Our Blog – Page 3 of 6 – Arkside

19
Apr

Al Jazeera America: A Marketing Failure

“One on-air personality said management’s view was ‘if we build it, they will come.’ They didn’t.”

As we routinely tell our clients, the days of “if you build it, they will come” ended after Field of Dreams.

The notable and relatively new entrant to the American news mediascape, Al Jazeera America, is scheduled to shut down by April 30, 2016. While there are heaping reasons for this abrupt termination, the vast majority involve marketing failures. From a doomed name and laughable Al Gore connection to a poor understanding of the market and public management failures – all roads pointed to a disastrous conclusion.

The Beginnings of Al Jazeera America

Al Gore became a joke after surrendering the 2000 U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush. His one-note-Johnny routine about climate change while owning a massive energy-swallowing home, sexual harassment of a masseuse, and separating from his wife, led to a steep decline of his stature in politics and environmentalism. He also was a partial owner of Current TV, a low-level cable television network in the United States. It was the sale of this network that not only allowed the foothold for Al Jazeera America, but helped to further erode Al Gore’s reputation. He was harshly criticized for selling an American media company to terrorists.

Strangely, no one cared about Current TV before it’s sale to Al Jazeera – with one notable moment of exception. Two of its journalists were arrested after crossing the North Korean border in 2009. Their investigative reporting skills did not include map reading. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (the former boss of their current boss) secured their release. Thus ended the newsworthiness of Current TV until it was sold. At it’s height, the network reached a paltry 31,000 viewers per day. Total. To Gore’s credit, he was able to sell the network with almost no audience to the Qatari government for $500,000,000. (That’s $16,129 per viewer!)

Within the first two months of Al Jazeera America, it shed nearly two-thirds of that audience and reached a pathetic 13,000 people per day. Total.

Even MSNBC was over 120,000 per day.

You Can’t Be “Al Jazeera” in America

For reasons that continue to elude employees, observers, and the American public, Al Jazeera’s management never seemed to fully understand the poison pill presented by their name. Given the public hesitation to anything Arab or Muslim after September 11th, it should have been easy to grasp the need for a more acceptable brand name. Presenting an Arab news network with an Arab name and a terrible reputation in the United States seemed puzzling. Unfairly, most Americans only associated Al Jazeera with their occasional broadcasts of propaganda from Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. But perception was reality and perception began on day one.

This brand crisis was only magnified by their Arabic logo. America is a melting pot and has learned to listen to foreign names all the time. There are Arab construction companies, racing teams, and many other Arab-named entities in the U.S. But to actually use a logo written in Arabic was a visual reminder that Al Jazeera America had nothing to do with America. It is difficult to convince anyone you’re American if everything about you is not.

Their brand was an American disaster visually and audibly.

Al Jazeera and Cable Distributors

The conundrum of bad branding was strangely mitigated by a limited audience. It is hard to make a terrible first impression if you aren’t allowed to make the first impression. Just days before Al Jazeera America was set to go on air, AT&T U-verse dropped the channel. This followed prior decisions by Comcast and Time Warner Cable not to air the station at all. Their possible audience size now dropped precipitously below 100 million homes.

Technology and regulation also posed a problem. The still-successful Al Jazeera English is the English language version of Al Jazeera. It is popular on a global scale, especially it’s internet stream. But Al Jazeera was trying to build a TV network, not a stream. So they prohibited streaming to the US. That narrow-minded decision again limited their exposure and opportunities to drive traffic to their fledgling American network. The CEO, Al Anstey, admitted as much with this line from the email announcing the station’s closure: “The decision is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in an increasingly digital world, and because of the current global financial challenges.”

News Coverage Quality

Al Jazeera never succeeded but it was not due to a poorly produced product. They won every major journalism and media award possible including the Emmy, Peabody, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University awards. The hired top talent away from other TV news networks and other journalism media. Although occasionally accused of having a “Middle East bias” in their coverage, they were routinely recognized for being objective and presenting a unique voice in American media.

