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More Success (18)

Friday, 27 September 2019 09:10

Nail Your Story - 5 Tips for Business Storytelling

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At Dominion Blue, our story started in 1912 with an ad featured in the city directory. It was one of eight companies involved in blueprints. We were located in the Bank of Hamilton Building at 432 Hamilton Street. Our focus was simple, offer what architects, engineers, contractors, the government and businesses wanted; preeminent quality large format Maps, Blueprints, Brown Line, and Blue Line Prints.

It was not a splashy opening, but it was honest. Our "can-do," "just-works" and our clients soon realized that we were ultimately providing print solutions that helped them to succeed. By hearing our story and knowing why we do what we do, they quickly discovered that we understood their needs.

A lot has changed since then. Of course, our state-of-the-art digital printing equipment and the breadth of our product and services offer is immense in comparison. But one thing has not changed; we've been building trust with our clients ever since that day and won't stop until we either meet or exceed each one’s expectations.

Knowing how to tell your business story needs to be a crucial part of your operations. A brand story has a strategic purpose aimed towards drawing people in. To perfect your story, try the following tips, and when you're ready give us a call because print can help bring it alive in many ways.

Five Essential Tips for Business Storytelling

To perfect your story, try the following tips:

#1: Set The Parameters

Your business story should be engaging. But if it doesn’t have a clear focus, you’ll quickly lose the attention of consumers. Establish context right off the bat.

To start your brand story, answer the following questions:

  • Who is telling the story?
  • Why is the story being told?
  • When and where is the story taking place?
  • Who are the people in the story?
  • What are the people trying to achieve?
  • What challenges are faced?

Parameters will help you develop an engaging story that makes sense to your audience. Set the scene so that consumers know exactly what you’re talking about. Most importantly, establish why you’re telling them this story. This will guide the audience through the narrative and hook them all the way to the end.

#2: Be Authentic

Authentic storytelling is key to gaining consumer trust. Don’t try to fool your audience with an over-the-top tale. Customers know when you try to pull a fast one on them, and they don’t appreciate it.

Your business’s story doesn’t need to be elaborate. In fact, if your business doesn’t have an earth-shattering history, your story shouldn’t try to create one. A genuine narrative is more likely to connect with consumers than one without a shred of truth.

Transparency celebrates your uniqueness and acknowledges the human aspect of your brand. Recognize that things are not always easy by showing your own challenges and failures. This creates an emotional connection, as well as reveals admiral characteristics, like innovation and resilience.

You might want to take an “open book” approach to communicating with customers. Explain how things are made/done at your business. For example, you might use all local ingredients at your restaurant. Use these details to create an interesting story.

#3: Have A Clear Outcome

A great business story leaves your audience with something. What lesson was learned in the story, and what should consumers learn from hearing it?

Business stories should have a clear outcome. Provide a hopeful, thought-provoking message with actionable points that compel your audience to connect with your brand.

Here’s another story for you: In the late eighties, my partner and I wanted to write software, but we were not sure about the niche we should pursue. After doing tons of research in the phonebook and at the library (there was no internet back then), we learned that employment agencies had a desperate need for a recruiting network solution. Over thirty years after launching our startup, Top Echelon’s recruiting network has hundreds of recruiting firms and millions of candidates, which helps hiring professionals make more placements.

The story gives an idea of who we are and where we come from. The outcome sparks confidence in our offerings and values. You can use your business’s real-life outcomes to convey a message to your customers.

#4: Be Consistent

A disorganized brand story leaves customers confused and uninterested. Make sure your brand is consistent across all communication channels. Use the same colors, logo, and slogan for digital and print marketing materials. The repetition of images and verbiage associated with your business creates brand awareness.

You need to be consistent when speaking about your brand. Business storytelling takes practice. Know the story inside and out before presenting it to customers. This will help you tell the story naturally.

#5: Get Customers Involved

Use business storytelling to strike an emotional connection with customers. Talk about how an event related to your business affected you and what you learned. This creates an immediate response that makes your story memorable and shareable.

People like to be a part of stories. Your customers can be characters in your brand. Come up with ways to get your audience involved.

