Trending from G/L: Debating Like A True Marketer

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Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Debating Like A True Marketer

These days it seems like there is a debate about something new EVERY DAY.

Some of the topics can be a little, well, trivial in the grand scheme of things, but nonetheless are discussed in fervor on social media.

Are women’s pockets inferior to men’s? Yes, yes they are.
Is St. Louis the microbrew capital of America? Well, no…but we are near the top!
Are hit songs starting to sound a little similar? Yeahhhh.

These kinds of topics can generate some pretty strong opinions that inevitably circulate through our culture. But typically, there’s a decided shortage of facts to backup our claims. That is, of course, what makes these debates more of a matter of opinion. But now, The Pudding is here to shift the conversation from online shouting to in-depth sleuthing.

The site The Pudding has taken these entertaining cultural debates and put an actual answer to them. They conduct their own research and collect original data. Then they showcase their findings in a creative and super digestible way.

They use the “emerging form of journalism” called visual essays to tell their findings. Every essay on the site has interactive graphics to highlight the research and data in a way that is accessible to everybody.

Browsing through, you’ll see that the available essay topics are relevant and intriguing too.

The Pudding has tapped into something our culture didn’t even know we needed. Someone to help us FINALLY settle those debates you and your friends have over drinks on a Friday night.

How’s this relate to advertising? What The Pudding does and what those of us in the marketing world do are in essence one in the same: effectively communicate the truth about a particular topic. Getting to the bottom of what truly makes a brand or product unique and telling that truth in an engaging way is the key to good marketing and advertising. Imagine the latest debate is whether or not to purchase your brand or product. Is a shouting match of “buy” vs. “don’t buy” on social media going to be effective? Probably not. But how about a well-researched campaign that connects the essential truths about your brand to the people who will most likely value those truths? Now you’re talking. That’s what Making It Mean Something is all about, and it’s what we do every day here at G/L.

Great creative work is backed and inspired by great research. When you’re ready to discover the essential truths of your brand and make those truths mean something to your audiences, give us a call.

Designing for Prospective Students

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Designing for Prospective Students

Designing for prospective students can be as fun as it is tricky.

Prospective students can tell how adaptable and up-to-date an organization is within seconds of visiting their site or interacting with them digitally. How an organization presents itself online almost certainly mirrors what’s going on behind the curtain, and it’s pretty obvious. There are several basic things to consider when designing for prospective students:

Function and Content is Key

An organization has to be accessible and the interface has to be easy to navigate. Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to find basic information. These prospects want to know what you have to say and they want to be able to access the most information easily. Putting the most important information up front and making is easily digestible is a great way to get students interested in finding out more about the organization.

Good UI Design

Some say that the best design is invisible. At the very least, don’t let the design dictate the function. Design around the user interface and make it as clear and easy to navigate as possible. You want to be able to outline a clear path through the site for the end-user, while allowing them the freedom and flexibility to explore.

Social Media

Incorporating social media can add some honesty and even brevity to a website. It shows that other REAL people are interacting with the organization and may provide a glimpse of what it’s like to be involved. It also gives the end user the ability to share their own opinions about the organization.

Be Honest

No one has a more finely tuned BS meter than young adults. The best thing an organization can do for itself is be completely honest and transparent. In turn, the quality of people you’re trying to reach will be enhanced. This starts with research on the part of the prospect. If they are getting mixed signals on what is being presented digitally, they will find it pretty easy to move on.

Want to talk more about design? Fill out the form below or email us at [email protected] and we will lend our time to discuss your communications and design needs.

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Trending from G/L: How the #NeverAgain Movement is Working Like an Agency

The Blog

Meg Strange
Senior Account Executive

Trending from G/L: How the #NeverAgain Movement is Working Like an Agency

Over the past year and a half, buzz words in media and marketing have revolved around one thing: “social.” Social media, social commentary, social movements… we like to talk about things. And given the number of momentous events that have transpired over that period of time – the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly – we’ve had plenty to talk about.

Brands and media outlets can draw criticism when they get involved with the discussion surrounding some of these heavy, sensitive topics. Whether it’s being ill-informed, or being accused of exploiting controversial subjects for personal gain, we’ve all seen PR disasters happen on social media. But when brands and media outlets really listen to what’s going on in the world, they can provide a megaphone to individuals who, up until this point, may have felt voiceless – an incredible success not only for the brands and media outlets, but for our community as a whole. Often, this megaphone manifests itself as social media.

