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We won’t speak for you, but we find ourselves easily swept along by the headlines today, headlines that tend to polarize rather than foster a thoughtful discussion. The latest rush to judgment involves responsive design, the design and construction of a website that allows it to adjust automatically to different screen sizes—desktop, tablet or mobile.
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Brand Thinking Blog
Posted on May 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm
I remember twenty years ago or so there was a show on TV that put brand promises to the test. I can’t remember the name, but picture a host washing a grass stained baseball jersey in the washing machine thirty times using Tide and then comparing it to the same, brand new shirt. Is it really still just as bright and shiny as new? I miss that show because I enjoyed watching people challenge the integrity of advertising. I feel like as consumers, we really should know the exact quality of what we are paying for and not be filled with false expectations. Well the show has been off the air for years, but two recent examples of how the social media backlash of a brand not delivering what the consumers expect or want brought this show to mind.
This weekend, I watched Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey. The episode was based on a couple who owned a restaurant called Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro (it’s a horrible name, but we’ll let that go for now). This was one of the first times Gordon Ramsey has walked out on a restaurant in need of help because the owners were too difficult to work with. For one thing, they blamed the customers for everything and did not take personal responsibility for their shortcomings. Secondly, and probably all other points are not necessary, the owner screams at people who didn’t like their food and physically kicks them out of the restaurant. After the show aired, I imagined that 99% of the viewers agreed with Gordon that these people didn’t deserve any help. However, the Facebook war that broke out afterwards is a true testimony of the power of social media. People took to Amy’s Facebook page to call them out for not baking their own cakes, for being horrible people, for not paying their staff enough, etc. Then Buzzfeed, a blog with a huge audience, gave the story even more exposure. Not only was the public humiliation on the show not enough for these two owners, they still didn’t learn their lesson and took to their Facebook account to insult their customers who gave feedback as well. Believe me, I will be checking back in a month or so to see if this doomed restaurant somehow miraculously survives. (Note: the owners have since posted a statement saying they believe their Facebook page had been hacked.)
Similarly, I read an article about a branding misstep taken by the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch. He admits to pulling sizes L and XL for women off the shelves because he doesn’t want heavy women wearing his brand. He also chooses to burn defective clothes off the production line rather than donate them to the poor so that homeless people are not sporting his brand. Well, the public didn’t like being marginalized like that and so they took to the streets to do a grassroots campaign against Abercrombie & Fitch to “rebrand” them. They handed out Abercrombie and Fitch branded apparel to the homeless on the streets of LAs skid row. They also shot a video to get others to participate in the donation of A&F clothing to local homeless shelters.
In the 80′s, it took an entire show, production team and cable station to work together to expose companies for their brand not delivering its promises. Today, it takes one person, one computer and a Facebook or YouTube account to start an entire “rebranding” campaign. Social media can put the customer in charge of your reputation as well as the company.
Please contact Greenfield/Belser if you have any questions on how to strategize a successful brand promise that keeps with the integrity of your firm or if you need help managing your social media reputation.
Posted on May 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm
Let’s face it, Google knows you better than you know yourself. The entire purpose of this Internet powerhouse is to understand the psychological characteristics and motivations of people. Naturally, it has a five-star app that knows you better than your best friend does. Google Now is an intelligent personal assistant app that answers questions through voice command, makes recommendations and delegates actions through web services. You can search the web faster and easier!
Manage your day-to-day activities with helpful cards that include information you’ll need throughout the day before you ask. Google Now pulls your boarding pass for flights so you won’t have to go through your suitcase to find it. It will check the traffic to make your next appointment and you’ll receive a notification on when you should leave. You’ll never be late again. The app even sends notifications for when packages have been shipped or if they’ve arrived.
Google Now allows you to stay connected with news and vital information. The app also allows you to view real estates listings on Zillow showing you listings nearby and pulling up all the pertinent information about a particular house.
Sports fan? Google Now keeps you updated on your favorite sports teams in real-time, so you can stay on top of live scores and upcoming games. Get local with features that include public transit schedules, suggestions for nearby bars and restaurants and events around the corner you might have missed out on before Google Now.
The app has many cool features that illustrate how well Google knows you. It has been praised for its ability to remind users of events based on location histories and check-ins. One of the most notable features is the voice command action that lets you speak your commands into the phone and wait for results.
Posted on May 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm
I keep this ad on my desktop for two reasons:
One, it reminds me to exercise. It’s a shame that anyone needs a reminder to do so, but if you’re not an inveterate gym rat—and I’m not—you take your perspiration inspirations wherever you can get them.
Two, speaking of inspiration, great ads (and marketing) speak to the heart and to the head, in that order. This outdoor “ad” reminds me that great communications convey a brand promise. And they don’t need a lot of copy to deliver that message. In this case, one word is enough. Brilliant. Nike‘s brand promise is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. I’d say they are on brand with this particular execution.
Yes, I know selling sneakers or beer or mobile phones is different than marketing a relationship-based service—like law, accounting, consulting, investment advice or higher education. That does not mean that the advertising for these organizations needs to be dry white toast. Most ads we see in the category are descriptive, not distinctive, or worse: easy to ignore during busy days and nights.
