Brand Awareness: Becoming Another Kleenex

Blog Update #561 – Friday, January 29, 2016

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Brand Awareness: Becoming Another Kleenex

In today’s world of marketing, if you are not marketing online, you are missing a very big boat. Marketing is now a science with logistics and parameters that were largely unheard of just a few years ago. However, that is not the case with the notion of brand awareness. The auto industry was probably the biggest contributor to the idea that brand loyalty could be utilized to sell more products. That industry is over 120 years old, and brand awareness became a fashionable tool in marketing automobiles by the early 1900s.

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All Brochures are NOT Created Equal

all-brochures-not-created-equal

When it comes to marketing your business, professionally printed brochures are a great way to build credibility, while also telling your story. Here are a few tips to help you create successful, sales-building brochures:

  • Focus on your audience and their needs. List benefits your customers will receive by choosing your product.
  • Design an appealing cover that motivates readers to look inside. Include product benefits, a thought-provoking statement, industry tips, and other items your customers will find valuable.
  • Keep it brief. Since brochures have limited space, provide a brief summary of your information, along with links for interested readers to go online and learn more.
  • Provide clear headlines that make it easy to find information, along with high-quality imagery that supplements your messaging.
  • Consider a creatively shaped or unusually sized brochure to grab attention.
  • Include information that encourages the ready to keep your brochure. This may include how-to information, tips and tricks, sales calendars, and more.
  • Consider providing a Q&A section to answer questions you think your readers may have when learning about your products or services.
  • If your brochure is lengthy (8 pages or more), consider creating a table of contents to pique reader interest and make information easier to find.
  • Include a call to action, so readers know how to respond. An 800 number, reply card, website landing page, or email address are all good examples to try.

If you need help creating an effective brochure, give us a call today. We have many samples and creative design ideas your customers will be sure to love.

Improve the Effectiveness of your Newsletter

Don't believe that newsletters are a lost art..

Don’t believe that newsletters are a lost art..

Newsletters have a proven track record for creating front-of-mind awareness, establishing and maintaining credibility, and publicizing an organization to the community. Here are a few tips to improve the effectiveness of your newsletter:

  • Become a resource by including how-to articles, helpful industry tips and tricks, and links to other articles and podcasts that may be of interest to your audience.
  • Feature a special offer or promotion in each issue to track your newsletter results.
  • Include a customer testimonial section to highlight customers who are finding success using your products or services. This will not only boost your credibility, but also increase customer visibility.
  • Offer subscribers a “sneak peak” at new products. This will make them feel special and encourage them to spread the word about their insider knowledge.
  • Create an “Ask the Expert” section, featuring industry experts to answer customer questions. Include the name and business of the customer who asks the featured question.
  • Keep track of customer/recipient birthdays and send them a free birthday giveaway or discount.
  • Provide highlights from an online customer portal or discussion board where customers can chat about industry trends, new products, and other relevant issues. Include a web link, and encourage newsletter readers to join in the discussions.
  • Commit to a regular schedule. Readers will look forward to and expect your newsletter, so inform them if you take a hiatus from the regular routine.
  • Post current and archived issues on your website with a link to subscribe.

Give us a call today if you’d like to see examples or need more ideas for creating a newsletter that your audience will look forward to receiving. Our creative experts would love to help.

Is Your Business Card Bringing You Business?

Business Cards are the number one marketing tool - carries your branding and image

Business Cards are the number one marketing tool – carries your branding and image

Typically, many hours are spent deciding on the logo, layout, and tagline to include on a company’s business cards. But not much time goes into thinking about strategies to make those business cards actually work to bring in customers. That is a mistake.

Business cards are like mini ambassadors for your business. They represent you, your company, and your brand. Business cards often provide the first impression a recipient will have of you and your company. They shouldn’t be just an afterthought in your marketing collateral mix.

To effectively market and advertise your business, whether through business cards, social media, or a website, the first step is to create awareness. Awareness is generated through uniqueness. The colors, stock, font, graphics, and unusual finishing touches like rounded corners or foil stamping and special die cutting can all add up to create a business card that stands out in a crowd.  Using a template from the internet is not a way to stand out from the crowd. Having your image professionally designed is well worth the cost.

