A Call to Publish

MARKETING STRATEGY

A Call to Publish

You’re likely familiar with the term “content marketing.” You might even think you leverage content marketing as part of your current marketing strategy. Today, I want to talk to you specifically about being your own publisher and building a brand platform.

Building a brand platform isn’t a new idea at all. In fact, this is the goal of most market-leading companies across all industries. Yes, we’re behind here in Alberta, but look at it as an opportunity. 

Who Will Take the Lead In Your Industry?

Marketing Has Changed

Marketing has changed. What I learned in university was how things used to work. If you wanted to reach an audience, you’d have to work with a middle man like an advertiser or a publisher. Things are different today – you can speak directly to your customer without an intermediary.

This shift provides incredible benefits. First of all, we no longer have the impossible task of trying to appeal to the masses. Our audience is unique, and we can engage them as such.

Another benefit is that we can be micro-niche in how we position ourselves to our prospective customer; our audience. You can target very specific interests (that’s how the long-tail works in SEO terms). Finally, you can create influence.  By finding and building a tribe, you’re a more attractive partner and collaborator. You can build value that doesn’t necessarily show up on a balance sheet.

Red Bull made the transition to a full-blown publisher and set up Red Bull Media House in 2007. That’s over ten years of developing owned editorial.

Photo by Fonsi Fernández on Unsplash

One of the oldest examples of self-publishing as a brand is the Furrow by John Deer. The John Deer brand and logo rarely show up in the content – instead of being promotional, it’s all about objective, value-added content for farmers and the farming community.

Photo by Dietmar Reichle on Unsplash

Publishing isn’t just good for B2C brands. For example, Goldman Sachs covers a wide range of topics that are relevant for their investor clients. They use a smart combination of video, audio, and written blog content.

Photo by Prince Abid on Unsplash

What Does Being a Publisher Look Like?

First of all, get clear on what you sell. It’s not the product. It’s the Simon Sinek “why.” Yep, I’m talking about the abstract shit – we sell creativity, we sell success, we sell self-expression. Define exactly how you want customers and the market to describe your brand.

Now it gets really fun. How many channels can we use to express those abstract values and add value to your (potential) customers? Video, podcasting, magazines, website, social, etc. Remember: All those publishing tools are in your hands, so you can build an integrated platform to gain mindshare of your audience. And add value! You need to make people’s lives better with the content that you publish.

Us marketing folk love to say that we are building a “lifestyle brand.” It’s the soup du jour term these days, but it is where we need to take our organizations. And some organizations have been doing it since the late 1800s.

Do me a huge favour. Watch this excellent documentary by the Content Marketing Institute. It’s about 45 minutes long. Queue it up before you jump on the elliptical trainer, or download it and take public transportation for the day. Then let’s talk about it.

Find Something Interesting?

Through open conversation and informal brainstorming, we can all take something valuable away from new ideas and trends. We’d be happy to discuss what we’ve written here today and get your thoughts. We want to know what you think.

The Future of Waste Management: TGM Branding

The Future of Waste

Brand Strategy & Brand Development

The Garbage Man (TGM Waste) was purchased by a long-time friend and client who had a ton of experience in technology and recycling. The company had a long history of providing exceptional service to Strathcona county in waste disposal and junk removal, and this company seemed to be a perfect fit for its new owner.

A few months into running the company, TGM Waste asked us to get involved at a strategic level of the company but to also head up the design of a new logo, content, and website.

We’re continually looking for the hook – what would make TGM Waste different from other waste disposal companies? Back to the new owner of the organization who has their perfect blend of experience, but it was his vision that got us interested. A hippy at heart, the new owner, wanted more than anything to do something about the plight of waste and the effect it has on the environment. He would use the TGM platform to play a role in the future of sustainable waste management practices.

There is a lot of work to do, but it’s a perfect time to roll up our sleeves. The waste management industry is experiencing disruption. The brand elements provide a platform and a slant to which to come to the table with solutions – one that is organic, ground level, accessible and friendly. Could a waste management company like TGM Waste inspire you to be more conscious of how you consume and discard?

CLIENT

The Garbage Man

ASK ABOUT

  • Brand strategy
  • Brand development
  • Copywriting
  • Email Marketing and Email Automation
  • Blog development

New Employee Safety Onboarding

Getting Employees on The Right Foot First

Internal Content Development & Design

This oil field supplier has a business that requires fast ramp-ups when they win projects – this puts a strain on training and health and safety. No matter how fast their client needs them on site, they need to prove that every employee and contractor has gone through orientation.

