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ELKHORN LAWN CARE SHOULD IMPROVE BRAND IDENTITY

Prepared for the Business Communication

at the University of Nebraska Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska

Prepared by

Ly Phan

University of Nebraska Omaha

College of Business Administration

December 9,  2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3

INTRODUCTION: THE IMPORTANCE OF BRAND IDENTITY 4

BACKGROUND 5

DEFINE “BRAND IDENTITY” 5

IDENTIFY BRAND ADVANTAGE FOR SALES STRATEGY 5

RAISE THE VALUE OF THE BRAND 5

DESIGN A GOOD BRAND IDENTITY TO CREATE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE 6

REDUCE MARKETING COSTS 6

ELKHORN LAWN CARE BRAND IDENTITY 6

DISCUSSION 7

USE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECTIVELY AND CONSISTENTLY 7

CREATE CONTENT THAT EXCITES 9

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 11

REFERENCES 12

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1 - Share of worldwide internet users who discover brands via recommendations on social media as of 4th quarter 2017, by age group 10

Figure 2- Attitudes towards marketing content personalization the United States as of April 2017 12

Dec 9, 2018

Mr. James Manske

Elkhorn Lawn Care L.L.C.

14983 Grover Street

Omaha, NE 68144

Dear Mr. James Manske,

The attached report, requested by Huston Pullen, professor of the Business Communications

Course (MKT3200), describes the advantages that you and your company would gain from improving your brand identity. I believe that this report will help you have a different view of point from what you are doing and hopefully grow your business more efficiently.

This study specifically focused on the benefits of improving ELC's brand identity in the following areas:

• Identify brand advantage for sales strategy

• Raise the value of the brand

• Design a good brand identity to create a competitive advantage

• Reduce marketing costs

I would be honored to discuss this report and its conclusions with you in a meeting at your

request. Thank you for your time and consideration while reading this report.

Sincerely,

Ly Phan.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Elkhorn Lawn Care has been doing great with their business. However, they could profit more greatly from improving its brand identity in the following categories:

• Identify brand advantage for sales strategy: Consumers buy the product proactively, they confidently make a purchase decision because they believe in the brand as well as the superior value that you bring to them.

• Raise the value of the brand: A strong identity system will increase the brand's value through increased awareness, loyalty, and loyalty to the brand that will drive the brand's value.

• Design a good brand identity to create a competitive advantage: if you identify the good brand to create strength easily convincing partners as well as customers.

• Reduce Marketing Costs: Effective brand identity system creates a good impression of products, services, enterprises through professionalism.

Based on my analysis, Elkhorn Lawn Care should do these steps in order to achieve a better brand identity:

1. Elkhorn Lawn Care should use their social media more effectively and consistently

2. Updating Elkhorn Lawn Care's social media regularly

3. Set goals for their social media

4. Interacting with followers

5. Elkhorn Lawn Care can write better descriptions about their services

INTRODUCTION: THE IMPORTANCE OF BRAND IDENTITY

In a business, whether it is a start-up or a perennial company, the brand identity is a very important thing to help customers recognize and remember the brand. Brand identity is also a means of communication between customers and businesses, increasing sales productivity and demonstrating professionalism.

According to Owen Gough, a reporter for SmallBusiness.co.uk, in the article “The importance of brand identity” published on Nov 2, 2017, he asserted that: “Your brand is like your ‘elevator pitch', it needs to be appealing, understandable and showcase what you do. It's the first thing that a potential client sees, and that extends to the presentation of you and your team too. How you look, how you present yourself, your personality, they're all part of your brand identity. Ultimately it helps you stand out from the crowd.”

The core of a Brand Identity System is consistency, where the logo is the starting point of the Brand Identity System. Through it, consumers will easily recognize the product or the visible elements of the brand. Thus, a branding logo is the source of all brand emotions that impact the consumer. Owen Gough also pointed out that: “Brand identity is everything – it's not just your logo – it's you, it's your team, it's what you offer, it's how you work, it's what you love…it's what attracts your clients to your business.”

A good Brand Identity System must clearly show the difference to other Brands. The clearer the difference, the higher the perception and through it, the consumer has a direct link to the brand. Brand Identity System is built on the elements of graphic design, logo design, card, envelope, letterhead, and website design that make the difference.

BACKGROUND

Define “brand identity”

According to Laura Lake, author of "Consumer Behavior for Dummies," in the article “How Brand Identity Is Defined” published on thebalancesmb.com on Oct 16, 2018, “All the components related to a product, service, company, or person is “brand identity.” Some of these items are the name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface, and shape that create an appeal. Brand identity is a separate category from brand image. Brand Identity is the message the consumer receives from the product, person, or thing. The brand identity will connect product recognition. Brand identity should be a consistent message received by its audience. If a portion of the identity is a particular shade, consistency of the color is imperative in maintaining the product identity. The identity must match the image projected to the public.”

