Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Four Strategies for Crafting Unforgettable Content

Andi Bell, the World Memory Champion of 2002, appears to have memory superpowers.


He can memorize the order of several decks of cards and recall them on the spot. How does he do it? Bell uses a location-based memory strategy, like this:


Bell picks a route through London and walks it repeatedly until it is fixed in his mind. As he walks, he associates cards of the deck with a character (like a bear or a pineapple), then connects each character and card with a site along his route: the bear becomes the House of Parliament, the pineapple becomes Buckingham Palace, etc. In this way, the deck transforms from a string of facts to a story to share. Each deck has roles that come to life mentally as Bell "walks the plot" of his route in London.


Make Your Words More Memorable


While you may not have memory superpowers, we all recognize the power of retention and its impact on marketing.


When you share memorable content, it shapes people's perceptions and positively disposes them toward business with your company.


Do you want to bring your brand story to life and make your marketing messages more memorable?


This is harder than it used to be. In a recent study, Microsoft found our average attention span has decreased from 12 seconds (in 2000) to about eight seconds today, with viewers exposed to up to 5,000 ads daily.


Audiences are bombarded by content, so yours needs to be memorable! Here are four principles to keep your communication as "sticky" as possible:


1. Follow the Rule of Seven


Sales are more than transactions; they involve a journey of decision.


People can't buy from you if they don't know you exist, and they won't buy from you if they don't trust you. Typically, people need to see your message at least seven times before they consider your offer. Don't expect people to respond immediately. Offer different methods to replicate your story to increase the odds that they'll respond.


2. Use Powerful Headlines


Advertising guru David Oglivy estimated that, because four out of five people only read the headlines, when you write a good headline, "you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar."


Since we encounter volumes of content each day, we can't possibly read it all. Great headlines come in many forms. Some are short, others are newsworthy, and many feature a strong product benefit. The best headlines are specific. Which of the following impacts you more?


"How to Improve Production Yields This Season"


OR:


"This Little Mistake Cost One Farmer $3,000 a year"


3. Be Funny


The most memorable messages make you laugh.


When Clutch Media interviewed consumers to find what kind of ads they prefer, people overwhelmingly chose ads that made them want to eat or laugh!


Humor is key to making content memorable, especially when messages are specifically tailored to your audience. Data showed that 53 percent of consumers are likely to remember content that is humorous!


4. Use Detailed, Personalized Stories


Which is more memorable: A stroke response fact sheet or a heart-wrenching brochure about a woman who dismissed her husband's fatal symptoms when he said he was "just tired?"


Stories share messages in solid, emotionally moving, unforgettable ways. The more people connect with a story, the more they'll remember it, so use stories that are specific, personal, and relatable to the clients you want to reach.


Package It With Perfection


In the end, HOW you share is just as important as WHAT you share.


Looking to package your content with noteworthy style? From stunning sell sheets to dynamic postcards and brochures, we'll bring superior craftsmanship that is guaranteed to add impact!


 

Four Strategies for Crafting Unforgettable Content

Andi Bell, the World Memory Champion of 2002, appears to have memory superpowers.


He can memorize the order of several decks of cards and recall them on the spot. How does he do it? Bell uses a location-based memory strategy, like this:


Bell picks a route through London and walks it repeatedly until it is fixed in his mind. As he walks, he associates cards of the deck with a character (like a bear or a pineapple), then connects each character and card with a site along his route: the bear becomes the House of Parliament, the pineapple becomes Buckingham Palace, etc. In this way, the deck transforms from a string of facts to a story to share. Each deck has roles that come to life mentally as Bell "walks the plot" of his route in London.


Make Your Words More Memorable


While you may not have memory superpowers, we all recognize the power of retention and its impact on marketing.


When you share memorable content, it shapes people's perceptions and positively disposes them toward business with your company.


Do you want to bring your brand story to life and make your marketing messages more memorable?


This is harder than it used to be. In a recent study, Microsoft found our average attention span has decreased from 12 seconds (in 2000) to about eight seconds today, with viewers exposed to up to 5,000 ads daily.


