December 2016
You Gotta Move!

by Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

Marketing is a dynamic business activity that requires constant vigilance, maintenance, investment and flexibility. What's surprising is how many brand owners feel that marketing practices that worked in the past will continue to work in the future.


While I understand that embracing change is uncomfortable, inconvenient, unsettling and, at times, expensive, it is essential for business to survive. One of my favorite quotes for situations like this comes from Will Rogers who said “Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”

Competition is Fierce
If you haven’t noticed, competitive threats are enormous. And while domestic challenges are considerable, you have to watch out for international threats as well. Can you say C-H-I-N-A?

At the recently concluded Summer Fancy Food Show, I was overwhelmed by the incredible number of exhibitors on hand. With so many offerings, the competitive energy in the building was palpable. And while I wasn’t keeping tabs, I couldn’t help but notice a seemingly endless number of spice, chocolate, condiment, cake, cookie, cracker, beverage, cheese, deli meats, tea and olive oil producers. If you were there, and depending on your perspective, you probably noticed excessive duplication in other categories as well.

Good Design is No Longer Good Enough
Creating cut-through and realizing sales growth can be achieved, in part, through clever packaging and brand presentations. Accordingly, and if you’re still relying on your tried-and-true packaging designs and have not updated your brand imagery in more than five years, I suggest you get moving. Buyers have come to expect excellence in design and are now looking for more. While packaging and on-shelf presentations are still the #1 sales influence, achieving meaningful sales increases and corporate growth requires more than a fresh face.

Know Your Audience
One of the best suggestions is to get intimate with your key buyers. While I’m not suggesting a candle-lit dinner or romantic getaway for two (although the practice does have its merits), it’s simply not good enough to simply say “We make great stuff” or “Our stuff is the best there is.” You have to communicate on a more individual level - delivering statements that connect with the mind, heart and soul of these individuals.

You have to know who cares, how to get their attention and what sorts of issues these folks are concerned about most. With this information, you are able to make statements and deliver brand experiences that resonate accordingly.

Invest...But Invest Wisely
Before you rush out to make this all happen, you’ll probably want to maintain fiscal responsibility as well. Whether you’re investing in research, packaging upgrades, website enhancements, trade shows or public relations, you want to be sure you can expect a reasonable return on investment. At Studio Spear, we’re big believers in prioritizing expenditures and tracking effectiveness. After all, if you’re going to make the investment, you’ll want to know how well it pays off.

A Note on the Economy
While a volatile economy is always going to create pressure, a knee-jerk response to limit expenditures, hoard cash and wait for better climates is not the answer.

Its important to realize that, should you choose to sit out a few rounds and preserve resources, savvy competitors will be out there stealing your thunder, challenging brand loyalties and increasing marketshare.

Studio Spear recommends that, if you must reduce spending, take the time to confirm priorities, re-evaluate your brand strategy, galvanize your tactical approach, enhance impact with even more compelling and memorable creative solutions and insist on better returns on investment.

Even in the best of circumstances, you cannot afford to turn a blind eye to your marketing efforts or your competitors. To do so now makes no sense at all. From a survival perspective, it's usually the strongest, most savvy players who endure.

So, if your marketing program has not embraced these ideas and/or adjustments, its time to get up and get moving. The last thing you want is complacency or, according to Mr. Rogers, to get run over by the train.

For more information about effective marketing strategies, buyer-oriented sales messages and impactful creative solutions, contact Jeff Spear toll-free at 866 787 8761 or via email


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:

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