Thursday, February 28, 2013

Succeed in the Natural Industry with Defined Brand Strategy

Whether you are rebranding your current product line or starting from scratch, Denise Whitney, CEO of Creative Innovations (CIN) has the vision for your brand identity. Denise’s vast industry knowledge and decades of experience will create a brand identity that is compelling and appealing to target consumers. Natural industry start-ups need to define a clear brand strategy for differentiating themselves in the market. This crucial element of planning is what separates the successes from the rest of the pack.

Defining a niche brand identity in the natural industry is challenging, especially with all the other items on your to-do list. CIN provides the fresh perspective required to outline the opportunities for your brand in the natural product industry. Our team will determine your company’s core competencies and establish your unique selling proposition and positioning. CIN is known for developing successful brand strategies built on a foundation of detailed research.

Although our established branding process utilizes a multitude of product development elements we have found the core essentials of brand strategy are market research, consumer profiles, targeted distribution, product concept, and overall brand essence and design.

Conduct Market Research
It is exceedingly important to know what the market trends. Researching consumer demand for new ingredients and areas of interest will help define the natural industry opportunities for your brand.

Define Specific Customer Profiles
It is important to be honest about the demographic profile of the customer who will appreciate and benefit the most from your offering. Not specifically defining a target audience is a common mistake made by new companies. CIN will guides companies through the process of defining the core, loyal customers to create a narrower target. This also creates promotions that speak to customers on a personal level that will successfully penetrate the target market.

Target Distribution
CIN understands the importance of keeping the customer profile in mind when establishing a distribution plan. Information such as customers’ spending preferences, demographics and preferred food stores will help map the most effective national distribution. This is why CIN communicates the brand strategy with distributors early on. It is crucial to present distributors with clear and compelling information showcasing why their customers demands are in line with your products features and benefits.

Hone the Product Concept
As a veteran buyer for natural retail stores, Denise Whitney, PhD. recognizes that retailers have limited shelf space. She works to clearly define a brand that excites retailers, making it easier for them to dedicate space to your brand over the competition. A clear product concept cuts through competition clutter and stands out among consumers and distributors. Compelling features and benefits can help define a product’s point of difference in the market. Whether this is a key ingredient, a series of key ingredients, a new product form, a unique delivery system or clinical trials to prove the product’s efficacy, highlighting the brand selling points is essential.

Once CIN builds the proper strategy and positioning, we begin designing the actual product. Design strategy must be based on objective creative evaluation. Companies often let personal preferences cloud the product design. This costly mistake can lead to incongruent brand strategy and product design. We carefully evaluate the fonts, colors, imagery, copy and overall mood of the designs during the design stage. The ultimate goal is to create a product that clearly communicates brand’s feature and benefits while standing out among the competition. With proper creative design the product will serve as a vehicle of communication for the overall brand strategy.

Pulling it All Together
Creative Innovations uses market research, consumer profiles, targeted distribution, product concept, and overall brand essence and design to develop strong brand strategies. By defining the above components, a new company can seamlessly cut through the retail clutter, connect with consumers, and become an enduring, sustainable brand.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CIN Team Achieves Effective Trade Marketing with Perfected Strategy

Effective Trade Marketing

Trade marketing focuses on driving new customers towards your brand, encouraging consumers to choose your brand over the competition, and growing sales by supporting retail and distributor partners with promotions.

Everything from grass roots initiatives to full blown ad campaigns, and analysis of industry trends for projections of future sales should be included in your brands’ trade marketing support. The main objective of trade marketing is to grow a brand by increasing the demand at the retailer and/or distributor level. The trade marketing effectiveness relies heavily on the strategy behind implementation. Without detailed industry knowledge, marketing initiatives fail to increase brand growth and sales.

The Creative Innovations team has in depth knowledge of the natural industry market pulse to provide precise category management. Our team recognizes effective trade marketing is built on a foundation of industry insight that pin points specific category opportunities. We provide our clients with higher ROI from their trade marketing budget by effectively targeting consumers based on accurate category management. Our results-driven strategies have proven to successfully launch products in the dietary supplement, nutraceutical, functional food and cosmeceutical industries.

True category management identifies the optimum opportunities to target the ideal customer by advertising the best price point through promotion vehicles such as demonstrations, in store coupons, shelf displays, temporary price reductions etc.

The second driver for trade marketing is promotion. Crafting effective promotions is essential when designing an effective marketing strategy. For example pricing and merchandising strategies that encourage new customer trials are successful promotions tactics. Keep in mind, the main objective of promotions should always be focused on increasing sales. Denise Whitney, PhD. CEO of Creative Innovations has fine tuned trade marketing strategies. Denise and her team always maintains the ultimate goal of a good promotion: To boost everyday sales, even after the promotion has expired.

With more than 35 years of experience in the natural industry, Denise Whitney, PhD. and the Creative Innovations’ team know the proper technique required to grow sustainable sales with the natural industry. Designing an effective trade marketing strategy starts with a keen understanding of what drives the natural industry retailer, distributors and customers. Effective promotion relies on accurate category management. Gain new customers and beat out the competition by raising brand awareness with effective trade marketing provided by Creative Innovations.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Motivation with a Twist

Why do people work? That’s the single most important question in the field of management. How you answer it can tell volumes about your management style.

The core team at Creations Innovations has a deep passion for the work they accomplish, which allows motivation to come naturally. But every team meets challenges that require additional encouragement to tackle. At Creative Innovations, we inspire our team with out-of-the-box thinking when motivation levels dip.

