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(February 25, 2014 – Youngstown, Ohio) Due to the increasing number of in-house creative and marketing services being offered, Keynote Media Group, a Youngstown marketing firm founded in 1977, has announced it has adopted a new brand identity and tagline.  “The emphasis is now on ‘Keynote’,” says Richard Hahn, company founder and president.

He explains that the new look is a culmination of months of planning, creative meetings and design testing.  “Our goal was to better align our image with the wide range of services we provide and the diversity of businesses we serve,” he emphasizes.  The new brand identity features a contemporary, global design and introduces the new tagline – ‘inspired marketing.’ 

Chris Anthony, the firm’s art director, explains that the company has been able to build and maintain brand equity as ‘Keynote’ and it was time to further reinforce that identity.  “The letter ‘k’ and ‘Keynote’ will be prominently displayed with smaller text utilized for the words ‘Media Group.’”

By continuing to feature the word ‘media’ in the name, the firm believed the perception of Keynote’s capabilities might be misinterpreted.  “Most often the word ‘media’ is associated with communication services such as newspapers, TV and radio stations,” says Hahn.  He explains that although Keynote works in partnership with these outlets, the firm’s focus remains on providing inspired marketing, brand management, web, video and public relations services to B2B, B2C and nonprofit clients.”

The rebranding supports the evolution of the firm, but it isn’t just about the look, it’s about the culture.  “Efficient and straightforward is how I describe it,” says Hahn.

The redesigned website, with a new domain name of KeynoteCreates.com, will allow for a more engaging user experience while capturing the firm’s personality.  The homepage features a revolving video of the new office space, emphasizing the company’s expertise in visual media.

Hahn explains “no matter what we do creatively for a client, it’s our job to tell their stories.  We aren’t changing Keynote’s story, just the title of this chapter.”

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As one of the most important tools in the business development playbook, video is highly effective in telling a brand’s story.  Whether it’s used for presentations or as part of a company’s website, video often speaks louder than words.

Keynote provides an array of valuable services for B2B clients including: Marketing Strategy, Business Branding, Brand Audit 360 (a consultancy to determine your company’s strengths and weaknesses), Social Media, Websites, Promotional Videos (Just like this one!), Business Development & Retention Strategy, Public Relations and Crisis Management.

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How can your business prosper through advancing technology being developed right here in Youngstown?  America Makes is advancing on additive manufacturing – technology that will cut out costly material and labor from current manufacturing processes.

This article, originally posted by The Vindicator, will shed more light on the subject.


To hear President Barack Obama tell it — as he did Tuesday night in his nationally televised State of the Union address — the future of high-tech manufacturing in this country is being nurtured in Youngstown. Significantly, it isn’t the first time the president has publicly referred to America Makes, the institute in downtown Youngstown where cutting-edge technology is being developed.

Obama spoke about the city earlier this month when he announced the creation of a similar innovation institute in Raleigh, N.C., and he mentioned us in his State of the Union address last year.

All that attention from the president is great — and does have the effect of turning the national and international spotlight on America Makes, formerly the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

But, an even better story would be an announcement by the president that the federal government is following up on its initial $30 million investment in the Youngstown project with a major grant to help facilitate its growth.

The $70 million institute was launched in 2012 by nine research universities, including Youngstown State, Carnegie Mellon and Case Western Reserve; five community colleges, including Eastern Gateway Community College; 40 companies, and 11 nonprofit organizations in the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh Tech Belt. Of the $70 million, $30 million came from the federal government in a national competition of manufacturing innovation consortiums, and $40 million from the regional participants.

AMERICA MAKES’ NATIONAL FOOTPRINT
Since its launching, America Makes has recognized the potential of being more than a regional initiative and has opened membership to the broader additive manufacturing and research community. The expansion has helped generate additional revenue and expand what initially was a regional consortium into one with a national reach.

Among the early new participants were the University of Texas at Austin, the Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Texas at El Paso.

The institute’s primary goal is to make advancements in additive manufacturing through extensive research and development. The technology utilizes 3-D software that draws up a detailed blueprint, which is then transmitted to a specialized machine that uses plastics, metals or resins to print a product layer-by-layer, cutting out costly material and labor in the process.

The rapid expansion, coupled with the worldwide interest the innovation hub is generating have obviously grabbed the attention of the White House.

