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Branding

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jan 2020

According to recent ad industry reports large traditional advertising agencies are facing challenging times. Larry Light, CEO of Arcature (a brand consultancy), explains how the existing model of advertising that built the industry is undergoing transformation and how digital technology, changing human behavior, mobile phones etc is changing how brands communicate with customers. He says that if TV is watched in a mute then except for logos the ads of some big name restaurants are indistinguishable. 'This commonality in creativity is illustrated by the use of generic thinking,' he adds. He further explains the use of common phrases in various ad campaigns. He says, 'This kind of brand thinking is a reflection of the overuse of research testing over creativity. Asking consumers to be creative is a certain road to genericization of communication.' He quotes Ryan Reynolds, 'Ads are generally disposable pieces of content,' and comments, 'These advertising greats (David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach, Mary Wells and Phil Dusenberry) would be horrified to learn that advertising has been demoted to disposable, fleeting bits and bytes of single use creations. With the digital advances making short-term marketing spend easier to measure, the marketing focus has shifted away from long-term brand ideas...Advertising messages are now short-lived, disposable throw-aways, meant to capture someone's attention for a moment and then disappear in the ether.' He advocates, 'The primary role of marketing in general, and advertising in particular, is to create, reinforce and increase brand loyalty...Regardless of the small screen digitization of our world, a great advertising campaign can be a key driver for establishing and maintaining brand loyalty. Response to advertising is selective: experience with a brand strongly affects one's response to an ad and advertising can affect one's response to a brand experience. The most important effect of meaningful brand advertising is to build and reinforce brand reputation. Advertising helps to reinforce a customer's personal perceptions of the total brand experience...Brand loyalty is something that grows, slowly and incrementally. A brand can generate clicks and views but not necessarily build brand use or brand loyalty. However, if you are predisposed to a brand, you are more likely to be influenced by the brand messages.' Read on...

Forbes: Advertising As We Know It Is Dead
Author: Larry Light


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2019

Graphic design continuously evolves and experts spot the trends and also make predictions. Here are graphic desing professionals predicting trends for 2020 - (1) Intensifying minimalism: Brian Dixon, creative director at Grady Britton; Paul Levy, designer; Adam Murdoch, senior art director. (2) Abstract 3D and vibrant colours: Tamryn Kerr, associate creative director at VMLY&R; Consuela Onighi, UX designer at Illustrate Digital; Alex Halfpenny, design director at Elmwood. (3) Type-only approaches: Emily Benwell, digital design and marketing specialist at Liberty Marketing; Davide Baratta, design director at Impero; Nazar Begen, head of project at Crello; Steve Sharp, director of Fat Cow Media; Chris Willis, head of design at VMLY&R; Katie Larosa, designer at Grady Britton. (4) Super-maximalist and ultra-minimalist: Justin Au, designer at Gretel. (5) Taking GIFs to the next level: Steve Sharp, director of Fat Cow Media; Mark Chatelier, executive creative director at StormBrands. (6) Multisensoral moving content: Davide Baratta, design director at Impero; Iain Acton, head of motion design at DixonBaxi; Emma Newnes of B&B Studio. (7) Motion with intent: Kelli Miller, creative director and partner at And/Or; Dan Healy, image and motion director at Bulletproof. (8) Ingrigue overtakes legibility: Alex Halfpenny, design director for Elmwood; Emily Benwell, digital design and marketing specialist for Liberty Marketing; Dave Gee, co-founder of Jam_. (9) Graphical disruption: Sarah Sanders, head of strategic insight at Precipice Design; Kelli Miller, creative director and partner at And/Or. (10) Backlash against Insta-perfection: Jennie Potts, design director at B&B Studio. (11) Focus on Gen Alpha: Lee Hoddy, creative partner at Conran Design Group. (12) Organic look and feel: Andy Capper, creative director at Echo Brand Design. (13) Action on sustainability: Charlie Smith, creative director at Charlie Smith Design; Steve Austen-Brown, creative director at Avantgarde London; Alex Halfpenny, design director at Elmwood. (14) New perspectives on gender and sexuality: Lee Hoddy, creative partner at Conran Design Group; Davide Baratta, design director at Impero. (15) A spirit of rebellion: Maisie Benson, designer at B&B Studio; Curro de la Villa, creative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam. (16) Device dependent design: Harry East, co-founder and creative director at Equals Collective. (17) Cause-based branding: Adam Murdoch, senior art director at Grady Britton. (18) Immersive experiences: Dave Gee, co-founder of Jam_; Mark Davis, creative director at me&dave; (19) Making brand stories more believable: Andy Askren, partner and creative director at Grady Britton. (20) Uncertainty: Alex Halfpenny, design director at Elmwood. Read on...

