The Campfire Archive
Our complete archive of brand and marketing articles.
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Map & Fire was named one of the best branding and strategy agencies in both Los Angeles and California in 2021 by Clutch.
Create loyal connections with your customers by embracing the same qualities we use in our personal relationships.
Rebranding strategies come in different forms based on the depth of changes needed. Do you need a Refresh, a Rebrand, or a Brand Transformation?
By thinking of your brand as a character it makes it much easier to communicate in a clear, authentic voice that your customers will engage with and trust.
What are the patterns your brand uses telling customers about its quality?
The most dangerous misconception that founders and marketers can have is the belief that anyone, including their most loyal customers, care about their product or service.
Before jumping into the sometimes turbulent waters of identity design you should be crystal clear on one big question:
Why do we need an identity redesign right now?
To highlight the immediate benefits of investing in your brand strategy we can look at a recent case study with one of our clients.
A check-in on Map & Fire's Purpose and Mission 5+ years in, and with 2020 in the rear view.
Of all the ways your brand expresses its value to connect with customers, there are few more powerful than your website’s headline.
Defining something as multifaceted as your brand is bound to lead to questions. And while there are plenty of resources out there, the challenge is often understanding how those answers fit together.
While your positioning should highlight what makes your brand great, it’s also a valuable tool to identify dangerous points of competitive overlap.
When your brand is young and growing, it’s easy to feel limited by what you don’t have — budget, people, resources. Instead, by leaning into the assets you do have, you can tell an authentic story and build trust with customers all without a massive team or bank account.
When developing a brand it’s easy to find yourself trapped in a mental bubble. To break out of those ruts, it’s helpful to see what other businesses are doing.
One of the most important, and most often missed, aspects of creating an effective, memorable brand is a sharp point of view. Your point of view tells your audience a compelling story about how you’re unique and why they should engage with your business.
The better you are at understanding what your customers want to accomplish in their lives, the better you’ll be at marketing. The 5 And-Then-Whats tool is designed to help you understand the needs of your customers on multiple levels.
The TV show Top Chef provided a perfect sample set to crystallize how powerful positioning is to the success of your brand.
There’s a reason why writing effective marketing messages is so hard. Within the span of a couple short sentences your messages have to summarize the entire essence of what your brand provides.
What messages are the biggest brands putting out around the COVID-19 crisis? And what can other brands learn from these examples?
At a time when we’ve never been farther apart physically, video calls have managed to bring us closer together.
Every business is facing the same question: How should brands communicate during a crisis like this?
The better your brand is at storytelling, the easier it will be to build trust with a new audience.
How To Get Real Customer Data Within Hours (Not Weeks or Months) That Will Improve Your Brand and Marketing Messages
Customer research is critical for every business. The key is to find ways to get it quickly and put it into action.
The words we search for on Google can provide an excellent peek into how we think about concepts.
Every brand starts at zero when it comes to their audience.
Your brand’s ability to use images effectively has a big impact on a customer’s decision to engage with you.
If you don’t have a clear way to think about your brand, it’s difficult to build and improve on it.
A new customer arrives on your website’s homepage for the first time...and the clock is ticking.
For your brand to be effective it needs to be central to how your entire business operates.
When developing a brand, it’s not always easy to know what’s working and what isn’t.
Creating marketing messages robs people of their ability to speak like human beings.
The marketing technology company, Drift, can teach us a lot on how to use your brand to propel fast growth.
When creativity needs to serve a specific purpose, expressing it can go from a liberating experience to a paralyzing one.
Remote work creates savings opportunities for businesses and more freedom for employees, but it has some big challenges too.
Humor has the magical ability to ease difficult situations and extract more joy out of good ones.
For companies with solid cultures led by thoughtful leaders, core values serve as the brand's foundation.
How did your customers solve the needs you address before they found your business?
When it comes to decision making, we love to think of ourselves as thoughtful, rational beings. And in marketing, we extend that same line of thought to our customers. We imagine them carefully assessing and analyzing our offering. Poring over every detail.
But the truth is your customers, like everyone, mostly make intuitive, emotional buying decisions.
One of the most memorable conversations I’ve ever had with a founder came from a brand strategy workshop we ran a few years ago.
We asked an open-ended question to the group: “Why haven’t you worked on your brand strategy in the past?”
The right visual can be a huge asset to quickly convey information about your brand's position.
The default answer to the question “Should I be on (name a channel / social network)”, is NO.
The phrase “your brand is not your logo” has been around for years. But it doesn’t go far enough.
Developing strategic statements and summaries for the direction of your brand is an essential process for every business.
It’s easy to compare the emotional turbulence of running a business with riding a roller coaster. The standard business lifecycle comes with tense uphill climbs, exciting turns, and sometimes heart-stopping descents. When you’re that invested in your work, you can’t help but feel the intensity of those moments.
One of the biggest tests for founders and business leaders then becomes how you react in those situations.
Insights and stats on what CEOs and Founders think about most when building a brand.
For your brand to establish a unique position and rise above the noise, your strategy needs to embrace legit trade-offs.
If you don’t put care into your ads, you’ll burn through budgets without much to show for it.
To create a brand that’s effective, memorable, and sustainable you have to make trade-offs.
The actions my Dad modeled drove home many important lessons for me on how to lead a business.
Tone of voice is a critical component of your brand. Your tone impacts every piece of communication you have with your customers. If it’s inconsistent or misaligned with your customers’ expectations it can destroy any chance you have of building a connection with them.
Even if you’re not an astrophysicist you still probably know at least one thing about black holes. There’s just something mysterious and exciting about an object with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing can escape it. Even light.
When it comes to messaging, the biggest mistake companies make is to focus too much on themselves.
