Tag Archives: marketing

Branding, Marketing, and Web Design Trends

With the holidays fast approaching (such as Thanksgivukkah in just two weeks!) we thought we’d share some of our professional predictions for 2014 branding, marketing, and web design.

Branding: Clean-Slate Brands
According to Trendwatching, new is good, less is more, and sometimes true is better than tried. Consumers are seeking greater control, choices de-simplified, and upstarts on a mission. 2014 could be the year of the entrepreneur with a great product and an inspirational mission.

Web Trends: Start with Small
Begin your design phase of every project with an eye on how it will look on a mobile device. Then branch out to tablets and PC’s. It will help you frame your content by what’s important and build an architecture based on best-practice. Less is more. Just as we saw above, the trend is moving to simplification: large images, parallax effects, and one-page websites organized into blocks of content inspired by Pinterest. The only thing that will get more complex is the choice of web-friendly fonts you can use.

Video is surging in popularity. A June 2013 survey conducted by AOL showed that almost three quarters of marketing professionals plan to increase their spending on branded video content or video ads in 2014. Same rules apply: keep it short and simple, and make it good. 

Social Media Marketing: Diversify Your Strategy 
As we saw from investors’ show of support for Twitter’s IPO, social is only getting bigger and more relevant. As choices expand and audiences fragment, it gives marketing professionals the opportunity to create meaningful content that creates affinity for your brand’s voice. Once you build out a brand framework and architecture, drill down your value proposition for each audience and demo you’re looking to reach.

  • Google+ will continue to grow in size and influence and should no longer be thought of as a second-tier site. Delete that joke on the famous “Donut List.”
  • Image is everything and make it fast. Think Vine, Instagram, Pinterest. The popularity of these sites shows us that appetite for bite-sized chunks of content is growing. Say it in 6 seconds – and go! 

As always, it’s best to have a strategy and never too late to download our free Social Media Marketing Strategy Guide

What are your marketing predictions for 2014?  We’d love to hear them. As an agency that specializes in branding, marketing and web design, we love staying ahead of the curve. 

Thanks to My Curators and Creators – From Yourr #1 LinkedIn Voyeur

Last summer, Pew Internet Research reported that 46% of adult internet users were Creators; that is, they have shared photos and videos that they’ve created. 41% are Curators; they’ve reposted, retweeted or repackaged information that they’ve found
online. 32% are Creators/Curators.

I presume it also implies that 54% are Internet Voyeurs — neither posters nor creators. And while I don’t fall into that category (I’m in the 32% batch), I have been getting a tremendous amount of inspiration from my LinkedIn network of generous professional friends, many of whom I’ve never actually met or spoken with.

Today I want to thank:

Kate Billing
We’ve never met but share a passion for branding and bagels. Your updates  about leadership, happiness, and inspiration are always uplifting and I’m sure you are too. Also loved this great video about putting purpose into marketing (imagine that?).  I promise to get together on my next trip to New Zealand.

Debbie Laskey
According to my inbox, we’re actually celebrating a 2-year anniversary of connecting.  Your updates are tailor-made for me. From the hottest trends in digital marketing to matching a consumer brand with a consumer experience, I’m always clicking, reading, and agreeing. Please keep it up.

And thanks to Michelle Sybert for this image!

And thanks to Michelle Sybert for this image!

Davar Azarbeygui
You made my morning with your share of TBWA Transforms Briefs into Art, from Branding Magazine. Inspiration is everywhere and today you brought me mine.

Pat Wadors
Finally, someone I actually know. Making the Most of Your “Aha!” Moment” was a fun read. I can only hope I have more of them because those gamma activities are the foundation of Brandemix’s creative currency.

A friend recently wrote that thinking doesn’t start when you arrive at the office and end when you go home. It starts when you wake up and continues when you read the news, when you look around, when you read books and blogs. It doesn’t even stop when you go to bed. You dream your job. That’s how you become great.
 
So thanks for all my #1LinkedIn connections for helping me be great every day.