But no one will give you a chance to be objective in their home if they think it comes from the mouth of a terrorist.

Al Jazeera Management Failures

Every single one of the problems listed above could be fixed by a stable and competent management team. Al Jazeera America never found that team. They were in a constant state of management “desperation” as they made frequent changes and suffered internal drama. Every department saw departures as Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar applied constant pressure for success. Few were ever managing long enough to make a difference.

In some instances, these personnel shifts and a substantial wrongful termination lawsuit, once again brought forth the idea of an anti-American bias with preference given to Middle Eastern employees. Certainly not the desired picture when trying to appeal to an American audience.

Bad Marketing Dooms Al Jazeera America

The media landscape in America is extremely competitive. Ask MSNBC. To find success, even with a unique voice, is a challenge. But when your marketing -from your name to your HR policies- build and support a notion that you are the opposite of what you claim, you will ultimately fail. Competitors will relish in your misery and make sure your customers know. Partners will feel as though they are part of a lopsided relationship. And customers will choose an alternative.

Bad logo
Bad name
Weak exposure
Internal drama
Lacking support

All of this dooms what was otherwise a well-made product.

22
Feb

10 Worst Reasons to Advertise

Over the years we have heard some strange reasons/excuses for advertising. The initiative is usually based in good intentions and then gets lost somewhere along the way of “where should we advertise”.

Below are the top 10 (or bottom 10) worst reasons to choose (or not choose) a particular advertising strategy:

10 worst reasons to advertise
10. “The competition did it and they’re doing great.” – Did they do great because of the ad you saw? Is there another campaign you’re not aware of? The devil is in the details and you don’t know enough about your competition’s operations to attribute perceived success to one particular campaign. And finally, maybe they’re not doing as well as you think. Could be a house of cards.

9. “It’s my favorite station.” – Don’t assume you represent your target market. It can be hard for owners to view their companies objectively. Your favorite radio or TV station, or favorite celebrity, may not resonate well with your audience.

8. “It’s on my way to work.” – Which is more important: you seeing it or your potential customers seeing it? Focus on their way to work before your own.

7. “Those colors are really popular right now.” – That doesn’t mean they work with your brand, or speak to your audience, or match your message. Choose function over form. Stay true to your own style so your customers are not confused.

6. “I’ve never clicked/called/responded to one of those before.” – You haven’t but others probably have. You may not be a skydiver, but other people jump out of planes all the time. We hear this often about Google ads. Literally millions of their ads get clicked every day and generate sales. That’s why they did more than $60 BILLION in advertising sales last year. Someone clicked.

5. “It’s funny.” – If you’re goal is to be a stand-up comedian, than this is a good reason. If your goal is to sell more of your products or services, this may be a terrible reason. If your brand isn’t funny, don’t try to make people laugh with your marketing. Humor can be a great element if it fits the overall goal.

4. “I get a free trip.” – True, but unemployment is a permanent vacation. That’s what you’ll get if you waste money on ineffective advertising. Trip or no trip, invest in marketing that will achieve a measurable goal.

3. “It worked when I did it years ago.” – Marketing changes. Daily. Most importantly – the lives of your customers are changing. They have more media options, are spending more frugally, and are more informed (and empowered) than ever. Newspapers are no longer focusing on print. Facebook has more targeting capability now than they did a month ago. Billboards don’t need to be printed. Don’t rely on old success as a barometer for the future.

2. “Everyone will see it.” – And then what? Being seen doesn’t sell more. If you’re the commercial everyone saw and hated or the commercial everyone saw and forgot, being seen didn’t help. Prioritize results above fame.

1.  “It’s cheaper.” – In most cases, you get what you pay for.

18
Feb

The Best Salesperson

Are you the best salesperson?

All of our career openings (jobs fill time – careers fill passions) are posted on our ad agency jobs page. So why are we writing a blog post about our current sales openings? Simple. One of our designers got it in her head to make an ad for them. Weird, right? An ad agency making creative advertising. Who would have thought?

