February 2019
What's In the Message?

Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

With competition in ever increasing numbers, finding ways to cut through the clutter, attract attention and create preference is a marketer's greatest challenge.


For consumer brands, packaging is the #1 brand ambassador. Having a distinctive, attractive and appealing package that offsets competitive threats is essential. After that, and whether you are selling to consumers or trade audiences, having well-articulated touchpoints that include a unique selling proposition and compelling value statements are imperative.

Having recently attended the Fancy Food Show, National Restaurant Show, Sweets & Snacks Expo and Natural Products Expo, it is amazing how many marketers believe their stuff is so good that "It sells itself." And of course, there are those who lean more towards the Hollywood fantasy believing "If you make it, they will come." In both cases, these overly optimistic producers set up a table with a few products on display, put their company logo on a backdrop, and expect buyers to rush in droves to buy their stuff.

Sadly, I see the forlorn and despondent faces of these exhibitors staring at passers by, clearly wondering why nobody is stopping in to inquire further. What they have failed to consider is a brand strategy that is truly unique, clearly identifies who they are, describes what they have to offer, stands apart from their nearest rivals, and represents undeniable value. In short, simply having good stuff is not enough.

Design Matters    Let me begin by saying that the look and feel of your brand image, whether on packaging, tradeshow booth, website, brochure or uniform, plays a vital role in the success of your brand and your company. When brand imagery is designed in a manner that is visually and emotionally engaging, people have a tendency to slow down and investigate further. It's a bit like driving in traffic when there's an accident on the side of the road. People are curious and intrigued by things they have not seen before and will slow down to take a look. While infuriating on busy roads, having buyers slow down at tradeshows, in supermarkets, or surfing online is a marketers' dream.

Time is Short    No matter where the point of contact occurs, buyers are impatient and competitive options are plentiful. If your key audience has to spend too much time deciphering what you have, what it does, or why they should buy it, they will simply walk or click away. Accordingly, the messages you employ throughout your marketing program must be engaging, efficient, memorable, and relevant.

I Should Hope So    While we are on the topic of messages, saying that your stuff is "excellent quality" is meaningless. When you make statements that could be answered with the reply "I should hope so." your offer lacks impact, value, and will be perceived as generic. If your goal is to position your products or services as superior to all others, you'll need something better. This is when a truly creative copywriter who understands market dynamics comes in handy.

We're Not in Kansas    If you've decided that an export program will generate the sales and financial vitality you've been looking for, your messages need to be culturally aligned. To say "Yo Dude!" at the beach in California makes sense. So does "G'day mate!" in Australia, "Kakoste!" in Serbia, and "Ça va!" in Senegal. Whenever buyers are making contact with your brand for the first time, you want to be sure everything is immediately understood and relevant.

There are lots of factors that go into a successful branding endeavor. Conducting research and understanding marketplace dynamics is the first step. After that, you'll need a creative team that can interpret this research, understands your industry, has inventive copywriters, innovative designers, and knows what it takes to offset competitive threats and drive business your way.


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email: jeff@studiospear.com.

Designed by Studio Spear