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Showing posts from 2018

Gain the Mouth-Watering, Competitive Advantage

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In 2011, Matt Salzberg was a restless associate at a Silicon Valley investment firm. He and his friend Ilia Papas wanted to create a business and were intrigued by food.
"We both loved food," Salzberg said. "We liked trying new ingredients, new recipes, new techniques, but we found it really inaccessible to cook at home. It was expensive, time-consuming and difficult to find recipes that we trusted."
The duo tried a few ideas before landing on the one that became Blue Apron: give people an easy way to make dinner using chef-recommended recipes and the fresh, precisely measured ingredients they'd need. With 20 friends beta-testing the product, Salzberg immediately realized they had a winner. Beyond rave reviews and contagious social media sharing, they had undeniable momentum:
"Pretty much from day one we've had steady exponential customer growth. I think the moment we did our first week of deliveries we sort of knew that we had a business that we though…

How to Keep You and Your Team Motivated and On Task Before, During, and After the Holidays

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The holiday season is upon us yet again, which can be either a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective.
On the one hand, it's a great opportunity to reconnect with all of those friends, family members, and other loved ones that you may not have had as much time with as you would have liked throughout the year. On the other hand, your attention is constantly being pulled in about a million different directions - which can have bad implications in terms of your business' productivity.
But, in truth, the holidays don't have to kill the momentum you've been steadily building throughout the year. If you really want to keep yourself (and your team members) on task before, during, and after the holidays, there are a few key tips you'll want to keep in mind.
Separate Your Work and Home Lives as Much as Possible
We've written in the past about how important it is to maintain a work/life balance, but it is especially so for you and your team members during the …

4 Print Marketing Trends to Inspire You in the Year to Come

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Print marketing is compelling, memorable, and engaging.
As people touch, hold, and even smell paper, they respond in a profoundly personal way.
While digital communication is booming, this has only enhanced the unique voice that print brings for any business. Millennials and Gen Z are very difficult crowds to reach digitally, with 63 percent using AdBlocker and 82 percent ignoring online banner ads. This trend toward tactile is stirring potential for many exciting creative opportunities.
Today, we'll highlight four print marketing trends from 2018 to inspire you in the year to come.
Simplicity
The world is filled with chaos, and fundamentally, viewers long for a return to simplicity.
Minimalist designs offer the respite people crave. Minimalist designs include images with a clear, elegant purpose, maximizing white space and using layouts that are clean and authentic. Uncluttered visuals bring an honest, compelling point into focus in a quick and arresting way.
For years, TBWA Pari…

7 Gifts that Delight (But Won't Break the Bank)

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Tis the season to be gifting!
What is a gift? A gift is not comprised merely of what is given, but of the thoughtfulness or care that is behind it. A gift is appreciation on wheels.
December is a great time to show your appreciation. Whether it's seasonal incentives, end of the year bonuses, or a just a friendly reminder that you care, here are seven unique (but inexpensive) gifts that your customers or employees will love:
Favorite Flavors
If you have a small staff or a handful of VIP clients, dig up info on the hobby or flavor of their choice (coffee, chocolate, classical guitar) and personalize a basket to their delight.
Or if you know your friends enjoy golf, assemble a kit including items like towels, ball markers, balls, and tees. Use a stylish bag that can clip easily onto their golf bag. Or assemble a sports tote full of goodies featuring a college or professional team of their choice.
Touchscreen Gloves
Gloves are both a necessity and a perk, especially in the touchscreen gene…

Why You Should Serve, Not Sell

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Social media is an increasingly dominant medium for modern communication.
According to facts from the Pew Research Center and the Hootsuite Social Media Barometer Report 2018:

There are now 3.196 billion people using social media (up 13% from last year)
11 new people start using social media each second, which is about one million people every day
88 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use social media
The total number of mobile phone users is 5.14 billion (up 4% from last year), which means people are increasing in their social media accessibility
As you look to grow your digital reach in conjuction with your print campaigns, social media is an obvious choice to feature ads, products, and (let's be honest), to feature yourself!
But, how well does this go over with consumers? Not swimmingly.
Take a quick scan through the business posts you see online. How would you best summarize these? Does the content bring an encouraging word to you, the reader? Or do the majority of these posts se…

