Tag Archive: marketing

  1. The World Doesn’t Need Another Podcast (So They Said)

    “The world doesn’t need one more podcast,” they said.  I kept hearing that refrain in my mind over the past several months: morning, noon, and night – and it continued to echo in the same noisy head as I contemplated a new podcast: Brand Narrative.

    The trouble with voices like that is that they keep us from doing our best work.  They keep us from stepping out and doing the thing that we think should be done.  They keep us from creating the art we were meant to create.

    What would happen if we listened to those voices?

    Well, if we didn’t create a new podcast for Findsome & Winmore, we wouldn’t be able to highlight our talented team members with insight to share about their passions.  We wouldn’t be able to hear from our clients about what they’re experiencing and learning. We wouldn’t be able to learn from industry experts about how current events of today will impact our field tomorrow. And most importantly, we wouldn’t be able to share all of that with people who might benefit from it in some way: the next entrepreneur, creator, or person simply reluctant to take their next step with an endeavor.

    So we’re officially ignoring that voice and inviting you to listen along with us to hear what that sounds like.

    In our first few episodes we’ll cover topics ranging from what a Major League Baseball team got wrong when it changed its name to how a thriving restaurant group masters marketing with virtually zero advertising.  We’ll also draw marketing lessons from the late Arnold Palmer — the person, the brand, and the team that carries his legacy forward today.

    So please check us out at www.BrandNarrative.fm or search “Brand Narrative” wherever you get your podcasts.  A few of the more popular places include Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Overcast.

    Send all compliments and complaints to feedback@brandnarrative.fm.  We’d also love to hear your marketing questions (you can send us a voice memo) and ideas for show topics.

     

  2. Olympic-Sized Lessons: What are the new rules for networking in a post-COVID world?

    It’s a momentous time for athletes—the pinnacles of their careers—the Olympic Games. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics nearing, I started thinking about the time I worked for the 1996 Atlanta Committee for the Games.

    I was part of a ticket sales team who sold executive suites and ticket packages for companies and individuals who had the primary intent to develop business and entertain guests. Imagine sitting with Coca Cola executives, watching Kerri Strug land her gold medal vault on one leg! It was the first Olympics Games where skyboxes and suite-style seating were sold to generate revenue. In the years since, the practice has become commonplace—until COVID-19.

    The Olympics has already been delayed a year because of the global pandemic. Now Tokyo officials are so determined to have the competition, they’re prepared to hold events with no spectators—another COVID casualty?

    So, what’s my point? There’s a bigger picture here.

    The Olympics aren’t the only organization/company/group to change business development. There are companies across the globe, and right here in Central Florida who are trying to figure out the “new normal.”

    What does networking look like in a post-COVID world?

    To help understand real-life challenges and solutions, I spoke with three clients, representing different industries.

    • Jon B. Mendelsohn, CEO of Ashar Group, a financial services company specializing in insurance policy valuations and life settlements
    • Chris Hite, President and CEO of Dix Hite, a landscape architecture and urban design firm
    • Calvin Cearly, Director of Marketing Strategy for Exploria Resorts, a resort and vacation ownership company

    Q: What did your business development and networking activities look like pre-COVID?

    Chris: Before COVID, we’d do the best work we could every day. Then we’d go to events and conferences. We’d submit conference papers and award nominations. We are involved in Urban Land Institute, and we’d attend happy hours to network and meet potential clients or make business connections.

    Jon: The majority of our business development was done through face-to-face interaction—small meetings, meals, or large meetings and conferences. Because our executive team members are industry thought leaders, we were often invited to speak at events and conferences. We probably attended 250 events a year, and those events brought in more than half of our new business.

    Calvin: Pre-COVID, we had a bigger team and more resources. We focused on building relationships with local partners such as the Chambers of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureaus where our resorts are located.

    Q: What changes did you make during the pandemic, that you think will stick around?

    Jon: Video conferencing has been huge for us. It allows us to talk to clients face-to-face. Compared to the phone calls, we can connect more deeply with clients, share screens to help explain options, and give them a better experience. During the pandemic, we went above and beyond to teach them the technology and keep it easy for them to connect with us.

    Chris: Our clients are located all over the state, and we used to do a lot of driving for in-person meetings. I’m glad video conferencing has become broadly accepted. For quick meetings, we’ll keep it digital, but we’ll still make the drive when needed. Afterall, we’re a landscape architecture firm, and you need to see the land in person and ‘kick the dirt.’

    During the pandemic, we came to rely heavily on social media for networking, specifically LinkedIn. I use it to share blogs, connect with potential clients, and showcase our work. Moving forward, we’ll have a blend of smart social media outreach and in-person events like happy hours and professional organization meetings for our business development strategy.