Another point before I run. At least a select few firms are still invested in advertising. Most have abandoned investments like these in a tidal swing to business development. It’s our educated view that the great recession and budget slashing has led to the wrongful death of advertising in the professions. But what’s the true cost? For starters, core awareness, differentiation and communication quality responsibilities have been sacrificed. That’s a shame too. Kudos to those who still just do it. And even higher praise to those who do it really well.
Click here for more on why (and how) great firms advertise.
Posted on May 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm
Whether you are traveling or are in your own neighborhood, discovering new places can be daunting. Turn the map on your iPhone into a social discovery tool. Plotter is a social mapping app that lets you easily create, share, crowd source and discover maps on your phone. This is perfect if you’ve just moved to a new city or are traveling with your friends. Take it to the next level by adding a social layer.
Create a community for sharing and Plotter will help you develop a “best of” list, map your favorite places and plan up coming trips. Creating an account is easy; it only requires a password and username or you can login using your account credentials from third party social networks.
It’s the first social network focused on maps and has the potential to redefine the way people interact with maps on their phones. With the app you can plot multiple locations on a single map for easy access and there is no limit to how many plot points you can plot. The app also lets you give and receive recommendations from friends for places to go. Another cool feature is the Map Room, which is a collection of features and popular maps that have already been curated by experts and the Plotter community. The social feature lets you find and follow friends to see what maps they’ve created, then recommend plots to their map or use their map for your own trip. You can also search addresses and locations based on a number of different categories. You can divide those paths by walking or driving between all of the locations on the map.
So if you’re looking for a map app that does more than search and direct—this is the app for you. Do you need help mapping out a mobile solution for your firm? Check out our Tech Solutions to find out more.
Posted on May 3, 2013 at 11:08 am
Greenfield/Belser has won over 40 graphic design awards in the past year! We are excited to be regarded for the creativity, professionalism and high standards we uphold for our clients. Our experienced design team works hard to get the best results for our remarkable clients. We plan to end the year with many more awards to share.
In this year alone, we earned first place in the website refresh category for Choate Hall & Stewart at the LMA Your Honor Awards National competition. Choate also came in first in the Law Firm Website and Events/Bio Booth category. We were proud to come in third for our Gesmer Updegrove advertising campaign. The LMA New England Chapter also awarded Gesmer Updegrove first place in advertising.
The National Law Journal awarded us the prestigious honor of first place for Best Legal Marketing and Branding and second in the Best Law Firm Website Design category. In the 2013 International Design Awards, we left with five awards and three honorable mentions. Our Marketing Ecosystem Poster won a silver award in the poster category.
This year we received 11 awards from Graphic Design USA for websites. Winners included Guttman Development Strategies and Beck Redden, both of whom launched their site’s later last year. Hanna Brophy also took a home a website design award and they launched earlier this year. Apex Companies’ website won a WebAward and W3 Award. WeirFoulds’s advertisement campaign won a platinum award from MarCom Awards and a Silver Award from the Service Industry Advertising Awards. Our very own 2011 Annual Review has won three awards in the past year. Berry Dunn, Parker Poe, Devine Millmet, Millmand Land, Nexsen Pruet and AASHTO have also won in multiple categories this past year.
Many more great clients have won in different contests, but the true award is having great clients to work with. If you’d like to know if you’ve won an award in a design category contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want award-wining websites, brochures and annuals? To learn more about Greenfield/Belser’s award-winning technology and design, visit our Tech Solutions and Capabilities sections.
Posted on April 30, 2013 at 11:38 am
As a kid in high school, I was profoundly affected by the Hegel’s idea of the dialectic, the back and forth of ideas (left/right, liberal/conservative, etc.) that drives the history of politics and thought in the world. Seemed like a darned good explanation to me. Put this on a timeline and imagine a spiraling rocket of history along a linear trajectory; that is, history repeats itself in a spiral going forward. This is a timeline image easy to imagine.
However, lately I’ve come to believe this is better represented by a sphere because a linear timeline fails to reflect the complexity of human thought and history. A timeline turning back on itself in precise spiral ellipses, constrained permanently by the shape of a sphere and the connections of historical thought makes more sense to me, because there are so many more parallel points. I popped online to see if anyone else had a similar thought (I can’t possibly be the first!) and found no words but computer drawings that seemed to reflect the thought quite nicely. Look up. You might be looking at the true “arc” of human history and thought.
What’s your point, Burkey? I’m a marketer. The Great Recession has torqued into the Great Regression. Focus on brand has been abandoned, replaced by the need of firms just to survive. Totally understandable if all you’ve got is a short term view. But a bland brand does not reinforce your sales efforts; it works against them. Turn the ship over. Get back to brand while retaining your focus on sales. It’s neither one nor the other but a spiral encased in a sphere. A riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a puzzle that’s yours to figure out.
By the way, squash this image against a wall and you’ve got a mandala. Now that’s interesting!
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