So if you are good enough to answer “Yes” to the questions below, we want to talk to you. We’re looking for those people that care about customer service, want to solve marketing challenges, and enjoy a creative environment. Oh – the pay is good and benefits come with it. Learn more about the positions and contact us today.

Can you sell salt to a snail?

 

Can you sell ice to a polar bear?

 

Can you sell milk to a cow?

Client: Arkside Marketing, Inc.
Campaign: “The Best Salesperson”
Media: Web
Designer: Amanda Johnson

3
Nov

Sell the Car Experience Instead of the Car

People don’t love buying cars.
People love driving cars.

Going fast. Showing friends and family. Personalizing with accessories. Even the new car smell. You can buy it in sprays, little mirror trees, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. No one feels nostalgic for the “low” payment or the warranty. They love the experience that is uniquely part of owning a vehicle. So why are dealerships continuously and relentlessly focused on everything but ownership?

People Hate Buying A Car

“The dealership experience is as old as the car industry, roughly 100 years old. While cars have changed, the retail experience is much the same as it was 100 years ago.”
–Dr. Ian Robertson, Head of Sales & Distribution at BMW

This is what so many dealerships resist to acknowledge and are even slower to correct. They remain focused on their experience (lot layout, funneling an up, trade evaluation, price negotiation, finance, etc.) instead of the experience of their customers. Most other industries have already recognized the necessity of building an experience for the customer instead of forcing customers into an experience.

Consider these facts from a 2014 Edmunds survey:

  • 1 in 5 people said they would rather give up sex for a month than haggle for a new car
  • 44% would give up Facebook
  • 1 in 3 people would rather do taxes

That should be alarming to the automotive industry. One-third of your customers would rather deal with the IRS than you. Employees are personified as the icons of lying, cheating, and stealing. “He’s as bad as a used car salesman.”

When we meet with dealership clients, most say they want to stand out from their competition. To do that at most stores, we encourage them to look internally first. At Arkside Marketing, we have two rules we teach every client. The second one is, “never make it difficult for someone to give you their money”.

The Better Dealership Car Buying Experience

The solution is usually easy to identify. Any area where the customer is not the primary focus could be an area for improvement. Getting a customer excited is surprisingly easy for a great dealership. Expectations are already so low that exceeding them can be achieved with one or two simple actions. A dozen would blow them away!

Here are some simple changes you can make to improve a customer’s first five minutes at your dealership:

  1. Ample customer parking – Do they have to drive through rows of cars for four spots?
  2. Breathing room – Customers arrive to look at your cars, not your salespeople. Give them a 1-2 minutes to get out of the car and look around. Then send a helpful salesperson to answer questions. (If you think we’re wrong about this, read some online reviews and count how many “salesman hounded me as soon as I opened my door” comments you see.)
  3. Offer snacks and beverages – Car buying isn’t a 30 minute process. They will be there a while. Promptly offer snacks, drinks, and let them know about your play area for their kids.

Build everything around the experience of owning a car – not buying one. Your dealership is a method of delivery for a product they can buy at your competitor. You can be a dealer of a great experience. By doing so, you will generate more word-of-mouth referrals, more positive conversations and testimonials online (Facebook, Yelp, etc.) and more service drive retention. Then take those incredible experiences and make them part of your marketing. Tell the world about your success.

Don’t sell a car – offer a great car experience.


 

If you would like to know more about how to integrate your sales and marketing strategies to deliver a great car experience for your customers (and cost-efficiently for you, contact us today. Our first consultation and needs analysis is completely free.

31
Aug

Facebook Case Study: How to Increase Reach and Engagement

Tired of posting to Facebook and not getting results? This Facebook case study is here to help. Good social media is not something for your receptionist or “any young person” to handle. Facebook for your business is different than having a personal profile. You have goals to sell more widgets, promote your brand, earn new customers, turn loyal customers into fans (more on this later), and increase traffic to your website. To achieve these goals -or any others on social media- you need to understand what works.  You must also be prepared to dedicate multiple hours per day to finding content, sharing images, promoting posts, replying to comments, finding new audiences, and analyzing previous results.