How to Use Customization to Gain Customers

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Coca-Cola is a brand built on scenes of enjoying life together.
Coke has worked tirelessly to promote not only its product, but the message behind it: that sharing, or gathering family and friends together, brings happiness. "Enjoying a coke" is the message in every ad, every culture, and every medium Coke communicates through.
The company's 2014 "Share a Coke" campaign was one of its memorable marketing initiatives in history. That summer, Coca-Cola removed its iconic logo on 20-ounce bottles and replaced them with 250 of the country's most popular names. Consumers were encouraged to find bottles with names that held personal meaning and to share them with others or post photos online with the hashtag #ShareaCoke. Within the first year, more than 500,000 photos were posted. Consumers ordered over six million virtual Coke bottles, and Coca-Cola gained roughly 25 million Facebook followers.
A Distinctly Personal Experience
What did Coke tap into that promp…

How to Use a Clear Call to Action to Convert Customers

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"The maxim 'Nothing avails but perfection' may be spelt shorter: 'Paralysis.'"
(Winston Churchill)
Have you ever wondered how lion tamers keep wild cats nearly three times their size at bay?
While methods have evolved over the years, traditionally lions were subdued by three tools: a whip, a stool, and a handful of tasty snacks. While the whip or snacks make sense, perhaps you wonder why a stool was used (instead of a sword or a flame, for example)?
How can a small piece of furniture intimidate the king of all cats?
The truth is, the lion is not afraid of the chair, he's confused by the multiple points on its legs. Cats are single-minded creatures, and the bobbing points of the chair legs confuse the lion into a less focused state. When the lion loses its train of thought, it is distracted from the instinct to pounce on a weaker opponent. 
Muddled Communication Can Paralyze Your Prospects
Ever try to rush your kids through breakfast and get stuck at the cerea…

Print: Use Faces to Command Viewer Attention

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Did you know that humans are the only primates with eyes that contain a white sclera around the dark iris and the pupil?
Consequently, unlike our animal counterparts, we have the ability and tendency to follow each other's eye gaze, to pinpoint precisely what someone is focusing on, and even to read into the emotion behind a viewer's eye. This also gives us an innate ability to sense when we're being looked at or to hastily avert our gaze in awkward moments.
Eye contact plays a crucial role in human communication, and faces have an incredible ability to command a viewer's attention.
Imagine yourself walking down a busy street in a large city where you don't know anyone. Suddenly, among a sea of faces, you spy a family member. Among hundreds of people, you can immediately recognize one individual and you have a strong emotional response.
Why is this experience so powerful?
Scientist Nancy Kanwisher identified a special part of the brain called the fusiform face area

How to Use Your Competition for Strategic Expansion

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In 2006, Aviva Weiss was struggling to help her daughter cope with a sensory-processing disorder.
As an occupational therapist who worked with children on the autism spectrum, Weiss knew how overwhelming life could be for families like hers. When she ordered her daughter a weighted vest (an item that helps overstimulated children stay focused), she was horrified when it arrived. "It was super ugly," she said. "I thought, 'there's no reason that special-needs products should make kids stand out even more.'"
Weiss sensed a market opportunity and seized it, founding Fun and Function to create more attractive versions of existing products like chewable necklaces, noise-reduction headphones, or clothing that soothes children with sensory issues. Items were showcased in the company's catalog, which was designed to put parents at ease, cutting through technical jargon to connect with families on a more authentic level.
By 2010, the company had grown seve…

The Ideal Length for Tweets, Facebook Posts, and More

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You've taken the time to collect your thoughts. You've carefully outlined your ideas, your theme, and the overall tone you'd like to communicate. Wouldn't it be nice if people actually read it?
Better make it quick!
Generation Z, born after 1996, is already emerging from the shadow of millennials. Making up a quarter of the U.S. population, they will account for 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. Gen Z processes content faster than other generation, especially considering most can sort through piles of information using four screens simultaneously.
Although their options seem limitless, their time is finite. Gen Z consumers have an average browsing attention span of eight seconds (as compared to twelve seconds for millennials).
Make Every Word Count
As lead time decreases, efficiency must increase.
How do you evaluate the "right" speed for sharing? Research has answers! Here are some research-based guidelines on the ideal length for Tweets, Facebook and blog…

Streamline Your Next Project with Print-Ready Proofs

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Ever rushed out the door only to trip on your shoes in the entryway? Or made a hasty stop at the intersection and found yourself in a costly fender bender?
Accidents happen when we hurry, and that's true in both life and work. In project management, sometimes we fail to allow adequate time for extra details or unexpected delays. As you draw closer to a deadline, errors are made and important details are overlooked.
Print-Ready Success
Do you want to be proud of your next print project with a smooth transition from design to print?
Here is a handy preflight checklist to help you eliminate panic or costly mistakes when a deadline is near.
Thoroughly proof your document for typographical, punctuation, margin, or grammatical errors. Have one or two other people proof as well. Mistakes are easy to miss but embarrassing to everyone. To slow yourself down, trying reading your document out loud or read your text backward.
Embed your fonts and designs. There's nothing worse than pouring ov…

