Tips to Make Your Brand More Memorable

6 Dec

Just Do It.

Think Different.

Have You Had Your Break Today?

You Can’t Beat the Real Thing.

The 1990s brought us many of the world’s most iconic slogans, but certain companies have a corner on memorable branding.

For example, a 2015 survey of 3,000 people in the U.S. and the United Kingdom were shown logos of 100 top global brands, then asked to name and describe those they found most memorable. Nike was at the top (16% of respondents cited it), followed by Apple (at 15.6%), McDonald’s (at 11.1%), and Coca-Cola (at 9.7%).

But aside from logo design or slogan, what makes a brand stick? Experts say it’s a combination of things: some which are inspired, some unusual, and some packaged in the form of contagious stories. The volume of exposure can also increase the likelihood that a brand will stand out, but not many businesses can afford to plaster their logo all over the world.

Increase the “Stickiness” of Your Brand

Use Humor

Don’t be afraid to use humor to promote your brand because humor has staying power and innate personal appeal.

Consider the Super Bowl. This event is as much about the ads as the game, and today people can remember Super Bowl ads from years ago (though they have no idea who competed or won that particular contest).

Release Personalized Content

Who writes your blogs, posts your Facebook notices, or takes your social media photos?

Technology and stock photos make content production easy, but automating the process leaves a bland taste in people’s mouths. Use personalized content whenever possible, and sign the names or signature photos of your staff to the pieces you write. Share examples of personal failures, company celebrations, or hometown references to anchor your content with a more authentic voice.

Create Interactive Communication Channels

Can your customers reach you as easily as you can reach them?

Creating an online brand community enables communication and engages your client. Whether you stick to social media pages or go for a full “gated” membership sites, online brand communities create space for Q&As, meaningful discussions, or offer valuable content that can be accessed by subscribers. This can lead to engaged customer communities, lowered service costs, and greater repeat purchasing.

Launch Giveaway Contests

Giveaways contests are a fast and effective way to build momentum.

Giveaways trigger excitement, anticipation, and a spirit of competition. Any time you can arouse emotion, you’ve been successful! Use giveaways to spark social media sharing, to boost customer engagement, to capture customer testimonials, and to enlarge your e-mail subscriber list.

On-site giveaways also offer a great chance to build excitement through banners, point-of-purchase displays, or oversized decorations. Everyone loves a party!

Memorable Branding Makes Cents

Standing out is a challenge, and small businesses need to work hard to make their voices distinct.

But memorable brands can do more advertising with a small budget because strong branding drives sales and increases customer engagement. Be interactive and have fun, and your customers will too.

Three Show-Stopping Print Ads (and How to Make Yours More Memorable)

3 Dec

Does your brain ever feel tired?

Some days, that’s probably due to information overload. It’s been said that the average person living in the city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day. Today, experts estimate we are exposed to over 5,000 brands per day (though research suggests only three percent of ads actually make a lasting impression).

But amidst the explosion of digital advertising, industry reports remind us that print holds steady. 70% of Americans prefer to read on paper, and 67% prefer printed materials over email. Additionally, 55% of consumers say they trust print marketing more than any other advertising messages.

Want to evoke emotions with your next print masterpiece? Draw from three creative examples of print ads that recently stole the show.

Keloptic: Bringing Life Into Focus

Keloptic is an online optician that sells sunglasses and eyewear.

Looking for a clever way to express value, Keloptic took classic impressionistic paintings and added clarity. In one example, viewers gaze at Van Gogh’s post-impressionistic self-portrait through the lens of an overlaid pair of glasses. The portrait, known for its abstract brush strokes and blurry color scheme, leaps into view as the glasses bring Vincent’s face into focus. His eyes penetrate from the page while the whiskers of his beard bring a sense of dramatic 3D texture. In contrast, Van Gogh’s body (appearing outside the eyeglass lenses) remains dull and fuzzy.

Add Your Twist: By allowing viewers to experience the difference Keloptics glasses make, the optician taps into the needs and emotions of its viewers. When crafting your ad, look to clearly reveal how your service can change a bad situation into a better one.

Jeep: See What You Want to See

Jeep is well-known for its terrain vehicles, manufacturing cars that can take you anywhere (so you can “see what you want to see”).

