Now that your company’s done with its taxes
Your CPA’s stopped sending emails and faxes
This is the time for some marketing bling
Like refreshing your website now that it’s spring
There are a great many things you can do
To strengthen your customer base, old and new
An overall framework is really a must
To keep your website from being a bust
Something that’s simple and really can’t wait
Is making sure everything there’s up to date
Consider approaches that may work for you
To make sure your messages are getting through
Make it concise, clear and exciting
With eye-catching graphics and excellent writing
Update your services, products, and staff
One way to show how you’ve grown – use a graph
For your site to work best you must understand
All of the tools that we have close at hand
To help you attract the targets you prize
There’s something you cannot ignore - optimize
There’s something to use that’s called SEO
Use it so search engines know where to go
When companies use SEO really right
It helps get folks lickety-split to their site
Systems can help you collect online data
They gather good metrics to analyze later
The right tools can help your site report to you
How many went there and did they click through.
Even though business blogs aren’t ‘sposed to “sell”
These are things MoldaveDesigns does real well
We’ll use all the tools you see here and much more
So call to get business through your “Internet door.”Just click below for a free marketing evaluation.
What’s it about April first, to be frank
That means that we have to beware of a prank
Was that day picked long ago, willy nilly
To give ourselves plenty of time to be silly?
Where did it come from and how long ago?
The Internet says that we don’t really know.
The Gregorians did some thing really quite strange
They decided to make a big calendar change
And as it turned out, when they were done
New Year’s Day was no longer upon April one
The folks who believed New Year’s Day was the same
Were called April fools, which is not a nice name
Some say it’s connected with spring as a season
And so we are wondering “If that’s the reason
Does April Fools day come around 6 months later
If you happen to live underneath the equator?”
A professor at one of our prestigious schools
Explained it’s related to jesters as fools
When reporters reported this in all the papers
It turned out to be the prof’s April Fools caper
In France there is something called poisson d’avril
Here’s what they do, and they think it’s a thrill
You sneak up on someone and then you attack
By sticking a picture of fish on their back
This happens in Italy and in Belgium too
But there you just put the fish in someone’s shoe.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you really knew
If what you are reading now is actually true?
You’ll probably wonder, and wonder you might
Is anything that we’ve said here really right?
Are these explanations, although they’re real cool
Simply designed, like the day, just to fool?
If somebody fools you, just swallow your pride
Today is the day to take it in stride.
Facebook recently announced the biggest changes to the News Feed since its inception, and they will affect the focus of your marketing strategy if you want to stay on your customers' social media radar. The three significant shifts are:
- users can choose different News Feeds
- images will be much larger
- format will be consistent across devices
Multiple News Feeds
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg considers the News Feed "the most personalized newspaper", and now users will be able to customize the type of news they see on Facebook. Categories will include All Friends, Close Friends, Photos, and Music, to name a few (think of them as sections of your newspaper). Currently, Zuckerberg says, nearly 50% of News Feed content consists of photos and visual content, so when your customers choose the "Photos" News Feed, will your posts show up? If you have a photo in your post, absolutely.
Marketing takeaway: Always include an image in your post.
Images will be significantly larger in the new News Feed, and, of further importance, when a fan "Likes" your page, the post will show your cover photo and mutual friends who also "Like" your page (as well as your profile picture as in the previous version). With the attention squarely on visual content (including video), Facebook is focusing on the presentation of images, so ensure that yours are top notch and that they will stand out and represent you well.
Marketing takeaway: Use quality, relevant images everywhere, including your cover photo.
We live in a mobile world, and Facebook is changing accordingly. The look of the site will be the same regardless of platform, making the user experience more streamlined; good news for you, as you can be assured that your content will look right regardless of where it is being viewed. The layout is based on the previous mobile apps, with the side navigation bar now accessible in the desktop version as well.
Marketing takeaway: Keep in mind that many people will be viewing on a small mobile device; your images should take that into consideration and be clear even when scaled down.
Click here for a free marketing evaluation to be sure your company stays current with these new changes.
When I was just breaking into the graphic design profession there was a great variety of illustration styles that were flourishing; from painters whose styles carried over from the 1950s to artists creating a new language in visual arts. From painterly to abstract, there was a huge number of incredibly talented illustrators working at the time.
This came to mind because of an article in The New York Times about a British illustrator named Brian Sanders. It seems that creators of "Mad Men" were looking to duplicate the style of some 1960s illustrations to market the fifth season but couldn't quite get it right. Then they found Sanders, 75 years old, who was the illustrator who did the originals they were looking at and found he's still working, so they commissioned him to do the art.
