiration to do so while listening to these awesome clips from a few guests we’ve had on the show this season.

Tim
Now to get started, I’m going to dive into this clip from Episode 19, where Michael Bustin from Durasein brings up the reality that business strategy, market strategy and brand strategy need to both exist and be aligned to see success for a company. He also touches on the idea that outside perspective through third party facilitation and audience research can break through the tunnel vision that builds within stale brands. So check out this clip.

EP 19: USING BRAND STRATEGY TO DIFFERENTIATE IN THE MARKET

Michael
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, as you said, brand in the way, the way I look at brand, I mean, it’s really interesting. And when I was at the agency, you hear either you’re on the agency side, or you’re on the brand side, and I was on the agency side for six years. And now being on the brand side, it’s really interesting because it puts so much in perspective, and it connects all the dots. And and brand. I honestly I don’t know how companies survive or grow without brand in mind. And I’ve heard on a number of your podcasts. And I believe the same thing that brand is much more than a logo brand is much more than a color scheme. It’s much more than a website’s much more than doing a trade show and collateral. You know, brand is deeply rooted to the core of who you are, you know, it’s it’s this almost this living entity that does grow, you know, it matures, and it has a personality, and it has values. It’s something that connects at the heart level, you know, the mind level of individuals, and it is so powerful. You know, to me, the interesting thing about brand and the power of brand, I find it fascinating how brand can really shape a company internally, you know, like a brand on the outside, you know consumer facing. To me, I’m more intrigued of how a brand can really almost design a business and shape of business internally, from people you know, to the culture to everything you do if you execute it against the brand, and you treat the brand like a person individual and you act brand, hey, should we hire this person out? The brand says no, because you don’t fit these values and personnel, etc, etc, you know, it becomes a very, very valuable tool and a guiding light to shape the business, you know, moving forward. And I think the important thing as well, too is, is what I’ve learned is the alignment of strategies, you have to have some core that unites the various disciplines of a business and strategy. So when business strategy and brand strategy and marketing strategy and sales strategies are all aligned, that’s when magic happens. And when those things are in sync, that’s when a business really starts to succeed, become successful, and happy when someone asks,

Tim
What do I get out of a brand strategy? session workshop exercise, whatever, engagement? That’s the answer to that question. It’s the clarity of the alignment, taking this Beyond Marketing into your operations and, and how you’re building culture internally to not just your external communications. So that that is the answer to that value question. And it’s hard for some people to grasp that. So you know, these continuing conversations to educate them kind of shows them the way and then hopefully, we get them into our worlds because we love working on this stuff. And, and it really does make a difference for people, you know, and it bleeds strikingly close to business strategy, to the point where sometimes it’s uncomfortable, we like to say we are people that could tell you how to take your product to the audience, but we can’t tell you what the product should be. And right, when you get into brand strategy, sometimes you’ve learned so much about the audience, that you start to flirt with what products or services should be. And that’s a little bit where it kind of shifts from marketing and brand to business and like strategic planning from that side, but they come eerily close in some aspects.

Michael
Absolutely. You know, it when I was at the agency, you know, we should say something similar. And the thing is, is businesses, you’re always in the weeds, and you’re looking at the competition, and you’re looking at it through the lens of others, including the competition, and you’re comparing yourself, and people lose focus of the target audience and the customer. And, and we would talk to people and we would say, you know, they’re like, Oh, I know, I know, I know. And we would question them Do you know, or, you know, do you really know, or do you think, you know, and and having, you know, for us, and you touched upon this a little bit, the importance of the third party, you know, or outside perspective, again, yeah, the outside in perspective, as opposed to the inside out. And which was, which is why it was important for us. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years, I feel I know the industry really well, all facets of the industry. But for us it was it was important to get you know, somebody else, their perspective, and really less on us and more about the target audience and building this brand and persona around the target audience while still encapsulating, you know some of our personalities and values and what have you. So it’s very important to have that, you know, that outside perspective, because professionals like yourself, look at brands and companies from a different perspective. And like you said, from a product perspective, we used to tell people, like, we’ll build awareness, I mean, you know, marketing wise, we’re going to get eyeballs on us, okay, and we’re going to generate leads, okay. But if your product or your service isn’t good enough, we can’t fix that. So there are instances where you know, you have to change your product or your service, especially nowadays, because nowadays, it’s it’s pretty much table stakes to have good customer service, good pricing, a good product, so the differentiation comes into brand from that end of it, but you still have to have a really good product.

