Category Archives: Visual Marketing

2016: The Year of the User Experience – Part 2

With 2016 well underway, in this post we continue to build on ‘The Year of the User Experience’ predictions for what lies ahead this year in the marketing world. Many of the elements featured in our Part 1 post focus specifically on graphic design and how vital it is to make sure the experience your design efforts create is extremely user-friendly and intuitive. Here, we continue that theme with a slight shift to focus more on how to best present the content within those design elements and marketing materials. Without further ado, let’s see what trends in content we can expect to see becoming more prevalent in the coming months.

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Modular design allows you to present content in an interesting way that aims to keep users engaged. Because we have busier lifestyles than ever before, as users our attention spans continue to get shorter and material needs to be extremely intriguing to hold our interest. Layouts that feature hard-to-anticipate designs keep one’s eye moving from one thing to the next, offering the fun experience that is preferred by our busy minds. This style of breaking up content is comparable to the shorter paragraph layouts of most blog posts you’re seeing these days, but with the flair of visually interesting design elements to make it pop. For a deeper understanding of modular design and resources to help you get started with this cool trend, check out this article.

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Did you know that 100 million people watch at least one video per day? Or that website visitors are 64% more likely to make a product purchase after watching a video? As humans, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than the written word. These are extremely powerful statistics that you’d be wise to use as fuel in your marketing efforts. Telling a story through visuals, especially video, is becoming more and more essential when it comes to sharing your brand with the world. Learn more about the video production services we offer and how we can help you grow your brand.

In addition to video, other visual essentials to include in your marketing strategy are good photography and infographics. These handy and appealing graphics are a fabulous way to organize and distribute information or stories using the power of visuals. Not only do they make data look pretty, but they are also 3x more likely to be shared by viewers than any other type of content. If increasing traffic is one of your top goals for 2016, infographics would be a good area to prioritize.

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Truly great design cannot be complete without the key element: typography. A language in itself, typography has the ability to give the written word a voice, ignite emotion and even make the reader believe a statement to be true. This coming year we expect to see some blasts from the past such as retro, serif and handwritten fonts. Check out this great infographic from Design Taxi with some need-to-know trends. Plus, with all the great resources available for finding fonts of all shapes and sizes these days, you’ll never have a shortage of options; in fact, you could most likely spend the rest of 2016 looking at every one out there – you’ve been warned.

Want more information on how to apply these anticipated trends to your own marketing efforts? As always, we’d love to meet with you and discuss how these elements can be incorporated into your marketing plan to help grow your business. Contact us today to learn more.

When Brands Become Products

When a business is started, the dream is to gain so much word of mouth that the brand becomes a household name – or is it? For the companies that introduced us to Thermos, Cellophane, and Bubble Wrap, that dream became a nightmare. In this month’s ‘Powered by Creativity,’ we take a look at the advantages and disasters that happen when a brand becomes ‘genericized.’

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Living the American Dream

Picture this: Someone has an incredible idea for a unique product to put on the market, and a dream to start their own business and make a living by reproducing this product to make life easier for millions of consumers. After all of their hard work planning, saving, spending, and branding the new product, it becomes phenomenally successful on the market. This is great news; more people engaged in a brand with purchase power will lead to higher sales just by word of mouth. However, in order to hold onto the exclusivity of the brand, the company will need to toe the line of popularity vs. becoming such a household name that the brand now becomes the name of the product itself.

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Be careful what you wish for

On the opposite end of the spectrum, when a brand becomes a common name that turns into the name of the product itself, then the business has a problem. Once the brand becomes the common name used to describe multiple products that are similar to a company’s product, then not only is the brand image oversaturated and devalued, but the company’s trademark becomes vulnerable to loss of legal protection for exclusive rights to the name.

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A good example of this is Bubble Wrap, which was introduced by Sealed Air Corporation as wallpaper in 1960, but came to prominence as packaging material after being used to ship IBM computers. The product name is technically “air bubble packaging,” but because all products of this design became commonly known by the layman’s term of bubble wrap, the brand name became muddled with the product name and therefore not only lost its brand name value, but became a generic trademark as well.

