people working in modern full-service office at computers

Full-Service Agencies vs. Specialists in Branding and Marketing

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As your business grows and changes, so do your marketing needs. When deciding to partner with a marketing agency, how can you find the best fit?

A good place to start when choosing a marketing solution is deciding between two main types of agencies: full-service and specialists.

What’s the Difference?

Not all marketing agencies are the same, and it’s important to be aware of what differentiates them before deciding on one for your business.

Full-service agencies operate exactly as they sound — they offer a full range of marketing services. Specific offerings may vary between full-service agencies, but most provide some combination if not all of the following services:

  • Brand development and design
  • Formulating a marketing strategy
  • Website design and coding
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Marketing automation and digital promotion via email and social media
  • Content creation
  • Print Advertising
  • Sales collateral development
  • Packaging design and manufacturing

On the flip side of the coin, specialist marketing agencies provide single or a select few services. They might focus on providing just one of the services listed above, and they concentrate on a particular group of marketing channels.

The Case for Full-Service

While specialized agencies may be a good fit for businesses with a very specific, single need, full-service is highly preferred for the comprehensive objectives of most people searching for marketing help.

Knowledge

One clear advantage of an integrated agency is the breadth of expertise it brings to marketing campaigns. Most full-service agencies have extensive experience in a range of fields.

This is especially useful for smaller companies and startups that are just getting off the ground because agency professionals are able to assist at every stage of branding and marketing. From naming and tagline creation to social media promotions, a full-service agency has the capabilities to advise and implement expert strategies that deliver measurable results.

In contrast, the narrow focus of a specialized agency allows for the development of skills and expertise in one certain area. The marketing landscape, especially when it comes to digital marketing, is ever-changing, and specialists stay up-to-date with changes and advancements in their field.

That being said, most companies face a wide distribution of marketing challenges, many of which full-service agencies can help tackle.

bar graph showing companies' top marketing needs

Source: HubSpot

Ease

It is likely that your company will have more than just a single marketing need in its lifetime, and each addition of a new specialist adds more complexity to the equation. Employing multiple specialist agencies means more work for you, as you will need to act as the middleman to manage them all.

Full-service agencies take on this responsibility and simplify the process so you can focus on managing, scaling, and building your business.

The more third parties are involved, the more complicated communication becomes. It is much easier to only have to communicate with a single agency that possesses all the capabilities you need under one roof, with a team that works together.

Coherence and Consistency

When a single entity oversees your branding and marketing strategy, you can be sure your brand’s messaging will be consistent across all channels.

If you go the specialist route, you may achieve consistency within a single platform, but as soon as you begin bringing on more specialists to handle different channels, you run the risk of confusing your brand’s message.

Furthermore, full-service agencies work on different layers of marketing simultaneously. This collaboration allows for a broader perspective of your overall brand and business, while the viewpoints of specialist agencies tend to be more myopic.

jay conrad levinson quote - marketing is not an event, but a process. you improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.

Trust

Specialists naturally favor the platforms they specialize in and will therefore push for driving more resources and energy toward those specific channels. Due to diverse offerings, full-service agencies are likely to be more objective when recommending which avenues are right for your objectives.

When multiple specialists are involved, it can become difficult to decide where to focus resources. They all may advocate for a level of creative direction, and it is ultimately easier to entrust this to a single company rather than splitting ownership between several.

Cost

The cost of marketing services can vary greatly depending on need.

If you only require a single marketing service, such as packaging design for your product, a specialist agency may fit the bill. Going to a specialist can cut out middleman costs and ensure you only pay for the service you need, but in doing so, you sacrifice the wide range of expertise and options that are available from full-service agencies.

Keep in mind that your needs may expand or contract. When they do, it would certainly be more cost-effective to have a full-service agency that you can use to add or remove services as your own internal capabilities evolve. This way, you don’t have to stop everything you had with one specialist. You can ramp up or down with one broad entity that knows where you are going, and expects changes along the way as it helps you get there.

Making the Choice

There are pros and cons to both full-service and specialist marketing agencies.

If your company already has a functioning marketing team with a wide range of capabilities, it might make sense to bring in a specialist to plug a specific hole of expertise. For most companies, however, full-service agencies are the way to go because of the simplicity of having one point of contact, along with their breadth of expertise and holistic perspective on your business.