    Calvin: LinkedIn has exploded during the pandemic. It’s become a viable way to reach out and connect with someone you don’t know. During COVID, without the face-to-face element of new meetings, instant credibility and trust is gone. We’ve become incredibly proactive about leveraging social media for new connections—and not just with our corporate accounts. Our executive team often uses their personal accounts to reach out to people.

    Q: As more people are getting vaccinated, and safety restrictions are loosening, will you go back to in-person networking? 

    Calvin: Absolutely! Exploria Resorts never shut down during the pandemic. We have made significant health and safety changes, in accordance with CDC guidelines. We’ve found that people are desperate for a return to normal. I’m excited to connect in-person with local business groups, to build new partnerships for the company.

    Jon: We’re seeing conferences announce in-person events throughout 2021 and beyond. Most are offering hybrid options to attend in person or virtually. I think that will really benefit Ashar Group; it gives us flexibility and more balance. Flying across the country for some events and logging in for others lets us make even more connections. In person networking may still be somewhat limited, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing like sitting across from someone and having a conversation.

    Chris: Yes! We’re already seeing some networking opportunities come back. We’ve attended several professional happy hours, and I’m speaking at two conferences this year. They’re going to be live, and it’s going to be awesome!

     

    Q: What are your biggest takeaways as a business right now?

    Jon: One of the benefits of owning a small business is that you can adjust to things more quickly. Ultimately, what we learned is that we could maintain and even grow our business without the ability to shake our clients’ hands.

    Calvin: This is a recovery year for us—focusing on whatever is going to make an impact, tying to a measurable conversion, and being good stewards of the limited resources we have. Many people just want an escape—a safe haven where they can relax safely. Exploria is perfectly positioned to provide that right now.

    Chris: For Dix Hite, our new strategy will be hybrid. Our leadership team will be attending networking events, conferences, and getting out into the community. We’re also heavily leveraging networking tools like social media for our 25-year anniversary events. We’re encouraging our employees who take on service projects to share them on social media. We’ll work to foster our brand culture both on- and off-line.

    The best executives have a clear understanding of their core business, and are flexible enough to combine multiple tools—old and new—to make the best networking strategy.

    Olympic lessons are still relevant, and rings (connections) are essential business plan tools. Just pack a hybrid, updated version in your training bag!

  3. How to Help Your Brand with Podcasts

    One of the biggest goals (but often one of the largest challenges) of any company is getting in front of the right demographic. Podcasts are a powerful tool that can help your brand tell its story to a specific audience. And as they’ve become bigger and bigger stages for brands to tell their stories, we have, through trial and error, been busy putting together best practices to help our clients take advantage of podcasts to advance their brands.

    As a full-service marketing agency, we’re always looking for ways to leverage tools like this to help our clients (or ourselves!) FIND and WIN new customers. Below are some of the strategies we’ve found to be helpful in successfully landing and sharing podcasts.

    Create a branded podcast bio to use for pitching

    This is something that’s unique to podcast pitching because unlike pitching a story or an announcement, pitching a podcast is much more about the interviewee. We’ve found that, oftentimes, hosts are more interested in the person they’re interviewing than in the most recent announcement the interviewee’s company is touting.

     

    Pitch an array of topics

    When pitching yourself or a client for an interview, we’ve found that rather than pitching a press release-style announcement, it’s very helpful to pitch an array of 5-7 topics that your interviewee is comfortable speaking on. This ultimately makes it harder for the host to say “no” to the interview, because if they do, they would be saying no to multiple topics rather than just one. If you pitch your podcasts strategically, you should be able to get at least one of your topics to stick.

     

    Prep, prep, prep

    If you’re like most people, stepping behind a mic can be a daunting task, even if you’re not in front of a room full of people. And in many ways, the virtual nature of many post-COVID-19 workplaces has made podcast interviews even more challenging. Without being able to “read the room” the way you can when physically sitting across the table from an interviewer, it can be difficult to interact the same way when interviews are conducted over the phone or on a video call. This makes preparation even more important. Before your interview, ask the host what questions they plan on asking, or even suggest your own! Then plan to do a walkthrough of your interview with a trusted colleague prior to getting in front of a hot mic. This will help give you the confidence needed to navigate your interview.

     

    Share the podcast

    Sharing your podcast interviews after they drop creates a win-win situation. Podcasts already have a niche audience, which is one of their strengths, but when you share it with your own network it reinforces that even more; not to mention the visibility it brings you. Remember that podcasts are looking to grow their audiences as well, so sharing your episode not only helps spread your message, but it also helps share your interviewer’s platform as well.

    If you want to take this one a step further, you can extend the life of your podcasts by transcribing them and posting the transcription to your website along with the link to the audio. A transcribed interview will not only double as great web content for your company, but it will also help prospective customers find you via keyword searches of the content in your interview.

    Because of the depth they allow for, podcast interviews can be a treasure trove of content. Once your company or client has a few under their belt, use them to gather information for future media opportunities as well as fodder for social media and web content. If you’re featured on a podcast, link to it on your company’s website! This cross-pollination will help bring your company more publicity and will boost SEO for your website.