Our goal with this Facebook case study is to show how we approach Facebook management (along with other social media networks) and the results we create for our clients.

THE CLIENT

Craig & Sons Termite & Pest Control, Inc., located in Redlands, CA. Their service area is approximately 35 miles from their office. They are a family owned business for many decades and provide all pest removal and prevention services to residential and commercial clients.

THE SITUATION

Craig & Sons had been working with a national media company (who will go unnamed) that built their website and “managed” their social media. After failing to see any meaningful engagement on Facebook and no other social accounts being used, Craig & Sons was seeking alternatives.  After explaining our approach to Facebook and other social media, we were honored to earn their business.

PRIOR FACEBOOK RESULTS

Posting Schedule: The previous company had no posting schedule. Content seemed to appear randomly: sometimes four posts a week (still less than half of what it should be) and other times once a month. In all cases, the posts would lack any images or video. Just a few sentences of text. This is completely insufficient. According to some studies, the average life of a Facebook post can be only 2.5 hours!

Audience Reach: In the six months preceding our takeover, only three posts ever reached (not engaged, simply reached), more than 100 people. This was on a page with over 250 fans. Two of those posts were posted directly by the client so they can’t be attributed to the media company.

SEO Performance: In the six months preceding our takeover, only four clicks from Google went to their Facebook Page. One substantial benefit of a successful Facebook Page is search engine ranking. Beyond linking to your website and encouraging search engines to boost it on page one, you also have the capability to have your Facebook Page rank on the first page of Google (and other search engines) to knock out a competitor.

Audience Engagement: Reaching an audience is one thing. Getting them to engage with your content and your company is another. Only ONCE did they get an engagement level of 10 people or higher. Half of that engagement was directly attributable to a post from the client.

Summary: Despite having thousands of employees and millions of dollars to develop effective social media strategies for their clients, this company approached social media as less than a hobby. Their client suffered from a wasted investment.

Remember Arkside Rule #1: Always treat marketing as an investment!

THE NEW SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

1) Understand the target market: home owners and property managers, age 35+, located within 1-35 miles of the Craig & Sons office

2a) Create accounts on Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest
2b) Optimize their existing Facebook Page (and the other networks) to include keyword-rich bios and easy-to-find contact information

3) Capitalize on the creepy factor of bugs with visual content and include educational elements so the audience becomes more aware of bugs and other pests, how to prevent infestations, and how Craig & Sons can take care of pest problems

4) Build a posting schedule focusing on the days with the most social traffic, optimizing time-of-day placement

5) Utilize social profiles for engagement, customer retention, and SEO value

6) Posts need to be image and video heavy while still maintaining the traditional “80/20 Rule”

7) Employees were trained on engagement and encouraged to Like the Page (if they had not already)

Date work began: June 6, 2015

NEW FACEBOOK RESULTS

Facebook case studyPosting Schedule: As most people don’t want to hear about bugs on a constant basis -especially a sales pitch about bug killing- we identified the days of the week most relevant to the client’s target audience. On those days, we create 1-2 posts per day. These are scheduled during “prime time” when the audience is most likely to be on. Approximately 20% of those posts in a given week link directly to the client’s website. The remaining 80% are funny, creepy, educational, or otherwise relevant content for the intended audience. Hashtags are included when appropriate as they are now searchable on Facebook.

Beyond Facebook, we also create unique content for Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. These platforms were selected due to their user demographics, capability for visual presentation, and popularity.

As a combined group, all four social channels receive relevant content customized for the intended audience. Twitter receives more posts and Instagram the least. This is based on substantial research regarding how users interact with brands on each network. All four work together to promote a cohesive brand presentation no matter which social network a potential or current customer may discover.