Engage Your Audience With Infographics

In the past few years, infographics have been taking the internet by storm, turning seemingly innocuous blog posts into viral sensations. Beautiful, funny, and charming works of art, they turn boring statistics and information – like “50% of all smartphone owners drink coffee between 7 and 10 a.m.” – into something that’s not only informative, but also easy on the eyes. 

Great news: You don’t need to be a statistical genius or a brilliant artist to dazzle your audience. 

Here are a few simple steps towards making them great.  

1. Find a Viral Topic

Whether you’re trying to detail something as expansive as the history of the internet, or something as simple as the latest Kindle, relevance is important. If you’re creating a comparison chart between the Kindle and Nook, but you completely leave out the fact that the iPad Mini was just released, you’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity to create something that people might want to share with everyone they know – and that’s the point, right?

So think about relevant current events, topics, products, crises, scandals – anything. If people are talking about it, creating an infographic that’s reflective of those events is a simple way will make people far more likely to share that infographic.

2. Keep it Simple

Perhaps the best element about infographics is that, like Twitter, they force us to be concise.

Chances are that if you’re reading a lengthy report or a case study, there’s a lot of unnecessary information.

So focus on the things that matter – the differentiators, the key takeaways, the glaring discrepancies, whatever they may be.

With that in mind, just because you’re focusing on the essentials doesn’t necessarily mean that the infographic has to be short. It can be small, like this one from Hubspot or huge, like this one from Pop Chart Lab.

Just don’t fill it up with tone of useless information. This Kindle vs. Nook chart below is a great example, as it focuses on one thing  the price of books in their respective e-book stores  and keeps it as straightforward as possible.

3. Just Build It

Creating an infographic is extremely difficult and expensive, right?

No, not really. In fact, there are a few free – that’s right, 
free – resources that enable anyone with a few minutes of time, some interesting statistics, and a handful of unique ideas to create things that are as pretty as they are shareable.

One simple (and free) resource for doing so is called Easelly, which lets users create infographics like this and this with minimal effort.

Beyond that, sites like Infogr.am allow users to easily import statistics into a wide (and constantly expanding) range of infographics. Want more? Infogr.am allows you to make those infographics interactive. It’s magic!

Those not your dig? Here are a few alternatives. Still not doing it? Hire an agency.

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Expert

A quick search of the phrase “Social Media” on Indeed.com just now served up 1,923 jobs with that phrase in the title. Actual opportunities range from Social Media Managers, Coordinators, Strategists and Specialists to Social Media Community Managers. Ever wonder what these people actually do? Great news, today you’re in luck. I’m Jason Ginsburg, the Director of Digital Branding at BRANDEMiX and this is my story.

At BRANDEMiX, we teach companies how to go from Social Media Starters to Social Media Superstars, and you might say that I’m the guy that puts the star in Superstar. I’m a social media strategist and addict, plugged in to cyber conversations 24/7 and continuously working to find new ways of keeping those dialogues going, for us and for our clients.

Half of my day involves listening. I track what people are saying about the brand or company, and monitor where they’re saying them. Then I respond.

I comment on whatever is happening in the industry or region, or refer to world events, or even just the weather – sometimes just to prove that a real person is running the show. I retweet and re-post anything interesting from the incoming stream, and I’ve set up special news feeds just for relevant keywords. I express sympathy towards someone who experienced poor customer service and show encouragement if someone wants to share a video. I engage with the audience wherever its mood leads.

The conversation can be quite lively and always keeps me on my toes. When a matter gets serious, I make sure to pass it along to the client for immediate attention.

I also run the social sites for BRANDEMiX, where I discuss online branding and marketing with other professionals.

All this time, automated posts that I scheduled earlier in the week have been going out.  That’s when I go into research mode. I scour the web for the latest online trends and tools that can help connect our clients’ and employer brands with their desired audience.