" 'What it did was take me right back, about 50 years,' said Mr. Sanders, who added that he was familiar enough with “Mad Men” to be in a bit of disbelief when the show came calling for his drawing board and brushes. The impressionistic image he created uses a scumbled acrylic technique that in its jazzy, textured effects instantly conjures 1960s illustration."
UPDATE: AMC has released Sanders' poster- Here's a link.
This got me thinking about the illustrators that I "grew up with" professionally. Mark English- who started out painting latrine signs in the army and wound up winning more awards from the Society of Illustrators than any other illustrator. There was Bob Peak- who revolutionized movie poster illustration; Bernie Fuchs, sports painter extraordinaire, and so many others.
The other style that was dominant was the "Push Pin" style of Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast, with its heavy outlines enclosing watercolor or flat color areas. This style even carried through to the movies with "Yellow Submarine".
I enjoyed the variety of illustration styles that were employed enthusiastically in the media of the time – magazines; editorial or advertising; posters, even packaging took advantage of the richness of artistic vision that contained the past and future in one present.
That richness seems to be gone now. The speed of today's media seems to mitigate against the time and effort needed to develop art of the diverse kind produced then. There's a lot of imagination in animation techniques that are being used in today's commercials and movies- but in a lot of cases they seem to be slick and used mostly for style and not for substance. Maybe there's something to be learned from working with a 75-year-old illustrator who doesn't use digital media. It will be interesting to see if the "Mad Men" campaign brings back a look from a time that we seem to miss today.
Top image, left to right: Bernie Fuchs, Jack Potter, Bob Peak, Mark English, Al Parker, Milton Glaser
If Theodore Geisel were with us today
What would he think and what would he say?
He’d have a blog and he would use Twitter
To give us his version of glitz, glam, and glitter.
He’d come up with a bird who really could Tweet
Probably purple, with really big feet
Or maybe a chef called Megsy McMold
Whose dishes are good only when they’re served cold.
Maybe a cool guy called Big Daddy Dad
A character who, with his handy iPad
Writes rhymes people can’t really read very well
‘Cause he cannot tipe and he cannot spel
He’d draw us a Firefox on a Safari
Who gets lost in the wild
“Where on earth are we?”
It’s easy to guess which folks he would Link
People who laugh and people who think
People who read on a Kindle or Nook
And people who still like the feel of a book.
One afternoon, while taking a nap
He’d dream up a crazy, delightful new app
An app we could use to create for ourselves
Goofy contraptions with whistles and bells.
He’d tell us to always take time out to smile
And let our minds wander a bit for a while
By now you have probably figured it out
It’s Dr. Seuss that we’re talking about
He meant what he said and he said what he meant
And we all are still faithful, 100 percent.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss – and thanks.
Use the comments section below to tell us the name of your favorite Dr. Seuss book and tell us why it's your favorite.
Dr. Seuss' web site
Note: all trademarked and servicemarked names are the property of their respective owners.
Quick thinking advertisers took advantage of an unusual opportunity last night when the lights went out at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Many clever tweets were posted during the 35-minute blackout in the second half of Superbowl 47. Among the funny ones by various personal Tweeters ("I knew I shouldn't have froze my wedding cake in the Super Dome freezer." @JimGaffigan), were some brands taking full advantage of the opportunity to reach out in real time.
A few standout examples:
Audi - "Sending some LEDs to the Superdome right now..."
Tide - "We can't get your blackout, But we can get your stains out."
Oreo - "You can still dunk in the dark"
These tweets demonstrate the advantage of being ever-vigilant in terms of social media. With Twitter in particular, savvy marketers can seize opportunities to put themselves front and center while millions of eyes are watching. These three ads were retweeted more than 20,000 times, furthering the viral effect that is the beauty of social media.
Lesson of the day: Always be on the lookout for opportunities to reach out to your customers with your message. Be aware that great impact can be made by a quick, timely connection.
Click below for a free, no obligation evaluation of your marketing strategies and to see how we can help prepare you to be ready at the spur of the moment.
I got two emails about rebrands that gave me WTF moments, but for different reasons.
The first was the announcement that for the first time in over 40 years, American Airlines has rebranded itself. Some may argue that the Massimo Vignelli design has become dated, but the circumstances and timing of the rebranding itself are questionable. The company is in bankruptcy, its revenue per passenger seat grew more slowly than its major competitors, its employees want new leadership, and American is looking to merge with US Airways. Is this the right time to spend millions of dollars on a major rebranding effort?
As far as the mark itself goes, it's a generic-looking, abstract eagle that could work for a car company, a stationery or label company, or pretty much anyone who wants to look American. Interestingly, Vignelli says in an interview that there are 11 stripes on the plane's tail–not 13. Does 11 represent Chapter 11?
