Geile/Leon Marketing Communications Wins New Business and Awards

The Blog

Mary Sawyer
Vice President of Public Relations

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications Wins New Business and Awards

The year 2016 has been busy for Geile/Leon Marketing Communications so far as we proudly work with our great long-term clients and welcome a pair of terrific new clients – LCN, an industry leader in door control and Upper Iowa University, a private institution of higher education.

LCN Products, of Carmel, Ind., is an international brand of door closers and hardware that specializes in safety and security challenges. For LCN, G/L is providing strategic planning, marketing, branding and new product introduction services.

For Upper Iowa University, located in Fayette, Iowa, G/L is developing a strategic positioning and branding program that will be the basis for the institution’s future marketing and communications.

“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with our newest clients primarily because they’re great organizations to work with,” said Tim Leon, President and Lead Strategist at Geile/Leon Marketing Communications. “It’s our goal that every new client we bring on is the beginning of a long, productive partnership that will make both organizations stronger now and long into the future.”

And, while we don’t work for awards, it has been gratifying this year to be recognized for our efforts.

For instance, we are very pleased to have been named in the Small Business Monthly’s annual reader survey as one of the best businesses in the area. Readers named us as one of the Top 5 Marketing Firms in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Business Journal lists St. Louis advertising, marketing and public relations firms by number of employees. We’re in the Top 30 this year… not the biggest of the firms, but we’re proud of the capabilities we have to offer. Our clients know that we have most of the capabilities of much larger firms, but provide them unparalleled service, creativity and attention.

Have any questions about what we’re working on? Shoot us a note anytime:

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You’re Never Too Small for Inbound Marketing

The Blog

Dan Diveley
VP of Business Development

You’re Never Too Small for Inbound Marketing

So much has been written about using social media to support inbound marketing. Day-to-day I speak with all size marketers, and I understand that the use of inbound marketing for smaller companies gets a little confusing. Because of this, I thought I’d pass along a real world example that was successful.

I was conducting an interview to prepare for a meeting with a manufacturer who was considering working with Geile/Leon. The prospective client provided me with several distributors to talk to, and all but one were well established in their territories and had a steady line of business generated from the traditional sales process.

One distributor I spoke with told me he contracted to sell this manufacturer’s product line two years ago. His assigned territory had not been a hot sales zone for many years, so in a way it was similar to the challenges of a new market for the manufacturer.

His first year was tough. The manufacturer’s brand wasn’t very well known in the territory—mostly due to a lack of advertising support—so it was up to the distributors to build the brand. Another issue was that there is little difference in quality, cost, and performance of this brand and the other comparable products in this category. He had considered adding more sales people, but worried about adding this additional expense while waiting for sales to grow.

Then, over the Christmas holiday he was talking to his son who was home from college. They discussed the challenges he was facing and his son said, “Most people go online to find stuff, so why don’t you do something to get them to find you?”

This was an epiphany for him – as a small marketer in a very specific business, he didn’t consider this option.

After doing some research, he decided to take the plunge and create an inbound marketing strategy, despite the fact that his distributorship is small, with just one location serving a two state area. With some marketing agency help, an inbound  marketing strategy was outlined that includes:

  • Developing personas of his customers so he had a clear understanding of who he was targeting
  • Using online ads to drive traffic to his site and increase his search placements
  • Incorporating the appropriate social media sites to promote content and interact with the target audience
  • Developing a list of key words and phrases and constantly monitoring how they are performing
  • Creating content (videos, blogs, white papers) about issues important to his target audience
  • Making the website more user-friendly, allowing customers to easily respond to offerings
  • Initiating a sales strategy to turn prospects into customers

After just six months, his new program began to bear fruit. Website visitors increased 300%, while leads from visitors resulted in increased sales – in fact, many of those leads were from companies he hadn’t pursued. And now, thanks to increasing content and improving online traffic, he has reduced his spend on online ads and pay-for-clicks because search engines are listing his site on the first page now.