Small Businesses Have a Big Reach

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A tiny, Ohio-based Vita-Mix corporation has been grinding and blending for 70 years.
Known for its high-powered, durable blending machines, "Vita-Mix" was coined with an emphasis on "vita," meaning "life." The company was born in 1921 when founder William Barnard, after helping a friend through a significant illness, realized the tremendous impact whole-food nutrition had on health. Simple Vitamix products evolved to industrial strength mixers that could puree raw foods, blend hot soup, grind grain, or knead bread dough.
Vitamix rarely sold products internationally before the late 1990s. But as sales slowed in the U.S., the third generation of Barnard family owners decided to go global. After hiring international sales manager James Smith, exports soared to 20 percent of yearly profits, growing hundreds of new jobs in the outskirts of Cleveland. "Exporting is the salvation of our standard of living and the security of our workers," said Smith.…

Grow Your Business Through Successful Staffing

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Todd Fishman and Hunter Brooks were childhood friends who attended the University of Washington before heading to corporate Manhattan for several years. The friends reconnected in New York, bonding over their love of great salad.
Yes, young men eating salad.
Salads are so trendy that in Manhattan the lines for gourmet salad bars stretch around the block. While waiting in one of these lines, the friends had their "Aha" moment. They looked at each other and said, "This would be killer in Seattle!"
A Quickly Budding Dream
Enter Evergreens healthy food chain, co-founded with their associate Ryan Suddendorf in 2013.
Over five years, Evergreens has seen 200% revenue growth each year, with six stores in Seattle and a projected 11 more by 2019. Evergreens caters and offers salads, wraps, and grain bowls while keeping food fun with names like "Dice-Dice Baby," the "Cobbsby Show," and an Asian mix called "Pear-ly Legal."
While entertaining, Evergre…

Four Reasons Great Promotional Products Work

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Branded products are everywhere: featured in movies, professional sports, and even on your favorite jacket or thumb drive.
These products bring pleasure and familiarity while sending a message of brand support to friends and casual observers. And these ideas carry substantial weight.
Another Washington First
The first known example of distributing promotional products was in 1789.
Commemorative buttons, created to celebrate George Washington's inauguration, featured a crisp, stamped profile of Washington and the Latin phrase "Pater Patriæ," meaning "Father of his Country."
Sported by patriotic Americans, the buttons celebrated American democracy and support for the first president. The passion behind this message continues to live on: in February of 2018, one of the inaugural buttons was auctioned for $225,000!
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Washington's buttons fueled momentum, and your customers are wired to respond to promotional products too.
Eight out of 10 …

Reel in Prospects by Adding Print to Your Content Marketing

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Researchers estimate that in 1984 a person saw an average of 2,000 ads per day.
By 2014, they saw about 5,000. With the explosion in spam and social media ads, that number increases daily. But consumers are fed up with in-your-face advertising that seems disruptive or manipulative. Instead, they're attracted to authenticity and friendliness in a brand.
How can you build that kind of culture in your business?
It's All About Content
Narratives and content marketing can bring fresh life to your marketing mix!
Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. It shifts your team away from a "message" focus to a more optimal "people focus," building trust and driving more profitable consumer action.
Content marketing generates stronger leads, increases sales, and enhances customer loyalty. Consider these facts:

77% of internet users read blogs
Sm…

Leaving a Legacy with Your Small Business

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In the 1950s, a young boy named John was enthralled by every chance to visit his best friend.
This family owned a soda pop bottling plant, which sparked a lifelong love for exotic flavors in John Nese. Years later, Nese brought soda to his family's Italian grocery store in Los Angeles, known today for its 600 soda and beer flavors from around the world.
The variety wasn't always this broad. Nese said the change came 20 years ago when independent grocers were being squeezed out by chains. One soda dealer offered a profit of $30 a pallet if Nese would streamline shelves and eliminate variety. Nese wouldn't bite:
"Nuts to that," he said. "A light bulb went off (and I said), 'You know, John, you should be happy you own your shelf space, and Pepsi doesn't, and you can sell anything you want.' So I went out and found 25 brands of little sodas."
Nese says this "freedom of choice" philosophy defines his family and his business, and custom…

Use Great Body Language to Speak with Success

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Ramona Smith, a 31-year-old Houston teacher, has faced many challenges, including coaxing her son through cancer and struggling through a divorce.
But Smith believes life is about more than what knocks you down, it's about the lifelines people offer to help you back up.
One of Smith's lifelines was the mentorship she found in Toastmasters, a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership. In her 2018 speech, "Still Standing," Smith posed as a fighter on stage and talked about surviving round after round with life but bouncing back again. Her accomplishments include dropping out of college four times (before graduating at the top of her class) and, most recently, being crowned the Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking in Chicago. 
Smith outlasted 30,000 other competitors over six months of competition before being named the champion in August. Her success comes not only from her will to fight but from one speaking technique

Adding More Marketing Channels—5 Easy Ways to Make it Work for You.