Facebook post reach case studyAudience Reach: Beyond taking their number of Likes to over 300, our relevant organic content now reaches more people each week than previously achieved in a month. This is without a single paid ad or otherwise promoted post. The goal is to provide information that matters to the audience so they Like, Comment, and Share with their friends.

It is worth noting that this new approach, which put much more content in front of the audience than they had seen previously did not result in a single Unlike, Hide Post, or Report as Spam action!

Facebook external referrer case studySEO Performance: The SEO improvement was extremely fast. In just six weeks we saw at least eight clicks to the Facebook Page directly from Google search results. We also began to see traffic from Bing, Yahoo!, AOL, and even LinkedIn. These demonstrate moments in which a competitor may have appeared but had been outranked by Craig & Sons’ Facebook Page.

Audience Engagement: We often describe our “Useless Army” concept to potential clients. It is the idea of having thousands upon thousands of Facebook Fans but none of them actually engage with the Page. No Likes, comments, or shares – or at least very few. So what good is an army of Fans who don’t interact with your posts? In one word: useless.

Facebook Likes, comments, and sharesIt is our goal to encourage engagement so that the Page and its content rank highly on Facebook (i.e. – Recommended Pages) and search engines.

As you can see here, the new content immediately achieved greater engagement across all three measurements: Likes, Comments, and Shares. Such interaction helps Craig & Sons demonstrate expertise in their field, passion for their industry, and a commitment to truly engaging with their audience.  Where the previous company only achieved an engagement level of 10 people or higher one time in six months, we have done it more than a dozen times without any direct client posts. When people have great content to share, you empower them to become “brandvocates”.

What is a “brandvocate”? The term describes anyone not employed by the company that promotes your product or service without compensation. They advocate your brand to their friends and family for one simple reason: they like what you offer. They are a valuable marketing asset because they are genuine, loyal, and provide free word-of-mouth advertising. Social media gives them the ability to do this on a massive scale.

Summary: Success is a direct result of multiple efforts. It requires an understanding of the intended audience, posting schedules based on research and demographics, relevant content curated and shared by people, better search engine optimization, and new levels of audience engagement.


If you would like to learn more about how Arkside Marketing can help your business find success on Facebook or other social media, contact our office today. The first consultation is free and we will analyze your social media at no charge.

12
Jul

Preserving Your Brand Integrity

Few things are as important to your business as your brand identity. The branding of your company is about your logo, your appearance, your service, your products, and your reputation. It is how the world perceives you. Your ad agency should understand and appreciate the importance of brand development.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” –Jeff Bezos

Your Logo Is Part of Your Brand

The development and protection of a brand is critical. A critical element of that brand representation is your logo. It is the most commonly seen visual representation of your company. Hundreds of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars go into the promotion of a logo.  When we come across instances like the ones below, we wonder if the agency truly understands the value of their client’s brand:

Chevy Equinox with a backward Chevy bowtie

Chevy Impala with a backward Chevy bowtie and Impala

Chevrolet Logo Backward - Malibu

Chevrolet Logo Backward - Traverse

These examples were taken from the home page rotator of a US regional Chevrolet dealer association website. They represent 57% of the images in that rotator. That makes such errors difficult to excuse as isolated incidents or something not reviewed by multiple employees (graphic designer, project manager, account executive) and the client.

Client and Agency Share Brand Integrity Responsibility

We are the first to admit that we aren’t perfect. No agency or person is perfect. But errors like this speak to a larger problem of disregarding the fundamentals of brand integrity. Imagine the IBM logo being printed backwards on a company brochure. Or Google having a typo and showing up “Gogle”. It wouldn’t make it off the printing press.

Protect your logo.
Protect your reputation.

Demand an agency that does the same.

Arkside Marketing is a full-service ad agency, specializing in regulated enterprises such as law firms, car dealerships, hospitals, and financial institutions. If you would like a complimentary analysis of your current marketing efforts or brand identity, please contact us today to schedule an appointment. We can come to your office or conduct the analysis online via Skype, Google Hangouts, or Join.me.