Vignelli also points out that:
"This is the typical mistake that company presidents make: “I’ll change the logo, and the company will look new.” What you have to have is a president who knows how to run the company, and in that process knows how to evaluate the brand identity. Otherwise it becomes a wolf camouflaged by sheep. It’s still the same company that’s not going to be successful. They’re not going to solve their problems, they’re just going to increase their costs… Styling is very much emotional. Good design isn’t—it’s good forever. It’s part of our environment and culture. There’s no need to change it. The logo doesn’t need change. The whole world knows it, and there’s a tremendous equity. It’s incredibly important on brand recognition." You can see it all here.
The other revealing branding tidbit that came in was the announcement that noted designer and visual philosopher Stefan Sagmeister has taken on a partner and rebranded his firm.
They announced it with an email and card featuring a full frontal shot of the partners nude, and the news announcement on their web site has the staff in the altogether too.
Sagmeister's original going into business announcement also had him in only socks- but there were three of them.
WARNING: the images are probably NSFW (not suitable for work), unless of course, you work at MoldaveDesigns, in which case we're all over them.
I guess my question is "why"? Their work is great, he's had shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (now moved to Toronto). Is it just to make a splash? When you operate at the level that they do, why do something as distracting as this? I'd be curious to know if it gets them new clients and if they look at them above neck level at the first meeting.
The other issue goes into their branding itself. It's very straightforward, very graphic, very nice. But do we really need icons of sex acts and a woman vomiting into a toilet as on their CD labels? Again, MoldaveDesigns being what it is, we're cool, but if, as Vignelli says, good design is good forever, and styling is emotional, whatever this is, it isn't good design.
Click on the button for a free, fully-clothed evaluation of you marketing materials and branding.
As professional communicators, we always try to be clear about what we're saying. This piece was sent to us by our great friend and client Jonathan Perlstein from Oasis Architecture. No wonder it's so hard to be clear!
Let us know if you need help creating a clear message. Click here for a free consultation.
It turns out the ukulele is not Hawaiian; it’s Portuguese. Three men who emigrated from Portugal to Hawaii in the late 1800s brought the instrument with them, and the Hawaiian king embraced the music. The name ukulele is Hawaiian and actually means “a gift that came.”
Running across this little fact got us thinking about what business people think we know versus what we actually know. After all, most people assume the ukulele is Hawaiian, don’t we?
It’s easy for business people to get into a groove, where everything seems familiar and even routine and predictable. But the deeper that groove gets over time, the harder it is to peek over the edge to see what’s going on outside the business, and the easier it becomes to think we understand your business and the forces that affect it.
There are a few seemingly simply questions we ask ourselves and our clients to keep from getting too dependent on the groove, and in our next few blogs we’ll be exploring some of those questions and offering tips on how to approach answering them.
Are you taking advantage of the One-Person Focus Group? Can your significant other explain what your business does?
Do you know everything there is to know about your market? Are the size, dynamics, and sustainability changing?
Where’s the money? Do you really know what is most profitable?
Where’s the money going to be? Do you really know what’s next? Do you know what you should be tracking? Do you know what the next level of your business could be?
Do you really know your customers? Who’s buying what you’re selling? How do your customers really view your company? What makes people say “yes” or “no?”
Do you really know your competition? What strategies, tactics, marketing methods, and deliverables are they using to compete with you? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are yours in comparison?
For a FREE, no obligation review of your marketing materials, click HERE to contact us,
or call (908) 233-9344.
Do you ever check out a website and feel like you're in a ghost town? Like it's frozen in time? Don't let that be you!
DO Keep Your Site Current
Once a potential customer has found their way to your site, there is no surer way to send them away than to appear as though you're no longer in business. In scanning the home page of many businesses, when it seems to me that they don't care enough to update their site and post something occasionally, I would not count on them to deliver what I am looking for. I need to know they are active and engaged.
Furthermore, search engines will sit up and take notice when new things are happening on your site; updating is essential to maintain a good ranking.
If the last website update you performed included a reference to the 2012 Olympics, it's time to make some changes. You don't need to revamp your entire site, but make sure your home page reflects your dedication to staying current, and that you have at least 2 - 3 new items within your site for the person who hasn't stopped by in a few weeks or months. And remember to Tweet about those new items, post a link on your business's Facebook Page and add a LinkedIn Update.
DON'T Have Out of Date Content
Hand in hand with keeping new content updated, be aware of getting rid of content that is no longer relevant or valid. If you had an offer that has expired, take it off of your site. If an employee has left the company, remove them from your staff page.
Let us know how often you do this type of website housekeeping - is it monthly? Is it seasonal? Never? We can help you identify some easy places to make changes that will demonstrate your commitment to offering your customers only the best.