No matter how great your product or service is, it won’t sell itself. To entice potential customers, you’ll need to know how to get people’s attention. You’ll also need to know how to sell your brand as an experience, not just a two-dimensional logo attached to your product. Experiences have the power to make people want to get involved with your brand; they also create strong first impressions and lasting memories.
Along with excellent SEO practices and the use of buzz-generators (like local events and social media campaigns), one of the best ways to shape an immersive experience around your brand is creative content. Creative content is an umbrella term that’s used to describe the various forms of enriched multimedia that should form a core part of your online presence and marketing strategy. Some of the most important types of creative content are outlined below:
One of the biggest mistakes many fledgling businesses make is using generic stock photography on their website, along with amateur photos of their products. The main problem with this approach is that almost every other small business is using it, too, so it’s basically the fastest way to blend into the crowd. Using generic photography also detracts from consumer trust, because consumers can’t get to know you unless they can see you—As in, professional images of your actual premises, staff, etc.
Professional product photography is also absolutely essential to selling certain types of product. Food photography, for example, can make or break a restaurant or catering business. According to research conducted by the Max Planck Institute, looking at well-shot images of food (like those found on the website of Toronto cafe Sweet a la Mode) causes a surge in the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, literally making people crave the food pictured. Poorly shot images of food can, however, have the opposite effect.
Pairing professional images with text will also make your content more memorable as a whole. Most people recall just 10% of plain text content three days after reading it. When that content is paired with an image, however, the three-day recall rate suddenly jumps to 65%. (HubSpot)
2. Graphic design.
Graphic design is the foundation of any memorable brand image. Logo design, header design, font choice, and other graphical elements should be used harmoniously to create a consistent “look and feel” across your website, social media profiles, and traditional print advertisements.
Good graphic design doesn’t just look attractive: It should also make use of specific colours, shapes, and layouts to evoke brand-specific emotions. Bright, vibrant hues (like orange and red) and strong, bold shapes, for example, convey a sense that your business is dynamic, energetic, and all about making an impact. Cool colours (like blue or soft mauve) and delicate lines can let your customers know that you’re there to make their lives more tranquil and elegant. A great creative agency will take the time to get to know you—what you do and what you stand for—and incorporate those ideas as themes throughout their graphical work.
Video is big—very big. According to Cisco, video will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2021, and it already accounts for about 73%. For the sake of exposure alone, your business should therefore be producing regular video content.
In order to be effective, your videos will need to serve as much more than simple advertisements. Consumers primarily use videos as a source of information, so don’t make the mistake of thinking all you’ll have to do is let them know your business exists. The best videos are those that explain how your products work and show consumers what they can be used for (think “DIY” tutorials). Over 50% of consumers actually go out of their way to look for “explainer” videos about products when they’re planning to make a purchase. (Google)
4. Blog content.
Most people already know that blogging is great for search engine optimization, but it’s also an integral brand-builder. When you blog, you give consumers a sense of your “voice,” purpose, and specific niche within your industry. You also build your brand authority by showing that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about what you do.
Blog posts are extremely “shareable,” too. If your content is well-written, people looking to enrich their social media feeds will be more than happy to post it to their followers. This could be why businesses who blog receive, on average, 126% more new leads than businesses who don’t blog. Research by Social Marketing also shows that 70% of customers learn about new businesses through blog posts, not traditional advertising. (Thrive Hive.)
Where to Get Creative Content
Hiring an in-house photographer, graphic designer, video editor, writer, etc., is simply impractical for most small businesses. Fortunately, there’s a budget-friendly solution available in the form of creative agencies like Toronto’s AllinBrand. Creative agencies employ all of these skilled professionals so that you don’t have to, connecting you with diverse bespoke services at an affordable rate. Creative agencies will also help you craft a comprehensive marketing plan. This way, you’ll be able to rest assured that you’re getting a great return on your creative content investment.
Have any questions about creative content that weren’t answered in this article? Feel free to contact us; we’ll be happy to shed more light on what we do and why it matters.
In this era of attractive generic template websites, it’s easy to forget the importance of good graphic design. Ironically, however, it’s actually the prevalence of “cookie cutter” content that’s made striking graphic design more important than ever: In today’s cluttered online marketplace, you literally can’t afford to have a website that mimics your more established competition. The only way to get consumers’ attention is to let them know who you are and how you’re different from the “other guys.” While there are a few different ways of doing this, establishing a unique visual presence online is invariably step one.