Simple elegance and a clean, uncluttered layout work best. Sometimes more is learned about a business by the professional look and design of its business card than by almost any other marketing collateral. Prospects may forget about and toss out many other collateral pieces, but they usually keep an interesting business card.

Visually standing out is the first step to make a business card work to bring you business. The second involves the recipient and answering a simple five-word question…

What’s In It For Me?

The text on your business card must quickly and clearly explain the benefits of working with you. You can’t fit an entire brochure on the small area a business card provides (although some people try!). Most companies will list the services they provide. That is fine to do on the back of a business card.

On the front, however, where everyone looks first, you need to state clearly what results your products and services deliver. What is the primary benefit of working with your company? Make it short and sweet. Don’t hide it. Proudly display it on the front of the card.

The quality of the stock used, the font and layout, the finishing touches, and the copy used all work hand in hand to create a powerful, client-getting business card.

But those beautiful cards won’t do much good if they aren’t getting deployed. Take business cards everywhere you go. Put a stack in your car, in your wallet, and in your purse or briefcase. If you find the right target audience, hand them not one but several cards and ask them to pass the extras along to colleagues or friends who might be able to use your services.

Strategically thinking about the design, production, and copy on your business cards has the effect of creating a viral campaign for your business. Unlike the online variety, this is a viral campaign that can actually bring you real results and not just buzz in the marketplace.

15 Facts You Should Know About Websites


Psychologists study everything and one new topic is how do people view websites. The following are results from studies of Internet site visitors and provide 15 facts you should know about how people view websites.

  1. Text attracts more attention than pictures.
  2. People start viewing your website from the top left corner.
  3. Readers ignore banners. Surprise, surprise.
  4. Fancy fonts are ignored.
  5. People only scan the lower parts of your website.
  6. Short paragraphs work better than long ones.
  7. Ads, that are placed on the top or left part of your website, get the most views.
  8. Ads, that are placed inside or below an awesome piece of content, get more views.
  9. Big pictures attract more attention than small ones.
  10. Also headlines draw attention.
  11. Visitors spend more time looking at menus and buttons than other parts of your website.
  12. Lists are better at keeping your reader focused than large paragraphs.
  13. Some people even completely ignore large chunks of text.
  14. White space is good!
  15. Menu works best when placed on the top part of your website.

You may want to remember these tips when you are designing your next website.

Why You Need to Use Pattern Interrupt in Your Marketing

From the time you wake up until the moment you close your eyes, you’re bombarded with marketing messages. You may even have dreams of the ads running in your sleep!

Most of the messages you see during the day just blend together without much notice. Many are of the “me too” variety. Either the owner or the advertiser is practicing the lazy marketing technique of simply copying a competitor’s ad with very little real change. Maybe the original ad had some creativity to it, but now it’s lost in a sea of similarity.pattern interrupt marketing

For your ad to have any chance of succeeding, you must use “pattern interrupt marketing” as one component of your message.

What’s pattern interrupt marketing? As the name implies, it’s marketing that stops a prospect in their tracks and engages them. Your message must be able to capture a prospect’s attention if it’s to have any chance of being noticed.

Imagine you’re driving down a street looking for a place to eat lunch. The street is packed with similar looking eateries on both your left and right. The buildings all look the same and have signs with business names on them. The business owners have all copied each other in building design, colors, and layout so much that it’s very difficult to tell them apart. But one smart business owner has hired someone with a colorful costume and given them a professional-looking sign with delicious-looking food photos and a message that clearly states all the benefits of their restaurant; in addition, if you come in today, you’ll receive a great discount. The guy holding the sign interrupts your attention, and the offer lures you in to try the food.

That’s what pattern interrupt marketing is all about.

Now, you could try any number of gimmicks to grab a prospect’s attention, but there are only a few things that will truly capture their interest and hold it long enough for you to make an impression. Here are three steps to get you started:

    1. Make a list of problems your product or service can solve.
    2. Pick just one as the focal point for your marketing message.
    3. Think about the types of language and visual cues your customers would use to best understand this message.
          With those elements in place, you can better plan your marketing.
          Pattern interrupt marketing can be used in every type of business and in every type of marketing communication. Whether on a billboard, through direct mail, via email marketing, or even at a trade show, pattern interrupt marketing can be very effective. The goal is not only to capture the prospect’s attention by doing something different or unexpected but also to encourage them to take further steps with you once they’re engaged.
            Pattern interrupt marketing is only the first step in a process, but in some ways, it’s the most important step. After all, if you can’t capture their attention, the rest won’t matter.

