Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
In building brand awareness, a sales pitch is the hook, and consistent marketing is the “glue” that pulls your visuals and words together in a relatable way.
Marketing is about building relationships, and people commit to brands that seem dependable and trustworthy. Companies lure you in with witty slogans or incredible offers, but it’s a brand’s reliability that keeps you coming back. Customers stay loyal to brands when they feel comfortable and “in sync” with them, and the key to building that dependability is consistent, stylish marketing.
What does that look like in real life?
3 Examples of Brand-Building Marketing
Here are three organizations that do brand consistency well, and some take-home tips you can grab from their examples.
1. Charity: Water
“Charity: Water” is a non-profit organization that provides drinking water to people in developing nations.
As of 2019, the organization has raised $370 million, funding 44,000 water projects in 28 countries.
Charity: Water gives 100% of its donations to building water wells in Africa where women and children use yellow jerry cans to carry water back to their villages. The organization’s logo is a goldfinch jerry can that keeps the branding present across all platforms and keeps the charity’s focus top of mind.
Charity: Water has mastered the art of getting people to form personal connections with their brand, including online fundraising campaigns where people can link to personal events like birthdays, marathons, or life milestones. Their highly sharable content always connects incredible impact stories and graphics, including the jerry can logo.
Whether launching a campaign or publishing an annual report, Charity: Water is always on brand.
Takeaways: Build powerful connections with people through relatable stories, engaging participatory campaigns, and on-brand imaging in all you print and share.
When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight . . . count on FedEx.
FedEx provides people worldwide with transportation, e-commerce, and business services. Offering “The World On Time,” FedEx has created a strong corporate identity for its professionalism and efficiency.
In addition to reliable service, the brand garnered trust through its “We Understand” campaign, which communicates the pricelessness of people’s treasures, livelihoods, and futures. Packages mean a lot to people, and FedEx hammers this home through story-based marketing, reward programs, and regular social media interactions.
Takeaways: Find slogans and campaigns that get to the heart of what people truly desire: to be heard, understood, and valued. When you think of people as a person – not just a number – they respond.
Do people see Target as a discount store?
Probably not. With trendy campaigns and high-end designers, Target delivers more than just products, but an experience.
Beyond quality merchandise at reasonable prices, Target offers easy-to-maneuver layouts, stunning branded displays, and contemporary styles aimed directly at a specific customer persona (higher-income shoppers ages 55 and younger). Target customers appreciate the brand’s sophisticated, affordable merchandise, including an ever-changing array of trendy clothing and home accessories.
Takeaways: Solidify customer personas and identify key themes that bring a fresh, consistent viewpoint through your products and marketing. Match the theme of your marketing with the personal experience people have doing business with you.
An Artful Tapestry
The heart of consistent marketing is your brand message.
Identify personable, engaging themes, and share them through your products, in-store displays, and print pieces. Weave these elements into a beautiful tapestry, and the benefits will last well beyond any savvy marketing campaign!
Monday, January 13, 2020
Do you have any “nightmare” trade show experiences?
Maybe you worry that an impending disaster is ahead. Everyone who manages a big event knows the feeling.
You know . . . the nagging sense that you’ve forgotten something crucial (but have no idea what).
Or . . . one of several million things is about to go wrong (but there is no way to prevent it).
4 "No-Fail" Strategies for Organizing Your Next Big Event
Large events can be stressful, but most large-scale events can be managed with confidence if you have a plan.
Here are four “no-fail” strategies for navigating your next conference, convention, or trade show.
1. Generate an Event Checklist
Early planning and great organization are the keys to a stress-free event.
Make a master list of marketing and print deadlines, reservation dates, and travel coordination details. Months in advance, nail down every date possible and organize your task list in chronological order. Then you can work from a checklist with physical guidelines that keep your team grounded.
2. Create Beautiful Displays
Your exhibits are often the fulcrum of your entire event.
Don’t skimp! Take the time (or get help) to arrange the backdrops, banners, and lighting so a fabulous display of your brand and personality takes center stage. Depending on your budget, you may have anything from a small pop-up booth to a grand multi-sensory exhibit.
Whatever the scale, your graphics need to be eye-catching, clean, and crisp to make your exhibit as open and welcoming as possible.
