Monday, December 14, 2015

Emotional Marketing

Our Top 5 Emotional Marketing & Advertising Campaigns of 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year – again – when I get to write about one of my most favorite aspects of television – the commercials. In all seriousness, having worked in the television industry for over 17 years, I was always intrigued by the concepts that were produced to sell and market products: the creative, the humorous, the sexy, the direct sell, and more often than not, the emotional. 

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., all need to work together to produce the desired emotional response from the consumer. Elicited responses can range from love, joy, security, elation, reassurance, gratification, and empowerment, just 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. Hang onto your seat... and bring a box of Kleenex!

And speaking of Kleenex...

#5. Kleenex – "Unlikely Best Friends"
This spot focuses on taking a chance and overcoming obstacles. It's a feel-good story with a nice, upbeat score with a very happy ending.

#4. Publix – "Another Day"
Publix has been on a roll the past couple years with some of the best emotional campaigns. This piece is no different, and it spotlights the deep bond of the father-daughter relationship. Very sentimental... and somewhat reminiscent of Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride"... minus the comedy.

#3. Extra Gum – "The Story of Sarah & Juan"
Very creative storyline driving this spot, and a beautiful cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love" performed by Haley Reinhart. Who knew gum could be so powerful?


#2. Fundacion Argentina de Transplante Hepatico – "The Man and the Dog"
Some stories are best depicted through music and visuals. This spot is a perfect example of how the right score can carry a campaign. Does it sound familiar? If you've seen the Disney/Pixar movie "UP", it should. Beautiful composition with an incredibly powerful message.

#1. MetLife – "My Dad is a Liar"
This year's top spot goes to MetLife in Hong Kong. 

A child's future is worth every sacrifice, and I'm sure all parent's can relate. Great acting and directing.

So what kind of emotional reaction, if any, did these examples elicit? Which spots did you identify with the most? The one spot that just missed the top 5 (that has made it in previous years) was the Budweiser Super Bowl Best Buds/Lost Dog 2015 Spot. There's really nothing quite like a story involving an adorable Labrador puppy, majestic Clydesdales and a handsome cowboy. So, as an honorable mention and for your viewing pleasure, here it is...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lessons Learned: Make Your Mark... and Be Thankful

Two weeks ago, I learned that a dear friend that I have known for practically my whole life had tragically passed away in a car accident. To say that I was shocked – and consumed with grief – is a severe understatement. I keep thinking that I will wake up from this surreal nightmare and receive another call or email from him, but it unfortunately never comes. Living over 1,000 miles away from "home" has made his loss much more difficult to process, and closure is, at this point, an obscure and very distant concept. Needless to say, the immeasurable void that he has left behind will last for all eternity.

Rob* and I met in kindergarten four decades ago. I have to admit that, yes, he was my first crush – ever. When we were 10, my family and I moved out of state. It was actually just twenty minutes over the bridge, but at that age your world is quite small and it literally felt like it was cross-country. At 15, he tracked down my phone number from a mutual friend and asked me on a date – dinner and a movie – near the local mall. Our parents dropped us off and to this day, I still cannot remember what Rocky IV was about. We continued to talk for the following weeks, but lost touch after awhile. Our lives went on in separate directions, yet we both remained close to the area that we grew up in for about 20 years. I'm amazed that we had never run into one another out and about or reconnected sooner. I often wondered about Rob and what he had made of his life. Shortly thereafter, I moved out of the area to take a job in NYC where my life drastically changed. I met my husband, got married and 5 years later moved 1,000 miles away and became an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Facebook, Rob reconnected with me in 2010. It was great to catch up with one another and reminisce about our youth. We came to realize that although many years had passed, the deep and soulful connection that we shared seemed to transcend time. We still had so much in common, and it was as if we had never lost contact. We collaborated on business projects over the next few years, and were highly supportive of each others' professional pursuits. On a personal note, and despite the fact that we both had someone special in our lives, it was only natural for us to often wonder what life would have been like if we had connected sooner. Some things just don't change no matter how much time passes, and the question of "what if" has been on perpetual repeat in my mind for the past two weeks.

