Marketing In the World of Horses | Part III

The following article appeared in Volume 11 Issue 4 of Horse & Country Magazine in February 2005.


By Barbara Daley

This is the final section of a three part series that explores the elements of marketing and how they are applied to the business of horses. Here we will take a look at some of the common pitfalls people make in their marketing efforts and how to guard against them. We will touch on copyright, trademarks, photo editing, video quality, and design.

Grabbing customer attention.

In Part II of this series, we discovered how a truly great brand is quickly recognized by consumers. Consistency is key to consumer recognition. Establish your brand through name, image and colour. Ensure that the smaller details such as logo placement, writing style, and even font style remain consistent. Signage, letterhead, advertisements, websites, posters, brochures and flyers will be of tremendous benefit with a consistent approach and look.

Good brand execution is not the only way to ensure that your business is seen in a professional light. There are a great many pitfalls to avoid when developing marketing tools.

The written word.

Use a dictionary, thesaurus and reference books as much as possible. The internet also offers access to a multitude of resources. Beyond spelling and grammar, there is also the matter of style. While no particular style is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, there will be a writing style that is most suitable to your business. For instance, a more formal writing style might suit a business that is steeped in tradition, but will seem far too stuffy for a business that prides itself on a warm and friendly approach.

Picture perfect.

Whether we are using photography or video, we want to ensure that the primary image is the most relevant to our message. This can be achieved by cropping out excess materials and zooming in on the subject. Select the best examples of your product. To create a good quality image, pay attention to lighting, background and focus.

Style plays a role here too. Angled shots, partial images, fast edits and loud music are common tools used to achieve excitement and a heart racing response. A Serene setting, traditional music and classic colours will impart a sense of formal ease.

Share and share alike.

While the concept of sharing might be a noble principle imparted on us at a young age, it must be exercised with care when developing marketing materials. Not only is copyright or trademark infringement bad practice, its’ against the law! With the onset of the internet this sort of inappropriate 'sharing' occurs at alarming rates. To ensure the reputation of your business, take the time to understand copyright and trademark law.

Here are a few highlights:

Copyright

Copyright is a right granted to the owner of a work that exists in literary, artistic, musical or dramatic work. It exists from the moment the work is created, until 50 years after the author’s death. The owner has the sole right to produce or reproduce the work or any substantial part of it in any form. There is no requirement to register copyright in a work
A copyright may or may not be accompanied by the symbol ©

Trademark

Trademark is comprised of one or more words, a design (logo), a phrase, or a combination of same. A trademark is used to distinguish the goods and services offered to the public. Trademarks are shown with one of two symbols, depending on the stage of registration. The symbol ™ can be used even before application for registration has been made and gives notice that you are claiming the rights to a mark. The symbol ® indicates that the mark is registered with the Trademarks Office in Ottawa, Canada.


Do it Yourself vs. Professional Approach

For those of us business, budget is always a consideration. Breaking a project up into various elements and enlisting the assistance of several experts can be both cost effective and satisfying. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Business Logos - Perhaps you have been toying with a business logo for some time. You know what you want to call your business; you have even sketched out an image on the back of an envelope a few dozen times. While the latest version is attractive, it still lacks the polish necessary for your final signage and letterhead. Consider working with a graphic designer to bring your concept to fruition. Ask them for a quote in advance. You may be pleased to discover that your logo can be completed in as little as an hour. The end result could be an electronic image file of your logo that can be incorporated into other portions of your marketing efforts.

Website Development - You recognize that the website for your particular business will be most successful if it is updated frequently. You have the software to do this; you have even taken a few courses and understand the basics of publishing a web page. The trouble is, your design may still look amateurish. A solution may be to have the basic pages designed by a professional. The template then establishes the look and feel of the site and can be created for a fraction of the price. Once the basic page ‘look’ is established, you are once again free to manage the content.

Let’s use the website example a second time, but this time let’s focus on the images used. Your home photographs may not have the polish you require for the primary pages of your site. Contact a professional photographer, and ask for a quote on the cost of obtaining a handful of images that can be used on your website, and your other marketing material as well. Supplementing your site with a photo gallery of the candid shots you take yourself may round the site out nicely. (Be sure to let the photographer know what you intend to use the images for. Permission to use their photographs will be required. Payment for prints does not imply your right to use their work. )

Bricks and mortar. 

While we can enlist experts for the different marketing pieces that we develop, it is important not to lose site of the total marketing plan. Each piece must come together to form a unified whole - if the different elements represent the bricks, the marketing plan is the mortar. If we are successful with our marketing plan, we have established our brand, and our brand is how our customers identify us.

Barb Daley manages local area marketing for Scotiabank Group's wealth management services. Scotiabank is a supporter of horse sport through a number of sponsorship commitments. Barb is also an avid supporter of the Canadian Breeds Industry, and has had the privilege of volunteering for many exciting initiatives. Ongoing updates on some of these initiatives can be seen at www.EquineConcepts.com.


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