3. Empower the Right People
The staff at your exhibits are the face of your company and culture.
As your most visible brand ambassadors, their interaction with potential clients can make or break your big day. Have clearly defined roles for each team member and train them to be friendly, outgoing, and equipped to address diverse audiences.
Pro-tip: Be intentional about including a technically gifted team member to answer in-depth product questions or to handle unexpected display glitches.
4. Prepare Excellent Follow-Up Materials
In some cases, the amount of preparation required for a big event can cause you to overlook the most crucial marketing materials needed for good follow up.
Often the success of an event is not fleshed out for months afterward, so it is essential that you come ready with several printed materials. Your “Big Five” may include:
- Professionally Printed Business Cards - Include a hand-written note at the close of your conversations to add a personal touch.
- Sell Sheets and Rack Cards - Like a walking billboard for your business, these grab-and-go items can keep your prospects considering after the conversation has concluded.
- Eye-catching Notepads or Sticky Notes - Everyone loves a good freebie, and swag items increase the longevity of your name and your impression.
- Loyalty Coupons or Cards - Offer exclusive coupon codes or punch cards for your products or services.
- Best-Quality Brochures - Events typically offer an introduction to a longer conversation. Brochures are a pocket-friendly advertisement that offers vital product details, informative graphics, and a compelling call to action.
One Final Freebie
Think you’re ready?
If you still have that niggling sense of dread, here’s one last tip — pack duct tape. Beyond great team members, displays, and print materials, duct tape can fix about anything that could go wrong on the side.
Friday, December 27, 2019
Looking to showcase the benefits of your business or idea in a concise, compelling way?
Use sell sheets to connect and close the sale! Like one-page billboards, these grab-and-go promotions can educate prospects, motivate buyers, and offer a point of reference for further review.
What is a Sell Sheet?
Perhaps you’re new to the concept of sell sheets.
Sell sheets are simple. Like a miniature billboard, they showcase the benefits of your idea in a concise, persuasive way. Typically, these documents are just 1-2 pages, and contain all the information about a product or offer that your decision-maker needs. When you’re ready to multiply your message, sell sheets can be delivered by mail or in person.
5 Tips for Head-Turning Sell Sheets
Ready to get started with your sell sheet design? Here a few helpful guidelines.
1. Use High-Quality Photos
One of the most important features of your sell sheet is an image of the product, concept, or the people engaging with your company.
Typically, this “beauty shot” is the focal point of any sell sheet, so be sure your photos or graphics are top-notch.
2. Highlight the Big Benefit
What can your product or idea do for the customer?
Will it save them time? Eliminate fear or reduce spending? Maybe you just want to make them smile. Whatever your pitch, try to reduce it to one sentence and then again to 2-3 words (think, “Eat Fresh,” or “The Quicker Picker-Upper”). Your unique selling proposition should drive the theme of the sell sheet and also be a visual priority on the page.
3. Offer Testimonials or Video Links
To bring your big benefit to life, feature people who have tried your services and love them.
Use real names, cities, or customer photos, or link them to YouTube videos or website landing pages where people can see your product in action. Social proof is a highly effective sales strategy.
4. Include Pertinent Contact Information
Beyond a strong call to action, sell sheets should clarify how clients can get in touch.
Round out your sell sheet with a next step teaser (i.e., “call today for a free estimate”) and include your website, phone, e-mail, etc.
5. Avoid Information Overload
The goal of a sell sheet is to provide enough information to prompt a second look, but not so much detail that you overwhelm readers.
Organize information so that it is easy to read in a glance and to lead viewers to a clear next step.
Put Sell Sheets to Work for Your Business
Are sell sheets the right fit for you?
These simple tools can be used for trade shows, personal sales visits, mailers, and more. Use sell sheets to build awareness and sales for:
- Presentation folder inserts
- New product promotions
- One-time events
- Take-out menus or special-order items
- Seasonal sales
- Travel packages or subscription services
- VIP or customer-loyalty perks
- Salon, chiropractic, or health services
- Handyman, lawn care, cleaning, or consulting
Whether you’d like an uncoated recycled look or a glossy ultra-thick stock, you can make your sell sheet stand out by going creatively custom.
