The Silicon Review
In the highly competitive world we live in, branding has helped businesses gain immense traction in the market and stay ahead of the curve. Branding is often misunderstood as just a visual identity - logo, name, packaging, website, etc. In recent years, the concept of brand and its understanding has constantly evolved, even though the same old version of branding is being preached, even by some veteran marketers. Branding places an important role in a business’s success because it not only creates an impression on customers, but also gives the clients and customers an idea about what to expect from your company and how you differentiate from your competitors. There are various companies delivering excellent branding services globally, but Hummingbird Creative Group stands out from the rest. Hummingbird is an award-winning brand strategy agency that helps build business value through clear communication of brand differentiation.
The Hummingbird team works primarily with leaders in the areas of life sciences & healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing/distribution, and professional & personal services to define brand strategy, develop sustainable branding campaigns, and implement creative marketing and sales enablement programs. The company has helped thousands of brands take flight. Wendy Coulter, Founder and CEO of Hummingbird, even now communicates with each client personally to understand the essence of their brand. Hummingbird’s passion is to shift brand equity from the business owner to the business entity, which strengthens the company’s promise, presence, and profitability over time. Hummingbird serves as a fully outsourced marketing department for many of its clients.
In conversation with Wendy Coulter, Founder and CEO of Hummingbird
Creative Group Inc.
Q. What was the motivation behind starting Hummingbird Creative Group?
I began the company when I was only one year out of college, in 1995. Really, it was out of necessity during a job hunt and working outside of any field I was trained in, but it turned into a full-time gig. It’s so funny; I had a “side hustle” back when that was not a thing! When I started, I worked part-time doing quality control in a print shop, so I was taking side jobs as a freelance designer. I would figure out how to do whatever a client needed, from product design and architectural renderings to graphics and public relations. In under a year, I hired my first employee, and there was no turning back.
Q. Why is branding critical for a business and what impact does it create on the company?
We have done a lot of market research and recently written a white paper entitled, “Build Your Business Value Through Better Branding”. We learned three impacts of branding from our research: 1. At sale, a strong brand might command anywhere from 25-100% more on the open market; 2. Companies with strong brand orientation can generate almost double profits of other companies; and 3. Determining true competitive advantages and showing that your company holds a defensible leadership position [good branding and marketing] can increase a company’s EBITDA multiplier up to 20% at the time of sale or when seeking investment. Many business leaders only look at marketing as a support system to sales, but marketing’s role in building a strong brand has much deeper and broader impacts.
Q. A well-strategized brand orientation will help the company build trust with consumers, potential clients and customers. How do you create a roadmap/campaign that will meet the clients’ demand?
Today this has to be a very agile process, but the one thing that we urge all clients to start with is defining the Voice of the Customer (VOC) through insight interviews we hold with their customers. These interviews are used to determine true differentiation and define a brand vocabulary for all the marketing messages the client needs to push out. We also gather testimonials and learn how our clients deliver their products and services in a unique way through these interviews. Beyond that, we have a series of strategic branding tools we use to help define brand orientation so we can roadmap goals and create campaigns to build brands. These are pretty traditional concepts like defining target customers, identifying a Unique Sales Proposition (USP), developing brand personas, and understanding the customer journey to be able to create funnels and sales enablement tools.
Q. How do you maintain a strong relationship with your clients?
One-on-one collaborative work is our key to maintaining great relationships with clients. We often hold in-person meetings at our office or go on-site with our customers to plan and prepare together. We can’t be creative in a vacuum, and it’s so important for our clients to really buy into ideas in order for them to be successful. There’s an educational perspective, as well. We work to be informed through projects like case studies, industry studies, and ongoing training and we bring that information to the business and marketing leaders we work with. We are also intentional about working with companies that share similar core values and understand our commitment to our values, including adroitness, intimacy, discovery, integrity, and conviction, in all our business relationships.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
Our most exciting initiatives are happening around the idea of building brand equity. We are working on ways to show customers how their brand equity increases as brand orientation strengthens. We are developing scorecards and a new app, all in an effort to continue to evolve and provide innovative solutions for our clients!
Meet the leader behind the success of Hummingbird Creative Group Inc
Before she could even read, Wendy Coulter was selling shoes in the family shoe store. Back then, promotions and marketing meant going on the radio to play guitar or riding an elephant in the town parade. A lot’s changed, but entrepreneurship certainly runs in the family. After graduating from the School of Design at N.C. State University with degrees in Architecture and Industrial Design and a minor in Communications, Coulter entered the workforce for a bit. But in 1995, she founded Hummingbird with a desire to put her own ideas to work, creatively solving problems for businesses.
For Wendy, the hummingbird symbolized what she wanted to help brands do: take flight. Wendy’s passion is to help businesses more effectively communicate their positioning, differentiate their brands and grow revenue. Wendy frequently presents on topics including Leadership, Business Growth and Branding. Wendy is also a champion for women in business, and she founded the NC Women Business Owners Hall of Fame in 2018. She currently serves as President of the non-profit committed to honoring the legacy of women business owners throughout the state. She can be reached at 919-854-9100 ext. 301 or by email to email@example.com.