Word of Mouth – December 8, 2011 – Personal Branding

December 8, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – December 8, 2011

Personal Branding

On our recent whirlwind tour of the United States, we met with an established company to explore their marketing expansion needs. But they really needed our help more than a year ago – when they weren’t in the cross hairs of a takeover by a larger company looking to expand its own reach.
 
The smaller business, full of energy and entrepreneurialism, had grown beyond it’s two founding partners in ways neither had expected. Now in its 11th year, the company faced a crisis that should have been addressed months, if not years earlier. Ramping up outreach and marketing efforts now didn’t make any sense for them in the face of an attractive offer (aka: no other options) from an organization whose social media, traditional marketing and messaging machine is well oiled and steaming along.
 
They came to us too late. Perhaps our earlier assistance would have propelled them into the same league as their devourer. Perhaps we could have turned them into the ones doing the acquisition. Instead, a larger company with the foresight to turn its resources to expansion saw them as an attractive morsel. And despite everyone’s good intentions, no one can guarantee that vision of the two partners will survive the consolidation. Or whether the two partners and/or the staff will have a place in the new venture.
 
Marketing and branding isn’t just about growing your business. It’s about keeping your company on track and alive in the face of competition. It’s about bringing out the flavor of your personality to promote your service or product. It’s about enhancing your ability to, and creating strategies and channels for, facing and outpacing your competition.

Could your brand withstand a possible buy out by a larger company who sees your potential? How would you or your employees brand themselves when the business no longer exists or is swallowed up by a different one? Is your identity tied into a business that no longer exists? What have you done to separate yourself and your brand from the crowd?
 
Fortunately, Hamptons Creative Group is your co-creator in success. We recently saw a segment on 60 Minutes about how “alchemists” develop flavors that mimic, produce and promote products to a level that captures attention. That’s what we do in telling your personal and business story so that it resonates with your customers.

We explore and identify opportunities, then guide you through them systematically with strategy sessions, project management, full time marketing and branding guidance – just what you need to propel your business to success.
 
Let’s begin our co-creativeship today. You now have support from a planet-wide company of experts with your Marketing Partnership and Hamptons Creative Group.
 
Fill out our easy, no obligation enrollment form.


Read all this week’s blog posts:

Got a Book? Why Not? 
Are You Still Questioning Facebook?

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Word of Mouth Daily – November 29, 2011 – Sometimes It’s the Management

November 29, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth Daily – November 29, 2011

Sometimes It’s the Management

When we start working with clients, especially in a co-creativeship, sometimes it is apparent (to us) that there’s a management concern in addition to a marketing need. Management and leadership are difficult skills. They require just as much thought, planning, and execution as any marketing plan.

While Hamptons Creative Group is not a management consulting firm in the traditional sense, we do provide aspects of such services to small businesses.

Some of these include marketing project management, competitor and market analysis, and working with other groups — like customer service specialists — to train employees.

When we think about leadership as it relates to marketing, it’s interesting how they each have the same core characteristics. In a recent New York Times interview with Electronic Arts’ CEO John Riccitiello, Riccitiello makes some key points about leadership that we make about marketing.

The CEO shares the following success factors to leadership (and Hamptons Creative Group shares the comparative elements in marketing success):

  • Paint a picture of the way it’s supposed to work (have a marketing vision and plan)
  • Be incredibly consistent (brand ubiquitously across all channels)
  • Really listen to the people (know the market and your customers through research & analytics)
  • Be absolutely genuine (heart-felt products and services resonate in a marketing message)
  • Be passionate about greatness in your products/services (have something worthy of marketing)

Can you think of any other similarities? Share them with us and Hamptons Creative Group can help fuse your leadership and marketing success.

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Word of Mouth Daily – November 21, 2011 – Wolfgang’s Over-Branding

November 21, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth Daily – November 21, 2011

Wolfgang’s Over-Branding

On our multi-city tour last week, we got a chance to look at branding in a confined space: the airport. Once you’re past security, you’re trapped. Conversely, businesses in the terminals have to ferociously differentiate from each other.

