Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Marketing Question of the Week: What should be on my shot list for a photoshoot?



If you’ve actually been on a photoshoot, then you know they’re never as glamorous as the TV and film depictions. They are long and sometimes tedious affairs that play out anywhere between relatively smooth to somewhat chaotic.


Where a photoshoot falls between those two measures depends on your level of organization and preparedness. It also depends, of course, on how many over-inflated egos are present and whether they play well together.

Unfortunately, you have no control over the latter.

But with a planned out shot list (and the possible good fortune of mild-mannered and agreeable talent), a photoshoot can be a cool creative process that could yield some seriously good marketing photos for your image library.

So what should be on your shot list?


Well, as far as the actual things, that’s obviously going to vary based on what you’re selling. For example, a manufacturer might plan an action shot of their latest piece of equipment making their stellar and amazing products both quickly and efficiently.

On the other hand, someone in real estate would want portraits that would promote them as knowledgeable, trustworthy and, well, darn good at selling houses and buildings and stuff.

You need to first brainstorm which images are going to best illustrate your company’s brand on your print media, social media and website.


Then once you’ve established a list of possible shots, distill it down with these three questions in mind:

        Why will this shot be important?
        Will it showcase a key player or marketing concept for our company?
        Is this photo an absolute, or just a wish list item?

Pay extra attention to that last question, as it’s crucial to the process.

Absolute shots are any of those that will have an immediate place in your marketing.


These would be shots of key products, concepts and players that will show up on your bio page, client proposals and LinkedIn profiles, for starters. These must have shots will be at the top of your list.

Once you’ve established your absolutes from your wish list items, consult with your photographer. S/he can help you determine how long it will take to execute specific shots and which ones might prove to be challenging.

From there you can schedule the appropriate studio time, go in with your prepared shot list and keep the chaos at bay.

Or at least at a low hum.

Marketing Question of the Week: How often should I be posting on social media for my business?


Much like the question of “Why are we here?”, it’s safe to say that there’s no definitive answer to this question of the week.


But unlike the headier question about our existence, there are some definite guidelines we suggest for posting on social media.


While guidelines vary depending on the platform, we’re going to stick with the suggested ones for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter - the social media trifecta that effectively blends work and play. It shouldn’t come as any big shock that much research has been done on this topic. So we’re going to distill it for you.



Facebook


The general rule of thumb is to post once per day to Facebook. Posting twice per day is considered a lot. Excessive even. And take the opportunity to curate or reshare and post every other day.

If you’re struggling to come up with that much content, you can go with three posts per week, but that’s considered by many as the bare minimum. And if you’re skipping days, make it week days. Weekends and evenings are when people are most active on Facebook.

And if your cup runneth over with content, try to keep your posts to a maximum of ten per week.

The best time to post to Facebook? Between the hours of 1-4pm.

LinkedIn


Like Facebook, posting once per day is recommended for LinkedIn. But since LinkedIn appeals more to the business community, the ideal posting time is between 10-11a.m. And weekends do not get as much traffic.

LinkedIn itself recommends about 20 posts per month - which averages out close to every business day.

Also like Facebook, the suggestion is to curate or reshare a post every other day.

Twitter


More than just a strange little bird, Twitter is another animal altogether. First of all, the recommended number of tweets per day varies from 5-20, with 15 being the standard. Most suggest that the tweeting begin at 2am each day (early even for a bird), with subsequent tweets every hour after that through 10 p.m.

You can skip the 4am., 5am, 8am, 4pm and 8pm time slots.

Twitter seems to flit back and forth between business and play, so some suggest keeping the tweeting heavier during the week days, but don’t underestimate the power of the weekends.

And retweet or curate 7 posts per day.


Feeling overwhelmed? No need. Put your social media needs into the hands of people who actually enjoy this line of work. Then you can go back to sharing squirrels on water skis on your personal page. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

5 Common Branding Mistakes You Do NOT Want To Make


A potential customer has started the search for your particular product or service. They land on your your website, check out your logo and then take a look at what your competitors are doing. Then they come back to you. And they keep coming back. Why?

Great branding.

Branding is powerful tool. It conveys your unique story, instills a lasting impression and maintains consistent connection with your audience.

It is a tool to be used wisely. 


So take heed and steer clear of these five common mistakes:


#1. Redoing your brand out of boredom.


Bottom line?

In order to build and maintain a strong brand, there has to be consistency. But in this world of constant change and short attention spans (Look! A shiny pony!), it’s not unusual for brand owners to get bored and want to give their brand a makeover.

To be clear, a working brand is not something to redo, like your kitchen or bathroom. When you start messing with your brand simply because you’re tired of it, the first thing to go is consistency and thus, the strength of your brand.