5 Ways Good Graphic Design Builds Your Brand
1. Good graphic design reduces your “bounce rate.”
Getting people to visit your website isn’t the hardest part of marketing—Getting them to stay on your website and click around it is much more challenging. In an era when most people have an attention span of about seven seconds, your website needs to be able to grab people’s attention and hold it.
Furthermore, uninspiring graphic design sends the message that your company is neither passionate nor professional, and this can actively push consumers away. According to an infographic published by Red, 94% of consumers will immediately leave a website that exhibits poor graphic design.
2. Graphic design is necessary for brand recognition and recollection.
Good graphic design doesn’t just look appealing; it tells a story about your brand. It uses colours, symbols, and shapes to convey intangible values and provoke an emotional reaction in the viewer. Because emotion is intrinsically linked to how we form memories, these reactions make your brand memorable. Whenever human beings are exposed to an engaging story, an area of the brain called the sensory cortex lights up, activating the imagination and committing the experience to long-term memory.
Graphic design also provides visual consistency across platforms, allowing consumers to recognize you immediately wherever they find you. Using the same company logo, colours, and fonts on your social media profiles and printed fliers that you use on your website, for instance, will identify them as belonging to you, even if visitors only glance at their content.
3. Graphic design has important internal benefits for your company, too.
Younger workers—think Millennials and Gen Z—are innovative, independent, and motivated by having a sense of meaning in their work. This, along with a favourable economic climate, has made talent retention extremely challenging for most businesses. Even if you’re offering fair wages and provide good working conditions for your employees, you might still lose them to more exciting prospects. In fact, according to the Independent, a shocking 50 percent of all Millennial employees plan to leave their current job within the next two years. Naturally, then, any means you have at your disposal to make your employees feel like they’re part of something bigger should be fully utilized.
Cohesive graphic design sends the same messages about your priorities and values to your employees that it does to your customers. When employees all have the same stationary, publications, etc., they’re more likely to feel like they’re striving together towards the same goals. This is thought to increase employee loyalty and rates of engagement. (For even greater success, get your employees on board when shaping your company’s mission statement and core values. The more your company, and your graphic design, represents the personal priorities of your team, the more likely it becomes that they’ll stay through thick and thin.)
4. Simply put, graphic design sells.
While Apple makes great devices, their products are far from being the only reason why they’re the most valuable company in the world. It’s their emphasis on selling an image of clean, low-key coolness and a feeling of creative self-expression that’s really propelled them to the number one spot.
Apple is far from being an anomaly in this area, either. Time and time again, research has shown a link between excellent graphic design and increased profitability. Back in 2005, for example, a group called The Design Council took an in-depth look at the most prominent companies trading on the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE). What they discovered shocked the business community: Those companies that put a strong emphasis on graphic design weren’t just a bit more profitable than their competition—they were many times more profitable. The companies that focused on excellent graphic design were 200% more profitable than the companies that didn’t, even if there was little difference in the quality of their products and services.
5. Good graphic design shows your business is trustworthy.
Today’s consumers are well aware that basically anyone with an internet connection can put up a website. As such, they’re keenly attuned to signs that a business might be less than reputable. Graphic design that looks overly generic, amateurish, or hastily thrown together will make your business look not only unprofessional, but possibly dishonest as well. According to the study Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites, “Poor interface design was particularly associated with rapid rejection and mistrust of a website… In cases where the participants did not like some aspect of the design the site was often not explored further than the homepage and was not considered suitable for revisiting at a later date…”
Clearly, instead of asking ourselves whether or not we can afford graphic design, we should be asking ourselves if we can afford to do business without it. From your packaging design to your product photography and company logo, the graphical materials associated with your business need to convey the message that you’re serious about what you do. They need to incorporate style, substance, and intangible values and feelings in order to create a memorable experience. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, good graphic design is a must.
Want to check out some examples of good graphic design in Toronto? Visit the AllinBrand portfolio. You can also see some of our food photography and restaurant website design at Sweet a La Mode.
We all know that sponsoring an event—like a trade show or exhibition—provides an exciting opportunity to “give back” to your field and professional community. There’s something magical about having a group of like-minded individuals all in one place, sharing what makes them passionate about what they do. What you might not realize, however, is all the ways in which sponsoring an event can give your business a powerful boost. Did you know, for example, that on average, 81% of trade show attendees have purchasing authority and 67% typically represent potential new leads? Clearly, few other environments can compete with events for potential return on investment (ROI). If you’re weighing up whether or not event sponsorship will be worth the work (and expense) involved, consider the following points:
1. Sponsorship greatly increases your brand authority.
There’s a reason why sponsors are often referred to be as being “official.” To be eligible to sponsor an event, a business has to be found to be reputable, credible, and an overall valuable member of the business community. As such, people know that event sponsors have earned a high degree of authority in their industry. When you sponsor an event, you therefore greatly increase general trust in your brand.
