How to Create Effective Environmental Branding

What to Know About Environmental Brand Assets

So the hard work is done: your business has an established brand, or has recently rebranded. You know your colours and fonts off by heart, and your essence and tone of voice are outlined in a carefully developed brand guide – a marketing resource that visualizes and articulates the culture of your organization. And now you’re asking, “What’s next?”

A brand strategy looks at the different brand assets that are essential to developing strong brand recall and improving customer satisfaction – and these assets have been shown to increase employee productivity. One of the most important of these, which every business should think about, is environmental branding. 

 

What is Environmental Branding?

Environmental branding is the act of physically implementing brand elements into your workspaces, stores, or shops. Think of this asset as interior design mixed with the power of marketing, creating a “super-asset” – one that can be very powerful if it resonates with people on a deeply emotional and fundamental level. However, in order for it to resonate with people, your brand must be believable at all touchpoints, including your place of business; using elements from your mission statement, colours from your brand palette, and shapes from your logo are all great places start.

If you want to take your environmental branding to the next level, adding in elements of your sustainable marketing initiatives will help drive the most important message of all: your purpose. For example, if your purpose is to be an eco-friendly business, purchase repurposed furniture from Etsy or secondhand stores. Think about the ways you can use your physical space to drive your business’s purpose and explore various opportunities to infuse environmental branding into your business model.

 

Creating a Full Brand Experience for Clients and Customers

Think of environmental branding as interior design marketing, where space is used to tell your brand’s story and make a genuine emotional connection. This means looking at everything – from walls and windows to floors and furniture. Think of your space and the tone you want to set, too: for a tech company, this is likely a cool and sleek experience with areas of fun trickled through the office; for a brewery, you might aim for a cozy and welcoming “home” feel.

 

Ideas to Brand Your Office Space
  • Use a neon sign that writes out a main company value.
  • Choose furniture that has a similar shape to your logo and uses your brand colours.
  • Create a space that emanates a feeling. Want your employees to have fun at work? Add a pinball machine. Eager to encourage outdoor lunches? Add a picnic table to your outdoor space. Environmental marketing is your business’s vibe, manifested into reality and lived out fully.

 

Ideas to Brand Your Shop Space
  • To make your customers feel like family, take pictures of your employees and hang them on the well in eclectic frames.
  • To emphasize your sustainable marketing and your belief in creating inclusive spaces for all people, integrate that messaging and visual language into your bathroom signage.
  • Hoping for a warm space that invites customers through the door? Think sofas, throw pillows, curtains in your brand’s colors, and warm and welcoming low lighting.

 

Environmental Branding at the Office and Home

As you change your office space to be more dynamic and provide a place for your team to get a breather from the work-from-home life, remember that there are other ways to cleverly implement environmental branding. Start thinking of digital opportunities, like offering your team branded Zoom or Microsoft Teams backgrounds for online meetings. Think of ways to create physical opportunities in your space that lead customers and team members to post pictures on their own personal social media. It could be as simple as a feature wall at the front entrance, with a sign highlighting a branded hashtag and your organizational handles.

Environmental branding is an essential brand asset for every business, and when seamlessly integrated into your space, it tells a more complete story of who you are and what you believe in. There are even organizations like WJ’s client and friend, Identity Ink, that can help you bring your vision purpose to life.

For help with your brand visuals and how to make the most of your space, reach out today and get a whole team of experts that can move your brand forward!

Trends in Annual Reports: What You Need to Know 

Why is it so crucial for a company to release an Annual Report, and execute it properly? These detailed, yearly reports can be somewhat intimidating because they must contain lots of important data. They include your companys activities, performance, financial conditionsand achievements from the preceding year – while setting future objectives and goals. Basically, it is a lot of information to sum up and turn into a beautiful document that your audience can understand. But we know you can do it and produce something you and your team are truly proud of. 

Publicly traded companies require Annual Reports to give shareholders a financial and operational overview – but you can use it to celebrate the victories, tooIt also provides an overview to potential investors and offers a formalized source of communication to the public. 

Suppose you are a small business owner or run a non-profit organization. In that case, you are not legally required to produce an Annual Report  but having one can prove to be an invaluable marketing toolCustomers, government institutions, suppliers, and even your employees will find value iit. You want them to read your report and get excited, possibly even bring a smile to their face as they learn something new about you. It is beneficial, no matter the size of your company, because it offers transparency, building trust and appreciation. So let us help you inspire your team and create an amazing story to share with your valued audience and promote your company. 

 

Always Plan Ahead 

It is no secret that we love strategizing at William Joseph, and strategic planning does not stop with reports. If you dont take the time to plan, your report can come off scattered, irrelevant, or simply too overwhelming for your audience to understand. 

Start by identifying the story you want to tell. This is an excellent opportunity to not only share findings from the previous year but also remind your audience of your core values, mission, and driving forces that make up your company. This, in turn, provides a wholesome view of where your company is at now and forecasts your goals. Next, ensure you have all the data you need – which likely means coordinating with multiple departments. Perhaps you are breaking down your finances in a chart. You can save time by making sure the chart template is available to your analytics team ahead of time to be filled in. Your team will appreciate your effort to plan and when the deadline comes along, so will you. 

 

Egg Farmers of Alberta Annual Report. 

 

Flex Your Creative Muscles 

Since these reports are so comprehensive, there is a lot of information for you to translate into a digestible format. The best way to do this is to be creative and tell a story, so it is easy for the audience to understand and stay engaged. Break your story into major themes or chapters. Common Annual Report themes are current market performance, industry context, financial performance, whether you met your strategic objectives, etc. Once you identify these major themes, rewrite the information to tell a story that better speaks to investors and your industry, employees, and even your competitors. 

Here’s one way to look at it: put yourself in your stakeholders shoes and see if your report makes sense. Would a potential investor find this understandable or exciting? Is the layout of the information compelling, and does it encourage people to read more? Is the report too long, or should you go back in and summarize critical data? Keeping questions like these in mind while thinking of creative ways to share your content will help your strategy. The information selected, order of content, tone, and specific vocabulary choices are vital considerations when crafting this report. 

Annual Reports should always be visual and bring a sense of excitement to the audience when they see it. Especially in the financial area of the report where data is heavy, play around with different charts, tables, headlines, fonts, and textures to make it more engaging. Ensure you maintain brand consistency while using these elements and experimenting with colour, imagery, and graphics. Whether you are a small company that does your own design or a large company with a design team, sticking to brand standards will resonate more with your audience – and will strengthen the narrative you’ve been telling over the past year. 

Not sure how to tell if your design is consistent? Think this way: readers should recognize that the report is from your company, without even seeing the logo or company name. Consider consistent font, colours, and imagery that your audience has come to know from your website and other branding efforts and use this to inspire your design. 

 

Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Annual Report. 

 

Include a Message from Leadership 

Not only do investors appreciate hearing a personal message from your CEO, but the public will, too. This will set a positive tone for the story you are about to tell and humanize your brand with a trusted and credible sourceAnnual Reports should go beyond the initial foundation of financial and operational findings and offer a personal angleAudiences want to know who is behind the brand, what motivates them, what their goals are, and feel that sense of community with your company. After all, investors and customers make your business possible, and they want transparency. Include a warm, welcoming photo of your leader to compliment the friendly message. 