  4. How to name my company using poetry, fish, a front porch, and a set of made-up rules

    One of the most interesting and challenging things our clients ask us to do is to name things – products, service lines, and even entire companies. A brand’s *name* is critical to its identity in the marketplace and the impression it gives to consumers.

    While waiting in line for my first COVID vaccine shot, I was struck by the name of this business: Fishy Business Aquarium. It’s clever in that anyone who’s in the profession of trading in fish is, in fact, in a “fishy” business. Fishy is also a fun term because it’s playfully used as a reference to “suspicious” or “arousing in feelings of doubt.” Just ask Webster. Throwing in ‘Aquarium’ is also helpful in that it tells the story to those who don’t get the joke.

    The problem with this name, though, is that it’s tough to trademark or “own.” It’s why Starbucks doesn’t call itself “The Daily Grind” (there’s one in every city) or why Apple doesn’t call itself “Cupertino Computer Sales and Service.” Can you imagine?

    The temptation to do this is understandable. By default, we want brand names to tell the entire story about the product or company. But that’s too much to ask. A name can’t tell the entire story about a company, product, or idea, any more than a logo can. When we try to force that issue, what we often end up with is a name that doesn’t stand out, is boring, or lacks confidence. (Yes, it’s OK for your name to reflect a little swagger.) 

    I recently heard former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins refer to the title of a poem as its front porch – an invitation of sorts A title of a poem is meant to invite and welcome the reader, not to serve as a summation of encapsulation of the entire meaning of the poem. I think we might use that characterization of a poem for how we might think about brand names: merely a brand’s front porch. 

    Naming can be messy, confusing, and downright frustrating. Prepare to have lots of handwritten lists with most everything crossed off of them. Prepare to hear from your inner creative voice telling you that “these are dumb,” “these are stupid,” and “people will make fun of you.” Prepare to hear from your friends and family telling you all of these same things. Take it from a guy whose company is named “Findsome & Winmore” and whose tagline is Not a Law Firm. 

    To guide you in the process, think of some guidelines – rules of sorts. Here’s what we encourage our clients to think about when it comes to changing or shifting a brand name: 

    • Think like a customer, not an owner or employee 
    • Memorability is more important than likability 
    • Passion from a few is more important than consensus from the whole 
    • Emotive names are more profound than literal or descriptive names 
    • Controversial names have more impact than safe names 
    • Initials and acronymnare generally more confusing than clarifying 
    • Consider the ownability of a name within the marketplace 
    • Don’t set reasonable expectations 
    • Don’t expect the name you arrive at to jump off the page and give you a feeling of euphoria: it will take time for it to grow on you 

    When working with clients who want to name things, we encourage them to think about names that shy away from the descriptive and lean toward the obscure, fishy or not. For some further insight, thought, and therapy on the issue, take a listen to Seth Godin’s podcast episode called “Entrepreneur’s Guide to Trademarks.” 

  5. Company Naming with Findsome & Winmore

    Company Naming 

    What’s in a company name? Besides the inevitable fact that you’ll say it at least once a day and see it on signage, business cards, mugs and the like, names are the ultimate label for your company (no pressure). Company names are often your audience’s first impression of your brand and being. The naming journey can be daunting, whether you’re a well-known local shop or a budding startup, the challenge is the same: uncovering a name that speaks to who you are and who you serve. 

    To dig deeper into our own processes, we took the time to chat with some of our clients and even asked ourselves to reflect on some of our most game-changing company name endeavors. 

    Findsome & Winmore 

    In 1995, WebSolvers was born in its founder’s college dorm room. As the company grew, so did its ambitions, and it blossomed into a full-service marketing agency. With a focus on helping companies grow and thrive just as they had and inspiration from the spirit of two marketing legends, the team landed on a name that spoke to their main goal: finding and winning new customers. 

     

    Interview featuring Matt Certo, CEO & Principal at Findsome & Winmore. 

    What inspired your rebrand in the first place? 

    MATT: We were rebranding because our name WebSolvers was too limiting. We wanted to grow beyond just website development. For many of the years that we were in business, we built websites, and that was it. Overtime we realized that we needed to be more, we wanted to be more, and that we had become more. 

     

    How does your company name relate your industry? 

    MATT: The advertising and creative industry is generally looked to be off beat, to be out there, to be a little on the fringe as far as names are concerned. Findsome & Winmore was one that we felt reflected that expectation out of the advertising world. 

      

    What inspired you most during the naming process? 

    MATT: The level of effort and focus itself, it’s not easy. I tell people that naming products and companies is one of the hardest things we do, if not the hardest thing. To me, what was inspiring was going through the process, lists of names and concepts. Then also the collaboration. The back and forth between team members, that always gets your juices flowing. Knowing you’re going to end up with a name is very, very exciting. It kind of gets your adrenaline going knowing that this is a big deal that you’re embarking on and it’ll forever change the face of the company, literally. 

