By: Mike Rhodes—
Muncie, IN—When you think of branding your business, what comes to mind?
Do you think about how you are perceived by others? How do you want to be perceived by others? What do you really do day-to-day in your business? Answers to these kinds of questions take time and considerable thought. But getting them answered is worth it, as your branding strategy is key to marketing your company and helps you define your on-going marketing tactics.
About a year ago, Ted Baker, executive director of the Innovation Connector, decided to take a hard look at the Innovation Connector’s branding—and perhaps refresh it. Ted sat down with Richard Crist, CEO of Whitinger Strategic Services, and together they worked on answering similar questions about the Innovation Connector.
Ted said, “What I wanted to do was get a grip on perception. How were we being thought of in the community? What would some of our current and past clients say about us? I just wanted to get a handle on how we should really be presenting ourselves. I thought we needed a freshening-up of some things.”
Ted and Richard went to work drafting, crafting and sending out survey materials to former and existing Innovation Connector clients and stakeholders.
When all of the data came back and was tabulated, it was abundantly clear the Innovation Connector was thought of as a place of connection. Connections of people, places, ideas, services, concepts, and much more.
“By far, the number one thing people mentioned, without being prompted, was the Innovation Connector was a place of connection,” said Ted. “So we took that to heart. Why don’t we highlight the obvious? Whitinger & Co actually came up with a simple phrase: Get Connected. We wanted some sort of call to action. What we want to do is let the community, our potential clients, and our stakeholders know who the Innovation Connector is, what we do, who our clients are, why they are successful, and basically how people can connect to all of the things we offer.”
The Innovation Connector has been highlighting some of their client success stories in the Muncie Journal to help spread the word about their services. The Muncie Journal has featured stories about Kiddo Keepsakes, The Rieth Brothers and the Coding Connector for kids, among others. Ted feels strongly about storytelling. “That’s a really, really, really popular thing right now,” he said. “Were also very active with our social media sites including LinkedIn, as well as producing high-quality videos like the one above about the Innovation Connector. All of these media tactics are easily shareable and are effective in getting our message out to the public.”
The Innovation Connector continually introduces new ways to Get Connected. The One Million Cups program was introduced in November and is already getting rave reviews. “I was in the back of the room for our last One Million Cups meeting, Ted said. “We had two really good pitches, but we also had 20 minutes a piece of people giving feedback, asking questions and commenting about the presentations. It was phenomenal to see the “light bulbs” going off on people’s faces inside that room.”
There are other services the Innovation Connector offers to help others in the community. Financial services, for example. That’s a specific need that every startup, every small business and even every non-profit has. Adequate and good recordkeeping is very, very important. Lori Albert is the Innovation Connector’s financial director and she helps businesses with accounting and bookkeeping. Lori helps 12 different companies with their bookkeeping and it’s a service the Innovation Connector offers to any business who requests it.
Lori can help with:
- Capital Identification Assistance
- Local and Regional Loan Securing Consultation
- Setup and Training on Quickbooks software
- Bookkeeping and Accounting Services
- Cashflow Analysis
The whole idea behind the Innovation Connectors branding refresh effort is to communicate to the public all the resources the Innovation Connector has on an ongoing basis, and how the Innovation Connector greatly benefits our community. In a sense, it is outreach to people who need help.
“We offer people interaction,” said Ted. “And we connect with people through the entire life cycle of their small business journey.”