 

Consider Sharing Online 

Annual Reports – often robust documents – are traditionally printed. Current trends are inspiring even the most traditional of companies to think a little bit differently – like going digital. Sounds interesting, but why should your company consider this? It will save you time, money, distribution costs, and help the environment, too! 

Moving online, such as a PDF format, allows you to make the report more interactive by adding links within the document which can also help improve your websites ranking on Google if optimized correctly. You can also track its performance, which is more challenging to do with printed materials. 

And why not go beyond a PDF and make your report into a digital flipbook? They are even more interactive than a standard PDF, allowing people to flip the pages at their own pace and have a more tangible experience. These work great on both desktop and mobile devices, making your report more accessible for various audiences. Finally, there is the sustainability aspect. Choosing to publish your report online minimizes the environmental impact compared to traditional printing methods. 

Remember that your report is your chance to shine and share your accomplishments. It is a way to have fun with your team and get creative, while reflecting on key data and information. Telling a story about your findings will humanize your brand, build trust, and overall be a memorable experience. Ensuring the report is attractive, appealing, and easy to understand will reach more audiences and have greater influence. And if you need help or advice, we are here for you. Annual Reports get us excited – and we want to you to feel that enthusiasm, too! 

What Does Sustainable Marketing Mean For Your Organization? 

There are a lot of ways to make yourself heard in the world of marketing – but effective tactics aren’t just about being the loudest or the most prominent. They involve a clear understanding of your brand values, what matters to your company, and how you intend to carry on business in the future.

Because of these forward-facing considerations, many organizations are seeing the value of “marketing sustainability”. More than just a cheap sticker on the label, or a few hasty lines on a website, this phenomenon means that brands are considering sustainability from the core and infusing it into everything they do. And this, in turn, is paving the way for the relatively new world of sustainable marketing.

 

What is Sustainable Marketing?

Sustainable marketing is the promotion and prioritizing of environmental and socially responsible products, practices, and brand values. It is about more than using eco-friendly packaging, or cutting down on paper use; it is a holistic, company-wide decision that is meant to combine economic success with the added value of environmental and social considerations. If you’ve ever made a purchase decision based on a brand’s commitment to local sourcing or 100% recyclability, you’ve encountered this type of marketing.

The core of this approach is to position your brand as an active, dedicated figure toward an important issue. It takes more than simply the will to make change happen; it takes purpose – a purpose that drives your actions and keeps you moving towards a greater goal. One that aligns with your values and motivates you to manifest them in the world. When done correctly, this will humanize your brand messaging and garner a lot of favour with potential customers, helping to differentiate you from the competition – but it takes real, legitimate care to do well, and those same customers will see right through a half-hearted effort that doesn’t come from the top down.

However, it’s worth it to put in the time. Millennials and Gen Z put environmental issues at the forefront of many decisions, and one Nielsen report placed the number of them willing to pay more for sustainable options at nearly 75%. As time goes on, more and more consumers want not just green packaging, but solutions that consider the entire life cycle of a product or service, and more responsible approaches to them. Whether that is packaging, labour, food, or something else, it is now a factor that is impossible to ignore.

 

How to Implement Sustainable Marketing

There are a few key elements to marketing sustainable and effectively, and all of them tie in to our favourite advice: staying authentic to your brand values. Real sustainable marketing plans must be long-term, consistent, and truly responsible, ingrained into a company’s strategy and executed in an ethical way. If you are only hopping on the bandwagon to make a few quick dollars, without any long-term thought to how you will embrace new practices and ideas, your work will eventually backfire and create substantial and negative public perception.

If you still need a bit of guidance along the way, here are some useful dos & don’ts of sustainable marketing to get you started (and keep you going):

  • Integrate sustainability completely: instead of making single comments about sustainability on a single page of your site, address it fully and directly. Understand changes in consumer preferences and respond with real efforts to address them.
  • Educate your customers:explain your actions, how they help, and how your customers can assist you in doing them. By doing this in a meaningful way, the results will always be stronger, and your base will be extremely loyal.
  • Follow your own path:while there are plenty of places from which you can draw influence and ideas, we recommend choosing your own path for sustainable marketing. Without a single, “correct” solution, creating your own way is important in establishing yourself as a leader.
  • Partner with green suppliers: many companies have found themselves in tough situations for using manufacturers or suppliers without sustainability commitments – just look at the recent “paper bottle” news to see how quickly it can happen. Some manufacturers won’t even supply to brands that aren’t environmentally responsible, and there’s no reason to think this trend won’t continue.
  • Avoid greenwashing:this refers to companies claiming sustainability when they are doing the bare minimum for the cause. Depending on the nature of your business, you might focus on zero waste, reducing water use, using biodegradable packaging, using local sources, and so on; whatever you do, be honest and set attainable goals. Greenwashing won’t work, and has an incredibly high chance of harming your reputation.
  • Don’t be afraid to celebrate the wins: It’s okay to tell the world about your work, as long as you’re not overly boastful about it. Tactfully let customers know how you are helping the cause, end enjoy the opportunity to spread your message.
  • Don’t alienate people:customers want to help in your mission, and to assume otherwise denies both your company and your base the chance to do so. Let them in to help.
  • Don’t break the bank:start small and build a strategy appropriate to your business. As long as you are being genuine and doing what you can, customers will appreciate that.

 

Examples of Sustainable Marketing

Details of its specific impact aside, everyone can agree that less plastic in the world is a good thing. So when companies began replacing plastic straws with paper ones, most people applauded the effort – except in cases like McDonald’s, whose waste management providers could not recycle the material. Customers were told to throw the straws away, defeating the entire purpose of the initiative with a different kind of waste.

But examples like this make the good decisions stand out further. We’ve talked before about companies like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, who are well-known for their environmental and social work – and even within our own client roster, we have some excellent role models, too.

 

Orano’s commitments for the protection of our climate and environment. (from Orano.group/en)

 

In northern Saskatchewan, the uranium mining company Orano is redefining what it means to make a minimal impact and focus on long-term sustainability. These principles are built into their brand, leading to a great respect for the land and the communities that populate it. No new actions are taken without exhaustive researching and planning for the environmental effects, meaning that even on former mine sites, they return for years afterward to ensure that reclamation is successful.

 

Sustainability Consulting & Communications. (from RadicleBalance.com)

 

Radicle, another example, also shows how balancing sustainability and profitability is not only possible, but positive for all aspects of operations. They support businesses in measuring and managing their carbon footprints, creating actionable plans to address and reduce that impact, and ultimately monetizing emissions reductions. For example, they navigate carbon pricing to help pay for emission-reducing technologies. Their rapid growth shows that putting the planet first doesn’t have to come at the expense of people or profits.

 

Interested in Sustainable Marketing?

Are you thinking of ways that your organization can act more sustainably, and identify a larger purpose that goes beyond your brand? The WJ team can help you navigate the process and how you can use your values to tell a different story – one that is compelling, authentic and differentiated from everyone else, and establishes your place in the world.

