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Topic: Advertising/PR

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Company Overview - Pr Vs Sales Vs Website

Posted by GIS on 250 Points
Dear MarketingProfs.

We are a startup company, moving from 3 years of R&D into our Go To Market Phase selling our first product to Flight Schools and Pilots in General Aviation. I am working on the company overview for our website. I am aiming for a one paragraph summary and now think we should have the same one paragraph mantra for press releases, company sales pitches, and the company overview section under our website. I'm torn between a one paragraph Credibility Statement such as a salesperson uses for every sales introduction vs. a high level mission statement.

As example our 10 year vision and mission is:

'To position ourselves to become the world leader in the emerging field of Augmented Reality (AR). We will capitalize on the ever increasing capabilities of decreasing costs of mobile electronics in order to create a new generation of consumer and commercial products.'

Unfortunately, I don't believe this resonates with our target market - Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Flight Operations.

Our current company statement is at [inactive link removed]

Appareo Systems, a leader in Augmented Reality solutions, develops portable consumer electronics combined with 3D graphics software for capturing, rendering, and even replaying the human experience. Appareo can accurately track and represent in full 3D your experience whether by air, land, or sea; whether using a plane, a boat, a car, or a skateboard, snowboard, or parachute. Appareo is breaking new ground in the 3D representation of the world around us by utilizing the latest in satellite technology and augmented reality solutions. Appareo is revolutionizing instruction, accelerating learning, and maximizing the experience of any outdoor activity by tracking and playing it back in full 3D.

The above message was written based on the intention that we will expand beyond Aviation, we want to sell to many different markets, and in 2007 we will move to other markets in Extreme Sports.

The message I am considering is the following and looking to validate my thinking. So the question is, is it best to stay specific like below and wait to update the message when we are ready to expand to new markets or should we stick to general statements in PR and on the Website leaving the following statement for the sales calls?

'Appareo delivers affordable and easy to use flight recorders and flight simulator software for training, tracking, and testing. Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Flight Operations are unlocking the ability to track and playback their actual flights and discovering measured improvement in training, an increased focus on safety, and realizing a clear advantage over their competition. Delivering on the ever-increasing sophistication of gaming software and the power of microelectronics, Appareo’s team of engineers, programmers, and strategic leadership are dedicated to bringing the virtual to reality.'

Please advise on
A) What rule of thumb do you follow for Company Overviews, vs. Mission Statement, vs. PR Summary, vs. Sales Introduction - Any?
B) Which company statement above would you use, if neither how would you modify it.
C) If you look at our website www.appareo.com do you understand what we sell and does this message support it?

Thank you

GIS / Michael

[Moderator: Inactive link removed from post. 2/14/2011]

  • Posted on Accepted
    Hi GIS,

    Finally a real good case to work on.
    And pardon me if I'm a bit straight to the point.

    First of all a common mistake a lot of R&D companies make is: LACK OF CREATIVITY when it comes to word what they do and how to bring it out.

    Your company is making cutting edge software and gadgetry, yet your website looks like you would be selling milk products.

    3D and everything that comes with it, is the new wave of things to happen to us, more and more the virtual reality in gaming, training and applied sciences is breaking through and that cutting edgeness needs to come out of what you want to say. It needs to come out of everything you do towards the public.

    Advise on ABC:

    a. Your mission statement is in general what you keep your employees in front of the nose and you sometimes share it with your customers, a PR summary is the bloomed up version of what you want your company to be in the eyes of the customers and is therefore the most important, it is the written image of what you are and do.
    It needs to be good, capturing and creative. Some companies spend a lot of time and money in order to get this right!
    A sales intro is what your sales people use to get to customers and capture their attention under 10 seconds.
    So, all three are different and must be targeting the right audience.
    What is the companies vision, what are your strategies, what do you make and sell, what are the features and why should customers be interested in your stuff?

    b. None of them. They lack creativity are to long and do not get the right message across.
    I would do some brainstorming with different people in your comp and come up with some more intriguing, capturing versions of what you have now. Or try entirely new things or come from a different angle.

    c. As mentioned above, no.
    Nowadays there are websites of watch making companies that look better then yours. If you are in the world of 3d, where is the sample on the first page of your website, where is that skater, virtually enhanced that flies through the site, or the test run with the F16, capturing the attention of your web visitors?
    A picture of your facade could come in contact us at the end of the website.

    What you guys need is a make over of your marketing program, your profiling, your self image, from the colour scheme of your site to the way you word things.