Every time a customer looks at your brand, they want to figure out the position you fill in their life.
No matter how you choose to define your brand, it should always hinge on one common element: your customers.
When you look at the idea of “world-class” from the right angle it can become a powerful guide for your business.
You’re at your desk. You’re deep into a problem. You’ve stared at it for hours. And now you’re stuck.
There's a product out there that everybody's used but might be slightly embarrassed to talk about; toilet paper. The company Tushy is looking to disrupt this industry. Let's see how well their position to do that.
Regardless of what a prospective customer does or says, it will always take way longer for them to get started than you expect.
Does this little home robot provide enough value to actually get you to buy him?
One of the hardest parts of creating content for a business is developing a consistent style.
You can spot an entrepreneur the second the topic of work comes up. Their eyes light up. They smile. Their speech quickens as they eagerly describe their business.
There’s a popular metaphor in the strategy world of comparing your company’s brand to an iceberg.
The idea is that your visual identity (logo, colors, and such) are like the visible “tip” of your brand.
Lying below the surface are the strategy elements that support and inform that identity.
Whether you’re a startup or you’ve been around for years, talking to your customers is a critical practice. It provides a level of insight into your business that you can’t get through surveys and analytics alone.
The 10X Rule states that in order for customers to switch from a current behavior, they need a new option that’s 10X better.
As business owners, we all make assumptions about how our customers think and feel. But when those assumptions are wrong, customers will struggle to see the value of our offering.
There’s a well known idea that you can classify any business into one of two camps: Vitamin or Painkiller.
How much does timing affect your chance of success in a market? What outside forces might impact the longevity of your business and brand?
When it comes to business decisions, relying on your memory could be fatal.
If I told you that “nobody cares” about your business how would you react? What’s the feeling you get in your gut when you hear that?
Why it’s critical to understand who your business is competing against.
With all the different flavors of competition your business is up against, there’s a sneaky one that’s easy to overlook.
One of the biggest challenges of being an entrepreneur is maximizing the use of your time.
As a founder you never get a nice, contained list of responsibilities to focus on. Instead you get one massive list titled: “Do everything to keep the business going”.
To be effective at attracting and converting customers for your brand, it’s important to understand how they think about the price of your offering.
There are lots of factors around price that influence a customer’s decision to make a purchase.
A marketing teardown of the good and bad on how the biggest phone brands are attempting to pitch you on their latest and greatest products.
No matter how you choose to define your brand's strategy, there are common elements that every business needs to account for in some way. These elements impact the success of your business whether you realize it or not.
It’s easy to see how if you were to jump straight to writing messages, you’d have a pretty difficult time coming up with effective ideas around how to communicate.
This step helps you look at your product or service specifically through the lens of the problem (aka. Job) you identified for your customers.
From the point of view of your customer, what unique qualities of this offering most speak to their needs such that it would compel them to buy it or engage with it?
If the Job you defined in the previous step is important for your customers, then they’ll have some way they’re currently addressing it in their lives.
By digging into the competition, it maps out which aspects of this problem your competitors are focused on, and in turn helps you find openings for your solution within that landscape.
Once you’ve established that zoomed out view of your Vision, the next step is to zoom in.
You need to get very specific about the problem you’re addressing in your target customer’s life.
Your Vision Statement is meant to describe an envisioned future for the world where you’ve succeeded in accomplishing everything you’ve set out to do.
This is critical for giving you that zoomed out perspective of your overall direction. It defines what you’re looking to achieve on a broad level and who it benefits.
Our bodies give us indicators in the form of physical and mental discomfort for a reason. We’re wired to protect ourselves and preserve energy so that we can survive over the long run. Entrepreneurs need to know how to read those signals accurately.
However, because we’re not generally operating in actual survival situations, those indicators have to be taken with a grain of salt.
A breakdown of who Sudden Coffee seem to be targeting, what those customers need and value in a solution, and how their message aligns with those needs.
Every brand is built on a series of assumptions. If someone tried to perfectly define every variable that affects a business upfront, they’d never get started.
The secret weapon to help with your hiring process is sharing written documentation of your company’s vision and overall brand strategy.
In the process of building and running a business we spend countless hours dissecting the “what” and “how” of our efforts. We’re so eager to jump in and solve the problems right in front of us, it’s easy to skip past the bigger, more abstract “why” that’s driving us in the first place.
We all spend so much time on our work, it’s hard to imagine giving away some of those valuable hours for free. But there are lots of benefits to be had from donating your professional skills.
If you’re not familiar with the build-measure-learn cycle from The Lean Startup, the idea of running "experiments" on your brand may sound a little strange. But running experiments on your brand is quite easy and even fun.
A key part of building trust with your brand’s audience is using a clear, consistent tone of voice with everything you write.
It’s easy to see the comparisons of running a business with going on a long, physical trek.
Nothing is handed to you. Everything you get has to be earned.
I recently used a digital product that took me on the very important journey from "I-guess-I’ll-try-it" to "I-gotta-keep-using-this".
In marketing, we affectionately refer to the completion of that journey as the “aha” moment.
As someone whose writing is focused mainly around my work — in particular, topics like entrepreneurship, strategy, and psychology — I’m a little obsessed with learning which types of articles generate interest and why.
Gathering information at the start of a brand strategy project is like putting together a puzzle with someone who’s feeding you a few pieces at a time. The more pieces they share, the more you can help arrange them to bring the picture into view.
In a survey of over 28,000 employees across 15 countries to measure what most drives employee engagement. Of 91 possible factors, #1 was: I am committed to my organization’s core values.
Like many kids (and adults), my 7-year-old son loves video games. That love includes playing games himself as well as watching videos of others playing to learn new tricks and skills.