Friday, December 30, 2011

Representing Your Brand in the New Year

My favorite part about New Years, are the resolutions. Sure sometimes they can be a little silly and most people never follow through with them, but the idea of wiping the slate clean and starting from scratch has always been a neat thought. This year, why not make a resolution for your business? Start thinking, how am I going to stand out from my competition?

Since your logo is the physical representation of your brand, this may be a great place to start. Maybe the only thing wrong with your logo is that it’s a bit outdated. Giving your logo a modern feel, without completely changing it, makes people take a second look, often causing people to notice your business that may not have before. It will also remind previous customers of your presence that may have forgotten about you.

I recently drove past a restaurant that updated their sign outside of their business. I had totally forgotten they were there until this new sign popped out at me as I drove by. We tend not to notice something that is just always the same, but when it is given a fresh look it stands out — much like a new business would.

Start thinking about your products and services, and think about what new things you can offer your customers in the New Year. If there are products you sell that perhaps don’t move as quickly as others, maybe its time to start thinking about what you can offer that will move quicker. Out with the old and in with the new so to speak. Service based industries can start offering new services to better serve the needs of their clients. Launch your new products and services, recommitting your dedication to serving your customers in the New Year.

The new year is also a good time to change your print and web material. It is important to keep all of your collateral consistent with the colors and feel of your logo to better brand your business. Here are a few suggestions on how to update your material.

  • Switch out old pictures with updated pictures (hair styles, clothing, cars, etc. change so frequently, it’s important to consistently update them)

  • Incorporate your new updated logo

  • Tweak you business’s mission statement and description to represent any changes in service your have made (with technology changing so frequently, you may not be offering the same things that you were 10 years ago)

  • Feature something new (what are you now offering your customers that you have not offered them in the past)

  • Incorporate your social media (this is a good time to insert your social media icons into your print and internet material)

It is forever important to stay fresh in the minds of your consumers. This is why you see companies like Pepsi giving their logo periodic tune-ups and offering different products and flavors. As small businesses, we don’t have the resources to necessarily evaluate our brand presence as frequently, but we should look at the New Year as an opportunity to re-assess how our businesses are representing themselves to present and potential customers.

Have A Happy And Safe New Year From All Of Us At BBG&G Advertising!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Extending Your Reach With SEO

In order to grow in business, we know that it is most important to extend our reach to as many potential consumers as we can. It only makes sense that the further your reach, the greater number of prospective customers you will bring through the door.

Take for instance the maple tree. It is such a massive tree that it wouldn’t make sense to drop its seeds right at its side. The shade it provides covers a large area around the tree, which would inhibit any growth close by. Mother nature found a way to fix this problem by putting wings on the seeds so they would fly away from the tree in the wind.

It wouldn’t make too much sense to start yelling out the back door of your business to let people know you are there, much like it would not make sense for the maple tree to drop it’s seeds at it’s side. Anyone that can hear you yelling out your back door probably already knows you are there.

So how do we extend our reach? One way is through search engine optimization. SEO (search engine optimization) is a great way to open your business up to limitless amounts of potential customers.

How do we do this? Well, there are several ways we can do this. Probably the most important is being keyword rich in all of your content and having a presence on multiple platforms on the web.

How do we word our content to be keyword rich? Start by answering these questions:

· Who are you?

· Where are you located?

· What do you offer?

When people search for something on a search engine, they will typically search by a location and a service or industry. We have now provided search engines with that key information in our business description.

A great example of this is from Go Green Express Home Services. They have addressed who they are (Go Green Express), what they do (green plumbing, heating and HVAC) and where they are located (Hudson Valley).

In today’s market, most businesses are on several platforms on the web from websites to business listings and to social media. Your key words and phrases should be in all of your online content. It is also important to link all of your online content to each other creating your own web of information on the Internet. When you link your different platforms, it keeps readers viewing your content longer.

