KRISTINA SVANA, MARKETING DIRECTOR: Creativity and innovation have their own unique definitions. Creativity is the flow of thoughts and exciting new ideas, whereas innovation is executing those new ideas or solutions. Although different, creativity and innovation complement each other quite well. For one, you cannot be innovative without being creative. Putting creative ideas into action is innovation, and it’s what we employ and foster in our entrepreneurial community here at Spark Centre.
MELANIE MARLER, DESIGN LEAD: Keep it simple, classic and bold. Remember, your logo doesn’t need to tell the whole story of what your company does – that’s what your website is for! Stay away from trends as they are passing fads and will age your brand quickly. Make sure your logo stands out amongst your competition and can stand the test of time.
KAILEE SOMERS, EVENTS SPECIALIST: Events are key in business marketing because they provide intimate and personalized opportunities to increase brand and product awareness, generate leads, and introduce new products and services to target audiences. Whether you’re considering trade shows, conferences, seminars, networking events, product launches or experiential marketing activations, there is a wide range of event types and formats that can be tailored to specific needs. If your business is not ready to host your own events, take advantage of current events to network and build awareness about your company.
MELISSA NOWAKOWSKI, COMMUNICATIONS & PR SPECIALIST: Oh gosh, there are so many, but if I had to choose only one, it would be that media coverage will guarantee sales. That myth stems from many misunderstandings about what public relations is and what it’s not. PR is not advertising. They often work closely together, but they are not the same.
Public Relations is designed to increase awareness about your company (or, in times of crisis, to protect and manage your company’s reputation) and to build trust and a positive relationship between your company and the public through engaging and valuable stories. It’s perfectly ok to be optimistic that public relations will increase sales or leads, but what’s more important — not just in the short term but for the longevity of your company as well — is how the public views your company and product now and moving forward.
JASPER DAVIS, DESIGN SPECIALIST: I’d have to say a big mistake that startups make is not making their web presence a priority. If you want to market, you need a website. First impressions are important, and likely the first thing any potential customer does after learning about your product or service is look you up on the web. An unprofessional website can leave a long-lasting negative impression of your company, whereas a captivating
website can legitimize your company to a customer on the fence. Don’t just throw anything up on your website. It’s imperative to have a professionally made website with a clear call to action and concise, well-written copy that explains your product/service. Think of your website as an elevator pitch that is always pitching.
MELANIE: Making branding a “when I have the budget” scenario or afterthought. First impressions are everything, and coming out of the gate with a solid brand foundation is very important. Hire a professional and lean on the advice they give you. It’s easier, cheaper and less time-consuming to do it right the first time!
KAILEE: First, when choosing a location for an event (in-person or virtual), you will want to ensure the physical space or virtual platform fits your needs and will help you accomplish your event goals. For in-person events – will the space comfortably fit your attendees? Do you want the venue to lend to creating a specific experience? On the virtual side – do you want a platform that encourages your audience to interact and join the conversation? Do you need it to be capable of replicating specific environments (i.e. networking,
private sessions, expo areas, etc.)? Secondly, it’s essential to consider your audience and the attendee or user experience. We all lead busy lives and appreciate when things are simple and straightforward, whether it’s an event location that is easily accessed or an online platform with a simple registration process and user-friendly interface.
MELISSA: The most important thing is to keep your audience in mind. Every line and word needs to inform your audience or entice them to react, so what you say and how you say it (and how long it takes you to drive home a point) matters. Online readers are accustomed to short blocks of text that stir a response, so break up long paragraphs into smaller ones to keep their interest and drive home only the most important messages.
Also, be conscious of to whom your website is speaking. Are you talking to consumers? To other businesses? To software developers? Doctors? Avoid using jargon, complex grammar, or very technical language unless you are speaking to a very niche or specialized audience. A good rule of thumb is assuming that your online audience reads at a High School level to drive home your point in easy-to-understand language.
JASPER: I would argue that the need for marketing has increased with the rise of artificial intelligence-driven algorithms and predictive analysis. Sales are essential for any business and even more so for startups. Every start-up has competitors, and those competitors have access to the same tools, so an effective sales strategy needs to be more than just targeting the right people; you need to differentiate your product and send the right message.
Making your product or service stand out is more difficult than ever. Consumers have arguably more choices than ever when it comes to products and services they need, which means that differentiation is key to the successful sales strategy of any start-up. That is why an effective marketing strategy is a key to building trust with your consumers to convert awareness into sales.
KRISTINA: Spark Centre’s marketing team supports startups and entrepreneurs in every facet of design and communications. We use a creative and innovative approach to the projects we work on with our clients to ensure they put their best foot forward when presenting their businesses.