Creative Bloq: 20 top graphic design trends for 2020
Author: Tom May


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2019

According to Wikipedia, 'Place branding (including place marketing and place promotion) is a new umbrella term encompassing nation branding, region branding and city branding. Place branding is the process of image communication to a target market. It is invariably related to the notion that places compete with other places for people, resources, and business...A place brand is a network of associations in the place consumers' mind based on the visual, verbal, and behavioral expression of a place and its' stakeholders. These associations differ in their influence within the network and in importance for the place consumers' attitude and behavior (Erik Braun, Sebastian Zenker; 2017). It therefore aims to affect the perceptions of a place and position it favourably in the minds of the target groups. Place branding can even be considered as a governance strategy for projecting images and managing perceptions about places (Erik Braun, Jasper Eshuis, Erik-Hans Klijn; 2014).' Bill Baker, veteran place brander and author of the recent book, 'Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions and Downtowns: The Essentials for Successful Destinations', while speeking with Bobby McGill, founder and publisher of Branding in Asia, shares insights based on his long experience in destination marketing and tourism development. Mr. Baker says, 'Tourism can play a very positive role as part of an economic development strategy. However, locations around the world are recognizing that there is the need for a tourism masterplan to balance the marketing of the destination with the need for sustainable and harmonious development to meet community values and aspirations while meeting the needs of external audiences.' Explaing some of the mistakes in place branding, he says, 'The most common mistake or weakness that we see in place branding very often relates to positioning. Defining the brand position for a city, downtown or region is, without a doubt, the most important and trickiest part of the entire process. If they don't get this part right, everything else will miss its mark, since it's the positioning and its relevance to target audiences that informs and shapes all other elements of the brand. Compounding this is the challenge of dealing with the many competing voices of stakeholders.' He also cautions, 'Place branding can be a perilous journey. Some do a great job with defining their brand identity, but soon falter or fail when it comes to deployment and brand management, and the consistency needed to follow the agreed strategy. Others are unable to sustain the leadership, funding, personnel, and partner enthusiasm required to succeed...Our experiences have shown that a lack of understanding about branding, particularly among key decision-makers can be the Waterloo or graveyard for a place branding initiative. Unless staff and committees can get beyond thinking in terms of logos and taglines, or mistaking a snappy campaign theme, then their efforts to define and deploy a genuine, unifying place brand will likely fail.' Regarding the book, he says, 'The focus of my book is on smaller cities and regions, and their focus may not be on tourism alone. Instead, their brand development may be centered on an overarching brand to embrace tourism, economic development, education, relocation and inward investment. Developing an overarching brand often brings to the table many participants who may not be familiar with branding, or in some cases, marketing.' He suggests, 'A multitude of stakeholders will be, or at least should be, involved in revealing a city or downtown brand, and this will depart from the accepted path for branding corporate products and services. One reason for this variation is the composite nature of places. They are a compilation of many independent and competing businesses, products, and experiences that are owned and managed by many different entities. There's no single custodian or owner of the brand. Community leaders who are aware of the differences in branding places and consumer goods are in a much better space to adapt to these challenges when they become evident...One of the leading determiners regarding who will lead the effort comes down to who is funding the project. Place branding frequently involves a single source of funding...Economic development organizations and DMOs (Direct Marketing Organizations) are usually the best-situated entities to plan, coordinate, and manage a place branding initiative...Determining the lead organization can involve balancing acts...Hence, the calls for DMOs to broaden their roles within communities and bring all parties together.' Read on...

