"Some influencers are pumping out a lot of junk. And I think people are following their guidelines a little too much."
Paul Kiesche is the President and Creative Director of Aviate Creative, a branding and marketing agency with an edge in technology and manufacturing. In this interview Kiesche shares a hot tip for manufacturers on how they can improve their image to attract top talent and expresses his opinion on the hype around influencers.
What’s your role in the company and what does your firm do?
I’m the president and creative director of Aviate Creative. For the most part I run the agency and handle the day to day operations including a lot of client contact. But I still love working on the design.
What products and services do you offer?
What we found with manufacturers is they need a full range of services. So, we get involved with all different kinds of marketing from design and development, writing, content marketing, advertising and more. We try to be a full solution provider to manufacturers so they can hand us the keys and let us run it from there.
Who do you help?
We focus on manufacturing and technology brands. Technology is not under served but manufacturing has been kind of left behind. We’ve been focusing on that for a while now and it’s become a specialty. Manufacturers in general are typically not that small because it takes a pretty decent sized team to run a manufacturing company. We basically help any sized company.
We’ve done work for individuals all the way up through fortune 100’s. We’ve worked with brands such as Lenovo, Disney, Kraft and all sorts of larger brands. Who we work with depends on who values high-quality work. I’d say our sweet spot is somewhere in the 100 to 500 employee range.
What challenges do your customers typically have?
What’s interesting is that the two industries we serve are kind of opposite. If we’re dealing with a manufacturer who’s been in business for 130 years their brand is often outdated. They may be creating products that are futuristic or modern, yet their brand looks they look like they’re stuck in the 70s. We modernize their brand with a lot of re-branding work.
An interesting thing about manufacturers is that a lot of them are not looking for new work. They have plenty of work. But they’re struggling to get it done because they have an employment issue. They can’t find enough people to do the job. One of the things we’re talking a lot about now is helping them attract employees.
Many manufacturers are still marketing at trade shows, running ads within trade magazines and printing catalogs. Some of that seems like old practice to other industries, but many manufacturers still find success with it.
Our technology clients tend to be on the opposite side of the marketing spectrum. Sometimes we have to slow them down and get them back to the basics because they’re so fast to adapt new technologies. Like when they’re trying to get followers on social media yet they forget about basic stuff like their logo or website. With technology companies we often help their team by designing a lot of content marketing like their white papers and infographics.
Do you have a few success stories you can share?
There was a technology company we helped with who works primarily with the government. Add it sometimes requires very high government clearance. They had so much work but couldn’t find employees to do the job, so their marketing was focused on employee attraction and recruiting. I wish more manufacturers understood this because they often forget about making their company an attractive place for employees to work.
This tech company understood this and marketed for that purpose. We put together this awesome brochure and exhibit display for them. The theme was focused on the idea that their work is high tech and confidential. So, employees could imagine they’re on a mission like James Bond. It created an adventure mindset which helped with their recruitment results.
Another success story was a manufacturer stuck in 60’s or 70’s with their branding. Our job was to refresh them. But they were unclear on their positioning. We helped them get clear on their market position and find their difference by holding a positioning workshop.
During one of the workshops, someone on their team shouted out at one point “we just get shit done.” I suggested they change that to “Get strut done” and use it for their tagline. Everybody loved it. Simple, with a bit of attitude.
What are your thoughts on any upcoming trends for 2020?
One of the big trends I see in business and marketing is creating macro content then breaking this down into micro content. I think that’s very effective. What I don’t like is the balance between quantity and quality. Things are getting shifted too much in the quantity direction.
Some influencers are pumping out a lot of junk. And I think people are following their guidelines a little too much. Because even if you do what they suggest, you’re probably not going to have the same success. Their advice may be valuable at the core, but there’s a lot of hype. And people think the hype is the answer, and often it’s not.
There’s also a trend of companies going into video marketing or podcasting and using lead magnets and funnels. Attracting leads is awesome. But if you attract them and send them to a website that’s broken or a brand that looks like junk, it doesn’t matter how many leads you bring in. They’re not going to convert.