For example, Patriot Software reached out to some of our customers to hear their startup stories. Black Sheep Boutique and Lamplighter Brewing Co. were among several companies featured in business storytelling examples on our blog. Showcasing these businesses directly linked our customers to a part of our story.

Telling the story of your brand is an ongoing process. Each day, your business grows, shifts, and adds new chapters to its story. Make business storytelling an essential part of your operations to attract and retain customers.

Source: Forbes / Written By: Mike Kappel

Marketing often gets thrown on the back burner because it feels like time away from your business.

You’re happiest when you’re talking to your audience directly.

You’re telling them all about a product, service, or cause that you care about — and there’s a level of connection there that marketing can’t touch.

Or so you think.

It’s true — there’s plenty of yawn-inducing marketing material out there that makes you wonder if the writer herself was asleep at the keyboard.

But your business can do better than that. You can share something with your audience that awakens their attention, evokes emotion, and fosters ironclad loyalty..

Make Storytelling Your Competitive Advantage

Can storytelling really do all that?

Stories are the seeds of connection. They have staying power — think back to all the stories you can still remember from your early childhood.

And they’re more important than ever as a way to stand out from your competition.

Here are a few things storytelling can do for your business:

  • Draw people in: Stories pull us in like moths to a flame. Think about your favorite TV show or the last book you couldn’t put down. Don’t worry — your brand’s story doesn’t have to be a murder mystery to get people’s attention. Just think about the basic elements of any story (characters, plot, conflict, dialogue) and how they fit into your business.
  • Open their eyes to the people behind the business: How does your audience view your business or organization? If you’re good at what you do, there’s a good chance they think of you positively. But what if you could really show them what your business means to you? Make your product, service, or mission come alive by sharing how it motivates and inspires you each day.
  • Be unique and unforgettable: There will always be businesses with new techniques and fresh approaches that claim to do something better than you. Don’t fall for the trap of trying to do what they do better — focus on doing what you do better. Think about you business’s story and figure out what makes you different. Make this a theme in the marketing materials you create and share.
  • Provide value (to your audience and yourself): Stories deliver both entertainment and education. If you write a blog post sharing how you got involved in urban sustainability you’re educating readers and also reflecting on your personal story. Putting ideas into words helps you solidify your thoughts and gain confidence. This can come in handy the next time you decide to push yourself further and speak at an upcoming industry conference.

How can you start incorporating storytelling in your business?

Once you start to see the benefits of storytelling for your business, you’ll start wondering how you can start using it right away.

Luckily, you have plenty of outlets at your disposal. Your website, your signage, brochures, and printed communications, email and direct mail, your blog, social channels, presentation centres, and so much more.

When you're ready to start planning it all out give us a call and through our Print with Insight Program you'll be turning heads your way in no time.

 

Source: Constant Contact / Written By: Miranda Paquet

Last year was all about taking risks in graphic design. But most of the graphic design trends we predicted last year have become mainstream. Like incorporating a whole new world of colour, and breathing life into print with a rainbow of metallic huges. Click HERE to download the metallic ink design guide.

8 Graphic Design Trends

What are the BIGGEST graphic design trends of 2019 that you should be following?

That’s what this design guide will tell you. For an in-depth guide to the biggest graphic design trends in 2019, check out the full article and infographic HERE.

The blog post contains a ton of examples for each trend, as well as templates that you can use to stay on top of the trends. In the video above, we introduce you to the 8 graphic design trends that we predict are going to take over in 2019. We’ve included examples from some of the biggest brands in tech right now, including Apple, Spotify, MailChimp, Facebook and more.

If you want your branding to be ahead of the curve, try incorporating some of these graphic design trends into your proposals, marketing materials, packaging and internal communications.

Source: Venngage / Written By: Ryan McCready

In a survey conducted by ResearchNow for Adobe, 76 percent of marketers believe marketing has changed more in the last two years than in the previous 50....

Convenient To Print

Convenience Is the New Currency

Time and money have always been directly correlated, and for the last several years, consumers have been short on both. Even though we’ve made quite a comeback from the dark days of the economic collapse in late 2008, the Great Recession is still fresh on everyone’s mind.