There are more technical ways to improve your SEO, through meta tags, meta names and meta descriptions which are embedded in the html code of your website, but most people are not familiar with working in html. Being keyword rich in all of our online content is one of the best things that a business owner can do to improve their SEO. Also be sure that your online content varies slightly between platforms to give your potential customers something new to discover about your business as they are conducting their online research.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas That Support Your Local Economy

With the holidays quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to talk about some great ideas for gifts. There are many unique ideas right here in the Hudson Valley community that will support our local economy. Important, when 64% of every dollar spent local — stays local.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is Christmas morning breakfast. We always have the neighbors over for a nice breakfast before we all head off to our relatives’ houses for the rest of the day. We serve your typical cuisine from scrambled eggs to my personal favorite, fluffy buttermilk pancakes with fresh local maple syrup. I always get our guests a little something to take home and this year will be no different. Everyone agrees the fresh local maple syrup is delicious, so I will be getting all of our guests a bottle of their own to take home from Crown Maple Farm in Dutchess County. Their light, medium and dark amber syrups all have a unique taste of their own, which is absolutely delicious.

We all have that relative that seems to be overwhelmed with life. Perhaps they have a few kids and a full time job and just never seem to get time for themselves. They probably never get time alone with their spouse to do adult things like going out to a nice restaurant, taking in a scenic drive, or just spending some one-on-one time with each other. A night away at a local Bed & Breakfast would be the perfect gift for them! Sure you will probably have to volunteer to babysit for a night, but it’s a gift they are sure to really appreciate. If you need a suggestion, my personal favorite is Simmons’ Way Inn. They are a short drive to the Berkshires with great scenery and tons of things to do.

Gift cards go a long way, but let’s be a little more creative with our delivery than putting it in a card. Have a friend that is a wine connoisseur? Get them a gift card to their local wine store but give it to them in a nice decorative wine glass. Tie in a gift certificate for dinner with a little bit of dessert by presenting it with a box of chocolates, perhaps from the Village Sampler in Montgomery. Gift certificates tend to be sort of thoughtless, try to spruce them up so that your loved ones know you are thinking about them.

Supporting our local economy for the holiday season is a great way to give gifts to friends and family, as well as giving back to those businesses that support us. There are a lot of great resources for finding these businesses. The 3/50 Project was set up to restore the brick and mortar businesses that have helped build this country. Their website provides resources that will help you find businesses right in your community that you may not even have known about. ABC News has also recently started a project called “Made in America” where you can get great gift ideas for products that are made right in the United States.

This holiday season, think local and try to be a little creative. Remember your local businesses are an essential part of your community — supporting our schools, local events, and non-profits. A little creativity goes a long way in gratitude.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Social Media In Motion for Non-Profits

When we used to think of social networking we thought of all of these online profiles like Facebook and Myspace which have since expanded to Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and so on. It was originally just social sharing among friends. It has since grown into an advertising tool for businesses with business pages and targeted marketing ads.

This newer evolution of social media platforms has been great for marketing. It’s been an asset for many businesses who have invested the time to market effectively through these online tools. Companies have used the platforms to add a personality to their business, target their audience, reinforce brand awareness and gain invaluable feedback from customers.

So now we know social media is great for socializing with friends and we have also found a lot of great ways to use it for advertising, but how else can it be used?

Recently I witnessed something that made me realize just how powerful social media is. Social media was successfully used to raise money for a local non-profit.

Tarantella’s Pizza Alley, a local pizzeria in the Montgomery community, often hosts fundraising nights where they donate a portion of the sales to a local charity. November 16th was a fundraiser to support Boy Scout Troop 31 of Walden, NY. Five o’clock hit and the doors were almost instantly flooded with customers, the phone ringing off the hook. Employees scrambled to take care of everyone as fast as they could, but were still being overwhelmed with the unexpected flow of customers through the door.

It didn’t take long to figure out what had happened. Customers started presenting coupons at the cash register, which were sent out through Facebook and e-mail saying “Come Support Troop 31”.

Being the computer-savvy techies that today’s youth tend to be, they took the initiative to upload these coupons to their walls in the form of a picture and tag all of their friends in it. Under the coupon was a caption that said, “Print this picture and come to Tarantella’s to support my troop”. We have all had the Boy Scout or Girl Scout at our door with a candy bar or box of cookies and just could not say no. They have now figured out a way to get into our e-mail, onto our computer screens and into our smart phones.