    I hope this helps you and again my apologies if I'm a bit blunt.
    Regards,
    Woutkok
  • Posted on Accepted
    This product is very intriguing. However, I'm puzzled by your mission statement. It may actually hint as to the root of your struggles: your mission includes the term "to position ourselves to become the leader in..."

    Your mission statement needs to be absolute, i.e. "To attain leadership position in..."

    Now, it might seem subtle, but it might also clarify other marketing challenges, such as your uncertainty over defining how you will segment your audiences. Your Web site leads me to believe that most of your research and feedback is in aviation. Therefore, my initial advice would be to follow that lead, and intensify your messaging to this group.

    Here's how we would approach it at Danskin Creative:

    1. We would make a list of known benefits (especially as described by your test group of pilots). Benefits are different from features.

    2. Write a paragraph or two explaining the product, injecting those benefits into the copy.

    3. Now, begin analyzing how you can break that copy down into one hard-hitting sentence.

    4. Start your Web site out with that sentence. Then organize all other thoughts in an inverted pyramid approach - most important first.

    And, if you're struggling with this, let me know.

    I would also suggest that you should be approaching your PR execution ONLY as part of an overall marketing communication plan. Feel free to see our article, Marketing Plan: Better Simple Than Not Followed, available at http://resources.danskincreative.com

    Hope this helps.

    Mick
  • Posted by telemoxie on Accepted
    I have quickly scanned your note above and your web site, and I'm not sure exactly what you do. My suggestion is that that you set up a focus group... of third graders. Find a cub scout pack or some group of young children, take them out for ice cream or make a donation to their club, and see if you can put your message in words they can understand.

    (If you actually do this, and if the kids are bright kids, you will very likely be amazed at the results... and if you send me an email regarding your experiences (see my profile) I'd appreciate it.)

    Rather than trying to sound important and use big technical words, it seems to me you need to work much harder to very simply and very clearly deliver your message.

    I agree with the post above that you need messages which are tailored to each audience and usage, rather than pressing for a "one size fits all" approach.
  • Posted by cread on Accepted
    Dear GIS:

    Per your request C.

    I am a private pilot as well as run marketing for my own companies. I went to your website. The demo is lame. I still don't really know what your capable of doing or why I should be interested.

    Why would I care if my CFI had a system?

    What are the benefits?

    What does it really do? I think I have an idea but I am not sure. In that case I just move on.

    Sorry to also be blunt, but, you asked. That was smart.

    Good luck

    Charles

  • Posted on Accepted
    Michael,

    I like the easier to understand second statement towards the bottom of your post.

    The website delivers no clear message and definitely has no "call to action" that got me excited.

    Having only flown planes in flight simulator software, I can understand what you are talking about, however I have no idea how a real-life pilot would accept your pitch.

    Hope this helps,
    John
  • Posted by GIS on Author
    To CREAD - Charles - 'Sorry to also be blunt, but, you asked. That was smart.' - At least it was smart to ask.

    To a few of your questions are you suggesting the landing page say more than it does? As we were advised by a marketing consultant to put this detail on the product pages. It sounds like either we didn't accomplish enough on the home page or else we need more on the product pages.

    Regarding the CFI, we've been told by some Significant Flight Programs that instructors have been asking for years for a way to capture and show a visual to the students of what their lesson should look like as well as a visual playback of how the students performed. Simulators are close, but to many students they are artificial.

    As for the demo the product, I'll take this as a message to up the urgency on the demo. It is not yet ready for sale so we are taking several passes with basic flash.

    I'll take the message from everyone that the website needs some work. It's a tough pill to swallow considering resources we & the website firm poured into this.

    GIS

  • Posted by GIS on Author
    Dear Skoobie99

    Regarding your comments - no clear message and no call to action.

    Is the site inconsistent? Is it saying too many different things? Or is it not conveying enough value for the pilot.

    What board on Marketing Profs would you suggest is best for addressing the items you mentioned?

    For instance, if I want to try messages like 'buy a virtual video camera' or 'instant replay for air races'.

    'Take this black box with you and when your done you have a simulated video record of your flight.'

    'Learning to fly, afraid of crashing or getting lost.' Don't learn from your mistakes the hard way. Get Flight Lite.

    FYI - Our product will soon capture MSFT Flight Sim data files and overlay them on the real world with satellite imagery. Fly in MSFT's world and play it back in ours so to speak.

    Thank you,

    GIS
  • Posted by GIS on Author
    skoobie99

    Regarding statements, were you referring to:

    Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Flight Operations are unlocking the ability to track and playback their actual flights and discovering measured improvement in training, an increased focus on safety, and realizing a clear advantage over their competition.

