Say Cheeeeese!

It is imperative to have a good quality business photo for your website, LinkedIn profile, and articles you write for industry publications as well as to give it to journalists who request it. People who do business with you might want to see what you look like. Before you start with the excuses, let me be honest. Your selfie at the bar won’t cut it. Save it for your personal Instagram or Facebook account. If you are to be perceived as a professional, you need to hire a professional. Period. Think about it as an investment in your career. The cost need not break the bank. Here are a few quick tips to get the most out of your photo session:

  • Dress how your industry works. Are you an artist or a CPA? Needless to say, those in the art or advertising world may have a bit more creative freedom than say, an investment banker. The general rule of thumb from the pros is to dress classic, basic, and simple. This gives images longevity. Business casual is a broad definition and can include suit coats with informal shirts, polo shirts and tan pants, or turtle necks with jeans. However you define business casual, be sure to feel fabulous in your clothes, no matter the style!
  • Be yourself. Have fun, even. The key here is letting go. Look at the camera and imagine it is the face of someone you really care about and are comfortable with. Get creative with props, angles and your facial expressions. Show several sides of your personality. I loved the photo of myself (above) with my glasses because I was genuinely laughing. We were trying to get a serious headshot and I couldn’t pull it off. It ended up being one of my favorite shots. When you are comfy in your skin, you know it. The camera lens knows it. Your viewers know it. Be genuine. Always.

The creative adult is the child who survived. Show me your inner child.

  • What to wear tips for ladies. For headshots and professional photos in genera lavoid big prints and busy patterns. (Think grandma’s house dress). Oh, and your jewelry should not resemble “Gypsy Rose.” We want to see you, not your busy-ness. It’s fine to be fashionable but remember the picture is about your face not your soon- to-be-dated accessories or clothes. Also, keep in mind that different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety of shirts or blouses to see what works best. No cleavage. No cleavage. No cleavage.
  • What to wear tips for guys. For a no-jacket casual look, bring colored shirts-ideally darker than your skin tone. The standard business look is still a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie, gentlemen. A casual business look is often a jacket and open dress shirt, shirt and tie, (no jacket), or dress shirt on its own. Quick note. A white dress shirt by itself is a bad idea. It just is. Trust me.
  • Tell the photographer how the photo will be used. Communicate your expectations and intentions for the picture, whether you plan on using it for your website, online marketing or print collateral. Be as clear as possible. Did you see some photos that you admire? Snap a screen shot and show your photographer what you like about it. The angle. The color. The pose. Whatever. If it is not appropriate, they’ll tell you.
  • Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. We all have that go-to outfit we pull out of the closet when we want to feel our best. Don’t have one? Go shopping. Today. Make sure it fits your body and personality well. You’ll know it the second you try it on. If you have absolutely no clue in the fashion arena of your life, grab a friend, partner, or colleague who does. They’ll help.

 

Here’s to your success! Feel free to contact me if you need addtional help finding the right photographer.

Audrey Gotto

 

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2 Reasons You Should Use Emojis in Brand Marketing

When it comes to communication, I’m an impatient person. Voicemail takes too long and email often requires too much effort. Like most people I know between the ages of 12 and 70, text messaging is the go-to method for communicating- with co-workers, friends, family and (sadly) the person in the next room. Enter the EMOJI.

“Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication. Brands should think about what their audience cares about.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and emojis are just the next evolution of communicating, sometimes even complex thoughts or emotions, with simple pictures.  Brands are recognizing the usefulness of the Emoji in online marketing communication.  Here are 2 reasons you should be using the cute smiley faces as a marketing tool.

1. Emojis can transcend  language barriers. A smiley face is universal, (you know this if you have ever traveled overseas) and now there are literally thousands of emojis that are gaining worldwide acceptance and allowing an entire generation to communicate across borders. A smile. A wink to a heart. The simplicity of these images breakdown linguistic obstacles, in turn, enhancing brand recognition and generating positive impressions. Marketing experts say emojis allow recipients to fully comprehend the intentions of the brand, no matter the worldwide location of the consumer.

2. Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication.When I see a brand using an emoji, I can instantly relate on a personal level to the conveyed emotional message of that brand. Most marketers understand that emotion is more effective than promotion by more than 2 to 1. Let’s face it. They’re cute. Who doesn’t like cute? O.K. Maybe Scrooge. Or Archie Bunker. But you get my drift. Most people are jaded to perfect PhotoShop images and slick online lead generation tactics.

How can emojis  be used in brand marketing? They can be incorporated into instant messaging applications, text, email, promotional products and social media messages to convey brand emotions. Developing your own emoji image can be a great way to extend your marketing reach to millennials. HubSpot has an Emojis for Dummies Translation Guide to help you get started. Transport the online experience into tangible residual marketing. Check out these great specific examples of national brands using Emoji Marketing from Ad Age to get your creative ideas flowing.

These branded emoji “Flingers” fly through the air with a flick of their tongue! The cute guys  (we have girl emojis too) are a fun new item that is sure to grab attention at your next function. They are part of Fina Promos emoji based product line. Why not run an Emoji contest? Think about using these guys as part of your next tradeshow giveaway, meeting, Facebook or newsletter sign-up gift. Take simplistic messaging to a whole new level!