In today’s world, it is so important to distinguish your brand identity in the marketplace and create loyalty not only for producing a reliable product, but because your brand image is superior to others and top of mind when purchasing that product. One of our specialties at Stray Media Group is helping clients maintain an elevated and consistent brand image to distinguish their products in the marketplace. If you are looking for expert knowledge to create, refresh, or grow your brand, we would love to meet with you; contact us today!

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The Emotional Effects of Color on Your Brand – Part 2

Welcome back to the second installment of colors and what they mean to both your logo and brand image. Let’s start with green.

Green

On an international scale, brands tend to use green in their logos if they’re environmentally inclined, representing values of health, wellness, nature, growth, tranquility, and renewal. Green is commonplace in natural food markets and agriculture-related products. Whole Foods, Animal Planet, Starbucks, and John Deere all utilize emerald-hued logos. It is known to alleviate depression and encourage relaxation, so stores, spas, and businesses use it to promote a calming effect. It is also the color the human eye is most sensitive to and can discern the most shades of.

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Blue

To evoke calmness, trust, and tranquility, think blue. Its strong associations with the ocean and meditation make blue the perfect color for brands that want to bring serenity to a stressful process and lower an onlooker’s blood pressure. Think Dell, AT&T, and Lowes. That’s also why we often see banks, financial companies, and corporate business, such as Chase and Visa, with logos that incorporate the color blue. If a customer is going to make a monetary deal, their intuitive association with the financial institution should give a feeling of calmness a and low-stress environment.

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Purple

Purple speaks of nobility or wisdom. Not only is it most commonly known as the color of royalty, but it also denotes imaginative and creative behavior. Yahoo and Cadbury use purple as the background for their logos, and both brands are instantly recognizable to their consumers. Yahoo goes for the wisdom association with tools that provide both information and inspiration. Cadbury — whose founders once supplied their products to England’s Queen Victoria — embraces the royal connotations of its history with a rich purple hue.

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Black & White

Black and white are often used against each other, with black signifying mystery, power, authority, and sophistication, and white denoting cleanliness, simplicity, and purity. But when combined, they create balance and calmness – think Time Magazine, Wikipedia, and Cartoon Network. Cartoon Network successfully uses black and white to create a simple, balanced logo with the two shades displaying the yin and yang of the brand name itself. “Network” conveys sophistication and can even feel stuffy, but when brought together with “Cartoon,” it plays on the equilibrium of two contradictory ideas.

Bearing in mind the responsive value and connotation of a color can do wonders for your brand. It’s best to work with simple colors, and the impact of a strong and constant hue will help to make your brand unforgettable. Keep it simple and stick to just one or two well-thought-out colors. For help designing a logo and other marketing materials that speak to your consumers and evoke the emotions you want for your brand, contact us. We would love to help your brand find its voice! SMG-Blog-header-blue

The Emotional Effects of Color on Your Brand – Part 1

Did you know color is one of the first things our brains see when registering an image? Since color is your brand’s nonverbal form of communication, it is vital to know how consumers will interpret different colors. This puts a lot of weight on your choice of colors when planning your marketing, from logo design and print work to your website theme. When you harness the right color you can set a mood, convey an emotion, invoke a psychological reaction, or inspire people to take action. First we bring you the meaning behind three different colors.

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Red 

Red is a high arousal color, shown to raise blood pressure, and it gives us a sense of energy, passion, power, strength, youthfulness, and excitement. It is also associated with blood, giving it a feel of intensity. Red demands the viewers’ attention and can stop them in their tracks, stimulating a moment of cautious thought, while calling for action to be taken. Think brands like Coca Cola, Pinterest, Target, Nabisco, and Frito Lay.

Red is seen in both logos and advertisements every day. Brands like Pinterest and Coca Cola are very different companies, but convey power through their logos. Pinterest gives the power to create and Coca Cola provides the power to have fun – both using their iconic red logos. Frito Lay and Nabisco use red for their known ability to stimulate appetite.

