3 is the magic number

Iain McInnes of McInnes Communications and James Cowdale of Third Floor Design explore the rationale that the number three is so prolific and important in all aspects of marketing, branding and corporate communications.

There are many aspects in life that involve the number three, from the triple jump in athletics to featuring in ‘The Magic Number,’ a defining 1990 single by hip hop trio, De La Soul. But more pertinent is the number’s relationship to marketing in the form of strategic planning, branding strategies, and corporate communications and PR.

Breaking elements of the marketing planning process into threes helps focus the mind on building an effective plan that not only can be implemented, but can be measured and adapted according to needs and changing market dynamics. For anyone having studied through the Chartered Institute of Marketing or in any post-graduate diploma, the defining of objectives, building of strategies, and the implementation of tactical campaigns underpins all activities.

As humans, we’re also well versed and programmed to think in threes, and the simple sales philosophy of good, better and best also supports this proposition. Several German car manufacturers have also had a core three-tier product strategy for many years, before the recent moves to extend their respective brands into new sectors, through the use of shared platforms in terms of engines and chassis.

Launch, grow and change is very much part of the process that’s adopted by Third Floor, and has been a hugely influencing ideology for a number of companies within the glazing and fenestration industries and beyond.

Launching a new product, brand or company for many can be a daunting prospect. You need to make an impact, tell a story and stand out from the crowd, all while ensuring a maximum return on your investment. This is where marketing agencies are often defined, in their ability to understand and embrace the commercial reality of businesses.

It’s inevitable to experience growing pains as companies expand. There’s an underlying need to establish an effective, forward-thinking strategy to catapult the brand forward during the growth phase. Opportunities must be taken, rather than lost, and businesses should look to enjoy and influence the growth curve into the medium-term.

Inevitably, businesses do change and will naturally evolve over time, moving into new markets or by defining a new target audience. Changing perceptions is difficult as it takes time, investment and careful planning, along with the use of strategic corporate communications and powerful PR campaigns, as we at McInnes Communications have done so over the last ten years.

While the ‘launch, grow and change’ process is adopted at a more strategic level, the ‘brand, design and digital’ progression form the deliverables that underpin these aspects of business and brand positioning.

The brand is your company’s promise, it’s what you stand for, what you believe in, and what your customers say about you when you leave the room. A strong, considered brand enables you to engage with diverse audiences on different levels and ensures your message is clear, meaningful and consistently delivered. Managed well, it can change customer perception and build long-term relationships and must integrate with a structured PR campaign to deliver the key messages.

For Third Floor, the brand is a starting point. Whether we are creating a brochure, developing a website or building a complete communications package, we always lead with the brand. Considerable time is taken by our team to immerse themselves in a company and to develop a rich understanding through the ‘dig, develop and deliver’ process. We strive to be guardians of client brands and act as a natural extension to their respective businesses.  

Over the past 10 years we have delivered hundreds of successful brand campaigns across the world, helping companies exceed their plans for growth. But design is more than just colour, image and layout. It’s about portraying a deep understanding of a brand’s belief, culture and positioning. 

Whether it’s advertising, packaging design or printed literature, there’s an opportunity to inject personality into the brand by blending intelligent positioning with impressive creative. This occurs by engaging in long-term partnerships with clients to maximise their brand value. From start-ups to household names, the goal is to create stronger brands and better businesses in both the trade and consumer sectors.

Just as your brand needs to be eye-catching and distinct, a website needs to stand out in an ever-growing digital world. By bringing together the creative brains of the entire agency, when it comes to designing websites we build every site from the ground up and so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution. By working this way, clients can be confident that their brand’s website will be unique, engaging, and completely distinguishable from others in the sector.

Think, create and communicate’ is very much the mantra of McInnes Communications and, like all the other ‘threes’ identified in this column, has been proven consistently to help deliver impressive commercial returns for clients. The vast majority in our portfolio are either market leaders, or are the fastest growing in their sector, testament to the way in which we deliver powerful and influential campaigns.

With a considerable understanding of the market we can accurately analyse competitors in terms of their position and ensure that campaigns stand out, elevate the brand, and deliver strong commercial returns. It’s often the most exacting detail that can make a difference, whether that’s just a few words or a whole communications strategy and these elements occur during the thought process.

Without a plan in place there is no direction and no way in which to map out the months and years ahead. With clearly defined objectives, carefully throughout strategies and polished tactical campaigns, brands can be catapulted to the dizzy heights of success, as our client list and loyalty shows.

Once a plan is in place, it’s our job to transform this into a campaign that can deliver rich results, and we’ve a long history in doing so from transforming emerging brands from the limelight into major influencers, or taking existing brands that need a new communications strategy. We also embrace in the ‘launch, grow and change’ process.

If clients require creative input from a design perspective then our partnership with Third Floor will come into its own, combining our collective resources. Yet, the creation of a structured and objective led campaign doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, it’s the way in which it is communicated and implemented that will do that with aplomb.

Communication for the purposes of PR involves the actual press releases and features that are carefully written, edited and distributed. There’s no junior writers carrying out this work, but someone with boardroom expertise in all things marketing, PR and corporate communications related. A mixture of online and offline channels is used and coverage is monitored to ensure maximum return on investment. 

Brands can also be communicated through newsletters, copy for websites or even by means of distribution to an entire media database of bloggers and journalists. Each of these three elements have a role to play in building brands and their considerable success.

Collectively, McInnes Communications and Third Floor have shaped and delivered some of the most successful marketing campaigns in this industry over the last decade. Our collaborative working and adoption of marketing’s magic number could help set your brand apart from your peers and ultimately deliver far greater commercial returns into the long-term.