3 Little Birds 4 Life

The Blog

Ben Edmonson
Senior Art Director

3 Little Birds 4 Life

Chances are we all know somebody who has been diagnosed with or affected in some way by cancer. As sad as this may be, the support, comfort and care shown by friends, family and communities can be overwhelming.

Last summer when my wife’s co-worker was diagnosed with stomach cancer, I witnessed someone fighting for his life — but not doing it alone. Sadly, after battling for 10 months, he passed away, but it was over the course of those 10 months, that I saw a lot of people band together to show their support and help him in his fight. I never really knew him, but got a glimpse into his life, what he was passionate about and how many lives he has impacted. He made a difference — in addition to being a physical therapist, he was an assistant college soccer coach and coached a youth soccer team as well. I heard enough stories to know that he will truly be missed by family, friends and the community he touched. He had a large support group, but the organization that made me take notice for their support was 3 Little Birds 4 Life.

Chances are that you’ve heard the captivating and peaceful lyrics from Bob Marley’s “3 Little Birds” sometime in your life – “Don’t worry about a thing ‘cause every little thing gonna be all right.” This song was the very essence of Guy “Tyler” Gifford, brother of 3 Little Birds 4 Life founder, Ashley Swip. Tyler was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in early 2010. It first started as a mole on the back of his calf that did not get treated right away. He had the mole removed, but it unfortunately came back as melanoma. Tyler had a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, and the results were that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes in his groin. He had the lymph nodes removed and all was clear. Three months later, Tyler had another PET scan. The melanoma had spread to his liver, heart, spleen, and bones. It was only a short 3 months later that he passed away. It was only a total of nine months from learning about his melanoma to his death on November 2, 2010.

It was through all of the treatments, surgeries, and the final stages that Ashley realized that Tyler, at 28 years old, needed to have one more great day doing the things that he loved. So, while he was still able to walk, she talked to the St. Louis Cardinal organization and had the perfect day made for him. That was the last time Tyler was able to hang out all day and walk during this wonderful experience. It was 6 weeks later after his wish that he passed away.

In the endeavor to make Tyler’s wish come true, Ashley quickly realized that it was necessary for other families currently battling a cancer diagnosis to be able to experience a wish. Tyler was granted an experience of a lifetime with the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals – to sit in the press box, meet the announcers and go on the field before the game during batting practice. A few months after Tyler’s death, 3 Little Birds 4 Life was created in his honor.

Tyler had a unique way of making each and every person around him smile, laugh, and remember that everything would be all right, no matter what. When Tyler passed away, the words from “3 Little Birds” were placed on his prayer card, and through his life, his caring nature, loving heart, and this song, 3 Little Birds 4 Life came to be.

It is because of stories like Tyler’s and others that I am choosing to dedicate my time to this organization and I urge others to do the same. I will help celebrate #GLSTL25 by volunteering at least 25 hours of my time toward granting wishes for 3 Little Birds 4 Life.

Right now, they have a pressing need for Wish Designers. There are many Wish Recipients just waiting to be picked up by a designer. However, there are many other ways people can help support 3 Little Birds 4 Life. Check out 3littlebirds4life.org to read more about donating, volunteering or their Workout 4 Wishes and Round Up 4 Me campaigns.

Advertising Costs How Much?

The Blog

Ben Edmonson
Senior Art Director

Advertising Costs How Much?

These days, companies are constantly looking for ways to streamline their business. Cutting costs, downsizing, upselling, “right-sizing”…it’s all part of the big picture. But, what is the big picture? For some, ROI comes to mind, but for others it’s a never-ending onslaught of concentrated marketing efforts to achieve goals. For startups and even established companies, coming up with the bucks for a logo or rebrand campaign prove hard to come by, or better yet, even justify. Especially when companies like Nike get their trademark from a graphic design student for $35. Heck, Twitter bought their logo from istockphoto.com for a mere $15. So, why would Pepsi pay a cool million for their latest redesign in 2008? Or $665,400 being shelled out for the 2012 London Olympics logo? Or 1.8 million by the BBC for their latest look? Don’t worry, your hair should grow back after all that head scratching.

I know someone who can do that for way less.

There will always be someone out there undercutting the competition or practically giving away work for free. When cutting costs, advertising is usually the first to go. Pair this with some logos that didn’t cost much and it all makes perfect sense — Microsoft’s latest logo was created by an in-house design team; Google’s co-founder created theirs on a free program; Coke’s original logo was created by the company’s co-founder and bookkeeper. These are all wildly successful brands, so why pay a ton of money for something that you don’t have to – especially when there is somebody willing to do the work. And we all know somebody who has “played around” with Photoshop.

Business stinks. Let’s redesign.

A lot of companies redesign their logo for good reason. It works out, business picks up, there is a better connection with brand and consumer and all seems right with the world. There are also some head-scratchers out there that are still making our eyes bleed. Did these companies redesign for the right reasons though? Maybe their bucks could have been better spent elsewhere.

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Your Logo vs. Branding.