The goal of Creative Innovations’ management is not simply to direct and control team members, but rather to create conditions that make people want to offer maximum effort. Harnessing each team members’ sense of self-direction and self-control in pursuit of common objectives is more effective than imposing a system of controls designed to force people to meet objectives they didn’t understand or share. CIN believes rewarding people for achievement is a simple, yet valuable way to reinforce shared commitment.

Additionally, punishing team members for failure doesn’t increase productivity, self-worth or knowledge within a team. But team members will rise to any challenge when given a more responsibility. CIN has found team member contributions are always multiplied when we unleashing their imagination, ingenuity and creativity.

The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest. Our team exercises superior self-direction and self-control to achieve objectives because they are committed. They are wholly committed to objectives because of the excellent rewards associated with their achievement. The drive for greater success pushes our team members to not only accept, but seek more responsibility. Because with greater responsibility, comes greater reward.

CIN also strives to motive team members with unique rewards. Such creativity can be challenging in a corporate environment, and the traditional motivators are both expected and can be in short supply, depending on company and individual performance. Often the simple gesture of recognition and showing that hard work is appreciated, makes the biggest difference. But there are out-of-the box motivators that can create a positive effect with your team:
• A free parking space
• A free day off after a grueling project
• An assigned office with a door (to provide a quiet workspace)
• A split schedule allowing a person to leave in mid-afternoon (to care for family) and be back online at 10 p.m.
• Dinner for two at a fine restaurant
• A day spa trip
• Sports event tickets and concert tickets

How do you motivate your team?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thought Leadership as a Core Marketing Platform

Thought leadership is an excellent business tactic. Thought leaders are often people or organizations that are innovative and share these ideas through publications, presentations, and social media. They are considered an authority on a specialized topic area, either by possessing great expertise or having become the leader in a segment.

The textbook definition of a “Thought Leader” is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.

In lamens terms, we’re talking about “brilliance.” What’s essential to understand is that brilliance doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it’s a total waste of time to debate whether it’s authentic or not. Brilliance is a function of acclaim, created where others bestow the accolades.

The concept of building thought leadership as a platform for marketing is strange because so many companies use thought leadership as a complement. “Here’s why we think we’re experts, so we wrote about it.” Shifting the mindset to using thought leadership as a foundation means that you’re developing expertise at the core of your business: through your products, service, technology, and more.

Thought leadership is should be intentional, not an afterthought. In school, you learn marketing should be integrated throughout the business. How you ship something is a marketing opportunity. How customer service answers the phone is a marketing opportunity. Where you source your goods is a marketing opportunity. The reality of business is that we hardly ever think of marketing in such a holistic manner.

Understandably, businesses don’t always have perfect examples like the one above where there’s a chance at holistic marketing. In fact, the role of CMO is still considered fairly new in industry, so many decisions are made without marketing consideration. If thought leadership is supposed to be a platform for a firm’s brand and position in the marketplace, companies must start thinking about the holistic approach.

To make thought leadership a platform for marketing, here are Creative Innovations’ tips to get started:

• Revisit the company brand: Is your brand saying everything you want? Is it clear? Has it changed over time?

• Do an audit: Look at your assets, everything from website to packaging, and see what you have. Catalog what you’ve been producing and start categorizing the messages.

• Begin to calibrate: Did someone push out an infographic cause it might be cool? Has your twitter account been closed down for days? Do your luxury products get delivered in dented boxes? Assess how far off from your desired brand your assets currently are.

• Develop thought leadership everywhere: Make your big ideas central to the business, not just messages to share quarterly.

Thought leadership encourages you to take a position on something, and so it’s an opportunity to implement that through the business. Be the authority, don’t just tell us.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Increase Productivity with Innovation

Ready to increase productivity? Get ready to innovate!

The CIN Team brainstorms innovative ways to improve productivity our business and our clients’ business. Our innovation has led to multiple, highly successful brand launches in the natural product industry. Take a page from our Innovation Book, and create an exceedingly productive team with creative, industry changing outcomes!

Many business owners make the mistake of assuming that productivity means working themselves and their employees harder, but putting more pressure on your employees to get more done can actually be counterproductive. When it comes to increasing productivity, what most businesses need is innovation.

Innovation means finding intelligent and creative ways to improve your business, rather than just cracking the whip harder. Innovation is how you can find ways of improving the output of your business and employees for less effort and cost, and it is the best way to truly increase your productivity on an ongoing basis.

Productivity is the measure of the output of a process against the amount of effort required. In business terms, this can equate to a number of different things but it is commonly held to be the amount of work produced by employees for the amount of time put in, or the profits generated by a certain amount of expenditure. Put very simply, increasing productivity means increasing what comes out, without increasing what goes in.

Additionally, productivity is a significant factor in the survival or demise of many businesses both large and small, and it is even considered important on a national economic scale. Low productivity can lead to decreased profits, unnecessary expenses and a general feeling of apathy among your employees. If you want your business to succeed, you need to make sure it is working as productively as possible – and to do that you need to innovate.

Working harder at the same thing in the same way may increase your productivity to a certain extent, but there is only so much that you will be able to improve without some form of change or innovation. Pushing employees too hard can lead to lack of motivation, stress, fatigue and increased absenteeism, all of which can negatively affect your overall productivity and your business bottom line.

If you truly want to increase your productivity and help improve your business, the best approach to take is to find more efficient and innovative ways of increasing output rather than just putting more stress on existing systems. Innovation doesn’t have to be overwhelming or scary; it can start with a few small changes to help increase your business systems and then build from there.

An outside view may also be able to help. A fresh mind of a friendly fellow business operator, or a professional innovator may see things in a different light. They will find it easier to ask “what are you trying to achieve here?”, and “is there a better, different way of going about it?”.