Sometimes Less Really is More

“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your mother probably admonished you as a youngster: “You need to finish that plate of food because there are children in Africa starving right now.” So we have been conditioned to eat even when our stomach is full or even if we don’t really like the taste of the food. The negative side effects surround us everywhere.

Living in this age of access to unprecedented amounts of information, we must be careful not to overindulge there, too. Just as it is harmful to overeat, it is perhaps even more detrimental to consume the incessant amount of unrelated and useless information that fills the web, the airwaves (TV and radio), and print. Just because it’s free to access doesn’t mean it comes without another kind of cost.

This type of cost is more precious than the monetary kind. It’s your valuable time. Unlike money, time can’t be replaced once it’s gone. Like the youngster who becomes conditioned to eat too much, we are becoming conditioned to consume too much information, most of it the useless variety. Many of us need to go on an information diet! How many minutes and hours are wasted daily on email, Facebook, and various news/entertainment websites? Too many.

“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” -Albert Einstein

Not all reading or information is harmful, of course. But it is time to stop reading negative and time-consuming information that is not helping you advance toward your goals. If you start reading an article that turns out to be less useful than you thought, no need to keep reading it. Do you have to constantly check your email? Not really. Start taking your time back by going on an information diet today. You will be much more productive and will like the new you the next time you look in the mirror.

Product Naming Tips

What are you thinking?

If you’re planning to introduce a new product into the market, here are a few tips to help you create a likeable product name that will also be relevant and memorable:

  • Choose an expressive name that describes what the product does.
  • Avoid acronyms. Give your product a full name, and use brief acronyms internally only.
  • Consider naming similar products together as a family. For example, Apple’s operating systems have used similar names such as Panther, Jaguar, Leopard, and Lion.
  • If you have a tiered product line (good, better, best), name your products accordingly to show order of ranking.
  • Add a prefix or suffix to a common name, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.
  • Choose a name that gives people a mental image of the benefits your product provides or how it works.
  • Select a name that is easy to pronounce. If your audience can’t pronounce it, they likely won’t remember it.
  • Creatively change the spelling of a real word. The popular cereals Kix and Trix are good examples.
  • If your products are sold internationally, always screen your product name to check for embarrassing meanings in other languages.
  • Consider using a verb as your product name, like Bounce dryer sheets.
  • Blend two descriptive words together to form a new word that describes your product, such as Miracle Whip.
  • Beware of any potential acronyms that may cause issues. For example, some people joke that Microsoft’s Bing stands for “But It’s Not Google.” Also check if there could be issues with shortening the product name.
  • Think about what you like/dislike about other product names across various industries, and compare that to the list of names you’re considering.
  • Lastly, beware that a long, drawn-out product name may cause a challenge when creating advertisements and promotional materials.

No matter what product name you choose, we have endless creative ideas to help you spread the word and increase your sales. Give us a call today!

Christmas… In July?

While the holiday season is still a few months away, now is the ideal early time to start planning festive marketing campaigns to promote your business. Here are a few creative ideas to consider:

    • Give your business a seasonal twist. For example, a grocery store could offer tips on how to eat healthy during the holidays. A financial institution could provide a tip sheet on controlling holiday spending.
    • Consider special pricing on gift certificates, such as buy $40 and get $10 free or buy two gift certificates and get one free.
    • Rather than risk having your holiday card get lost in the shuffle at Christmas, consider sending a greeting focused on Halloween, Thanksgiving, or even New Year’s.
    • Give loyal customers something that keeps on giving. Consider a bonus for referring a friend, a holiday coupon, a discount for subscribing to your e-newsletter, or other fun promotions.
    • Offer a “Coming Soon” report for the upcoming year. For example, offer a sneak peek at a new product you’ll be revealing, a workshop or webinar your customers would enjoy, an add-on service, or something similar.
    • Offer tips, discounts, and programs to help people meet their New Year’s resolution goals. For example, a health care facility might offer a special package that waives the sign-up fee and provides a discount if you bring a friend.
    • Build relationships, and enjoy the opportunity to meet and mingle with new people at holiday mixers. When the season is over, you can contact your holiday party connections and work on further building your relationship.
    • Ask for the opportunity to donate your product or service as a door prize at holiday parties or other business gatherings.
    • Plan a seasonal open house with beverages and snacks. Consider a special featured discount, and offer giveaway items your attendees can sign up to win.
    • In addition to providing an overall price discount, highlight product offerings for every budget level from $20 to $200. Create a customized holiday flyer or brochure to make customers aware of your multiple price points-but most importantly your value that you offer.

