Prioritizing Health and Well-Being for the Sake of Your Business

Workout-in-office

When we think about business priorities, it’s easy to forget to prioritize the human aspects that make people creative, productive and effective.

I wanted to draw attention to a blog post from Joshua Steimle, who is very open about prioritizing his own physical fitness as a way to increase his overall productivity.

While many would see this as a radical approach to work/life balance, Steimle, who is CEO of marketing firm MWI, finds that exercise is something that lifts up all other areas of his life, including his business.

He even schedules workouts during the workday because any loss of physical health, he says, impacts his productivity and his motivation, and it could lead to anxiety and depression.

Many entrepreneurs feel that if their business isn’t their top and only priority, they aren’t doing all they can do to make it successful. Yet, ignoring crucial areas of your life such as their health, relationships, and personal interests, can end up making someone a worse business owner.

It’s important not to forget that personal health and well-being plays an important role when it comes to your business’ success.

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Typography: A Lost Art That’s Becoming Found Again

old-and-modern-typography

It’s tempting to think that words have the same effect in different fonts and layouts, But, as I’ve mentioned before, typography is essential part in helping people understand visual communication.

Yet, as many have noted, it seems that many designers especially in the digital space have forgotten about typography.

Legendary graphic designer Massimo Vignelli commented on the computer’s positive and negative influences on typography in a 2006 interview. The computer, he said, “allows you to do the best typography ever, but it also allows you to do the worst ever…. All of a sudden we were facing the greatest amount of vulgarity, or what I call visual pollution, that had ever been done before. But at the same time, we also had some of the best work ever done.”

The computer is a wonderful tool, but it’s no substitute for learning the intricacies of typography.

Swiss design firm iA wrote an essay contending that 95 percent of web design is typography, explaining that new designers often haven’t studied the work of the past. In a response to the original essay they write, “Instead of using the precious know-how that has been accumulated, tested and cultivated over the years and adapting it to the web, designers are playing around with boxes and colors and lines and flowers and funny ornaments… Typography is an old school discipline that requires a lot of studying, repetitive concentrated effort and looking at printed materials.”

But there are signs that typography is getting its share of respect, including some great websites devoted to it, as well as a number of art shows around typographic themes. And even some typographic blunders help draw attention to the importance of, for instance, getting the kerning right in the word “click”.

The interest in typography, I suspect, has to do with people realizing that typography is not only aesthetics but also functional — that it helps reinforce the mean­ing of the text. Focusing on typography helps drive communication, which is the designer’s job and exactly what their clients want.

Please, let’s not forget about typography.

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What’s Your Brand’s Super Bowl Moment? Hint: It’s Probably Not the Super Bowl

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The Super Bowl, American football’s biggest event, occurred earlier this month. However, it would be an understatement to say it is only a sporting event. As the largest spectator event in the U.S. and its ever-expanding audience, Super Bowl advertisements have become one of the most attractive ways for marketers to connect with consumers.

However, it’s important to note that the Super Bowl isn’t the only event where your brand will be visible to customers.

While perhaps not not as glamorous as a sporting event, trade shows, conferences, and conventions can provide the perfect venue to personally interact directly with potential customers and partners. When researching events, make sure to choose ones that are most likely to drive sales. Also, be sure to determine the best way to participate, whether it’s as a sponsor, as an exhibitor, or simply as an attendee.

And smaller, more focused consumer-oriented events could put you into contact with potential customers more cost effectively. For instance, a bicycle company would be wise to advertise at a bike race, where the audience is not only more likely to be interested in bicycles, but it will spur them to think about buying a new one.

Brands have also positioned themselves behind events other than the Super Bowl that are also important to their lives such as annual traditions. For instance, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York helps keep the department store top-of-mind on Thanksgiving weekend. Similarly, Coca-Cola helped position Old Saint Nick as a celebrity endorsement that elegantly ties together the pop drink and Christmas.

Events often act as a diversion that offers people a change to their regular routine. These events are important and meaningful to people, and there’s a tremendous excitement around the anticipation that something unexpected could happen. Events provide your brand an opportunity to be in a place where potential customers are excited, deeply engaged, and open to new things.

Finding a suitable event for your brand could be a great place to focus your marketing efforts.

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Making Your Company’s Story the Main Attraction

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For decades, newspapers and TV had been really effective for advertising because they packaged ads with content that people wanted. In order to read the news or watch a television program, one would have to see ads. While there are certain events like the Super Bowl where some people tuned in specifically for the ads, corporate messaging is usually only tolerated at best.

This model of advertising works to a certain extent in online media. But there’s increasing resistance to it. Continue reading

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Finding Emotional Common Ground In Marketing and Advertising

In this blog post I want to draw your attention to a beautiful video from Brazil. It shows soccer fans excited about the idea of organ donation, which — at first — seems like a very unlikely connection.

Continue reading

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How Your Brand’s Perceived Depends on Who You Associate With

Deal-with-partners-who-share-your-values

As people, we’re often judged by the company we keep. Whether rightly or wrongly, the people we associate with indicate what sorts of people we are.

And this psychology goes into corporate branding as well.

The people and organizations you associate with — from your company’s employees, customers and investors, to your business partners, the organizations you sponsor and the publications where you choose to advertise — all reflect on the character of your business. Continue reading

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What Businesses Should Know About Canada’s Anti-Spam Law

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As you may know, the Canadian government is implementing new rules to put the kibosh on unwanted emails. This is also requiring many organizations to take action to ensure their email newsletter complies with Canadian law.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, or “CASL”, includes provisions that help ensure that recipients wanted the email messages they’re receiving, that they know who is sending the message, and that they can easily unsubscribe from future updates.

