One of the best ways to ensure that a brand identity is on track is to look at it often. And by look at it, I mean look at ALL of it. I like to keep a bulletin board or a wall of all the work we do for each client. If I had the space I’d use a real wall with real push pins tacking prints of everything in place. But a virtual wall works almost as well.
When you see everything like this in one place, something happens. You see consistencies. You see what strings everything together — colors, layouts, and messages that work, and more importantly, you notice inconsistencies.
Try making your own brand wall. The next time you’re ready to launch a new campaign, send an email blast, or publish a series of tweets, put it on the wall. How does it look? Will people recognize and connect it with everything else they’ve seen from you, in look, feel, tone, and message? Try it and see.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Anyone who has worked on a new logo initiative is probably familiar with this situation. You spend weeks, sometimes months, working on background, defining your brand, hammering out your messaging, and creating logo concepts—only to have it shot down by your board (or more likely one person on the board). Here are some ways to avoid this:
Get early buy-in. Anyone with veto power should be involved from the beginning. Gathering the whole team at a kickoff meeting and getting buy-in on the creative direction will encourage agreement in the long run. People want to be involved in the process, and the best time to do that is at the beginning. It costs you nothing and will often yield useful feedback that only improves the process, and results.
Back up the design. A good creative firm should provide you with a creative brief, that will describe the logo – not with specific images, but how it works in the context of the brand platform — before any design is presented. This ensures that the design is on track with your organization’s goals, and that every design has reasoning behind it.
Have a short version. An in-depth messaging document is often necessary for people involved in day-to-day marketing communications. But chances are slim to none that a board member will read a 25-page document. Write a synopsis with key points such as adjectives to describe the organization (3-5), short messages, audiences and goals of the organization and of the new design. Remind people of this when presenting concepts. People prefer simple in a pinch; additionally, taking the time to create a more nuanced version helps you really understand what you have set out to do.
Present in person. Bad things happen when creative concepts get shot into cyberspace and left to fend for themselves. The presence of at least one team member working on the logo can head off many potential disasters or naysayers simply by being able to explain a design, or some small part of it face-to-face. The psychology behind this is pretty simple: people are less likely to be critical in person. There are a lot of situations where creative is dismissed out of hand for some insignificant reason that could easily be addressed in a discussion.
Second best: create an online presentation. If it’s not possible to present concepts in person, a good alternative is an online presentation. Programs like Adobe Connect and GoToMeeting allow you the control the show with an orderly presentation. If you must email designs out to a group, be sure to do it just before the conference call, to minimize the time people have reacting to the work without the context of your presentation. Listen hard for the naysayers. There’s usually one in every group that can derail everything by influencing others with misguided notions. Often times these people just want to be heard. Pay special attention to their concerns and address them directly. Complimenting them on their input goes a long way here. Avoid at all costs having this discussion by email.
Involve your creative firm. Most people in business have been in this situation. We’ll be in a presentation with visual concepts and somebody says: “Oh! But what if we combined option 3 with option 1!” Once this happens, more people feel compelled to chime in. And before you know it, you’re on the road to the dreaded design by committee. Your creative team can help to head this off by keeping the conversation on problems to address rather that arrive at a solution from the group. They should be able provide an explanation as to how certain elements support or detract from your brand. Remember that people seeing it for the first time have no idea of the process or how many possibilities you sifted through to arrive at the logo you are presenting. A creative team is a check and balance that lets people know that their concerns were anticipated and tested.
If all else fails, try and understand why somebody “just doesn't like it.” Sometimes there is no recovery from this. A personal bias by a decision maker, is something you just have to suck up and deal with, no matter how perfect a solution you’ve presented. Your best hope is to try and get at an understanding of why they don’t like something. Ask. It may be something as simple as a typeface that reminds them of the time in junior high school when they were bullied for working on the yearbook – that used that font on the cover.
Excerpted from: Does This Logo Make Me Look Fat? A Marketing and Brand-Building Guide for Associations and Nonprofits, by Dennis Goris, 2016
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Earlier this summer, I was looking at a gas grill on the website of the big home improvement store I despise the least. Days later, I began seeing ads on unrelated websites, including Facebook, featuring the same grill from the same retailer.