At Deal Design, we understand that the needs of every brand and business are unique and dynamic. As a full-service agency, we offer a large spectrum of expertise in various industries and have showcased this diversity for our clients over a period of two decades.

We are happy to work with businesses at every stage of the creative process. Whether you are in need of a single service or are searching for help in building your brand from the ground up, Deal Design is here to help.

 

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typography vintage letter presses

Building a Brand with Typography

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Thanks to Ryan Gosling, we’ll never forget that the international blockbuster Avatar used the font “Papyrus” for its logo title.

Hoping to save you and the rest of the world from similar typography faux pas, let’s dive into the world of typeface design and why it’s so important. While the subject of typography may seem mundane, it’s actually an extremely essential component of your brand identity, and it should never be overlooked. 

What is Typography?

Typography is the style, arrangement, or appearance of typeset matter.

Simply put, it is the way you design and format text to appropriately convey your brand’s message. Typography is the product of many different components including typeface, hierarchy, contrast, consistency, alignment, whitespace, and color. Good typography is both interesting and legible, and it serves to intentionally communicate the tone of your brand.

City Foundry webpage showing good use of typography

Source: City Foundry STL

 

Why is Typography Important?

When it comes to creating material for your brand, content is king. The way your content is represented, however, has an immense impact on whether or not people even read your content in the first place.

It’s Everywhere

The importance of typography extends far beyond the scope of logo design. The role of typography in your brand identity is massive, as it involves the design of packaging, promotional materials, websites, and social media. Typography is one of the heaviest lifters behind your brand, so it deserves careful consideration.

It’s Experiential

It’s also important to remember that while you are building a brand, you are first and foremost building an experience for your potential customers. Brian Eisenberg says, “branding is the subtotal of all the ‘experiences’ your customers have with your business.”

In light of this, bad typography, like minuscule font sizes or text that is difficult to read, translates to a bad experience and negative connotation for your brand. Beautifully formatted, easy-to-read text has the power to do the opposite and creates a positive, memorable encounter.

Magazine layout showing good use of typography, woman standing in yard with hose

Source: As If Magazine

 

It’s a Mood

Just like color does, typography helps communicate your brand’s unique tone and message. 

Different typefaces are iconic for certain moods and product markets. For example, sans-serif fonts are more modern, clean, and simple, while serif fonts give off an older vibe and are commonly used for long-form or print content. Script fonts are more personal; the large variation in script typeface ranges from elegant and classy to cute and modern. Monospace typeface usually reads as techy and edgy. 

How to Use Typography to Elevate Your Brand

Typography is important. So, how can you make sure to get it right?

As with every step of brand building, it is important to consider your voice as well as the eyes and ears of your customers. This will help you achieve a balance between brand authenticity and appeal to your target market. 

Browse the style of brands you admire or those successfully and artfully implementing typeface in your industry. Pay attention to the way the design of the text makes you feel, and note whether this feeling is in alignment with the entire brand and product identity.

Of course, it is always helpful to have marketing experts to consult on matters of brand creation and development. At Deal Design, we commit to learning every detail of the message you wish to communicate via your brand, and we find the perfect typographic match.  

Deal Design is here to masterfully create your dream brand by utilizing typography alongside other brand design and marketing tools. 

It’s time to find your voice. However you choose to do so, stay far away from the font “Papyrus.” 

 

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Influencer girl behind camera filming herself

Influencer Marketing Strategies

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When you’re shopping around for a product or service, how do you decide where to buy it from? For all of consumer history, people have sought advice on purchasing decisions from friends and family — trusted individuals within their social networks. Today isn’t much different. Now, however, our social networks have grown and the influencer marketing platform has developed. They include not only the people we know in real life, but also those whom we keep up with online – influencers.

Social media has created a massive opportunity for companies to market their products within pockets of similar people. This method makes identifying and accessing target markets easier. It is also full of potential pitfalls, as it involves working with influential individuals who have their own established agendas.

This raises the question: how can businesses effectively utilize infuencer marketing while still maintaining authenticity and integrity?

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing capitalizes on the idea that we are most likely to turn to people we trust for advice about purchasing decisions. Even though social media influencers aren’t people we necessarily know well, their presence online makes us feel like we know them, and soon, we’re buying the laundry detergent they posted about, simply because they posted about it.

So, who are these people?

