Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Emotional Marketing

Identity Brand + Design's Top 5 Emotional Marketing & Advertising Campaigns of 2014

It's that time of year again where we choose our top 5 on-air campaigns that use emotional marketing to promote and sell the brand, product or service of the campaign. If you missed last year's post, here's a refresher on emotional marketing...

Emotional Marketing is used to create a bond between a brand and a consumer by engaging an emotional response in the consumer for the brand... in which the brand is hoping to fulfill a specific need. Storylines, symbolism and imagery, cinematography, music integration, product placement, etc., need to all work together to produce the desired emotional response from the consumer. Elicited responses can range from love, joy, security, elation, reassurance, gratification, and empowerment, to name a few. 

Emotional Marketing also creates a personality for the brand, in which the consumer will recognize and gravitate towards, further developing the bond between the brand and the consumer. Developing a personality for the brand is critical in emotional branding... and it is established over time.

There have been some amazing emotional marketing & advertising campaigns over the past year, and I've managed to compile my top 5 for the year – mostly focusing on animals and family. Hang onto your seat... and bring a few boxes of tissues this time!

#5. St. Vincent's Healthcare – "Holiday"

This spot continues to get a lot of air time despite the fact that it debuted last year at Thanksgiving. An extremely warm and touching piece that focuses on the blessings of the year and how the main character is so very thankful. It's a gift to give someone a second chance at life. Take note of St. Vincent's fantastic tagline – Above. Beyond. Because.– and how it is woven throughout the voiceover.

#4. Mass Mutual – "Check"

Mass Mutual has been running a fantastic campaign, "Who Matters Most", the past year or so with a few different versions. In this piece, this father and son matter most to each other.

#3. Budweiser – "Friends Are Waiting"

Budweiser has had some amazing success the past couple years with their Super Bowl puppy commericals, and this adorable spot for Global Be(er) Responsible Day was met with the same success while communicating an incredibly important message.

#2. St. Vincent's Healthcare – "Cardiology"

St. Vincent's Healthcare makes another appearance on the list with a spot for their cardiology department. A somewhat somber start with the dramatic music and storyline, the tone shifts to a more upbeat, happy ending. Interesting how they incorporated some shots from the dog's point of view to elicit a more emotional response.

#1. Chevrolet – "Maddie"

Our top spot belongs to Chevrolet this year for their piece "Maddie". I honestly cannot watch this spot without tears streaming down my face, and I'm sure all animal lovers can relate. Beautifully crafted and delivers that incredibly emotional response. A Best Friend For Life's Journey. 

When viewing these commercials on the air, do you automatically think of the brand associated with the spot? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Build Brand Trust Through your Website Using the Case Study

Let's face it – in this day and age, business websites are extremely competitive and often analogous within industries. From creative content writing, SEO/ social media tactics to an infinite supply of stock photography options, how does a business gain the edge over their competitors?

While it is true that client testimonials, actual product and service reviews, professional affiliations, white papers and client lists will boost your online integrity and reputation, one of the most overlooked methods in building brand trust through your website is the case study.

A case study, per Wikipedia.org, is a descriptive, exploratory or explanatory analysis of a person, group or event. An explanatory case study is used to explore causation in order to find underlying principles. Case studies may be prospective, in which criteria are established and cases fitting the criteria are included as they become available; or retrospective, in which criteria are established for selecting cases from historical records for inclusion in the study.

Basically, a case study will tell your clients' story – define the problem or challenge, detail the methods chosen to reach a solution, and show the tangible and intangible results derived or benefits gained from the solution. They start out as questions or surveys, using photography, graphics, charts, and statistics to support the results. The final summary can be written in a question and answer format, bullet points or in paragraphs. You can also choose to do a video case study with a client… keeping the content short and to the point (:30-:60) to hold the viewers' interest.

Be sure to post the final case study to your website to gain the brand credibility and trust of potential clients and to influence their decision making when it comes to your products and services.

A great example of a case study was done by Google Analytics/Viget for Puma.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Taglines vs. Slogans?

When it comes to brand development, I am often asked what the difference is between a brand's tagline and a slogan. Are they the same thing? Are they different? Do they work together? Sometimes, yes, maybe – the answers to these questions can be somewhat confusing… especially for the small business owner. However, understanding these nuances will make all the difference in building your brand and promoting it effectively.

What is a tagline?
A tagline is a short (usually 7 words or less) and powerful phrase that is associated with your brand. It encompasses your brand's values, mission and identity that is used to reinforce the brand and differentiate it from the competition. It lives with the brand's logo and should be visible in all marketing efforts. The only time it would change is when and if you choose to redefine your brand. Your tagline should be memorable and instantly recognizable.