10
Jun

Five Years of Arkside Marketing

Five years. Started during the depth of the Recession and thriving today. As we celebrate our five year anniversary in 2015, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the joys, challenges, and educational experiences that have happened with me and my team. Most importantly, a look back at why our clients mean so much to us.

First I will state the obvious: This post is long overdue. Specifically, our five year anniversary was February 4th. Anniversaries are important for many reasons. If we were a client of ourselves, we would have had a party planned in advance, press release drafted and ready for distribution, new collateral material printed, fun promotional products made, et cetera. But we spend every minute of every day worrying about everyone else’s marketing. Remember that phrase about the cobbler’s children having no shoes?

When I started this company, I knew it would be difficult. I was leaving a good job with a good company and risking it all on a dream with the encouragement of friends, family, and colleagues. The last five years have been an emotional roller coaster. Difficult? Yes. But also rewarding. Arkside Marketing is not my first business, but it is my largest thus far. The challenges, successes, and lessons learned have been incredible.

The last year has been especially turbulent. Despite my years of experience in media, ad agencies, and the marketing industry as a whole, I experienced more unforeseen challenges than ever. The worst was a solar company that misled us and a few of our competitors. They lied about nearly every element of their RFP including their goals, marketing strategy, personnel, and budget. My team and I invested considerable time and money into our proposal. Although we were glad to win, we soon realized what a bear trap we had stepped into.

The Most Important Parts of an Ad Agency

The best part of the last five years has been the people. I have been fortunate to surround myself with talented consultants, designers, and programmers. The aforementioned solar proposal unified our great team of professionals. We showcased a creativity, media knowledge, and strategy development capability unrivaled by our competitors. These strengths have continued with knowledge, fun, and excitement through today. The Arkside staff has doubled in our fifth year and there are bright prospects on the horizon to continue growing before the start of 2016.

We are blessed to work with some of the best vendors and media partners in the world. Each cares about our clients, our relationships, and the quality of their product. They have provided incredible customer service over the years and bring a fresh perspective to each project in which they participate. From the reps at our radio and TV stations to our partners at Google and various print shops, we value each of their contributions to the success of our clients.

Most importantly, we have had five years of wonderful connections to our clients. When I first started the company, I intended to work with nothing more than the heavily regulated industries in which I focused most of my career: law, automotive, healthcare, education, and financial. Fortunately, other opportunities arose within our first five clients. We were able to work with manufacturers, distributors, non-profits, retail stores, and other unregulated industries.

Having an even larger variety of industries than anticipated enabled us to bring more creativity and new ideas to all of our clients. It is perhaps one of our greatest strengths: the ability to take a concept that is tried-and-true in one vertical to a completely different vertical and modify it to step ahead of the competition.

Arkside Marketing in downtown RiversideOur growth has been more than a portfolio. In 2014 we moved into a new office in downtown Riverside which has given us a conveniently central location to the huge Inland Empire metro area and faster access to all of Southern California. Staff was consolidated in this one location, bringing about greater efficiency, team work, and creativity.

All of our staff shares a commitment to our community. Throughout the last few years, we have participated with or donated to many charities including the California Police Chiefs Association, “We Remember: A Night for Veterans”, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

What’s Next?

Revisiting that topic of our own advertising, that is the area in which we are most in need of improvement. What can we do better?

We are working on solving this hypocrisy. Soon we will be adding more videos to our YouTube channel. (Subscribe now so you can be one of the early cool kids.) You can also expect to see our new 5 year anniversary logo around the internet and on some of our collateral.

In light of the many lessons learned over the last five years, we will be launching a new initiative for non-profits. These small armies of passionate volunteers are usually the most in need of marketing help and least able to afford it. Stay tuned for our upcoming initiative in which we will help two charities reach their goals!

To all of my friends, family, colleagues, coworkers, and clients, I give you my most sincere thanks. None of this success would be possible without your support. I look forward to continuing the growth of Arkside Marketing and bringing new opportunities to others every day.

