"Our approach is to comprehensively elevate and advance our clients' brands in everything they do . . . "First and foremost, if you're a Fortune 500 company, you shouldn't be using copier paper to create signage for your office. Or for the passive-aggressive response to poor signage. Instead have a placard produced advising occupants to keep the door closed. The placard should be consistent with other signage in the building, and if possible, should be consistent with any graphic identity standards the company has adopted. Next, promote the proper use of the English language, including spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Empower an appropriate employee to be the brand protector. This Fortune 500 company likely has a marketing communications director, brand manager, or similar position; that individual should see to it that the brand—and everything it represents—is only represented in ways that elevate it. This should be the case not just for external matters, but even internal matters like signage, apparel, and that company coffee mug everyone carries around in the morning. Pride in the brand begins on the individual employee level and creates a culture within any organization. Fostering a culture that values the brand is critical in increasing brand perception by others outside of the organization, including customers, potential customers, industry partners . . . and the competition! So no, your company is not a lemonade stand. Be aware that your brand is an investment and requires care accordingly. You have to consider it. You have to pay for it. You have to protect it. And you have to foster its growth. And the proper care requires someone to look at the brand from all angles. Is a marketing communications firm a good fit for your brand? Can a marketing communications firm provide broader perspective than you already have? Give us a call and let's talk about it!
We love fonts.
Maybe not as much as ABC’s The Middle character Brick Heck, who created his very own podcast devoted to fonts (or should we say, “fontcast”). But when we saw that fonts were in the news, actual real mainstream news, we couldn’t help but notice that our heart rate increased ever so slightly and our palms started to get clammy. Yes, we became excited.
In case you missed it, Christian Boer, a 33 year old Dutch designer and a graduate of Utrecht Art academy in the Netherlands, has introduced a “Dyslexie,” a font designed to help those who suffer from dyslexia, a condition he himself has.
Those with dyslexia often subconsciously mirror, switch, or rotate letters and numbers when they read. The International Dyslexia Association believes that up to ten percent of the global population suffers from dyslexia. Interestingly enough, the Cass Business School in London conducted a study and discovered that a significantly higher cross section of entrepreneurs, 35%, show signs of dyslexia.
Dyslexia certainly makes reading a challenging task, especially when traditional typefaces base letter designs for an entire alphabet on only a handful of shapes. So Boer created his alphabet in a way that helps prevent errors. For instance, he varied the width of strokes, making them thicker at the bottom and narrower at the top. He discarded traditional curves and “pinched” them to prevent readers from mistaking the letter “b” for the letter “d.” Capital letters at the beginning of sentences and punctuation marks are bolder when compared to other characters to more obviously flag pauses in reading.
And the font works. According to the Dyslexie website, two studies conducted by the University of Amsterdam show that 84.3% of Dyslexie users report they can read faster and 77.8% report making fewer errors when using the font.
The question becomes, will business adopt Dyslexie to make print and digital collateral more easily read by those who are affected by such a common disorder (especially considering the increased incidences among entrepreneurs)? If so, will we see the rise of additional typefaces that also enhance readability for dyslexics to provide more variety to designers?
We’re interested to see what the future holds for Dyslexie and how it might be integrated with traditional typefaces in the design world. But remember, in the words of fontanista Brick Heck: “any more than three fonts in the same document, you’re just showing off.”
A few days ago I mentioned an article an AdAge/BtoB article (bit.ly/1k4URTt) telling of comments delivered by Beth Comstock, GE CMO, at the annual Business Marketing Association meeting this week in Chicago. The report was a thumbnail, and I'm sure CMO Comstock elaborated more fully in her address. I'll use a few of her comments here to springboard into some of my own thinking as I serve my clients.
Among her remarks reported in the article were, "Business marketing can and should have emotion, and connect with people first." This is something GE does well, I think. They talk about how their products and services address issues that people, whether it is GE customers or the end beneficiaries, care about.