2. Sponsoring an event gives you a chance to prove your value.
In addition to generating a great deal of exposure for your logo, trade show and corporate event sponsorship gives you a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of, and commitment to, your industry. Some event sponsorship packages even include the option to create a presentation about your business, giving you a chance to display your expertise and reach out to potential leads directly. Just remember to keep your presentation about generating real value for your audience; no one likes to hear an extended sales pitch.
3. You can expect a certain amount of free marketing to be part of the deal.
Everywhere the event is promoted—on social media, via email, magazines, apps, online maps, and so on—your brand name will be attached to it. If you think of how much it would otherwise cost to obtain this kind of far-reaching exposure, it quickly becomes clear that event sponsorship is more than worth the initial investment required.
4. Not only will you generate new leads, you’ll probably follow up with old ones.
In most industries, people tend to run in the same overlapping circles. This means that by sponsoring an event, you’ll not only be putting your brand name in front of new customers, you’ll be reconnecting with current and past customers. This gives you the chance to keep your network thriving, build brand loyalty, and collect feedback on your performance. You’ll learn what your business is doing well and where it needs to improve—incredibly valuable information that can be notoriously hard to collect.
5. You’ll have the opportunity to make new and existing customers aware of upcoming developments.
If you’re planning to upgrade one of your existing products or services or you’re currently developing a new one, what better place to build excitement about it than an event? It is, after all, much easier to get and hold people’s attention when you’re featured front and centre in a large congregation. You’ll also be able to actively engage with your customers, fielding any questions they have about your upcoming release in real time.
Final Thoughts: How to Approach Event Sponsorship
There’s no questioning the fact that event sponsorship has excellent ROI potential. However, as is the case with any marketing endeavour, you’ll need to have a cohesive plan of action in order to be successful. Before you enter into event sponsorship, make sure to come up with a list of specific, measurable goals. What do you hope to achieve by sponsoring an event, and how will you know whether or not you’ve achieved it? How will you connect with new leads, store information about them so they aren’t lost, and follow up with them after the event? By answering these questions well in advance of the event, you’ll prepare yourself to make the most of the five benefits of event sponsorship outlined in this article. Good luck!
Local events have always been popular thanks to their ability to add vibrancy to communities. Whether it’s a sporting event, a miniature festival with buskers, or just a business inviting people to head to a stall and sample some free merchandise, local events hosted by businesses are an essential part of what makes summer special. They give people a reason to look up from their phones, pay attention to what’s going on around them, and connect with their neighbours. In our increasingly digital world, it’s impossible to underestimate the value of opportunities like these.
3 Ways Hosting a Local Event Can Help Your Business
Just like people need to connect with one another in “real time” in order to thrive, your business can’t succeed if it exists in a digital vacuum. Most businesses rely primarily on the loyalty of local clientele to maintain their sales, and word of mouth is still one of the best ways to attract this clientele. According to a survey conducted by Alignable, 85% of small business owners report that word of mouth referrals generate the most new customers for their firms. Though hosting an event can be a lot of work, it’s without equal when it comes to generating exactly this kind of buzz; here’s why:
1. People rarely travel alone.
Events are inherently social in nature; as such, attendees usually bring their partner, children, or friends with them when attending. For event hosts, this translates into completely free, trust-enriched marketing: The person initially interested in your event will tell his or her friends what’s so special about your brand that they felt compelled to make the time to be present. Because this information is being relayed by a trusted friend or loved one, its recipients will automatically believe what’s being said. This kind of authenticity in marketing is worth its weight in gold—and more than worth the work and expense involved in event hosting.
2. Local events have a lot of visual impact.
If you have any interest in marketing, you probably already know that visual content is vitally important to brand engagement. People recognize images much more quickly than they process words, and images are far more memorable than text. This is why you’ll find images attached to professional social media marketing posts. Even on platforms like Twitter where short form content is the order of the day, including an image has been shown to increase engagement by 150%. (Digital Glue) At your event, visual content related to your brand will feature prominently: On signs, banners, posters advertising the event, flyers, etc.