This is just one example of how success can come from inbound marketing – even if you think your business is too small to benefit from it. If you dive deeper into who your audience truly is and what they are looking for, a strategic digital marketing strategy takes shape.

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The Value of a Strong Brand

The Blog

Dan Diveley
VP of Business Development

The Value of a Strong Brand

As we continually tell clients: Even the best products and services often get lost in a crowded marketplace. Trends come and go but a strong brand plays a vital role in a company’s long-term success.

But what is the value of a strong brand?

We who work in marketing already know that companies that work to build a distinct and strong brand enjoy many benefits. These include how customers feel about the organization, reasons why the company’s products/services are distinct from the competition, and even how it affects employee morale. But these are intangible benefits and their values are often hard to measure.

However, there are tangible values associated with a strong brand, according Trevor Hulett, Managing Director of Investment Banking for R.L. Hulett, a well-established financial services firm that offers a variety of services including assistance with mergers and acquisitions. Simply put, Trevor says a stronger brand leads to a higher gross margin on sales of products/services which equates to a higher valuation of an enterprise.

For example, to determine the value of a business to sell or purchase, Hulett considers the enterprise value. The enterprise value includes asset value (tangible values) plus working/current liabilities and all intangible goodwill, which may include its brand, a strong management team, unique technologies or innovations. A major aspect of goodwill comes from its brand.

Hulett says that a company’s enterprise value is increased through a strong brand, as well as its value in attracting potential investors or buyers. These investors and buyers are willing to pay more for a company with a strong brand because after all, a strong brand leads to: better name recognition that breaks through a cluttered market; “word of mouth” endorsements; better customer loyalty; and an engaged and excited workforce. These benefits add to a company’s success and therefore, the overall value.

Companies, regardless of size and industry, that have services or products that are perceived as being higher in the value chain in terms of strong brand, can charge more. That enhances the gross margin, according to Hulett. Strong brands are good for ongoing business, therefore, but they are also advantageous when it attracting and negotiating with investors, he explains.

Brand is a major aspect of the goodwill or “multiples” that can be assigned to company’s worth in addition to the EBITA (earnings before interest taxes depreciation amortization). A higher gross margin attracts more potential buyers, which will drive a higher multiple on the earnings and a higher purchase price.

Companies who can position themselves better than their competitors will benefit from better pricing leverage. And, as buyers conduct their due diligence with customers, good brand feedback can drive up the multiple on a higher EBITA.

While having a strong brand can add to a company’s value, it is important that be “institutionalized” and not too dependent on the founder or other individuals, so that it can be transferred to new owners with minimum interference.

Hulett cites the importance of companies partnering with strategic marketers who can help to create and shape their brands so that they can be leveraged to grow and enter new markets and new relationships. Successful brands should be clearly defined and well communicated, he says, but also should be “scalable” so that a local brand can grow nationally, or a national brand can become a global brand.

And, like tangible assets, brands must be continually monitored and maintained. They are dynamic, not static. If the opinions of industry leaders and customers change in a negative way, the value of a brand can be reduced.

If you are considering selling, purchasing or investing in a company, I’m sure Trevor Hulett could offer you some good advice. He can be reached at 314.721.0607.

And if your company has the best products and services but is lost in a crowded marketplace, we’d be happy to share our approach to building strong brands. Give me a call at 314.727-5850 or fill out the form below.

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Find Your Why: No One Rallies Around Mission Statements, So Discover Your Purpose

The Blog

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Find Your Why: No One Rallies Around Mission Statements, So Discover Your Purpose

B2B

Think about your liquor cabinet. Now think about that tired, dusty bottle of “Old Crow” that’s sitting on the bottom shelf. Something you glance over every once in a while but never dream of opening it or bringing it out of the shadows and into the light of day.