Tim
Now in Episode Two, Kevin DeMars from Thermory USA dove into why it’s so important to know your target audiences so that your brand’s position messaging and marketing channel selections, find the right people at the right time. So they actually convert into loyal customers. He also talks about how truly knowing your customers can benefit the success rates for putting more emphasis on things like digital marketing initiatives over some more older traditional tactics of the past, like trade shows and print advertising, things that are still relevant, but may not need quite as much budget allocation. So let’s dive into that clip.

EP 2: INTERNATIONAL BRAND STRATEGY & KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMERS

Kevin
It’s the backbone of everything. I mean, understanding our customer is everything. I mean, I think a lot of people think that branding and marketing is, and sorry, I don’t mean to steal some of your words here. Because you guys, maybe you guys have told us these things. But, you know, a logo and cool colors. And a decent looking brochure is not branding. And that’s not marketing. I think branding and marketing is really, truly understanding your customer. And I think we’ve always understood our customer, but actually applying the logic to make it a science is really what makes the difference.

Tim
Yeah, building out some actionable steps that you can you identify what their needs are and pair something that you can physically do or create for them? Exactly, to move them along in their research or project planning? Yes, I mean, if you can help someone, like an archetype, plan and scope their project quicker, that leads to a sale quicker, it gives them confidence to work with you, as someone that knows that they would want something like that to make their jobs easier. So now they’re getting a great product, great look, great feel and great service through some of the things that you’ve identified working with someone like us to figure out what those needs were based on their pain points for their audience profile.

Kevin
Yeah, exactly. The way that manufacturers distributors, lumberyards try to go out and capture sales or capitalize on leads is totally antiquated. For an example, we just did a trade show last weekend, and by the time we shipped the booth to the trade show, some dinners, hotel, airfare, Booth space cost, you add it all up? I think we probably had about 20 to $25,000 into it, we scanned 120 people, I think about 120 130 people. So what was the cost per you know, what was a cost perfect conversion in that case? compare that to what you can do digitally? You know, I, you know, how much would it cost us to, to create 100 100 leads 120 leads digitally, it’s probably if we’re doing it right, what 30 bucks, I mean, instead of 25,000. So, I think that there’s a, we can do so much to understand, again, understanding our customers knowing what they’re looking for, and put ourselves in front of those people in the right time. And though, you can set yourself up so that they’re coming to you, again, you don’t have to add a train show those hundred and 20 people that came by the booth who knows why they came by why they stopped by maybe 70 of them are halfway decent, you know, leads that they’re genuinely interested. But what if it’s only 30 or 40. So understanding that customer persona, understanding the journey, and you know, getting in front of them at the right time, I think you don’t have to do this thing where you’re going to trade shows and you’re out beaten feet, and pounding the pavement to to get in front of customers, you can set yourself up so that they will come to you if you’re just communicating your product the right way and putting it in front of them at the right time when you understand your customer the right way.

Tim
And with the, you can do this to certain degree with the trade shows too. But with the digital space, you can actually see their progress through each phase of their buying cycles and trace that ROI back to an initial placement you were talking about even how understanding how someone might come in for a certain product and be attracted to it, but then end up asking for information about a different product. And we can see that mapped progress on the digital side, which is pretty cool, especially for a lot of companies that maybe even aren’t in the digital space yet or don’t have an appropriate marketing budget to go into something knowing that you can see data of the activities that are happening where the successes are coming from. So that you know you can always pivot to make sure your money’s in the right spot that gives them a little bit of confidence to have a marketing budget put a strategy in place and not do the typical pounding the pavement making phone calls, relying on distributors to generate all the sales instead of the brand helping with that.

Tim
Now Josh Taylor from SIXINCH USA dropped in on episode 13, to talk about how a fully defined and documented brand identity and style guide can set the tone for a consistently amazing brand experience through every touch point with an audience not to be left out, though he does touch on the importance of a brand persona as well by going beyond the visual by defining the voice and tone of a brand to bring a company’s voice to life in its messaging. So let’s check out this clip.

