Okay so it’s still January and below is a link to another list – this one is good for all times. The 20 points are all business startup basics. Great post.
I’ll add one point to the list: 21. Protect your intellectual property. Trademark, patent, copyright, trade dress and protect your trade secrets. Make sure you own your name (Prince vs. the artist formerly known as Prince; Bistro Laurent Tourondal/BLT vs. Café Ruhlmann are just two examples of an artist and chef respectively who have had to fight to keep their name).
Actually you should have started in October but if you didn’t, then now’s the time. No more procrastination.
The beauty of planning is that you know when opportunities (others or the ones you make for yourself) are coming up, you actually schedule them and you can prepare for them. If you can’t do this yourself, then find someone to work with who can. It’s not that difficult.
Janet Falk will be giving tips on media planning (for non-profits but these tips will work for you as well) on the radio. If you miss her live, you can still hear the broadcast.
Check out her blog:
Why you should have started planning in October:
Up to this moment in “cyber news”, the press release has worked as a significant contributor to what we used to call journalism. The press release was able to give reporters and editors at newspapers and magazines – print, and TV, radio — broadcast media an essential story. Relevant information was the currency between news makers and news reporters.
Now, there are so many omni-media ways for the PR practitioners to reach their audiences: blogs, tweets, social media, e-mail newsletters, webinars, et al. And, in this cyber world, search engines provide another major tool for omni-information seekers. The press release remains useful as always, if it is relevant in this new environment of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). P.R. managers and marketing directors may possibly add “journalist” to their job descriptions, since at this time they manage many more operations and produce publishable content, which can directly reach their key audiences.
If there was a period when the preponderance of media might have been a problem for a public relations operation to continue using the press release, it’s no longer the case. One of the reasons the release gained publishing power, is because it helps to deliver the coveted SEO. As such, these optimized links have brought companies their most useful keywords, helping them to obtain more acceptance on the Internet. This is now a successful strategy to aid brands and companies with their online presence and recognition.
However, these optimized links are being questioned. Some industry voices have described these as “link devices,” warning that the anchor text in the news release will no longer build a company’s SEO and creating more links may even damage SEO. Thus, brand content groups that produce readers to build “unnatural” links will be seriously stymied.
Point — Counter Point!!
As always, if the press agent dished out bad information, the media rejected it. If they provided valid news of relevance to the media’s audience, the media appreciated the helpful, newsworthy information. There are fewer gatekeepers to filter the news, aka content. Then as now, high content stories provided in today’s press releases could still service market education and offer online discoveries through the omni-channels.
Therefore, we believe the press release is still a valid marketing strategy and tool, even if it is different from the past. It needs to strive to be an effective communicator of authentic and timely content.
Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.
Recent articles suggest that there is so much information being gathered about customers and spending and everything else you can think of, that the need to do traditional market research is starting to fall by the wayside. Data will give you all the information you need to predict consumer actions. As I noted in my recent post about consumers using Amazon and other sources to comparative shop for price and quality, features and benefits, big data still reports historically on what consumers have done, therefore, you are looking backwards to predict the future. Yes, I know, history repeats itself but when you’re selling next seasons’ clothing line, you might want to reconsider consulting the past. And I agree that focus groups and other agency/consultant and client pre-conceived ideas put in front of customers should fall by the wayside (after all, a focus group puts these ideas in front of the customer and asks the customer what they think about your ideas, not what the customer wants).
I’m sure if you are a huge corporation, having access to all this data must be comforting. But it’s still all seen from the perspective of the market and not the customer. I believe that nothing is better than asking your customers what they want and how they want it. That’s a predictive, not historical, approach. I’ve done it for big corporations (one had a return-on-investment of 1,000%) and I’ve don’t it for solopreneurs (one had a return-on-investment of 60%). I suggest you do it for yourself. Get out there and poll your customers directly. Mimoona, which is a new crowdfunding tool (http://www.mimoona.com/?reffID=4299), allows your customers to have a vote on your next seasons line – and it’s not an idle vote – they vote with their credit cards.
*Big data is a term coined for the collection of data that comes in such large volume and in groupings, that it can’t be handled by traditional methods. The value of mining big data, is that enables one to see connections on a larger scale than ever before, as well as see connections between things that were never before available.
By Jove: The Biz Buzz
Aha weekly tidbits for the HT Insider
Well, just when we thought the “new black” was going from grey to pink – news has it that new black is ….BLACK. Of course for those of you haven’t noticed, black actually is the color of choice at FIT with both students and faculty. I guess it must be that urban thing but I know I stand in front of a rack, and see all sorts of colors. What do I buy? The black. How about you?
WSJ Magazine, December 2013/January 2014. Check out this super layout.
