Don’t Forget About the Small Moments

When we think of branding, what usually come to mind are elements and tactics that are often broad in scale. We’re talking about product design, packaging, retail space and signage design, standardized look-and-feels and color palettes, multi-channel campaigns, etc.—things that typically carry a lot of weight in creating initial impressions. There’s no doubt that all […]

Numbers Don’t Lie. But Do They Tell the Truth?

In today’s marketing communications world, virtually everything is measurable. We can know exactly how many people saw and felt motivated to act on any online ad, social media posting, direct mailing, etc. Data is invaluable in showing us what is happening in the midst of our marketing activity. But all too often data is regarded […]

Being Where Others Aren’t

Apologies right away if football or sports analogies make your eyes roll. But the following approach developed by a Hall of Fame NFL coach is critically relevant to standing apart from your competitors no matter what industry you’re in. And it’s a strategy that’s especially worth consideration if you’re an enterprise that doesn’t have the […]

Strengthen Your Brand—With Your Flaws

In many aspects of our lives, we’re conditioned to chase after perfection. We often find it hard to overlook even minor flaws and shortcomings in our purchases. So we naturally gravitate to messages and appeals that lead us to believe we can acquire, achieve, or experience the ultimate in some way. But…do we really? In […]

Building Brand Community

It’s always comforting to belong to a group that shares a common interest or set of values. It can be a fan club, a political affiliation, a hobby group, or even a trade association. Wherever there’s a passion for something, there’s always a community that’s talking about it, looking for ways to advance it, and […]

Understanding Brand Value

The first thing we associate “great value” with is almost always “low price.” And while one often accompanies the other, it’s also true that price cannot always be a reliable measurement of value. We’ve been conditioned to associate value with pricing for so long that we forget one important thing: while the seller sets pricing, […]

10 Unforced Branding Errors

Branding is hard. Great branding is even harder. However, many marketers make their jobs more difficult through a wide range of missteps—however well intentioned their purposes may be. The following are examples of some common branding errors. Changing or shifting your brand’s positioning often. It’s often tempting to make changes to brand elements if sales […]

What Does Your Brand Sound Like?

When we think of a brand identity, the first thing that typically defines our perception of it is its visual presentation. Sight is almost always our initial go-to means for receiving information from our surroundings and, accordingly, forms the main pathway for understanding and defining what a brand means to us. In the early to […]

Be Sure Your Brand’s Walk Backs Up Its Talk

Brands today must navigate social change like never before. Consumers are increasingly factoring how brands treat the environment, employee working conditions, diversity, gender inequality, etc., into their purchase decisions. Marketers are often quick to develop messaging that rides popular support on trending issues. However, they are finding that there are many aspects they need to […]

8 Tips to Upgrade Your Marketing Vocabulary

There are few languages that are as expansive and descriptive as English. However, this richness is often a double-edged sword, particularly for writers in marketing communications. Copy and content writers often unintentionally water down the impact of their messages with flowery approaches or overused words and phrases. Sharp, persuasive writing is critical for spurring interest […]

What Does Branding Mean Today?

The evolution—and unchanging truth—of occupying the hearts and minds of your audiences Ask 10 people what they think branding is and you may get 10 different answers. The meaning of “branding” has continuously evolved throughout its history, and while it’s more ubiquitous than ever, it’s still perceived in a wide variety of ways and not […]

How 5G Will Change the Marketing Landscape

Super-fast wireless service brings abundant possibilities for marketers You’ve probably heard about the arrival of 5G wireless service and wondered what the big deal is. Is 5G really all that different than the current 4G standard? The fact is that 5G not only presents a quantum leap in data transmission speeds over 4G but is also […]

Digital Branding and Marketing Trends for 2019

As we near the end of 2018, it’s only natural to look forward to a number of emerging trends in digital branding and marketing for the new year and beyond. Many of these were dismissed in their early development as gimmicks, yet have now proven to not only have staying power but to be important […]