Pretty similar to your company’s mission statement? You felt like you had to put one together but haven’t looked at it for years. You probably can’t even quote the first sentence of it.

Well, you’re not alone. Many companies feel the need to deliver a mission statement and most do. The problem is they lose focus, make the statement way too long for any of their employees to remember, and once it’s done, house it on their web site or in a company document without ever referring to it.

If it’s not part of your daily routine and clear to your employees, then what good is it? That’s why we believe in Simon Sinek’s model – we believe that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your why should be concise, simple and straight to the point. It has to answer several questions, most importantly, why do you get out of bed every morning and do what you do and why does your company exist? With all the competition in many categories you have to make your brand stand out. Your why can help do just that.

So, find your why, communicate it both internally and externally and see how your culture and your business changes.

I know our why – “We believe every company has a deeper purpose, and it’s our job to find out what that is.” If you’d like us to help you figure out your why, just reach out. It’s what we do – and we’re good at it.

WIN A FREE WHY BOOK

Plus, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Find Your Why: Why Do You Do What You Do?

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: Why Do You Do What You Do?

What makes a company successful?

That is a question that start-ups and longstanding businesses alike find themselves asking when times get tough.

This complex question has a very simple answer. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

In 2009, Simon Sinek released “Start With Why,” a book outlining exactly what makes companies who are concrete in their purpose so prosperous.

“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money—that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”

These questions are not something that many companies have truly thought about. There are so many different brands fighting for the top spot in the same industry; to stand out seems nearly impossible. It takes an organization that has a clear vision for what they are trying to achieve, and that vision needs to be valued from the company president all the way to the office intern.

Once an organization has established their core belief – one that defines everything that they are doing everyday – it is time to share the message. Consumers are going to choose the brand that they can believe in. When they can relate to and understand a company’s “why,” there is a certain level of trust established – in quality and service. The customer is going to remember that brand and become loyal to it.

When you find your why, success is simple: believe in your business and others will do the same.

Are you looking to inspire people to believe in what you are doing, but can’t quite define your “why”? We’re always here to help out.

WIN A FREE WHY BOOK

Plus, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Trending from G/L: What Makes Mobile Marketing Matter?

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: What Makes Mobile Marketing Matter?

The mobile platform is advertising’s newest puzzle and it’s making creatives question their storytelling tactics. With high traffic and low engagement, mobile marketing is established enough to have brands knocking at its door, but most are questioning if anyone’s even home. Mountain Dew, BBDO NY, OMD Worldwide, and Google’s Art, Copy & Code team joined forces to figure out how video advertising needs to evolve in order to be effective in a mobile setting—Unskippable Labs was born.

The collaborators took an existing television advertisement (Mountain Dew Kickstart’s “Come Alive”) and created three versions, each varying in length and content. Using YouTube TrueView (it gives viewers the option to skip ads), they monitored the viewership of each cut in an effort to understand what catches the attention of mobile viewers.

The three cuts included:

“The Original”—a traditional 30-second TV spot with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

“The Big Punch”—a 31-second mobile ad that presents the brand before the viewer has a chance to skip.

“Pure Fun”—a 93-second cut that drops viewers into the middle of the action. Here, there’s no real story arc and the brand is subtly featured throughout.

Viewers had no clear preference when viewing the three ads from desktop computers—view-through rates were nearly equal; however, on mobile, “Pure Fun” boasted a 26% higher view-through rate than the other two cuts.

Viewers watched “Pure Fun” more frequently and for longer periods of time—an average of 1 minute 9 seconds. Despite elevated viewership, brand recall (Mountain Dew) was more or less equal to the other cuts and specific product recall (Kickstart) even plummeted.

Were viewers perplexed by the randomness? Intrigued by the uncertainty of direction? Who knows? What we can conclude is that brevity isn’t a necessary component for mobile marketing as we once thought.

