Someone that watches your back, gives you advice on what steps to take, provides you with the exact words to say to get your message across and a companion that points you in the right direction. These are all the qualities of your company website’s best friend, Google Analytics. A smart and dependable data collection tool that measures online activity, for free!
What exactly is a design strategy and why is it important? A recent article in HOW magazine explores this subject and sheds light on the importance of developing a design strategy. In essence, design strategy is the blending of business and creative objectives. A good design strategy helps elevate design beyond something that just looks pretty to an actually a tool that helps obtain business objectives.
To be truly effective, design shouldn’t just be about what is aesthetically appealing, or what is most liked or most popular. It should be about what is aligned with the business goals and objectives and what has the ability to help meet those objectives now and in the future. A solid design strategy means your efforts will be cohesive, coordinated and reproducible, not haphazard and responsive.
So, how do you determine this sort of strategy? HOW suggests several steps:
1. Review: What are the goals and objectives that the design should meet?
2. Scan: What internal and external factors influence the design?
3. Form: How will the design meet these challenges and opportunities?
4. Implement: What exactly will be done, how and who will do it?
5. Evaluate: Does the design accomplish its goals and objectives?
6. Maintain: Should refinements be made, or should the design be kept the same?
Some of the keys that help define a design strategy are some of the same keys to good marketing in general. These include asking smart questions of internal stakeholders and finding research that helps give a good understanding and insight of the industry, audience and competitors for the product or service you are designing for. Education and immersion are critical components for design and marketing success. And as always, understanding a need can be just as important, whether you are a designer or marketer. For example, the project presented to you may be to redesign packaging because it is old and ugly. When in fact after further examination and research, the underlying need is to improve the packaging so that it is more in line with the market leader, who is the company’s closest competitor. Understanding and articulating the real need helps determine a real strategy that will work for projects now and in the future.
Good design isn’t just luck, it’s smart and strategic. Make sure you maximize your efforts and take the time to develop a solid design strategy for your projects. Not only is it smart—it’s effective too for everyone involved. You will be surprised at how smoothly projects and good ideas flow when the strategy is clearly outlined from the very beginning.
Technology and the digital age have certainly changed news reporting and public relations. The news today is dynamic, visual, hyper-paced. Editors are utilizing digital and social media for story content and verification. Blogs and bloggers are influential as well, with many journalists and brands blogging and creating original channels for information and the news. That being said, the fundamentals of good PR and press release writing still hold true and are perhaps even more important today than ever before. Brands and businesses need to remember these basics and a few new rules as they incorporate PR as an important element of the marketing mix. Here are a few fundamentals to remember:
Digital and social marketing are all the rage, but still many are not ready to fully embrace the idea. As marketers we have a hard time understanding this. Personally, I can think of about 70 million reasons why a digital and social strategy are imperative to grow your business. And those 70 million reasons are called the the Millennials, the demographic cohort following Generation X. Comprising approximately one third of the US population, they have purchasing power and are in the workforce. As they mature and gain more stature in the business world, they will have a huge impact socially and economically. You and your business need to be ready.
If not, you really should be. Smartphones and the ability to gather data and information instantly are having a tremendous impact on how purchase decisions are made. And this impact is only expected to grow in the years to come. To stay competitive in the B2B world, you need to be mobile ready. Check out Fusion’s infographic for some statistics and quick tips on how to get mobile ready.
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media channels today. Pinterest (15%) is catching up to Twitter (16%) for usage by U.S. adult internet users. And as the fastest site ever to reach 10 million unique visitors, it simply cannot be ignored. For B2B marketing, how can use this in your social media mix? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Pinterest is visual, so start with the most compelling visual content from your website. Each image you pin from your website will link back to your website. Basically, it is another tool to drive traffic to your site. Anything you have on your website can work, from product visuals, offers or call to actions, to blogs, whitepapers or even ebooks can work. Just pin the associated image, add your URL in the pin description and pinners will be taken directly to the corresponding page of your website. Also, ensure you’re your web images have clear alt text. And when pinning image files, make sure they are clearly named with search-friendly names so they are easily found, not default names like “march2-photo”.
- Use it as an opportunity to tell more of a story about your company and its culture. You can display images from company outings or events that symbolize your culture and environment. You can also create a “team” board with headshots and bios of key personnel in your organization. This all adds to your company’s character and brand. This can be a unique way to appeal to your customers.
It is cold, dreary and gloomy in Chicago. Winter here is not fun. After a stretch of particularly frigid weather, we at FUSION are looking for something to help us warm up, get inspired and give us some hope that Spring will actually get here, eventually. So, who did we turn to for lifting our creative spirits? Pantone, of course, the industry’s color authority. And so here is what Pantone has to say about color for 2013 and also their Spring fashion report.
And the Color of Year is. . .
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald. As described by Pantone it is lively, radiant and lush. A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.
Additionally, Pantone describes Emerald as:
• Sophisticated and luxurious
• Color of growth, renewal and prosperity
• Regeneration, healing and unity
Natural, fresh, and clean Emerald is versatile color that has may uses in design and fashion today. Did you happen to see Beyonce’s earrings at the Presidential Inauguration? Expect to see more of this color in the days ahead.
It can be an overwhelming task for a marketer trying to pick an advertising agency. There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some general guidelines to help you along the way:
1. Do your homework
Research your options online and via trade publications, that is an easy first step. But also take it one step further and look within your industry and see who is doing a good job and find out the resources they are using. Also, ask for referrals from companies and individual who are executing well and having success, either in your industry or beyond. This should leave you with a list of potential prospects.
Recently, Pope Benedict XVI sent his first twitter message. Within 3 days his followers grew to over 1.1 million. His handle is @Pontifex, meaning “bridge builder” in Latin. He will be posting messages in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. In the future, other languages are expected to be added.
This is remarkable on many levels and truly speaks to the power of social media in our society today. So naturally, as marketers, we have to pause and think what does this mean on a business level? We can’t seem to say it enough, especially to clients who are hesitant or reluctant—social media is here to stay. It’s reach and importance in the marketing mix are continually growing. So let’s take some time to examine and revisit what exactly Twitter can do for your business.