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 […]

Organic Search vs. Paid Search

According to Jupiter Research, 81% of people online find what they are looking for through a search engine. To be featured more prominently on a search result page, and most importantly, be more attractive to people searching online, companies boost the visibility of their websites through organic search or paid search. There are a lot […]

Seven Things Clients Want from Their Branding Agency

When you talk to clients about what they want from their agency, the answers seem pretty similar—fresh thinking, great ideas, and dedicated senior-level people working on their business. But what else do clients want and think about, but not always say? Category knowledge and experience In many cases, clients like to pick an agency based […]

Improve Your Copy Right Now

We all want to be better writers, don’t we? Whether or not writing is a major part of your profession or responsibilities, we often think that it’s tough to significantly upgrade the impact or readability of our copy without taking drastic action—such as taking a writing course or putting in hours of practice. Which is […]

Just for Fun

Where do graphics and typography collide—and create something totally unique and fun? Right here. These calligrams illustrate meanings, actions, and associated concepts of words right within and around the letters of the words themselves. So take a break from whatever you’re doing and enjoy a bit of cleverness and whimsy in the middle of your […]

Direct Mail vs. Email Marketing

We have long been fans of direct mail. Sometimes we believe that we are among the few folks who still understand and appreciate the art and science behind this medium. At the same time, we have done our share of email marketing over the years and recognize it as an effective tool as well. We’re […]

Awards: Are They Important to an Agency?

Awards are nice–but bottom line results are better It’s wintertime, which means it’s Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe awards season. Let’s think about that. What happens if Leonardo DiCaprio wins an award or two? His stock rises further and he gains even more popularity. He starts dating yet another beautiful swimsuit model. His asking price […]

Five Things to Remember When Pursuing a Marketing Job

Land that marketing job with these simple steps When you hit the streets looking for that first marketing job, you’re probably aware that there are thousands of other individuals just like you. While folks with more job experience have an advantage, you can still be an attractive candidate in a number of other ways. Here […]

Branding and Positioning for Colleges and University

One of the most important aspects of branding for colleges and universities is to avoid the trap of trying to be all things to all people. In brand studies of like-minded colleges, their websites, recruiting materials, advertising, and messaging often looked and sounded the same—mainly because they wanted to show that they could satisfy the […]

Seven Qualities of People You Want Building Your Brand

Every company naturally wants the best and brightest employees under its roof. But aside from the skills to do his or her job, and a willingness to work with others, what traits mark the kind of folks who are valuable assets to your business and brand? Below are seven characteristics or habits to look for […]

Six Steps in Brand Design Strategy

So you’ve finally convinced your boss that your company needs to reshape its brand from the ground up. Congratulations—that’s a major accomplishment already. But now that you’ve gotten the green light, do you know where to start? Do you have an overall strategy or process in place? How do you know that your new brand […]

Patient First Commercial Shoot – Behind the Scenes

Recently we completed a set of TV spots for our good friends at Patient First. While long hours and multiple shoot locations were involved, the production was still a great experience from beginning to end (much thanks to the support and coordination of Lucas and Al Krost of The Branching). Here’s a gallery of photos […]

Taking the Mystery Out of SEO-Friendly Content

Everyone wants the content that they present to the world to be as SEO-friendly and attractive to readers and search engines as possible. But until recently, maximizing the attraction of your content was thought to be the domain of web wizards with secret knowledge of how to outsmart Google’s algorithms and crawlers. The one thing […]

Your Backstory Is a Brand Content Goldmine

Many businesses often struggle to define their brand or key differentiating points, especially when they’re in a highly competitive or commoditized market. Too often, they’ll point to “excellent service,” “commitment to customer satisfaction,” or some other tired platitude that similar companies or organizations can easily claim as well. However, there’s one fertile area that most […]

Smart Marketers Target These People Before Customers and Prospects

When almost any organization unleashes its marketing folks or agency on a new branding, content, social media, or public relations campaign, everyone’s attention is generally turned in one direction. The main questions on everyone’s lips are “How do we engage new prospects?” or “How do we get customers into our stores more often?” or “How […]

Content Marketing: It’s Here to Stay

You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king.” It’s true nowadays especially in marketing, where content has being accepted into the royal inner circle. Today’s consumers have cast a skeptical eye or have even completely tuned out “ad speak.” They are pretty much immune to hard sell tactics and look for any way possible to […]

Better feedback with Facebook’s upcoming “dislike” button

In a recent Q&A session at Facebook headquarters, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the social media giant is working on developing a “dislike” button. “What people really want is the ability to express empathy,” Zuckerberg said. “Not every moment is a good moment.” People have been asking about a “dislike” button for years, but according to […]