Previous mobile efforts prioritized engaging viewers directly with outcries of, “Hey! You there!” within the 5-second grace period before viewers have the ability to skip. Perhaps this study will spawn a new wave of mobile marketing, ultimately ditching ad norms and turning to riffs on absurdity and unpredictability.

This goes back to the idea of making consumers care and making it mean something to them. If you have concerns about getting your target audience to take notice of your brand, contact us anytime.

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Find Your Why: How? Start By Asking Questions

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: How? Start By Asking Questions

Just about everyone works for something “bigger” than themselves from a literal standpoint—a corporation, for example; but how about “bigger” in a sense of significance? Finding and implementing a reason for doing—what we call a “why”— can have a tremendous impact on clients and employees.

Our “why” – Make it mean something.

It sounds simple, and in some aspects it is; but when a company implements a carefully crafted mantra into every aspect of its labor, the result is a staff that’s collectively hip to the same inspiration—an invaluable trait, not to mention a weapon competitors fear as much as they envy.

Discovering your “why” isn’t as easy as it first may seem. Shooting from the hip may result in an off-strategy approach, confusion among employees, and even criticism—external or otherwise. Here are three questions that can help you begin to pin down your “why.”

 

  • What do you do?

This one’s easy. What line of work are you in?

 

  • How do you do it?

Specifically, how do you operate? What steps do you take to ensure your company’s providing a positive work culture while meeting financial goals? If workplace culture isn’t currently a priority, head on over to our blog on how culture extends beyond the workplace.

 

  • Why do you do what you do?

Okay—this one can be tough to answer. Try thinking back to when you first broke into the industry. What drew you to your industry? If you’re in a different industry than when you were 22, what made you change? Spend a little bit of time on this one.

It’s also worth thinking about who benefits from your company’s work and how you’d like to be perceived by that group. Image is paramount to successfully marketing a brand. Step back and ask yourself if your desired image aligns with how others perceive you.

Want to find your why? Got some thoughts rolling? Jot them down below for a free consultation.

WIN A FREE WHY BOOK

Plus, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Find Your Why: How company culture goes beyond the workplace

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: How company culture goes beyond the workplace

When we think about work culture and environment, we allude to a spectrum of physical spaces ranging from fluorescent-lit cubicle containers to spacey, renovated warehouses with concrete floors and ill-placed lamps. But office aesthetics are but a crumb of the entire company culture cake.

Most of us spend the majority of our lives at the office. Sometimes we seem to forget that. There, we succeed gloriously and fail miserably—bask in contentment and writhe in resentment. Whether we love or loathe our jobs, workplace culture plays a major role.

In fact, the best employers in the U.S. say their greatest tool is culture. The attached article from Fortune notes three major trends.

First, because the “best employer” surveyors have used the same methodology and judging criteria for twenty some odd years, they determined that the best workplaces are getting even better—which sounds super arbitrary, but bear with me. The average amount of training for managers and professionals has increased 80% from 1998. Additionally, data from the surveyors’ Trust Index (which is exactly what it sounds like) indicates that the “happiest employees” are happier and more loyal than ever.

Second, business leaders use culture as a competitive tool in order to mutually benefit the company and its employees. So happier employees make a company more lucrative? Who woulda thunk it? It certainly makes sense. If an employee feels that he or she is under appreciated, merely spinning wheels, or worse, both—he or she may produce work of lower quality.

Third, the best workplaces have leaders who listen to their employees and implement distinctive programs that are relevant to the modern business world. Certain programs alone can instill a sense of culture. Whether it’s an intricate workshop or a simple office ritual like, oh, I don’t know, having a beer or two together at the end of each week. That’s what we do here at G/L, and let me tell you, I’m feeling the culture.

Sometimes it’s as simple as sharing an understanding of the basis of work done in the office. Why do you do what you do? What’s the purpose of your work? These questions are often overlooked in the corporate world. Routine slays passion, and without passion, brands become stale.