Audiences are bombarded by content, so yours needs to be memorable! Here are four principles to keep your communication as "sticky" as possible:


1. Follow the Rule of Seven


Sales are more than transactions; they involve a journey of decision.


People can't buy from you if they don't know you exist, and they won't buy from you if they don't trust you. Typically, people need to see your message at least seven times before they consider your offer. Don't expect people to respond immediately. Offer different methods to replicate your story to increase the odds that they'll respond.


2. Use Powerful Headlines


Advertising guru David Oglivy estimated that, because four out of five people only read the headlines, when you write a good headline, "you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar."


Since we encounter volumes of content each day, we can't possibly read it all. Great headlines come in many forms. Some are short, others are newsworthy, and many feature a strong product benefit. The best headlines are specific. Which of the following impacts you more?


"How to Improve Production Yields This Season"


OR:


"This Little Mistake Cost One Farmer $3,000 a year"


3. Be Funny


The most memorable messages make you laugh.


When Clutch Media interviewed consumers to find what kind of ads they prefer, people overwhelmingly chose ads that made them want to eat or laugh!


Humor is key to making content memorable, especially when messages are specifically tailored to your audience. Data showed that 53 percent of consumers are likely to remember content that is humorous!


4. Use Detailed, Personalized Stories


Which is more memorable: A stroke response fact sheet or a heart-wrenching brochure about a woman who dismissed her husband's fatal symptoms when he said he was "just tired?"


Stories share messages in solid, emotionally moving, unforgettable ways. The more people connect with a story, the more they'll remember it, so use stories that are specific, personal, and relatable to the clients you want to reach.


Package It With Perfection


In the end, HOW you share is just as important as WHAT you share.


Looking to package your content with noteworthy style? From stunning sell sheets to dynamic postcards and brochures, we'll bring superior craftsmanship that is guaranteed to add impact!


 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Grow Creativity with the Brainstorming Strategies of Walt Disney

From Tarzan's treehouse to the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Disney's creative team has spent decades constructing fantasy lands depicted in Disney movies.


Bringing dreams to life is Disney's business, and its empire spans 11 theme parks, a town, four cruise ships, dozens of hotels, and many waterparks and restaurants that help guests experience the happiest place on Earth.


The dreamers, or "Imagineers" at Disney are the brains behind the vision. Peter Rummell, who served as chairman of the Imagineers for 12 years, said creativity doesn't just happen. It has to be engineered:


"It is a process and if you don't understand that and if you sit around and wait for the lightning bolt, you're not going to be very productive."


Walt Disney himself was a master of creative thinking and brainstorming. Not only was he talented in discovering ideas, he knew how to convert possibilities into reality. One associate said this about Disney:


"There were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming to the meeting."


Disney's Strategic Brainstorming Techniques


Over time, Walt's team used his own attributes for guiding thoughts to build parallel thinking in groups, while at the same time generating concepts, critiquing ideas, and solving problems.


NLP expert Robert Dilts helped bring the technique to life, like this:


  • Four parts of a room were set up for different thinking methods: imagining, planning, critiquing, and for stepping outside the concept. Arranging a physical space for each mindset prepared teams to switch from one thinking mode to another.

  • Teams gathered with a target objective: an innovation to brainstorm, a problem to solve, or a process to improve. While dreamers practiced unhindered green light thinking, planners used red light critiques to define the how, the timeline, or the plan.

  • Meanwhile, critics and the concept overseers analyzed weaknesses of the plan, defining missing elements, gaps in the process, or obstacles to address.

Rotating between spaces allowed teams to transition from unhindered passion to logical plans. Impossible ideas weren't immediately squashed. And through this defined creative process, teams could generate solid creative ideas with an action plan to apply it. 


Unlock Creativity in Your Team


Though Peter Rummell has since moved on from the Imagineers, he says his time at Disney taught him three valuable lessons for guiding teams in creative thinking:


1. Entertain ideas from everyone.


"I think one of the major lessons I learned was that despite the hierarchy of an organization, an idea can come from anywhere."