     

    How does your company name reflect the overall brand? 

    MATT: To me, I think it makes you chuckle. Theres a little mystery and intrigue to it, like what does that company do? The fact that we use the tagline not a law firm is really a play on our name because it doesn’t really tell you anything more about what we do. It leads to some level of intrigue and asking some questions. 

    26Health 

    After entrusting Findsome & Winmore to rebrand their corporate identity, the 26Health team is pleased to say their name and brand is the epitome of who they are. Providing care for every letter, 26Health’s new brand identity (including a name, tagline, logos and secondary marks, typography, inspirational imagery and collateral implementations) spoke to individuality and acceptance of each patient’s truest self. 

     

    Interview featuring Dr. David Baker-Hargrove, President, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of 26Health; and Robert Baker-Hargrove, COO, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of 26Health. 

    Can you speak to your company culture and your team’s drive to provide an all-inclusive health clinic to the Central Florida community? 

    DAVID: I think more than anything, it stems from who Robert and I are as a couple. Through our entire relationship, we’ve celebrated diversity and believe in how important it is. We wanted diversity to be more than a slogan or nice words in the employee handbook. Diversity hiring for us has always been intentional, not because we wanted to fill seats or make quotas, but because we intentionally looked for people who would be reflective of the patient population we serve. 

    All of this was done in mind with the patient population that we serve that has that rich reflection. We are primarily set up to provide services for people who have multiple identities. They can be LGBTQ, but also people of color and people who have a different immigration status. All aspects that occur within identities within 26Health also happen within our patient population and we want people to see themselves when they walk in the door. 

     

    With that in mind, what was most important for your company name to achieve? 

    ROBERT: We wanted a name that honored who we are as a company and the community we serve. We wanted it to have a level of standing beyond us as individuals. And we also wanted it to be memorable. Whenever you think about the people in our organization or the people that we serve or even the businesses that we do business with, it’s extremely important to us that everyone feels included. Diversity and inclusion is a huge aspect but then it’s also about acceptance. 

    And the other aspect and something really fun that we talked a lot about was that we wanted something that would have a logo that identified who we were before you even had to say it. So we were really focused on the logo as well as the name. Going through that process, we went through a lot of identifiers. 

    We allowed Findsome & Winmore to take that information and present us with some options – the name 26Health – we all fell in love with. That was it, that was the one. No matter what letter you are or how you identify, we care for you. That’s when the tagline ‘care for every letter’ came out of it. 

     

    How does your name lend itself to visual creativity? How does the name 26health provide opportunities for unique visual branding? 

    ROBERT: When you’re looking at the logo, if you slightly tilt your head to the left, you’ll see an equality sign. The curvature of the two and the six also create an infinity sign. We really thought that there were a lot of embedded symbols in there that give us something that really has a lot of meaning to the logo aspect of it that really takes it to another level. 

    We also wanted a logo that could stand on its own and looked really cool on things. We wanted something really broad, yet striking, that was innovative and different. So when we were going through the process and they showed us what the logo could look like on different things and how we were treating it, it was just something that we absolutely fell in love with. 

     

    How does your company name reflect your company’s mission?  

    ROBERT: Every person on staff really connects to it and the mission and the vision. We often talk that the mission is the mechanism of how you grow to your vision. Being able to have a name and a logo that truly encompasses everything we do for the community and encompasses how we feel and integrates our systems of care and how we bring them together really speaks to that people are more than just one letter. People have depth. They have feelings and there are dimensions to people. So what we really hope and feel is that when our patients come, they get that level of care that we’re treating them as an individual and not treating them as a number. They can come to us and they can bring their true authentic selves regardless of how they identify. 

    etectRx 

    Also undergoing a name change since its debutetectRx now has a company name that reflects its mission. Following the change, etectRx asked Findsome & Winmore to lead the way in creating a design identity that would bring their name to life. Learn how the evolution of a company name that was created over lunch conversation, combined with a compelling brand aesthetic, works for the leader in digital pills. 

     

    Interview featuring D. Eric Buffkin Jr., Sr. VP. Development and Technical Operations at etectRx; and Jessica Schein, Sales Operations Coordinator at etectRx. 

    Now that we know the result, tell us how you got there. Describe your company naming process. 

    ERIC: The process involved sitting at lunch and tossing names back and forth at each other around the idea that we were doing electronic detection. That’s where etect came from. Instead of calling it ‘edetect,’ we said, ‘let’s just call it etect.’ 

    We did toss around the idea of ‘smart pill’ but there was another company here in Gainesville that had trademarked the ‘smart’ term as it related to medication adherence. So, we didn’t want to just poke them in the eye completely or get poked in the eye by them, so we avoided the whole smart approach. But it was literally lunchtime conversation. And being two engineers, we had to come up with ‘OK, what are we doing and how do we make a name out of that?’  

