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Tuesday, 24 February 2015 15:02

How Spontaneous Decisions Make You Iconic

Just hearing the words “the most interesting man in the world,” takes your thoughts to Dos Equis beer. 

Those commercials are iconic. They make you laugh. They’re quotable. Every commercial is more like a television episode than a brand advertisement. 

The “Most Interesting Man” is easily in the top handful of successful campaigns of the last decade. Students of advertising would know, however, that they are not 100% original. The Dos Equis man was in fact inspired by an ad campaign 50 years its predecessor. I am of course speaking of David Ogilvy’s “The Man in the Hathaway Shirt” campaign. 

For those who do not know, David Ogilvy is widely considered "The Father of Advertising" with Time Magazine once calling him "the most sought-after wizard in today's advertising industry.” 

Published in Marketing & Strategy

Running a small business is no easy feat. It requires tenacity and ambition, but above all, a willingness to adapt and learn.

Here are some of the biggest questions small business owners have.

Q: How important is it to create a brand for my business? Does it really make that big of a difference?

Answer = A well designed and thought out brand is essential to business. No matter how big, small, young, old, or well known your business are, a brand will not only help create business familiarity among customers, but will allow you to stand out among your competition.

A brand creates an identity for your business; what you do and why you do it should both be transparent in your brand. Even a simple, yet eye catching logo, thoughtful brand messaging, and well designed support materials can help your brand pop.

Q: How can I come up with a great name for my business?

1. Let people know who you are and what you do

Marketing expert, Stuart Britt, once said “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does”. If you are selling a product or service, but are not investing the time or money into marketing it, how will people know you exist? Unless you already own a well-known business, you need to actively create brand awareness. Setting even a small marketing budget will go a long way in reaching more customers and building a brand.

2. Stand out among competitors

Constructing a creative and strategic marketing plan will allow you stand out within your industry. If your ads and marketing materials are well designed, well thought out, and placed strategically, customers will take notice.

For example, say you own an office supply company, Supplies ‘R’ Us. Your main competitor, Office Plus, has half of the market share. To set yourself apart from Office Plus, you decide to run a Supplies ‘R’ Us social media campaign, specifically targeting your ideal customers. More and more customers start seeing your ads on social media sites. As a result, Office Plus customers start shopping at Supplies ‘R’ Us, and you begin to gain a larger share of the market.

Published in Marketing & Strategy

Too many beginner designers are under the assumption that all the ‘magic’ happens at the computer. They move into Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop way to quickly, and sit and stare at their screens hoping that some inspiration pops out at them from the pixels.

In reality, this rarely happens (if at all). Even the ‘simplest’ designs were imagined through a highly structured, multi-step process. Seasoned designers frequently go through tens and maybe hundreds of ideas and raw sketches before they narrow down to the final few ‘workable’ concepts.

These raw ideas are all generated through brainstorming.

The old adage goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” There’s definitely more than one way to spark creativity as well. David Sherwin shares many beneficial brainstorming techniques in his book Creative Workshop. Try out one (or more) of these exercises and see what ideas you come up with that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought of before.

Mind Mapping

This brainstorming method lets you identify a range of ideas quickly in a free-form manner.
1. In the center of your page, write the key points of focus for your brainstorm.
2. Radiating outward, jot down any related words, concepts, ideas, and even opposites.
3. Expand upon and circle relationships in the ideas that emerge.
4. Extract the big ideas and start to sketch out possible design executions.

Word Listing

Similar to mind mapping, word listing has a bit more structure and can sometimes yield quicker results.

  1. Draw out three columns on a sheet of paper. In the first column, write out as many words or concepts related to the focus point of your design.
  2. In the second column, pick an idea from the first column that interests you, and write down a series of related words.
  3. In the third column, write down words that are opposite of the idea you chose from column one.
  4. Circle and connect relationships that span the three columns. Extract the big ideas and start to sketch out possible design executions.

Take advantage of employees’ personal networks on the world’s largest social platform

Opting not to have a social media presence for your company in today’s marketplace is electing to remain in the internet Stone Age. Even if you aren’t an avid user yourself, social platforms have become essential tools for promoting a brand online, plain and simple.

Growing a business through social media, however, can be much more than collecting ‘likes’ on a Facebook page and blasting out the occasional update. Entire books and courses are dedicated to a slew of ‘insider tricks’ from outwitting your competitors on Twitter to networking more efficiently on Linkedin.

While those are all great options and definitely worth looking into, in front of us all lies a painfully simple, 100% free method to blowing up your brand (in a good way) via social media that most firms are actually too afraid to even consider.

This method, my friends, is to encourage your employees to post company updates on Facebook.

Published in Marketing & Strategy

 

The workforce is changing. In 2014 millennials account for more than a third of the driving force of our economy, a group of roughly 80 million people born between the years 1976 and 2001. By 2020 that number will nearly reach 50 percent. Why is this information newsworthy? Generation-Yers possess a unique skillset where are absent in previous generations. Unfortunately many employers are wary of hiring ‘green’ employees en lieu of their more experienced counterparts. If your firm is looking to hire new talent, here are a few reasons why you should seriously consider recruiting recent college graduates to fill your vacant positions.

Less Expensive & More Flexible

No need to beat around the bush here--young people are a much cheaper addition to your payroll. Entry level salaries are much lower than those demanded by tenured workers. Tom Szaky, the CEO of the environmental group TerraCycle prefers to hire new grads, stating that they can afford to hire “two or three junior people for the price of one senior hire.”

Young people do not necessarily feel taken advantage of for making less. For many this is their first full time job, and the average newly grad prefers social media freedom, work flexibility and a comfortable office environment over a higher salary. In fact, according to a study recently conducted by the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, this current upcoming generation places the potential for personal growth and career progression, not a high salary, as the two most important factors in choosing a job.

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