If there is anything that Rob would have wanted to come out of this horrific tragedy, it would be the lessons learned as a result from how he lived his life. The two most important lessons he bestowed upon me were to make your mark and to be thankful for what you have and what you've accomplished. These lessons can be applied in life both professionally and personally, and are even more relevant at this time of the year – the holiday season.

Make Your Mark

Rob was extremely intelligent, accomplished, funny and well ahead of his time. He became a successful entrepreneur in his 20's in the fitness and athletic training field. A few years after that, he made a bold move by switching careers and establishing yet another highly rewarding business in the technology industry. Rob was adventurous and was certainly not afraid to take a risk when it came to business. He seemed to make his mark in every endeavor that he was involved in; however, his successes were not only measured by his professional accomplishments. More importantly, Rob made his mark by how he treated people. He understood that being a great leader meant empowering and supporting his staff. He understood that solid relationships were the foundation of a profitable business, and he had a deep respect and appreciation for others' opinions, ideas and beliefs – even if they differed from his own. He was a great advocate for the small business owner and he did whatever he could to guide and educate those around him. He made people feel good about themselves and his positivity was infectious. 

Be Thankful

Rob was very humble about his many accomplishments. He had very strong ties to his large, close-knit family and especially adored his nieces and nephews. He was grateful for his upbringing, his experiences and the people he had around him... and he always made it a point to express those feelings (to me anyway). He knew never to take things for granted, and he lived his life to the fullest. Rob often told me how proud he was of me, of my accomplishments and how I handled my life throughout the years. I always threw that ball back into his court as I felt the same for him... and was extremely grateful to have him back in my life. Our last lengthy phone call was about a month prior to his tragic accident, and I am so very thankful that we had that conversation.  

• • • • • • •

It is said that there is a reason for everything, and that God works in mysterious ways. Although I can accept that these reasons are not for me to know, it does not in any way lessen the overwhelming feelings of loss. I will be forever thankful for my dear friend Rob and his presence in my life. I will continue to live by his example, and hopefully I will be able to emulate the lessons he set forth and make a positive mark on those around me in both my professional and personal life. Until we meet again, my friend...

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words – but to live by them.  ~ John F. Kennedy 

* name changed out of privacy and respect.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Plan for Brand Success

With the holidays fast approaching, business owners take the 4th quarter to plan for the upcoming year. Now is the time to take inventory! While you are busy planning your 2016 business sales and marketing goals, be sure to incorporate your brand, design and outreach needs:

1. Your Business Logo/Tagline... is it outdated? Do you need a revamp your look and message to reconnect with your audience? Are your competitors looking similar to you? Most importantly, is your logo and tagline still true to your overall brand message? 

2. Your Business Cards... is the information correct? Do you have new employees? Are you utilizing both sides of the card? Does it list your social media channels? Do you have enough supply to get you through the first quarter of 2016? Do they leave a lasting impression?

3. Your Marketing Materials (brochures/post cards/stationery)... are these items up-to-date and reflect your services/products correctly? Do you need to update photos/content? Do you have enough of these items to cover business events that you may be involved in through the first quarter of 2016? If you mail these items out, when was the last time you updated your lists?

4. Email Marketing... are you connecting with your audience? What are your open/click/conversion percentages? When was the last time you updated your templates? Your mailing lists? Does your mailing list have relevant contacts on it? How long have you been using your advertising campaign(s)?

5. Social Media... Are your social media platforms branded appropriately? Are your posts informative and geared towards the user benefit? Do you have an overall plan for your posts that tie into your marketing goals? Are you initiating conversations with your followers?

6. Your Website... is your content up-to-date and reflective of your services and products? Do all of your links work? Is your navigation user friendly? Is your site responsive and mobile-optimized, with all the coding current? Are you using the most up-to-date SEO standards? Have you been tracking your analytics? What are your bounce & conversion rates? When does your domain/host server expire, and are you happy with their services? 

One of the best ways to ensure that your brand and design materials are on par for the upcoming year would be to get a professional assessmentAt Identity Brand + Design, we’ve developed the brand{id} – our 4-step brand assessment that will determine the overall effectiveness of your business brand which will provide you with the professional guidance to enhance your brand message and strategy. This service will help your business connect with your target market on a much deeper level so that you are viewed as the best and only option of providing a solution, service or product to your target market.