An influencer is anyone who has gained a following within a particular niche and who has the power to affect the purchasing behavior of others, either because of his or her authority, knowledge, or relationship with his or her audience. That’s why selecting a good influencer fit is essential to the success of the campaign as you are likely to be remembered if the influencer really has an understanding of your campaign and can sell it to potential clients in the best way they know how.

These individuals are in perfect positions for brands looking to gain recognition from consumers who fall within their specific niche. Companies leverage the reach of influencers through co-creation of content or product endorsements. And it works.

Is it Worth Trying?

There are tons of statistics about the effectiveness of incorporating influencers into marketing strategies, and they speak for themselves.

For instance, 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective. The consumer’s perspective may be even more convincing: about 40% of people reported they purchased a product online after seeing it used or promoted by an influencer on YouTube, Instagram or Twitter.

Infographic about influencer marketing success statistics

Source: MediaKix

Influencer marketing has significant appeal. It has the potential to do a lot for businesses, both in terms of brand awareness and direct response (sales/conversions, lead generation, etc.). The benefits are alluring, but there are several factors to consider before diving in.

Tips for Incorporating Influencers into Your Marketing Strategy

Formulate Clear Goals

As with any new marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to start by identifying your goals and KPI’s. Are you looking to increase your following on a specific social media channel? Is your hope to generate a certain number of sales directly from this source? Make your goals specific and measurable.

Another important consideration is your target market. Ask yourself if there is an online niche overlapping with that market. Then, see who is effectively reaching and engaging people within that crowd.

Pay Attention to Follower Count

When searching for an influencer, you might think the person with the most followers has the farthest reach, but marketing with micro-influencers, that is, those with between 5,000 and 100,000 followers, is proven to have more conversions. These “smaller” influencers are more cost-effective, making them an ideal option for startups or first partnerships. They also have highly specific niches and are better at engaging their audiences. Ideally, you could come to an arrangement with an influencer who has a humble amount of followers, who then grows in popularity thanks to Socialfollow® or a variety of things that could throw them into the spotlight, therefore meaning more exposure for your product at no additional cost.

Carefully Consider Your Platform

Finally, there are several different platforms to consider when searching for influencers. Instagram is a go-to, particularly for companies wishing to engage younger audiences. YouTube is an exceptional option because of its versatility and the engaging nature of video; when researching a purchase decision, 4 out of 5 millennials go to video content first.

The trend in utilizing the influence of online figures to market products has left some platforms so saturated with advertisements that users are beginning to tire of constantly being targeted for sales. When considering influencer marketing as an option for your brand, it’s important to consider whether there are existing influencers in your target niche whose style and content are also in line with your brand. That way, you can strategically place content that catches the eyes of potential clients or consumers without sacrificing authenticity.

At Deal Design, we are passionate about helping businesses communicate their unique message to the world in a way that resonates. Whether or not influencer marketing is an ingredient in the mix, we are here to help design and implement the best strategies for your brand.

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an interview with David Deal, sitting looking intently at camera

An Interview With David Deal

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There are countless people today with great ideas for products and services that have the potential to change the world. But in such a saturated marketplace, entrepreneurs are constantly facing the challenge of catching the right people’s attention. This makes quality brand marketing more important than ever. 

If you have an idea but aren’t sure where to start when it comes to showing that idea to the world, it can be difficult to get off the ground. Developing a brand to broadcast your idea can seem overwhelming. It’s helpful to partner with people you can trust and rely on to communicate your unique message. 

One such professional, David Deal, is one of the principals and Art Directors at Deal Design. In this interview, he talks about some of the intricacies of bringing products to market, his fascinating history and journey to where he is today, and the continued growth and change of the design and marketing industry. 


What first attracted you to the world of graphic design?

I was always good at art, and I always knew I wanted to be an artist. But in elementary and middle school, I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t really know what the world of art was like, and it wasn’t until I actually went to college at Florida State University that I discovered what graphic design was. It was a field you could go into that made all of these things like advertising on television and product packaging in grocery stores and magazines. My eyes opened up to how much graphic design is all around the world. I realized, ‘Wait, I could be an artist, but I could make a living too? That’s for me.’ That really appealed to my desire to not starve.

What led you to start Deal Design, and how did you do it?

Well, [my wife] Nancy and I met in design school at Laguna College of Art and Design, and we were married right after I graduated. Then, when the ‘dot-com’ industry went ‘dot-bomb,’ which happened right around 2000, all of the funding for these internet companies evaporated like crazy. The company I worked for went under too because it lost its funding. 