     

    What did you want your target audience to understand from the company name and brand Identity design? 

    ERIC: It was always the intent to make sure people know we are a wireless communications technology. 

     

    What does your company name help achieve in the visual and design space? 

    JESSICA: When you mention electronic detection, as far as our new branding and even our old branding goes, there’s a frequency radiating off of both our logo and our icons. I think both the name and the visual helps tie it all together. 

     

    Can you speak to company culture and your team’s drive to solve medication non-adherence? 

    ERIC: We started out purely as medication adherence. In the many years that we’ve had the company, the scope has actually expanded to really be digital pills. Digital pills mean measuring adherence, but they also mean other things. When you take that adherence or ingestion information and feed it into some of the novel software applications being developed to help people with particular illnesses, the combination of those makes a huge impact on people’s wellness, quality of life and how much money they have to spend to get well, so there’s all kinds of goodness around that. 

    The culture here is a ‘do what it takes’ kind of culture. This is a wide-open category. We feel like at this point we define the category since the only other significant player is no longer around. We feel like we have to do what it takes to drive this company forward and the culture around here is about doing what it takes.  

     

     

    Celeste 

    Findsome & Winmore found inspiration in the stars when naming Celeste, a new hotel concept on the campus of the University of Central Florida. Working closely with the Marriott team, we established a bold company name that paid homage to UCF’s ties to the space program, mythology and astronomy while staying true to the Marriott brand. 

     

    Interview featuring Matt Certo, CEO & Principal at Findsome & Winmore.  

    Now that we know the result, tell us how the team got there. Describe the naming process for this client. 

    MATTWe were working with the Marriott marketing team and we really looked to establish the brand pillars before anything else and what the brand was going to stand on. Before we talked about a name or a logo, we looked at concepts that should be representative of the hotel itself. 

    We arrived at ideas like discovery and exploration and an experience that was transcendent of some sort. And of course, UCF has an association and a longtime history/affiliation with the space program. We looked at that as a concept of something that we could build upon as this is the kind of feeling that we want to create with this brand and the kinds of impressions we wanted people to get when they were interfacing with the brand. 

     

    What’s most important when developing a company name for clients? 

    MATT: We have a number of rules that we look to follow. One of them is: is it ownable in the marketplace? Can you really say this is your name? We also look at: is this something that sets you apart and differentiates you in some way? And then, also, does it evoke that core of the brand or the essence of your brand? 

      

    How do you immerse yourself in the client’s brand? 

    MATT: We do that by digging into the founding story of the brand. We dig into the purpose of that organization or company. We also look at mission and vision, and personality traits that personify the brand. You immerse yourself in a client’s brand by being around the people, being around the founders, being around that ownership group. 

    This was a new hotel that wasn’t out of the ground, but if it was an existing hotel, you’d probably want to go there and visit to understand what the feeling was like, what the guests are experiencing, what you want them to experience. Just really immersing yourself by being there – talking to people, listening, observing, smelling – all these things are important. 

     

    What inspired you most during the naming process? 

    MATT: I think really the celestial thinking that we gravitated to really got everyone’s wheels turning. The celestial is very, very inspiring. So, when you arrive at that as a concept to play with, you can’t help but get excited. 

     

    What makes the name “Celeste” unique in the hospitality industry? 

    MATT: It’s a name that doesn’t exist here locally. No one is going to mistake this for a different hotel. It begins the journey of telling a story when you talk about the name and how it relates to the experience that the Celeste wants guests to have. 

     

    How did you ensure the company name reflected the overall brand? 

    MATT: You have to come back to the brand pillars, the foundation of the brand. And when you think about pillars it’s things that are on the inside of the brand that people don’t necessarily see, and that’s just like the pillars of the building. You look at columns that hold a building up. Usually, those things are inside and they’re not really exposed to the outside world. 

     

  6. What Can Businesses Learn From Advertising Agencies Using TikTok?

    Discover the Possibilities 

    The clock is Tiking… is your business Toking? By now, you’ve likely noticed that many companies have yet to get established on TikTok. We have a feeling that’ll change. Remember the days of questioning if getting on platforms like Facebook and Instagram was the right move? Today, the thought of neglecting to reach your audience via social is prehistoric. 

    Still, it’s no secret that we’re often hesitant when it comes to change, especially regarding business. You may worry that you and your team will explore TikTok only to find that posts aren’t racking up as much engagement as you hoped. Instead of entering the TikTok world with specific expectations, approach the platform with an open mind. 