–Nathan

29
Apr

Hillary Clinton Logo – A Design Perspective

Does the Hillary Clinton logo means she is moving to the right and becoming a Republican?

Is it the FedEx logo?
(The creator of the FedEx logo described the Clinton design as “disappointing, amateurish, clumsy and decidedly static.”)

Is it a hospital directional sign?

Is the campaign sponsored by the History Channel?

Wikileaks tried jumping on the bandwagon, but we have no idea what they are talking about. They are probably desperate for attention.

The new Hillary Clinton campaign logo has divided our office, but most have come down on the side of ambivalence. Our CEO was the first to notice it on April 10th. What did he think? What did the team think?

Arkside Opinions on the Hillary Clinton Logo

Here is what some of our staff had to say about the logo. Other than Nathan, this was the first time each of them had seen it. They were advised to put aside any personal political opinions and evaluate the logo as a logo alone.

“A little plain for a Presidential campaign, but that certainly speaks to current trends in design. Flat and simplistic will receive criticism. In the end, it could give the campaign more flexibility in how the logo is used.” –Nathan Greenberg, CEO

“I think its a misalignment. Not impressed.” –Cal Haney, Lead Graphic Designer

“Seems simple but effective.” –Ryan Robbins, Marketing Consultant

“Need to think about it.” –Marc Lemus, Marketing Consultant

“I think she tried to hop on the “Presidents get logos” bandwagon and didn’t do a good job of it.” –Amanda Johnson, Digital Coordinator

What Makes a Good Logo

Arkside is largely underwhelmed. Other experts have weighed in with everything from adoring praise to cringeworthy criticism. But let’s look at other aspects. Generally speaking, what is it that makes a good logo? We have compiled a list of inspiration, ideas, and implied meanings from a collection of design professionals.

  1. Planning – Be prepared to invest significant time and effort into this process. A logo will represent your company, staff, reputation, and mission for years, if not decades or centuries. You should have a clear understanding of what you want the logo to project to all audiences.
  2. Unique – Most necessary is a unique identity and impression. It needs to separate you from and above all others. You can’t afford to be confused with another company, let alone a competitor. “Symbols are more basic, foundational and fundamental than any written and spoken language. We’re hardwired to respond to what we see,” says visual communication scholar Keith Kennery about the Hillary Clinton logo. Be distinct and positively memorable.
  3. Proper Visual – According to designer David Airey, a logo doesn’t have to advertise the product. “The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an aeroplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer,” he blogged. Don’t be afraid to step out to something unconventional. Find a new shape that grabs attention while avoiding overused images like stars or ovals.
  4. Fresh Perspective – This can be a challenge. After seeing multiple versions with a variety of colors, shapes, and fonts, you and others need to have an immediate and positive reaction to the final piece. Step away for a few days and come back with a new attitude to see if your opinion stays the same.

The Perfect Logo

Forget this concept. Now. Like most things in design and advertising, there is no such thing as perfect. A logo needs to be good and that means effective. Reliability, affordability, trustworthy, and any other emotion you seek to convey can be achieved in a myriad of ways.

There is no perfect shade of whatever color you’re looking for.

There is no perfect font for the elegant or sporty text you’re looking for.

There is no perfect angle or curve for the shape you’re looking for.

You can waste time trying to find the “perfect” thing that will make your logo perfect…or you can get out and actually sell your product or service.

Professional Logo Design

As always, we recommend you seek the help of a professional who can guide you through the process of logo creation and brand development. There is a science behind the art, psychology, emotion, and creation of a great logo. You can focus on your job and trust a professional to deliver a great logo that will properly represent your business far into the future. If you are interested in a free consultation with with one of our Marketing Consultants and designers, please contact us today to schedule an appointment.

19
Mar

The Value of Marketing an Anniversary

Is it worth marketing an anniversary? As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

We, the awesome Arkside Marketing team, are celebrating our five year anniversary in 2015. Each anniversary of your company’s beginning represents the end of a chapter and the simultaneous start of another. But that is a generalized observation with arguable meaning. Of strategic importance is the marketing value of that anniversary and how it can be used with employees, vendors, investors, customers, and potential customers.