It was a terrible time to find a job as a creative because everybody who was in the creative field supporting a lot of these information-technology companies was out looking for jobs, and there weren’t any. The company I was working for had prepaid for our office, so we had it for another three months. We also had computer equipment they were just going to give us, and that was our start. We just did it, and month after month, we didn’t know how we were going to pay the bills and make the mortgage payment; somehow it just happened every month, barely. And it started growing slowly from there. So, we really started it out of desperation and necessity.

How has Deal Design changed since its beginning in 1999?

I think we’ve changed as the digital revolution has changed. Some things in our industry haven’t changed much at all. For example, product packaging is still a big part of our business and a lot of the reason companies find us — they have a new product they’re trying to bring to market, they know they need a package, and that ends up being the [starting] place for them to go out and find an agency to help.

Then, once those people find us, we also realize, well, you need branding for your product and packaging design, a website, and digital marketing. Our services have grown as digital marketing has grown. [It has become] a much more primary avenue for companies to promote their products versus how it used to be 20 years ago when your products were in a store, or you were advertising in magazines or using direct mail to try to sell your products. The internet revolution, web, and social have really changed a lot, so our services have kind of fluxed with it. 

There’s been almost a dying off of the art of printing that’s been happening with the digital revolution. There’s a lot of art and craft in printing that schools aren’t teaching the newer generation of designers. We end up teaching our people when they come in about spot color and special effects and how to set up jobs to go to print for offset lithography.

When we started, it was when the Macintosh computer was first entering the marketplace. The first Mac Classic just came to our college, and we had to schedule time to use it. Since then, everything has gone [to] computer. We learned the old-fashioned ways of doing things, and now we’ve come along with the new digital generation too. So, it’s nice seeing both sides.

What is your favorite part about operating your own design agency?

It’s being able to create and nurture a brand from the ground up. People will come to us with a great product idea that serves a purpose [or] solves a problem, and then [we] wrap a brand around it and create its visual look, the messaging, and how it’s going to communicate what it does to the people they’re trying to sell it to. 

In the beginning, it’s all foggy and hard to visualize. It’s difficult for our clients, too, because they don’t have a brand yet to see and feel good about [at that stage]. It’s almost like planting a seed and watering it; it sprouts and grows, and then it blooms and blossoms and creates fruit, which is the point of selling. That’s the most exciting part. [I love] the excitement in our clients when they see it all come together and come to life, and it’s working, and it’s selling, and now they feel like a real company.

It's funny how when the brand comes to life, everything finally seems real, and before then, it seems like you're faking it

What do you think attracts businesses to your agency?

We have been told that some of the things that make us unique are that clients get direct access to us as the principals, and we’re providing all the work that comes through the agency. We’re not a high-volume agency where we’re just shoving work into the machine and you get a low, junior-level person who’s doing it all who doesn’t have a lot of experience. Everybody on our team is highly qualified and very talented, and our direct supervision is on everything that goes through. We’re personally interacting with our clients, so I think they really value that there’s a lot of experience behind all the work to develop their brand or product. 

We also have a lot of understanding of all the different kinds of manufacturing and printing processes as well as digital marketing, so we understand the whole lifecycle of creating, developing, manufacturing, and marketing a product. So, it’s not like we’re just good at doing one thing. A lot of times we can help point them in the right direction to solve other problems or fill in gaps they haven’t solved for yet in manufacturing, just because we have done it all.

Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?

Yes. When I was working for a company called Air Media in 1997, the whole world was still sold on the idea of going online for information, while we were saying ‘go wireless’. The internet was starting up, everyone was connecting through modems, and you were having to pay per minute for access to the internet. 

[At] this company I was helping to start up, Air Media, we re-engineered Motorola’s flex chipset that was in brand new digital phones. These data networks were paging networks that received paging signals. We decided we could push a lot more information through them. We could push news feeds and stock updates and alerts that you had an email waiting for you through these wireless networks. They were broadcast right to your desktop device or to your wireless phone, which was becoming data capable. This way, you wouldn’t have to go online to know this stuff; it would come to you.

This was a really cool idea, and we won Software Product of the Year in PC Magazine. We were winning all these awards. In order to do that though, we had to develop this kind of gateway, so the data networks that used to just push out a phone number to pagers could push out a lot more data in chunks. We had to create this thing we called a Short Messaging Service. We were awarded the patent, and then we shortened the name to “SMS,” the infancy of texting. And the user interface for our product, AirMedia Live looked a lot like Apps do today. 