Branding in Asia: Q&A: Insights from Veteran Place Branding Guru Bill Baker
Author: Bobby McGill


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 may 2019

Graphic design enhances the value of the brands and creates their visual memory in the audience's mind. Check out the latest trends in graphic design and keep evolving - 3D design and Typography (Brings life and depth to flat designs); Mid-century Modern Elements (Give both a mid-age and modern touch to any design); Custom Illustrations (Heavily influenced by natural and botanical elements, with softer lines and less bold text); Buxom Serifs (Serifs are smarter, better, and make content stand out); Open Compositions (Make the elements appear to be floating off of the screen); Isometric Design (Creates an entire universe in the tiniest of spaces and gives depth to any design and object); Pops of Vivid Color (Provides attention grabbing graphics); Strong Typographic Focal Points (Make content visually strong and readable, a function much needed for small devices and social media feeds); Light and Dark Color Schemes (Create a visually stunning impact); Futuristic Influences into the Mainstream (Make the brand stand out and be influencer in the marketplace); Complex Gradients and Duotones (Look great on mobile devices. Add depth and create a timeless look); Colorful Minimalism (Combining design with necessary components using minimalist approach. Limited color use); Art Deco (Add glamour quotient); Bookman and Old-style Serifs (High legibility and contrast of the traditional serifs make them a great choice to highlight the brand's value); Subtle Motion (Enhances user experience and engages users with the interface. Adds seamless transformations and transitions); Abstract Geometry and Shapes (Fits in any design that demands a modern and expressive look. Makes visuals stand out); Asymmetrical Layouts (Create visual tension. Elements have a more complex pattern); Variable Fonts (Are flexible within the multidimensional space. Consume less bandwidth and load websites or web pages faster). Read on...

G2 Crowd: 18 Innovative Graphic Design Trends for 2019
Author: Prateeksha Mathur


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 may 2019

Ad-free environment is an expected reality with subscription-based models, ad blocking tools and alternatives to traditional media already available. Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Proctor & Gamble, predicts that we're evolving into a 'world without ads' as brand engagement with customers changes with technology and consumer requirements. Gary Ellis, Co-founder and COO of Remesh, explains how branding will shift and survive in this ad-free environment. He says, 'There are infinite possibilities for filling the void left by traditional advertising. Success will depend on translating traditional advertising insight into new engagement tactics. Advertisers will need to focus on how they can fit themselves organically into their customer's experience, rather than disrupting a customer's experience as is often associated with traditional advertising.' He adds, 'Consider what is central to the brand building experience, which ranges from embedding tech in products to targeted ads. Pritchard predicts an increased desire for personalization, an interest in learning about a brand's values and more brand experiences. This means a brand's ability to connect with people on a human level plays an even more critical role in this new engagement paradigm. An emotional function will serve as the main connector, and one that can come in many forms.' He further explains, 'Targeted advertising is about two things: relevant content and demonstrating comprehension of customer needs. It stems from the desire to be 'helpful' – providing an audience with the information they need so that they can quickly and easily find what they are looking for. In an ad-free world, what were once targeting challenges can be avoided. This means not just focusing on personalization, but context.' Read on...

