Monthly Archive: February 2013

Branding Precepts for Our Digital World: Keep It Fresh & Have Some Fun

Loosen up. The era of brand consistency is over and done with.

Media is fluid today and brand identities have to adapt if they are to remain dynamic. That’s the word from Jose Martinez Salmeron, Executive Creative Director for Social@Ogilvy in Washington, DC.

Brands should nowadays give themselves permission to be more surprising, to flirt with their customers, to listen to what they have to say and to cater to their desires. A modern brand should take leaps of faith, abandon self-obsessions and embrace risk. Conversely, by not doing this, the brand could become irrelevant in a hurry.

Martinez Salmeron also believes it is necessary to “embrace executional variance in a smart way, by establishing loose parameters that nonetheless can create a familial feel for an otherwise very rich group of brand applications across media and across continents.” In other words, brands are living cultural reflections–attempt to control them at your own peril.


For a recent example of a fluid brand, Martinez Salmeron points to Duffy & Partners’ work for The Islands of the Bahamas — and how it is “a robust brand language that is endlessly adaptable, flexible and immediately recognizable.” Endlessly adaptable is a high standard, to say nothing of immediately recognizable. Add co-creation and engagement with the brand’s community, and the complexity of modern brand management is plain to see. Be that as it may, the job is to make it all seamless, simple and clear.

I am seeing this kind of flexibility/complexity in my own world right now. Our client, TeeBoxx, invested wisely in its brand identity and point-of-sale materials, now as the company readies its new website (and online store), creates sell sheets, branded merchandise, an event booth, pop up retail and so on, the applications for the new brand ID are multiple and varied.

Invest In A Vibrant Brand, So It Serves You For Years To Come

Price can be such a delicate subject, especially when pitching new accounts. But why? We’re conducting business here, are we not?

Ashley Ambirge, “the go-to copywriter + online marketing sexpot for businesses + brands who want PERSONALITY” is definitely conducting business on her site, The Middle Finger Project. She is also transparent about her pricing and what a client gets for their money.

Copywriting | the middle finger project-1

Her offer is a bit gimmicky, but I like the core concept, which is to clearly show what otherwise arbitrary pricing buys. So many times pricing discussions devolve into a focus on one’s hourly rate, when hourly rate does nothing at all to convey speed, scope or quality. Ambrige solves this on her site by outlining copywriting packages for $399, $997, $1997 and a few other one-off prices. She then walks readers through an online form that serves as her brief for the project. It’s a tidy package and my hat is off to her.

Naturally, I’m considering how Bonehook’s new business strategy might be impacted by more transparent pricing and/or packaged pricing. In my opinion, Bonehook should never lose a bid on price, and my hope in discussing price is to help prospective clients see the value in our offerings, and how our networked structure allows for much better pricing.

I know numbers like $399 don’t mean anything thing in the context of the traditional agency world, but Bonehook provides services for as little as $500/month. That’s a base-level fee to get me going on your behalf. The retainer framework specifically covers strategic planning, account service, project management, copywriting and creative direction. Graphic design, art direction, web design and development, web hosting and maintenance, photography, illustration and search engine optimization are value-added services we subcontract. Media purchasing is another outside cost.

All told, a small-to-medium sized business can expect to spend $10K to $50K per year on marketing — a small price to pay to tell your company’s story in a consistently compelling way. For instance, if your company is doing one million in annual sales, $50K is just five percent of sales, and $10K is just one percent of sales. If your company is doing ten million in annual sales, one percent toward marketing is $100K.

Ask yourself if your company’s blog posts, social media updates, email newsletters, videos, white papers, presentation decks, speeches, press releases, radio spots, print ads and TV are presently getting the job done. Bonehook can be your big time improvement department. Give me a ring at 503-970-3862 and let’s start to hammer out a budget and a MarCom plan that works for you.