Top leaders should be willing to listen and younger team members should be encouraged that everyone has a voice.


2. Build an eclectic team.


"An accountant sitting next to a poet is a really good idea," Rummell said.


High IQs are not pre-requisites to creative success. When teams are full of variety, often the least likely people can generate the best concepts. Varying skill sets help to energize the best ideas and to round out gaps in the plan.


3. Vet even the strangest ideas.


When Rummell's team was brainstorming waterpark ideas, they were totally stalled.


"We didn't want to do another Pirates of the Caribbean or some Caribbean island," Rummell said. "We were trying to figure out what would be fun or different."


Everything sounded silly until someone left for the bathroom and walked by a cubicle decorated in snowstorms. Though the idea of a freak Florida snowstorm sounded ridiculous, eventually the idea became "Blizzard Beach," the theme of an entire waterpark in Orlando.


Creativity doesn't just happen, so get resourceful and create some new brainstorming processes of your own. When you're ready to roll out new concepts, we'll help you bring them to life in print!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Go Off the Grid with Transparent or Overlay Design Options

Want to stretch your designs or look your very best in print?


Consider the bold, creative flair overprinting or transparent layering can bring.


Typically, when you generate multi-layer designs your design software will cause one element to cover the artwork below it. Graphics obscure backgrounds, fonts cover image details, or text wraps around focal points as you format it to your preference. This layering process organizes your piece and prevents the muddy look that can occur when colors bleed together.


Overprinting allows you to use one color on top of another in a way that blends two colors to make a third. This is especially useful if you're working with a limited selection of Pantone colors or to create a unique, funky feel when two pieces of artwork overlap.


Overprinting is an element that can be turned on and previewed in the attributes panel with your design software, and flattened (or exported) in the print settings.


Want to try it? Here are some basic examples to experiment with:


1. Blend text over images.


Start with a simple, uncomplicated photo like three bright citrus oranges.


Choose a photo with fewer details so your design isn't too busy. Add text over the image in either a lighter shade of the same citrus hue or a totally contrasting color (white font on orange fruit, for example). Blending the words and image will create a new, third color where the font overlays the fruit.


2. Apply a typographic hierarchy.


Create order in the way your design is read by adjusting font transparency levels throughout the image.


For example, try a textured wood background but allow it to peek through your text by adding transparency to your type. Primary headlines should be less transparent for a bold, commanding presence. Secondary heads or copy text down the page can increase in transparency for a more faded, mysterious feel.


3. Overlay a graphic with a solid color.


Use color to make a statement with a solid color overlay over the whole page.


This means that you cover an image or page with a semi-transparent colored box. The effect can add meaning to an image, bring attention to a design, or help you get creative with limited image options. Another option is to use gradients or filters to fade a background image or bring a bright hue to give a boring image some spark. A neutral color or sepia overlay can add a rustic flavor, then be paired with a bright or transparent font that really pops out.


Transparent Layering in Print


Transparency is also a great layering option that can also be used in all kinds of designs to bring exquisite elegance or unforgettable flair.


Curious? Feel free to visit with us about outstanding options like these:


  • Clear frosted business cards

  • Arresting posters printed on translucent stock

  • Frosted tote bags with artwork or logos foil-stamped on the surface

  • Translucent vellum paper used in formal invitations

  • Oversized translucent stickers for windowfronts, clever displays, or sharp packaging

  • Catalogs or booklets featuring bold text overlaid by a simple, transparent cover

Transparency can be a great way to reveal what's inside your package or under the project cover, letting the product inside sell itself! Use transparency and overlay techniques to give your project more depth, structure, or sophistication.


 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Use Game-Based Learning to Train Your Employees

Ethel Merman thought people should lighten up to really live, crooning these lyrics in 1931:


"Life is just a bowl of cherries: don't take it serious, it's too mysterious . . .


Life is just a bowl of cherries, so live and laugh at it all!"


Is life all fun and games? Definitely not.


But leadership experts are finding that one of the best ways to train people is by helping them laugh and compete as they learn through play.