The tragedy that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida stunned and saddened people all over the world. But somewhere in that tragedy, a group of teenagers found enough strength and determination to take charge of one of the most vexing and controversial debates in the United States. And they’re using social media to make it happen.

This movement, aptly titled #NeverAgain, has played an integral role in organizing possibly the largest single-day protest in the history of our nation’s capital, has core leadership that has amassed over 2 million followers on Twitter and has changed the gun conversation in America… and it’s made up of two dozen young adults ranging in age from 17 – 20 operating out of a Florida strip mall. Welcome to the 21st century.

According to an article by Vanity Fair, the atmosphere in the #NeverAgain headquarters is akin to the vibe of the Saturday Night Live writers’ room. It’s a social media think tank where a group of animated and highly driven high school (and some college) students gather to strategize the content, tone, messages and tactics that will continue the movement’s momentum that has amassed in the past few weeks.

The group is made up of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and talents, all collaborating to cultivate engaging and easily shareable social content that will continue to captivate and earn support from our country and, possibly, the world. They vet creative ideas, develop memes, write and shoot short-form video, draft event speeches and more. They constantly consider their key audiences and the best ways to attract and engage them. They brainstorm, concept, debate and create.

Wait a tick…that kind of sounds like…an agency. As I read this article, I was amazed at the knowledge, skills and level of thinking these kids seem to possess. The conversations they’re having, the questions they’re asking, the work they’re doing and the energy they’re creating is comparable to what professionals across our industry have spent years developing and perfecting. This group of adolescents is operating a content studio, PR firm, social media agency and non-profit organization all at once and all while still in school! As industry professionals, we are often quick to criticize the notion that anyone can become a designer, content creator, strategist—but these kids are challenging the status quo and proving that, with enough tenacity and grit, they can achieve anything.

So, is it just plain luck that they’ve formed the perfect team to carry this movement? Or, is their competence in capturing our attention just the reality of a generation who has been reared in the digital age? Or, is it simply a group of passionate young people who realize they have the power and the resources to create real change? Either way, whether or not you agree with their message or this movement, I believe we can all agree that what they are doing is equal parts impressive and inspirational.

Industry Spotlight: Equine Web Design

The Blog

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Industry Spotlight: Equine Web Design

With approximately 9.2 million horses in the U.S. coinciding with approximately 2 million horse owners, the equine care market size has grown to a substantial $900+ million dollar business. That’s nothing to shake a stick at.

The good news is there are many opportunities to communicate with consumers about your equine products; the hurdle though, is that the category is extremely crowded. As a brand, it’s more important than ever to stand out. One way to do that is through your website. It’s vital that equine brands keep up with technology to converse with their consumers…but how can your site stand out from others? Here are a few tips to follow that will ensure your site stands out:

Consistency

I’m sure your brand has created a corporate identity. It’s crucial that you use that guide to ensure your brand and message are communicated consistently online and offline. Continuity within your site is also important – actually, it’s a major factor in conversion. When a consumer moves throughout your site each page must deliver a consistent design and message.

Aesthetically pleasing

Part of being aesthetically pleasing is keeping the overall design as clean and simple as possible. White space is a big part of that. It will allow your visitors to focus on what’s important and help get your key messages across.

Colors and images

This is extremely important, especially with horse owners. The use of warm and inviting colors resonates well with horse owners and it can complement the tone of the copy. The use of imagery is vital in this category. Horse owners love to see photography of horses. Showing a variety of different horses is effective as it broadens your opportunity to reach many horse owners. One thing to keep in mind – as you select an image, be sure it’s relevant and adds value to the message you’re communicating.

Relevant content

Equine sites have to be populated with relevant, keyword-rich content. You might ask, how do I determine if my content is relevant? Well according to Angie Schottmuller of Interactive Artisan, using the “Triangle of Relevance” can help. The triangle strategy incorporates three angles – business interest, user interest and time significance to maximize relevance and content, creating user action.

These are just a few helpers to get you started. One last thing to think about equine web design: always consider who you’re talking to and talk to them in an authentic voice. Horse owners appreciate honesty and a straight forward messaging that helps them understand what is best for their horse(s). Keeping this in mind will keep your brand top of mind with consumers and help solidify the conversion.