EP 13: HOW A STRONG BRAND IDENTITY IMPROVES MARKETING

Josh
I mean, it’s it’s your foundation, it’s your structure. You know, I’ve worked for companies that are loose with that. And ads and visuals start to look different depending on who makes it or when it’s made or the mood that someone’s making it. So having that structure in that foundation is is key. And it’s it’s even, I believe in it so much that like I say when I restructured I actually brought in a guy named Ryan Williams to be the art director who used to work in an ad agency for 12 plus years, because I know how important it is to have someone who owns that. Sometimes it’s just a document. But it’s it’s even better when it’s someone employed that owns it, because then you run everything through them. You ask them, you know, obviously you’ve had your meetings before and you as a team, you set the path you set your foundation, but you let them be the guardian. You Let Them own it. You let them keep that consistency, where you’ve decided it needs to be. And it just keeps everything in check. And you never question Oh, should should I do this the logo? Should I put the logo here? You already know where it’s going? And if you don’t know, you ask. Yeah, and then it just so that way, when people are seeing your ads, and they’re seeing your content, everything has the same look. So as you bring them along, and they become fans, and they like your product, nothing, they don’t ever see something and go is that six inch, they know, they know it’s six inch, because you’re consistent with how you do things, the colors that you use the fonts that you use. And what’s kind of cool now is, so I an inherited three years of a brand. That was basically just taking everything from what the Belgians did, okay, their color palettes, they wanted us to use their website, we kind of made our own at that time. And so, but we really weren’t trying to differentiate for our market, we were still trying to be what they knew of the brand in North America. And it just wasn’t working. So we had to like basically start over. So we started over. And we didn’t start with the logo, we left the logo alone. But we did make it clear, okay, the the blue, the black, the white, the gray, those were going to be our primary colors in North America, we pitched it to Michelle to have, you know, Japan, anywhere anyway, India to have their own color palette still have some of the main colors like global colors, but you know, individualize with two or three that separated. So when you did stuff, you could tell that it was a certain territory. And so we did that. And we came up with a new website, lockdown Proxima Nova as our fonts, little things like that we did that for up until this point. Well, Ryan and I have been working on Michelle in Belgium, to let us kind of retool the entire brand, still using some of the core stuff that we started with. But modernizing the logo. So the logo behind me, as you can see, it’s a little old fashion, we’ve cleaned that up, brightened our colors a little bit, we’re still using a blue, but it’s more of a neon blue, we added a more of a bold yellow, we still have black, white. And then, you know, we encourage Michelle to take this brand guidelines over and talk with the other territories as well about kind of following our suit. And I think that’s going really well. I mean, we’re trying to clean up social media, because I think that’s a part of this as well. The icon should you know, with those with that color concept in mind, you know, if you see blue, or you see gold, that’s in North America, and it’s like a yellowish gold. If you see Japan, it’s red and white, if you see so so that way people can start to differentiate a little bit, but…

Tim
But it all still ties together.

Josh
Oh, exactly. And that’s what that’s what’s kind of tricky. When you have a global brand. And you’re not the owner of it, you’re trying to inspire the owner of that brand to make a change, you know, globally. And again, it’s done with mocking stuff up and just kind of bringing them along. But yeah, I mean, having having your fonts, having, you know, the voice in what, like you talked about, well, how we speak to people, and I still think it’s an evolution, I don’t think you can ever be complacent with what you do, I think you should always learn you should go back and reread and read it from a you know, visit it as like a consumer, how would they see it? Do they do you connect as a consumer because if you don’t connect, well, then you’re missing something. Because at the end of the day, that’s who’s going to make a decision is a consumer, either it’s an architect or designer or an end consumer, you have to be able to relate to it. So that’s why marketing copy is very key, I think, in that it’s just if you talk, it’s if it’s not, I don’t know, I’m a big fan of conversational talk. And so if you start to get too systematic and wordy, it’s just you lose, you lose the connection, I think so just keeping it you know, nice and easy to the point. And here’s what the product is, I think is key so you you have the the verbiage you have the fonts and you have the colors as a foundation and you just build off of it and you stick to it.

Tim
Now Episode Four was where I had my first dual guest episode with Amy Gath and Megan Howell on from Formica Group and they talk about how they use a process that aligns with their brand strategy to launch products into the market. They each touch on the important aspects of a product launch that includes timelines, creative production and launch tactics. So here’s their clip.

