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How to Kickstart Your Noodle During a Creative Block

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"Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated." ( Paul Rand, graphic designer) Never does a page seem so bleak as when you experience a creative rut in design. Design ruts are the graphic artist’s equivalent of writer’s block. And everyone has been there! The world’s most imaginative people have experienced this obstacle and found a way to battle through. One benefit of getting stuck is that you’re forced to rediscover your own creativity! Need help getting started? Here are some different ways to break out of stagnation when you’re stuck on a design: 1. Think laterally Designs are ultimately problems waiting to be solved. When you are stymied by the project at hand, come at the problem from a different angle , no matter how extreme it might seem. One way to do this is to temporarily focus your thinking around individual parts of a message, like why a client might need your product or what pictures might b

The Flexibility and Significance of Today's Small Businesses

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Greg Goetzman, 58, isn’t much of a gambler, but when COVID-19 sent people home in March, he placed his odds on a new small business model: assigning half his staff to work from home permanently. With nearly 100 employees, this was a huge shift for the California-based financial consulting firm . Goetzman realized that success would hinge on his ability to carefully outfit employees with equipment and systems to seamlessly communicate. Team members appreciated the flexibility, and this large-scale investment is paying off : “I haven’t seen a drop in work quality,” Goetzman said, “We are fortunate that our consultants are flexible and accustomed to working from different locations, therefore, they were prepared and there were no issues transitioning to working remotely.” The novel coronavirus forced strategic business pivots and rapid innovation for many companies, but small businesses have certainly been forced to improvise. And that may be a good thing. Goetzman says that, while

Chatter Matters: Use Talk Triggers to Spark Word of Mouth Marketing

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When you choose a new book or movie, what influences your decision? According to Nielsen, one of the most persuasive elements is a recommendation from your family and friends. Sixty-six percent of respondents said that, beyond the availability of a show or movie, the endorsement of others was the second biggest factor in their personal media selection. Create Catalysts for Conversation As social creatures, we trust the opinions of others. But did you know word-of-mouth marketing drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending and is estimated to account for 13% of consumer sales ? That’s why word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is vital to your business success. Traditionally, WOMM was spread from one person to another based on recommendations. But today, WOMM describes both targeted efforts and naturally occurring instances where users share their satisfaction with a brand. This means anything from print testimonials and oversized displays to live events and social media sharing can

Finish in Fine Form with Beautiful Varnish Coatings

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Have you ever judged a book by its cover? You’re not alone! First impressions are essential to how people judge a person, a product, or a business. And when you’re going for visual impact, research suggests visitors will form an impression in as little as 50 milliseconds ! Once you’ve invested all the hard work and planning into your print marketing materials, it is important to go the extra mile on quality. Want a simple technique that beautifully enhances your impact and appeal? For a budget-friendly bonus, try adding a varnish! Know Your Options Just as varnish on a dresser or table protects the wood and gives it a nice finished look, the varnish used on printed pieces enhances their look and durability. Adding a print varnish brings a transparent coating to your printed page. Varnish can add a unique, creative element to get that five-star appearance, so make sure you choose the one that best fits with the look and tone you’re trying to communicate. Here are a few opt

Add Spice to Your Print Ads with Distinct, Arresting Images

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In a world where digital advertising screams for attention, print ads need a little extra spice to compete. Ads that evoke emotion, add humor, or spark curiosity have extra impact. Need inspiration? Here are three imaginative print campaigns to consider. Opel: A Road Safety Campaign Opel, a German automobile manufacturer, wanted to draw attention to the danger of texting while driving.   Opel’s message is distinct because it uses nothing more than the black background and a short line of text that packs a big punch: “Your typjng whille you drive is asbad as your drivinh whilr yoou typr.” Sharp, memorable, and humorous, this ad immediately shows why texting driving is a bad idea. Opel paired this with gigantic black and white sidewalk banners of a person pushing a 7-meter-long baby stroller. The banners included this caption, highlighted in yellow: “1 second on your phone are 7 meters on the street. Don’t text and drive.” Vodol: Smelly and Simple Did you know the huma

How to Restart the Conversation When a Lead Has Gone Cold

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Adding new customers to your sales funnel is essential for growth, and lead generation is vital. For many industries, generating a lead can cost anywhere from $25 to $300. So, after you’ve made an initial contact or pushed for a commitment, what should you do when prospects disengage? Don’t give up! When leads stop responding, hope is not lost. Smart entrepreneurs can use many strategies to rekindle interest. Here are a few options to consider: Prime the Pump Leads go cold for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon them. According to Jim Obermayer , author of Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, 56% of people who indicated they might like to buy a product are still in play six months later, and 35% percent are still in the market after one year. “Leads do not go cold as much as it is not yet their time to buy in the one-year cycle,” Obermayer said. “A rep may approach them before they are ready.” Though it’s challengin

How to Lead with a Level Head in Stressful Situations

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On January 15, 2009, US Airways flight 1549 ascended from LaGuardia Airport and had a chance encounter with an unexpected adversary. Shortly after take-off, the Airbus struck a flock of Canadian geese. Flames exploded before an eerie silence, and an odor of fuel filled the cabin. Both engines had shut down, and Captain Chesley Sullenberger and his team tried unsuccessfully to restart them. After turning back toward LaGuardia, the pilots quickly realized their only option was an emergency water landing in the Hudson River. As they passed less than 900 feet above the George Washington Bride, Sullenberger radioed the coast guard for assistance and barked “brace for impact!” Ninety seconds later, the plane crashed into the water with no bounce, followed by a gradual deceleration and a speedy deboarding. All 150 passengers were saved, and Sullenberger was the last to deplane after walking the cabin twice to ensure it was empty. Later, the crew was presented with “keys to the city” by