OBAMA SHOULD RETURN TO VALLEY
In his speech Tuesday, the president announced that his administration is planning to help launch six more innovation institutes.

Given that America Makes in Youngstown is the template, Obama should consider coming to the Mahoning Valley and chairing a national forum on high-tech manufacturing.

The president’s approval rating has been below 50 percent for some time, and Republicans in Congress show little interest in working with him on major issues such as immigration, extending unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans and raising the minimum wage.

Obama needs to demonstrate that his administration isn’t just treading water — which he would do by hosting the national forum in Youngstown.

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In the B2B marketing universe, social media has become a go-to strategy. It’s critical to not focus on ‘likes’ and other insane metrics; the value in this tool is its ability to build relationships … period.

This article, originally posted by Huffington Post, nails it.


Let me ask you a question: If you lead a business and/or you are responsible for the marketing of your company, what is the return on 1000 Facebook likes?

Perhaps a better question is …
Did you know that only one to five percent of the people who “Like” your Facebook page actually see what you post on Facebook? Better still, only about 1.5 percent of those who like your Facebook page will ever return to your Facebook page?

Yet marketers clamber to get more likes. Almost obsessively as if these “Likes” can be traded in for revenue. Guess what, they can’t. At least not directly.

What about Twitter followers. How important are they? What exactly should a business expect from increasing there followers?
While many businesses will tell you they have generated a lead or an opportunity through engaging with someone that follows them on Twitter, few can say that a higher volume of followers directly led them to more opportunities or revenue.


Measurement Is Important, but We Must Measure the Right Things

Paying attention to the analytics is important. However, the key to B2B marketing is measuring the right things.

For instance, would you rather have 500 people read your blog that are in your industry and are potentially consumers of the product or service that you sell.

Or…

Would you prefer to have 50,000 readers that are just eyeballs because they have no need to consume what you are selling?

The answer is obvious, but everyday I hear marketers and business owners saying we need more people to read our content. Really, you just need the right people to read your content. This is especially true in B2B because your audience is usually very targeted.

Make Sense?

What Should B2Bs Be Measuring?
It all starts with understanding your purpose.

Why are your engaging in Social Media? Why is your company blogging? What are you trying to accomplish?
This is your digital marketing strategy. However it is important to understand these things before getting caught up in how many followers you have, who is liking your page and how many readers you have.

Those things matter once your strategy is in place, but before that it is just throwing “stuff” at the wall and hoping something sticks.

So here are a couple of things to focus on.

Target the Right Readers/Followers: You know who the ideal customer is for your business. Focus on connecting with them through social channels and content. With the right audience your conversions will grow at a much greater rate than they will by just pursuing volume.

Don’t Count Followers and likes, Build Relationships: The counts really don’t mean that much. While they may feel good for your brands ego, a huge volume of “Window Shoppers” or worse yet unengaged followers will likely translate into nothing that matters for your business.

With so much data and information available to us, it is easy to get caught up in the hype. But our role in the digital sphere is to drive meaningful relationships that translate into customer advocates and revenue.

Make sure that your actions directly support the real goals of your business and not appearances and metrics that don’t matter.

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Exal_BUTLER

When hired by Exal to create a print campaign that stood out from their competitors in the aluminum container industry, we wanted to focus on the company’s stunning graphics.  Partnering with The Butler Institute of American Art?   Talk about a no-brainer.

We took one of the museum’s paintings and reproduced it across six aluminum cans.  Worldwide exposure for The Butler, a high impact for Exal made for a very successful campaign.

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First things first: Business development is not sales!  If your BD department is not performing up to your expectations, maybe it needs to adopt a different mindset.  In many B2Bs we work with, changing the way BD thinks is pretty close to the top of the list.

This article, originally posted by Mashable, is a great place to start.


This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Many founders and CEOs come asking, “we need to hire a biz dev person, do you know anyone?” Few roles have more varied job descriptions than business development. It’s no wonder why it is hard to figure out who to hire, what this person should do and how to measure success. Read below for tips on successful business development for startups, including how to avoid many of the typical frustrations with business development.

1. Hire the Right Person at the Right Time
A person with deep industry knowledge and strong network ready to “do deals” can turn into a disaster if it is too early in a company’s product lifecycle. There are three stages in the commercialization process and not everyone is suited for every stage.