AdExchanger: How Will Branding Survive In A 'World Without Ads'?
Author: Gary Ellis


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2018

Corporations have student ambassador programs in which they hire students to promote their brand on educational campuses. These campus representatives create buzz about the companies during career fairs, work with student organizations to invite company professionals for guest lectures, talk about their internship both in-class and outside, give samples, post on social media about them etc. Adam Grant, CEO of Campus Commandos (a youth marketing agency that runs student brand ambassador programs), provides essential elements that companies should consider when hiring students to talk about their brands on campuses - (1) Compensation: Think beyond monetary compensation; Enhance their learning and skills; Provide interaction and networking opportunity with company leaders and executives. (2) A Hands-On Approach: Have direct involvement in the program; Keep interacting with students during the program; Preferably, don't entirely outsource the program to another company. (3) Future Opportunity: Provide opportunity for internship and future employment for best performers; Engage students with the company's human resources. (4) Mobile: Incorporate mobile technologies in the program; Utilize documentation tools available on mobile devices that allow student ambassadors to provide pictures, videos and notes. (5) Work Schedule: Understand student's work schedule; Work out expectations of the program around the student's educational priorities. (6) Organization: Build a program that incorporate goals; What is required by students to reach these goals; Their progress reports; Recognize top performers. Read on...

Forbes: The Top Six Elements For A Successful Student Ambassador Program
Author: Adam Grant


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2018

In today's businesses, digital is one of the critical component that defines their growth and success. With digital and related analytics, organizations can easily track and create insights to better understand consumer behavior for their benefits. Gabriel Shaoolian, founder of DesignRush, provides valuable statistics in marketing, website design and branding for efficient online strategy and subsequent online success - (1) By 2021, mobile e-commerce will account for 54% of all online sales. (2) 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive. (3) Long landing pages generate up to 220% more leads than above-the-fold calls to action. (4) Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. (5) Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%. (6) 64% of consumers say that shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand. (7) Content marketing efforts receive three times the leads per dollar spent than paid search receives. (8) 64% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a branded social video. (9) Facebook Ad revenue in the US will surpass total print ad spending by 2019. (10) Email has a median return on investment of 122%. Moreover, he suggests the following key points to be noted for digital strategy - Create an easy-to-use website that works on all platforms and devices; Design a memorable brand identity that communicates well with consumers; Maintain an honest and transparent relationship with customers; Invest in content marketing and social media advertisements; Test video marketing campaigns to engage users; Don't forget about the power of email marketing. Read on...

Forbes: 10 Marketing, Web Design & Branding Statistics To Help You Prioritize Business Growth Initiatives
Author: Gabriel Shaoolian


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 oct 2018

Brands are all around and everything that is put forward for public consumption requires adequate branding. Sumarie Schreiner, founder of BrandBrew Consulting, explains the value of branding and what is essential for building great brands. She provides 5 core pillars for brand building - (1) Link The Thinking And Feeling: Great brands connect, resonate and then become acceptable. They connect thinking with feeling, and attract attention and keep interest with the promise of something extraordinary. They offer value beyond products and services and make a difference. This inturn evoke emotions and provides sense of belonging, thus creating trust. (2) Build Trust: To build trust requires consistency and time. Trust provides reassurance. Trust is inherent part of human senses. It constitutes both environment and people. Trust = Reliability + Desirability x Experiences. In the present push economy people are more empowered and demanding. Their experiences define their standards of expectations. (3) Offer Value Beyond Your Product/Service: Value builds trust and need to go beyond products and services. Value is both objective and subjective and is derived from all the interactions with a business. Value creation needs to run through the DNA of the organization. It should be the way of life. Outside-in approach offers true value. Relevant and valued experiences are build in response to customers' needs at the right time and place. (4) Differentiate To Those People You Want To Connect With: Understanding diversity of needs helps provide solutions accordingly. People want to belong and connect with other people and organizations that share their values. Differentiate but more importantly make a difference. (5) Help Those People To Connect And Belong: Shared values and belonging develops true connections with emotions. Human-centered, outside-in approach connects at an emotional level and builds long-term relationships. Storytelling helps to differentiate and creates a space in people's memory. Brand is defined by what customers and employees feel about the business. Unlock and cultivate the value offered and keep building on the trust earned. Read on...