Download our Digital Marketing Audit to learn more about successful internet marketing.

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We have experience with equine; we know the brands, consumers and the products. Let’s talk about what your equine brand is doing to grow through digital marketing and your equine web design. Fill out this form with your information and we will reach out to you!

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Trending from G/L: “Black Mirror” Episode Comes To Life

The Blog

Ben Schwab
Art Director

Trending from G/L: “Black Mirror” Episode Comes To Life

Fans of the popular Netflix series “Back Mirror” are no strangers to its delightfully dark, prescient perspective on the human condition, our cultural relationship with technology, and how those things will often come to odds with one another. One episode in particular, Nosedive, imagines a world where people can rate each other from one to five stars based on every interaction they have. However, unlike gaining or losing followers over social media, this social credit system directly impacts an individual’s socioeconomic status.

Social Credit System IRL

This may sound like an over-exaggerated interpretation of our personal investment/obsession with social image and acceptance, but it carries an added weight after discovering that this concept may not exist purely within the realm of science fiction. In fact, a form of this big brother monitoring is already rolling out in China.

First announced in 2014, China has begun testing what is essentially a social credit system. This system is currently handled through local councils and non-disclosed tech platforms, and exists to reward those who exhibit anything deemed as positive behavior and punish negative behavior. Individuals would carry a score based upon their observed behaviors and this number can dictate how a person is treated in everyday interactions.

The potential repercussions of these social punishments include such things as denied purchase of plane tickets or hotel rooms, having your Internet access throttled, denied opportunities for better jobs, and even the possibility of open public shaming when labeled as a “Bad Citizen.” While on the positive end individuals can expect perks for high scores such as increased boosting on dating apps, reduced energy bills and better interest rates from banks.

Marketing Takeaways

While we may cringe at the notion of a social credit system applied to human beings, the concept really isn’t all that foreign to brands, PR professionals, marketing professionals and the like. Everything that a brand does, says, tweets and hashtags has an affect, from minuscule to massive, on their overall perception. A run of bad press can destroy a brand’s good standing with consumers, just like a series of positive press can improve a brand’s standing. Say the right things, and a brand’s social credit can earn more loyalty, improved partnerships, etc. But say the wrong things, and face a long, uphill climb to regaining the trust of your audience.

In today’s digital world of screenshots and databases, it’s essential to carefully maintain a consistent message, personality and presence in the market. Just like a product recall can have long-lasting affects on consumer trust, screenshots of deleted tweets can spread like wildfire and have the same long-lasting affects on a brand’s reputation. That’s why it’s important to regularly affirm both, internally and externally, what your brand stands for and how that is communicated.

Looking to evaluate your brand and improve its “social score?” We know a few people who can help with that.

Trending From G/L: Marketing to Millennial Parents

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending From G/L: Marketing to Millennial Parents

ICYMI: Millennials are not just the same old flannel-clad, entitled, couch and career surfers anymore. Millennials are growing. Growing into families that is.

That’s right, almost half of our beloved millennial demographic are becoming mommies and daddies. At least 40% of millennials already have children, and that rate continues to climb as millennials continue to age. Considering millennials make up more than a quarter of the population representing 83.1 million Americans, and surpassing the Baby Boomer generation by over 7 million in population, this life-changing milestone means major lifestyle changes for millennials, and major sales category shifts and opportunities for marketers.

As digital natives, this generation has grown-up with cutting-edge technology at their fingertips and has been exposed to marketing messages coming at them from all angles. Millennials understand that brands are going to target them, and here’s what marketers should consider when communicating with today’s millennial parents:

Authenticity

Millennials recognize that parenting isn’t perfect; it’s messy, it’s stressful, exhausting, and absolutely extraordinary. Therefore, millennial parents prefer to see marketing messages that are authentic and honest about the portrayal of parenting. According to research from BabyCenter, 66% of millennial moms say it’s important for brands to realistically portray the challenges of parenting. Millennials gravitate towards brands that can offer a unique, tailored experience that can connect and relate to their own parenting experiences.