What are your hopes for the future of Deal Design?

I’m hoping that we can grow to be more of a bridge [between] digital and traditional marketing. There are terms out there now — some people call it omnichannel marketing or multi-channel marketing — and I think that is really the future of things. While digital takes the lead, at some point in time, there’s a physical connection that has to happen. You need to get something in the mail, or there’s going be some way you customize the experience for each person based on how they shop and what they’re interested in. So, it’s how to bridge all of this together, and it’s how to communicate and orchestrate it all — [that] really is the future of where marketing, branding, and manufacturing are going to end up. 


 

Partnering with qualified leaders and creative minds could be the next step in transforming your idea into a reality. Contact us to find out how Deal Design can help create and market your unique brand.

If you’re interested in following Deal Design’s journey, connect with us on Facebook.

Behavior-Based Marketing is Transforming the Business Landscape

Behavior-Based Marketing is Transforming the Business Landscape

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Imagine this: your dad’s birthday is this weekend, so you grab your phone and start sifting through an online store in search of a gift for him. Just after you’ve found the perfect barbecue accessory and put it in your shopping cart, you get an emergency call from your sister asking if you can babysit her kids tomorrow night. You agree, you hang up the phone, and you completely forget about the gift for dad.

Until… a few hours later, you receive an email from someone at Barbecues R Us asking if you’re still interested in purchasing the meat thermometer you left in your cart. You quickly log back on and complete the transaction, and thankfully, dad’s birthday is saved!

The reminder email you receive in situations like these is an example of behavior-based marketing automation. It’s a strategy that is changing the way businesses interact with their customers. People are bombarded with messages all day long, many of which are from companies encouraging them to buy their products. In such a saturated market, many businesses are searching for better methods of connecting with potential and existing clients.

Stand Out From The Competition

The answer lies in personalization. People are far less likely to open a generic email they know was sent to thousands of people than they are to open one that speaks directly to them and addresses a specific need they have. But how can you know if a potential lead has a need that your business can fill?

According to research from Gleanster, over 50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy on the day they convert to your site, but that doesn’t mean they never will be. This means your attempts to sell may annoy over half of the people who visited your site. Sending an email to everyone who converts, then, may not be the best idea.

Marketing automation software like SharpSpring includes features that allow you to identify when prospects are ready to buy or when they would most benefit from receiving content from you. Many of these softwares include workflows, which are like maps that allow you to visualize a potential buyer’s journey. They also assign lead scores to prospects as they engage with your content. This gives you a better idea of which leads are most likely to become clients. These tools allow you to put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyer and to automate marketing tasks, such as sending a targeted email, when he or she would be most receptive.

Automation Saves Time and Resources

One of the most attractive aspects of marketing automation is that it makes the marketing process more efficient. Instead of wasting time and money sending emails or making sales calls to people who are not interested in what you’re offering, you can focus your energy on building relationships with the most promising leads.

The goal here is not to eliminate the role of marketers. Rather, it’s to make marketing more effective so that your business can quickly reach clients and generate more revenue. By automating tedious tasks like sending emails and posting on social media, marketers can focus more on creating valuable content.

Great Relationships Equal Great Business

At the heart of every successful business is a commitment to building and nurturing strong relationships with consumers. You know your current clients are already invested in your product or service. Keep them engaged! In addition to excellent products, people desire quality relationships. Automated marketing can help you stay on top of communication with existing clients without sacrificing authenticity.

At Deal Design, we understand the complexities of generating and nurturing leads. We offer expertise in integrating behavior-based marketing automation into your business model. Our marketing approach can help connect your business with clients who are ready to invest in your company’s offerings.

 

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Choosing the Right Colors to Represent Your Brand

Choosing the Right Colors to Represent Your Brand

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Color is a key aspect of design that greatly impacts the creation and development of a brand. The human mind perceives and associates different meanings with specific colors, and this is an important implication for design decisions. Because sight is one of our most vital senses as we go about daily life, color sparks ideas and generates specific memories and emotions. Colors have significance – for example, red is a color we associate with the words “warning” or “no”, while green means “go” or “life”. Bright hues tend to set a happy and positive mood while darker shades tend to signify the opposite. Within the psychology of colors, warm tones show excitement, optimism, and creativity; cool tones symbolize peace, calmness, and harmony. So, if mood and decision making are affected by color, choosing the right pigments to represent your brand is crucial.

