Colossal Agency

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Is Your Company Name DAMN Good?

I was recently asked, “What makes a company name good?”  The question, while seemingly simple, was cause for a lengthy pause of thought.   As the owner of a brand development agency, one would think a reply to such a question would fly right off my tongue, but it didn’t.  I replied with the best answer I could on short thought.   I spent quite some time in the days following pondering a more adequate answer, should I get asked again.   This year alone, Colossal Agency has consulted or developed names for over 10 companies and/or products.  In each instance, there were a variety of objectives and considerations unique to each case.  I thought I would use this blog update to share our philosophy on name development and share a little insight into our process.

We develop DAMN good names.  Now before you close your browser window and write us off as egotistical maniacs, let me explain.   We believe that for a name to be a good one, most importantly it has to be effective.   So we developed a process to ensure that the names we develop are effective first.  We do that by following the DAMN rules.  If you haven’t picked up on it by now, DAMN is an acronym we created that highlights all of the attributes of an effective name.

All D.A.M.N good names are:

#1 – Descriptive – does the name adequately explain the business?

#2 – Available – trademarking and URL availability.

#3 – Memorable – is it easy to remember for later recall?

#4 – Natural – the intangible, does it “feel” right?

Let’s run a great company name through the DAMN test.   In my opinion, 1-800-FLOWERS is an example of an excellent company name.  It is extremely descriptive (you know what the company is right off the top).  It was clearly available at the time it was made.  The real genius, however, is the memorable piece.  Not only is the name memorable because it is unique (it’s a phone number… a phone number, folks!), but it's also the phone number.  Two birds, one stone.   Lastly, it’s natural. It just feels right, doesn’t it?

So, if you are serious about a start-up or considering a rebrand, contact Colossal Agency to learn more about how we can help you develop a DAMN good name for your brand. 

Until next time…


Colossal Agency Mid Year Update

I'm guilty.  I am guilty of not updating this blog as often as I should.  In my defense it has been a wild first half of 2014 at the agency.  We've worked on some of the most exciting and rewarding projects to date, we've revamped our space here in Apex, NC and most importantly we've enjoyed every minute of it.   I thought I would take a few minutes to just share some of the happenings thus far in 2014 and perhaps give a sneak peek in to what the rest of the year has in store.  While we are only 5 complete months into the year, on one hand it seems like we've had an entire year of events take place, but in the same breath I must say it's hard to believe 5 months have passed.   

As I mentioned, we've been fortunate to work on some exciting projects with some great clients.  We've completed several branding/rebranding projects and are in the midst of a couple more now.  Branding projects are always so rewarding.   The trust level we ask our clients to grant us while we make changes the company they have worked so hard to grow, when I step back and think about it, is amazing.  As a business owner, I can relate and am humbled every time.  There is nothing like revealing the work, and knowing right away it surpassed their expectations.  It's simply awesome.    

I also mentioned that we revamped our space.  I really shouldn't say "we".  I have to give credit where credit is due.  I have the best parents on the planet.  During a trip down from PA, they spent the better part of 4 days painting, cleaning and installing.  Did I mention i have the best parents on the planet?   

A peek at our revamped space. 

A peek at our revamped space. 

So what's in store for the rest of 2014?  To be honest, I don't fully know, but I do know we will experience a few firsts as an agency.  We will tackle our first venture out of the public sector and do some government contract work.   Beyond that, we will be launching a couple national rebranding projects to the public and are hoping to hire a full time Account Executive. 

All in all, it's been a great first half of 2014, I sincerely hope that while reading this, you are experiencing the same great start to the year.   Until next time... 

- T @ CA

What Is Process Driven Brand Development?

Since the day we started the agency, our primary objective with the shop has always been to provide big agency talent and work to companies without big agency budgets.   One of the my favorite,  and honestly completley unexpected, dividends of that approach has been our clients willingness to trust our process.   It is, after all, what we sell.   A process.  So I suppose it begs the question, what is this process driven brand development all about?   I can only answer that question with what it is at Colossal Agency.  So here goes…

We subscribe to the notion that the way consumers behave, regardless of what is being consumed, changes very little.  Simply put, marketing a hamburger isn't all that different from marketing a car, sneakers or CPA services.   Of course there are nuances and differences unique to each, but the overall process is really much the same.   Put your consumer hat on for a minute.  If you were going to purchase a hamburger for lunch, you're likely going to choose where you visit based on your specific situation.  For example, if you are watching your budget you might look for a value offering, if you're looking for top quality ingredants, you might opt for a more pricey alternative or maybe you have a favorite burger joint and are a loyal fan.   In any event, what your purchasing isn't dictating your behavior, your situation is.   Replace that example with a car.  Certainly a completely different purchase, but a consumer on a budget will likely look for for an economy car, a consumer looking for quality might be willing to spend a little more for it and a loyal Ford driver will likely always opt for a Ford.