Community

Community is critical for today’s millennial parents. Millennials will seek parenting advice and product recommendations from multiple sources including, their peers, other parents, and oftentimes, community boards to get immediate, real-time responses. Much like millennial’s preferences for authenticity from marketers, according to BabyCenter, 55% millennials would rather seek advice from other parents and influencers who are open and honest about their parenting mishaps. And according to, Cassandra’s 2016 Modern Parents Report, 4 out of 10 millennial parents feel better about parenting when they hear about other parent’s mishaps.

Shared Experiences

Millennial parents want to publicly share their experiences navigating the journey of parenthood; the challenges, the milestones, and the joyous victories, all through the lens of a digital camera and shared via social media. And it’s not enough for millennial parents to just share their own experiences, millennial parents are more likely to engage with other parents, offering words of encouragement, advice, and make product recommendations to other parents via social media and community boards.

As millennials continue to disrupt the parenthood industry, marketers need to be more receptive to these lifestyle changes and tailor their messaging for multiple platforms, while reflecting authentic and honest experiences millennial parents are challenged with today.

Trending from G/L: McDonald’s delivers fabled famous Szechuan sauce to Rick and Morty fans

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: McDonald’s delivers fabled famous Szechuan sauce to Rick and Morty fans

Free earned media. It’s the crown jewel of the marketing world. And it really doesn’t get much better than the McDonald’s-Rick and Morty-Szechuan-Sauce story that’s unfolded.

Image via Justin Roiland

The SparkNotes summary: Hit TV show with a dedicated following, Rick and Morty, referenced an old sauce that McDonald’s once served years ago as part of a tie-in with the 1998 Disney release of Mulan. Fans then became wildly curious about the sauce that had been discontinued nearly 20 years before, with even some McDonald’s higher-ups chiming in about its fabled existence.

It became a viral joke that had the McDonald’s name attached to it at every corner. And of course, they played along. But, they did it in such a natural way that fans, consumers and the like weren’t turned off by it becoming too much of a marketing grab.

In advance of the premiere of the new season of Rick and Morty, McDonald’s sent Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland a bottle of that now-infamous Szechuan sauce, complete with hilarious description and label that played right along with the show. Justin Roiland’s tweet of the bottle and its packaging has, to date, garnered 141,781 retweets and 339,146 likes!

Image via Justin Roiland

But the pursuit of earned media like this almost never yields such incredible results. So what was the difference? Simple: McDonald’s never overplayed their hand. They just played along. And that’s a very big distinction.

Instead of latching onto the sudden and unexpected conversation around their decades old sauce, McDonald’s did no more than what felt natural. They didn’t milk it for some tired, multi-month campaign. Or try to turn it into a hashtag. Or any of the other marketing gimmicks that consumers now roll their eyes at. They put some effort into creating the packaging and remaking the sauce, and then let the internet do its thing. It’s no coincidence that, while they later released a few more bottles to fans via branded posts, the most viral post wasn’t even theirs. They just sent the bottle to Justin Roiland and trusted that his tweet, free of corporate hashtags and paid promotions, would do the rest. And they were right.

It’s an important lesson in an age where brands haphazardly try to insert themselves into the conversation. Don’t overstep your role as a brand. Just play along.

Full-Funnel Marketing: What CMOs want from their Agency Partners

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Full-Funnel Marketing: What CMOs want from their Agency Partners

Today, marketers and CMO’s are looking at the digital marketing landscape and heavily investing more and more ad dollars to reach audiences. Expectations are high for getting the results, data, metrics, marketing analytics, traffic, engagement, conversions and ROI, and marketing managers and CMO’s are being held accountable. And we believe as their partner, we should be held to the same standards.

According to a 2017 CMO survey, big organizational capability gaps identified by marketing leaders are highest in customer development and engagement and marketing analytics.

Today’s marketers want a fully integrated approach that takes customers through the buying journey from awareness, to consideration, to engagement, to purchase, to loyalty. That’s what Full-Funnel Marketing is all about.

The Full-Funnel Approach

Full-Funnel Marketing is a holistic approach that not only reaches an audience at the top of the funnel, but continues to follow the customer all the way down the funnel to purchase, engaging and nurturing customers each step of the way. Using the data available, we are able to tailor messages delivered throughout the entire purchase decision.

 

 

At the top of the funnel, our goal is to generate favorable brand awareness and help customers understand your brand’s unique position in the market. Through advertising both in digital and traditional landscapes, as well as social media and public relations, we communicate what makes a product or service unique and why your customers should care.