As a reaction to the substandard economy that wrapped up the first decade of the new millennium, buyers have become obsessed with finding unsurpassed value, with competitive sellers bending over backward to come up with new ways to draw in potential customers. Bottom-line pricing, impeccable service, and personalized experiences have all become crucial to staying competitive in the post-recession marketplace, but another customer demand has risen through the ranks, forcing companies to rethink the way they market their products and services.

That demand can be summed up in a single word: CONVENIENCE

Click HERE to Read the Full Article »

Source: Adobe Digital Marketing

Wednesday, 02 November 2016 13:46

[Leading For Success] Embrace The Remix

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Kirby Ferguson TED Talk

Everything Starts With An Idea

Here's a twist on Creativity and The Big Idea. Nothing is original, says Kirby Ferguson, creator of Everything is a Remix. From Bob Dylan to Steve Jobs, he says our most celebrated creators borrow, steal and transform. And how does copyright come into play. Embrace the remix.

Source: TED / Presenter: Kirby Ferguson

Monday, 19 September 2016 14:54

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

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Amy Cuddy TED Talk Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

One Small Adjustment

What can you learn about perception from a social psychologist and body language expert? If you’re one of the 16 million people who have already watched Cuddy’s compelling TED talk -- you know there’s plenty to learn. Cuddy discuses how body language and even physical posture can affect not only others' perception of you, but your own self-perception as well. Could changing your posture change your life? It just might. Watch Cuddy’s TED talk and decide for yourself if an adjustment could alter your course.

Source: TED / Presenter: Amy Cuddy

“I feel stuck. Where should I go from here?”

How To Get Unstuck in Your Career

It’s not uncommon to feel like there’s no obvious next step in your career. It’s hard work to guide yourself, especially when you’re walking into the unknown.

So what do you do when you feel stuck? Do you jump ship? Apply for a new role within your company? Or just stick it out? In the right context, any of those options could work out just fine. But how do you know which direction is right for you?

If you’re in marketing or a part of a big team, chances are you work with individuals with many different skill sets. Maybe you sit next to a woman named Tracie who’s a jane of all trades. It seems like there’s nothing she can’t do! Your other co-worker, Seth, might be the go-to-guy for all things analytics and reports. Sometimes he even holds team workshops on metrics and reporting tools.

Despite their differences, both Tracie and Seth are most likely equally valued by the company. Their roles represent two common directions an employee might pursue in one’s career, depth and breadth, and both are excellent paths to get yourself unstuck.

Click HERE » to View the Full Article

Source: Hubspot / Written By: Rebecca Corliss

When was the last time YOU listened carefully, reflectively, meaningfully and thoughtfully to a ''world-class", college commencement speech?

If your kids recently graduated, then probably recently - - BUT DID that commencement speaker's message REALLY hit home for YOU - - as well as your child? If YOU graduated from college or grad school a while back, do you even remember what YOUR commencement speaker had to say, share, his or her life-forging reflections, admonishments, hard-won lessons shared?

Each of the 7 speeches here is unique, wildly different than one another, each profound in its message. Each addressed the subject of how to embrace, manage/master or understand the rest of your adult life - - from highly-original vantage points and unexpected, deeply reflective "life-lesson processes" - - that might be relevant to YOU right now - - as YOU grapple with a tumultuous, and massively, changing world. There are a lot of BIG IDEAS left to think up and explore.

  1. Steve Jobs - 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
  2. JK Rowling - 2008 Harvard Commencement Address
  3. Eric Schmidt - 2009 Carnegie Mellon Commencement Address
  4. Winston Churchill - 1941 Harrow School Commencement Address
  5. Bono - 2004 University Of Pennsylvania Commencement Address
  6. Sheryl Sandberg - 2014 Harvard Business School Commencement Address
  7. Jeff Bezos - 2010 Princeton University Commencement Address

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When it comes to business, we talk too much about social media and expect too little. It’s like the old joke about sales people: one person says, “I made some valuable contacts today,” and the other responds, “I didn’t get any orders, either.” Companies measure the market results of their sales investments. But few have measures or even have accountable managers in place for their social media investments, and only 7% say their organizations “understand the exact value at stake from digital.” Meanwhile, according to a Gallup survey, 62% of U.S. adults who use social media say these sites have no influence on their purchasing decisions and only 5% say they have a great deal of influence.

