At Colony Group, the scope of our capabilities is broad and ranges from helping set business directions and communications plans to media buying, creative, online, social media management and even events.
WEB DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
These days a business’ website is often more important than its brick and mortar storefront. This has been especially true in light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic where many companies have had to digitally transform their business model to stay in business. You know what a good website looks and feels like, but how do you get started with building that kind of resource? What’s involved? And what’s it going to take to make it happen? At Colony Group, our experienced team of designers, developers and writers consistently creates beautiful, profitable sites based around usability, UX and responsiveness across multiple devices.
Brand strategy is the sweet spot and primary offering for Colony Group. When we first opened our doors, it was our primary focus – working mostly with CEOs, boards and government organisations. Over the years, we’ve been successful in helping a wide variety of companies to identify and build solutions for how they want people to feel about their brands. We work together to identify challenges, gather insights, define the real issues and start building a plan to connect with their target audiences on an emotional level. We’ve discovered that there’s really no one reason that a business might seek the help of Colony Group. It might be navigating business growth and change or dealing with sudden and unexpected disruptions in the market. Sometimes it’s just bringing in fresh eyes to take stock of what’s working and what’s not and helping that business get “unstuck”. Today, we’re helping companies like Coca-Cola and Kina Bank to build strong brand strategies and connect with their audiences in PNG, Australia and the world.
PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY
Simply put, your PR strategy is your game plan for how you maintain a positive public image for your company or organisation. And unlike most marketing, PR doesn’t always strive to directly impact sales. Although they can take several different forms, PR strategies usually involve a long-term approach. Typically, they involve planning, creating and executing each step of the plan to reinforce a brand position, support a product or product launch, a company vision, etc.
At Colony Group, we believe creating a strong PR Strategy starts with defining the objectives. What does success look like? Is it a measurable outcome like more visits to a website? Or more about awareness or perception of a brand? Then we look at who the target audience is. Who are we talking to? And are they current or potential customers?
From there, we collect insights and conduct research on the brand itself, the wider industry and the target market. This information informs which communication tactics we’ll want to pursue. These include paid channels like Google Ads, earned publicity like media relations and events, shared channels like social media, partnerships and community engagement and owned channels like newsletters, blogs and sponsorships.
Throughout and after the strategy’s delivery, we constantly measure its progress and success. Are we achieving our objectives and are we seeing return on the activity? If not, we adjust and reassess as needed to assure a winning result.
It’s often said that people don’t buy products, they buy brands. In fact, it’s often the case that someone will connect with a brand through PR efforts and then become a customer through the marketing.
The foundation of any successful marketing strategy is a solid understanding of who you’re talking to, but more importantly, what motivates them. There’s a famous ad guy named Howard Gossage who summed it up well, “People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” Why do they care, if at all? And what’s the simple human truth behind their motivations?
Market research can tell us these crucial insights as well as what the competition is doing and what the pain points and areas of frustration are. At Colony Group, we like to know what’s already out there so we can talk about what isn’t. By conducting market research, we aim to create a roadmap outlining current trends and identify where the gaps and opportunities are. This roadmap allows us to work together with our partners to focus our marketing efforts, make informed decisions and take advantage of opportunities.
Every day, we incorporate market research as part of our ongoing work with partners like Digicel, Coca-Cola, Brian Bell Group and Kina Bank. This research often includes primary research activities like focus groups, online surveys or phone interviews. Combined with secondary research like trend reports, market statistics and sales data, it helps us work with our partners to focus their messaging, identify new opportunities and markets, and even recognise problems within their business. Ultimately, market research helps increase profit and growth for our partners.
How many times have you seen a great ad in a magazine only to realise that the wonderful bit of creative genius you’re enjoying for Happy Pines Retirement Community seems oddly out of place in your issue of Total Teen Girl Monthly? None? Yeah, us neither. But the point is, you could have the greatest marketing communications ever, but if they’re not being viewed by the intended audience, you’re wasting your time.