In the lower end of the funnel, it’s all about educating, influencing and engaging customers with your brand. We nurture customers along the way, by giving them the information and resources they need to make an informed purchase decision, while providing marketers/clients a highly targeted prospect list that are ready to convert and make the purchase of your brand.

Finally, it’s up to us to convert these customers into loyal customers and brand ambassadors through retention, loyalty programs and follow-up communications. These are the customers who will write favorable reviews and become advocates for the brand.

Why is it important?

Consumers are heavily influenced in their purchase decision by online reviews, recommendations, social content, etc. They have access to more information about a product or service at their fingertips during each phase of the purchase decision.

It’s critical that marketers use the Full-Funnel Marketing approach and reach customers through multiple platforms both early on in the buying process, and at each stage thereafter. Investing in brand awareness marketing in the upper funnel will keep your brand in the minds of customers even when they aren’t actively considering a purchase.

In a digital age that sees potential customers researching products and brands long before making first contact, it’s no longer enough for marketers to simply focus on consumer awareness of brands and products available to them. Effective marketing in today’s world follows the right customer with the right messaging from awareness to consideration all the way down to purchase decision and thereafter. That’s the Full-Funnel Marketing approach.

Check out the video below and download a free copy of the Full Funnel Marketing Guide.

Trending from G/L: Spector typeface tool is coming soon to a creative near you

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Spector typeface tool is coming soon to a creative near you

Designers and other creative folks find inspiration out in the wild all the time — whether it is a cool package typeface at the grocery store or a unique leaf color they see while walking the dog. They snap a picture on their phone in hopes of figuring out that typeface or sampling that color for a later project. However, it’s usually difficult to accurately identify and recreate these inspirations once back at the desk.

Enter a creative’s new best friend — Spector.

Spector is a handy, working prototype tool designed by Fiona O’Leary that she describes as a “physical eyedropper”. All you have to do is place Spector over whatever you wish to identify and press a button. This tool then cross-references type with a font database to discover its’ name and reads the color to create a RGB and CMYK value. The results are then connected to InDesign for you to use — no more time wasted trying to uncover that mysterious font! Spector even recognizes type size, kerning and leading. Even more time saved when you are trying to achieve a certain layout look.

Check out this video to see Spector in action.

Everyone at G/L was super impressed by Spector. Any tool that increases productivity while also increasing our “visual literacy” is a must have in our book. The only not-so-awesome thing about Spector — you can’t go out and buy it right now. This is a working prototype that can only recognize a handful of typefaces so far. O’Leary does plan on integrating with a much larger database someday. Hopefully we will see Spector on the market in the very near future — we will be first in line tacking anyone who gets in our way!

Have any thoughts? Shoot us a note here and we’ll get right back to you!

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Trending from G/L: Why Ili Means You Wasted Your Time on Rosetta Stone

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Why Ili Means You Wasted Your Time on Rosetta Stone

Joining the travel agent, newspaper editor, and Blockbuster clerk, the professional translator may be the next to find themselves searching the classifieds, thanks to a new innovation in the field of multicultural communication. The Logbar ili is a new, soon to hit the market wearable translator, the next evolution in translation technology.

One of the first capable of voice recognition and verbal translation, it relies on its own self contained operating system, rather than having to be built around an existing platform like current and unreliable phone applications are. About the size and shape of the original iPod shuffle (and arriving almost a decade after), the first generation ili is currently capable of translating between Chinese, Japanese, and English, facilitating nearly instant multilingual conversation between any combinations of the three. Version two will add French, Thai, and Korean, and version three will add Spanish, Italian, and Arabic.

Without a current list price or the ability to pre-order one, it’s tough to say when this device (and others sure to follow soon) will begin to diffuse through any number of cultures and languages, but the process of instant and accurate translation from a wearable piece of technology is essentially priceless to those in both the business and personal world.

Though currently limited in dialect and surely far from peak efficiency, the ili exemplifies improvements to and enforcement of the current trends in personal technology, being both wearable, and accelerating the ever more important idea of a “glocal” mindset. Like the first run of any groundbreaking technology, I won’t rush out to buy one.

While the concept is exciting and the uses seem infinite, this seems to be a stepping stone in the field of global communication technologies, paving the way for a world with seamless and universal conversation, one, which I can’t be the only one looking forward to.

Have any thoughts? Shoot us a note here.

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