    Because TikTok is 100% free, we see value in taking the leap and finding out what it may accomplish for your business. You may go viral overnight, or maybe you’ll decide the platform isn’t what’s best for your team. No matter what you find, we encourage you to never stop exploring. Start below and discover three ways you can get started on TikTok right now, then jump into our findings on how other advertising agencies are using TikTok and how those practices can be applied to businesses looking to talk the Tok. 

    1. TikTok is a hub for influencer marketing. Tap into influencer-created content on TikTok to expand your reach through someone your audience trusts. 
    2. What’s a surefire way to get the attention of consumers on any platform? Pets. If your team is known for paw-some pet policies like dog days, feature your four-legged stars in company content. 
    3. One of TikTok’s many perks is that you don’t always have to be totally original. Stay on the pulse of what’s new and trending on the platform and make it your own.  

    The Influencer Marketing Factory 

    Followers: 1.3k 

    Likes: 24.2k 

    The Influencer Marketing Factory leverages TikTok to feature its social media campaigns as well as client campaigns. These videos showcase key performance indicators (KPIs), which gives quick insight into how well the projects performed, a metric that brands on TikTok are eager to know. 

    While most of the agency’s content focuses on campaigns, they’re not necessarily their most popular. Over the last two months, posts speaking to stay-at-home fun and expectation versus reality have seen the most engagement. We can take this as proof that TikTokers are always open to entertaining, relatable content. 

    TikTok Takeaway: TikTok’s video interface provides an optimal platform to display recent work and products, even positive stats about your company’s latest project or eventAnd take it from The Influencer Marketing Factory’s high engagement rates on less business heavy contentTikTok invites users to be bold and stand outDon’t hesitate getting in on the latest meme or challenge – just be sure your brand personality shines through.  

    @influencermarketing

    🍻 Our Content Creation Management for Bud Light #budlight #fyp #fun

    ♬ WIN THE DAY – Bamtone

     

     

    NoGood 

    Followers: 68k 

    Likes: 728.1k 

    From logo evolutions to designer struggles and the history of Black Friday, NoGood is no stranger to TikTok. The company prides itself on helping new businesses grow through “rapid experimentation.” Their willingness to go unafraid has clearly yielded results. 

    With almost 70,000 followers, NoGood has managed to accumulate more than 10x as many likes. How? They post relevant insights that other marketers find educational and humorous. They’ve established themselves as a thought leader in the industry and they’re leading the way on a platform many companies have yet to tackle. 

    NoGood has definitely used TikTok’s lightheartedness to its advantage. The company’s TikToks are much more quirky and casual than its usual tone. Remember, you don’t have to change your voice, but it’s perfectly fine (encouraged, even) to adjust tone to meet the moment. 

    TikTok Takeaway: Take a moment to identify areas that your company excels in and determine a plan for thought leadership posts. Consider this an all-hands-on deck project. Everyone on your team has valuable insights to offer. 

     

    @nogood.ioMarketing masterpieces #mcdonalds #burgerking #marketing #genius♬ Aesthetic Girl – Yusei

    Though TikTok officially launched in 2017, it has recently seen tremendous growth and increased its monthly active users by over 52 million in less than a year. With reach like that, we’d be remiss to dismiss its power as another consumer touchpoint. Take heed of the examples set by brands currently thriving in the space and you too will find success on TikTok. It all starts with a willingness to go unafraid. 

  7. 2020 Website Trends to Watch

    Recently celebrating the big three-oh, the World Wide Web has aged like fine wine year after year. Has your company’s UX kept up? If you want to turn clicks into buys and searches into revenue (which I’m sure you do), excellent UX is a must. Last, year I covered top web trends for 2019. As we enter the new decade, I want to talk UX again and get another head start on what’s what on the World Wide Web. 

    We’ve all heard the startling stats about capturing a consumer’s attention in seconds or losing it altogether. With the world at their fingertips, users are quick to move on if your UX and UI aren’t up to par. So what’s an effective solve? 

     

    Full Screen Forms 

    Almost every company site has some sort of form for visitors to fill out. From newsletter subscriptions at the start of their site journey to quick questionnaires and entering their address at check out, forms almost always live in a company’s webspace. But for forms to live happily ever after, change was inevitable. Because they’ve been part of the user experience for so long, website forms were overdue for a revamp. In a simple, but necessary upgrade, forms have transformed and grown to become more aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. 

    via GIPHY

    This year, practice minimalism by going big. Full screen forms are super clean and eliminate extra lines and boxes that depreciate white space value. because they have more real estate to work with, full screen forms play on large type and large elements that are a surefire way to increase readability. Since forms are already a familiar web component, modernizing them is a change most users will react well to and not feel overwhelmed by. 

    Voice User Interface 

    Voice User Interface encompasses all the AlexasSirisCortanas and other virtual assistants of our time. As they’ve evolved, we’ve continued to count on them to provide directions, send texts, set reminders and even control our smart home devices. Now, they’ve entered the web space. The formal definition of VUI is “the primary visual, auditory, and tactile interfaces that enable voice interaction between people and devices.” Websites have started to incorporate VUI to extend this feature and provide further usability. Along with voice control options comes an accessibility win, as VUI offers more functionality for those with different abilities. 

