You don't know who you are.
That's your real marketing problem.
Know who you are, what your value is and what you should do next. It's as true for your business as it is for yourself. Who are you? Does anyone care? So what?
What you don't want to do:
Don't begin by creating a logo or a website or an ad campaign. Those things are important but they're expressions of your identity. Decide who you are before you express yourself. Our clients have compelling stories, logos, websites and ad campaigns but they're not where the process began.
Navigate your identity crisis first.
Of the Sea is a Buffalo based Advertising & Identity Firm. We guide your business through its identity crisis. We’ll help you discover your true business identity and become eternally that. We’ll also create some cool stuff along the way to help you get there ahead of your competition.
What is an identity crisis?
There are two types of identity crises.
You don't know who you are. There's just too much going on and you've lost sight of yourself and where you're going.
You know who you are, but your community doesn't. At least not in the way you know yourself. If they did, things would be much different.
Start with you. You'll always be the best in the world at being yourself.
Then persuade us to love you. It’s the only thing every business and every person needs to figure out to get where they're going. The best way to do that is to help the community you're trying to influence to know you the way you know yourself. And then become that. More than you already are.
We can't think of a better way to live than the way we've always been.
Here's the four step identity discovery process the way it should be done:
The common reflex for most is to dive into getting the word out. Temper that urge. While it's important that we say the right things to the right people we certainly won't be as effective without a clearly defined vision. Your vision is informed by your values and serves as your North Star. It inspires the position you seek to fill in the mind of the consumer. It is the first step in creating your identity. Keep your vision in front of you always. Fall back on it when the waves begin to swell around you.
When creating your identity, use your vision as your shoving off point. This is where we determine what you can be within your business strengths to achieve your vision. You don’t change what you do. You change how you see yourself as you do this and how others see you. This is your position. There are two proven strategies we employ when doing this, positioning (Al Ries & Jack Trout) and defining characteristic (Roy H. Williams).
To most people engaged in growing a business, this is where a majority of focus is placed when developing and managing a marketing strategy. It's for good reason too. You need to catch some wind in your sails in order to increase leads and sales. Your story needs to be well thought out and well executed. It's not enough that it's creative, though. It needs to be strategic. It needs to be born out of your vision and position.
Consistency is paramount when developing the creative expression that will wrap around your business identity. From your marketing materials to your website to your many advertising messages to the way you answer your phone, everything must be unified in purpose as well as look, feel and language.
This is both a specific piece of your identity as well as a lens you peer through as you develop your identity. It could be argued that your people are your brand. They (and you) rub elbows with your clients and are either delivering or not delivering on the promise you are making in your marketing and advertising. If you don't perform here you may as well hang it up. Your clients won't be your clients for very long.
Keeping your customer’s expectations and experience as your priority is about more than just your employees, though. It’s a way of viewing your business. Customer experience is something you build and control. The strongest identities are built upon authentic customer experiences that are achievable.
Get Your Bearings
Picking a destination is important. Equally important is understanding where you are now. Without that knowledge you can't take the necessary steps to reach your destination.
Through a Strategic Situation Analysis you'll learn where you are and how to chart a course to your destination. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What are the obstacles that are keeping your business from sailing to success?
This analysis begins with intense fact-finding. You'll field penetrating questions that will challenge you and provide new insight. Vision, positioning, creative expression and client experience are all part of this analysis. You'll receive a written document outlining our findings and offering recommendations to chart an effective course for your business and your brand.
Should You Work With Us?
You will value our guidance if:
- You don’t know who your business really is.
- You think you know who you are but don’t know how to tell a compelling story.
- You're positive you know who you are but few seem to care.
- You long to be more persuasive with greater influence.
You may regret it if:
- You have this identity thing perfected and don’t need help from anyone.
- You haven’t worked up the courage to be honest with yourself, yet.
- You don’t see relationships as valuable, long-term investments.
- You view discovering yourself as an event rather than a process.
Strategic Situation Analysis
Get Your Bearings with this diagnosis of your marketing strategy. Vision, position, creative expression and client experience are the foundation of this analysis. This is the best place to start.
This is how we tell your story. What does your position look like? What does it sound like? What should you say? What shouldn’t you say? From sales and marketing materials to web design and advertising campaigns.
Client Experience Structure
Clearly define your vision based on self-centric and community-centric focuses. Create a vision statement inspired by your purpose and values that will serve as your North Star.
Your client’s expectations are everything. They’re also difficult to predict and satisfy. Manage your client’s experience, create a culture of brand embracement and strengthen your business model at the same time.
Unique Musical Imaging
Every business wants to differentiate itself from its competition. Every business wants to be relevant to consumers. This is the way to accomplish both.
The mood of the party is dictated by the music on your stereo. Evoke persuasive feelings by controlling the mood of your advertising.
It’s hard for you to see what we see before you’ve seen it for yourself. Three months is all it takes to know if you’re heading in the right direction. We believe you will be. Most of our clients tell us they’ve made the right decision after only a few weeks. But what if you don’t believe it? Stranger things have happened. Perhaps a company that promises to stop and give you all your money back if you’re not totally jazzed about where things are going counts as one of those stranger things. Either way, it feels like the right thing to do. You have up to three months to figure it out. We’re asking you to navigate a new sea. The least we could do is offer you Safe Passage.
We’re really not any more creative than the other guys. We just know how to identify your true defining characteristic and help you become that. Our work is so well received because it’s based on the heart and values of the business and its key people. Being creative is easy. It’s really about being true to yourself. You never lose when you’re true to yourself.
What do we do? We help you discover the true identity of your business and then equip you with every tool you’ll need to help your customers know you just as well.
How long does this business self-discovery thing take? Longer than what some generally give it. It’s not going to happen in a few meetings. Half-hearted discovery yields half-baked conclusions. We don’t do half-baked and if we’re ever accused of being half-hearted things are going to get cattywampus.