Current Trends in Content Marketing

Staying on top of trends in content marketing is crucial for companies to remain relevant and engage their audience. At William Joseph, we are constantly researching and discussing the latest trends in content and how we can help our clients utilize those avenues to achieve success. Trends are extremely timely, so it is important for your business to be aware of what content is most popular and jump on the bandwagon – that is, if your audience has already jumped on.

Currently, the rise of rich media is prominent for 2021 and is a key factor for engagement, especially for mobile devices. But what exactly is rich media and how can you maximize its potential?

Rich media includes different formats such as video, audio, or other elements that enrich the customer experience and allow them to engage with your brand. It moves, scrolls, and expands – offering a more interactive and wholesome experience that will speak to users. As we dive into the different types of rich content that are disrupting the conversation right now, it is important to reflect on how you can use it to your advantage and what tools are necessary to do so.

 

The Next Phase of Audio

Audio content is one of the pioneers of communication, having remained a staple throughout the evolution of media – and, from radio advertising to podcasts, it still resonates with audiences at any place and time. These days, thanks to rapid advancements in technology and increased consumer demand, the way you use audio to tell a story is constantly changing.

Podcasts and audiobooks are currently trending content mediums, but executing well can be a big undertaking. However, there are applications out there that make the process easier for beginners and simplify the learning curve. Alitu was designed for beginners and makes the discovery of podcast creation fun. If you are not quite ready to commit to your own podcast, find one related to your field and be a guest on an episode. It is a great way to dip your toes in the audio world without being overwhelmed. Canada is one of the top countries in the world for podcast listenership – with over 54% of Canadian adults consuming podcasts on a smartphone. Furthermore, audio ad spend is expected to keep growing, with an estimated annual growth rate of 11.18%.

 

What is Clubhouse Drop-In Audio?

Audio storytelling is so popular now, there’s even hype and exclusivity just trying to access certain applications. Clubhouse came into the scene in April of last year, enticing audiences by offering valuable audio content and interactive potential. But the social media platform is by invite only, which as consumers, only makes us want it more; and to add to the exclusivity, you must have an iPhone.

So, what exactly makes this app so unique other than having to cut through red tape to get in? Users not only receive exclusive content but can also participate in discussions and engage in networking opportunities. They join ‘rooms’ – which feature different topics of discussion to listen in on live conversations with leading experts and celebrities. Now that you know about this trend, how bad do you want in the club?

 

Video Content: Crucial for Success

Think about the last compelling video you watched. Did it pull at your emotions? Or make you feel connected to the content? Why did it pop into your mind when that question was asked?

Visual storytelling is one of the best ways to authentically convey your message and make real connections with your audience. Offering a more meaningful experience for users to become acquainted with your brand will help you grow organically, and if executed correctly, can greatly increase sales. Video content is worth investing both time and money, with 87% of video marketers saying it gives them a positive Return on Investment (ROI). Videos also satisfy the hungry social media algorithms, further amplifying your message to the world.

Consistency and authenticity will set you up for success in your video marketing efforts. The use of ‘stories’ on social media platforms allows you to share content in real-time, which will leave a genuine impression on your audience. Video should also be used to compliment your written content – which should still be a fundamental part of your strategy.

 

Tik Tok: Content Around the Clock

Did you know that Tik Tok users spend almost 900 minutes per month interacting with the app? That is almost half an hour each day that the over 1 billion Tik Tok users are engaging with content, that you could be sharing. But how do you tell if Tik Tok is the right platform for you to share content? While the app is most popular with younger audiences, more demographics are signing up and seeing what all the fuss is about. And they are loving it. So, first decide who you are trying to target and do a bit of research to see if Tik Tok could help you reach your goals.

Managing a content strategy is critical – giving you the foundation for your marketing. The strategy should also evolve as the trends do while providing a road map to guide your content creation. You must test your marketing ideas and strategies, then use your analytics and reporting to inform future decisions. Have fun with rich media and use it to your advantage. Experiment with audio by trying a podcast or hop on Facebook Live to offer behind-the-scenes footage of your business. Trying different ways to tell your story will show your audience you are committed, engaged, and keeping on top of the latest trends.

Cause Marketing

We spend a lot of time at WJ discovering, highlighting, and enhancing your brand values. While that may seem like just another bit of marketing jargon, in reality those values are all the things that make your brand unique. They are what you stand for, believe in, and work toward. They define you, and understanding them in full is your gateway to a concept that is coming to define the business atmosphere in 2021cause marketing.  

Cause marketing, sometimes known as ethical marketing, is an extension of the principles that drive your company forward. It means finding an issue that resonates with you and your beliefs, and promoting or addressing it through your business and operations. Whether you are focusing on mental health, world hunger, environmentalism, social justice, or another topic that is important to you, cause marketing is becoming a big factor in the purchasing decisions of many consumersWith all the events of 2020 still freshignoring this cultural shift means choosing to stay silent when it’s important to speak up. 

 

RISKS AND BENEFITS OF CAUSE MARKETING 

Some companies may hesitate on moving into this realm of marketing because there is a high risk of backlash and poor executionIn fact, it’s probably a lot easier to remember the bad examples – Kendall Jenner’s ill-fated Pepsi ad, Burger King’s baffling 2019 #FeelYourWay mental health campaignMasterCard’s pledge to donate meals to starving children only if certain soccer players scored – than it is to think of any good ones.  

 

Burger King Happy Meal cause marketing ad

Burger King ‘moody’ meals. (from CNBC)

 

These risks almost always come down to insincerity, confusion, or customers feeling deceived. In the Burger King campaign mentioned above, the backlash came from a mismatch between the company’s stated values and actions, and the cause they were claiming to support. In turn, the conversation they started about mental health quickly turned around to show that they did not even consider, let alone prioritize, those same ideas and ideals within their own daily operations. The whole campaign was topped off with what many assumed to be a thinly-veiled cash grab, the “Unhappy Meals”, leading to an overall sense of shallow opportunismThe cause itself was noble, but the execution was not. Trying to quickly cash in on trending fads will never be successful, because real cause marketing is a long-term investment motivated by values and beliefs – not money or popularity. 

So with such potential for failure, is it worth the trouble? Absolutely. 

When done well, and with the right intentions, cause marketing becomes an intrinsic part of your brand and is associated with who you are. Current and potential buyers alike will know immediately where you stand and whether you align with their beliefs – and importantly, you don’t compromise on them, choosing not to be everything to everyone. You have a vision for the world you want to live in, and you work toward it. 

A great example of this is the outdoor equipment and clothing company, Patagonia. Founded by avid rock climbers and environmentalists, from the very start they have done endless research and development into increasingly eco-friendly materials and practices. They have made difficult decisions that may have cost customers, but stayed true to their ideals. When you visit their website, that story dominates everything else, because it is the core of their entire brand. You can immediately tell it is authentic, important, and respectable.  

 

cause marketing advertisement for patigonia

Patagonia Blue Heart Campaign. (from @patagonia)

 

How does this translate into real-world brand benefits? It creates stronger brand loyalty, with deep connections and a relationship that goes beyond transactions. It sets you above competitors in crowded marketsand builds association between your brand and positive change. It can have auxiliary effects, like boosting your employee retention and increasing their engagement, ambassadorship, and support. And all of this together will improve your bottom line – which is a bonus, even if it’s not the point of your advocacy. 