United States... Gaming?


Recently, the US Army employed "serious gaming" to address challenges in their leadership training.


While soldiers were very capable in weapons and war strategies, the Army found its forces need to grow in their soft skills by increasing familiarity with the values, norms, and cultures where they were deployed.


First Person Cultural Trainer, a gaming simulation, was developed specifically to help junior leaders understand the consequences of their speech, body language, temperaments, and choices. Trainees used a 3D avatar to interact and work with individuals in a foreign community and to gain feedback on how their choices affected their ability to build rapport. Students progressed through four levels of gaming to build communication, interpersonal, and intelligence gathering skills.


Games for the Win


Advances in game-training strategies have steered many organizations toward a more recreational focus in their corporate cultures.


Games and stories are a fundamental part of human life: according to one study done by Essential Facts, in 2016 more than 60% of households in America had someone playing video games regularly. Humans excel in games because we love reward-based challenges, especially when objectives become progressively harder or more addictive!


To embed gaming in their corporate training culture Cisco used a "LiveOps" call center to challenge competing agents, ultimately reducing call time by 15% and improving sales by an average of 10%.


A Colorado restaurant gamified its objective to increase sales of specific menu items. When they sold a 4-pack of cinnamon rolls, staff could play online "point-yielding games," and reward points were redeemable for a branded debit card. One study estimated this restaurant realized a 66.2% ROI due to the increase in sales productivity.


Why do games work? Game training is effective because it:



  • Motivates employees to surpass expectations or to complete training exercises

  • Allows people to fail and try again without negative repercussions

  • Makes time for real-time reflection and feedback sessions

  • Grows individual confidence in carrying out tasks (as people practice, break challenges into micro-learning segments, and accurately perceive their ability to succeed)

Game Options of Your Own


Want to improve productivity or increase the cost-effectiveness of your team training?


Games offer hands-on, motivating opportunities that can be used over and over. Purchase simulations like GameLearn training platforms, or consider three hands-on options of your own:


1. New Hire Scavenger Hunt.


Whether it's a physical or online hunt for facts, facilities, or people, get people competing and moving and calm their nerves in the process.


2. Product Knowledge Mix and Match.


Employees take turns being introduced to a variety of customers (including purchasing needs, budget, or personal background).


Players then compete to match the best product to each customer while negotiating a deal or completing the sale.


3. "What If" Training Simulations.


These games give teams the opportunity to explore hypothetical situations.


If they made XX decision, what would happen? Assign real-life tasks and challenges, allow teams to collaborate and present options, and process together about the benefits or consequences of the strategies they chose. Added bonus: supervisors learn alongside employees and gain hands-on experience in leading their teams!


 

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Best Form of Marketing is YOU

If you could harness the most accessible, inexpensive form of marketing for your business, would you want it?


Everyone has it, but it's easy to overlook.


The most authentic sales tool is one that's always with you: yourself.


You are the face of your business. Marketing doesn't sell, people sell! You are the vessel that carries your business brand to every prospect you meet. Are you making the most of own potential?


Being cheerful, confident, and courteous can go a long way toward making a stellar first impression.


Be Cheerful


People want to do business with people they enjoy, and a cheerful attitude can give you a winning edge in many situations.


Whether you are outgoing or more reserved, seek to be:



  • Positive: be optimistic and look on the bright side of life. Be a "green light" thinker and keep an open mind to new ideas.

  • Polite: whether you're running errands or talking on the phone: be polite. You never know who's listening.

  • Persistent: when things don't succeed, don't give up. Be intentional to build relationships or follow up on leads. Make the first move and don't take rejection personally. As millionaire businessman Bo Bennett says, "A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success."

Be Confident


When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, your confidence is high and you are more likely to perform well.


Your mindset has incredible power to shape your circumstances and help you achieve your goals, so start each day on your toes:


Take care of yourself: Brush your teeth, get regular haircuts, and keep your clothes and accessories in good condition.


Dress professionally: When you dress well, people will respect you. Put time and thought into your choices to communicate that you care about what you do.