One of the most iconic taglines in the history of branding is Nike's "Just Do It"… which started out as a campaign slogan in 1988 (more on that later…). Other significant examples are Subway's "Eat Fresh" and Apple's "Think Different."

All logos/taglines are registered trademarks of their respective brands.

So what is a slogan?
A slogan is similar to a tagline in that it's a short catchy phrase. How it differs is that it is used to represent and promote a specific product/service of the brand. Slogans have a shorter "shelf-life", meaning they are more temporary – depending on the length of the campaign.

Apple recently (2014) used a great slogan to promote it's iPad products: "What will your verse be?"


Nike produced a moving, emotional advertising campaign, "Find Your Greatness," to inspire people's personal achievements – this one focusing on Nike+Running – that launched during the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

When using slogans and taglines, slogans are generally woven throughout a campaign (print, radio, tv, web) to support the product being promoted via graphics, voice-over, jingles, music, etc., depending on the media. Taglines come into play briefly at the end of the campaign in conjunction with the brand's logo.

Since 2008, Subway has had a successful series of the "$5 Footlong" promotions and is a good example of how slogans and taglines are used together in a campaign.


Can a tagline and slogan be one in the same?

This is where the confusion comes in. Short answer – yes, sometimes they can. Case in point – Nike "Just Do It" started out as a campaign slogan in 1988 to promote their products (shoes & apparel). The slogan was so successful that it quickly evolved into one the the core components of Nike's brand and has become one of the most iconic taglines in history.

Friday, August 1, 2014


We are fortunate to live in a time when innovation occurs on an almost daily basis. Turn on the evening news and there will be at least one story devoted to a medical breakthrough, a technological advance, or some type of new, fascinating discovery. The corporate world wants employees that are cutting-edge, innovative thinkers to keep them successful and profitable, and will do what it takes to keep that competitive edge.

Innovation, simply defined, is the introduction of new things or methods.

So what makes someone innovative? Think back to the greatest innovators in history: Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, The Wright Brothers, Albert Einstein, Philo T. Farnsworth, Walt Disney, Neil Armstrong, Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak… and what do they all have in common? What brought them to innovation?

1. They followed their dreams, no matter how "unconventional" they were.

2. They immersed themselves in the process.

3. They listened to their intuition.

4. They used creative techniques.

5. They tried and failed until there was success.

In that regard, aren't we all a little innovative in one way or another?

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are … I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.” - Steve Jobs

Sunday, April 6, 2014

3-2-1 Launch!

You've had an idea for a business for some time and you just don't know how to get it off the ground. You have the passion and drive, but you are just not sure where to begin.

Have no fear! Here are a few guidelines to get you on a path to a successful launch and on your way to entrepreneurship.

1. Plan 
Create a business plan that outlines your goals and how to reach them. It can be a formal document (see template), or a rough outline scribbled on a piece of paper. In addition to the business plan, you want to get direct experience, or plan to partner with experts in the industry you choose to launch your business.

2. Test 
Research is crucial to determine whether or not your idea will work. If you have a product, set up focus groups to test and record feedback. Talk to potential customers to gain invaluable insights. Learn all facets of your market – from production, suppliers/vendors, distributors and competitors – to establish solid relationships that will help perfect the idea behind your business.

3. Target
Know your customer – as they are the ones who will ultimately determine your success. Who will your products/services serve the most? What drives their buying decisions? How will you differentiate your products/services from your competitors? 

4. Resources
Establish your cash resources as you need capital for business start-up costs and growth. If you don't have start-up cash, secure a business loan, look to investors, or establish a crowd-funding campaign to raise the necessary funds to cover these costs. Estimate your expenses and potential revenue.

5. Legal
Protect yourself – and your idea – and choose the best corporate structure for your business. LLC's, S-Corps, and C-Corps all have different tax implications and liability limitations, so hiring a business attorney will be well worth the investment in providing the correct direction for your business.

6. Brand
Create a business name, logo, tagline, website and business card/print materials that are consistent and speak to the values that your product/services offer. Hire an experienced designer to research and develop these items to ensure your business has the utmost professional presence when launching. This alone will be sure to set you apart from the competition and make your business stand out to your customer base.

7. Market
Shout about your business from the rooftops! Write a press release and submit it to local media outlets/submit it online. Network in person with potential customers. Join groups and network with other business people who can spread the word or become customers themselves. Create a blog and write about your new business. Create a social media campaign and email marketing campaign and monitor the results. Take advantage of the opportunities that put your business in the spotlight.