Maintaining a strong brand means staying consistent. This is not to say that a brand that’s become irrelevant or a logo that’s outdated shouldn’t be updated. It should. (More on that later.) But if your brand is performing well, then follow this sage advice - “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

And if it’s not, consider enacting the following:

        Defining your brand character and staying true to it.
        Keeping a uniform presentation of your logo across your branding.
        Stating your brand promise clearly and ensuring it’s kept at every point of encounter with your brand.
        Creating brand-usage guidelines to be followed by all.

#2. Relying on shock value.


You want your brand to be noticed. Of course you do.

So in an effort to stand out, you may be tempted to brand yourself as shocking and controversial. And it may work. But it’s a huge gamble. And if it backfires, as it often does, you’ll be spending time and money backtracking and apologizing.

Take it from British fashion brand Harvey Nichols. In 2012, they went down in history as making one of the biggest branding mistakes after they tried to visualize the catchphrase ‘try to contain your excitement’ with ads showing models who had peed themselves.

Not a favorable image in an industry that is all about image. Suffice it to say, it didn’t go well.

When you want your branding to show how you’re different, a good place to start is to look at your strengths and your competitors’ weaknesses. What do you have that will sway your target audience? Make that a part of your branding.

It’s not a standout quality or mind-blowing business practice, but rather a reasonable goal that positions you as knowledgeable and trustworthy.

#3. Playing it too safe.


This is the other end of the spectrum. It’s a milquetoast strategy and it’s lazy branding.

There’s no point in developing brand guidelines that reveal absolutely nothing about your company. The dead give away? Generic logos and marketing language you’ve read a million times. Terminology like “number one” or “award-winning” or anything in that vain is unconvincing and (almost) no one is buying it.

Such catch-all phrases have been repeated so often that they have no meaning. Daniel Burstein, director of editorial comment for MECLABS, calls this wallpaper copywriting”. It’s vague language that sounds good at first, but actually says zilch about your brand.

Your language, imagery and logos need to be simple and clear.

Take the company Square, for example. The mobile-payment processor has a logo that mimics the product in an unforgettable way. And their tagline?Start accepting credit cards today.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

 #4. Getting lured by the latest design trends.


Your brand’s standards are demonstrated by everything from logo usage to color schemes, layout configuration to typefaces. And then some.

How your business represents itself visually cannot be underestimated.

So you might be inclined to incorporate all the newest flashes and whirly-gigs. Fight that inclination. Particularly when it comes to your logo and brand identity collateral.

Generally speaking, once you’ve established your company logo, don’t change it. Ever. The exception to this would be if your company REALLY needs a complete rebrand or your logo design fell prey to a previous trend and now looks outdated. Any changes should be subtle, based on tried and true design principles and carefully implemented to avoid confusion with your audiences.

Other brand identity collateral like your business card, letterhead, envelope, etc. also need to be consistent with the logo in order to add brand recognition and help to build your brand’s equity.

This includes your website - which is also part of your brand identity collateral.

Interestingly, one of the most crucial aspects of your website design is also the largest part of your website - the background color.

No matter how the dark the times (or the mood of your website designer), the rule of thumb toward keeping your website design timeless is to avoid backgrounds that are really dark. Text is harder to read and navigating is more difficult since links are harder to decipher.

Stick with a light background. If you prefer to use an image as your background, keep it simple and clear. (Picked up on the “be clear in your branding” theme yet?) You want visitors to execute a certain task, not get distracted.

#5 Going MIA with your social media involvement.


Isn’t social media awesome?

Well, it can be. Regardless of your opinion of social media, it IS awesome for starting conversations and building awareness of your expertise and your brand. According to Forbes, 82% of people trust a company more if they are involved with social media.

Of course, you have to be involved in social media management in order to be part of those conversations. If you’re missing in action, you’re missing the action.

It’s important to pay special attention to people who may not have had the best experience with your company and left a comment on your social media. Responding to these comments and finding resolution at this point is crucial. Ignoring them could cause these dissatisfied customers to go on to leave nasty reviews for everyone to see on sites like Yelp.

That’s not the sort of attention you want for your brand.

It would be nice if these were the only five mistakes to be made in branding and that to avoid them would brand you golden.

Then again, gone would be the moments like this, provided by Spy Optic in California while attempting to brand their line of ‘Happy’ lenses .

The billboard was up for less than a day before the company was forced to take it down.


Ready to take your branding to the next level? Connect with LeDuc Creative to get started today. 



Marketing Question of the Week: How do I create a flyer that people won't throw away?


How do I create a flyer that people won't throw away?

A good place to start is to prioritize function over form.

Get the information right. And make it concise. Resist the urge to tell your life story.

“Target it correctly,” says Nancy Rabitoy, one of our rock-star designers. “The benefit to the customer has to make it worth saving.”

“Then design it to stand out on a messy desk,” she says.

“And make it timeless,” adds our other designer Jake Hollenbeck. (He also holds rock-star status.) “There are a lot of tried-and-true design principles that go into making really classy solutions that stand apart from the ‘flavor of the week’ design trends,” Jake goes on to say. “And make it attractive and tactile enough that it stands apart in terms of quality.”