Jeep’s marketers used this motto to design print ads with a variety of animals shown from different viewpoints. The ad’s rugged burlap background featured taglines printed normally (but also upside down!) to alert viewers to the alternate ad angle. As the ad is rotated, vintage drawn animals morph into another species (like a giraffe transforming into a penguin, or an elephant into a tropical bird).

Add Your Twist: By matching its motto with an interactive photo, Jeep gives viewers the power to control their user experience. Play on your customer’s perceptions by using hidden pictures, adding 3D elements that leap off the page, or by using clever messages that make readers dig for deeper meaning.

Pedigree: Adopt

Images convey emotion in ways words never can.

Pedigree puts this principle to work in an ad highlighting adoption. Featuring two side-by-side photos of a man standing on an empty beach, one ad showed a man standing alone with a downcast countenance. In the next image, the man’s head is drooping for a reason: because he’s looking at his dog. The gleeful canine sports a tail in mid-wag and a big sloppy smile. The first ad contains no text, while the second says this: “A dog makes your life happier. Adopt.”

Add Your Twist: Pedigree’s ad is effective because it contrasts a need (loneliness) with a solution (a companion). Since Pedigree is selling to people WITH dogs (not those without dogs), this sentimentality directly appeals to the emotions of its best clients. When selling to the heart, use contrasting images, problem/solution narratives, and graphics that convey an immediate, obvious message.

Tactile, Memorable Print

Print is nothing if not tactile. Use this to your advantage by creating ads that are relatable, memorable, and clear.

Have fun, and make your message stick!

5 Ways to Spruce Up Your Holiday Branding

2 Dec

Tis the season to set yourself apart!

Year-end sales are a crucial part of many small businesses, and this year, the National Retail Federation predicts November and December sales will increase around 4% (for a national total of between $727 and $730 billion!).

With this natural uptick, year-end festivities offer a great opportunity to add extra flourishes to your brand. Clever seasonal packaging can add a homegrown feel to your products or be the deciding factor for customers choosing between your brand and a more generic option. Adding professionalism to your packaging can grab attention, personalize your products, and show that you really care about your clients.

Looking for inspiration? Here are five clever ways to spruce up your holiday messages.

Holiday Packaging Tape

Holiday-themed tape is an easy update to your year-round packaging.

Add a strip to your bubble mailers, a border to the top of your brown bags, or a smidge to seal your gift boxes. These minor updates bring a splash of colors to make your brand pop.

Custom Stickers and Labels

Whether it’s a stocking, a pumpkin pie, or a tree-topping star, custom stickers and labels can be die-cut to the exact shape you want.

Or you can keep things simple with square stickers in the shape of gift boxes. Adding stickers and labels to your envelopes or in-store displays brings a festive touch or a package-sealing alternative.

Gold Foil or Frosted Bags

Want to add shine and turn heads your direction?

Transparency can be a great way to reveal what’s inside your package or cover, with a sophisticated vellum quality that brings structure and depth. Add that frosty feel or a hint of gold in your:

  • Translucent window clings or hanging sign displays
  • Clear frosted business cards
  • Frosted tote bags (with optional artwork or logos foil-stamped on the surface)
  • Gold-tinted or frosted interior wrapping (or zipper bags)
  • Translucent wrapping with a gold ribbon
  • Gold foil stamped postcards, flyers, or custom envelope labels

Very Merry Business Cards

If you don’t normally add business cards to your orders, now is the time!

Using festive-themed business cards can bring a colorful element to each of your mailings. Holiday business cards can also make fun custom gift tags for larger parcels or a hangtag add-on for unique products.

Want some extra incentives? Print business cards with key holiday shipping deadlines or January re-order specials.

Cheery Inner Boxes

The holidays are the perfect time to think about inner boxes.

Rather than putting your product directly into a box or a mailer, an additional inner box allows people to gift something directly or to mail it on to others. Printed boxes also offer you a chance to add extra messaging (like under the inside lid) or to add die-cuts with bold, bright fonts.

Custom Packaging That Makes the Season Bright

Whether it’s getting the mail each day or unwrapping a customer appreciation gift, the ”unboxing” process has become a critical part of the customer experience.

Around 45% percent of surveyed people say they were more excited about receiving their order when this included customized wrapping. Want to increase the emotional attachment customers have to your business? From a dash of color on your envelope to a custom print piece, holiday pizzazz can be a part of any business budget.

Want to talk options? Give us a call today!

How T-Shirt Giveaways Led to a Cool Million

26 Nov

Sujan Patel likes to do things unconventionally.