 

EFFECTIVE CAUSE MARKETING STRATEGIES 

So you’re interested in putting your brand to work in a cause-related campaign, or even in a larger cause marketing strategy. How can you make sure you get the best results possible?  

It should all start right at the core of your brand and business. Ask yourself what is important in your everyday work, and what values you exemplify. In other words: why is your brand here? There is no “right” cause to choose, but there is a “right for you” option. Finding one that emphasizes your values is the first step. 

Next, prepare a long-term strategy. Capitalizing on a spur-of-the-moment fad might be good for a single post, but it’s not an appropriate way to use cause marketing – you will have to dig in and really create something genuine and sustainable. Build the cause into your brand story and clearly explain to all stakeholders why you support it. When you intertwine the cause with your own goals, everyone comes out ahead. 

Once the cause and strategy are solidified, go beyond the basics. Contributing money is one way to help, but it’s not the only one – you can volunteer time, create new partnerships, change your operations or policies, raise awareness, and much more. This generates organic and real stories among your employees and others, showing that you are doing more than lip service. Remember, a great cause marketing strategy is one that boosts both sides, not just your own. 

 

IS IT RIGHT FOR MY BUSINESS? 

If you’re interested in pursuing cause marketing, it’s important to first know your brand inside and out – and that involves taking the time to discover your values, your key differentiators, and your why. Staying true to these means you are walking on the pathway to success.  

We believe there’s a worthy cause out there for every business. We can help guide you toward it by identifying not only what sets you apart, but also what brings your company together. When you’re ready to take the next step in your brand journey, we’ll be ready to lead the way. 

Holiday Campaigns That Take The Cake

“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” – Gwendolyn Brooks. Holidays are a time to spread hope & joy, and few things can raise people’s spirits as much as well-crafted holiday campaigns. Want to create one of your own? Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Mixing Business With Holidays – Is It A Good Idea?

When done right, holiday campaigns can become the most popular and well-received form of advertisement for your brand. They offer the rare opportunity to align your messaging with your consumer’s needs on a personal, more emotional level. To date, this type of heartfelt messaging has enabled many brands to solidify their relationship with consumers.

Usually, your brand message must revolve around a particular product or service you provide, but holiday campaigns are not bound by this rule. This is the right time to educate consumers about brand experience – why they should relate to your brand, how they feel when they see your brand, and what they can expect from your brand.

This is the time to elicit, not solicit, your consumers’ trust.

Brewing Up An Effective Holiday Campaign

Holidays are about positivity, hope, and the miraculous power of community. An effective holiday campaign contains all this and more. It’s about what the consumers want or expect from you, how you make them feel, and how your brand will enrich their lives. It’s about them, not you.

Begin your campaign planning by deciding on a unique and authentic theme. Have a specific end date in mind so you don’t overinvest in terms of time, money, and effort. Everyone will be your competition because everyone knows this is the best time to retain or sway consumer opinion. New players, old professionals, those who wish to rebrand – everyone will be vying for a piece of the holiday cake, whether you take it will depend on how well-prepared you are.

If it’s an average campaign, even the most unprepared competitors will gain an edge over you because they spent more on advertising or offered incentives or any of a million other reasons. If it’s on-point and authentic, you will be remembered regardless of how impressive or mediocre your competitors’ messaging is.

Equally important is to plan out and implement every detail of your holiday campaign in advance. The best campaigns will be ineffective unless you give people time to see, share, and act on your messages during prime buying season.

Avoiding The Common Trends

One practice often seen is brands only doing the bare minimum – repacking old content as Christmas content, offering no special incentives, and so on. If you want to plan for success, you need to plan ahead with clear intent.

The idea is to embrace the season without going overboard. Take time to reflect upon the prevailing public sentiment before planning your campaign. Make sure it cannot be interpreted as insincere, hurtful, or trivializing in any way.

Once your campaign blueprint is ready, remember to mix it up – if you’re making every single newsletter, post, flyer, and ad about your holiday sale for a month straight, people will probably tune it out.

Also, don’t forget about your loyal original customers as you try and attract new ones. That dedicated base is the reason you’re in business, so show them some love, too. Use retargeting to offer them a special one-time deal or discount or put up some posts expressing gratitude.

Holiday Campaign Success Stories

A Modern Classic – Google’s “Home Alone, Again”

Google’s 2018 commercial for their Home device became an instant classic for several reasons:

  • It really hits the nostalgia factor for all the 30-somethings who saw the original Home Alone movies as kids and have fond memories of those times. Icing on the cake: They even got the same actor, Macaulay Culkin, to play the same role.
  • The ad is a perfect blend of how effective the product is, how Google as a brand celebrates a bit of fun, and how going outside the box does not mean having to change your brand image.
  • The biggest takeaway, cleverly embedded in the ad, is how advanced things have become in the last few decades, and how Google is the driving force behind all this advancement.

 

The Fun Approach – Walkers’ “All Mariah Carey Wants for Christmas”

While some campaigns opt for subtlety, others – like this one – scream holiday season and cheer from beginning to end. Featuring Mariah Carey and her ubiquitous Christmas track, Walkers’ potato chips got it right by:

  • Playing on Mariah Carey’s strengths – her singing and vivacious personality.
  • Making the ad fun, lighthearted, and memorable.
  • Setting a theme that could easily be a part of Mariah Carey’s everyday life, making it that much more relatable and compelling.
  • Showing the spirit of the season wins out in the end.

 

Tugging The Heartstrings – WestJet’s “Reunions”

Emotionally charged campaigns are also very popular during holidays, like WestJet’s expertly created 2018 video that portrays the brand as one that reunites families who live far apart:

  • The sheer magnitude of the gesture notwithstanding, what makes this ad a guaranteed win is the emotional weight of bringing families together – an idea that appeals to everyone in the holiday season.
  • The capturing of emotions on camera in a raw, unfiltered way enhances the ad’s effect and gives it a genuine feel.
  • The ad is not selling a flight package or an experienced cabin crew. It’s showing the WestJet experience and the brand’s inherent values, which is much more effective at making people like and choose the brand.

 

Crafting An Exceptional Campaign

As you may have realized, holiday campaigns are not something to cobble together at the last minute. An effective campaign that is well-planned, with a clear intention and the right approach, can work wonders for your brand. It has the power to influence and attract people for the rest of the year. In that sense, it’s quite magical, isn’t it?

Lockdown 2.0 – Tips on Communication Under Pressure

Alberta entered its second state of public health emergency on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. With businesses entering a second near-lockdown and required to implement a new set of health and safety measures, owners across the province are feeling the pressure to act. These considerations, filtered through a flow of federal regulations and different provincial and municipal mandates, make it easy for businesses to fall into the trap of mixed messaging – or even a complete lack of communications overall.

Here are five communication ideas for marketers, owners, and business leaders to help push through analysis paralysis and halt reaction road burn.

External Messaging – Immediate COVID Communication 

There are three clear items that need to be discussed with external audiences in a timely manner: your customers need to know that you are still open, that you are operating with an unwavering commitment to safety at all levels of the organization, and that you care about them. If you need help to focus this messaging, the following is a guide on how to break down what you should say.