Consider:

  • The most common metrics for evaluating social media are likes, tweets, reviews, and click-through-rates (CTRs) for online ads — not cause-and-effect links between the medium and market results. The basic investment logic is typically no deeper than a version of “Fifty million tweets or likes can’t be wrong” . . . or can they? There is justifiable skepticism about this data. Farming services spike these numbers, with evidence that one in three online reviews is fake. For $50, you can buy 1,000 Likes, 5,000 Twitter followers, or 200 Google +1s. With real people, moreover, 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads, and 85% of social media updates come from less than 30% of a company’s social-media audience. One online reviewer, Harriet Klausner, has reviewed more than 25,000 books.
  • A Forrester study found that posts from top brands on Twitter and Facebook reach just 2% of their followers (note: that’s followers, not new customers) and only 0.07% of those followers actually interact with those posts. As others have noted, people are more likely to complete a Navy Seal training program or climb Mount Everest than click on a banner ad.
  • There are, as always, opportunity costs. Since 2008, according to a McKinsey study, companies have devoted more time and money to social networks and 20% less to e-mail communications. Yet, the same study found that humble e-mail remains a more effective way to acquire customers — nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. Why? Because 90% of U.S. consumers use email daily and the average order value is 17% higher than purchases attributable to those social media.

Technology changes fast — remember MySpace and Friendster? — but consumer behavior changes more slowly. As a result, people tend to overhype new technologies and misallocate resources, especially marketers.

When banner ads first appeared their CTR was 10%, but that soon fell due to heavy usage by firms, and clutter. Research has long demonstrated that ad elasticities are generally very low, that firms often persist with ineffective ad media (because they have the wrong measures or no measures), and that companies routinely over-spend on ads (due to ad agency incentives, the fact that ad expenses are tax-deductible, and companies’ use-it-or-lose-it budgeting processes). Other research indicates that traditional offline consumer opinion surveys (when they use representative samples) are better at predicting sales than clicks, number of website visits or page views, positive or negative social media conversations, and search (although online behavior is good at tracking the reasons behind week-to-week changes in sales.)

With new media, therefore, great expectations are common and missing the goal is understandable: it takes practice and learning. But changing or dismantling the goal posts is a different story.

It’s now common to say that social media is “really” about awareness, not sales. Companies that “get” social media should be “relentless givers [who] connect instead of promote.” In fact, forget “traditional” ROI (that lovely qualifier), focus on consumer use of social media and, instead of calculating the returns in terms of customer response, measure the number of visits with that social media application. How convenient: to be evaluated with a metric without tangible marketplace outcomes. But it’s wrong, a circular argument, and smart companies should not follow this flawed business logic.

The value of any advertising, online or offline, depends on what effects it has on purchases. As Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, and other ad execs have emphasized, “our job is to sell our clients’ merchandise, not ourselves.” Those effects are difficult to measure, because consumers buy (or not) for many different reasons and even good ads in the right media have both carryover and wear-out effects that vary over the product life cycle and an ad campaign. But to justify an investment by activity and not outcomes is a tautology — we advertise because we advertise — not a meaningful business argument.

Even an activity measure, moreover, assumes the consumer can see the ad. Did you know that a display ad is deemed “viewable” if at least half of each ad is visible on your computer or smart phone for a minimum of one second? Data released in 2014 by comScore indicated that more than half of online display ads appear on parts of a web page that are not viewable. In response, the Interactive Advertising Bureau noted that for various reasons 100% viewability is “not yet possible,” but the industry should aim for 70%. In other words, hope that “only” 30% of your intended ads are not seen by anyone for at least a second!