Patel founded Single Grain, a California based digital marketing company, in 2005. With a background in SEO marketing, Patel gave himself a one-year window to gain as many clients as possible. Though he describes himself as motivated and driven, Patel says a tendency toward laziness was a key that opened the door for his marketing success:

“As soon as I started making money with Single Grain, one of the first things I did was to go out and get some T-shirts made. Not because I thought it’d be some genius marketing move, but because I knew I’d be able to wear them every day and never have to go clothes shopping again. I started out with an order of 25-30 shirts and . . . I decided to give [several] away to friends. I posted to Facebook to see who wanted a few shirts and was surprised when I ran out just a few hours after the message.”

Patel quickly realized he was onto something bigger than a simple merchandise rush.

Patel started printing a variety of shirts and giving four or five to everyone interested. More than 500 people began wearing them around town, and eventually, Single Grain credited the T-shirts for nearly $980,000 in profits. By 2013, Single Grain had developed into a powerhouse agency with revenues above $3 million.

The Exponential Power of Promotional Products

Businesses need promotional items to help reach out to potential customers and clients – it’s just a fact.

Promotional products allow people to see your brand and remember you, drawing a whopping 500% more referrals from customers who are satisfied with the gift. Like a business card with a bang, clever promotional products build good will, name recognition, and expanded brand exposure.

Patel said his T-shirts had three obvious benefits:

1. They initiated great business conversations.

Since Patel wore his shirts everywhere, people would continually ask, “What is Single Grain?” Patel was ready with a 30-second elevator pitch and corresponding business cards. Patel said the opportunities this generated were astounding:

“No joke – this happened everywhere. It happened while I was waiting for a haircut at Super Cuts, while I was working out at the gym and while I was racing at the track . . . I even landed a 50K client while I was getting a massage! These conversations alone led to about 40% of the 500K I made through my T-shirts.”

2. They opened doors into larger companies.

Because Patel was in the Silicon Valley area, his friends often wore his shirts to work at high power companies like Apple, HP, Google, and Wells Fargo.

Co-workers and bosses were intrigued and couldn’t help asking about Single Grain. Eventually, Patel credited 30% of returns to the nibbles he got from this networking.

3. They significantly increased brand recognition.

Single Grain started with almost no marketing budget and little hope of launching massive ad campaigns.

T-shirts offered an inexpensive way to build momentum. Eventually, potential customers became much more comfortable considering Single Grain because the brand was familiar. When prospects came with questions, they were more trusting because the brand already had a life of its own.

Add A Personal Touch with Your Giveaways

While the T-shirts built momentum, Patel says the authenticity drove single Grain’s success, so when YOU give away freebies, remember it’s about the relationship, not just the merchandise:

“When I go in my bag, hand a T-shirt to someone and say “Thanks for being an awesome customer” or “I’d love you to be one of our customers,” they don’t forget that. It’s not just the T-shirt. It’s that experience, and the memory of it, that’s so powerful.”

Eliminate Waste with a Lean Business Model

22 Nov

“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.”

– Shigeo Shingo

When you think of “running lean,” what comes to mind?

For many entrepreneurs, running lean means producing great results on a shoestring budget. Traditionally, being “lean” has meant doing more with less. Lean business models are all the rage, especially for start-ups or for small regional firms. But recently, the concept has expanded.

Today, a lean business model is a strategy that uses continuous planning and streamlined processes to address customer needs rapidly. Here is one working definition:

A lean business model is a business strategy that strives to eliminate waste in products and processes while satisfying customer wants. In doing so, the business will receive more positive customer returns (like increased sales and goodwill) while expanding profit margins.

Lean businesses are those that recognize inefficiencies, adapt quickly, and continually prototype new options to accommodate shifts in demand.

Lean Business Practices in Action

One real-life example of a lean business strategy comes from the automotive industry.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Japanese companies dominated American auto sales by becoming more customer-oriented. Responding to market demand, Japan produced several high-quality, low-cost vehicles that were assembled in the U.S. This appealed to a niche in the market while significantly reducing development time and operating costs. Sales boomed, and it took the better part of a decade for American manufacturers to regain this lost market share.

It’s easy to recognize the results of a winning approach, but what does a lean business model look like in practice? Here are three parameters to guide your thinking:

1. Make strategy the heart of your plan

Lean businesses are flexible, fast, and efficient.