Customer Think: "Trust me, I'm a brand!" - What is the value of branding?
Author: Sumarie Schreiner


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jun 2018

Logos are a brief visual representation of what the brand is all about. They help brands connect with customers and a memorable logo make it easier to do so. According to Siegel+Gale's 2015 study, 'Logos Now', memorable logos are 13% more likely to get consumer attention and 7% more likely to make them want to learn more about the brand. Ross Kimbarovsky, founder of Crowdspring, runs one of the world's leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo designs, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. Following are five things he recommends all organizations to do before hiring someone to design (or redesign) their logo for optimal results - (1) Your brand has to come before your logo: 'Your logo must derive meaning from your brand, not the other way around. Before a logo can communicate anything about your brand, you will need to better understand your brand. What values, practices, benefits, products or services set your company apart and make it unique?' (2) Assess what styles you like and don't like: 'New design trends and fads in logo design appear every year and not all designers can effectively incorporate popular trends and avoid the fads...Spend some time looking at various styles and build up a list of what you like and don't like.' (3) Decide what you are willing to pay: 'Pre-made logos is a terrible idea that will actually harm your business in the long run...it's not possible for a client to get a great logo for less than several hundred dollars. There's simply not enough incentive for a designer to spend time creating a custom design unless they get a reasonable fee for their work.' (4) Write a stronger 'project brief': 'The project brief can make or break a project...Most designers have limited time to do their work, so they will be picky when choosing which clients to work with...Help designers understand how you see your company or your products...Define the problems and define your goals: designers are problem solvers.' (5) Decide who will make the final branding decision: 'One person should own this process and be able to make the final decision...Pick a group of 2 or 3 people whose opinions you trust, whether in-house or not. In fact, people outside your company can often be better at this than insiders.' Read on...

Forbes: 5 Things You Absolutely Must To Do Before You Design Your Logo
Author: Kate L. Harrison


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2018

Consistent communication through various channels both internally and externally is the key for successful public relations. Eileen Sheil, ED of Corporate Communications at Cleveland Clinic, shares her PR experience and suggests key elements that PR teams should be focused on. Regarding her PR strategy at Cleveland Clinic, she says, 'We are trying new communication approaches that better reach our target audiences through the media and to our key stakeholders. Sharing our stories internally and externally about patient care, innovative procedures, medical research, opinions on important healthcare issues, and breaking news will help people know more about the work we do to help patients locally, nationally, and around the globe.' Following is her advice for PR teams - (1) Be Strategic About PR: Know the organization and industry; Know the company's narrative and be consistent in your communication; Conduct reputation research and develop a PR strategy; Know your audience; Research and alter strateg as needed. (2) Go Digital: Traditional media is essential but amplify the communication through latest digital technologies. (3) Measure The Value Of PR: The Barcelona Principles (initially developed in 2010 and updated in 2015) are used to measure the real value of PR; Focus on qaulity of coverage to build better reputation; Learn to use metrics, data and analytics to drive strategy. (4) Be One Communications Team And Build One Strategy: Internal and external communications are merging; Be consistent to all shareholders. (5) Know This Is A Journey: Teams should continue to evolve, learn and make their work better together. Read on...