Further, what we now know about shopping and social media activity says that online and offline behavior interact. They’re complements, not substitutes, and you ignore these interactions at your peril. The vast majority of communications on social media sites are between friends who are within 10 miles of each other. The same is true about the available data on buying behavior. As Wharton professor David Bell documents, the way people use the internet is largely shaped by where they live, the presence of stores nearby, their neighbors, and local sales taxes.

For years now, we have heard big talk about the big data behind big investments in social media. Let’s see who is behind the curtain. It’s time to expect more from social media and prove it. The Association of Advertising Agencies has refused to endorse the 70% goal and wants 100% viewability, which means if an advertiser buys 1 million impressions from a site, that site must display that ad as many times as it takes to ensure a million viewable impressions. In 2014, The Economist guaranteed those who buy space on its apps and website that readers will spend a certain amount of time there. For instance, it will guarantee that a site containing an ad appearing for three weeks will receive X hours of readers’ attention — documenting, not assuming, engagement with the medium.

Other companies try to trace the links (or not) between online platforms and sales outcomes. They buy point-of-sale data from retailers and have systems that purport to match Facebook or Twitter IDs, for example, with a given campaign and subsequent retail sales for a product. The validity of these approaches is still to be determined. And the FTC has raised concerns about privacy issues and disclosure practices, and has urged Congress to pass legislation to give consumers the right to opt out. But shining light on what does and doesn’t happen here will be a good thing.

Business success requires linking customer-acquisition efforts with a coherent strategy. You can’t do that if you are not clear about the differences between hype and reality when it comes to buying and selling. And we should care about this distinction for reasons that go far beyond making even more ads more viewable. Companies’ abilities to make better use of their resources are important for society, not only shareholders. It spurs productivity, and productivity — not just tweets and selfies — is what spurs growth.

Source: Harvard Business Review / Written By: Frank Cespedes

 

Creative Strategy

Many marketing benchmarks are easy to assess: sales, web traffic, SEO, social engagement and conversion rates. These results are tracked with hard data and as a result success is measurable. If one tactic isn't working, it's easy to try another.

But not so fast. Results are the final outcome of a marketing initiative - but where do these results originate? Let's trace back the steps. Before every successful conversion there is a strategy in place. Before every strategy is a creative idea. And all good creative ideas are fueled by extensive research and insights. This is the purpose of Creative Strategy: to set the foundation for business growth in three simple steps: 1) research 2) creativity 3) strategic planning.

Creative Strategy is essential to any marketing plan or new website, and good Creative Strategy should address the following five foundations that impact business growth:

1) Identify needs / determine goals
The only way to get a clearly defined answer is to ask clearly defined questions. A well thought out Creative Strategy will uncover the most pertinent business/brand needs to address and leverage consumer/industry insights to illustrate a custom solution.

2) Figure out a roadmap
Solutions are a great starting point - but how do we get there? It's the job of a Creative Strategist to determine the most effective way to get from Point A to Point B. What threats stand in the way and how can they be avoided? What mistakes have other businesses made and how can they be learned from? Creating a roadmap that addresses these questions is essential to mobilize your team with a bird's eye view of clear next steps.

3) What's happening?
Simply put, a Creative Strategy must be informed. What's going on in your industry? What is the competition doing? What new technology is on the horizon? What's going on in the digital and social space? A roadmap can't weave through the complexities of the business world without being well informed on what's happening...everywhere.

4) Tell a story
Content drives online success, but what drives content? A brand's point of view - their story - should set the foundation for all communication efforts. What is your brand's unique perspective and position? This will determine your messaging strategy and visual vocabulary. Every audience loves a story. What's yours?

5) Influence behavior
Great - the goals are now determined and the plan is in place. Now, what is the desired action we want the end user (the audience) to take? The more specific the action, the more effective the conversion will be. By establishing direct calls to action and intuitive online pathways for users, the strategy will translate into consumer-focused terms that are both relatable and relevant.

Creative Strategy Flow Chart

In the interest of long-term brand success, it's important to set a stable foundation and not take short cuts. It's not always directly measurable, but a sharp Creative Strategy is evident along every brand touch point, and can set the tone for messaging, design and marketing for years to come.

Source: Blue Fountain Media / Written By: James McCrae

 

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