Drain the Beer Test Out of Your Hiring Practices

Understand what’s behind the way you evaluate potential employees Finding and hiring the right people for your organization is far from an exact science. It’s rare that someone you’ve recruited turns out to be exactly how you envisioned them when you offered them a position—even after you’ve carefully vetted their qualifications, work history, and suitability […]

Put More Smart in Your Smartphone Marketing

Make your mobile experience friction-free Regardless of what business or field you’re in today, your digital marketing and outreach platforms need to incorporate mobile-centric strategies. Today there are more than 2.5 billion smartphone users around the world in 2018 while shipments of desktop computers, at roughly 95 million units, have been in steady decline for the […]

The Oxford Comma Controversy

An age-old argument that continues to make grammarians’ blood boil Ah, the Oxford comma. A welcome sight to some. An irksome blight to others. And the subject of a never-ending battle among grammar and punctuation geeks. So what is the Oxford comma? First of all, the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma—your choice […]

How Your Event Can Become THE Event

Meetings, conferences, and tradeshows are major branding opportunities We typically equate brands with products, services, places, and even people. But one area often under-utilized as an opportunity for branding is events. If you’re an association or trade group, you know all about promoting your annual meetings and shows. But are you giving these the branding […]

There’s a Story Behind Every Brand

Narratives create empathy—and engagement opportunities In an earlier post this year, we discussed how President Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign message during the 2016 election season was an example of extraordinarily efficient storytelling. Whether you agree with his ideologies or not, you must give him credit for creating a four-word narrative that stirred emotions, […]

Setting Brand Standards

The importance of branding guidelines Brand standards manuals are internal publications that recommend typefaces, colors, symbols, and layout options that pertain to an overall identity for an organization. These style guidelines provide a base for building a brand look and feel and ensure that all materials produced within this system will work in harmony. A […]

Uncommon Branding Stays True to Key Fundamentals

The ingredients and factors that go into better branding When companies and organizations establish a new brand or rebrand themselves, it’s par for the course for the primary goal of the new branding to be differentiation from competitors. This makes perfect sense and is clearly something that any branding effort should strive for. However, setting […]

Ten Common Grammatical Errors

Sharpen your postings and overall writing by avoiding these blunders Thanks to the Internet, and social media especially, we are all writing more than ever. We are continually dashing off emails, pecking out texts, and posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, given the often informal nature of these writings, grammar rules often got overlooked. […]

Emoji Marketing Has Arrived

Will your marketing message work better with this form of communications? Keeping up with the development of technological communication is an important part of knowing how to market effectively. The way we speak and write is constantly evolving. It is up to us to make sure that we utilize this knowledge so that we can […]

TED Talks: Presentations from Which You’ll Learn a Lot

Ideas and inspiration delivered effectively TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. What TED Talks have become, however, cover a much wider range of topics and ideas than its creators initially anticipated. “Ideas worth spreading” is its tagline, and its mission is to make those ideas more “accessible and spark conversation.” Each TED […]

Building a Brand from the Ground Up

A how-to guide for developing a strong, engaging brand In today’s fast-moving, get-it-done-now world, building a brand seems like it ought to be a fairly easy, streamlined process that anyone could do. Think of a catchy tagline, some arresting visuals, maybe even a celebrity endorsement, and you’re good to go, right? Well, that’s one way. […]

Three Key Ingredients for Effective Lead Generation

Growing more leads begins with taking a balanced approach Attracting and sustaining sales leads is at the top of any business’ priorities. It’s always a continuous challenge to find quality prospects—whether you’re a B2B or consumer marketer. While every marketer is looking for ways to grow leads, it also seems like there is never a […]

A Brief Guide to Online Reputation Management

Make Sure Your Online Reputation Reflects the Real You It’s obvious to anyone who spends any significant amount of time online and on social media that opinions, hot takes, reviews, reactions, and all manner of personal editorial are unavoidable. No matter how overwhelmingly and unassailably positive your content or message might be, there always seems […]