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Cross-channel marketing doesn’t have to be hard.  It just has to be strategic. 
For consumers, it is not enough to interact with a single channel anymore. Whether it’s for business or personal, they want to use multiple channels like direct mail, email, and social media to investigate, research, compare, and check in with others before making a final purchase. 
In fact, one retail marketing survey finds that consumers using two or more media channels to connect with brands are the most satisfied shoppers.1 While most marketers see “every channel, everywhere” as the ultimate goal of a broader multichannel marketing program, their ability to actually implement such programs is restricted by time, expertise, and marketing budgets. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take to create highly effective multichannel campaigns regardless of your level of resources. 
1. Work backwards. Don’t start with a list of all of the channels you want to include. Start with the end result you want to…

Four Tips for Authentic Photography in Marketing

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In a digitally saturated generation, today's marketer's need great stories and striking, memorable images.
Regardless of your business or your market niche, powerful visuals can make all the difference! Consider these statistics:

Articles with relevant images average 94 percent more views than text alone and a press release with photos increases online views by 15 percent.
Sixty percent of consumers who use online searches prefer to contact a business whose listing includes an image.
70 percent of e-commerce shoppers say the product image is very important for purchasing decisions.
Your viewers crave expressive images, so photography is crucial in marketing. Photography offers a slice of life view that communicates authenticity and value to your customers. How well do your images translate the nature of your business? Are you using drab photos or bland stock selections? Three benchmarks to evaluate your images are:
Engagement and Emotional Response
What emotions do your photos ev…

Grow Productivity Through Purposeful Leadership

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Replace Chaos with Focus
Lost productivity costs companies millions each year.
While it is hard to quantify exactly how much is lost, certainly distraction alone prevents daily peak performance. Besides hunger, sleepiness, bodily functions, and simple brain fatigue, productivity research shows that 48% of employees waste time surfing the web (including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), 33% lose work time socializing with co-workers, and 49% are managing personal calls, texts, and e-mails.
It's true: time is money. But time is more easily lost than dollars, so how can you push yourself or your team to be more focused? Maybe you want to spend your time wisely, but find yourself running in circles or falling short each day. How can you shift from being "busy" to being more effective?
By re-focusing on one thing: purpose.
Your purpose is more than what you do while you're checking e-mail. It's more than what you do while compiling reports or sitting in meetings. These…

Start Mouth-Watering Conversations Through Word-of-Mouth Marketing

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Karen Weber-Mendham was a part-time librarian and mother of three when she turned her family's propensity for garlic cheesy bread into a cool million.
This northern Wisconsin family often ordered cheesy bread while waiting on pizza. Weber-Mendham said the kids' appetizer passion was so strong "they would arm-wrestle each other for a piece!"  
Cheesy fever inspired the family to enter the 2013 Lay's potato chip competition, "Do Us a Flavor," challenging customers to create a new chip flavor to hit store shelves that year. Lays was swamped with 3.8 million submissions as the contest winner was given the better of two options: $1 million or 1% of the flavor's net sales over a year. Beyond fame and fortune, Weber-Mendham was given the opportunity to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and was flown to Los Angeles for the big reveal with Lay's endorsement celebrity Eva Longoria.
"Eva was so genuine and happy for me when I won,"

How Typeface Affects Your Brand Expression

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Flavors have tangible effects on your body and your mood.
When you eat spicy food, your heart rate increases or your face may sweat. When you taste your favorite ice cream, reality seems to fade to slow motion as you prolong each morsel of delight. Is food really that powerful, or is there something more at play? More than likely, the foods you eat conjure whole streams of past experiences in your mind. The context or culture an individual brings to their experience will significantly affect their interpretation.
The same is true in design.
Whether it's colors, photo filters, or layouts, every choice plays into a viewer's experience with your brand. Often, we overlook typeface as an important design attribute but font is hugely expressive and making the right choice is critical. In fact, in 1923, when Poffenberger & Franken conducted research into how readers perceive different typefaces, people responded quite uniformly to typeface and product pairings and used similar…