EP 4: USING BRAND STRATEGY TO SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCH PRODUCT LINES

Meghan
It’s really often that the product like the physical product itself is ready to go a few months before, but that product that’s ready to go is helping us build sets for photography, it’s helping us build all our sampling tools that go out to our distribution and our Field Sales Team. So I would say a not counting r&d and design, my team’s process is six to nine months, which is including a photoshoot, including any videos we need to do, and making all those sample tools building up the bulk sample base. But it is not uncommon for us to be you know, working days prior to the launch, finishing up all those digital assets that are going on to the website, you know, unfortunately for our website team, they’re kind of last on the list, when it comes to things that need to be done critical to launch time. You can just push publish, and that goes live versus having to cut a sample and label it and put it in a box and all the lead time that comes with ordering those. So my digital friends are very forgiving of our team when we’re doing digital assets last minute.

Tim
How important do you guys think it is to have that time to set up the messaging the positioning for the product along with gathering those digital? Well, digital and photography and media assets prior to a product going out?

Amy
I think that time is really critical. But I also what I love about our team is we’ve gotten it to a process. And so the process helps it run efficiently. I don’t love it when we’re crunched on time. But I also have a lot of faith in the processes that we set up that that Megan takes our team through that it will ensure things are right and on brand and really reflective of what we are trying to launch and say and do I you know, build the structure, build the process? Because that will help you when those time crunches come and again. I know you don’t love it, man. But it happens. And you’re prepared, you know what to do. And you can lead people through it. And I think that’s, that’s a hallmark of a strong team have a strong process and ensures a strong brand.

Tim
I’m not sure I actually caught this how early in the r&d process does marketing and or creative get brought in? Is it before the product even goes into engineering? Is it just being you know, brainstorming, or things that have past brainstorming better being considered to go into production just to understand how the market would play with them? Or is it a little bit after it’s going into production? Here’s the product that’s coming out.

Amy
We start really early. And the exciting thing about five years ago, we brought on an r&d lead who came out of consumer products, which is a former consumer products baby, that was awesome. Because it means we truly work hand in hand from looking for insights, looking for kind of jobs to be done looking for consumer pain points. And so marketing is part of the process, in large part from the very beginning. And that, you know, that allows us to kind of ensure that we’re not creating to create that, that there is purpose and functionality to innovation. And it also allows us to think about kind of the consumer messaging and the aesthetics and all of those pieces much earlier. So I think it comes it turns out much better.

Tim
So Christopher Lyon, from Tournesol Siteworks joined me for Episode 20, to talk about how Tournesol has all but created a niche for the outdoor self spaces market through identifying a specific need of their target audience. From there, he has been able to expand offerings and established an expert position in the market as the go to source for creating top end outdoor architectural materials. So let’s listen in on his clip.

EP 20: FINDING & GROWING WITHIN A NICHE

Christopher
That’s one thing in terms of my marketing, the marketing history of the company is, for a long time, I was the only marketing guy we had and probably wasn’t that great at one at that. But I knew a good story. When I heard when I understood what kind of a story would resonate with the specifier. What kind of a story is going to resonate with the contractor? I’m a salesperson, that’s what you do. You tell stories, you talk about things. And that’s what connects you to that person and what allows them to understand what it is that you can do for them and how you can do that. And so the story of this off site construction and being the expert has always really resonated. And we’ve been able to back it up with the product and the delivery and the relationships over the years that have only reinforced that that people really respect and trust us they know these guys are the top of the market and our game we have we’ve developed a lot there. Well, we haven’t. There’s a lot of competition that’s developed over the over the last, you know, last five, seven years in our market space. And it’s really because we paved the way out there People still recognize turtle souls at the top of the game, they are the guys who you want to go to for this stuff. And yeah, there’s probably somebody cheaper who could do it and, and some of our competitors we love, they’re very, they do great job and their work. And they’re, you know, following right along with us, you know, they’re coming along in the market space too. But I think that we’ve been able to continue pushing the envelope out and expanding what was probably a really tiny seam in the beginning where they it’s really tiny niche in the beginning, and continuing to push it and push it and push it and it’s been able to, to grow to being something that almost every landscape contractor thinks about. And frequently, now we get GCS, who recognize that this is something they have to worry about and can be considering about, because it’s on just about every project, they see.