Upload your own file, consult with our team, or rely on our start-to-finish professional design services to attract attention and put the facts in focus. Contact us today to talk about custom design options.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
"Someone is sitting in the shade today
because someone planted a tree a long time ago." (Warren Buffet)
Dr. Julie Silver is a giant among medical practitioners.
As an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, Silver has published several award-winning books and is the Chief Editor of Books at Harvard Health Publications, the consumer health publishing brand of Harvard Medical School.
But Silver is known for more than her accomplishments, she's known as an overcomer. At age 30, Silver found herself on the other side of medicine – as a patient instead of a physician – when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her story from surgery through radiation, chemo, and rehab is now the backbone of her identity.
Through cancer recovery, Silver found herself exhausted and depleted, with few resources for getting back on her feet:
"Returning to work and caring for my young children was very difficult," Silver says of that time. "I was not given rehab care and therefore had to rehabilitate myself. If I had been a stroke survivor or been in a car accident, I would have been offered rehab treatment. But, as a cancer survivor, I was left to figure it out on my own."
Silver says this experience, combined with loads of research touting the benefits of cancer rehab, prompted her to team up with others to reshape the recovery road. She and a team of experts created STAR (Survivorship Training and Rehab) certification programs for hospitals, group practices, and individual clinicians. STAR programs have empowered post-cancer treatment centers, improved life for thousands, and given legs to Silver's dream.
Pursue a Dream
Do you need the courage to pursue a dream in your life?
You have to believe a dream before you can see it come true. Every great achievement begins in the heart of one individual who took a risk and asked, "what if?" As Walt Disney once said, "all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."
Dreamers are people who don't let negative thinking discourage them, even when their vision is beyond their capabilities. In Silver's case, she started with a hope for better cancer rehab. But as her journey progressed, she discovered hospitals needed much more than information. They needed an entire training system.
"I quickly realized that [my colleagues] needed a lot more information and assistance than I could offer with a simple conversation," Silver said. "They needed to be educated about cancer rehabilitation and to implement protocols to deliver this care."
Share a Dream
One reason dreams die is that you never share them with others.
People who genuinely want to achieve a dream must talk about it! Frequently. Why? Sharing a dream aloud helps you believe in it more and to make necessary tweaks along the way. Sharing dreams builds momentum, inspires others to collaborate, and holds you accountable to a plan. And plans break visions into actionable steps while pushing you to gather necessary resources in realistic time frames.
Work the Dream
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
After you've done the necessary planning, it's time to work. When it comes down to it, cathedrals are built one brick at a time. So, the most successful dreamers aren't just people with bold ideas; they are people who follow through in ordinary moments.
Hard work isn't always fun, but success looks something like this:
Short-Term Tasks * Regular Follow-Through = Long-term Achievement
Sound difficult? Just remember, it can be hard to work the dream, but it can be even harder to work for someone else's dream. Do the work today and enjoy the results tomorrow!
Monday, November 4, 2019
If people can age with class, Harlene Goodrich should be considered a maestro of maturity.
Goodrich, age 81, is a former schoolteacher who lives in Seal Beach, CA. Goodrich returned to school at age 50 to get her master's degree and has since published a children's book and won several playwriting contests. Despite serious back and knee surgery in the past decade, Goodrich didn't shrink back from traveling to Washington, D.C., at age 79 to participate in a national protest march.
Goodrich says that aging well means proactively beginning the process while you're still young by engaging with stimulating people and activities. This includes a healthy dose of humor. Recently, Goodrich gathered friends ages 65 to 83 and heard them complaining about aches and pains. She stopped the discussion and suggested they go around the table to give each woman five minutes to complain. That's when everyone broke out laughing.
A Healthful Approach
No one can stop time, so it's important to remember that aging isn't something to be avoided. Instead, aging healthfully should be your goal.
This includes taking stock of your physical, social, and mental wellness, and prioritizing health as you would invest in your vehicle maintenance. Want to age healthfully? Here are some checkpoints in each category.
Early identification of health problems makes them easier to manage, so prioritize regular check-ups and complete the recommended health screenings for your age group. Here is a medical schedule to help you best navigate these guidelines.
Exercise is also vital. It's estimated that physical functioning peaks around age 30, and at this point, you begin to lose muscle mass and function. Sedentary individuals can lose as much as 5% of their muscle mass each decade! However, you can maintain muscle through regular exercise, specifically strength or resistance training. Resistance training also strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis.