When developing a brand, the product or service has a target market and a purpose geared toward sales. Identifying these components is the first step in choosing the right colors to represent your brand. Is the target market of the brand a student in his or her 20s? A technology user? Someone who is active and enjoys fitness? Do your products promote relaxation and a sense of calm? These aspects of your brand are crucial when selecting colors. The following are some colors with their accompanying feelings and emotions that are often used to represent brands.

1. Pantone Color of the Year 2019: PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral

Advertised as “vibrant, yet mellow,” this coral color exudes a fun, lighthearted vibe that isn’t at all domineering. It is uplifting and spirited, but it also keeps its cool. This color would be a smart choice for a millennial target market or for a product related to beauty or body care.

2. PANTONE 306 C

PANTONE 306 C

The color blue is commonly associated with tranquility. Brands can use this color to impart relaxing, soothing feelings surrounding their product or service.

3. PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet

PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet

Violet evokes slight drama and ingenuity. Its cooler tone balances its depth which makes a brand stand out while simultaneously communicating a sense of calm and ease. Purple hues such as these work best with innovation-centered brands wishing to differentiate themselves from the pack.

4. PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa

PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa

The human brain is naturally drawn to yellow shades because it evokes the warm, comforting sensation given off by the sun. This color has a happy, exuberant feel to it, so it is perfect for branding that aims to communicate joy and excitement.

5. PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery

PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery

For brands and products related to nature, a green color palette is a no-brainer. Green hues give off earthy vibes and convey a “fresh start” concept.

First impressions are extremely important, especially when it comes to selling your products to consumers. A majority of the first impressions people make have to do with the feeling they experience when they encounter a product, and color use is a huge factor in determining that feeling.

What impression is your brand making on your target market? Deal Design can help implement clever use of color to elevate your brand and help you stand out from the crowd.

Amazon and Google Value Brands Over Products

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As digital marketers and online retailers have come to notice, the way people purchase items has drastically changed over the past 10 years. We use to shop online for generic items sold from a commodity-positioned e-commerce site. Now, those generic domains are being downgraded as authority sites thanks to Amazon’s introduction of Branded Storefronts and Google Rankings that favor brand domains over generic domains. These goliaths of the Internet are the leading forces shaping the growing importance of developing a brand online shopping – not just selling products.

Amazon introduced branded stores in 2017, marking a shift in thinking for the leader in e-commerce. Amazon is now allowing consumers to search based on brands, not just product types. There is evidence that branded stores on Amazon are being organically ranked higher than generic product listings.

Google has been favoring brand name domains instead of generic names like “autopartsproducts.com” for several years now. Exact match domains (EMDs) appear to be given a lower authority ranking by Google, in favor of branded domains. Consumers who are searching “auto products” will be given websites of brand domains that are specific and established far before they are presented with autopartproducts.com. Google’s algorithm for determining rankings is very complex, which is why perfecting SEO is a difficult task. For this reason, many businesses prefer using things like Bigfoot Digital SEO Services in order to ensure that their site gets the best possible rankings on Google.

In a recent article from WordStream, the author articulates that EMDs lost their value in online search engines when consumers became conditioned to distrust generic web domains.

Using these market forces as predictors of future trends, it is obvious to see that brands are here to stay. Building a strong online brand presence is still essential to selling online and at retail. Even as digital development are moving at a blinding pace, the value of strong brand remains constant. So ask yourself, are you building a brand line of products and services, or just selling products and services?

Brand Versus Logo

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The word “brand” is dictionary-defined as a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. However, this definition only scratches the surface of how a brand is defined in the world of design. “Brand” means something different to everyone, whether that person is a current consumer, potential customer, employee, prospect, or individual within a larger population. Brands can take various forms: a human, an idea, a place, an experience, or a tangible object. This makes the word “brand” difficult to define and describe… and that’s why each successful brand has a logo.

Logos serve as an iconic representation of a brand. A logo is a way for someone to quickly recognize and comprehend how a product or service relates to them. The logo design is the graphic expression of the brand, but building a brand is much deeper and more valuable.

Successful brands develop logos that have more than plain text of their name; they have a specific detail that indicates the brand’s overall intention, goal, or service provided. These details make the brand stand out among the competition.