We’ve quoted Simon Sinek countless times: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Want to hear more about how we maintain our workplace culture? Give us a call—or better yet, stop by Friday around 4pm. We’ll tell you all about it.

WIN A FREE WHY BOOK

Regardless, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Trending from G/L: Hiring an Advertising Agency the Right Way

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Hiring an Advertising Agency the Right Way

The processes that companies use to find an advertising agency have evolved dramatically over the past few decades. The standard requests for proposals (RFP) are sill around, but with some brands working with multiple agencies, as well as freelancers and internal marketers, the landscape has become infinitely more complicated. Agencies of record still matter, but project work is everywhere.

Despite all of this, a strong agency partnership fosters trust and paves a path for high-quality strategic, creative work to emerge. That path can start with the agency selection process. While that process can be arduous, making it as streamlined and conducive to finding the right fit is worth it.

Argentum Strategy Group recently published a case study for choosing the right creative agency and we were fortunate enough to be indirectly mentioned.

In the case study, a business-to-business technology brand was searching for an agency to help differentiate their message and grow their local awareness. They took a number of critical steps to determine a budget, vet selected agencies based on selected criteria, and rate each agency in an unbiased manner. In this case, the client XIOLINK chose Geile/Leon as their agency.

Working with Susan Silver and the team at Argentum gave us the opportunity to meet with, and eventually, work with the client on an ongoing basis. They do a fantastic job of bringing together the right clients and the right agencies to find a strategic fit. And from an agency perspective, we found the search process valuable and inclusive.

Our approach to new business in general has evolved for the better over the course of more than 25 years in business. But our commitment to helping brands grow is still at the heart of everything we do. If you have a marketing challenge, let us help you solve it. We’re up for it.

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Trending from G/L: How far will personalized marketing and advertising technology go?

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: How far will personalized marketing and advertising technology go?

Every Monday morning, we sit down to discuss industry trends. Topics range from wearable technology to brand-sponsored short films. This week, our Creative Director Dave Geile brought something so technologically innovative to the table that we felt compelled to share.

The new gadget that had us geeking out in the conference room: a centimeter-long origami robot that climbs, swims, and carries loads twice its weight, according to MIT researchers. The fascinating, yet admittedly esoteric, device is expected to provide assistance in the medical industry—capable of reaching otherwise difficult-to-access areas inside the body.

Naturally, watching the bug-like device fold itself and chug through obstacles got me thinking about technology, marketing, and how the separate industries intertwine.

Advertising has a coercively isomorphic relationship with the tech industry; meaning the development and evolution of advertising is at least partially linked to technological innovation. Wait, isn’t this a movie?

“You could use a Guinness right about now!”

Behold, the single line I remember from Minority Report.

In 2054, Washington D.C., wall-attached eye scanners assess moods and chime out tailored advertisements. Tom Cruise must’ve been thirsty.

In 2002 when the film was released, I’m guessing the concept of hyper-personalized marketing was so far-fetched it was promptly dismissed—like time travel or teleportation.

Now looking back, the scene portrays future advertising somewhat accurately. Although most advertisers don’t implement eye scanners or mood detectors, I imagine cookie tracking would’ve seemed equally improbable—but here we are.

The question is not how far can advertisers go? Technological advancement has shown little sign of slowing. The question is how far will advertisers go? As tech capabilities continue to increase, how advanced, personalized, and intrusive will brand messaging become? Will advertising technology ever go too far? Let’s hope these undetectable, body-diving robots stick to exploration… below the neck.

Here at Geile/Leon, we have our own approach. We believe results come naturally by making sure every project, interaction, relationship, and even handshake mean something. Before we even touch a project, we ask ourselves one question: Why? By determining why a project is important, we’re able to recognize what we need to do to make our client successful—now that’s personalized marketing.

Want to learn more about Geile/Leon’s approach to strategic marketing? Let’s chat. Drop us a line and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours.

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