What is an Important Business Anniversary?

Let’s jump into a couple you may not have considered:

1 year – Your first year in business. You made it!
5 years – Most businesses fail in their first five years. If you’re still around, its time celebrate.

Always commemorate the traditional increments of 10 (10, 20, 30, etc.) and half-10 (15, 25, 35, etc.) anniversaries.

Also consider numbers that are relevant to your particular industry or company:

  • Investment companies could celebrate their 11th birthday since the New York Stock Exchange is located at 11 Wall Street in New York City
  • Law firms can celebrate 1 year (Supreme Court is at 1 First Street, Washington D.C.) or 9 years (9 Supreme Court Justices)
  • Casinos and any entity with the word “lucky” in its name should celebrate 7 years
  • Masonic lodge may want to celebrate their 3rd and 33rd anniversary
  • Auto shop could do something with their 5(years)W30 anniversary
  • Dentists should celebrate their 32nd anniversary (number of teeth in the adult mouth)
  • Baseball teams have 9 players on the field
  • IT companies can have fun with their 1-0 (10) year anniversary as a nod to binary code
  • If a company is Christian-focused, or there is a triangle in your logo, or perhaps you have three core elements to your mission statement, the number three gives you an anniversary to promote.

How to Excite Your Customers About Your Anniversary

These milestones give you an opportunity to reconnect with your customers using a completely non-sales touch point. You are suddenly empowered with a new way to stay top-of-mind, offer a unique incentives, and provide an experience unmatched by your competition. (Assuming they aren’t celebrating an anniversary at the same time).

The key is to share your excitement with your customers. Tell your story. Your employees may be your best source of material, especially if they have been around for multiple milestones or even from Day 1. Share trivia and experiences from the company’s history: how did the company begin? What was the last milestone like? How has your city or cities changed over time? Do you offer new products or services?

Here are ways for getting customers excited about an anniversary:

  • Create a special version of your logo just for the occasion
    • Add the logo to all sales or other collateral throughout the year
  • Host an open house or other party event to celebrate. All employes, family, clients, vendors, local dignitaries, and partners should be invited.
  • Create a new page on your website with the stories and trivia mentioned above
    • Include the new logo
    • Share the page across social media
    • Make sure it is linked in your main navigation
    • Add a link to email signatures
  • Create sales incentives such as “10% off” (for a 10 year anniversary) or “save $20” (for a 20 year anniversary) or “first 50 customers” (for a 50 year anniversary). Be creative and think of your customer first. What would have value to them?
  • Invest in specialty promotional products for the occasion
  • Share company trivia on a regular basis on your social media channels
  • Create contests or giveaways centered around the anniversary in which your employees can participate

These are just a few ideas to help cultivate ideas for your particular situation. Your customers will enjoy knowing about your success, longevity, and whatever may be in store for them. Most importantly, each of these steps humanize a business. The management, the staff, and the brand as a whole become more “relateable”. In other words: great marketing. Few things can help a company grow like a positive relationship with a customer. They turn into referrals. Those referrals will be around for the next anniversary and so will your business.

 

20
Feb

Supporting the CPCA Fallen Officer Tribute

We are proud supporters of first responders. There are brave men and women who protect our rights, property, and lives by running in when others run away. Sadly, some are lost in the line of duty. They made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties.

Each year, the California Police Chiefs Association hosts a training symposium which includes a tribute to fallen officers. Family members are brought to the tribute from around the state to receive the praise of colleagues and thanks on behalf of the community their loved ones served. Their travel and lodging are covered by donors. This year’s symposium and tribute is being held in Riverside, CA February 22-26, 2016, hosted by the Riverside Police Department.

We are proud to be a donating sponsor of this touching and worthwhile event. These families deserve to know that their loved one did not die in vain. Their sacrifice is appreciated and won’t be forgotten.