If you’d like help creating the perfect direct mail piece to advertise your holiday promotions, stop by today. Our creative experts will help you create the perfect mailer to successfully promote your business any time of year.

Also check out our new catalog of Holiday Greeting Cards! Yep, order early while supplies last, it is hard to believe, but come November, there is not much left….

Design Tip: Color Matching Your Photos Using Photoshop

By Scott Prindle

Keeping your advertising materials at a high caliber of professionalism can be a difficult thing to accomplish, especially when it comes to presenting new content to customers that haven’t been created/proofed by a marketer. We’ll be sharing a quick tip to help your content look more professional through the technique of color matching your photos using Adobe Photoshop.

A Trip to Share

So, let us say that we’ve had a company hike over on Mt. Baker, and wanted to share a set of photos from the adventure with our co-workers (these are taken from my own stash). Here we have our set of images for an article explaining our escapades. Not too bad since they’re all of similar landscapes, but the colors/tone are different because they were taken from different angles, locations, and time of day.
Four Photos from Skyline Divide of the Mt. Baker area.

Let’s Get Editing

The photos themselves don’t look bad, but you can definitely tell that they aren’t matching one another in tone and color. We can fix that with some simple changes in Photoshop, though. Why don’t you go ahead and open the four images in Photoshop.

Choosing a source image

Now that we’ve got the images loaded into Photoshop, you’ll want to look through them all and choose the photo that you want all the other photos to be matched to in color and tone. I went ahead and selected one of the full shots of Mt. Baker, as it has a variety of colors and with a solid balance of contrast and lightness.

The Chosen Source Image

Photoshop Match Color Tool

You’ve got your image set loaded in Photoshop, and you’ve chosen in your mind the photo that you want to match the rest of the set to. Great. Now let’s go ahead and start manipulating the photos to match the source image. Go ahead and navigate to the image you want to edit in Photoshop, and go to Image >> Adjustments >> Match Colors.

Match Color Menu Item

This will bring up a dialogue window that at first seems a little innocuous at first, but you’ll want to look for a dropdown menu labelled “Source” near the bottom of the window, and select the source image’s filename that you’ve opened from Photoshop. This will cause the image you are editing to adjust its color to the source image’s colors.

The Match Color dialogue

You’ll want to adjust the sliders according to your tastes, as settings for one photo may not work for another. There is no golden setting that will make things right, so a little play will be necessary. Anyway, after you’ve found the sweet spot, go ahead and click okay, and voila, you’ll have an edited photo that matches the color of the source image thanks to your efforts.

A single image editted to match the source

I should disclaim here that adjusting the images like this does not guarantee a great print result. You should note that the way your monitor displays an image doesn’t necessarily represent how the image will look like on paper.

After you’ve found settings to your liking, go ahead and confirm the changes, and you’ll have an image that matches the source image’s colors. Repeat this process for all the other images in the set, and you’ll have a presentation that has a level of polish that shows professionalism in your work.

Before and After comparison of editted image set

Conclusion

And there you have it, the overall effect creates an effect of cohesion between the set of images that would not have otherwise been there before. And while with the majority of this article I discuss matching these photos together, you can use it for any number of projects, whether you use it on a set of images on a brochure, your website, a technical manual for your products or a large advertisement poster. One thing I did not mention is that while this process is useful for matching images together, you’ll still want to make sure that the set of images match in some way to the color scheme of what you’ll be presenting them in.

For example, if you have a bunch of orange tinted photos, they’ll starkly contrast on a blue pallete. Basically, color theory is still ever present, but you can use this as just another tool in your toolbox to make a coherent and well designed marketing piece.

 

Let me know if this article was helpful down in the comments below or by firing me off an email at scott@printcopyfactory.com

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