PRWeek: 5 things every PR team should be doing
Author: Eileen Sheil


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 apr 2018

Business-to-business world have a different set of rules and dynamics than business-to-consumer when it comes to branding and how interactions happen with prospects and customers. Ryan Gould, VP of Strategy & Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, explains how B2B world is fragmented, challenges related to inconsistency in branding and what can be done to improve, enhance and control it. He explains, 'The role of the B2B buyer has evolved along with the rest of the world, and importantly, power has gradually shifted to the hands of millennials. Despite 73% of millennials making purchasing decisions, we are still seeing the world of B2B approach these individuals as if they are the same buyer from 5, 10 and even 20 years ago.' Millennials are the new B2B buyers and B2B marketing had to evolve accordingly. Emphasis on branding and brand building becomes critical. Marketing efforts should be aligned, whether it is social media, email marketing, sales collateral, video etc, and focus on addressing the need of potential buyers and differentiate effectively from competition. Sales-driven nature of B2B sector still holds supreme with marketing becoming secondary to it. But with new buyers sales pitch is not sufficient and they seek better connect with brands they deal with. B2B marketers have to understand this dynamic to build strong business relations. B2B marketers also face challenges related to their budget and lack resources to accomplish all their tasks and had to shuffle between various roles. This gives them insufficient time to focus on brand strategy and to build an overall brand value. Fragmented nature of B2B business adds to the chaos with various departments working in silos. Branding consistency in this environment becomes a challenge and customers get confusing inputs. The brand in this scenario lacks uniformity in content, design and messaging. According to HubSpot, only 50% of B2B marketers are treating visual content as a priority. Marketers have to work on this and fully utilize the power of digital and develop creative strategies to have a better connect with millennial decision-makers. B2B organizations must prioritize branding as their target consumer market is sensitive to it. One statistics suggests that 23% of average revenue increases are attributed to brand consistency. B2B marketers should play their role accordingly - understand target audience, recognize the importance of branding, realize where brand is falling short and develop better brand consistency by using latest tools and solutions to have a connect with customers and establish trust. Read on...

The Drum: Why is inconsistent branding so prevalent in B2B organizations?
Author: Ryan Gould


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 mar 2018

Corporates often fund nonprofits to fulfil their commitments and responsibilities to the communities they operate in, and also to enhance their brand value and achieve a positive public relations. But, since the funds are limited and there are number of competiting nonprofits, corporates seek best value and return on their giving and investments. Nonprofits have to find ways to differentiate themselves and give an attractive proposition as part of their corporate fundraising effort whether they are considering cause sponsorship, 'pin-up' or point-of-purchase campaigns, corporate volunteering/employee engagement or cause marketing. Chris Baylis, president and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective in Ottawa (Canada), suggests ways to consider for successful corporate fundraising - (1) Corporate partnerships are not just philanthropy. Think beyond the good cause, clearly define your audience and understand the value of your brand. Determine the interest and buying power of your audience. (2) Use your cause to attract (and define) your audience and your audience to define and attract prospects. Use the cause as a valuable link to connect your audience and prospects. (3) Make your value known to the prospects and list every single asset you have to offer. Estimate the cost of similar exposure and services that prospects can avail elsewhere. Understand the value of your audience. (4) Logo placement, although more visible to the public, is just a small component of cause partnership. Think more of real value and outcomes. (5) Share fulfillment report with your partners and how it is tied to their goals. It explains the value they got in return, satisfies internal decision makers, helps in renewal of contract and build long-term partnerships. Read on...

The NonProfit Times: 5 Realities of Corporate Fundraising
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 feb 2018

As streaming video services on internet get popularity, advertising on television is seeing a decline. Now advertisers are shifting their dollars towards digital. In 2016, US revenues from digital advertising exceeded revenues from TV for the first time - US$ 72.5 billion (+22%) compared to US$ 71.3 billion from TV. This trend is also reflected in global markets. Some corporates are even focusing solely on digital advertising. The young (13 to 24 years age) are showing less affinity towards traditional advertising as they spend more time on Internet in comparison to TV. Only 36% of consumers noted that they cannot do without a TV screen. Meanwhile, 67% cannot imagine their lives without YouTube and 51% seem to lose meaning in life without Netflix. The same audience is watching 2.5 times more internet videos than traditional TV. Video-bloggers are the new influencers for the young population as they advocate brands and products while sharing their experiences with them in the form of effective video presentions. Video bloggers are becoming a guaranteed way for advertisers of reaching target audiences and getting predictable results. Influencer marketing is becoming more relevant. Return on investment from online videos is 77% more than from TV promos. The main trend nowadays is native advertising through opinion leaders. Traditional advertising is slowly getting outdated and a personalized Internet, along with personalized advertising, is becoming the real future. Read on...

The Next Web: Advertising in the digital age - Why online-first is the future
Author: David Geer

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