Identify brand advantage for sales strategy

If you have a good brand recognition, it will be easy to use as a way to gain trust from customers. From the strategy of promoting products, uniforms, service products brands, display space, panels, flag, etc. The whole will make the strategy bring products and services to customers the most effective. Consumers buy the product proactively, they confidently make a purchase decision because they believe in the brand as well as the superior value that you bring to them.

Raise the value of the brand

A strong brand recognition will increase the brand's value through increased awareness and loyalty to the brand that will drive the brand's value in a sustainable way. The brand is the greatest asset value of the business. The success or absence of a brand, it depends greatly on building public awareness, consolidating and creating values.

Design a good brand identity to create a competitive advantage

This does not require much analysis if you identify the good brand to create strength easily convincing partners as well as customers. The thing to do is extend the concept of "quality" of the product or service and apply it to the image shown on the media for the product, like advertising, packaging, signage, office papers. or even popular publications such as consignment notes - in short, all that consumers are exposed to.

Reduce Marketing Costs

Effective brand recognition creates a good impression of products, services, enterprises through professionalism, and overall will create a strong brand image. Do not lose the opportunity to your competitors because your brand identity system does not exist or looks unprofessional and at the same level as them. Get branded knowledge for the business environment so that they become brand ambassadors.

Elkhorn Lawn Care brand identity

Elkhorn Lawn Care has a very strong brand identity, they have a consistent brand identity system, good reviews on Google, a good relationship between the company and their customers, and they have great social media. The owners really care about the company image.

For their brand identity system, the main color is black, white, and green. To analyze it, I would analyze their logo and their website.

The logo is the first element that impresses people, so it should contain the most obvious and contains the value that the company wants to convey. Having a logo that viewers can easily remember is a very important issue because there are a lot of competitors in the same business field. The difference between Elkhorn Lawn Care and its competitors starts with the company's logo. Elkhorn Lawn Care has a good logo that is easy to remember and recognize, and they show their consistency by having the logo on everything: the website, the trucks, the uniforms.

Using company websites is one of the most effective tools for promoting information, advertising products, and business services and is considered a powerful arm for marketing strategies of each business. Therefore, the role of using company websites is very important for the existence and development of business units in all fields now as well as in the future. However, there are some areas of improvement on the website that I would recommend Elkhorn Lawn Care to take a look at in order to improve the business brand identity.

Elkhorn Lawn Care has great Google Reviews: 4.7 rating with total 40 reviews. There are only 3 bad reviews which occurred 2 years ago, but Elkhorn Lawn Care has taken care of the situation well. Even when customers are wrong, the business calmly looked at the problem. Understanding the issue is an important factor for the business to determine how to answer the question for the reason. Elkhorn Lawn Care has a 36 five-star review on Google, which is very good because it demonstrates that the business works well with a large range and quality products for the customer.

Looking at their Google Reviews, Elkhorn Lawn Care has built a very good reputation in the lawn care industry. Their customers are satisfied with the services providing from Elkhorn Lawn Care. There is a quote from Walter E. Disney: “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” In this case, building a bond between the company and the customer can increase the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing - the most effective marketing method.

Not only Elkhorn Lawn Care has great reviews on Google, they have done a good job on social media as well. On Instagram, Elkhorn Lawn Care has 133 followers. On Facebook, they have 750 likes. Although they are not very impressive numbers, but Elkhorn Lawn Care has very good active followers. Social media have become an indispensable tool for businesses. Regardless of the size of the business, Facebook and Instagram have confirmed their usefulness. Elkhorn Lawn Care could have done a better job on their social media to gain more likes and followers in order to gain more trust from potential customers when they look at the company's social media.

DISCUSSION

Although Elkhorn Lawn Care already has built a great brand identity, I've found some areas that they can improve: use social media to generate brand awareness, create content that excites, and paid media strategy. This will benefit the company in many aspects:

Use social media effectively and consistently

According to the article “The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing” by Jayson DeMers published on Forbes on Aug 11, 2014, the author listed 10 benefits that a business would gain if they pay attention to their social media: increased brand recognition, improved brand loyalty,  more opportunities to convert, higher conversion rates, higher brand authority, increased inbound traffic, decreased marketing costs, better search engine rankings, richer customer experiences, improved customer insights.

Elkhorn Lawn Care's last post on Instagram was on Oct 16, 2018. And they usually just post once or twice a month on Instagram, which is obviously not enough. And it's the same on Facebook, the last post was on Nov 20, 2018.