This successful marketing campaign, via social media, created a huge benefit for everyone involved. Troop 31 was able to raise a ton of money to support their program and Tarantella’s was able to reach potential customers it may not have been able to reach otherwise.

Kudos to the scouts for schooling the professionals with a great way to use social media! And, to Tarantella’s as well. In the three years they have been doing these fundraisers, on November 16th Troop 31 more than doubled the largest amount of money raised in one fundraiser night.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Finding Your Place In The Economy

The current economy has opened up multiple opportunities for businesses. Sure you can say people aren’t spending like they used to, but why sit back and just accept it? Consumers are willing to spend their extra money; they just want to make sure they are finding value in their purchases.

How do we create value in our products and services? We can do so in a couple of different ways.

1. Be The Best- If you are the best at what you do of course consumers are more likely to spend their money with your business, especially as opposed to spending with a less effective competitor.

Take a company like Dick’s Sporting Goods. Sure there is a ton of competition out there for sporting goods store, but Dick’s took a different approach. They didn’t specialize in just one aspect like golf or fishing, they specialized in it all. Dick’s is kind of like several stores within a store.

Each department is separated within the one store. Want to know more about golfing? They have golf enthusiasts working in the golf department and the same goes for the exercise department and the shoe department is staffed with hikers and runners that are very knowledgeable about different types of shoes and sneakers.

Because Dick’s is such a large chain, they can offer their products at a discounted price giving them a huge advantage over the mom and pop sporting good stores. Breaking their locations down into smaller segmented sub stores with knowledgeable employees also gives them an advantage over the other larger chains.

2. Have A Niche- Create a place for your business within your industry. Offer something that your competitors can’t offer.

Panera Bread is a great example of a company that has found their niche. Sure there are plenty of fast food restaurants out there and also plenty of sit down restaurants. Panera has taken the two concepts and put them together to create something unique.

The draw of a fast food restaurant is that it is quick and easy for people that are on the go, but it is often not the best quality food. Sit-down restaurants, however, offer quality food and some healthier options but the food meets your mouth in a less timely manner.

Sure Panera isn’t quite as fast as a fast food chain but it’s certainly not as slow as a typical sit down restaurant either. It’s the quality food, warm environment and reasonably quick, exceptionally friendly service that makes this chain such a success. Of coarse there are also the small things like free wifi and real plates and silverware to add to the customers’ experience. Plus where else can you get a roasted turkey and artichoke sandwich on a freshly baked focaccia bread with a hearty cream of broccoli soup served in a bakery fresh bread bowl for under 10 dollars?

Being a successful business is really a simple concept. You have to create value in what you do. Be the best and your reputation will represent your business well. Be different and set yourself apart from your competition.

Monday, August 22, 2011

QR Codes and Mobile Marketing

When I talk to people about QR Codes, there are several typical responses:

1) “A what code?”

2) "I just don't see the big deal about those things."

3) "Every time I see one, I scan it. I just can not stop myself."

For those of you in category one, a QR Code is an abbreviation for Quick Response code. A scannable barcode used to link a mobile device to specific information. Based on the code, it can link you to a website, make a phone call for you, deliver a vCard with contact info to your address book, and more.

Of course, in order to scan the code, you need a QR scanner. My favorite is RedLaser by Occipital, which is free.

QR codes were started in Japan, and have since gained popularity across the globe. Of course, once marketers got their hands on them, their uses have increased and innovators continue to find new and creative ways to use them in an effort to get their message into the hands of potential customers.

Where might you see them? On business cards, billboards, print ads, packaging and labeling, as check-ins at stores and restaurants, at museums and other tourist attractions. In fact, the tourism industry has quickly adapted QR codes for use as airline boarding passes, in contests, for self-guided tours, on billboards and other advertising, and more. Where might you start seeing them?

• Airline Check-ins
QR codes are being used as boarding passes, avoiding lines upon arrival at the airport.