So, regardless of WHAT our clients are selling, we are more concerned with WHO they are selling it to and HOW the brand reflects (or should reflect) the company's position in the marketplace.

Our process always, without exception, starts in research.  The type and extent of the research may vary, but developing an understanding of consumer types, the category competition and the current brand perception in the marketplace is the most critical element in the process.    From our research findings we can evaluate and identify the opportunities.  Where are we different?  What is our position? What part of the category can we own?  What are consumers looking for?   Once we understand the marketplace, the consumer and the opportunities we can develop our market positioning and strategy.  At this point, we also develop brand filters to run each element of the brand through to ensure each is aimed toward the end objective.  Finally, we produce a complete brand standard complete with visual elements (logo, colors, fonts, graphics), a category positioning statement and tagline and/or marketing copy points.

Regardless of developing a new brand or giving a new life to an existing brand, our process is effective and proven.  Contact Colossal Agency today to find out we can help you connect with your customers more effectively and more often.

- CA


Profits Sink With "I Think"

As marketers we all carry some level of belief that we know best when it comes to marketing strategy, branding, design, etc.  After all, it takes a little ego to create a truly disruptive marketing message that cuts through the noise in the marketplace.  Unfortunately, brands and marketers can fall victim to that sense of self-belief when the strategy is not rooted in research.  For that reason, Colossal Agency initiates each project, regardless of type and scope of work, with detailed research.  Here’s why:

We’ve identified 3 key factors that support a marketing plan built on a foundation of research.

1.) If you’re only thinking, you’ll soon be sinking – It’s a relatively elementary way to explain it, but it’s true.  We’ve all seen companies and brands fall victim to this, specifically with companies that have enjoyed long term success.  They stop listening to their customers and focus on what they think their customers want.  In the end, it’s always easier and more effective to simply ask and implement.

2.) Driving Forward vs. Tiptoeing Along – It’s a fact.  In life, when we make informed decisions regardless of the situation, we move forward with confidence and conviction.  Without that information, we edge forward cautiously into the dark unknown.   The same principle applies to how we should approach our marketing.  If we have information directly from our customers outlining their wants/needs, we can make informed marketing decisions and drive forward with confidence to achieve a healthy bottom line. 

3.) Consumers reward good listeners - Need evidence?  Look no further than the explosion of social media marketing from mid-cap to fortune 500 companies.  Social media provides these big businesses with an avenue to offer transparency and one-to-one conversations with their consumers.  Why not carry that same philosophy over to how you market your business?  Give your target a change to be heard and then act accordingly.  They will reward you for it.

Whether you are sinking from thinking, or just looking for assurance while profits are high, conducting research with your consumers is a critical element to the future success of your business.  At the very least, you will sleep a little better knowing that you’ve listened to the life blood of your business – your customer.

Contact Colossal Agency today to start the conversation about how our approach can help grow your business.

Reflect. Recharge. Move Forward. #HappyHolidays

I love this time of year.  It’s time to reflect on the events of the year before its close… and what an amazing year it has been at the agency.  The experiences of 2013 could only be described as the most outrageous roller coaster ride one could conceive to build.

So much happened in 2013.  We passed our 1 year anniversary as an agency.  We worked with some of the best clients anyone could ask for.  We moved, and moved again. We made some really hard decisions and at times we learned the hard way.  We said ‘hello’.  We said ‘goodbye’.  We laughed and we fought.   I suppose like most start ups, our first year was full of highs and lows.

Through it all, I can’t help but feel confident that 2013 will forever be remembered as the “Aha” year.  The year that things began to click and Colossal Agency started to become who Colossal Agency will eventually be.   As we close 2013, I have never been more excited to bring in a new year.  I can’t wait to uncover what 2014 has in store for us.  Whatever it is, my excitement comes from knowing that our approach to the business and the work has never been more defined.  This past year taught us who we are.  It highlighted our strengths, identified our weaknesses and strengthened our commitment.

This year as we raise our glass before the big ball falls, the toast will be simple.  "Here’s to the end of a good year, here’s to the beginning of a great year and here’s to always moving forward."

Happy Holidays Friends.