For the time being, many organizations are sending messages to their subscribers to get their express permission, often requiring them to click a link.

It’s a bit of a hassle, but it ultimately helps ensure that people are not being flooded by unwanted messages, and paying attention to emails they care about. And with email being one of the most powerful tools for marketing, that could help keep email an effective way of communicating with customers.

For more information our friends at digital marketing company Kobayashi Online wrote a detailed blog post on CASL compliance.

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The Most Value Doesn’t Always Come From the Lowest Price

apples-oranges

Image by TheBusyBrain.com.

Some customers choose price over all other considerations.

This is a fact.

And it’s no less true in the marketing and communications field where some companies (like ours) provide a higher quality of work.

When requesting competitive estimates, it is important that prospective customers be aware that not all of the companies who submit proposals will be providing equal experience charged at similar hourly rates. So it is not always a true “apples-to-apples” comparison.

Recently we were asked to provide a quote for designing and supplying an exhibit for a customer who wanted to showcase their brand at trade shows and other public spaces.

We were familiar with the company and their products and services. We assumed that when obtaining a competitive quote they would select a company who had a similar level of experience as ours and would supply an exhibit of equal quality.

Unfortunately, the customer’s decision came down to price.

In this case, the client was only looking at the bottom line rather than taking other things into consideration: level of design and service, knowledge of the industry, and what options would be available to them.

In all fairness, they might have had to chose a lower-price option based on their available resources.

But, as with most things in life, we usually get what we pay for, and those customers who choose price over all other considerations often learn that price is just one aspect of the customer decision, and that other factors will determine if the money they spend on marketing material represents good value.

Customers might not always see the differences between apples and oranges, listen to the advice of an experienced marketer, or know what represents good value for dollars spent. It’s sometimes a hard lesson to learn.

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3 Pyramid Charts that Demystify Your Company’s Marketing Strategy (Part 1: The Brand Awareness Pyramid)

The pyramid is often the perfect metaphor for marketing.

Rather than a top-weighted tower that stands precariously, a pyramid is built on a solid foundation that supports the other, higher sections of, in this case, marketing. The pyramid helps us understand how certain marketing efforts support each other. It also ensures we don’t focus too much on a particular aspect of marketing that might not be worth the effort.

In this blog post, I’ll explain a few of the marketing pyramids that are most important, and that will help you understand how your marketing efforts fit together, starting with the brand awareness pyramid.

Building a Brand Awareness Pyramid

Getting consumers to become aware of your brand is one of the major problems companies face, but that’s really just the first step of the consumer journey.

You were unknown to even your most loyal customers at some point, so it’s always important to continue to reach out to new customers and explain your products and services. Your marketing will help these individuals gain awareness of your brand and eventually consider making a purchase.

Trials give potential customers more information and a taste of the experience they can expect from a customer experience. Furthermore, those who participate in a trial have shown interest and are often more easily convinced by a salesperson to become a customer, or become a customer on their own accord if done well.

Marketing to current customers is very important to create repeat customers. It’s also smart to inform customers, who are already happy with their experience with your company, about complementary products and services that they might be interested in. This could also increase your average revenue per user (ARPU).

Through repeated business and a strong sense of your brand and its values, customers start to become your best and most trusted advocates. These customers will spread your message via word-of-mouth on their own accord, bringing on new customers through referrals.

In the next post in this series, I’ll explain about how to develop brand loyalty by reaching out to new customers depending on how familiar they are with your brand and its products and services.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if you need help driving brand awareness and loyalty!

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3 Pyramid Charts that Demystify Your Company’s Marketing Strategy (Part 2: Moving up the Brand Loyalty Pyramid)

This is the second post is part of a Finesilver Design + Communications series on pyramid charts that help demystify your company’s marketing strategy. Read the earlier post on building brand awareness here.

This post will focus on how brands can build deeper connections with customers and introduce the brand loyalty pyramid.

The Brand Loyalty Pyramid

Chart from “Implementing your BAM strategy: 11 steps to making your brand a more valuable business asset”, published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 19 Iss: 6, pp.503 — 513.

This diagram shows how a product or service may appeal to consumers on different levels.

Creating awareness towards a brand is hard work.

At the bottom of the diagram, we have a mass market who will choose a product simply for what it is. Products that can be marketed based on attributes alone have few differences such as a commodity like salt or a service like parcel delivery. When products and services are mostly indistinguishable, customers are most likely to make a purchase based on price.

As we go higher in the pyramid, customers are more specific. They’re also more loyal.

Companies that can get customers to understand the functional benefits of their products — such as improved quality and specific attributes that distinguish it from industry competitors and make customers switch their loyalty.

At the top of this pyramid, we have “emotional and self-expressive benefits” where consumers personally identify with the product or service offered. Here we have brands like Nike which is strongly associated with competitive sports and imbued with a certain type of achievement. These brands further differentiate themselves from competitors based on their packaging, brand image, endorsements, social attributes (such as causes and values), and other factors, even a premium price.

The brand is still based on a quality product, but people also pay attention to the set of values the brand represents.

In the next part of this series, I explain how you can understand the different customer information needs they have at different stages of their relationship with your company.

Also, please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss your marketing and design needs to ensure that you’re effectively communicating your brand message and values to potential clients.

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