You are Open and Here for Your Customers 

Your customers want to know how Alberta’s new measurements might affect or alter their relationship with you. Even though this is the second time the province has entered a lockdown, the circumstances and intensity are a little different, and your customers will wonder if the new regulations mean a change in service, or if it is ‘business as usual’. This is where an email or social post (that leads to a web post) discussing how you are complying with regulations and any changes to service is essential. Consider things like a change in hours, closures, and mask requirements. Be sure to clearly convey these points both digitally and physically, such as on a poster at your office location. The goal is to answer questions your customers have before they ask them.

You Take COVID-19 Seriously 

After you review changes that directly impact your customers, focus on any internal changes that you are making that illustrates your firm and unwavering commitment to safety at every level of your organization. Reinforce this message with a tangible example or two of what you are doing to protect not only your customers, but also your team and community, behind the scenes. Bring to their attention that each decision you make or action you take is for the health and safety of everyone in this new social atmosphere.

You Care 

Next, you need to communicate one more critical thing: you care. When you started this business, or when you joined a company, you did so for a reason, and beyond that, your business is made up of real people with a belief in that purpose and a genuine care for others. Own that by sharing authentic messages of understanding and compassion. Create a bond with your customers by letting them know you will meet their needs in any environment, and that come hell or high water, you will find a safe way forward.

 

lockdown communications

 

Internal Messaging – COVID Communication Planning for External Action 

To quickly deliver succinct messaging to your customers, you first need to be organized internally. A prepared business will have a communications plan that provides solutions for a variety of scenarios you may face.

Have an Actionable Communications Plan 

Effective communications planning can start with an immediate need and work back to being prepared for the future. Location is everything and understanding some of the potential hurdles your business will face in your local area is key to planning for the future. Creating an actionable plan now allows you to act quickly and confidently further down the road.

Prepare for Every Scenario 

No matter the situation, you need to be ready. Just as businesses financially prepare, creating a situational awareness plan with a growth strategy helps you and your customers in the long run. Your plan should include:

  • Identifying real life forces that could impact your business, such as environmental situations like floods, health and safety situations like the COVID-19 pandemic or SARS, and media or cultural situations like #BlackLivesMatter
  • Level of situation (red/yellow/green) and pointers on what needs to be communicated, to whom, and how that coordinates with your level of operation (open/closed/remote)
  • A general budget for additional costs that may arise, and correlated items – like technology for cyber security or developing an online store – should be listed here. Also, list potential internal operational costs such as masks, hand sanitizer, and equipment needed to work from home
  • Identify business development opportunities through every cycle of the situation. Generate scenarios in which this plan can be broken apart and pieced back together to meet the circumstances of your situation
  • Assign specific actionable items to specific people and identify the rules within which the business needs to operate. Know what departments need to be involved and whether there are legal obligations to be considered with each tactical action
  • For speed of use when the plan is needed, the written aspect should be short and to the point
We’ll Come Out Of This Together

Preparing for the future means a strong internal plan that delivers both inside your organization and beyond it, no matter the environment – but with our quickly-changing business landscape, now is the time to plan. From strategy to implementation, we are in this together and our team is here to help. If you want to chat about your options for strategic planning and communication, we are ready to listen.

Social Media Analytics: Finding Insights and Information

Over the last few months, we’ve been going over the basics of social media strategies, how to pick the best social media content and themes, and a guide for automatically scheduling posts. So if you’re here – congratulations, you’re well on your way to a strong social media presence! Now that you’ve got content going out regularly, it’s important to track its performance and find out what’s working and what is not. Welcome to the wonderful world of social media analytics. 

Analytics are the data metrics that allow you to get insights into how well your content is performing on social media platforms. This social data monitoring ranges from very specific actions to broad patterns in thousands of user interactions. Knowing how to read these numbers holds the key to refining and improving your posts over time. 

social media analytics - reporting
Keep track of your social media presence with analytics (from Sprout Social) 

 

Reading Social Media Reports 

With so many different metrics to track, you may find it overwhelming to figure out exactly which ones you should be looking at, or even what they mean in the first place. Not every number will apply to every social media strategy, so streamlining your data is important. Here are the basics for social media monitoring: 

Impressions and Reach: Impressions are the total number of potential views of your media, while Reach is the number of potential viewers. These can differ, as the same content displaying multiple times to the same person only increases Impressions. And remember, an impression or a reach doesn’t mean the person actually read your content! 

Engagement Rate: This tracks how actively involved your users/viewers are with your content. It can usually be further broken down into Clicks, Reactions, Comments, and Shares, and these are weighted differently (e.g. someone sharing your post is a better sign than just liking it, which is in turn better than just clicking on it). 

 

social media analytics - engagement rateThe engagement rate formula (from Hopper HQ) 

 

Demographics: Find out how your audience breaks down by age, gender, preferences, interests, education, industry, or many other factors. Knowing this, and how different demographics engage with your content, is helpful in improving your content as well as your ad strategy. 

Conversions: This monitors whether your audience is performing a desired outcome from your content – making a purchase, visiting your website, requesting a quoteetc. Ultimately this is one of the more important metrics to track, as it’s the more likely to lead to an actual customer than just a simple like or comment. 

There are far more advanced metrics to track (ever heard of bounce rates, cost-per-mille, or acquisitions?) but these are the big ones that can help guide you forward. But now, with so much information at your disposal, you’re probably wondering – where do I even begin? 

 

Social Media Analytics Tracking Platforms 

Tracking things like reach, engagement, brand mentions, and other metrics can be extremely time-consuming without the right tools. Even for the basics, rather than going through each of your social accounts individually, we recommend using a good reporting platform. Luckily, many of the same scheduling tools we talked about in our previous blog – like HootsuiteSEMRush, and Sprout Social – also have decent analytics functions for major social media apps, as well as the ability to monitor your competitors. And, to monitor social traffic heading to your website, you can’t go wrong with Google Analytics, which is tailored specifically for that purpose. 

social media analytics - reporting
A Google Analytics dashboard (from Neil Patel) 

If you’re also using a paid social media strategy, such as boosted posts or advertising, there are more robustools, like Google Data StudioZoho, or even the built-in Facebook Business Manager (which has its own mobile app, Facebook Ads Manager, for on-the-go access). These will let you break down your audience with ease, far beyond the usual demographics, with factors like video views or prior interactions on your website. Setting these up and linking all your various web presences together as one cohesive unit takes much longer, but if you’re committed to taking full advantage of every tool in the digital box, feel free to dive in. 

All in all, analytics are about knowing what information you need and deciding on a reliable way to get that social media data. Monitoring your social accounts may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, the payoff is worth the effort. And if you really don’t have the time or the patience to learn, that’s okay, too – because that’s what we’re here for! William Joseph’s social media management packages include monthly analytics reports for all your platforms. So whether you’re just starting out and need help getting set up, or you’re simply too busy and need to free up some time, let us know and we’ll figure out a winning social media strategy together! 

Social Media Automation: How to Schedule Success

In our last few entries, we’ve talked about the first steps of creating a strong social media engagement strategy, and touched on 10 different kinds of content you can use to your advantage. Now we’re going to touch on what comes next: the nitty-gritty details of social media scheduling.