We like doing projects like this because we get a chance to solve communication problems through technology and software. Beks compared five different learning management systems, and our recommendation based on the needs was Bridge LMS.

We designed four learning modules based on our client’s materials. The company history, the recognition program, the vision and of course, the safety orientation. The safety orientation provided certificates of completion and the paper trail to satisfy the requirements of their end clients. We delivered the content through written material, video, and graphics.

Two years later, and this client is building on the platform we’ve helped them set up. They’re positioned well to onboard employees and contractors quickly and safely.

CLIENT

Terrapro Inc.

ASK ABOUT

  • Employee onboarding
  • Employee safety training
  • Video
  • Learning Management Systems
  • Vision, Mission and Values

PARTNERS

Hey Beautiful: Website For Interior Design Firm FabHab

Hey Beautiful!

Website Design

FabHab has plunged right into the interior design scene in Alberta. Navin Sidhu is the founder and principal designer of the firm, and her clean yet bold designs have made their way into some of the most fashionable design shows, including our personal favourite, Vignettes.

You can guess, we were a little bit nervous when the very posh brand asked us to design and develop their website. FabHab knows what looks good and they’re perfectionists. We would have to work hard to do this brand justice as we created their front-door online. We took it on as a challenge.

This project is an excellent example of how we must always approach the work. There are two must-have ingredients to making a site like this successful:

First, we must collaborate. Navin dialed us into her aesthetic and her vision for the FabHab brand. We spent enough time together until we were crystal clear about what FabHab was all about. Also, we batted the web copy back and forth between us until it felt just right. Both parties were vested in the success of this significant piece to their business.

The second is beautiful photography. FabHab commissioned several photographers, one of whom was Aaron Pederson. Aaron was very familiar to us as we’ve asked him to work with many of our other clients. Gorgeous photos are a non-negotiable on any promotional website, especially in an industry vertical like this.

Hey Beautiful!

Aaron Pederson’s headshot of Navin was evoked the brand so well. We felt inspired to write the headline “Hey beautiful…spaces should be functional.” FabHab’s differentiation lies in the fact that not only do they have a great aesthetic but have the rigor and detail orientation of an engineer. Hence the “functional” part of the headline (Navin’s background was engineering before she started in interior design).

CLIENT

FabHab

ASK ABOUT

  • Web design
  • Brand strategy
  • Copywriting
  • Photography

A Canadian Take on an Age-old Tradition

A Canadian Take on Traditional Spa

Brand Strategy & Marketing Management

If you are from Alberta, you are most likely familiar with Kananaskis Nordic Spa. And that’s because this brand garnered an estimated 450 M earned media impressions in just ten months.

In the first year, Kananaskis Nordic Spa successfully put a Canadian twist on the Scandinavian tradition of the Nordic spa. Perhaps, more importantly, as the first of its kind in Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa redefined the meaning of “spa.” Rather than be a treat or a place to pamper oneself, this was a place that you would go to often, to reset, recover, and get ready for your next big challenge, whatever that might be. Kananaskis Nordic Spa is your alpine sanctuary.

Along with expert public relations firm Paper Road Communications, we took on this very ambitious brand to bring something unique to Alberta – a traditional wellness experience with a uniquely Canadian twist. Paper Road would handle all media, public relations, and content writing. Beks would project manage design, develop an online presence, and implement marketing technologies. Both firms would share and elevate brand strategy. Our partnership along with key partners covered all traditional agency support roles, but also made this brand grow faster – our size allowed for quick pivots which are a challenge in the traditional agency-client relationship.

Beks and Paper Road built on the identity that was developed by another agency. To stand out, along with Anh Au Design, developed and applied visual systems to print, web, and social platforms. Everything you see that is Kananaskis Nordic Spa was a collaboration between partners and client.

Looking at the new year, Beks is leading the charge on an enhanced web presence and implementing customer service technologies, such as a chatbot to answer customer questions via Facebook. Both Paper Road and Beks will look to work closely with the client to develop a mature the brand into a true wellness source of knowledge for its customers. We encourage you to follow them on social and sign up for their newsletter here.

CLIENT

Kananaskis Nordic Spa

STATS

Some impressive stats in less than 12 months:
  • 19,400 Instagram followers
  • over 450M earned media impressions
  • over 550M website page views

ASK ABOUT

  • Brand strategy
  • Social media marketing
  • Online experience
  • Chatbot response system
  • Integrations with MindBody CRM system
  • A strategic social Influencer program