    Split Screens 

    When creating split screen content, there’s a ton of possibility. With the right design and execution, you’re able to showcase twice the content. You can also keep it simple with your two-sided design, having one side of the screen with a large bold heading and a featured image on the other. To amp it up, you can showcase a product, video, gif, or other dynamic content piece. 

    The goal of split screen design is to show segmented content in a simplistic layout that marries each both ideas. This fresh format does an amazing job of drawing user attention as you wish and feeds the eye’s natural interest in visual contrast. All in all, split screens are a proper starting point to building compelling UX and UI through typography, imagery, and effectiveness. 

    As you aim for peak web potential this year, reflect on where you are as a brand. If you’re continuing business as usual, focus on elements that naturally fit your company’s identity. These changes will elevate your site, but won’t present an overwhelming change. On the other hand, if you’re looking to refresh your brand identity and web presence, explore a new trend to reinvent. No matter how and why you make the shift, recreate with purpose and your site visitors will take notice. 

  8. Leveraging Your Brand With Podcast Interviews

    In 2019, many of us take for granted the fact that we can watch any TV show, movie or YouTube video, or listen to any audiobook, song or podcast at any time of day, 24/7, 365. You might think that if we had been offered the opportunity for this kind of on-demand entertainment 15 years ago, we would have jumped at it, right? Well, we were offered that opportunity in 2005, when Apple first debuted podcasts two years before Netflix began streaming shows.

    Fast forward to 2010, five years after we first had the opportunity to walk around with podcasts on our ipods wherever we wantless than a quarter of Americans reported having ever even listened to one. While it may seem crazy that we did not latch onto podcasts right away, on-demand audio/visual entertainment was simply not a staple of our culture yet. But the last ten years have brought the rise of Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Spotify, and an army of other streaming services offering on-demand entertainment, creating a wave for podcasts to ride right into the mainstream of American life. As of earlier this year, there are more than 30 million podcasts episodes, and more than 50% of Americans report having listened to at least one in their lifetimes. 

    What do these statistics mean for the media landscape? Well, last year, news podcasts pulled in more ad revenue than any other podcast genre. People are listening to podcasts.

    With this in mind, should pitching clients or company leaders to podcasts be a part of your media relations strategy? 

    I’ll admit it, as a PR professional, podcasts can be a scary proposition. The first time I had a client express interest in one, I was skeptical. Long-form, unstructured, recorded conversations do not necessarily create a breeding ground for tight, concise messaging and talking points. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s infamous weed-smoking incident on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast is a stark reminder of what can go wrong when stepping behind the podcast mic. 

    However, despite their risks, podcasts offer tremendous publicity advantages, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the success many of my clients have found in them.

    For those who have found success as podcast guests, I’ve observed a common theme: successful podcast guests know their story and stick to it. 

    As with any media interview, you must know what you are going to say before you say it. Podcasts offer the ultimate opportunity to tell your story in a long-form setting, but conversely, offer ample time to put your proverbial foot in your mouth. Knowing your talking points and not straying too far from them will help protect you from saying something you’ll regret. 

    Once you know your messaging and are confident sticking to it, podcasts will open up a whole new world of targeted messaging.

    One of the biggest goals (and often one of the largest challenges) of any brand is getting their story/product/brand in front of the right demographic. Podcasts offer a unique opportunity to reach a niche group of people who you know are interested in what you have to say, by virtue of the fact they are listening to a specific podcast. For example, a client of mine was recently featured on a show titled “Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever.” Can you guess what industry the client is in and what demographic of people listen to that show? I’m guessing the answer is yes. Not only is a feature on an industry-specific podcast like this a sure-fire way to get your story in front of the right people, but it also builds credibility by proving you’re an expert in your field. For the most part, podcast hosts do their homework and won’t just bring anyone on their shows, so know that if they chose you to bring value to their listeners, it’s a validation of your expertise.

    Now that you have the ear of your target audience, you will have the ability to really tell your story. While traditional media outlets allow for concise soundbites and snippets of information, podcasts allow you to dive deep into your company’s history, culture and goals. While this may be scary, remember that in today’s fast-paced, increasingly digital world, consumers are longing for a human touch. Showing your company’s humanity through in-depth storytelling will go a long way in building trust with your current and future customers, and podcasts are the perfect medium to give them a taste of your story. 

    Because of the depth that they allow for, podcast interviews can be a treasure trove of content. Once your company or client has a few under their belt, use them to gather information for future media opportunities as well as fodder for social media and web content. If you are featured on a podcast, link to it on your company’s website! This cross pollination will help bring your company more publicity and will boost SEO for your website. 