- CA

Attention: Small Business Owners Considering Social Media Marketing

So you’re a small business, and a pretty damn good one at that.  You know your trade and pride yourself at taking care of your customers.  All good, right?  Once catch.  Everyone keeps telling you that “you need to get on social media”.   What the hell does that mean? And why is everyone so insistent?

Rest assured, your pseudo board of advisors do mean well.  The problem with their advice isn’t the intent, it’s the delivery. Believe it or not, they’re actually right. Regardless of the type of business your run, whether B2B or B2C, it really doesn’t matter.  If you’re not levering the power and reach of social media, you are leaving money on the table.  Power and reach that are, at least at face value, FREE.   That being said, simply “getting on social media” isn’t the end game either.  There are a lot of social media platforms to choose from and the thought of weeding through them alone can become overwhelming.  

So here is the Colossal Agency guide to leveraging social media for small businesses.   Before you go signing up and uploading pictures of your cat sleeping on the back of the toilet in hopes of millions of viral views, ask yourself, who is my customer?  Knowing your customer plays a critical role in deciding what platforms will be most effective for your business.  For example, if you are a B2C, LinkedIn will likely be more effective for lead generation and targeting than say YouTube or Pinterest.   

Understanding the platforms is equally as important.  The image below sheds some light on the situation.

So you’ve picked your platforms and are ready to sign up.  Hold tight.  Before you do, consider this.  Who’s going to maintain your pages?  If the answer is “umm I am”, I’ve got bad news for you.  You’re likely too busy.  So before you start business pages on 3 or 4 platforms, think it through.   To be effective, driving your business with social media takes daily and in some instances hourly attention.  Yeah, I said hourly.   This is the fatal flaw for 95% of small business owners out there.  It’s not good enough to simply sign up and wait for sales to increase, that my friends is a pipe dream.  

Walk with me for a minute. Imagine you bump into an old friend you haven’t seen in years.  Through your conversation, they tell you they’ve recently opened their own sandwich shop, a lifelong dream has finally come to fruition.  Your excitement and congratulations are stifled by an overwhelming sense that the business is failing.  Your friend offers that sales aren’t good and customers are few and far between.   They proceed to tell you that they think they are doing everything right. They get into the restaurant between 8am and noon, stay open until at least 3pm every day, and ignore customer questions and concerns.

Wouldn’t you be shocked by their lack of attention to their business?  Or their complete disregard for the customer?  While a more dramatized example, it’s not completely unlike just “being on social media”.   There is no advantage in having the lights on, with no one home.  There is a strong argument that the reverse effect is possible.  Your legitimate well respected business could come off to first time social seekers as unapproachable and disconnected from your customers.  You must be available, proactive, responsive, engaging, approachable, and most importantly present.   It’s amazing how many business completely lose sight of all of the characteristics that contributed to the success of their brick and mortar, and ignore those principles online.  Consider hiring a social media coordinator or a social media agency (I know a good one) to develop your content and be your eyes and ears on these platforms.

So, before you jump into the social scene for your business consider these keys:

 1.) Who is your customer and where are they socially online?

2.) Treat your social customers (friends and fans are potential customers, right?) just like you would offline.

3.) Be present.  Use your social platforms as an insight into your business and your culture.

4.) If you don’t have sufficient time, recognize that and invest in in-house talent or a 3rd party agency.

Alright, go forth and tweet, post, upload and share.  Check back here for more insights on how to turn fans and followers in to increased bottom-line revenue.

The Internet Summit was #Awesome.

Wow. What a week. The Internet Summit in Raleigh this week was outstanding. We met so many awesome people and made some amazing business connections. But most importantly, the summit reenergized the agency.

We left this week feeling inspired, encouraged and grateful.

Inspired by all of the amazing things happening and developing on the internet today. (An overwhelming amount right here in our backyard I might add.)

Encouraged that our agency is progressive enough to understand the future of this world and the importance of the role that we as marketers will play in it.

And lastly, we left feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful that we get to live and witness such an influential and important time in history.

Decades from now children of our children’s children will be taught of this time much like our generation studied the “beyond their time” engineering and vision of the Mayans and Albert Einstein. This couldn’t have been better explained than the way Gary Vaynerchuck summed it up in his Day 1 keynote. He shared that we have only scratched the surface of where this digital age is headed. Smart pants, smart toilets and smart furniture. All engineered and marketed by the smart people that gathered in Raleigh this week.

What an amazing 30 years lie ahead. We’re excited, aren’t you?