July 29, 2014

I Have Called You By Your Name And You Are Mine

A guest post from Anne Tannam, Brand Manager at Islandbridge:

Recently my youngest daughter Sian, just turned eighteen, was queuing for a drink at the Longitude Music Festival. Armed with name and photo identification, she asked for her beer of choice. The barman took her identification and studied it very carefully for what seemed like a long time. My daughter was ready to hotly defend her real age when the barman looked up at her, smiled and said 'Do you know we have a bottle of Coke here with your name on it?'

Yes, I'm Talking To You

That story, along with the empty Coke bottle proudly bearing her name, came home with Sian and it once again illustrated the power of a great brand to reach out to its customers and make them feel special. No matter what age we are or how sophisticated and grown up we become, when someone calls us by our name, we feel special, known, understood. And more likely and willing to engage with the person or company who takes the time and trouble to learn it.

Of course, with an unusual name like 'Sian' that teachers and peers have been misspelling and mispronouncing since she was very small, Sian's excitement at seeing her name right there and spelt correctly may not be a typical response but I suspect that for most of us, seeing our name boldly displayed across a bottle of Coke will at least bring a smile to our lips. And more importantly, from a marketing perspective, more likely to dig into our pockets and buy the drink.

Share The Love With....

Like all powerful brands, it's not enough to simply reach out to individuals. A great and enduring brand must also help create its own tribe, loyal and true to the brand and each other. So what Coke have done is not just put people's names on their bottles; they've created a reason for people to talk to one another, given people a reason to buy a Coke for each other. My daughter and her friends have all bought coke bottles bearing the names of siblings, parents and friends. Whatever shop they enter, they quickly scan the coke bottles to see if there is a familiar name looking out at them.

Over To You

Very few businesses have the budget to put customer's names on their products (nor does it always make business sense) but there are many other ways to build your brand and make your customers feel acknowledged and understood.

  • Have a look at the messages currently on your website. Are the messages primarily about how great and wonderful your business is or are they about the problems your customer faces and how you can help them?
  • Whether by email, phone or face to face, make sure you address your customer in a personable and genuine manner. Does your customer always get your full and undivided attention?
  • Through forums, blogs or simply a call for feedback, invite your customers to share their experiences and stories with you and each other. How easy do you make it for customers to spread the good news?
What other ways can you show your customers that you know and understand them? Please leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

July 25, 2014

The Power Of Glove

There's nothing your average Irish woman likes more than looking tanned and radiant after a spot of sunbathing. However, with the real threat of skin cancer from sun beds and over exposure to the sun, many of us have turned to the healthier option of a self- tan: 'Fake it, don't bake it'.

When applied evenly, a self- tan can look as natural and beautiful as the real thing but unfortunately for many women, they end up with blotchy or streaky colour that screams tacky and cheap, no matter how expensive the cream or lotion.

Glove Is All You Need

This week's Kickstart Your Business feature, Glove Your Body is a tanning mitt that promises a quick and even application of colour. Business owner Valerie Brown, with a background in hair and beauty, designed the revolutionary self-tanning application mitt that gives a professional and flawless streak-free finish when used to apply mousse, lotions or liquid tanning bronzers. Machine washable and suitable for left or right handed users, the mitt comes with its own travel bag.

Hand In Glove 

Many start-up businesses see themselves in competition with their stockists, pushing for the customer to only buy from their website.  As Gerard pointed out on the show last night, Valerie is bucking that trend and is more than happy to promote her stockists.

Treated as strategic partners, they are more likely to promote Glove Your Body on the shop floor and with more than a hundred and twenty pharmacies nationwide already stocking the mitt, it's a rap case of sharing the glove!

Over To You

Can you think of other ways Valerie can promote her revolutionary glove? (apart from George promising to use it after his holidays in October!) Listen back to the show on Kickstart Your Business and tell us what you think.

We'd love to hear from you.

(Kickstart Your Business is broadcast live on The Right Hook every Thursday on Newstalk106 in Ireland at 6.40pm)

July 18, 2014

The Right Ingredients For Success

Let's face it; who doesn't want to snack healthily and enjoy the benefits of sustained high energy levels during the day? The problem of course, is that for most of us, substitute the word 'healthy' with 'boring' or 'tasteless' and that's closer to the reality of many of the health snacks we studiusly avoid on our supermarket run, preferring instead to load up on sugary treats that satisfy our taste buds, but not our energy needs. Up to now, it seemed we could have one or the other; tasty or healthy, but not both. But all that is about to change, thanks to this week's Kickstart Your Business feature.