Adaptable companies are those that can change tactics while keeping their strategy consistent. What (or why) does your unique business connect with your target markets? Keep this strategic focus consistent with staying intimately connected to your preferred buyers.

2. Track progress and focus on what works

Since lean business models respond quickly to shifting demand, your company must have an accurate pulse on what is working.

This may involve fast cycles of surveying customers, with corresponding numbers that are specific and measurable.

The most important part of tweaking a business model plan is your data. This includes regularly updated sales projections, detailed performance tasks, or timebound concept developments.

Lean businesses often find that monthly projections are essential, but trajectories beyond one year are usually a waste of time. The goal is not guessing “right,” but to generate probable results and to make course corrections as you go.

3. Revise and Review

Managing a lean business model isn’t something you do once, or even once a year. Like calorie counting, the key to staying lean is regular repetition over time.

In business, this means revising and tweaking your plan consistently, including a commitment to reward experimentation and to prioritize ideas based on their output. This can be painful. It may mean abandoning concepts you championed, or sacking projects you’ve invested months into. But isn’t that better than losing time and money in the long run?

Whether you like it or not, the only constant thing in life is change. Running a lean business requires an agile mindset, a humble attitude, and a willingness to learn as you go.

Bringing Your Dream to Life

19 Nov

“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!

5 Fantastic Color Combinations for Your Next Design

15 Nov

Feeling blue?

Maybe it’s the color of the room you’re sitting in.

Color psychology is something that has fascinated people for decades. Artists and interior designers have long believed that colors can dramatically affect moods and emotions, and color marketing has become a hot topic in marketing, art, design, and print. As Pablo Picasso once remarked, “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”

Color is a powerful communication tool, so understanding it can help you signal action, sway the mood, and even influence psychological reactions. Want to give it a try? Here is a quick snapshot of color harmonies, including color combinations to try in your next poster, banner, or custom label.

The Best Ways to Create Balance

The color wheel consists of three primary colors (red, yellow, blue), three secondary colors (colors created when primary colors are mixed: green, orange, purple), and six tertiary colors (colors made from primary and secondary colors, such as blue-green or red-violet).

When you draw a line directly through the center of the color wheel, you will separate the warm colors from the cool colors.

Warm colors (reds, yellows, and oranges) are vivid and bold in nature and tend to advance forward when viewed. They communicate energy, brightness, and action. Cool colors (blues, greens, and purples) appear soothing by nature and typically make a space seem larger. Cool colors are often associated with nature, calmness, peace, or serenity.

When choosing your next color combination, remember that complementary colors (those opposite on the color wheel) provide sharp contrasts. This can make your imagery really pop, but are best when used sparingly.

To avoid overdoing things, remember complementary colors do not need to exist in equal parts. If you want to use purple and yellow, allow one color to dominate and add only a tiny bit of the other.

For a more subtle approach, use triadic colors in your design (those that are evenly spaced around the color wheel). Or use analogous colors (those next to each other on the color wheel). Here one color will dominate, and the other will provide a sophisticated accent.

Set the Mood with Five Gorgeous Blends

Ready to get started? Check out these gorgeous blends:

For a friendly, playful feel:

Try magenta, goldenrod, turquoise, and brick. This four-color combination brings zest, personality, and a friendly, exciting tone.

For a sophisticated yet energetic feel:

Try gold, charcoal, and grey. This perfect combination of sunshine and somberness offers a cheerful tone with a grounded, mature accent.

For an aged, natural tone:

Try tan, deep turquoise, and black. Against the more neutral base, turquoise leaps to the forefront to evoke creativity, life, and freedom. For a more serious feel, use turquoise sparingly and add touches of brown or deep orange.

For a contemporary, chic tone:

Try mauve, sapphire, and powder blue. The baby blue brings a gentleness, while the rich pink and deep blue highlights scream femininity.

For an invigorating, rustic feel:

Try pine green, burnt orange, and light peach. When you want to set your design apart, orange is guaranteed to stop traffic. Burnt orange offers a more distinguished feel than a pumpkin or neon orange hue, but it still gets the job done. The rich green offers a warm, natural accent, and light peach ties everything together perfectly.

Colors That Connect

Want to set the mood or connect with your core customers?

Whether you lean toward simple and sophisticated or edgy and eccentric, colors build emotional bridges like nothing else can. Bring that wow factor to your professional printings through beautiful, unforgettable color combinations.