We’re not going to belabor this issue (in this post at least) but instead look at a specific example. “Wolfgang Puck Express” is a breakout of chef Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire. The “express” part refers to the availability of wrapped sandwiches for purchase, along with apples, commercially available bottled juices, and bagged potato chips found at every 7-11. “Express” also refers to the short menu of fresh items that are prepared to order, such as pizzas, sandwiches, and breakfast combos.

Wolfgang Puck is a well-known brand. It comes with an understanding of “gourmet.” The Express franchise is aimed at those with a respectable palate but a Burger King budget. Notably, most of the franchises are located inside airports. But what makes the Wolfgang Puck Express in the Denver airport so over-branded is the images of the food hanging on the wall.

Large, professional photo prints in refined wood frames decorate the restaurant’s interior. What’s most interesting is that the pictures depict food that isn’t on the Express menu!

“I’ll have the grilled salmon, please.”
“Sorry, we don’t have that.”
“But it’s right there.”
“Yeah, it’s just a corporate decoration.”

This was an actual exchange between a patron and an employee. “Decoration” is a segment of branding. So, is it possible to over-brand? If it makes your business confusing or deceptive, it certainly is.

Looking to correctly brand your business? Just ask, and Hamptons Creative Group will be there for you.

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Word of Mouth – November 17, 2011 – Giving Thanks

November 17, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – November 17, 2011

Giving Thanks

When we break down the word Thanksgiving (because our thoughts are on the holiday next week), we see that it’s giving + thanks. Today we’re talking about the give and take of co-creativeship.
 
Co-creativeship is the new word we’ve coined for what we do at Hamptons Creative Group. We co-create success with our clients. The process we use unwraps the layers of your brand, message and marketing so far, and adds our own magic to create something more than simply the addition of us plus them.
 
For example, we recently helped a client through a rebranding of their business, from logo to design of their website. The client took that advice and immediately changed the other elements of their business to match – their Facebook and LinkedIn pages, their letterhead and office colors, etc. Their business has taken off because of this co-creativeship that integrated the look, content and feel of each part of their business. It all started from the conversation about their brand message.
 
The critical distinction for Hamptons Creative Group is the in-depth relationships we have with clients. Through personal discussions and deep diving, we begin to co-create your success story.
 
Are you ready to focus and start giving more to your brand and business? To explore more with Hamptons Creative Group, fill out our easy, no obligation enrollment form and let’s begin our co-creativeship.


Read all this week’s blog posts:
Give Your Marketing a Social Life
$200 Million in Cheese?
Starbucks Juice?

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Word of Mouth – October 27, 2011 – Part II: Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

October 27, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – October 27, 2011

Part II: Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

 

Last month, guest blogger Sharon Wolf, Managing Director of QualiData Research, Inc., started sharing valuable advice we knew would take two posts to cover! Read Part I here.

Here’s Part Two of her generous contribution.


Seven Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget – Part II
 

4. Join association committees and become part of your industry’s leadership. Being an attendee at conferences and seminars is important for networking and professional development, but brand-building for your company typically happens more intensely at the leadership level.

5. Set aside some time each week to touch base via email or phone with your most valued customers and high potential prospects with the goal of reinforcing a trusting and congenial relationship. For service providers such as attorneys, consultants or medical practices, establishing and maintaining trusting relationships with clients and prospects is critical because customers of services buy largely on the basis of trust with the service provider.

6. Categorize your clients and prospects by strength of relationship with your company. Focus your follow-up efforts among those with the most potential.

7. Step back every six months or so and evaluate the results of your marketing activities. Eliminate the tactics that failed to produce any new business. Moving forward, focus on those brand-building and marketing activities that yielded the best results.

Go for it!
Shoestring marketing can be as effective as more elaborate and expensive advertising and marketing communications campaigns – as long as you are in control of your company’s brand image and are willing and able to invest the time and effort to continually reach out to your customers and prospects.


Sharon Wolf, M.A., M.S. is a brand and product innovation consultant at QualiData Research Inc., a consultancy that provides growing companies with business-building advice grounded in marketing research findings. Sharon and her partner, Hy Mariampolski, Ph.D., operate QualiData from East Hampton, San Francisco and Park Slope. QualiData and Hamptons Creative Group often collaborate on behalf of mutual clients.

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Word of Mouth – September 29, 2011 – Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

September 29, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – September 29, 2011

Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

 

This month’s guest blogger is Sharon Wolf, Managing Director of QualiData Research, Inc. Sharon has shared so much valuable advice that it’s going to take two posts to cover it all!