    Another way to extend the life of your podcasts is to transcribe them and post the transcription to your website along with the link to the audio. A transcribed interview will not only double as great web content for your company, it will also help prospective customers find you via keyword searches of the content in your interview. 

    So what are the next steps if you are looking to leverage podcasts to tell your brand story? A simple place to start is to begin listening to podcasts if you don’t already. Ask a trusted colleague or mentor what podcasts they enjoy, and give them a try. Not every podcast will be appropriate for your brand, so you’ll need to do some sifting to find out where you best fit before diving in head first. 

    After you find the right fit, be confident in the story you have to tell and don’t forget to stay on brand. When your interview is over and your podcast is released, share it far and wide!

  9. Picture This: The Big Benefits of Original Imagery and Design Over Stock Photos

    It may seem unnecessary—maybe even wasteful—but budgeting for custom photography and design is money well spent for your content and brand. It creates a level of credibility and authenticity with your audience. Simply stated, it’s been proven that people respond better to original images.

    Don’t get me wrong, though. Stock photos are very purposeful if you have budget or time constraints. But, it can be pretty easy to recognize stock in print and digital—images can look very polished, almost too professional and too generic in subject matter. They can also be easily recognized as stock because everyone else on the planet has access to that very same image. You might have seen the same model on an insurance billboard, an attorney’s print ad and your chiropractor’s website. Even worse, some stock photos look cheap and generic. And don’t get me started on the ever-present group photos of business professionals.

     

    stock photo

    A stock photo staple

    Mike Dobies said it best: “When is the last time you’ve seen a teenage Asian girl, a hipster bearded twenty-something, a middle-aged professional Black woman, and a savvy-suited elder businessman all in a conference room together? Few offices represent 100% of America’s melting pot.”

    If you ask any designer or art director how many hours they have spent searching through stock photos for that perfect shot, they will probably roll their eyes and tell you how it’s shaved years off of their life. They’re being paid to spend hours searching for the perfect image—one that they’ll probably have to spend time reworking later just to make it fit in a layout. Yes, Photoshop is a powerful tool that can create magic when used by the right hands. But, sometimes the end result still doesn’t hit the mark.

    For example, when you say, “Let’s take this model and put her into this environment,” the altered image may not look quite like you envisioned regardless of how much time was spent editing. So, now you have invested time and money with nothing to show for it. (And, it’s important to note that the high-end, more unique stock images aren’t cheap, to begin with.)

    The beauty of hiring a photographer to capture your own original images is that you avoid the “Frankenstein” approach (in other words: patching pieces and parts together to see if they work). When a design is created with custom imagery, the concept feels more complete because every element of it was intentional. And when art directors and photographers work together, that’s when the magic happens: Your brand evolves into a cohesive, visual experience that takes the viewer on a journey.

    When it comes to your brand, your first impression is critical. So, take a second thought before using your own DIY designs, or hiring the family member who took a design class at the local community college. Hire a professional. Whether it’s photography or graphics, using custom imagery can increase engagement and conversions, as well as boost your overall brand experience. And trust us–that that extra time and attention to detail is priceless.

  10. 3 Quick Blog Writing Tips to Command Your Audience’s Attention

    Blog Writing Tips

    Attention! It’s a word plastered on many a warning sign, meant to tell people, “Hey, this is important.” Oh, if only you could just slap one of those bad boys onto the header of a blog and call it a day. Keeping an audience’s attention is unfortunately far more complicated than that, especially with modern attention spans something like water in the Sahara–in desperate demand and more valuable than diamonds.

    So, how does a modern blogger keep the reader from drifting off to his or her Facebook feed or the next Netflix original series? Spoiler alert: it’s difficult. However, I have a few quick tips that will help keep your readers engaged.

    Quick Blog Writing Tips to Keep Your Readers Engaged

     

    • Lists: Meta, I know. Though often unfairly derided as a cheap “Buzzfeed” style that’s lacking in substance, lists make your article far easier to read. Not only breaking up what would otherwise be a wall of words, lists allow readers to scan your article for its main points and (hopefully) come back for more when they have the time.
    • Visuals: Just like lists, images and videos can help break up your content into easily digestible sections. Imagery can also work as an attention grabber, keeping eyeballs on the page longer. Just ensure that you have the right to use the imagery within your blog post.
    • K.I.S.S.: If you, like me, love creative writing, you may be tempted to craft deeply illustrative long-form content. That’s great, and can be an effective way of humanizing your brand or providing an informative deep dive on a concept, but always make sure you trim the fat on your content. If you can say it with fewer words, that’s often the way to go. Keep it simple.

     

    By implementing lists, adding vivid visuals and keeping it simple, you just may notice even the most scatterbrained of readers stick around and potentially even click through to more content. Though keeping a modern reader’s attention is an uphill battle, the written word is far from obsolete. These blog writing tips can be the finger snap your content needs to command your audience’s attention.