Why You Should Schedule Social Media

While there is definitely always room for live, on-the-fly content, more and more businesses are realizing that scheduling the majority of brand posts ahead of time is a key part of their online presence. And the reasons for that are plentiful.

The biggest bonus is that it frees up your social media time for more engagement, allowing you to better connect and interact with your audience. You’ll lose less time trying to find the perfect post, and you’ll be more efficient with those precious minutes spent digging through comments and messages. It also means consistent content that can be posted at the perfect time of day, so you’ll never wake up in the middle of the night, panicking because your Instagram feed has been empty for a few weeks.

Why you should schedule social media posts (from Pinterest)

Native Platforms vs. Third-Party Management

With all that said, what is the best social media scheduling platform? Can’t you just use the apps themselves, without the hassle of a third party?

Well, not really. Only Facebook allows you to schedule posts, and despite their highly-targeted paid ads platform, their built-in basic service lacks many of the analytics that can give proper insights into your best content. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and all the rest are also short in scheduling ability, so if you’re active on those, you’ll want to use a social media post scheduler.

There are many misconceptions about third-party scheduling apps that you may have heard in the past. This includes thinking you will get less engagement, that you can’t create evergreen content, or that it is too hard to stay relevant when planning ahead of time. You can rest assured that none of these are true – and thousands of companies use scheduled posting every single day, with no negative effects. Of course, your scheduled stuff is best used with a healthy dollop of trending, instant content when you can – such as Facebook Live streams, Instagram stories, and so on. This kind of social media content plan will deliver both the quality and quantity that you (and your audience) are looking for.

Automatically Publishing Social Media Posts

While there are many guides to be found out in the internet wilderness, you should know off the bat that there’s not a single, “right” way to automate social media content. It will be different for every brand and each platform, but this is a fairly simple guide on how to schedule and publish your posts for maximum impact.

Content calendars can be very simple, yet effective (from Constant Contact)

  • Set your goals: are you trying to get more eyes on your content, or more DMs in your inbox? More product sales, or more product feedback? Choose wisely, and base your content around those ideas.
  • Choose your social media scheduling software: The internet abounds with options here, ranging from beefy platforms, like Hootsuite and Sprout Social, to specialized ones such as SEMrush and Later. Research which will work best for you, and set it up for optimal service by linking it to your relevant accounts. Remember, it’s best to prep now than to panic later, so take the time to learn the ins and outs.

The Later layout for Instagram scheduling (from Later)

  • Plan and create a content calendar: It’s your time to shine! Make your brand voice come through with your content (see our summary of 10 different kinds of content here), and create everything you need to stand above the crowd. Include any links, commentary, images/videos, tags, and hashtags, as well as the date, time, and social media platform you’ll be posting on.
  • Automate for the best time for each platform: Everyone knows not to post at 4 AM on a Sunday morning, but it turns out there are times of each day that are best for each platform (and each industry). Use this knowledge to your advantage for maximum engagement and reach.
  • Don’t “set it and forget it”: As 2020 has shown, things can change a lot from one day to the next. Always keep an eye on upcoming content and ensure it will not be misinterpreted or seen as insensitive.
  • Analyze your data: Once a month or so, you should create an analytics report. The detail will change depending on what social media planner you’re using, but generally, they tell you what’s doing well with your audience – and from that, you can create even better future content.

 

What to Do After Planning Your Social Media Content

So you’ve got the perfect calendar, you’ve scheduled all your content, and your social media automation is now in full swing. So…what comes next?

Now comes the most fun part of social media management: the engagement! Here’s where you get to answer questions, talk to your audience in real-time, get feedback on your products or services, and discover the latest TikTok trends. It’s not as time-consuming as the other steps, but it isn’t something you want to do just halfway. It’s worth a post of its own, so we’ll be covering it next in our series of blogs about how to create a good social media strategy!

The 10 Best Performing Social Media Content Types & Themes

In our last blog, we talked about how to create a social media content strategy. Now that you’ve got your basics in place, it’s time to go a little further and think about what kind of content you want to create! There are many different ways to connect with your audience, and while there’s no single answer for everyone, there are some general trends for content you can use for the best engagement. Use some (or, if you’re feeling adventurous, all) of these recommendations to maximize your engagement for social media.

First, you need to choose what type of social media content you are going to create. Here’s a graphic from Sprout Social that shows us the best performing types of content.

Once you know what type of content you want to produce, it’s time to choose your content themes. Here are some of our recommendations for the best performing content themes from tried and true research, experimentation, and data:

Infographics & Guides: Educational and entertaining, these helpful and informative posts make a viewer’s life easier, better, or just a little more interesting. Plus, you can really make them stand out with a bit of design and style! Just make sure it’s relevant to your brand, too.

Clients & Partner Highlight Posts: Do you collaborate with others in the community? Tag and shout them out online for a cross-audience bonus boost. This not only shows some well-deserved love, but it builds credibility and highlights your trustworthiness.

Reviews & Testimonials: Nothing is quite as sweet as social proof for online presence – so use positive past experiences from partners and clients to show why you’re an excellent choice for others. Plus, it reinforces brand loyalty when diehard fans see that you appreciate their opinions.

Brand Building: Social media is used for building your brand, of course, so its important to have original brand content that includes your brand elements to build awareness and visibility. Graphics, photos, and videos that show off who your brand is and why you do what you do are an important part of your social media content portfolio.

User-Generated Content: If one of your followers or clients has a social media A-game, ask if you can repost or share something they’ve made. Usually they appreciate the shout out, and this can be a constant source of great content. If you provide an amazing customer experience, your fans will be inspired to post about it and give you plenty of content to use.

People & Culture Posts: Here’s where you can highlight employees, show off your company culture, and invite your audience behind the scenes at team events. What’s a regular day for an employee like at your company? These posts are excellent to show who you are and what you stand for.

Contests & Giveaways: Every so often, hold a contest or giveaway to reward your loyal fans. Use hashtags to track entries and engagement, and get creative with your offering (which should tie back in with your business). These posts do really well at getting engagement and finding new customers, but be careful not to do too many as it doesn’t lead to strong loyalty on its own.

Incentives & Promotions: Who doesn’t love 20% off a purchase? Use an attention-grabbing image to get noticed, then hook viewers with a worthwhile incentive. Promote it on your platforms and watch the sales roll in – just make sure you set an expiration date, and just like contests & giveaways, try not to do it so often that people expect them all the time (aka, “The Gap Effect”).

Stories & Livestreams: Real-time, temporary content has carved out a huge chunk of online attention. You can highlight daily posts and boost authentic connections by using the Stories feature on Instagram and Facebook, or do a livestream to interact personally with your audience and customers. Go beyond the feed and engage where many social media users are hanging out these days – in stories!

Motivational Quotes and Inspiring Stories: You can’t go wrong with an empowering, inspiring story that helps show what your brand believes in. Alternately, choose a quote to pair with a relevant image, and relay a message you feel passionately about.

 

Staying Engaged on Social Media

Now that you’ve posted your content and taken these first steps, what comes next? You’ll want to drop in and actually put in some legwork with the people who are looking at your posts, how and when to schedule your content, and how to follow best practices for good results. This step is vitally important for boosting your content, drawing in an audience, and building a good reputation as a reliable, personable brand. There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to engaging with your audience – so check our next post for all the details on how to keep those connections strong!