Here’s Part One of her generous contribution.


Seven Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget – Part 1
 

Getting Started
It is a mistake to invest any time or money in marketing before you have created a strong brand image that separates your products and/or services from your competition. Your brand image combines all of these elements:

  • Your product or services offering – its features and benefits
  • The company’s unique selling proposition
  • The firm’s logo design and all print and online marketing materials
  • Customer experiences with every aspect of your product or service – from product performance, to solving customers’ problems, to billing procedures, to follow-up customer communications, etc

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Once you have clearly defined and created a written description of the brand image you want customers to think of when they see your logo, marketing materials and when they visit your website, for example, you are ready to plan marketing activities.

Here are the first three low-cost but high impact ideas:

1. Write articles for a trade press and volunteer for speaking engagements at professional conferences and seminars. These activities position you and your company or firm as experts and leaders in your profession or industry. The only cost is the time you’ll need to invest in preparing articles and conference presentations. If you publish articles, post them for downloading on your website, send them to clients and prospects and also post these publications on your business’ Facebook page. (see #3)

2. Review all of your marketing materials to be sure that they all communicate a consistent and strong brand image for your company. Invite a graphic designer to evaluate your existing logo, business cards, website, brochures and all other marketing materials against your brand positioning statement. Under the guidance of a professional graphic designer, revise and update marketing materials and graphics, as needed. For advice about graphic designers, contact Hampton Creative Group’s Mission Controller Matthew Iscoe.

This is the only step of the seven steps described here that is likely to involve a financial investment. This investment, however, is critical to the updating of your brand image and is one that typically offers a great deal of value-added to your marketing efforts.

3. Consider setting-up a business Facebook page so that you can invite your customers and important prospects to become “friends” of your company. One caveat – don’t waste your time setting up a Facebook page unless you have the time and people resources to post useful content on a consistent basis or work with a company that can do it for you.

Meaningful Facebook content can include postings of such information as:

  • Industry trend tidbits
  • Brief case studies about ways you helped customers or clients
  • “How-to” advice of interest to your customers – for example, restaurateurs can post recipes, attorneys can discuss popular legal issues, physicians can offer health advice, etc.

The goal of a Facebook presence is to keep your customers and prospects involved with your brand and your company – it’s a relationship-building and relationship maintenance strategy. The same rules for meaningful content apply to the use of Twitter for brand-building.
 


Look for Part Two of Sharon’s Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget in next month’s Word Of Mouth Guest Blog post.

Sharon Wolf, M.A., M.S. is a brand and product innovation consultant at QualiData Research Inc., a consultancy that provides growing companies with business-building advice grounded in marketing research findings. Sharon and her partner, Hy Mariampolski, Ph.D., operate QualiData from East Hampton, San Francisco and Park Slope. QualiData and Hamptons Creative Group often collaborate on behalf of mutual clients.

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Word of Mouth – September 15, 2011 – Fall Preview

September 15, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – September 15, 2011

Fall Preview

Fall is definitely in the air here in the Hamptons. What a great time – crisp mornings and evenings, warm days, and a hint of color in the leaves. This is the perfect time to tell you about some upcoming Hamptons Creative Group activities and happenings.
 
First – we had such a wonderful response to our Summer Conversations with the Experts series, that we’ll be doing another one soon. This time there will be a twist – we’re thinking of a whole day where we bring together thought leaders in marketing, branding, social media, etc. and hang out online. That way, you can check in continuously, ask questions, read through the conversation and add your own insight. We’re still working out the who, when and what, so watch for more soon.
 
We’re also excited about a new guide we’re developing. This time it’s Twitter: what it is, how to use it, why you should care, etc. Like the one we did for LinkedIn, this one will be filled to overflowing with information you can put to immediate use.
 
And remember we teased you about the Hamptons Water Cooler site expanding? Yep, that’s coming, too. We’re thinking about a paid membership component that provides exclusivity. So sign up on the Cooler now so you can be grandfathered into the good stuff.
 
Our website’s going to get some love this fall, as well. We have several products under development (beyond the LinkedIn guide and our webinar series), so check in for a shopping cart on the website. Of course, will send out an announcement when it’s live.
 