Elkhorn Lawn Care's target customers is mainly millennials, I suggest that Elkhorn Lawn Care should use their social media more effectively and consistently:

o Updating Elkhorn Lawn Care's social media regularly. The frequency will vary depending on the features of the item as well as the social networking platform. On average, you should post about three to five posts a week. This not only help the company appear regularly but also provide more pictures, information as well as what the business is doing.

o Set goals. "Getting more followers" is not a good idea. However, "adding 10 new followers each week" is a good target because it is feasible and the company can measure it. Set goals related to growing customer numbers and increasing engagement.

o Follow back. If someone clicks "Follow" the business, "follow back" is to prove that the company is absolutely serious in building a good relationship with the current and potential customers.

o Respond to comments. If someone mentions the company both positive and negative, thank them, it would help increase the company's image in public. Interaction with the user will help Elkhorn Lawn Care get close to their future goals. Customers praise you - you thank. Customers are not satisfied - thank and ask why they are not satisfied, do not forget to attach a promise for a better return.

o Interacting with users is the key to social success. Here are ways to increase interaction: ask questions. Open-ended questions help to promote conversations so that both the brand and the customer will have the opportunity to understand each other. Most people like to express their personal views. Give them the opportunity to do that, they will feel more responsible for each other than in an open conversation.

According to Statista report “Share of worldwide internet users who discover brands via recommendations on social media as of 4th quarter 2017, by age group”, it indicates that during the fourth quarter of 2017, 27 percent of Millennials stated to have discovered a brand through recommendations on social media.

Figure 1 - Share of worldwide internet users who discover brands via recommendations on social media as of 4th quarter 2017, by age group

Create content that excites

A well-designed website is not enough to persuade users to buy, use, or trust the business. Another important factor includes exploiting the key factors and making the content interesting and understandable to the reader. According to Neil Patel, co-founder of Neil Patel Digital, in the article “38 Content Marketing Stats That Every Marketer Needs to Know”, he asserted that people who succeed at becoming leaders in the world of content marketing - people who craft compelling, valuable content that gets to the heart of their readers - experience drastically more site growth than their competitors: year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers (19.7% vs 2.5%)

In this case, it's mostly about the services that Elkhorn Lawn Care provides and related content about the lawn care industry.

In comparison with their competitors, Heroes Lawn & Landscape and Paradise Lawns, Elkhorn Lawn Care could have done a better job. Heroes Lawn & Landscape and Paradise Lawns provides details about the plans and steps of each services, which shows that they are completely transparent with their customers. My recommendation is that Elkhorn Lawn Care can write better descriptions about their services as well as be transparent about their plans on their website, which would help them and their customers save a lot of time.

On Elkhorn Lawn Care website, they have done an amazing job on creating content related to their business. They have a blog with about a total of 90 posts, the topics vary from their business activities to what people should do in different weather to protect themselves as well as their assets.

According to Statista report “Consumer interpretations of marketing content personalization in the United States as of April 2017,” customization is the most valuable to customers: "It means it's something suited to me exactly so that I'm more likely to be interested in what they're selling."

According to another Statista report “Attitudes towards marketing content personalization the United States as of April 2017” 90 percent of respondents found personalized content very or somewhat appealing, with just four percent saying that they found it not very or not at all appealing.

Figure 2- Attitudes towards marketing content personalization the United States as of April 2017

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Analysis of the advantages that Elkhorn Lawn Care would receive from improving their brand identity in the areas of identify brand advantage for sales strategy, raise the value of the brand, design a good brand identity to create competitive advantage, reduce marketing costs lead to the following conclusion and recommendations.

1. Elkhorn Lawn Care should use their social media more effectively and consistently

2. Updating Elkhorn Lawn Care's social media regularly

3. Set goals for their social media

4. Interacting with followers

5. Elkhorn Lawn Care can write better descriptions about their services

Elkhorn Lawn Care has been doing really great with their brand identity, there are just some things Elkhorn Lawn Care can do better to improve the company image as well as bring their customers the best experience.

References

A quote by Walter E. Disney. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/6536026-whatever-you-do-do-it-well-do-it-so-well

DeMers, J. (2015, September 20). The Top 10 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing. Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/08/11/the-top-10-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/#540d53a71f80

Global online brand discovery through recs on social by age 2017 | Statistic. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/869006/online-brand-discovery-recommendations-social-media-worldwide/

Lake, L. (2018, October 16). How Brand Identity Is Defined and the Role It Plays in Marketing. Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/brand-identity-and-marketing-2295442

Lovett, N. (2018, May 03). The importance of brand identity. Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://smallbusiness.co.uk/importance-brand-identity-2541420/

Shaulova, E., & Biagi, L. (n.d.). Content marketing. Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/study/16946/content-marketing-in-the-us-statista-dossier/

U.S. appeal of personalized marketing 2017 | Statistic. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/808313/personalization-marketing-perspectives/

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