We also offer the web{id} – our 5-point website assessment that will determine the overall effectiveness of your website and provide you with the necessary recommendations to enhance your website’s performance – and results. This service will bring more value to your business by differentiating your website from that of your competitors and by converting more viewers into customers. 

Whatever your business sales and marketing goals end up being, be sure to keep these points in mind to ensure success and growth for the upcoming year.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”  ~ Pablo Picasso 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The 3 Most Important Words in Marketing

Years ago while I was climbing the ladder in my career, I was employed by a major network in one of the top 5 television markets in the country. I was extremely fortunate to work with some amazingly talented and knowledgeable people. One of my coworkers, who had been with the network for a long time, gave me some advice when I started with the company. This advice... just 3 little words... ended up being one of the most important lessons in both my professional and personal life that I can still hear as if it were yesterday:


So what did this mean? 

To connect with your target market, you must first engage your audience and capture their attention. To accomplish this, you first need to understand the difference between your target market and target audience.
    A target market is a group of potential customers that a brand focuses its marketing efforts on to sell its products and/or services. This group is based on different variables, such as location, age, lifestyle, social class, ethnicity, behavior, etc., and is determined during the early stages of creating a brand marketing strategy.

    A target audience is a part of the target market and consists of those who either make the decision to buy a brand's products and/or services or influences the decision to buy. When focusing on an audience, the aim should be on the audience's interests and value your products and services hold for that audience. You want your audience to become engaged and share their experiences of your product and/or service to create more visibility and grow your brand.

    Knowing your target audience is crucial to the success of your brand. Connecting with them these days requires a strong content marketing strategy that includes positioning your brand as an industry authority, providing useful and informative content, engaging the audience on social media and attaining more traffic through online searches.

    Understanding these principles... and those 3 little words in particular... made all the difference in my career – and eventually in my own business. 

    The coworker who enlightened me all those years ago with this important lesson has since become a mentor and good friend. Thank you JJ!

      Monday, August 24, 2015

      The When and Why of Rebranding Your Business

      stand out from the competition - the when and why of rebranding your business

      Times change, business evolves, your target audience shifts and your brand should adjust as well to survive. Rebranding is the revamping of the current brand message, the image and the feeling it’s sending out into the world. A rebrand usually occurs when a business figures out their true brand identity, or many years down the road once they've figured out that they've outgrown it. 

      So when or why should a business consider a rebrand? 
      1. Your message has evolved... leaving your brand in the dust!
        Your business has been successful and evolving over the years, entering markets that are different from the existing brand identity. A rebrand will be essential to keep the competitive advantage in these new markets, establishing a new audience to build more brand loyalty. For example, Apple Computer, Inc. dropped the word “computer” from its brand in January of 2007 when the iPhone was introduced, shifting focus towards consumer electronics.
      2. Your brand is experiencing significant growth in new markets. In order to reflect a larger, more sophisticated business and reach that newer audience, a rebrand is a must. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, based in Milwaukee and known best as a more "economical" brand of beer among the college crowd in the US, rebranded its image and labeled itself as “Blue Ribbon 1844” for the global market. An adjustment to its brewing technique, in addition to the rebrand, helped the beer climb to $44 per bottle in the Chinese upscale market.

