Tag Archives: brand

How to Build an Online Marketing Fire

Knowing how to build a fire is just as essential for survival in the online marketing world as it is in the wilderness. A blazing campfire provides warmth, light and a way to cook food. The fire you want to build online increases awareness and generates online leads.

Fire-Starting Tools

To start a fire in the great outdoors, you typically need a match and strike board, a piece of flint and steel or a magnifying glass and the sun. In marketing, we consider having a well-defined brand and a strategic plan as the bare necessities to ignite the flame for your business.

Your audience needs to understand who you are as a company, what you stand for and why you’re in business. Without a well-thought-out brand, you run the risk of looking like and sounding like your competitors, and you will be stuck in a continuous lowest-price-wins battle. Without a strategic plan, you’re wandering through the wilderness battling the unexpected and rather than focusing on what you need to do to reach your goals.


No matter where you are, creating a flame can be a lot of hard work — and it’s all for naught if there is no tinder to catch the flame.

In digital marketing, your “tinder” would be your website. Your website is the hub, or the core of all your online marketing efforts. For your website to attract and retain traffic — or “catch fire” — it must be optimized for search engines, easy-to-use and appealing. Without a well-optimized and user-friendly website, you will end up rubbing two sticks together all night long with no results.

However, while tinder catches fire easily, the fire quickly dies out without added support.


When building a fire, you need materials that provide more substance than tinder provides to keep the flame burning long enough for your fuel wood to catch. This is where kindling comes in.

In marketing, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. When following best practices, SEO and online advertising can quickly and easily increase awareness and direct traffic to your website. Just as kindling must be dry to work, your website and online ads must be optimized with keywords to work.

Fuel Wood

The fuel wood might take a little longer to catch fire, but it is what ultimately keeps your fire hot and burning. And if you notice your fire is starting to die down, you can throw more fuel wood on top to keep it going. In marketing, fuel wood is a mix of owned and earned channels.

Content marketing is one owned channel that can help “fuel the flame,” and it includes pieces such as white papers, case studies, e-books or webinars. Advertising such as print, TV or radio also add to the discussion, increase awareness and even drive website traffic. Additionally, email marketing can help nurture the fire and keep it going.

Public relations is one example of an earned “fuel” or channel. When your company receives media coverage from third-party sources, it helps boost your credibility and increase “buzz”. Word of mouth — whether it’s in person or online via social media — is also earned, and it can be a very powerful tool to build a blazing fire.

Building a fire is not as easy as it first appears. It involves a lot of knowledge, preparation, tools and hard work—similar to effective online marketing campaigns. Luckily, the GREENCREST team is ready to support you! Contact us today to get started.


Brand Heroes That Dominate – Creating a Brand That is Memorable


Every company dreams of making a difference in the lives of its customers. An unforgettable company inspires, motivates and connects with its customers. These companies are the brand heroes that dominate the market.


While it takes time to develop an unforgettable brand, these strategies will help you start the process of transforming your company into a beloved brand:

Champion a Cause

While attending a recent meeting of brand certified specialists, I was introduced to LifeProfit founder, Dustin Garis. Our discussion centered about brands that are transforming their marketing messages — better, faster, less cost — to messages about social changes that relate to the brand, with no brand benefits mentioned.

Always menstrual pads, for example, became a brand hero in its #LikeAGirl campaign. Its message centered around changing public perception of the saying ‘you run like a girl.’ Always rallied against the societal stereotype by promoting strong young girls who run fast and hard — the same as boys. As a result, the Always brand has become a hero that stands up for young girls and promotes the strength of women. That’s a great cause to root for!

Innovate Around the Human Experience

This concept revolves around Garis’ passion behind his company, LifeProfit. The human experience is especially important to companies that sell to a younger customer base, given that 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences instead of material objects, according to a 2014 Harris Group study.

An example Garis refers to in his TEDx Talk is how Zappos, a major shoe retailer, tapped into the human experience and became an unforgettable company for him. Garis called the company to inquire about a pair running shoes. Instead of trying to sell him the shoes, the salesperson told him to try them out at a mud run near his town and signed him up for the run. Garis took her up on the offer and in doing so, gained “life profit,” thus experiencing a human moment he will never forget.