  • Scouting: The earliest stage of a company. At this point, business development is about identifying various routes to market, points of leverage and providing the internal team early market feedback. The ability to work with product and engineering teams is a key skill.
  • Testing: At this stage, biz dev will close a few deals to test assumptions and provide measurable input before you scale the business. Analytical skills to set up a framework for what to measure, and examining the data, will determine if and where to scale based on the company’s strengths and vision.
  • Scaling: After gathering data from early deals and validating a path to achieve your goals, business development is ready to start replicating deals and putting a support structure in place.

2. Business Development Is Not Sales
In general, business development will identify and create partnerships that enable leverage for driving revenue, distribution or that enhance the product. Sales is focused almost exclusively on driving revenue. Similar distinctions will apply when hiring a sales leader for an early stage company versus a more mature organization.

3. Post-Deal Management Is Crucial
All successful deals are a result of accountability and proactive management — by both biz dev and account management. In most cases, the account manager is a different person than the biz dev person who did the deal. Ideally, the account manager has variable compensation or incentives tied to meeting the goals established by both parties. If you are not ready to allocate the resources to support a deal, think twice before signing it.

4. Qualitative Versus Quantitative
Companies sometimes try to build a business purely around a qualitative value proposition, which is difficult and has a higher likelihood of failure. The market is less willing to pay for a better user experience or the promise of increased engagement, even if they like the product and find it useful. A quantitative value (lowers cost, drives revenue, more customers, etc.) dramatically increases the odds of success. One way to remember this rule is the pacemaker versus the hearing aid analogy: If you could only have one, which one would you choose?

5. Support for Business Development Is Essential
A good business developer will engage internal resources along the way to ensure the company can meet the goals and expectations of a partnership. A lack of support will almost certainly lead to finger pointing and blaming when things go south. Everyone should own part of the success or failure from the start.

6. Establish a Framework for Assessing Opportunity
In order to gain support from your team, everyone needs to understand why the deal makes sense for your company. Does it drive revenue, lead to new users or enable the company to enter a new market or vertical? When the goal is clear and measurable, it makes it easier to address issues like, “Why are we converting below projections?”

7. Make Deals Carefully
There is a difference between doing deals and doing the right deals. A good dealmaker can help identify a false signal –- when there is just enough market momentum and revenue to mask the greater opportunity. Conversely, a less experienced dealmaker or one with the wrong incentives can generate enough momentum and distract the company from the bigger opportunity. Many companies have been weighed down by a bad deal they later regretted -– this is where you want to develop a level of understanding and trust with your business development person.

8. There Are No Legal Issues
A legal agreement codifies a business arrangement and includes commercial terms as well as what happens if things do not work out. This requires business development and legal counsel to assess the business opportunity versus the business risk and explain the trade-offs to management.

Building a company is hard and requires a lot of things to go well including having a great product and team. Watching an idea become a product and a product generate revenue that becomes a successful company makes it all worthwhile. Bringing in the right business development person at the right stage, and following these other guidelines, will keep your company on the right track.

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It’s official, Keynote has a new logo, tagline and website. Oh, and did we forget to mention an awesome outlook on 2014?

“Over the years, we’ve been able to build and maintain brand equity as ‘Keynote’ and really wanted to further capitalize on that name.”  -Richard Hahn, President

“Logos should be simple, durable, memorable, and capable of evolving with their brands. I feel we’ve achieved that with our own ‘k’ logo. We added a touch of ‘bold’ with the number 1 contained within its structure to show where we’re going.”  -Chris Anthony, Art Director

“We really believe in the new tagline – Inspired Marketing. We hope we’re inspiring our clients as much as they inspire us. It’s the reason I love doing what I do so much.”  -Lisa Vantell, Production Director

“The new website was designed to engage visitors, answer questions about services we offer, and showcase the creativity of the Keynote team.”  -Jessica Winters, Client Relations Specialist

“With the website’s interactive background video, we wanted to capitalize on the growing trend of filtered images, while stalking the team’s every move … haha!”  -Emily Russo, Graphic Designer

Workshops were a fun addition to our rebranding. It was important that the personality of the employees show through. You can get marketing services anywhere, but genuine people are hard to find … We’re very lucky.”  -Sarra Mohn, Client Relations Specialist