That’s why media buying is so important. It gets your message in front of the right people, in the right medium, at the right time. At Colony Group we regularly help our partners form full, cohesive media buying strategies and then execute those strategies through the purchase, negotiation and arrangement of advertising space from media outlets like newspapers, blogs, radio and television stations, social media and more. In Australia, Papua New Guinea and around Australasia, we’ve developed strong relationships with a wide network of suppliers to help ensure we get our partners the best placements at the lowest price and maximum exposure.
Developing a successful marketing campaign starts by creating a strong understanding of everything from what the competition is doing, to the target market, to the specific media where the campaign will run. At Colony Group, we work together, ask a lot of questions and try to create a strong foundation from which to build.
It starts with Background. What brought us to this point? What’s the competition doing and what’s the current market environment? Then we outline the Campaign Objectives. What problem is being solved or what opportunity are we going after? And what should happen as a result of the campaign? Then we determine the Target Market. Who are we talking to and what do they currently think? More importantly, why do they care and what motivates them? Then we ask, what do we want them to think or do? Like we said, we ask a lot of questions.
Often, the most important thing to establish is the Single-minded Proposition – that is, if we had to narrow down the main takeaway to one simple thought, what would it be? Then we Support that single thought with the reasons why. Maybe it’s an offer, maybe it’s a list of benefits – it all depends on the project. And of course, we’ll need to be clear about what we want people to do. Should they visit a website, call a phone number or ask their doctor if “Strategic Advisory®” is right for them? Just kidding. But a strong Call To Action is obviously critical.
Then we create a strategic Media Plan as to where and when we need to run the communications so that our Target Market sees it. Add in a liberal dose of top-notch Creative, Production and Management and it’s easy to see why our partners choose Colony Group to develop fully integrated campaigns that always deliver a winning result.
There’s no doubt about it, digital content is key in building your brand and its reputation. For many brands, it’s as important, if not more so, than any other communications channel.
Essentially, everything you find online is digital content. That cute cat video or the article about flu symptoms in left-handed posties in Waikikamukau, NZ? Somebody somewhere had to create that and share it with the world. Some of it is genius. Some of it is useful. A lot of it is, well, not so useful. But it shows the importance of creating and sharing relevant, engaging content to a target audience. When done correctly for a brand, audiences can often give it context to their own situation and share it with their own networks.
Every day at Colony Group, we help our partners like Digicel, Coca-Cola, Brian Bell Group and Puma Energy with their digital content – including blogs, websites, photography, videos, online commentary and, of course, updating and curating social media accounts. We start by determining the purpose of the content, then we create any number of high-quality, professional content elements – always ensuring it’s relevant and interesting to the intended audiences. We’re able to expand our clients’ reach and add scale to their campaigns by promoting their content on social media. To ensure better results, we create and implement a strong SEO strategy, including the use of tools like Google AdWords. Lastly, we track and analyse the content so we can make any adjustments to the strategy and ensure we’re hitting or exceeding our targets.
Like any creative process, design development starts with a strong brief. What’s needed? Is it a logo? A complete branding system? Are there sub brands or other lockups the designs will be used with? How did we get to this point and what’s the competition doing? Part of this process is researching and understanding the brand values and vision, the history and culture of the brand as well as the fundamentals of how their business works. Together these create a solid foundation on which to develop a logo, design or overall branding system.
Every designer has a different process, but a common next step is to start broadly by brainstorming and creating quick sketches and thoughts that explore concepts and motifs as well as possible typefaces, colour palettes and themes. Some designers work exclusively on paper to start, while others go straight to the tools and start ideating and creating on a computer. Whatever the technique, it’s important to cast the net wide and truly explore several directions without getting too deep in the weeds on any one concept or design.
From there, it’s often common to choose three to five areas that are working well to answer the brief and then focus on tightening them up and along with their supporting colour palettes, patterns or other design elements. Creating and expanding on a design rationale helps bring focus to the “why” of each design. A client’s feedback at this point will help move the ball forward and create a fuller picture of where the design is headed. From there, the design evolves to a final stage where a direction is chosen and agreed upon.
All told, the process can take as little as a few days, or as long as several months – each project is different. Whether it’s a small logo project for an online start-up or an extensive branding and design system for a multi-million-dollar property development, the award-winning designers at Colony Group will create a memorable, strong brand identity that truly separates you from the competition and drives profits.