Okay, so you’ve got this snazzy new logo that your in-house designers came up with. Or maybe your brother’s cousin’s former roommate dreamed up your new logo (don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s awesome). Either way, you’re ready for the customers to come crashing through your door, right? Let’s be honest here… how often does this happen? And better yet, why not? Because your logo or “your brand” and “branding” are two totally different things. Well, maybe not totally different, but the overlap is pretty insignificant. Your logo or brand is the face of your company, and your branding efforts are used to tell your story and thus, attract business. They’re two separate things, but they need to work together. I think a lot of people expect too much from their brand and want it to do things that are better left to your branding — like marketing or bigger ideas that gain attention from untapped sources. Gap missed the mark with their (almost) redesign, but maybe their logo wasn’t the problem, and they shouldn’t have changed things in the first place. A lot of companies are successful because their mark conveys a message that their marketing efforts support, therefore creating a greater relationship with their consumers.

Bridging the gap between your brand and branding.

Sure, Nike got a bargain for the swoosh, but they’ve paid millions over time to position themselves as they do. The McDonald’s, Microsofts and Apples of the world have shelled out good money on marketing to grab brand recognition. Most of these companies are very successful, but not because they’ve done it once, but because they continue to market their brand. I mentioned last paragraph about your branding efforts telling your story. That’s just it. Whether it’s a new business or service, a rebrand or redesign, your logo cannot do everything. Your logo plays a big part in the even bigger on-going role, which is to convey your message and be able to tell your story. Theodore Roosevelt summed it up when he said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s not WHAT you do, it’s WHY you do it that draws attention. It’s all about resonating with the end-user. Sometimes this can be achieved very quickly, but most times this is an ongoing effort to keep yourself relevant. It takes years, even decades. After seeing the swoosh for the first time, even Nike CEO Phil Knight didn’t like it, saying he hoped, “It would grow on him.” Well, it’s done more than that. The Nike brand is worth almost $16 billion. The Apple brand worth over $104 billion. Pepsi as a company is worth $255 billion and holds 30% of the total carbonated soft drink market, according to Beverage Digest. Suddenly a million for a logo re-design doesn’t seem so crazy, does it?

Telling your story.

No company is going to turn into Apple overnight. However, with the right efforts your message and story can be heard — and to the right audience. Next time you ask yourself, “What does my company need?” a better question might be, “What does my brand need?” Big bucks or not and with plenty of means to get the message out (print, digital, social media, etc.), there are ways to tell your company’s story and be effective. The only other question to ask is, “Where should my bucks go? My brand or my branding?”

Advertising in a Down Economy May Be Smarter Than you Think.

The Blog

Ben Edmonson
Senior Art Director

Advertising in a Down Economy May Be Smarter Than you Think.

At some point during a recession, every business’s advertising budget or marketing plan has had a setback—budgets cut, projects cancelled, creative direction changed, whatever. Sadly, usually the first thing to get cut during economic hardship is the advertising budget. The good news? There is a ton of factual info and insight to back up the fact that advertising in a rough economy can pay off huge in the long-run—or even the short-run depending on how you spend your marketing dollars. (more…)

CRAZY TO RE-BRAND OR CRAZY NOT TO?

The Blog

Ben Edmonson
Senior Art Director

CRAZY TO RE-BRAND OR CRAZY NOT TO?

 

In 2008, when Wal-Mart ditched the hyphen in favor of the burst, they definitely got it right. With a campaign centered around their new tagline — “save money. live better.” — their success has come largely from keeping the consumer in mind. It is that brand to consumer connection where success can either make a splash or go off the deep end. Some companies have gotten it right, but why is it when it comes to branding overhauls most ad agencies leave consumers scratching their heads?

The answer is simple, but in order to get there we need to take a step back. To fully understand the woes of re-branding, we first must understand what branding is. Simply put, the ultimate goal of advertising and branding is to take a simple word or phrase associated with your product or service, and plant that in the mind of the consumer. Sounds easy enough, right? Brands like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Gatorade make it look easy. Over the years, the automakers have done the same thing — Toyota has done it with reliability, Volvo has made the connection with safety and BMW has made consumers believe that they actually invented driving. Yes, the awesomeness of branding is nothing short of powerful, but then again — it has to be. In such an advertising heavy world, how else can you turn potential buyers into die-hard consumers?

Getting your target audience to notice your brand, and your brand only, takes a lot more than just a new logo. You need a smart advertising agency that understands branding from the consumer viewpoint. Placed in the right hands (or minds, rather) a powerful marketing and advertising firm can take your brand from the somber depths of mediocrity to great heights for years to come. Whether it’s a complete overhaul or strategic planning, your brand’s messaging and appearance in the minds of consumers needs to stay sharp so it can continue to capture its target audience.

Let’s face it, advertising has changed drastically since the turn of the century — just look how successful companies use social media. You can’t reach consumers the same way you have in the past and expect the same results. With oversaturated markets and a short amount of time to capture consumers’ attention, the need for re-branding is more apparent now than ever. Your brand is your face, personality and essence of your company — everything it stands for. Call me crazy, but you can’t afford to throw it out in the consumer world, only to get buried on the bottom shelf of consumers’ minds.

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