• “High-tech” Contests
Contestants can check in at various locations by scanning a QR code to their mobile phone.

• Self-Guided Tours
Museums, galleries, even zoos: display a QR code, which links to a video, audio, or text explaining details about the exhibit.

• Go Green and Save Money
Use on print ads, billboards and posters, at your place of business, and on packaging or labels. Consumers can link directly to a digital brochure or website right from their smartphones. Not only does this save money, but it will also assist you in your corporate efforts to go green.

Technology is forever changing the way we advertise, the way we communicate and even the way we vacation. We have seen it over and over again. Fifteen years ago Google didn’t exist and now it is a word in the dictionary! Two years ago, most of us had never seen a QR code. Now, as we walk around New York City, we see people pointing their smartphones to the sky as they scan these funny looking mobile barcodes off of billboards.

While it is difficult to stay on top of new trends in technology, this new trend may just be worth your while. QR codes are a marketing tool that can be used to engage your target audience and save you money.

Everyone Loves a Good Mystery
To me, the most intriguing element of a QR code is that you don’t always know what to expect when you scan in that code. It is that element of surprise that marketers can use to their benefit. So, have fun. Be creative! Engage your audience and provide them with information that is useful and relevant.

June Bisel

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quality Vs. Quantity

When there is a struggling economy like the one we are currently dealing with, we often find ourselves competing with each other in the form of price wars. Businesses lower their profit margins in an effort to gain additional business and stay ahead of their competitors. This practice typically results in working two times as hard for less money.

Businesses should try a much different approach. We have all heard the saying Quality over quantity. Would you rather have a lifelong loyal customer or a one-time discount shopper? The lifetime customer will provide your company with repeat business over a long period of time, so you should be grabbing onto these customers and treating them like they are all your first priority. A little appreciation goes a long way.

The truth of the matter is that small businesses simply cannot compete with large chains. Large businesses and chains have a much greater buying power than small businesses, which gives them the ability to buy inventory at a much lower rate. This is why smaller businesses need to hit large companies where they cannot compete, with customer service and quality.

When talking to Steve Rouse from Stanislaus, a California based company that offers a wide range of tomato products to restaurants, I found they have a very unique approach to business. They like to make sure that their customers know how much passion they have for what they do. They compete on quality and service alone and never bring price into the equation. As a company, they focus on helping their existing customers grow their businesses through a variety of avenues. “Why pay for your friends” Rouse said. That’s essentially what you are doing when you are offering discounts and coupons.

Stanislaus truly facilitates their existing customer base through many different avenues. Since 1990 they have published a newsletter and idea exchange called “La Trattoria”, which is where all of their customers share the success stories of their businesses, giving ideas that other restaurateurs can build off of. It is filled with all sorts of useful information including recipes (most of which do not contain tomato products), success stories, ways to improve customer service and much more. In addition to their newsletter, Stanislaus also calls each one of their customers on a regular basis. Rouse says, “We truly feel our customers are a part of our family and we want them to feel that we are a part of theirs”. They like to make sure that their customers know they can call them whenever they have a problem.

Customer service is making a huge comeback in today’s market. Those who have the extra money to spend are looking for the star treatment that they feel they deserve. Great customer service and quality products are the best ways we can show our customers how important they are to our businesses. After all, who doesn’t like to feel like they are the top priority?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Facebook Challenge

February 2004 marked the launch of the official website and the start of a phenomenon. At that time, we could not imagine the endless opportunities this would create for marketing. If you are like most people, you were a skeptic at some point — and maybe you still are.

As marketers, it is our job to experiment and to find exactly how we can use this new method of communication to the benefit of our clients.

It didn’t take long to discover just how loyal users are in their daily “Facebooking”. Users love to interact with other users and businesses. They genuinely enjoy viewing status updates and interacting with your wall and friends. Many people genuinely feel good about being able to interact and weigh-in their opinions.