The following are 4 successful companies that have developed brands and logos that represent them:

  1. Amazon:

This iconic logo has a smiley face arrow underneath the brand name which depicts the brand’s intention: customer service and efficiency.

  1. FedEx:

FedEx creatively incorporates a secret arrow in between the E and the X in their logo which represents the brand as a delivery service.

  1. Taco Bell:

The bell that is used in the Taco Bell logo represents the Hispanic culture related to Taco Bell’s fast food. The bell can also be associated with a ringing bell indicating that the food is ready!

  1. Target:

The iconic target icon for the store Target indicates the shopper will hit a bullseye while shopping for what they are looking for.

The Secret Life of Product Catalogs

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With the increasing reliance on eCommerce sales, the printed product catalog has become more scarce. However, leading brands understand the often-overlooked power of catalogs for brand building and continue to invest in them.

Printed catalogs do things that eCommerce Web sites cannot:

  • They contain high quality printed photos of products and lifestyle photos with sharp detail, in a larger size than your laptop or phone screen
  • They remain in constant vision, reminding you of the brand, even when you are not online
  • They provide instant access to product info without having to be in front of your computer
  • Millennials are only 15% likely to ignore direct mail, compared to 50% who say they ignore digital ads, according to a report from the U.S. Postal Service
  • They hold viewer attention longer than websites due to the ease of page-flipping without waiting for page loading
  • Catalogs are often shared and viewed by others, compounding their brand-building power and product sales.

Here are some examples of our favorite brands that understand the secret power of.printivity.coatalog printing:

 

Reef

As Deal Design’s client, Reef develops seasonal catalogs for their buyers three times a year. The continuous cycle of products, new styles, and on-trend branding reminds buyers of their success in sales with Reef products and therefore keeps their title as one of the top-selling surf-inspired brands in the US.

Restoration Hardware

This high-end furniture company sends out a massive catalog to its exclusive mailing list with high-end photography, exquisite design elements, and aesthetically pleasing layouts. This catalog serves as a high-quality coffee table reader – not just a spread of products.

Harry & David

When the holiday season comes around, loyal Harry & David customers receive their seasonal catalog with all of their best selling products. For many, this is a visual reminder to order their loved ones or coworkers a holiday gift. This visual reminder boosts sales and increases brand recognition.

Ulta

Ulta is a leading beauty supply company that is known for the mass production of its consumer catalogs. What makes Ulta stand out among other catalog mailers is the company’s reliance on discounted product prices advertised as ‘on sale.’ This deal does not require a coupon. The strategy uses discount offers to get bargain shoppers in their stores. And here’s a not-so-secret ‘secret’ – bargain shoppers go shopping with other bargain-shopping friends.

Wileyx

This eyewear company provides the ultimate protection of eyewear and gloves for the military, law enforcement, and civilian markets. Their catalogs are created, developed, and designed with their buyers in mind. Each lifestyle photo represents the customer, and every description of a product has focused and detailed language. The buyers see the catalog and instantly want to be immersed in the landscape with the models. It is rare to find a catalog that encourages a lifestyle as well as the product itself.

Even though we are in a digital age, the printed page still holds a profound place of importance in marketing. Take your time developing a catalog style that fits your brand – not just a copy of what other brands produce. Be authentic to your brand, and your customers will reward you with loyalty. Consider these questions when developing your catalog:

  1. What products most drive your sales? Put them up front!
  2. What products define your brand image? Leverage them to set you apart from competitors.
  3. What experience do you want your customers to have while flipping through the pages of your catalog? Think of your catalog like a movie or novel that tells a story.
  4. How can your products reflect a lifestyle? People want to live a lifestyle first, and then select products that support that lifestyle, second.
  5. Need some help developing a catalog worthy of your brand? We are here to help.

Contact Deal Design for a catalog design that builds your brand and drives sales!