      3. Your brand recently went through a merger/acquisition. There are many reasons why businesses merge or acquire other businesses: for growth, diversification, synergy, and to eliminate competition in order to gain more of a share in a target market. Going through a merger/acquisition is an important time to rebrand in order to establish forward momentum with the brand message for the newly combined businesses. In 2008, Sirius satellite radio and competitor XM satellite radio merged to form Sirius XM – a one-stop shopping of 165+ channels of commercial-free music, talk, sports and entertainment radio – all available by subscription based plans.
      4. Your brand is not connecting with it's intended audience. When a business needs to re-evaluate the customer experience due to the sense that the brand is losing
        relevancy in the minds of its audience – whether it’s from being stale or the market is changing – then it is time to rebrand. Find out what resonates with the target audience. With technological advancements and the decrease of print advertising over recent years, the Yellow Pages decided to rebrand to YP to focus more on digital platforms, attempting to become more relevant in its market.
      5. The business never invested in the creation a professionally developed brand. More often than not, a business will start on a small budget and investing in a professionally-developed brand is not a priority... or even a thought. Over time, the business will evolve, becoming somewhat successful and experience some growth.
        As the business begins to expand – rebranding – or, in this case, investing in a
        professionally-developed brand, is paramount for the business to be taken
        seriously in order to compete and gain success in more aggressive markets.
      Before you do decide to jump head first into a rebrand, you really need to think it through and answer the following questions:
      1. Why do we need to rebrand and what problem(s) will it solve for our business?
      2. Has our target audience changed or have their needs shifted? how can we recapture their attention?
      3. Does our brand reflect the wrong message?
      4. Has our growth potential been encroached by the competition?
      5. Can we anticipate that this rebrand will be relevant over the next 10 or more years?
      Rebranding is part of the natural evolution of all businesses. It is a process – and as long as you have researched and clearly defined your business goals and strategy, this process will result in a very powerful and profitable rebrand solution.

      Wednesday, July 22, 2015

      Your Business Brand and Your Website

      Having an established, credible and trustworthy brand is paramount to having a successful business. This brand needs to communicate its message effectively to the target market across all media platforms – in print, on-air and online – in order to connect with customers, grow revenue and, ultimately, increase profit. This includes your website, which may be the first point-of-contact a potential customer has with your business... and having a strong, effective and well-branded website will make all the difference.

      Developing a highly branded website is an extremely tedious task as many factors are involved. All these factors – and more – work together to achieve what we ultimately want from our website... to communicate clearly, stand apart from competitors and convert viewers into customers. Investing in professional design, creative content and site structure is the basis of having your business brand shine through.
      1. Design. Your website design needs to communicate what your website is about (the who, what, when, where and why of your brand) and demonstrate how it can add value to the user in a quick and efficient manner. Website design should strategically work to maximize the impact of the content. Incorporate a professionally-designed logo, tagline, color scheme, custom fonts and theme that help to define your brand's message visually.
      2. Content. By creating engaging content (headlines, copy, images, video, etc.) that best communicates your message, a very effective, branded website will result. Written content should be crafted focusing on the user benefit and targeted to the market you wish to connect with. Speak in easy-to understand terms, and connect on the emotional level. Incorporate testimonials/reviews to build credibility, and include accolades, associations, white papers and e-books to demonstrate your expertise. To encourage user interaction, create calls-to-action that will trigger a user to act and move through the website. Include your blog and social media links for more brand awareness and to spread your message appropriately.
      3. Site Structure. Having a website that focuses on the user experience – specifically, ease of use, content organization and navigation – will only benefit and enhance your brand. Navigation must make it as easy as possible for your users to complete their immediate goals. Streamlined, organized content will enable users to easily flow through your site and find what they're looking for. Keeping your site structure up-to-date with current standards (responsive, optimized design) will make your site accessible on various devices.  
      Following these simple website guidelines will provide for clear, concise and consistent communication with your target market and strengthen your overall business brand.

      Wednesday, June 17, 2015

      How to Earn Trust On Your Website

      trust sepia tone dictionary definition
      One of the keys to cultivating a successful business brand is to retain relationships that are built on trust. This trust needs to be firmly anchored throughout all brand touchpoints – including your website.

      In order for people to buy your products or services, they first must trust you. 
      In addition to great design, navigation, content and usability, you can build user trust and credibility on your website through incorporating specific content known as trust signals. Trust signals are used to assure the user that the website is run by real people, is capable of handling their business, and is credible, established and trusted by other users. Trust signals are especially essential to e-commerce websites.