Be Memorable

Hearing something 1,000 times is less impactful than experiencing it once. You might recall the recent McDonald®’s ‘Pay with Lovin’ campaign where customers were rewarded with a free meal in exchange for calling a family member and saying ‘I love you.’ Or how Coke®’s new campaign, ‘Share a Coke® and a Song’ personalized its products for consumers by adding famous song lyrics on their bottles this past summer—i.e. “Lean on Me,” and “We are the champions.” Or the Expedia ‘Trip-A-Day Giveaway’ where consumers who downloaded its new app were entered into a sweepstakes drawing to win a trip a day. The company also capitalized on the opportunity to survey participants on their spontaneity as it relates to finding and booking last minute travel.


The most memorable part of Garis’ message, and one that hits home with us all, is how mundane life becomes if all we do is look forward to the weekend week-in and week-out, spend endless nights watching television and only change our routine a couple of times a year when we take a vacation break. Life profit, as Garis describes it, is not in the number of days you live, but in the number of days you remember. As a business and a brand, we have a unique opportunity to make a memorable and meaningful experience for our customers.

Contact the GREENCREST team to discuss how we can help you create marketing, advertising, and social media content that will be memorable to your customers!


The Big Brand Misconception


Brand Development Misconception

Many CEOs and advertising professionals struggle with understanding what “brand” is. We’ll give you a hint: It’s not a company’s logo, colors, jingle or advertising campaign. As company leaders, it is important that you know what exactly it is.

A brand is what sets Coca-Cola apart from Pepsi and Ritz-Carlton apart from Holiday Inn. A brand is what differentiates Southwest Airlines from a flight on any other air carrier. That brand differentiation goes well beyond a logo or advertising campaign—it is a strategic process.

Some great brand examples

Ritz-Carlton Hotels have a visual identity of a lion and crown logo, gold striped upholstery, cobalt blue goblets and “always magnificent” architecture. Yet, its strategic identity is, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Its people deliver on its brand and make the strategic identity genuine and authentic.

Southwest Airlines has vibrant periwinkle blue, red and orange airplanes, cool uniforms and fun ads. Its strategic identity is friendly, hip and cordial service. Every employee is trained to “be” the Southwest Airlines brand. Southwest spends equal to 50% of its marketing budget annually on strategic, internal brand adoption to engage its people with its brand.

Even if you’ve never bought a tractor, you know that “Nothing runs like a Deere” because its brand stands for quality, commitment and innovation. Harley Davidson has an emotional attachment to its brand that elicits an almost cult-like following.

Brand is strategic first

Brand is powerful and brand strategy is unique to every company. Too often we see brand portrayed by graphic distinction. Any company can change its logo and adopt a new look, but that is its visual identity, not its strategic identity. Strategic brand identity allows the brand to drive R&D, manufacturing, customer experience and much more. It is sustainable.

A company’s brand encompasses its people, too

As Scott Davis and Michael Dunn wrote in their book Building the Brand-Driven Business, “Colors, logos, names, taglines or advertising get confused with the fundamental principles that enable brand-building to translate into sustainable and profitable growth. Brand is a promise, and all the advertising isn’t anything unless they deliver on the promise.” An organization must first define its strategic brand lens and then operationalize it so that all employees are trained and positioned to deliver on that promise. The outcome from a strategic brand lens is a crystal clear brand position. The result is “on brand” internal and external communications—through every fiber of an organization.

Brand development is not a marketing initiative

Brand development is not a marketing initiative—it is a corporate initiative. The CEO must be the brand ambassador—inspiring and moving all employees from hearing the brand to believing the brand to becoming the brand. Ultimately, the process will breathe life into a company. When it becomes very clear what the company brand really is, what it does differently and what it is capable of becoming, employee engagement will grow and brand value will grow the company’s bottom line.

Interested in uncovering your brand distinction?

Start with a Build Your Brand DIY Workshop®, led by GREENCREST Chief Strategic Officer and Certified Brand Strategist Kelly Borth. Reserve your spot today!

Upcoming Build Your Brand DIY Workshop® Dates:
April 29, 2015, 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at GREENCREST
May 27, 2015, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at GREENCREST
September 23, 2015, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. at GREENCREST
October 28, 2015, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at GREENCREST
December 2, 2015, 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at GREENCREST