    ???

    Just trying to clarify.

    Thanks

    GIS
  • Posted by GIS on Author
    Dear Woutkok,

    Blunt can be helpful. When you say these statements lack creativity, can you provide an example of what you might consider more 'Creative'?

    We tried creative and clever but our audience told us to say 'Flight Recorder' and 'Simulator Software'. To use another comment on this post, we were told to try and speak to the 3rd graders - so we say black box and flight simulator a lot more now then we did before.

    I like the ideas of 3D flying across the screen. We had opted to avoid being too fancy and try for more substance. I think we can get to the smashing 3D.

    You pose quite the challenge. We feel we have mission and vision in place well enough for the employees. I have been amazed at companies who align the mission statement with the PR Statement and can even make them one in the same. It seems this may be personal preference.

    What I'll take away from your feedback is the focus on 3D and hopefully look for an additional suggestion from you on Creativity.

    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    GIS


  • Posted by GIS on Author
    Dear Mick,

    Thank you for the detailed reply.

    We are a startup company and Aviation is the first market we will focus on. So you are correct in picking out that we are aimed in that direction. The challenge is that we want to call out to many markets. What I am hearing from you is to gain more focus.

    As for the definitive in the mission statement, that does harken to writing out goals as if they are already completed - Franklin Covey Style.

    I appreciate your sharing and would like to speak to a couple of your points.

    Is this closer to what you are suggesting?

    1) Features vs. Benefits:

    Feature - Records Flights
    Benefits - Get an edge and win the job (Commercial Pilots)

    Feature - Log Your Flight
    Benefit - Keep your license - Challenge the FAA with facts when you think you are in the right.

    Benefit - Save a life, maybe yours, by catching small mistakes before they become big ones.

    Now driving to the hard hitting sentence has been a focal point for a while. We'll continue to beat up on this one. It's funny or sad, but I was really thinking we had it with...'Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Flight Operations are unlocking the ability to track and playback their actual flights and discovering measured improvement in training, an increased focus on safety, and realizing a clear advantage over their competition. '

    I guess this doesn't have enough zing or else it is lost on the website.

    I read your article - better simple than not followed and what it said to me is research, plan, execute and measure. Keep it simple so you can do all the steps.

    Thank you again

    Let me know what you think of the benefits.

    GIS
  • Posted by GIS on Author
    Dear Telemoxie,

    I appreciate your candor. I've heard from some outside the aviation community that what we do is challenging to understand.

    I appreciate your 3rd grader suggestion and happen to know a teacher who can help in that area. If I pull it off I'll let you know.

    Rather than trying to sound important and use big technical words, it seems to me you need to work much harder to very simply and very clearly deliver your message.

    Regarding the big words and technical language, it is a balancing act here. The military complex and the big manufacturers who are interested in an OEM version of our product for their applications use very technical language and big words. So on one side we wish to sell consumer products, yet we also will sell technical products to manufacturers.

    Thanks again for the suggestions.

    GIS
  • Posted on Member
    Dear GIS,
    CReativity is the subtle things that bring dead matter to life.
    Like a sprig of chervil on top of a dish or the way the bartender puts the milk foam on the cappuccino.
    For you it could be like mentioned above some color in your website, some moving items a display or showcase of what you do.
    Creativity comes in any form, like words turned differently suggesting both the possible and the impossible.
    What I suggest you could do is have some brainstorms on what you could do creativily on your site/image/mission statement etc.
    Then have some of your developers work on that to come up with something fany yet elegant yet intriguing.
    Happy to help,
    W
  • Posted by cread on Member
    GIS

    A follow up.

    I saw your adv in the recent "Flying" magazine issue. It made more sense.

    You have the answers and the benefits as you have explained in your responses to the various contributors. If you incorporate those into the Website and demo you will have a much stronger site.

    I would favor a more dynamic demo with a real benefit layed out or several options depending on the status of a viewer.

    One for the recent FAA target.
    One for the recent flight test flunkie.
    One for the new CFI
    One for the CFI with a difficult student
    One for the aerobatic pilot working on new stunts
    One for the flight school owner trying to jack up revenues

    and so on. Something to make it more personal and drive people to want to try the product.

    Also a list of CFI's and or schools that have the product available. Good for them and you.

    This sounds like a product that can be useful, except maybe my CFI who wont even use a GPS in training.

    Good Luck

    Charles Read

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