Orange 

Orange is a bright hue, reflecting excitement and enthusiasm, that brings both vibrancy and balance to a project. It is friendly, cheerful, and confident. Like red, it demands attention, but it’s a little more muted than the primary color and therefore feels less aggressive. Think Fanta, Crush, Nickelodeon, and Shutterfly.

Because of its association with fruit, orange is often seen in drink logos; Fanta and Crush are both good examples. Orange also sends a message of affordability – think Amazon. Its tone can be subtly seen in the Amazon logo, which is entirely black and white, except for a smiling orange arrow that connects A to Z. It’s not as bold or brash as red would be, but it still catches your eye and gives off a warm feeling.

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Yellow 

Colors can have contradictory meanings, and that’s particularly true when it comes to yellow. While the bright color has some optimistic associations like joy, sunshine, summer, and happiness, there are also negative implications. In some parts of the world, yellow is linked to illness, jealousy, cowardice, betrayal, and hazard.

McDonald’s, Nikon, National Geographic, and Sun Chips all use yellow in a positive way. Each of these companies is very different, but all share a brand color that suggests they bring joy and warmth to consumers’ lives. It has also been shown to stimulate mental processes, and therefore is utilized as a way to grab the attention of window shoppers.

This is only the beginning of colors and what they mean to your logo and branding. Check back later this month to learn what green, blue, purple, black, and white say about your business. If your brand is in need of a color overhaul or you’re just getting starting and would like guidance, we are here to help! Contact us or visit our website to learn more about what we can do for you and your brand image.

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Content Marketing – 6 Tips for Success

Today’s consumers are smarter than ever, increasingly more technologically advanced and armed with a vast amount of information at their fingertips 24/7. By the time consumers reach out to a company about a product or service, the majority of their buying journey is already complete. So how do you reach your audience and make your message stand out? Behold the power of content marketing.

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Offer Value

Perhaps above all else – offer value to customers. You can list features and advantages about your product or service, but at the end of the day people want to know the benefits. Did you know 68% of consumers spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in?  If you miss the mark from the beginning, chances are they will not be interested in learning more about your business and will move on to the next. Make sure you take full advantage of the opportunity to connect with consumers on a personal level by letting them know how you can improve their lives.

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Align Efforts

Having consistency across all platforms is crucial to driving your message home. Not only does this coincide with having brand recognition, but it also ensures that even though you may be reaching your audience through different mediums, the correct information and essence of what your company is all about are translated to each consumer effectively.

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Quality vs. Quantity

Would you rather go to a conference and see 10 motivational speakers that were mediocre or just one that truly inspired you? Your customers feel the same. Consumers want to find valuable, relevant information that speaks to them. Make sure each and every blog post, article, and e-book you produce offers the quality information they are looking for, and not just copious amounts of words that ultimately amount to little.

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Keep it Concise

Brevity is an art that you would be wise to master in today’s fast-paced world. Over 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day. The ability to get your message across to consumers in a simple, concise manner will help to separate you from competitors in the enormous ocean that is marketing and make your message more memorable.

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Implement Visuals

Did you know visuals account for 90% of the processed information that comes into the brain? Use this nugget of knowledge to your advantage by utilizing visuals throughout your content marketing that reinforce your message or purpose. Visuals such as infographics, photos or graphs are more easily retained than text, meaning that in most cases that picture really is worth a thousand words.

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Easily Accessible

All of your efforts for making outstanding content marketing will be for nothing if they are not easily accessible to consumers. Imagine how frustrating it is for people looking for information on your products and services if they can’t find it. Instead, delight the savvy consumer of today by providing them with everything they need to make a purchasing decision right where they are.

These essential tips for creating remarkable content marketing strategies and pieces will set your business up for success and help you provide consumers with the information they crave. They will thank you for it, whether by becoming loyal customers or even big advocates for your brand. Not sure where to start? Learn more about how we can help you and your business by contacting us today.