      There are a number of different signals that can be used throughout your website to establish trust:
      1. Through Testimonials/Reviews.  What better way is there to convert new users into customers than using an actual review from a satisfied customer? Video testimonials are the latest trend – and the most effective as they are difficult to fake.
      2. Through Communication Options.  It's all in the details. Listing a physical address encourages visitors and gives more credibility to the business brand. Having a local phone number with an actual human answering the phone connects with the potential customer on a deeper level than hearing "press 2 for ....", plus it shows that the business is there to provide immediate, personable support. Even having live chat support shows that the website is being operated by humans.
      3. Through Frequently Asked Questions, Questions & Answers, etc.  Questions that have been anticipated and answered by the business shows that the business cares about its customers and their needs. Questions that have been answered by other customers give an unbiased viewpoint of the services/products in question. Both scenarios build trust and influence the decision to purchase.
      4. Through Affiliations.  Being associated with other successful, reliable companies shows that your website is also successful & reliable. Use the logos of those that you are affiliated with – credit cards, Better Business Bureau, groups that you belong to, current clients, etc. – and build trust and credibility through association.
      5. Through Social Media.  Keeping up with the business social media accounts shows that you are in direct communication with and value your customers.
      6. Through Terms & Conditions.  Having a terms & conditions page on your website shows that you have nothing to hide and gives the impression that you operate on structure and full transparency.
      Incorporating a few trust signals throughout your website will help to solidify your brand, build customer trust and, ultimately contribute to an increase in sales. So which trust signals are you currently using on your website?

        Wednesday, May 20, 2015

        Using Video On Your Website

        Websites have become very competitive in today's market, offering a multitude of media content choices for potential customers. One type of media content that is gaining the most popularity is the use of video.

        Video can be a very cost-effective and powerful tool used to communicate with your customers, and when optimized for search engines correctly, it can also help to increase the traffic to your website.

        There are a number of benefits to using video on websites. However, when it comes to business and building your brand, we feel that there are 5 key motives to consider when adding video content to your website.

        5. Use Video to Set Your Business Apart from Competitors
        Despite its growing popularity, not all industries have caught onto using updated, optimized content – let alone using video. Chances are, you'll be able to get your brand in the spotlight by being one of the first in your industry to use video content. This will position you as an industry leader and drive more viewers to your website – and those viewers could potentially convert into more customers.

        4. Use Video to Drive More Traffic to Your Website
        When providing strategic, quality video content on a regular basis, you will get more traffic to see your new content via repeat visitors and social media shares. Plus, search engines love video content. In a study by Marketing Week, 70% of the top 100 search listings contain video content – as search engines tend to rank websites with video content higher than those without video. Being listed near the top of search results increases your chances of finding new customers.

        3. Use Video to Explain the Customer Benefit
        Educate your potential customer about your products, services or expertise by using video. Think about it – "How-To" videos are some of the most sought after videos on the web. Plus, videos provide the viewer with a 74% increase in the understanding of a product ( Explaining the customer benefit of your products/services using video will help to build brand trust. 

        2. Use Video to Create an Emotional Connection with the Viewer
        People tend to look for visuals over written content when searching the web. When video is used correctly on a website to explain the customer benefit, the viewer can read the body language of the subject of the video, which will in turn create an emotional connection that could very well influence the decision to buy the product or services. It makes your brand more personal. 

        1. Use Video to Enhance and Build Your Brand
        Engage the viewer further with contests or promotions that are geared to promote your products, services and brand that encourage repeat visits to your website. Get your viewers involved with your brand via video testimonials or provide a virtual tour that will enable the viewer to feel as if they are in your location. The real estate industry has been using this technique for years and has proven it to be a very successful tool. This will further the developing relationship and emotional connection, as well as build your brand.

        Need more stats? Here's a link to a great infographic about using video for your website.

        Here at Identity Brand + Design, we recently launched a new and improved website. We have some new video content that is in the process of being developed, and we're looking forward to sharing them with you real soon!  

        Wednesday, January 21, 2015

        So what's new for 2015?

        PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR 2015 - Marsala 18-1438

        Pantone is the world-renowned leader of color and provider of color systems and technology in the design industry. Every year, Pantone releases it's anticipated choice for Color of the Year. Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design. For 2015, Pantone has chosen Marsala, PMS 18-1438, as its Color of the Year, saying that it "is a naturally robust and earthy red wine that enriches our minds, bodies and souls".

        We think Marsala is a beautiful shade of wine that shows great depth, warmth and sophistication. This color will be prominent in the beauty, fashion, and home design industries... especially for kitchens and dining rooms... and is sure to be a hot trend-setter for 2015. If you like wine, you're sure to love Marsala.

        So what are your thoughts about Marsala?