 

How to Create a Social Media Strategy

As a business owner, you know that having an excellent online presence is a must. So you’ve done a bit of research, decided which social platforms you will be active on, settled on your branding and voice, and identified your target audience. Those are great first steps! But now you’re staring at a blinking cursor, waiting for inspiration to strike and bless you with an internet-conquering piece of content. But it’s harder than it sounds! You’re likely wondering: just how do you maximize social media content engagement, anyway? Well, it all starts with a strategy.

 

Planning Your Social Media Strategy

While there’s no “one size fits all solution”, there are some general guidelines on how to create content that will work best for you. Like any worthwhile project, it involves collecting data and doing a bit of research in order to set a foundation for success. Here are a few things to keep in mind and guide your way forward before you write a single post.

 

Define Your Goals: What’s the ultimate goal of your social media presence? Is it to establish brand awareness, generate leads, drive traffic to a site, or something else? A good strategy starts with a clear objective.

70-20-10 Rule: It’s a golden rule of social media: use 70% original or relevant brand-building content that shares your story and unique value proposition, 20% shared or curated content from other social channels, and only 10% promotional or sales-focused content. This will help your posts feel more authentic while preventing your posts from appearing as spam.

Develop Your Content Themes: It’s hard to create any content without knowing what to talk about. Start by really focusing on the value you offer your customers. What is it that you promise them you’ll deliver through your product or service? What makes you or your business remarkable and differentiated? If you really understand this, it should be easy for you see what kind of content you should be creating.

Trial and Error: You’ll likely have to try a little bit of everything to start. Track how your posts perform and see what gets the most likes, comments, and shares. This will help you find out what your audience really connects with. You’ll have to do a bit of digging to get meaningful results, but the effort is worth in the long run to let the data make the decisions.

Listen & Ask Questions: Don’t have enough analytics or don’t know where to start? Get feedback from your audience! Ask questions in your captions, use surveys, polls, and games in stories, and engage in Q&As to discover what your audience wants to see and how they get value from your products or services. Look for other places where they might post questions such as Facebook Groups or Google Search queries.

Use Visual Media: Generally, people engage most with pictures and videos. That’s because you can tell more authentic stories through imagery. Use relevant and unique photo and video content to accompany your text to get more engagement. Professional photos and videos are great, but you can do a lot with a phone camera and by engaging your team to help capture moments throughout their day.

 

Social Media Next Steps

Laying a good strategic foundation is an excellent way to start on the road to social media success – but once you’ve got the “map” in hand, it’s time to think about the content itself. Knowing what kinds of posts get the best response from your audience is a crucial part of your online presence and appearance. It’s worth taking the time to get familiar with different types of content – and that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in our next blog!

Making an Effective Ad Strategy: Information vs. Irritation

Over the last few months, the huge influx of emails sent out by companies regarding their pandemic policies has become a running joke. Inboxes are crammed full of seemingly unnecessary messages – and most of the time, those emails are immediately deleted, unopened.

This trend highlights the divide between information marketing vs. irritation marketing. Irritation is when your ad – whether an email, banner ad, or any other form – has placement, frequency, or content that ends up annoying your target audience. Information, on the other hand, is being creative and savvy enough with your ads to clearly show how you (or your products) can solve your audience’s problem.

Marketing in the Age of Information

So how can you be sure that you’re seen as an informative, helpful presence, and not an annoying one? Here are some things to consider when planning an ad strategy:

 

  • What are your goals? The requirements of marketing to sell products, generate web traffic, or promote an Instagram contest are all different. Know what you hope to achieve before you start, and track data before and after so you can follow how well you’re doing. As a general rule, value offers (like discounts) will drive good results.

 

  • Focus your message: Templated, copy-and-paste emails are a death sentence for your open rate. Build your brand’s personality, keep it authentic, and focus on reaching the people and groups that it will resonate with. As Diego Santos, the Marketing Manager of Hubspot EMEA, says, “Small and authentic will win over big and generic every time.”

 

  • Find the right frequency: Most email users unsubscribe from lists because they are simply sent too many, and we’ve all seen the same Facebook ad repeated in our timeline, over and over again. If your “Unread” rate is high on an email campaign, and your digital ads aren’t converting, try reducing your frequency.

 

  • Retargeting: If your audience needs a few touchpoints to purchase or convert, it’s a common marketing mistake to let them pass you by – especially right now, with everyone having increased screen time. A great email campaign strategy retargets people who may not be all the way through your sales funnel, and offers unique incentives for them to keep going.

Building Effective Email Marketing Strategies

Email marketing is the most reliable method of reaching your audience – after all, if someone trusted you with their contact information, they must have some interest in what you offer. Here are some key steps for creating the perfect email digital marketing campaign, and avoiding irritation territory.

  • Engage new users within 24 hours, and have a way to get feedback
  • Hyperlink images and include at least one relevant CTA
  • Use social sharing buttons
  • Monitor performance, and use the data to clean up inactive contacts
  • Proofread everything a few times
  • Triggers are extremely effective for retargeting – these send automatic emails when certain events (purchases, site visits, abandoned carts, etc.) are performed. Regularly review automatic emails to avoid mistakes

Giving Information, Not Irritation

A lot of variation exists within marketing, but there are some definite trends that you can count on to help make your strategies the best they can be. For example, with the huge rise in online advertising – and the often-intrusive nature of many of them – many people consider mobile ads to be extremely irritating. This goes up even more if it has a “clickbait” title, or it looks unprofessional or spammy. Put the effort in to show your brand as the leader it is, and it’ll go a long way.

 

Being genuine and personal in your marketing is so crucial because there is no one-size-fits-all perfect solution. By connecting with the people who react positively to what you offer, you build a base of lifelong advocates for your brand. If you haven’t already, the best time to do that is now – and if you need advice, William Joseph is here to help!

The Impact of a Super Bowl Ad

For 53 years, audiences everywhere have been gluing their eyes to a TV to celebrate America’s unofficial holiday: The Super Bowl. This past Sunday, many of us sat down with a beer in hand and plate of nachos (or party food of choice) in the other to watch the year’s biggest show. Unlike any other televised event, taking breaks during the Super Bowl is a challenge as every part of the 4-hour occasion is carefully calculated to keep viewers interested; the final game of the year, the star-packed halftime show and even the commercials themselves.

Whether it be the Budweiser Frogs or the Britney Spears Pepsi Generation, chances are we all have a favourite Super Bowl commercial. And in the spirit of competition (it is a sporting event, after all), the world’s biggest brands utilize humour, human connection and/or star power to create something memorable that stands out from the crowd.

A 30-second time slot during the event – or should we call it the Partiots’ Show (sorry, not sorry) – currently goes for a cool $5 million, and that doesn’t include production costs. So, the question on everyone’s mind, is it even worth the price? In short, yes. With well over 100 million viewers tuning in, more people watch the Super Bowl than the year’s biggest blockbuster film (which can credit much of its sales to its trailer airing during the game). Advertising during the Super Bowl is a chance to have your product or service noticed by the world at one time, and even more so if its memorable.