Wyld About Great Nutrition

Wyldsson.com was founded by Dave McGeady who wanted to make clean, healthy food that tastes great, using only the very best of ingredients from all around the world. Delicious and healthy, the range includes snack tubes, muesli, oats, oils, butters and speciality flours that are also gluten and dairy free. Endorsed by an impressive range of elite athletes, the offer is also targeted at the weekend warrior who is looking for nutritious and high energy snacks to help them make the most of their active day.

Food For Thought

Dave has already demonstrated a refreshing willingness to reach out to elite athletes across a wide range of sports. Gerard remarked that successful athletes in particular are typically only too happy to share the secrets of their success with others, particularly in the context of media interviews etc.

Gerard suggested that he now go a step further and develop a systematic approach to 'prompted word of mouth' marketing, and ensure that each of those athletes continues to be primed with the type of information that they can easily relay to those in their own circle of influence.

Over To You

How do you suggest that Dave build further on his explosive start. Listen back to the show on Kickstart Your Business and tell us what you think.

We'd love to hear from you.

(Kickstart Your Business is broadcast live on The Right Hook on Newstalk106 in Ireland every Thursday at 6.40pm)

July 11, 2014

No Buts It's Got To Be Butter

Ireland has a long and successful tradition of making butter and worldwide, Irish butter is known for its distinctive rich and salty flavour. Butter has stood the test of time because of its skill in striking up a flirtatious relationship with anything from the humble spud to a cheeky risotto. Many of our top restaurants serve home-made flavoured butters but for most of us cooking at home, we don't have the time for chopping up fresh herbs to make our own from scratch.

An Improper Approach

Featured on last night's show, Improper Butter is a range of delicious, Irish flavoured butters that inspire creativity at mealtimes. Created by Hannah O'Reilly and Elaine Lavery, a business duo that met on a choral scholarship in UCD, Improper Butter create products that are perfect for the time-pressed cook who could do with some help preparing quick and tasty meals.

Bursting With Personality

Already retailing in over sixty gourmet foodstores throughout Ireland, Improper Butter is now setting its sights on some of the bigger supermarkets. Improper Butter has already made a strong start with a superb product, a great website and a very clever name but must continue to push the bold, cheeky element to their product and let the personality piece drive their brand.

Over To You

What can Hannah and Elaine do to bring out that playful and cheeky element to their product? Listen back to last night's show on Kickstart Your Business and let us know what you think.

We'd love to hear from you.

(Kickstart Your Business is broadcast live on The Right Hook on Newstalk106 in Ireland every Thursday at 6.40pm)

July 04, 2014

Furnished For Success

As anyone who has bought a house or apartment for the first time knows, it can be very expensive to fill a new living space with furniture and for those of us on a modest budget, a trip out the M50  would seem to be the only option. Though a novelty when the giant Swedish company arrived first, there are a growing number of consumers who are looking for quality Irish design that can be tailored to suit their needs, without having the pay a king's ransom for it. There is a gap in the market between the very expensive  high-end furniture and the mass-produced items that often don't stand the test of time.

Bridging The Gap

When cabinet-maker Conor Kelly and his partner Nell were furnishing their new home, they too found it difficult to source well designed furniture on a modest budget. They decided to make their own and, in the process, founded Snug Furniture, our latest Kickstart Your Business feature, creating simple and beautiful Irish designed furniture that does not cost the earth. All the furniture is made by Conor in his small workshop in Snugboro and along with their range of products for the home, they offer a bespoke service.

Keeping It Simple

As Gerard pointed out, the real trick is to get the organisational piece right as the business grows, keeping it simple with as much automation as possible, so that all the artisan and hand-made features are invested in the product itself. The website is a great example of that simplicity, with a clear navigational path for the customer to follow, making a purchase easy and straight forward. That simplicity needs to continue right up to the moment the furniture is delivered to your door.

Over To You

How can Conor and Nell keep it simple, even as their business grows? Listen back to the show on Kickstart Your Business and let us know what you think.

We'd love to hear from you.

(Kickstart Your Business is broadcast live on The Right Hook on Newstalk106 in Ireland every Thursday at 6.40pm)