Tim
You’re also expanding the product lines to so you have it’s very specific type of project that you do product that you produce, it’s very specific market that you’re working in, you’re expanding that seem rather than finding four or five other seeds to grow, you’re actually creating this, you’re making the seed bigger itself through introducing new products, which gives your salespeople the excuse to go back and keep the conversations open with their existing accounts. And like you said, you have specifiers or, or developers even where they say, yeah, you know, that’s what so and so did that 40 by 41, Well, it turns out, just came out with a 50 by 50. So I want the bigger one, it might like it’s 90, the next thing and that sort of keeps, that’s your next area of growth to grow the existing business, but also, you know, pull more people into your world.

Christopher
Well it started with planters. But today, you know, planters are still, you know, still, that more than 50% of our business. But we do so much in terms of wood, benching, and custom unique benches. We’ve did green walls over the years, we do drainage products, anything that’s on that in that space used by that customer, again, it has everything to do with the customer, and less to do with who we are. One of the things that I’ve always said at this company is always say yes, guys always say yes. specifier asks you for something, don’t say no, the opportunities are for we’ve got to lean into it, you have to say yes, and then figure out how to do it. And that’s what we’ve done for 20 I what I’ve been doing now for 26 years.

Tim
And you have to have your finger on the pulse of the market to like offsite construction and modular builds are becoming a consistent topic on this podcast. And they’re obviously a consistent topic in the market itself. And if you’re able to do that through acquisitions, partnerships, whatever it might be, that’s just one of those extra value adds otherwise, if you don’t have the story of expertise to go up against someone else that can use the material. If you can’t make the specifiers life easier. If you can’t make GCS life easier, it will come down to this person is 25% less expensive? Absolutely.

Christopher
Absolutely.

Tim
That’s no way to position your business. It’s no way to differentiate yourself in the market, it’s no way to set your sales team up for success either.

Christopher
And, and we’ve we’ve worked very hard. You know, I said in the beginning, we spent all of our time with a specification community. And the market has been changing, we’ve seen it change. And as this business has gone from being, oh, I need a planter on this job to what what are you going to use for planters. And it’s become not just a little business, but it’s a bigger business. And it’s now a market as it were other people in there, we’ve had to really pivot to be to develop stronger relationships with our contractors, and where we probably, and I will admit it, we probably took them for granted for the first 10 years of doing this. And they’ll tell you that too, I’ll turn us on, they just take us for granted. Now we realize the value that we that we can provide to them, but also the value they can provide us and what that relationship really means. And so we’ve gone from being very, very, very specification focused to obviously still very specification focused, but really trying to make sure that we have relationships with the most important contractors and are really doing something for them where they perceive that it’s that the reason that they should want to go go with turn us off. I mean, we’ve had guys who are out in the marketplace, we’re used us a ton went away, use another contractor or use another manufacturer for six months or a year and then come back and say enough. I want to use you guys again, just make sure I get the right price and make sure we because we do deliver that’s the thing that we will make sure of as a company is that we can deliver that product.

Tim
In Episode 10, Juliana Arjes and Taylor Friel from MORTARR came on to discuss how MORTARR is contributing to an ever evolving digitally driven world of branded communication, developing an interactive ecosystem of content and engagements that connect with a brand’s audience humanizes it and helps avoid the awkward situation of always feeling sold to leading to deeper connections and fostering brand loyalty. So here’s what they had to say about that.

EP 10: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUILDING MATERIALS MARKETING

Julianna
We like to say that we’re the were the info behind the inspo. We really want to be that robust search engine that exists solely for them, it’s similar to them going on to LinkedIn or Pinterest or Google even, we just want them to be able to do all of what they need to do in one place. And so really the interactions between we’ve got what we call tags on the site, which is really linking that product information, as well as the professionals behind it. So you’re going to have a manufacturer on the site, but you’re also going to have that manufacturer’s Rep. And so really, I can sit in my office in Minnesota, and see that scan from the wall, find the brand that creates it, but then all I can also find a professional to come install it for me. And so really, that interconnectivity is what drives the site. And that’s what hopefully keeps people engaged while they’re on it. And then they’re also learning, there’s lots of different tools, they’re adding things into design rooms, to keep them connected to their clients to keep them connected to their teammates, their team members, you know, you can do a whole slew of things right within the platform. So.

