Lone Fir Creative believes marketing that stimulates business requires both strategy and muscle; otherwise — it’s just noise. Lone Fir Creative is a digital marketing agency that gives structure to your vision and has the means to make it happen.
Tyler explains that Lone Fir Creative helps companies with branding and marketing in two different phases. One is more a foundation focus; which includes, brand positioning, creating clear messaging and rolling them out into all their materials for sales, marketing. And the second focus is driving awareness and amplifying messages by getting them in front of the right target audience.
Q1: Has COVID changed the dynamics between brands and end users?
Tyler: Very much so. In fact, in a few different ways. You’ve got the people that were already digital and digital first, that obviously had to pivot and shift a little bit. A lot of their change was more towards, in my opinion, personalization, and availability of whatever their product was. It could be stuff online that had to figure out how to enable more of a “get out of the way” type of a sales force type of an enablement. And then you’ve got the other side that really wasn’t digital first, but at some point they created a digital business card as a website, but had no way of figuring out how to convert people into a digital experience.
We spent a lot of time with that second layer of people over the last two years. The main questions were: How do you get a digital experience? How do you change some of the product offerings you have? Or how do you package them in such a way they can be available online? Or to be available from a digital standpoint? Because there’s so many people that shifted from a buying standpoint where I think we leaped three to five years, if not even more, as far as the consumer’s experience.
Q1.5: Is this a complicated transition for companies? Is it hard?
Tyler: It’s a hard question to answer to be honest. I think that it has to do with the company. It has to do with their willingness to make the change. How much are they going to dig their heels into the way they used to do things versus the way they do things now? I think that’s even all the way down to working remotely. I would say the companies that decided they were going to look at it differently and make a shift, versus try to just recreate what they had were more successful.
In our experience, working with customers, it is the willingness of the company to dive in and make changes. There are so many tools to be able to convert things into a digital experience, or just have to be willing to change. It is a fixed mindset versus growth mindset. In our experience it was more connected to that very physical challenge to get things online.
Q2: I would imagine there’s going to be pressure on financial services and healthcare institutions to provide a working relationship and environment that’s comfortable to their consumers, which are going to be people who grew up with technology. Is this true?
Tyler: Totally. I think we’re there, to be honest. I think of people that we’ve hired even that are in that 25-40 year-old range, that grew up with technology in their formative years are able to adapt to a work environment that’s digital faster than the older generations.
And I’m there myself.
The options that are available are very different than what the options were for me 20 years later. I think that it is going to be a make-or-break deal. I think there could be a slower play for those companies being able to phase out comparatively to maybe how fast it might have happened.
Q3: Is adoption not just a fixed or growth mindset but also a human capital issue? Do some of these companies simply not have the people or personnel with the technology chops to do this work?
Tyler: 100%. I think that there are people that are in organizations that don’t know what’s possible. Their brain doesn’t think that way because maybe they didn’t grow up with it. Maybe they haven’t stayed in tune with it, or are not looking at it through that lens. At the beginning of the pandemic I was getting texts from people saying, “Hey, have you heard of Zoom?” And I’m saying, “I’ve been a paying customer of Zoom for four years.” If you don’t have a mindset where you can adapt, generally your product is even further behind that with the ability to make that digital or have it available.
Q3.5: Because we know Zoom was not created in reaction to COVID, and hearing that you were a paying customer for four years before, I’m curious about your opinion on Zoom’s growth, just using them as an example, do you see COVID as an accelerant?
Tyler: Yeah, I think it’s super interesting. We started as a remote agency. I took a couple months trying to grow in Seattle and realized it was super hard to find people competing against Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, and I could go on. So, I started bringing people on remotely. It was interesting because we would have conversations with clients about being remote team and they would ask, “How does that look? Do you guys actually work or does everyone just wear their PJs?” We now haven’t gotten a question like that since February of last year.
Yeah, I would say in a lot of ways it’s an accelerant. Probably there’s some asterisks though to that, in saying that there are some new categories that potentially are being developed because people didn’t understand or realize that it could be developed. It’s hard to know if those would have come out or not.
Q4: Do customers or prospects ever ask about privacy and security issues around how their data is going to be used to drive opportunity?
Tyler: That’s a great question. I can’t make a blanket statement of yes or no. I can say there’s a lot more interest in it now than two years ago. I think people are paying a lot more attention to it. I don’t think there’s been enough scenarios where people have seen what’s happening with their data overall.
Q5: Does failing to adopt digital marketing transformation tools create a smaller economy on a macro level?
Tyler: Yep. I think so. I mean, I think it’s been really interesting to work with businesses long term. Where you can spend some time and look at it through fresh eyes, and a fresh perspective, to help them sell more of their products – it’s amazing what that can do to help move product, move service, drive awareness, and create opportunities for those businesses. Sometimes it’s as simple as rewording or wordsmithing things because we buy things based on words.