8. Launch & Love
Be true to your ideals and values. Love your business, your employees, partners and customers, and success will be sure to follow!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Unleashing Creativity

By definition, creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination. Traditionally, it is said to be a "right-brain" function, however, we are all born instilled with creativity. It's just a matter of "tapping into" it to release its gifts.

Creativity may be boundless and unpredictable. However, from time to time, one may fall into a "creative block" where you may feel devoid of all inspiration or stimulus. No matter what, you just can't seem to get motivated. We've all been there, no matter what profession you are in. 

So how do you get out of "the funk"? What motivates and inspires you? Here are a few tips that may help those creative juices to get flowing again.

1. Let yourself have fun. 
The best creative breakthroughs result when you are uninhibited. Be a little impulsive! Stop over-thinking and let yourself go a bit to see what happens.

2. Allow yourself to make mistakes. 
Mistakes lead to achievements. Take the risk and learn from your mistakes. Success will surely follow.

3. Find your muse.
What sparks you? It could be going to the gym to get your blood pumping, taking a walk on the beach, a certain song (there is a band called "Muse" after all!), a favorite quote that you resonate with. Take some "me" time to reset and see what inspires you.

4. Change perspective.
Sometimes when you look at a problem from a different angle, you find the answer to that problem. Solicit input from others... it's all about perspective!

5. Trust your instincts.
Leave the perfectionism behind – trust your instincts and connect on a deeper, natural level and the creativity will flow.
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. Steve Jobs

Thursday, February 13, 2014

For the Love of Great Type...

One of the most important aspects of any piece of design hinges on its use of typography. The proper choice of font, its placement on the page, color spacing, etc., all combine to set the tone of a piece. Whether you choose a serif or sans-serif, modern or traditional style, roman or italic type treatment, a few principles should be followed to ensure great typographical design.

1. Font Overload.

There are hundreds of thousands of beautiful typefaces out there... however, using them all could cause continuity issues, as well as a seizure! Limit your use of too many fonts. A general rule of thumb would be to use 2 different fonts... at the very most, 3. Varying the weights, sizes and styles of a chosen font family for headers, subheaders and body text will usually be all you need to keep a cohesive, professional look in a design.

2. Size Matters.

Yes, size DOES truly matter in creating great typography in your design. It helps to distinguish and group different sections of thought throughout the piece... establishing a flow for reading and legibility. Body copy should be all one size... and determining that size should depend on the media it will be viewed (print or online?) and who the viewer will be (20-somethings or baby-boomers?). Use headers and subheaders in a larger size than the body to further organize the content to make the piece more appealing.

3. Space – The Final Frontier?

There 4 types of spatial properties that need to be correctly addressed when working with typography:

  • Leading, the space between the baselines of successive lines of text;
  • Tracking, the space between groups of letters;
  • Kerning, the space between each character in a font; and
  • Alignment, how the text aligns on a page.
Leading can affect the readability of long lines of text. The tighter (closer) the leading, the harder the text may be to read. The looser the leading, and the more white space there is can reduce the pace of reading. It is recommended that leading be set at 120% of the font size. For example, if you have 10pt text, your leading should be set at 12pt.

Tracking can be described as loose, tight, or set by a numerical value. It is a more global setting that affects how close all the characters are. Generally, the longer the line, the looser the tracking needs to be, depending on the font.

Kerning is the local view of space between characters. The shape and the amount of space between each character will determine the need for kerning. Proper kerning will allow the eye to flow easily when reading a piece.

Alignment refers to flush left, flush right, centered, or justified text. Flush left is how western societies normally read... from left to right... with the text aligned to the left and ragged right. Flush right is more cumbersome to read and is traditionally used to highlight important sections of text. Centering text works best with limited lines as it can be difficult to read. Justified text means that both the start and end lines of text reach both the left and right edges. This can create awkward spaces (valleys) throughout a block of text. However, when done correctly, it can create a very clean and legible effect.

4. Readability/Legibility... What's the Difference?

Readability refers to how easy it is to read words, sentences and blocks of text. Legibility is the capability of distinguishing one letter from the next in a font, and distinguishing small chunks of text (headers).

Our eyes read in phrases, and the shapes of words determine the speed at which we read and comprehend. For long blocks of text (body copy), sans-serif or old style serif fonts set in lowercase provide the best standards for readability. All caps are suitable for headlines and short sentences. Using fonts with extra large or small x-heights makes text less legible.

5. Color Me a Rainbow... or Not!

Color and typography interact dynamically and help to set the tone for a design piece. Choosing certain colors can help attract attention, organize content, and help with readability. Black on white is the easiest to read, however; using other colors with high contrast can work as well. The same colors create different effects when placed on light and dark backgrounds, so it's a good thing to experiment to find which works best.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014