Tim
And from your end, you’re also trying to draw in people to participate in that process. You know, Taylor, and Juliana, the team, the dynamic duo, I don’t know, I just made that up. You know, and you’re pretty active on all these platforms, you know, you’re you’re on social trying to put this content in front of people. So they understand that when it’s out there and to how they can take advantage of it. What led to mortar understanding that they needed to have this team contributing that content out into the world and having this service provided to the audience’s that exist out there.

Julianna
Yeah, I think we can be grateful that we started with a someone with a background in marketing like that the company started there, you know, because she appreciates the value of what that is. But the reality is that we’re a startup. And so we have to be scrappy in our, in our efforts and our in our team. And that led to I mean, social channels are a free tool for any company to get their name out there to get their product out there. And then the coolest part is that it mortar at least we get to talk about other people, like we don’t have to talk about ourselves, because the whole point is that we’re talking about those companies and brands. So the goal was to really get that relationship built on social channels to drive it over to the mortar platform.

Taylor
It’s nice that our site is an imagery driven site. So we can just take these beautiful images that our subscribers have uploaded, and just translate them to our social channels. So that makes it easier for us. And Jules writes amazing copy. But the clients do all the the imagery, which is Yeah, so great, and why we have a high standard of what images you can upload to the site and whatnot. But I think that makes it easier for us that we just want to showcase other people and get them work.

Tim
When you’re doing the mortar account. Specifically, are you primarily doing organic content or paid content? Are you trying to mix the two, depending on what your goal is for the posts that you’re putting up?

Julianna
Yes. Yeah, we’re definitely we focus a lot on again, startup, we’re balling on a budget, but we focus a lot on the organic reach mostly because it it’s a true sense of like whether or not you’re building relationships and community, we would rather have less followers and super high engagement that’s driving business back to our subscribers, then an enormous following with nobody actually paying attention. And so we do Do you know, paid paid social posts have their unpaid campaigns have their place, we love using them for sales and getting the word out to more people than we could with an organic post. But I would say that 90% of our focus is really driven into creating content for organic reach.

Tim
A lot of people look to the follower account as what they believe is successful social media strategy, which is it’s great if your followers are growing, but what you really need to see is are you getting the views? Because you’re putting this in the right channels, hashtags, or whatever? Are you getting the comments, the likes and clicks that you want? If those numbers are happening, the number of followers is irrelevant to the content that you’re putting out? Yeah, in theory that could go up if you had more followers, but with platforms limiting and kind of tweaking their algorithms for what they’re showing people in an organic sense. You know, you’re better off having really high quality content that people want to engage with to boost it in that algorithm, then just simply having a large number of people to put it in front of and they might not even see it anyways.

Taylor
Yeah, we would much rather have high quality followers for high quality engagement just like we would on our site have high quality users that are actually going to use the site rather than people that sign up that never touch mortar comm again. So yeah, we want the right people to see the site.

Julianna
Yeah.

Tim
Now on episode 21, I recorded a solo cast breaking down the anatomy of a brand and how we illuminous tackled his work with our clients. Specifically, I touch on the opportunities that a true brand strategy can uncover as an actual return on the time and investment made throughout the process, leading to the documented strategic insights and direction that become a critical piece for growing a company within its market. So here’s what I had to say about that.

