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Tuesday, 24 February 2015 15:02

How Spontaneous Decisions Make You Iconic

Just hearing the words “the most interesting man in the world,” takes your thoughts to Dos Equis beer. 

Those commercials are iconic. They make you laugh. They’re quotable. Every commercial is more like a television episode than a brand advertisement. 

The “Most Interesting Man” is easily in the top handful of successful campaigns of the last decade. Students of advertising would know, however, that they are not 100% original. The Dos Equis man was in fact inspired by an ad campaign 50 years its predecessor. I am of course speaking of David Ogilvy’s “The Man in the Hathaway Shirt” campaign. 

For those who do not know, David Ogilvy is widely considered "The Father of Advertising" with Time Magazine once calling him "the most sought-after wizard in today's advertising industry.” 

Published in Marketing & Strategy
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 16:00

Make 2015 Count for Your Small Business

Make 2015 Count for Your Small Business

Can you believe the end of 2014 is here?!

Many people treat the dawning of a new year as an opportunity to reflect on the previous year, identify goals for the months ahead, and create action steps they can use to make things happen.

With that in mind, here’s 5 ways to make 2015 a year that counts for your small business…

1. Review your end-of-year monthly and quarterly performance.

How did performance compare to where you were when you started the year? Were you able to increase your business’ bottom line as 2014 came to a close? Do you have a larger social media following or more leads on your email list?

If you aren’t ending the year where you wanted to be, see if you can identify one to three actions, derived directly from your performance numbers, that you can put into practice to make sure you see growth in 2015.

Example: If your website lost sessions and unique visitors as you moved from August to December, and you know it’s because a certain referrer wasn’t performing well, your action step could be to improve referral performance or even invest that time in an alternate referrer.

2. Identify weak areas.

Even if 2014 was a booming year for your small business, there are always areas that can be improved. Use a critical - but not harsh! - eye to look at all aspects of your business. There might be something that can be better optimized.

Example: Is it easy for you to drive traffic to your website but difficult for you to convert those visitors into leads? Take some time in 2015 to assess your landing pages and optimize.

3. Assess your 2014 goals and create new ones for 2015.

Published in Marketing & Strategy

Too many beginner designers are under the assumption that all the ‘magic’ happens at the computer. They move into Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop way to quickly, and sit and stare at their screens hoping that some inspiration pops out at them from the pixels.

In reality, this rarely happens (if at all). Even the ‘simplest’ designs were imagined through a highly structured, multi-step process. Seasoned designers frequently go through tens and maybe hundreds of ideas and raw sketches before they narrow down to the final few ‘workable’ concepts.

These raw ideas are all generated through brainstorming.

The old adage goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” There’s definitely more than one way to spark creativity as well. David Sherwin shares many beneficial brainstorming techniques in his book Creative Workshop. Try out one (or more) of these exercises and see what ideas you come up with that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought of before.

Mind Mapping

This brainstorming method lets you identify a range of ideas quickly in a free-form manner.
1. In the center of your page, write the key points of focus for your brainstorm.
2. Radiating outward, jot down any related words, concepts, ideas, and even opposites.
3. Expand upon and circle relationships in the ideas that emerge.
4. Extract the big ideas and start to sketch out possible design executions.

Word Listing

Similar to mind mapping, word listing has a bit more structure and can sometimes yield quicker results.

  1. Draw out three columns on a sheet of paper. In the first column, write out as many words or concepts related to the focus point of your design.
  2. In the second column, pick an idea from the first column that interests you, and write down a series of related words.
  3. In the third column, write down words that are opposite of the idea you chose from column one.
  4. Circle and connect relationships that span the three columns. Extract the big ideas and start to sketch out possible design executions.

Every small business wishes that it had unlimited resources to do whatever it desires in order to grow. Whether a company wishes to create a new product, build things faster, make bigger marketing campaigns, attend more trade shows, or develop a bigger brand, the reality is that everyone’s resources of time and money are always limited.

With this in mind, the constant question businesses ask themselves is: How can we stretch every minute of our time and every penny of our dollars to still show the same power, products quality, brand equity, leadership, expertise, and trusted perception as our main competitors who probably have larger budgets, bigger teams, maybe more experience and been around for longer?

Want to learn how a small business can be perceived to be greater than it really is?

The short answer is: Use the power of today’s digital marketing age, quality design, technology, and branding techniques to make everyone believe that your company is one of the “big players” in your industry. Let’s take a deeper look at how this can be achieved.

It’s all about perception...

Take advantage of employees’ personal networks on the world’s largest social platform

Opting not to have a social media presence for your company in today’s marketplace is electing to remain in the internet Stone Age. Even if you aren’t an avid user yourself, social platforms have become essential tools for promoting a brand online, plain and simple.

Growing a business through social media, however, can be much more than collecting ‘likes’ on a Facebook page and blasting out the occasional update. Entire books and courses are dedicated to a slew of ‘insider tricks’ from outwitting your competitors on Twitter to networking more efficiently on Linkedin.

While those are all great options and definitely worth looking into, in front of us all lies a painfully simple, 100% free method to blowing up your brand (in a good way) via social media that most firms are actually too afraid to even consider.

This method, my friends, is to encourage your employees to post company updates on Facebook.

Published in Marketing & Strategy

 

The workforce is changing. In 2014 millennials account for more than a third of the driving force of our economy, a group of roughly 80 million people born between the years 1976 and 2001. By 2020 that number will nearly reach 50 percent. Why is this information newsworthy? Generation-Yers possess a unique skillset where are absent in previous generations. Unfortunately many employers are wary of hiring ‘green’ employees en lieu of their more experienced counterparts. If your firm is looking to hire new talent, here are a few reasons why you should seriously consider recruiting recent college graduates to fill your vacant positions.

Less Expensive & More Flexible

No need to beat around the bush here--young people are a much cheaper addition to your payroll. Entry level salaries are much lower than those demanded by tenured workers. Tom Szaky, the CEO of the environmental group TerraCycle prefers to hire new grads, stating that they can afford to hire “two or three junior people for the price of one senior hire.”

Young people do not necessarily feel taken advantage of for making less. For many this is their first full time job, and the average newly grad prefers social media freedom, work flexibility and a comfortable office environment over a higher salary. In fact, according to a study recently conducted by the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, this current upcoming generation places the potential for personal growth and career progression, not a high salary, as the two most important factors in choosing a job.

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