See, we’ve been spending some productive time planning our fall. What are you doing to plan for your next months and year? If you’re dragging your feet, or just don’t know where to begin, sign up for our Marketing Makeover Ultimate. You’ll receive a binder full of checklists, timelines and easy to implement tasks that will take you into the fall, through the winter and well into next spring and summer.
 
What are you waiting for? Sign up now.

 


SUBSCRIBE TO HAMPTONS CREATIVE GROUP BLOG HERE

 

Word of Mouth June 16, 2011 – Relaunching Via Video

June 16, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – June 16, 2011


Relaunching Via Video

During the summer, everyone talks about improving – their golf or tennis game, or themselves by reading, vacationing in bucket list locales, or spending more time with favorite people. The longer days awaken a vitality that’s channeled to amazing ends.

New clients have been focusing themselves this energetic season on their business, too, attracted by our Goal Focus Sheet. One of those energetically embracing the tools of social media is Lindsey Kane and her company, Par Excellence Strategies.

Lindsey came away from our Marketing Makeover with a foundation for relaunching her business working with professionals and others who are serious about improving their own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

We created a plan for her new branding materials, web presence, and a strategy to move her into the coaching realm from the bricks and mortar domain she had been in. Lindsey’s well known for her past ownership of a popular metaphysical bookstore. Her new tools move her into her new area quickly.

Lindsey’s a highly visual person and was eager to use start using video to improve her own game. Video is an effective way to talk about the fun and inspiration your business brings. Sure, it can be promotional. It can also feature more personal, inspirational stories about what energizes you. That translates into inspiration for your clients.

As practice for her own web and social media marketing efforts, she graciously created a video testimonial about her experience working with Hamptons Creative Group. Enjoy it here.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eXRyRNXg0s

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Hamptons Creative Group

 

 

Word of Mouth April 21, 2011 Collaborating to Reach Your Goals

April 21, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – April 21, 2011

Collaborating to Reach Your Goals

It’s hard sometimes to step back from your business and take the 10,000 foot view. We all get caught up in the day-to-day and we often lose track of the reason we’re in business at all – those goals we wanted to achieve by opening up shop (metaphorically and literally) in the first place.

It’s easy to get sidetracked. On Tuesday, filming for new episodes of the TV show “Royal Pains”Mark Feuerstein of the TV show "Royal Pains" says "hi" to Hamptons Creative Group during filming in Southampton. took place literally outside our window. Between the 60 or so person on-site crew, actors, extras, producers, technicians, caterers, security, on-lookers, and directors screaming “action” and “cut” over and over, it’s any wonder how we stayed focused with all that buzz just outside. And while not all daily distractions make it to basic cable television, when you add them up it can be a frightening prognosis.

Working With Your Co-Star

And we’re now into the second quarter of 2011. This past Monday, our taxes were due, allowing us to take stock of the previous year, which makes this is the perfect time to reflect on what’s happened in the first three months of this year. And sometimes it takes a collaborative partner to figure out just what’s going on — someone who keeps the focus on the big picture, not just the minutia; Someone who can help you figure out if you’re on the right path when you executed your plan for the year.

To keep themselves on track, or even get on track in the first place, several individuals and businesses have completed our Goal Focus Sheet. We’re now working with them to uncover their own success story and set them on the true path for their branding and marketing to accomplish their goals.

This powerful tool doesn’t require any heavy lifting on your part, either. Hamptons Creative Group does the hard work! We review your business to see if your branding aligns with your purpose, if you are you reaching your ideal target audience and if you are using all the tools available to you to succeed.

Because that’s who we are – the creative collaborator you need to reveal your own success story. Don’t let 2011 the year you left your success story unwritten.


Who do you turn to when you need help sparking your creativity? Hamptons Creative Group loves to collaborate to jump-start our client’s brand inspiration. We’re doing that by offering our exclusive Goal Focus Sheet. With this powerful tool, you can finally turn your marketing efforts into a success story. If your success story is still waiting to be written, don’t let any more time go by.