The basic “keepable flyer” checklist goes like this:


        Make information concise and easy to read. Be not afraid of the big and bold header and larger font sizes.

        Put contact details and other essential information up front, or where they can be easily seen.

        Think of your flyer like a shop front. People shop with their eyes so put your products on display.


Ready to design your next flyer? Visit LeDuc Creative's portfolio for some inspiration.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Marketing Question of the Week: What should I post on social media when I attend a conference or professional event?


There’s no doubt that social media has changed the whole vibe of your company’s conferences or other industry events. And most would say for the better. (Unless you’re attending the Cave Dweller’s Conference.)

Using social media - and certainly LIVE social media - can be a cool way to get the word out and connect with new people, while building your online community.

So for this question, the team turned to Kara Grupe (our social media Girl Friday) and me (one of the humble writers) to give our insights.

In terms of what specifically to post while at a conference, Kara stresses the importance of taking pictures and shooting video.

She advises that you include the following in your social media posts:

        A photo of your company’s booth at the event both with and without your co-workers
        A photo of your company’s logo/banner/advertisement somewhere around the expo center
        A photo of an employee of your company interacting with a current client or potential customer
        A short video of a new product launch in action
        A short video of a speech/educational course
        Log on to Facebook to “Check-In” at the event venue or conference.

Then post the pictures while you’re in the midst of the action, as well as after you return.

And I’m gonna advise you to hold on to those pictures and videos because you’ll want to create a post-conference summary post for your blog or newsletter that you can share on social media. By doing this, other attendees can share the content and you can keep the conversation going long after the conference.

Finally, as far as platforms go, Twitter seems to be the go-to for conference attendees because you can follow conversations in areas where you can’t be, stay up-to-date with happenings at the event and even allow you to directly connect with speakers. So pay extra attention to posting on Twitter.

So that’s what we got for ya this week. Keep the questions coming! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Marketing Question of the Week: Why is logo design such an important part of marketing your brand?

Marketing Question of the Week


Your logo is just one piece of your branding strategy. And though its size and its tendency to tuck itself into a corner may make it seem inconsequential, your logo is no wallflower.

In essence, your logo is a small ad for your company. It’s true.

And once you have well-developed branding strategy, your logo portrays your values and your goals, while conveying the message of your company.

And it does this universally.

“A logo done and standardized for a company service or product provides continuity and consistency across all platforms,” says John LeDuc, founder of LeDuc Creative and designer extraordinaire. “Since digital advertising has become so text driven, the logo serves even more to bring in that continuity.”

A well executed logo design (with the right colors, appropriate font, etc.) creates confidence in your brand. At the same time, this quiet little graphic can speak volumes in differentiating you from your competitors.

Your logo is how consumers recognize and respond to your company. An evergreen design that stands the test of time (think IBM or Shell) reflects not just the strength your brand, but also its growth.

Bottom line?

Your logo will help keep your brand message consistent while establishing and increasing consumer recognition.


University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr once said that consistency is the greatest measure of performance. “And that’s what a logo does for a brand,” John adds. “It helps the message of the brand perform.” 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Marketing Question of the Week: If I don’t sell a product, do I need to be doing AdWords?


If I don’t sell a product, do I need to be doing AdWords?

A lot of people aren’t really clear on what Google AdWords is. Or does. As a writer and mere mortal, I cast myself among the clueless. So in my own quest for clarity, I turned to our Google AdWords expert, Kara Grupe.

She gave me this little morsel:

“While you can use Google ads to sell goods and products, it's only one aspect of the AdWords platform. AdWords can be used to capture almost any type of search traffic on the web, extending beyond searches made in Google.com. For example, you can use it to promote an event, boost your brand recognition with image ads, encourage people to sign up for your company newsletter, or capture the attention of people searching for your company's services.”

I nodded, tapping my index finger thoughtfully against my chin. That all sounded good and I knew it would check out. Kara’s no slouch.

And just to prove it, she explained further.

She said that one of the key components of success in Google AdWords is in the Quality Score. Quality Score is basically how well an ad group, keywords, ad and landing page relate to what a person is searching for AND how likely that person is to click on the ad.

See, every time someone does a search on Google, a unique AdWords auction is created.

Every advertiser who has a keyword match to the search query then competes in the auction. The process continues from there. To get a clearer understanding, you can click here. But the word on the street is that Google AdWords is the cat’s pajamas, daddy-o. (And that the street is clearly from the 1920s.)

Why is Google AdWords so effective for marketing your business online? Among other things, it’s completely measurable and cost-effective. It has maximum relevance and is highly targeted.

It should be obvious at this point that Google AdWords is a highly effective tool. But do you need to be doing it? Well, no.

Is it a good idea to be doing it? Absolutely.


A really good idea, in fact. So why not give it a try?