How can you use this to your benefit? Start to interact with your followers on a more personal level. If you see someone has clicked the “Like” button for your page or regarding a post, send them a message from your personal Facebook profile and introduce yourself as the owner of the business. Always be sure to thank them for visiting your page and also direct them to your website, where they can sign up on your e-mail list. It will surprise you how much people enjoy it. Most people will respond by adding you as a friend and thanking you for the message. You will find, in some cases, your customers will mention it when they come by for their next visit. It also gives those customers that don’t necessarily know who you are an opportunity to get to know you better. People like to feel that they have that special connection with the owner of a business.

If you still don’t think Facebook is a necessary form of business promotion, then I challenge you to this: Every day, post a newsfeed on the wall of your personal profile for two weeks. Monitor the activity on your post and take note of who is “liking” it and commenting on it. I can almost guarantee it is the same 5-10 people each day. These are usually dedicated “Facebookers” that access Facebook throughout the day. When they click “Like” or add a comment, you will then appear in their newsfeed, which extends your reach to their friends. If one of their friends comments or “Likes” the post on their wall, then it will display to a whole other group of people.

If every Facebook user has 5-10 friends that are dedicated Facebookers and they each have 5-10 friends doing the same, then you can then see how far your reach can actually go. People who have never heard about your business can just stumbled upon it through the positive Facebook interactions of your friends and theirs. If all of your friends are talking about something that you have never heard of, then you would be more inclined to give it a try and see what all of the buzz is about.

Now do you think Facebook is an effective tool for marketing?

I'd love to meet with you to discuss how social media can benefit your business. Please contact us if you have any questions about how Facebook can work for you.

June Bisel


Friday, February 25, 2011

Do Your Customers Feel the Love?

Customer service is severely lacking in many businesses. Here are some tips on how to better serve your customers and ensure that they "feel the love" on a regular basis.

· INFORM customers of updates in your service area that could be of
interest or value to them. This is not a sales pitch. It is added value.
· ALWAYS keep it personal. Don't send form letters or emails to your
entire customer database. Make it personalized to them.
· LISTEN. What really irks them? What are their favorite foods, wine,
music? When is their birthday? Anniversary? You don't need to know
it all... just keep good records and make a note of things as they
come up.
· COMMUNICATE often. Answer phone calls and emails immediately.
Don't rely on emails when a phone call is warranted.
· DO THE UNEXPECTED... go that extra mile.

We've all heard the facts about how expensive it is to obtain new customers compared to retaining the ones we have. But even without those statistics, I can't imagine why people wouldn't want to make the most out of the relationships they have built through time and hard work.

The world is filled with mediocrity. Do your best to raise the bar and excel at customer service.

June Bisel
Visit us on Facebook at BBG&G Advertising

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Facebook Advertising

With almost 700 million people currently on Facebook, I thought I'd talk a little bit today about the great advertising opportunities available through this networking site.

I'm sure you've noticed the advertising is very targeted to your interests. That's no mistake. Facebook's advertising set-up provides the advertiser with the ability to precisely target location, interests, gender, age groups, etc. And at an extremely reasonable CPC (cost per click), just about anyone can afford to advertise here.

With all the controls at your fingertips, you can make changes as needed. Switch out ads that are not getting results. Change your target market preferences to achieve the highest click-through rate. Update ads with special offers, seasonal changes, or to market specific products or services.

So if you have a limited advertising budget, with a good website in place, invest a bit in Facebook advertising. You may find you're very glad you did.

Check us out on Twitter @BBGGadv and on Facebook at BBG&G Advertising.

BBGG is a Certified Woman-owned advertising agency with unique strengths in marketing in this changing economy.

June Bisel

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moes Southwest Grill Opens in Modena Travel Plaza

Last week, I went to the Grand Opening of Moes Southwest Grill at the Modena Travel Plaza on the New York State Thruway. I didn't really know what to expect, as I wasn't familiar with Moes, and was VERY pleasantly surprised with the delicious food and the fun atmosphere. And, all meals were served with free chips and salsa, which my boyfriend especially liked!

While I was there, I found out that Moe's is a Gold Award winner of the 2008 Consumer’s Choice in Chains Awards, because of its fresh made-to-order burritos and southwest fare in a fun and laid back environment. And while Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of over 20 fresh ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Being a picky eater, I just loved being able to pick and choose exactly what ingredients I wanted my burrito filled with.