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Hamptons Creative Group

 

February 2011 Newsletter

February 1, 2011 at 11:02 am | Posted in Blog, Featured, Newsletter, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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~Message from the Alchemist~

At Hamptons Creative Group, we always want to keep the conversation flowing. So we’re inviting guest bloggers to contribute to Word of Mouth once a month on topics they and we find important. As members of a global creative community, we want to connect everyone – to share ideas about branding, messages and marketing! What better way to do that than by opening our blog up to other voices and ideas?

Meet The Team

These voices and ideas will include the important members of the Hamptons Creative Group team, too. In case you haven’t visited our renovated web site yet, we’ve listed many of our collaborative community. Watch Word of Mouth for our first guest blogger post, coming soon.



~Heard Around The Cooler~

Welcome to a revamped section of the newsletter! Here, we’ll spotlight new members of Hamptons Water Cooler,the first Hamptons only online social network where businesses connect and conversation flows!

Lou Bortone and Alex Ferrone  are our featured members this month.

Lou Bortone is a Branding Coach and Online Visibility Expert with over two decades of experience with national brands like Fox, E! Entertainment Television, The Family Channel and NBC. Hamptons Creative Group is working with Lou to dip our toes into the waters of video.

Alex Ferrone is a professional photographer specializing in aerial photography by helicopter. The results are an amazing marketing showcase for any commercial property, private estate, or residential home. She also does color and black & white representational scenics and
abstract photography.

Welcome Lou an d Alex! Join us on Hamptons Water Cooler as we gather ’round the cooler to share stories, promote events, post video and photos, chat, contribute tips, and build relationships. Stop by and give it a try!


~Beach Booty: Tips from Hamptons Creative Group~

Don’t wait until you need a network to build one. Networking is not something to do only when you need a new client or customer. It’s not something you can cram, buy or borrow the night before you need it, either. Networking must be a regular part of your life and activities. Just like friendships, the most authentic and meaningful professional relationships evolve naturally over time.

Need help finding places to network? Let Hamptons Creative Group suggest ways for you to connect – in person or online – to build your network.


~Success Stories~

This month, we celebrate Linda’s success in connecting Hampton Creative Group’s clients to their audiences! As part of this success, we’re proud to be creating the Facebook fan page for Peconic Public Broadcasting. This local NPR station needed help venturing online to connect with their community of listeners and followers. Linda has known Eclectic Café radio host Bonnie Grice and station manager Wally Smith for years. This community minded group does so much for the area, and Linda has supported the station for years. She even answered phones during last summer’s pledge drive.

So when Bonnie invited Linda to talk about her new book on the show last week, Linda was delighted to invite another local author, Ren Dodson, to join her. Bonnie highlighted Linda’s book and Hamptons Creative Group’s work to spread the word about Rens’ writing, too. Making connections between our vast network of collaborative friends and community – it’s what Hamptons Creative Group is all about.


You’ll recall from our last newsletter that Hamptons Creative Group was offering Marketing Makeovers to help businesses make a splash in 2011. We started delivering those Marketing Makeovers in January to eager and excited clients looking to benefit from a customized blueprint or success.

While the Marketing Makeovers do arrive in beautiful blue binders, clients also receive a one-on-one session with Hamptons Creative Group to discuss their binder’s contents, including the calendars, research, and measurement tools. Here’s what one Marketing Makeover client had to say:

“I got a Marketing Makeover from Hamptons Creative Group and I’m thrilled to be working with them to punch up my brand. The makeover gave me concrete ideas and ways to get my name out to my ideal clients, to position myself as an expert in intellectual property, trademark and copyright law, and to enter the world of online webinars. I’m excited about the new possibilities.”
Kathryn Dalli, Attorney at Law, Partner at Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo, LLP


What do Peconic Public Broadcasting and all of our Marketing Makeover
recipients have in common?
They’re building their Brand Buzz. Are you looking to build your brand, or to take it to the next level? Visit our web site to sign up for our complimentary eguide, “4 Proven Keys to Building Your Brand’s Buzz.”


~Hamptons Creative Group Blog~

Follow our blog, Word of Mouth, for Road Trip February. Each week, we’re keeping the conversation driving ahead, sneaking peeks into the rear view mirror, and staying connected with the things, people, places
and happenings that intrigue us. Are you part of the conversation?

SUBSCRIBE TO HAMPTONS CREATIVE GROUP BLOG HERE

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