It’s called ad retargeting, and you’ve probably experienced it. Retargeting may seem creepy, but it’s very effective. At its core, ad retargeting is the process of serving advertising messages to web users based on something for which they’ve already expressed an interest.
How does it work?
When you visit a website and view a product, the site places a piece of code called a cookie onto your computer. Other sites see the cookie, and know to serve up an ad for the thing you just saw, but didn’t buy.
Cookies are the essential ingredient that makes retargeting work. We think we hate them, right? But really, they make the world wide web, our world wide web by customizing our experience. I have learned to embrace them, or at least accept them.
Why it works:
Retargeting provides another touch point to engage a prospect and convert them to take action. It may be just the nudge they need to complete their purchase. Or, in the case for nonprofits and associations, register for a conference, sign up for educational opportunities or make a donation.
Putting retargeting to work for you:
If you have something to offer (doesn’t everybody?), consider retargeting as part of your marketing efforts. The fact that people have visited your site and spent time viewing specific content makes them a more qualified prospect.
Retargeting is all about encouraging a customer (member, donor, attendee) to take a specific action. First, think about the action you want the user to take. Is it to register for a conference, or simply come back to the site to learn more about the benefits of membership?
Next, determine the call to action for the retargeting ad, such as “Register now for early bird savings” or “Exclusive benefits for new members.” As with all advertising, a strong media plan and good creative are key ingredients to success.
Measure! Fortunately, the technology for running retargeting campaigns include some great tools for analyzing metrics. This allows you to very quickly know what messages are working, with the ability to tweak them for the best results.
How to get started:
Decide who you want to target, and the best message for each. You can retarget based on specific pages and content on your website, so take advantage! For someone visiting your conference site, make sure you have a few different conference ads. Do the same for other content like education sessions and membership/
Start with a campaign of four to five different ads for each audience so you can test results. Since the ads are served on multiple websites, you’ll be creating six or seven different sizes for each, most likely with different animation/size requirements, so it’s a good idea to have these ready to go at the same time so you can quickly switch them out based on your results.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Monday, August 31, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Who hasn't heard something similar from someone they know well at some point? That's how I was introduced to the term "Canadian tuxedo." (if you don't know what a Canadian tuxedo is, I'll save you the Google, Oxford Dictionary search by saying it's a denim jacket worn with jeans).
We just launched a new brand identity that includes a name change that more accurately describes who we are. It's been a long time coming.
Why is it so hard to do for yourself what you do every day for others with such ease?
And why has it taken so long?
Because we haven't gotten around to it? Because we're difficult customers? Partly true. But it really comes down to perspective. It's just hard to stand back and look at yourself objectively. Doing it for my company made me realize how challenging it can be from the other side.
People change. Companies evolve. Every so often it takes a look in the mirror to see how we're doing. It also helps to have a trusted third party give you their candid thoughts. You might get there faster if someone says, "wear this, not that."
Our new threads: http://goris.com
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Most membership organizations struggle with their brand identity at one time or another. Member demographics change, industries evolve, and technology disrupts everything.
Are You Steak and Lobster, or Burgers and Fries?
Over time, members build a perception based on interaction with your organization. You may think you're branded as steak and lobster, but the reality may be burgers and fries (which may not be bad.) Here are some ways members experience a brand, and some questions to think about:
1. Publication. Whether you're publishing in print or online, a magazine or other periodical is a proven way to touch your members on a regular basis. Are you delivering the information they want? Is it presented in a fresh, modern way — different from your competitors?
2. Website. Is your website designed from your own internal perspective — by department? Or is it designed to easily deliver what your members — and potential members are looking for?
3. Phone. If you've ever called American Express, you know the service you receive is very different from what you get from the cable company. Which type of service are your members getting from you? Have you called in to find out?
4. Social media. It's never been easier to monitor the chatter. What are your members hearing from other members about you? What are competitors saying? What are YOU saying?
5. Advocacy. Do your members make the connection between your advocacy efforts and the advancements made within their profession or industry?
The best way to answer a lot of these questions is to talk to members. Ask them what they want, how you're doing, and what you could be doing better. You may find that your brand is not exactly what you thought it was.