Aging can sometimes feel lonely, so it's important to make new friends and widen your social circles.
How can you do this? Consider new hobbies, volunteer opportunities, or even classes at a nearby college. You can also expand connections by proactively befriending younger people. Intergenerational relationships can open doors for powerful mentoring opportunities while decreasing depression and helping you navigate changes in technology and culture.
Cognitively speaking, mental development continues into middle adulthood.
Later in life, your cognitive processing speeds may slow, but wisdom and experience-based problem solving will continue to increase.
It's important to feed your mind and your soul to stay sharp mentally. This includes consistent sleep patterns, building new connections, and cultivating a sense of purpose. Practical steps may consist of caring for others (to maintain a positive outward focus), tackling puzzles or strategy games, using mental arithmetic instead of defaulting to a calculator, playing an instrument, and surrounding yourself with upbeat people.
Research shows that smiling, even a fake smile, can boost your mood. When you catch your reflection in the mirror or a window, smile at yourself, and you may be surprised at how it lifts your spirits. Smile at others, too; you might make their day!
Be a Participant in Your Journey
One of the essential things about aging is to do it proactively.
Often as people age, they feel isolated or embarrassed. And in today's connected generation, there's just no reason to shrink back from others. Aging healthfully means making a plan, asking for help, and being an active participant (versus a spectator) in your own life. That's Harlene's outlook:
"No one suddenly gets old," Goodrich said. "I think we're all on the path of life. I may be old in years, but I'm the same person who's been living the same life. The key is to participate in each stage along the way."
Monday, October 21, 2019
Do you enjoy creating?
Are you an illustrator, a graphic design specialist, or a photographer who loves to see ideas come to life?
If so, you've probably experienced a few slumps. Even the most innovative people need new inspiration from time to time. Ready to ignite a fresh perspective for your projects?
Here are some creative exercises that may spark your next fantastic idea.
4 Design Catalysts to Inspire Your Imagination
Loosen your turtleneck pullover and host an art night with friends.
If you create for a living, what better way to connect with your inner muse than to host a no-holds-barred, imaginative free-for-all with your best pals?
Tell guests to dress for a mess and drag out your paints, beads, clay, stamps, ink, and more. Remind people to leave the perfectionist self at home and have fun with the process. After all, some of the best art is spontaneous.
Takeaway: Creating things with friends reminds us that art is fun, and beauty can arise from unexpected sources.
Build and broaden your artistic muscle by doing icon reps.
Choose an icon (like a sun, heart, leaf, crest, or set of cherries) and create 25 thumbnail icons that depict its message and its meaning. If that's too easy, try 50 or 100.
Start with basic sketches and transition into graphic design or large-scale renderings. As you build variations, try different shadings, color combinations, or typographic elements to stretch your normal design boundaries.
Takeaway: Forcing yourself to sketch the same thing in different ways can build and broaden your artistic muscle.
The next time you work on a concept, fill a full page with icon sketch versions of it before you settle on your design of choice. Begin with quantity and finish with quality!
Identify your core audience and ask yourself what subject would best connect with these viewers.
Then, brainstorm ways to feature the perfect person doing the ideal activity in perfect circumstances.
How can you best capture the age, gender, or appearance of this "perfect" individual? Experiment with collages, photos, silhouettes, stick figures, or only body parts (such as the hand, eye, or mouth).
Takeaway: Featuring the wrong people in your piece (or possibly the right people in the wrong atmosphere) can tank your design.
In contrast, a piece that features the right people in the right way can befriend viewers and make them extremely receptive to your product or message.
Tend your roots by asking yourself: "Why did I become a Creative in the first place?"
Make a list of passions and interests that led you to this stage in your journey. Then, cultivate these roots through revisiting some of the places or people who inspired you in the past.
Takeaway: Neglecting your creative soul apart from your professional commitments puts your growth as a person at risk. Nurture your nature, and momentum will freely flow in all that you do.
The Human-to-Human Connection
While many designers have a free spirit, often professionals end up spending a great deal of time alone.
However, much of our success in design is rooted in human-to-human connections. The connections you make will have a massive impact on how you see the world and what you create in response. So connect with others, connect with yourself, and have fun with your next best design.