Being on the world’s stage gives you a unique opportunity to tell the viewers, all hundreds of millions of them, something they don’t know, and the ones that have the most return on investment are those that promote a new product, such as movie trailers. While Coca-Cola or Pepsi sales might not spike immediately after the event, opting out of the event while competitors maintain their spot could prove catastrophic for the top dogs.

Nevertheless, the incredible opportunity to put your brand in front of so many people is simply too great. Brands pull out all the stops for the chance to shine, resulting in some legendary moments. Here are just a few of our favourite commercials from over the years:

Coca-Cola: “Mean” Joe Greene (1980)

One of the most memorable ads in Super Bowl history is also one of the simplest. Airing during the event in 1980, the minute-long add depicts Pittsburgh Steelers star Joe Greene as he leaves the field with an injury, only to be stopped by a young boy who wants to tell him what a fan he is. In an attempt to cheer him up, the boy offers Joe his Coke, and as he turns away, Joe utters the famous line, “Hey kid, catch!” and throws him his Jersey.

Emotional connection may be all too common in modern commercials, but the concept was fairly new in the early 80s. People were able to relate to the ad, seeing themselves in the shoes of the young boy. IN fact, the commercial was so popular, the concept was turned into a movie titled The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid.

 

Old Spice: The Man You Could Smell Like (2010)

“I’m on a horse.” Don’t even pretend you don’t remember that line. This more recent ad is still quoted to this day and is remembered for its sheer ridiculousness. However, the reason it’s still so popular is how closely it resembles today’s social media “meme culture.” The ad instantly becomes relatable to younger audiences, which happens to be exactly who Old Spice is targeting. The use of humour and obscurity make this one that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

Apple: 1984 (1984)

This 30-second spot is often hailed as the best Super Bowl ad of all time. Deciding to take a more controversial route, Apple chose to reveal its new Macintosh computer (remember, the best ones are those that reveal something new), by playing on George Orwell’s famed novel 1984, suggesting the product breaks the mold of convention and rises above the rest. The most impressive element? Apple didn’t even show the product, they simply chose to announce it’s reveal date. This element of curiosity left viewers wanting more. Apple shattered the glass ceiling on conventional commercials, paving the way for a new generation of ads to push the envelope.

The result? Well, we all know what a successful company Apple is today, don’t we? They’ve never been afraid to stand out, push past convention, allowing them to become the most innovative brand in history.

Chances are you’re not ready to shell out the $5 million for a Super Bowl ad spot, but there is something you can take away from these ads and their effectiveness. If you’re creating an ad for your product, there are three main elements you can include to make it more memorable:

  • Create an emotional connection with your audiences. Let them connect with your brand on a deeper, more personal level.
  • Humour and obscurity will make you memorable. Say it with us, “I’m on a horse.”
  • A little controversy pushes the envelope but be respectful. You don’t want to be remembered for the wrong thing.

Developing a memorable ad is an exciting challenge, but a challenge, nonetheless. It takes a lot of planning and creativity, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. With the right team, developing an ad can be efficient and effective. Whether its print or video, the right strategy and design can make all the difference, and that’s what we’re here for. Need help creating something great? Give us a call.

The Marriage Between Marketing and Typography

Content is king. Be honest, you’ve heard the phrase before. You don’t have to be a marketing or communications professional (or a business owner receiving advice from a marketing or communications professional) to have heard it. The deeper we dive into the digital age, the more intuitive consumers are becoming about what they are, in fact, consuming. Traditional advertising techniques of simple exposure are no longer adequate as audiences continue to educate themselves on the brands they interact with. So, content – genuine information disseminated to audiences in a relatable way – is king. But what about the way in which it’s delivered?

As we continue to evolve and become smarter and more in tune with the world around us, no longer is content alone enough. Brands need to be smarter in every way possible – people aren’t going to place trust in your brand if you have excellent information on a website that is poorly designed and took little thought or effort to build. A brand must encompass its message literally and visually. While investing in graphic design is no groundbreaking advice (duh!), few people know exactly how important every single element of your brand is, including one of the most crucial: your font choice.

Yes, you read right. Think you can slap Arial or Times New Roman onto your webpage and you’re good to go? Think again. Typography has the ability to evoke emotion within the reader and provide them with a glimpse into the personality of your brand. Here are a few ways you can utilize your font choice to your advantage:

Highlight the Points that Matter Most

A major component of typography is hierarchy. When it comes to any sort of marketing material, whether it be a brochure or website, the order of information is integral to holding a reader’s attention. In general, more important information should be more prominent and eye-catching to ensure the message is received. Using a larger and bolder font that grabs the reader’s attention is a seamless way to achieve this. When it comes to sending a message, bigger really is better.

Create Brand Consistency and Recognition

Think of Disney for a second – we bet you can clearly picture its signature logo, and with good reason. A timeless classic brand deserves a timeless, classic (and whimsical) font. Selecting the typeface that represents what your business stands for and what you want to communicate to the world is going to become a representation of your brand. If you maintain a consistency in the visual way you communicate with your readers, your brand will become recognizable in a multitude of ways. Whether your business is more creative or industrial in nature, the font you choose to carry your message should reflect that.

It’s important to not only define what your business does, but what values you want it to represent. Being clear on what your ‘why’ is will allow you to gain deeper understanding into what you want to achieve. Once you have these pieces, you’ll know what your brand represents and how you want that to come across visually. It’s important to leave no detail untouched, and font choice is a critical detail.

Communicate with Your Audience in More Ways Than One

As briefly mentioned earlier, font has the incredible power to evoke emotion. In fact, there is a large area of study on the psychology of typography. Humans are inherently visual beings, and our ability to understand emotions from typeface isn’t unlike our ability to do the same by viewing different facial expressions. Just by looking at someone’s face, we know whether they are happy, sad, angry or afraid, and whether we know it or not, we can do the same simply by looking at text. Cursive font is elegant, serif is classic, sans serif is modern, and so on. If a brand were to use Comic Sans (although, please don’t), you’d know immediately that they are providing information that is light-hearted and funny. Ever read a text message in ALL CAPS and felt as though the person was ‘yelling’? It’s because their message was large and demanded attention.

It’s important to consider the tone of the message you want to communicate with your audience and select a font that appropriately reflects it.

Ensure Language and Font Align

Going in-hand with our previous point, typography alone has the power to communicate with your audience, but you better make sure the content reflects what you’re trying to say. Your language should influence your font selection and vice versa. You know what you want to say, now select how the message will be perceived. If content is king, then font is queen – they are strong on their own, but stronger together.

We could go on and on about the endless ways font and typography influence your marketing. A seemingly minor detail such as this has the power to captivate and leave a lasting impression on audiences. Chances are that your font selection – unless truly awful and illegible – won’t ruin your business, but it won’t do you any favours either. A truly excellent font, however, can make a world of difference. A simple way to test the theory is to do an A/B test (perhaps for an email newsletter) with different fonts and monitor which receives more interaction from readers. Which font do you choose? Well, that is the tough part. Luckily, we have an entire creative department at William Joseph full of designers who are experts in the field of graphic design and typography. If you have any questions about how to use typography to your advantage, feel free  to give us a shout.