This location is, I believe, the first in our area, and is the first Moes restaurant for local owner (and our client) Larry Bennett, who owns and operates the food concepts at both the Modena and Ramapo travel plazas as well as 3 local Orange and Sullivan county McDonalds restaurants.

Larry is excited about the new dining option at the Modena Travel Plaza because it is unique, healthy, and delicious. He feels the fresh, flavorful menu at Moe’s will fills a need here in the Hudson Valley -- and I have to agree.

When you walk into Modena Travel Plaza, don't be surprised to hear the familiar “Welcome to Moes!” They say it's more than a greeting; it is a way of life for the folks who customize your meal.

The new Modena Travel Plaza location is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and weekends until 9 p.m. For more information,you can call (845) 391-8322.

Be sure to visit, and tell them June sent you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Something to SHOUT about!

I thought the beginning of the new year might be a good time to go over some basics of PR and how they might help your business.


PR is built on strategy. There is no one size that fits all. But get a couple of super creative PR professionals together in one room and you will quickly see that no matter how “ordinary” your product or service offering, there are hundreds of ways to render it unique.

So how do you come up with newsworthy news to begin with? Well, sometimes things fall into your lap — and your job is simply to recognize them. Maybe a well-known marathon runner has been a customer of yours for a while now and loves your shop so much that he agrees to sign his hot new biography there. And perhaps you decide that you will discount all your running shoes by 40 percent for the occasion. Maybe you can offer discounts on new footwear to anyone who brings in old but wearable footwear for the needy. Now you are not only generating a story but you are doing something really good for your community. PR is helping you to make a difference.


Generating stories and sending out press releases is one way to do PR but it is not the only way. Just as the PR savvy business person is always looking for angles that will be of interest to producers and editors, producers and editors are always looking for “experts” to help them tell their stories. By January, editors already know what kinds of stories they will be doing throughout the year. By getting the leg up on the competition, you can have your expert information ready for them just as they need it.


Sometimes the story is not about your company but about you or one of your employees. Maybe your company’s VP has been invited to appear on “Dancing With The Stars.” That is fodder for a press release, even if your company only gets a small mention at the bottom. Branding means never having to say you are sorry for showing up in too small a font size. It is all about showing up, PERIOD.


News is all around you. Blog it, Tweet it, FB it ... start your own e-newsletter! Start posting your own news and begin serious networking with the people you most want to know about it. You will surprised to see how many of your blogs and Tweets get picked up and passed around on the Internet. Social media can be the perfect channel for your expert tips and information.

Have questions? Need help getting started? That is what we are here for. Give us a call!

June Bisel

BBGG Advertising and Public Relations

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Resolution: Update that website!

If you are like most business owners, you began cutting back on your advertising and marketing expenses in 2008. And since that time, you have seen significant changes in the marketplace — with your customers as well as your competition. Chances are, some of your major competitors have closed their doors.

Fast forward 2011: People are starting to spend again!

Companies we are talking to are finally feeling the need to step up their advertising — whew! We are all cautiously optimistic about the future.

If you have made the decision to take that positive step of investing in marketing, the first thing you need to do is set aside a budget. This is where most companies fail, right out of the starting gate. If you need to know what a reasonable budget would be, those figures are available based on your industry and a percentage of your gross income.

The second thing you should do is update your website. If you do not have one, get one. If you do have one, chances are it is old and outdated. And don’t consider a website a one-time investment. In addition to the initial development costs, plan on investing regularly in updates. Technology is constantly changing, and it is important to stay current. It is also important to have a website developed where you can edit and update information as needed and include interactivity.

Use social media such as Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube … these are all integral marketing tools and can be maintained with a modest budget.

Do not get me wrong. Traditional media is still valuable. But the first thing you need to do is get your online marketing in order. The next step will be to use traditional media (print advertising, radio, and television) to excite and attract your customers to your online presence, where they will learn everything about you that they need to know in order to make their buying decision.

Feel free to give us a call. We would love to help you get started.

June Bisel