Respect your culture: Every company has different expectations for appropriate dress. While you may have the freedom to choose, it's best to lean on the simple, conservative side with accessories, necklines, or fit of your clothing.


Dress "Up": If you are attending an important event or meeting, it's always better to be overdressed than underdressed. A polished look lets people know you are serious and capable. If you feel overly formal when you arrive, you can always roll up your sleeves, ditch your blazer, or loosen your collar.


Be Courteous


Mark Twain said that action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.


People will judge you by your behavior, not by your good intentions! How consistently do your actions reveal a positive view of your character or business? Challenge yourself to:


1. Reach out to others. Be the first to say thank you, congratulate others, or start a conversation with someone who is standing alone. Be proactive, intentional, and kind. Do nice things at unexpected moments.


2. Live consistently. What are the mission and the brand values of your company? Do you represent these in both your professional and personal life? If your company exalts community investment, seek to volunteer and invest during your personal life as well.   


3. Be prepared for anything. Rehearse your personal introduction and have conversational icebreakers ready for unexpected moments. Have a product testimonial in your back pocket. Keep breath mints, business cards, or a portable phone charger ready. Think of yourself as a friendly, roaming billboard. Everywhere you go you can sell yourself and market your business.


Finally, remember to smile: a friendly smile makes everyone more inclined to like – and do business – with you.


If you need help marketing yourself on paper, give us a call and we'll make you look your best.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

How Emotions Win Customers

Cassell's Hamburgers is something of a Cinderella story.


Founder Al Cassell launched the iconic lunch counter in Los Angeles in 1948. Famous for grinding beef daily, Al's passion for great burgers and homemade mayonnaise lived for years. But by 2012, struggling owners decided to sell off Cassell's rights, recipes, and equipment. It seems there was no magic touch that could save this beauty.


Jingbo Lou had other ideas.


As a Chinese exchange student, Lou came to the U.S. to study at the University of Southern California and developed a passion for architectural restoration that grew out curiosity for American culture:


"As an immigrant to this country, my very big task is to learn the culture," Lou says. "I really fell in love with the history."


J Lou put this love to work bringing Cassell's back to life in a salvaged, crumbling 1920s inn called the Hotel Normandie. J Lou recognized a hotel/restaurant combo was a chance to cater to the nostalgia of many Californians.


And he was spot on.


Since Cassell's reopening in 2014, the business has topped many "best of" lists and expanded into Downtown LA and a LAX location in Terminal 1.


Why such phenomenal success? Because emotions sell.


Emotions Win Customers


Brands build loyalty because emotions win customers!


While you may believe your decisions are rational, most choices are actually controlled by your intuitive (emotional) mind. Studies show that people rely on the heart, rather than on logic, to make decisions. Douglass Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing, says this:


"The most startling truth is we don't even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don't hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they're made!"


Brands put emotional marketing in play by focusing more on the needs and passions of customers instead of on the unique product benefits their products bring.


For example, Pampers exalts healthy, well-rested infants instead of dry baby bottoms. Nike inspires people to overcome limitations instead of highlighting superior shoe quality. Harley sells people freedom without limits rather than offering a mode of transportation. And Cassell's Hamburgers offers people a return to simpler days, including original chairs, tables, signage, and original menus hanging on the wall.


Want to enhance the emotional message your brand brings? Brand marketers suggest starting with steps like these:


  • Treat prospects as people rather than buyers

  • Give people multiple chances or channels to try or become familiar with your products

  • Use ads with identity messages that motivate or move people

  • Create a shared community among purchasers

  • Inspire users to have dreams

  • Offer messages that give people an experience, not just information

Create stories that allow your company to be part of people's lives and appeal to every aspect of your customers' personalities: their ego, needs, dreams, or general emotional state.


These connections can happen through music, artworks, logos, signage, slogans, sport, or anything that really 'speaks to your customers.


Above all, emotional branding seeks to build lifelong partnerships between a business and its customers. Once someone is emotionally captured by a brand, they are more likely to stay loyal for decades.