This week I discovered Roost before the New York Times did. I got my Google+ invitation weeks ago. Today I’m following developments in augmented reality and watching how Chatter and Yammer are changing companies’ internal communications. I also take this time to read the smartest, most innovative blogs for inspiration.

Hold on a second- it’s time for another quick check of the livestream – I never want to let a question or complaint sit for too long.

Let’s move on to the multimedia part of my day. Some contests (we call them Sweeps) and campaigns require photos or videos, or even PowerPoint presentations. I upload media to multiple sites, tag them for the best SEO, and respond to any comments on the existing photos and videos. This week I was stymied by the inability to do a bulk upload of some pics. I expressed my frustration in the form of a tweet to the company, and in 5 minutes, I had a reply tweet that said the bulk uploader is in development. Things like that make my day.

OK- time for blogging. I create content for our clients, either consumer-facing or internal, such as an employee newsletter. After writing, it’s back to – you guessed it – the social sites, to make some final posts, follow some last links, and schedule some content for the coming days.

Despite what you’ve just read, the mercurial nature of social media ensures that no two days are the same. My success is measured in business results and I am constantly refining my strategies and tactics based on desired outcomes and pre-established objectives, whether that’s friends, fans or followers.

What else is on the horizon? Well, I can’t reveal all my secrets!

Want to know more about my exciting social media life? Connect with me at @BRANDEMiX or our Facebook page.

If The Shoe Fits: Social Media Lessons from Converse

   Mashable just published an interview with Geoff Cottrill, Chief Marketing Officer of Converse. One passage jumped out at me:

    One day he discovered that Converse had 8 million [Facebook] fans and was asked what the brand should do. “Nothing,” he replied.

    How counter-intuitive! While the interview goes on to show that Cottrill’s philosophy isn’t quite that meager, his strategy for Converse is very simple and effective. Here are the lessons you can take from the shoe company and apply to your own brand.

    Listen More Than You Talk
   Cottrill explains that he actually meant “Do nothing special,” meaning Converse should allow online conversations to go on without any assistance. “The bottom line is that in social media you have to let go,” he tells Mashable, pointing out that the era of one-way communication is over. Studies have shown that people “Unlike” brands on Facebook when they post too often and broadcast too much promotional material. Allow your customers to come to you and address their concerns. If you just link to your own press releases, people will stay away.

Give Things Away
   Knowing that rock musicians have a history of wearing Converse shoes to express their “individuality and independence,” the company is about to open a recording studio in Brooklyn, which it will rent to new bands for free; Cottrill promises that the musicians won’t even be asked to promote Converse in their work. You may not be able to offer a recording studio, but you can still hold giveaways and contests on your Twitter feed, Facebook Page, or blog. Give everyone who votes in your online poll a chance to win a small gift card or one of your less expensive products. You can also give away white papers, e-books, or other premium content. 

   Focus on Core Marketing Truths
   For Cottrill, that means “Be relevant, make a connection, and be useful.” A quick check of the Converse Twitter feed shows that a significant portion of the tweets are @replies to customers and fans. You can emulate this strategy by keeping straight promotion to a minimum and actively engaging your followers with answers, fun facts, surveys, and links to content that matches their interests and lifestyle.

   Don’t Duplicate Content
    Cottrill says that he modifies his messaging based on the platform. The example he gives involves posting videos of rock bands on YouTube, while asking for band member interview questions from followers on Twitter. Duplicating content may save time, but you’ll pay for it as followers get tired of seeing the same links three or four times in one day. I’m very aware of this phenomenon and I created the Four Essential Profiles to ensure that your four main messaging sources work together instead of against each other.

   Ultimately, Cottrill compares his social media campaign to being a good party guest: bringing your unique voice to the medium, letting go of the urge to manage the conversation, and trusting your customers. The result is that Converse has four times as many Facebook fans as its parent company Nike — and over three times that of Pepsi, which aggressively advertises its brand. “The key is to know yourself as a brand, be confident in your POV, and act that way wherever you are,” he says. Good advice.