EP 21: THE ANATOMY OF A TRUE BRAND STRATEGY

Tim
So, Tim, why is it important to spend time and money on all this? Good question audience, let’s dive into that. That’s sort of the second part of this conversation. So the opportunities to improve communications and lead generation rely on a uniform approach between not only your sales and marketing departments, but also between all of your creative marketing executions that you’ve released into the world. consistency and visual presentation. And messaging is something that breeds confidence with the viewer listener, ongoing customer and their experiences. And that relatability grows loyalty and connection over time. So brand strategy isn’t just to help in the aid of lead generation marketing, executions, and sales, it’s also to build a connection between the people that you’re selling to, to make them want to come back to make them tell other people that they should go to you and be that sort of promoter, because they believe in you so much, and they love the way that they’re treated. Differentiation sets the company apart from the competition as the choice I’ve said that at least four times so far and explaining this, and it is the most important part of this entire equation. But you can’t get to the differentiation unless you understand the market, understand the customers and understand how you should be talking to them and what their pain points are. So if you can craft that becomes of everything you can do in brand strategy, the most important and valuable piece, which may change over time. But it will be initially the direction that you go and based off of your collaborative conversations, tangibly having documented brand strategy. So actually having this information in whether it’s spreadsheets, or presentation files, or text files, it doesn’t matter so much what it’s documented as, as long as there is documentation that someone can look back on that shows what the final results for usage are. These are things that can be referred back to you from each of your departments. But again, that documentation, it makes Creative Conversations move faster. So you’re starting from a common strategic point. So you can skip the strategy beyond just a refresher of Alright, we’re talking about a campaign in this aspect. Here’s the strategy that we have in place for the brand, here’s how we’re going to apply it to this creative execution or marketing or customer experience. It protects the professional quality of sales and marketing, executions and conversation. So this is any of your departments being able to look back on this documentation as a reminder that this is the way it should look. And this is the way it should sound. And this is the pain point and the claim that you know, you can back up in the most confident way with the people that we’re speaking to through whatever you’re writing, or whatever you’re saying in a conversation. It provides insights on where to spend money, and how you should spend that money for which creative projects are going to do, what programs you might develop what what advertising executions you want to put out into the world. So that gives you a little bit more ammo to work off of when you’re choosing things like what channels should you be spending advertising money? And should it be social media platforms? Should you be doing search ads, you do search optimization, content development, magazines, trade shows, if you know your audience, you know the market, you know where you can make a differentiated approach to talking to customers. That helps dictate where you think your money will be best spent when you’re planning your marketing budget. So that’s a very informative way to approach that conversation. You can decide how much effort you want to put towards each channel more into social lesson to trade shows more into pay per click advertising, lesson optimization. I’m not saying those are preferred tactics, it’s just picking things and saying one over the other. You can also take from the strategy, which type of creative projects and executions will work best for each channel. So something like social media might get more play from customer stories because it’s a little bit more relatable piece of content. But LinkedIn advertising might be more based off with a value proposition with a white paper or something to go download. From a specification standpoint, you can develop creative that works best in each channel, if you understand the channels if you understand where the audiences are playing, and how you can meet them the right way with the right tone with the right presentation to get them motivated to take action. So essentially, what you’ve done by investing the time and effort into setting up a brand strategy is that allows you to optimize your budget for the best results with your creative projects, sales processes and advertising allocations. Secondly, it also provides the goals for this strategy which allows for each initiative to have an expected value assigned to it for things like brand exposure, and customer experience, education, lead generation. All of those are valuable things to do to build equity for the brand. Some of them are sales based value, some of them our recognition value, it just depends on what allocation of the budget you want to put towards each metric that you want to measure to understand the progress you’re making on your marketing goals.

Tim
Well, those are the recaps of some of the favorite clips that I pulled from season one here in 2020. I hope everyone enjoyed season one as much as I have throughout this year. This recap is really just a snapshot of many, many more larger conversations that were just packed with insights and inspiration. Thanks to the guests from 2020 this season for helping build the podcast by being kind enough to accept my invitation and share their inspirational stories. Once again, if you or anyone in your building materials network has a story that would be great for a conversation on the show. Please please reach out so we can keep this train rolling. And shout out to my luminous team and our amazing clients for giving me the opportunity to have this platform. We love working in the building materials industry and playing a part in advancing promising brands through strategically branded creative with the digital edge. For everyone listening if you’re leading your company shift into a modern era, consider reaching out to us so we can be part of your growth story. You may be looking to rebrand to catch up with the modern digital age. Firmly differentiate establish your company’s position in the market, it might be time to develop that product campaign to be launched with optimized creative and digital edge. Or it’s time to finally launch a high performance website that goes beyond a brochure site by getting improving results as your best sales piece. I’ll be back in 2021 with a new roster of guests and can’t wait to continue sharing discussions about marketing brands and sales strategies with you all have a great holiday season. Stay safe and see you in the new year.

Tim
If you’re interested in hearing more stories and strategic insights from industry experts, please subscribe to the building brands podcast on Apple, Spotify or Google. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please post a review and share with others who may be interested as well. Thanks for listening.