3. Local events are memorable.
When you host an event, not only will signage promoting your brand be prominently displayed, you’ll be creating a space for it to be recognized. This is significant because one of the most challenging aspects of marketing is simply getting people to notice your message in order to internalize it. While images can help encourage awareness of your brand, the fact is that many casual observers are distracted (by new social media posts, by conversations happening around them, etc.) This results in a net loss of conversions when using digital advertising or physical signage. At an event, on the other hand, full focus is being placed on your brand. People are insulated from the distractions of the outside world… And you are the topic of conversation. If attendees enjoy your event, you’ll quite literally be unforgettable.
Planning Your Event
Just like any marketing strategy, events require careful planning and orchestration in order to be successful and make a lasting impact. If you’ve never hosted an event before and need some inspiration, we suggest checking out Optimy’s list of five examples of highly successful local events hosted by major businesses. This will give you a solid idea of the different forms local events can take.
Finally, if you need help with event planning or logistics, why not reach out to us here at AllinBrand? Local events in Toronto are one of the many aspects of marketing that we specialize in. Don’t be intimidated by the scope of hosting an event; we can help you understand the process from start to finish, create measurable goals, and get existing and potential customers on board.
3 Ways Events Can Supercharge Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Marketing business to business (also referred to as B2B marketing) is in some ways more challenging than marketing to consumers (B2C marketing). According to a recent study by Act-On Software, 75 percent of small business owners say that improving B2B lead quality is their number one marketing priority. In fact, this facet of the sales process causes so much confusion for businesses that improving lead quality is a higher priority than improving new lead quantity. Just 40 percent of respondents said that the biggest issue they’re facing is attracting new clients.
This divide highlights a fundamental reality in the era of digital marketing: Today, it’s easy to superficially connect with people, but it’s harder than ever to establish a lasting relationship with them. For that, you’ll need to look outside the digital sphere—you’ll have to instead turn your attention to events. Sponsoring a B2B event (or even just participating in one) can cement the quality of your B2B leads in all of the following ways:
1. Events are the perfect place to clarify lead compatibility.
B2B relationships are all about finding the right fit. Because the vast majority of industries now rely on the use of complex technology, many small to medium sized businesses are incredibly specialized. For example, while the term “web design” covered virtually all aspects of website creation twenty years ago, today, a web design company and a web development company have very different roles. Web designers create the graphical portions and layout of a site (usually with some help from graphic designers), whereas web developers typically handle the coding side of things. In other words, if you’re a web designer and you acquire a lead that’s interested in having complex PHP code written, that relationship is probably going to fizzle out. (Unless, like AllinBrand, your company employs both web designers and web developers.)
Because events give you a place to communicate with leads in real time and actively demonstrate your products and services, they innately lend themselves to high-quality lead generation. Clients will be able to see exactly what you do and how you do it, eliminating misunderstandings and false leads. They’ll also be able to ask any questions they might have, further strengthening the relationship.
2. Sponsoring an event will lend your brand credibility and authority.
Both the best and the worst thing about small businesses is the fact that anyone can create them. This means that clients are often wary of working with a business that’s as yet unknown to them. How do they know you’re established, experienced, trustworthy, and reliable?
When you decide to sponsor an event, you show clients that you’re an established part of your industry. After all, if you’re willing to invest the amount of time and money required to sponsor an event, you’re obviously serious about what you do. You also clearly have the resources and expertise needed to carry off such a feat. Pair this with an effective presentation, and you’ll already have made a mark in your field—even if you’re still a fledgling company.
3. Attending an event will put you in touch with the needs and desires of clients.
As Godfrey Account Planner Jim Everhart so aptly put it when describing the challenges of B2B lead generation, “[You] know that you want a lead. But what do they want?” Understanding the wants and needs of customers is integral to attracting quality leads. So is generating the data you’ll need (e.g., case studies or product specifications) to convince your leads you’re ready to meet their expectations. By providing a focused, interactive environment, events give you the perfect chance to assess what you need to do to drive value. Attending events will also ensure that you stay up to date with the latest trends and innovations in your industry.
To really leverage all of the potential advantages outlined above, you’ll need to prepare thoroughly for your event of choice. You’ll need a way to collect data about potential leads (e.g., by incorporating detailed forms into your registration process) and a system for following up with them. If you’re new to B2B event planning in Toronto, we suggest working with an experienced event marketing team, like the experts at AllinBrand. We can help you design an effective event marketing strategy that’s guaranteed to yield not simply leads, but leads that actually matter.