Speaking of the WSJ, there was a great article last weekend on the surge in the men’s footwear business. Almost 2 full pages devoted to styles, care, shopping habits, etc. In fact, according to the Journal, men are starting to outpace women in building a full shoe wardrobe. This is no surprise to us as the real excitement in the market both wholesale and retail right now is men’s. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303497804579242313439812406 If you haven’t checked out the re-done menswear floors at Lord where it is calm and well edited with great values. Go to the 9th and 10th floor and you will a full selection for all the men in your life, plus if you are a younger guy, there is lots of stuff for you. I promise. Don’t forget that HT is offering more and more menswear related courses these days and all of Spring is now available on line.
If you haven’t had a chance to see the current HUE, the FIT alumni magazine there is a wonderful extensive article on tattoos that really connects with a post I made quite a while ago that we still get comments on. Check it out. http://www.fitnyc.edu/3636.asp.
Looking for that last minute gift? How about a HOT TOPICS course? Gift Certificates are available. Go to D130, open through Friday afternoon at 5:30pm or http://bit.ly/1bYBlT1.
New research was just released that demonstrates a big shift in how consumers buy and what influences their purchase. Traditional ads no longer have the same power to shape consumer opinions as they once did. Amazon (the ultimate cost and quality comparison, along with others) influence consumers more than ever. The studies were based on the “compromise” effect – (see NYT article below for the full story) are probably now saying to yourself, ho hum… and why is this news? Well, it took a while for the establishment to document what most of us already know and practice organically. However, some of the results of the study suggest that digital feedback in the digital world allows marketers to see what works and what doesn’t – what messages are influencing customers and which ones aren’t. And they can make adjustments accordingly…and very quickly. This is all very well and good, and excellent support (although the writers and researchers don’t see it from the customers’ point-of-view, so they are still missing the point) for my position that customer-focused information and insight right from the beginning…pre- advertising/marketing/PR efforts and spending, is more valuable than measuring what works after you’ve spent all that time, money and effort and then correcting it.
By Jove: The Biz Buzz
Aha weekly tidbits for the HT Insider
Ok, so what are they saying? The Friday after Thanksgiving is no longer black, its charcoal grey? Or is it barely black and now starts at 8 pm on the day before. Wasn’t grey the new black this year, anyway?
According to the WSJ, Tuesday 11/26 black Friday is a retail illusion. I guess the market expression, “Mark it up to mark it down.” finally traveled from 7th Ave. to Wall St. Article- http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304281004579222370781619390
In case you missed the NYT, Sunday 11/21 article “It Takes a Lot of Money to Look This Good” both Emma Sosa and Joan Volpe (FIT Center for Professional Studies) were quoted. The article validates personal shopping as a service and career opportunity. Kind of reminds me of the old cliché “Does Macy’s tell Gimbel’s?” since the WSJ ran “Really Personal Shopping” on 12/4 underscoring the same theme. Of course we knew the value of the personal shopper already since Image Consulting is the longest running Professional Development certificate program. But it is so nice to see top media thinking like us. Article- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/fashion/Personal-Shoppers-Still-Busy.html?smid=pl-share
At the Retail Marketing Society luncheon on Tuesday 12/4 (absolutely one of the best networking and learning experiences in the market, www.retailmarketingsociety.org) the always profound Robin Lewis told it like it is in retail today “The Retail Future: Landscape or Landmines”. According to Robin the faster retailers embrace an Omni-Channel strategy the better their chances of survival. Pure players will not grow and Amazon is already opening stores. Robin says the market desperately needs talent who understand Omni-Channel and can adapt decisions and merchandising to multi-formats. Head’s up all of you taking courses in the Omni-Channel certificate.
Have you noticed? Students in the Color certificate program develop a trend forecast in SXC 260 and try to predict the hottest color for the coming season which is then used for the next Hot Topics catalog.
Guess what color Spring 2014 HT will be???
“Love it or Hate it, a new Pink is coming” the WSJ, Thursday, 12/5 as well as Gawker and several other media sources. Just remember we’ve known about that color for weeks – it’s a Hot Topic! Article- http://gawker.com/the-2014-color-of-the-year-assaults-eyeballs-everywhere-1477259786
Here’s a really great case history about how a fashion company used customer-focused market research and marketing.
The TwirlyGirl clothing line polled their customers about the feelings/descriptive words that identified the clothing to them. They took the results, which when all combined generated a single consistent image, and came up with the word “transformative”. This was the genesis of the brand. They next took this information a step further and changed all their copy to reflect the transformative attitude.
This not only became the brand, which TwirlyGirl now has established, but also positioned the company and clothing line in its own space with regards to other girls clothing lines. A very important double punch to success. Because there are lots of girls clothing lines, but only TwirlyGirl provides an experience with each piece of clothing. What a great differentiator and competitive advantage. By following this course of action, they have created a strong niche for themselves.
Holiday Bizarre Pop-up Shop
November 19-23, 2013
FIT, corner of 27th St & 7th Ave
FIT students in the department of Visual Presentation and Exhibit Design led by Assistant Professor Anne Kong have developed a “Holiday Bizarre” Themed shop inspired by the Surrealist and Dada art movements. This is a collaboration between FIT and The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Thrift Shop, featuring women’s designer clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry, gift items, and furnishings.
All proceeds benefit the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center