6 Steps for Success Using Personas in Content Marketing

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‘Personas’ are semi-fictional profiles of commonly reoccurring customers. Utilizing this marketing tactic helps the marketing and sales people within your company get out of their own heads and into the mindset of a specific kind of customer. Agencies like NGP Integrated Marketing Communications rarely need to do this, as they are always tuned in to their client’s exact needs. In doing this, you are able to consider how a customer sees you and your products. You are able to speak a language more familiar to that customer and focus your time demonstrating how your products and services will help solve that customer persona’s specific problems. This process also helps define the various customer types that buy your products or services. Once defined, each persona needs to have a specific content marketing initiative tailored to them. The online presence of your business is vital for marketing, as you need to know your target market before advertising to them. However, you always hear about some companies that get help with their marketing from top digital marketing agency services local to them. If your business seems to be struggling with marketing, you might want to look into online branding help or you may decide to create your own strategy using personas. Some successful marketing strategies begin with the persona and build outward from there.

The following is a 6-step process you can use to create, execute, and measure the effectiveness of Persona-driven content marketing in your campaigns:

1. Define your persona(s)

  • Analyze your existing customers
  • Look for similarities in customer types
  • Segment out repeating characteristics to help shape your personas

Example:

Persona Name: Holly Humansky
(pick a fun or creative name. This persona is in Human Resources)
Title: Director or Manager, Human Resources
Company Industry: Technology
Years of Experience: 8-15
Gender Split: 80% Female. 20% Male.
Responsibilities:
-Manages a small team of HR professionals
-Manages an annual budget
-Tasked with ongoing professional development of existing employees
-Create a positive work environment that retains talent
-Ensure employees are properly trained for workplace compliance
Challenges Faced:
-Small team has to quickly onboard and train personnel in a high turnover environment
-Any changes in budget spending have to be approved by a CFO who is analytical
-Needs to demonstrate her personal value to the company
-High-quality talent is often recruited away by higher-paying offers
-Employees frustrated with lack of internal professional growth opportunities
Sources of Industry News:
– Society of Human Resource Management
– The Achievers Employee Engagement Platform
– Human Resource Publications
– HR Symposium of the Bay

2. Develop marketing tactics that speak to your persona(s) in a relatable language

  • Familiarize yourself with topics of concern to this persona
  • How would your persona speak to colleagues?
  • What terms are common in their field?
  • What common issues are brought up as problems to overcome? Pay attention to the words they use to describe them (especially acronyms or abbreviated terms — these show you speak their language)
  • What industry articles, news, and information would this persona find helpful?
  • Create a plan for the original creation or syndication of content that will help this persona
  • Find a way to connect your product or service to these content works so they recognize your ability to solve their problems

3. Place or distribute your marketing tactics in places that will engage your customer targets based on how that persona consumes content

Deliver these popular content works via email and on your web site:

  • Articles
  • White Papers
  • Videos
  • InfoGraphics
  • Webinars
  • Tip & Tricks
  • Best Practices

4. Measure the effectiveness of your content

  • Use Marketing Automation systems (Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, etc.) to monitor consumption of these content works
  • Assign lead score values to the content, and track consumption over time
  • Look for trends: what content is consumed most by those who become customers?
  • Rank these successful content works as higher value
  • Conduct surveys that ask your target personas what they have found valuable, and ask for suggestions to improve

5. Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t

  • Continue doing more of what drives sales and positive feedback
  • Discontinue tactics that plateau or perform negatively

6. Refine persona(s) based on your learnings.

  • (Back to step one and repeat the cycle)

Sophisticated digital marketers will measure the content consumed by your personas (now actual target customers in digital marketing campaigns), watch which ones are consumed more by customers who buy, and focus on creating related content. You get smarter over time, and your percentage of won business should increase over time as well.

Now What?

Use the 6 steps above to create a persona for every type of customer you have. Often you will find there are differences within each broad Persona, especially the ‘Challenges Faced’ section, that differ by industry type. For example, another HR Director in a retail industry may face problems associated with the high cost of risk management, lawsuits resulting from safety infractions, and worker’s compensation due to on-the-job-injuries. These are all key areas that your product offering might address in very different ways than the challenges faced by the technology company’s HR Director.

Create a Content Marketing program for each Persona and create regular content focused on how your product solves the Persona’s challenges using language and terminology specific to that Persona. Make these content pieces the topics of your blog posts, email blasts, case studies, videos, etc. Furthermore, if you’re a digital marketing agency looking to expand your business, researching a white label marketing platform might also be useful.

Stay the Course! This is a marathon, not a sprint. You will see success over months and years of this practice, and you will get better at it over time. Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t, and stay open to being inspired by the learnings that come to you along the way.

Ready for some help elevating your Digital Marketing with this kind of persona-driven content marketing?

Ask Deal Design how we can help.