Fundamentally, The Utmost Group is a strategic and implementation resource, with a focus on branding, marketing, communications and promotion. Below are summaries of our services in each discipline


Strategy

Given our work in 40 categories and with 120 brands, we have experience with almost every imaginable personal, career, leadership and organizational situation.  

This makes us particularly well qualified to assist entrepreneurs, startups and small business owners, both personally and for their organizations. We offer fully customized strategic consulting services on both a project and retainer basis.


Branding

Experience has proven the authentic truth of every brand already exists. It is unique and is waiting to be discovered. To do this, we employ a series of steps, including:

Competitive benchmarking

Our work typically begins with a detailed secondary research analysis. We’ve found this is the most efficient, quickest way to arrive at a common base of knowledge.

This is followed by a competitive landscape analysis. Homepages of peer and aspirational organizations are used as brand analysis surrogates. Multi-dimensional analyses allow us to understand the landscape from a gestalt view: facts and feelings, images and copy.

Brand discovery

We conduct customized, one-on-one interviews with a carefully selected group of leadership, staff, partners, customers, and other important constituents. 

Our research techniques include:

  • Emotional laddering 
  • Free associations
  • 30-second elevator pitches
  • Projective and personification exercises 
  • Visual associations

The goal is to identify brand truth(s), and achieve internal alignment early in the engagement process.

Strategic brand platform

We develop brand platforms iteratively, in partnership with our clients.

They contain three interlinked sections.

  • The first asks four open-ended business questions, which are future oriented.
  • The second asks six communications questions, written from the target audience’s perspective.
  • The third includes brand elements ranging from brand promise to tone and manner.

The goal is to achieve consensus about the marketing and communications that will emanate from the brand platform before it’s created and produced. We invite you to learn how we can help.


Marketing

Over the past 30+ years, we’ve worked in categories ranging from B2C and B2B, packaged food to retail, consumer service to durables. This makes us especially qualified to develop innovative marketing plans and programs, including:

Planning services

Our breadth and depth of experience – across businesses, nonprofits and social enterprises – allows us to provide insights unavailable from traditional ‘industry experts’.

In addition to marketing plans development, we can also assist and/or direct clients to specialists in:

  • Data mining and modeling
  •  ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment)
  • Inbound marketing
  • Marketing automation

Competitive benchmarking

Depending on the need/assignment, we can use a wide range of sources including:

  • Online secondary research
  • MarketingProfs
  • MarketResearch.com

Importantly, we also have access to a number of informal informational resources; from ad agency and design studio personnel to media sales reps. We’ve found these folks can be very helpful in focusing our time and efforts.

IMC services

We are ardent proponents of web-centric IMC (integrated marketing communications) plans, and adept at conducting IMC audits and/or developing IMC new plans.

We’ve proven that for our clients, IMC stewardship includes SEO, social media, PPC, segment and geo-targeting, and remarketing.

By using behavioral data and funnel metrics, we’ve helped improve the productivity of IMC plans by as much as 30 percent. We invite you to learn how we can help.


Communications

Messaging optimization

This research is often an outgrowth of our brand discovery research. Once we identify the common messaging themes across a brand’s constituents, we can conduct customized messaging research with key audiences.

The goal with messaging optimization research is not only to understand what to say, but just as important, how to say it.

We’ve proven that through this process, the brand story can literally reveal itself.

Creative services

Our virtual, customized team approach is a superior engagement model. We can provide ‘full service agency’ quality work, often at half the price, and with quicker delivery timelines.

This includes every form of communications:

  • Brand Identities
  • Websites
  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Collateral Materials

We refer you to our Work for validation.

 

Content management

We’ve yet to meet an organization that does not need help with its content. Managing everything from website updates, to social media, blogs, e-newsletters, etc. The demands can be overwhelming.

We solve the ‘affordability’ issue by assigning the right content specialist(s) to your organization. The keys to success are determining focus (which often includes eliminating less productive social media options), assigning specific responsibilities and securing accountability. We invite you to learn how we can be of assistance. 


Promotion

Strategic partnerships

As you know, there’s never 'enough' funding available for marketing in any organization. That’s why we are advocates for building strategic partnerships wherever they make sense. Particularly for nonprofit and neighborhood organizations and retailers.

By wisely leveraging the impact of a community’s marketing and promotional programs, everyone can benefit.  This strategy is especially relevant to rebuilding all of the neighborhoods in a city like Detroit. 

Co-marketing

Once strategic partnerships have been formed, and the promotional platform established, results-driven, retail communications become the requisite next step.

We've found third parties like The Utmost Group are better equipped to help manage
the complexities inherent with co-marketing programs. Regardless of who produces
the marketing communications, we are happy to advise and assist with the implementation process.