Eighty/Twenty Vision

The Design Census is a partnership between the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and Google that, in 2016, surveyed professionals in the design community on various aspects of their workplace. David Franek, president of TDC, participated in a project in which he was invited to create a visualization of data from the survey. One […]

The Value of Face-to-Face Meetings in a Digital World

Client relationships are strengthened more effectively in face-to-face meetings than through technology Nowadays there are all kinds of ways to conveniently contact and stay in touch with one another any time—mobile calls, emails, texts, etc. There are even technologies, such as Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts, that take things a step further and enable us […]

A Roadmap to Memorable Destination Branding

Make your destination the place to be With most of the country in the midst of some nasty winter weather now, it’s likely that millions of people are turning their minds to balmier or simply more pleasant locations—and making getaway plans accordingly. If you’re marketing a vacation spot, a weekend day trip, a convention location, […]

The Four-Word Story that Will Change American History

The power of narrative and Trump’s iconic message Nearly two months later, we’re all still shaking our heads over Trump’s election victory. He overcame jaw-dropping personal indiscretions, leveraged fear and distrust of immigrants, and bombarded the public with half-truths and full fabrications during the campaign on a daily basis. However, one of the most—if not […]

Wise Up to Emotional Intelligence

10 Signs You Have High EQ By now we’ve all heard about how people with high emotional intelligence (EQ) are often better equipped for high performance and success than those with a high intelligence quotient (IQ) or extensive experience. And there’s plenty of proof to back this up. When you scan biographies of great leaders, […]

Cause Marketing

How to attract more interest and spur action There are countless non-profit and charitable organizations today with noteworthy and noble purposes. Whether you’re fighting social injustice, searching for a medical cure, helping the impoverished, or supporting a political candidate, your cause often faces a major battle in having its voice and intentions heard. You might […]

Choosing Stock Photos that Don’t Look Stock

Keep these guidelines in mind to find better images Stock photography is an important part of virtually any marketing department’s toolkit. It’s usually more convenient and cost-effective to use stock photos than to hire a professional photographer. However, many of the stock photos you’ll find in online photo libraries, especially those that are royalty-free, often […]

Association Branding

A guide for associations and nonprofits In many ways, association branding or nonprofit branding is no different than branding a product or service. A good association brand should highlight what makes the association unique, identify what audience it serves, and convey the purpose of the organization. Seems clear enough, right? However, there are some dynamics […]

Great Brand Comebacks

Success stories with a second act Who doesn’t love a brand comeback story? There are dozens of great narratives around iconic brands that have at some point in their histories resurrected themselves from near extinction. They prove that a troubled brand can always have hope for a revival. Well, that is if its stewards have […]

Why Your Website Is Turning Off Visitors

Missteps that diminish your website’s user experience Websites have been around since the early 90’s. In other words, for the past 25 years or so, we’ve had plenty of time to assess, understand, and define what a good website experience is like. Of course that experience is always evolving as site-building tools and technologies advance. […]

Improving Lead Generation through Content Marketing

Establishing trust early is key to attracting leads When you think of traditional lead generation, more often than not, intrusive outbound techniques come to mind. These include print ads, mass mailings, cold calls, and door-to-door visits (surprisingly still around). However the days of holding all the information, pushing it out to prospects through these channels, […]

How Less Can Be More for Productivity

Preparing yourself is key to getting more done In this day and age, we’re obsessed with getting more done in less time. Multi-tasking is our norm. Technology enables us to accomplish things in minutes that decades ago would have taken weeks. We have a need for speed and productivity 24/7/365. But this continuous ratcheting-up of […]

Visual Authenticity in Content Marketing

We are surrounded by increasing amounts of content today that is generated by consumers. And not surprisingly, that content reflects an extremely wide range of quality and/or professionalism. However, as we have come to accept user-generated content and imagery as a normal part of the marketing landscape, we have also shifted our view of the […]