Rather than simply showing the product I think it's far more powerful to include images of people in print ads or brochures, or on websites to communicate how they enjoy the benefits of a technology, product, or service, or to communicate the features or benefits themselves. For example, the featured image in an ad for wall coatings (paint) intended for healthcare facility interiors subjected to aggressive cleaning and disinfectants could be a hospital room freshly painted in an attractive, appealing color, and the headline, "Our Wall Coatings Are Durable Enough to Look This Good for Years." Or it could be the same freshly painted hospital room but with beaming young parents holding a newborn baby girl, and the headline, "She'll Be Getting Her Driver's License by the Time This Room Needs Re-Painted." The parents and their newborn certainly benefitted by the attractive, clean, well-kept surroundings of their healthcare facility. But their presence in the ad told a story and made a connection with readers.[caption id="attachment_102" align="alignright" width="225" caption="'Nuf said."][/caption]
Which do you think has a better chance of breaking through the clutter and connecting?
Another point CMO Comstock made was, "It's important to have a strong brand and communicate who you are."
I'd suggest communicating who you are by what you can do for your customers. That's what GE did for years with their advertising slogan, "We Bring Good Things to Life." The overarching message ("We Bring Good Things to Life") was constant and the content of their ads, collateral, and website told how. They told a story.
The last point Ad Age/BtoB mentioned among Beth Comstock's remarks was ". . . companies anxious to establish or re-establish their identity with customers can benefit from thinking of marketing and how to use it in the right way, regardless of their size."
I'll substitute the word "brand" for "identity," and here's the baseline for doing it:The keys to effective branding are message, frequency, and consistency: message in that you must tell your customers and prospects about you and your products in ways that connect with what they need and want, and what they know about how you and your products provide the benefits that can satisfy them; frequency in that customers and prospects will come to know your brand by repetitive exposure to it and the messages associated with it; and consistency in that the brand is presented to the customer always the same. Lack of frequency will result in failure to build cumulative impressions that leads to familiarity. Lack of consistency will lead to confusion and a lack of understanding of who you are, what you do, and why they should buy from you. The role of marketing communications is to provide the means to expose a marketer and its products to customers and prospects frequently and consistently. While each item created for a marketer’s marketing communications mix will have its own objectives, it should also fulfill the broader purpose of reinforcing the marketers brand. Every word of text and every design element is a building block for the brand. That is why all materials created and produced for a marketer should portray a consistent verbal and visual representation of the brand’s personality.
There's an article in the latest edition of AdAge/BtoB (bit.ly/1k4URTt) admonishing B2B marketers that they can't sell if they can't tell a story. Looks interesting. I'll read it and maybe share a comment here.
But seeing the title and scanning the story's content, it seems to be a basic concept that sometimes gets lost in the early 21st century, gee-wow technology and new channels available to us in marketing communications.
Another is losing our peripheral vision when it comes to creating print ads and print collateral.
By that I mean, we all use computers. We all peer into that illuminated rectangle, and that's the world we're living in as we write copy and prepare layouts. Do we step back and evaluate what we're doing? Where we are?
Walk into a room, and the sense of where you are is affected by everything around your field of vision. You orient yourself not only by what's in front of you visually, but also by what's to your left, what's to your right, what's above you, and what's at your feet. Your focus is on what's just in front of you, but your vision is actually about 180 degrees. In fact, your sense of where you are is more than 180 degrees. Most of us appreciate our orientation by moving our heads (and our gaze) left and right, up and down. We might even move our bodies to look over our left or right shoulder.
We're taking it all in.
So what does this have to do with writing copy and preparing layouts for print ads and print collateral?
Come back in a couple of days and I'll close the loop on my thesis.
Buy Lorazepam Without Prescription, This post is part one in a series outlining both common problems that can pop up when you engage multimedia technology in your marcom program, and brief solutions to help correct these issues or to prevent them altogether.
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Should the same be true for your marketing communications program?
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