You might need Gibson if…

1. You do not have a mission statement.

Sit down and brainstorm and get one! A mission statement is critical because it sums up your business’s reason for being. A mission statement helps you plan your marketing efforts, but it goes WAY beyond that: it affects everything your business does.

2. You do not have a logo.

Can a business survive without a logo? Yes. Some businesses have no logo at all. Some businesses always show their name in a certain font style and color, and that serves as their logo. But a well-designed graphic logo can be invaluable because over time, it comes to embody your company in the prospect’s mind. Looking at a well-known logo for just one second-the Olympic rings, for example-conjures up certain images in the prospect’s mind. That’s powerful stuff! Over time, a logo can become a strong symbol that says a thousand words about your company.

3. You do not have a tagline.

Taglines are succinct reminders of what you do. Gibson’s slogan is “Build your brand, grow your business.” Sometimes a company changes its slogan with each new advertising campaign. Ideally you want to find a slogan that works and stick with it for a long time.

4. You do not have a website.

Websites are a terrific way to 1) tell existing and potential customers everything they need to know about your business, and 2) make people aware of your business who hadn’t heard of you before.

5. You do not plan your advertising in advance.

Gibson highly recommends planning your marketing program up to a year in advance. If you don’t, it becomes very easy to spend your advertising dollars unwisely and/or exceed your budget. A good plan lays out the months ahead, but also allows for flexibility and can be changed if the circumstances call for it.

6. You have not identified the primary target audience for your business.

It’s a common trap to fall into: a business owner says, “My target audience is everyone.” The problem is, this mindset puts you on the path to unwise spending. You can easily go broke trying to advertise to everyone. The smarter path is to identify your group of “core customers” using demographics such as gender, age and income level, and then targeting your ad dollars there.

7. You do not use your logo consistently in visual advertising.

Your logo should always look the same. It should not appear in different colors. It should not be stretched horizontally or vertically. It should always have “breathing room” between it and the other elements in the ad. Your logo should not overlap other elements in the ad. You should have two, and only two, versions of your logo: one for color ads, and one for black & white ads.

8. You do not use fonts and graphics consistently in all visual advertising, so even if your logo were left out, all your visual ads would still have a ‘family resemblance.’

This is a very easy mistake to make. The elements of your advertising-the border, color scheme, font selection and other elements-can build your brand in much the same way as your logo. Your ad should be recognizable as yours, even if you cover the logo.

9. You do not use your tagline consistently in all your advertising.

This one is a bit counterintuitive. What’s wrong with using different tag lines? Why not tag one ad with “Best service in town” and another with “Quality that shines through”? The problem is the human mind. With all the messages bombarding people every day, people will most likely associate ONE phrase with your business, and no more. So pick the thing you most want to be known for, and build your tag line around that thing. Don’t get greedy: It’s better to have one word associated with your business than none at all.

10. In ads that use audio, you do not use consistent voice talent and music.

If you are guilty of this, you are missing an opportunity to strengthen your brand in people’s minds. If you use the same music and the same voice talent consistently, then eventually people will be able to see or hear your ad for just a few seconds and still know it’s yours. Even though they were channel surfing and they “skipped” your ad, you still made an impression in their mind.

11. The name of your business does not convey what you do.

Changing the name of a business is an expensive endeavor, but if your name doesn’t tell people what you do, you should consider it. By not telling or at least hinting at what you do in your name, you create an extra obstacle for anyone trying to find out about your business.

12. You haven’t thought about whether your advertising should appeal to people’s emotions vs. their sense of reason.

If you haven’t thought about this issue, then your advertising message may not be as effective as it could be. You might even be advertising in the wrong medium. This issue can be complex, because many products and services could go either way. Should a carpet cleaner appeal to reason, using statistics and dollar amounts, or to emotion, showing happy children playing on the floor? Usually the only way to find out is to test both methods. This can be expensive at first, but it can yield rich dividends over time.

13. You do not enjoy dealing with all the media representatives (radio, TV, print, signs) who call on your business with advertising proposals.

Some people are naturals at this, and can handle all the media representatives in stride. For others, they feel it takes up too much of their time. With Gibson as your agency, we will field all calls from media representatives and then meet with you (typically monthly) to discuss media offers in an objective, no-pressure environment.

14. You do not feel your knowledge about advertising and marketing is sufficient.

You are not alone! Many people feel bewilderment at all the marketing and advertising choices out there. Whatever your budget is, there seem to be an infinite number of ways to spend the money. The BIG ADVERTISING QUESTION boils down to: how much should you spend, and where should you spend it? Gibson can help you make objective assessments of your options, and we can help you build a strategy that maximizes your chances of success.

15. You are not satisfied with your bottom line and the direction your business is headed.

Your advertising and marketing MIGHT be the cause – but they might not. The best marketing in the world cannot overcome problems such as inferior products or bad service. Gibson can help you determine whether your marketing is part of the problem. If it is, we can help you find solutions.

SO… How did you do? The more the examples above apply to you, the more you should consider making some changes in how you market your business. If you have questions or would like to meet to discuss your marketing needs, please email me or call me at (406) 248-3555.

-Mike Curtis, President