"Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” - Sir Richard Branson, CEO, Virgin
I'm a Branson fan for many reasons. He's a proven entrepreneurial success, inventive thinker, witty spokesperson and has a beautiful way of getting right to the point when making one. His branding quote resonates with me because it hits on two critical aspects of creating and maintaining a shiny brand: 1) you have to be committed to the process; and 2) you have to appeal to your target customers on a deeper emotional level. Branson also acknowledges that very commitment required can create cynics. (I'd add that cynicism multiplies when there is no performance measurement system in place -- when there is difficulty measuring the value of brand marketing, some companies stop trying, or worse, write it off completely.)
It is not enough to create a beautiful product or successful service. Owners and operators must continually and consistently communicate their brand's value to target audiences and through a variety of channels. In the wine, spirits and culinary industries we serve, all of which require a commitment to hospitality, these audiences consist of consumers, trade and media. Our primary communication channels are in person (tasting room, events, meetings), phone, online and via direct mail. This ultimately means that for our clients, we have a rather complex web of communication to manage or advise upon.
Recently, a new client asked me which communication audiences and tools were most important. He wanted to know which one we would do first, and so on. During the conversation, I realized that he didn't understand the sequential nature of brand communication. I explained that there wasn't a particular order; that in fact, we would be communicating with all audiences using all tools throughout the course of our project.
When I returned to the office that day, I challenged my team to develop a visual representation of our brand building philosophy, and I'm happy to report that I love the result:
The concept of magnetism reflects the necessity of attraction when it comes to marketing. Attraction is a committed state. It represents how successful marketers blend defined process (the science) with creativity (the art), and underscores with the force "squiggles" that is is also an active state.
Management vision and strategy, along with internal team commitment, are found at the bottom to indicate that they are the foundation; without both, the communication will not resonate as it will either lack direction, authenticity or engagement. Media and trade relations are the next building blocks, because they are gatekeepers who offer a way to reach a wider net of followers. The very top reflects the very important nature of consumer ambassadors -- typically your club members, who represent the heart of the operation given their loyal nature and ability to attract more dedicated fans. It is surrounded by the broader guest experience, paid advertising, online marketing and platforms, all of which directly touch consumers.
Our ultimate goal here at Trellis Growth Partners is to create brand magnetism for our clients, which we define as a successful state measured by shining increases in marketing and sales metrics. In my next post, I'll discuss how we label and measure this success.
- Dixie Huey, Proprietor
Interning with Trellis Growth Partners, Summer 2013: the power of networking, complexity of wine and the 4-phase process
Just one short month ago, I began my marketing internship with Trellis Growth Partners. When I found out about the opportunity to be an intern here for the summer, I was excited by the possibility that I could learn about both marketing and wine. I am currently stuck at the unlucky age of 20, and I possess very limited knowledge of wine, so how on earth did I find this wonderful group of people to work with this summer?
One of my passions is the environment, so when I began attending the University of Washington in the fall of 2011, I joined an organization called the Students Expressing Environmental Dedication, or SEED for short. Over time, I served as the organization’s Director of Programming overseeing events and then its Executive Director. During this two-year span, I was fortunate enough to meet Clive Pursehouse, an administrator for Housing and Food Services, and a fellow sustainability advocate. Little did I know that in Clive’s “other life”, he is an avid wine consumer, blogger and owner of Northwest Wine Anthem. I think you can see where this is going… which leads me to the first lesson that I have learned while searching for, and ultimately obtaining, an internship for this summer: never underestimate the power of networking! Through my connection with Clive, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the owner of Trellis Growth Partners, Dixie Huey, and that is why I am here today.
Now you may be wondering what I do as an intern. So far, my projects have ranged from organizing and maintaining the company press database to creating product sell sheets for various wine brands. I have acquired a great deal of information about wine that I did not even know existed, which leads me to the second lesson that I have learned: a tannin is not, in fact, a misspelled word. Tannins add bitterness and astringency to wine. I have also discovered that there is another variety of wine aside from red and white – my friends would call it pink, but I know it now as rosé.
Aside from my increased knowledge of wine, the industry, and marketing, I have also learned about what it takes to run your own consulting business and to be successful. For example, we work as a team to serve our clients in the best way possible, from coming together for our weekly meetings to the informal chats and individual work that we do along the way. The ability to give each other feedback and take the time to listen to the needs of our clients is what makes our work effective.
While we have a variety of clients, from small and just starting out, to large and growing every day, our success comes from our four-phase process, which is a method proven to work with clients of every size, shape, and industry.
We begin each project with research, also known as our Entry Phase. This allows us to gather as much detail as we can on our client, and to also determine the root cause of issues in the business.
We then move to Action Planning. Once we are able to pinpoint the areas that need improving, we lay out a plan of action. This is followed by the third phase, Implementation. Working directly from our action plan, we implement each task. Depending on the scope of the project, we may work in the Implementation phase for several months. Once implementation is complete, we move into the last phase, Transition. During this phase, Trellis provides a detailed project results report to its clients. By providing results, the clients are able to see and understand their ROI or “Return on Investment.” After the transition phase, we can continue our marketing and communication services, or coach clients to maintain new company strategies, depending on the client’s needs.
In the weeks to come, before I head back up to the UW to complete my business degree, I hope to continue absorbing any and all information available, and to work more in depth on both industry research and media relations.
Until next time,
Lisa Nicholson, Marketing Intern, summer 2013
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