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

 

A logoless company is a faceless man.

“A logoless company is a faceless man.” This is my absolute favorite quote on the subject of branding and logo design by David Airey, from his book  Logo Design Love .  (Purchase this book  if you are a graphic desiner!)  As a marketing professional I always feel drawn to a well designed logo, brand identity or graphic design piece that  has the ability to”speak to me” and literally stop me in my tracks. No, really. It annoys and sometimes alarms my friends and family (especially when I’m driving and staring down a great billboard, or sign graphic.)

Do you own a business without a logo, or without a well designed logo?  Are you proud of the face of your company? You should be. Like it or not just as we tend to judge one another by personal appearance, we judge companies by their personal appearance. Oftentimes I am handed a business card, look at the logo design, and decide immediately if I would like to conduct business with you. Am I a design snob? Maybe. But let me tell you that people associate your business worthiness with your brand identity. So, what are the qualifying characteristics of a good design? There are many. Here are just two qualities that I admire (and are proven to be effective). These are the ones make me stop in my tracks.

 It Tells Your Story. “What exactly is it that you do?” Many times a great logo answers this question. No words necessary. Just great graphics. Katie Morgan senior designer at 300millions, designed this logo for The Guild of Food Writers. I just love the use of negative space showing a spoon inside a pen nib. Take away the copy. You are still left with a great design that tells a story. The-Food-Writers-Guild-logo-designed-by-300millionsThe Design Is Simple  (but not boring.) Stay focused on one strength. Not two. Not three. Just one. What is the one thing that you want others to identify with your brand? I know it is very tempting to want to emphasize the countless wonders of your products and services, but stay focused. What adjective would others use to describe your company? Chose your design and logo color accordingly. Use a focus group if you have to, but pick your strongest asset(s) and start from there.  An excellent example of this is Cisco’s new logo and the colors they chose for their re-branding. Cisco is not an acronim.  It is an abbreviation of “San Fransico.”

 

cisco.logo

 

 

The name “Cisco” was derived from pride in the city name,  which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in its early years. The logo is intended to depict the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. The blue color depicts prosperity, excellence and calmness, while the red color represents determination and business responsibility. It is said by John Morgridge, the 34th employee and the company’s first president that the creators of the company thought of this name while making their way to Sacramento for registration of the company. As they laid their eyes upon the Golden Gate Bridge structured in the sunlight, they decided the name of the company there and then.

Put on your best face. Hire a designer or create your own. Just don’t be the faceless man.

-Audrey Gotto

   

2 Ways For Your Brand To Score Big On Game Day

Align your brand with game day to create community awareness.

Align your brand with game day to create community awareness. Click on image for ideas.

Can you smell autumn in the air? The evenings are becoming just a bit cooler. The trees are slowly changing color. Time to pull out the fuzzy winter sweaters, plan your fall day hike with the fam, and brew some fresh apple cider with cinnamon. And then there is the fall sports! As a self proclaimed sports diva, I must admit to getting a rush just hearing the words “fantasy football” and the Monday Night Football jingle,Are you ready for some football?” (I know you’re singing the jingle in your head right now.)

How can your company brand participate in the spirit of the fall sports scene? Primarily in two ways:

Associate your brand with having an amazing time. Start thinking of creative ways to get in on the team spirit in the air. Whether you focus on your city’s professional sports teams (We love our Steelers and Pirates in Pittsburgh), local colleges, or even high school sports, be sure to be an active participant in either the event planning, promoting, or volunteering associated with sporting events in your hometown region. Could you create a Game Day Photo Contest on your business Facebook account? Have “Steeler Day” at the office? Sponsor a team or fund raiser? If you are able, actually attend the event and network with other business leaders in the community. Associating your  marketing brand with  local influencers goes a long way to scoring points for your small business.

Create “Game Day” branded promotional products to get fans on their feet.  Ask yourself this       question: What is my ideal customer’s marketing persona? In other words, define your demographic     and choose sports related branded promotional items that would appeal to them. Could you give           away a game day chair as a prize or sweepstakes? Hand out those fun foam #1 hands, or foam         hats co-branded with the team logo and your company logo. Set up a booth so that potential clients     can sign up for your company newsletter in exchange for a free promotional football or baseball.

Watch our video for 13 product ideas. Click on the megaphone for mega-great ideas and give your brand the shout-out it deserves.

Regards,

Audrey Gotto

CLICK ON THE MEGAPHONE FOR MEGA-GREAT MARKETING IDEAS

CLICK ON THE MEGAPHONE FOR MEGA-GREAT MARKETING IDEAS VIDEO

3 Ways To Market Your Brand to Teens and College Students

According to the American Psychological Association, teens influence over $600 billion (with a “B”‘)  worth of spending annually. That’s a ton of crayons, folks! What is your small business doing to market to this growing group of purchasing giants? Back-To-School marketing for colleges, high schools, and even elementary grades can add significantly to your bottom line while showing goodwill as a local business.

Whether you want to reach students, teachers, professors, parents, or the community try these three tips to get your brand image out there before the bell rings in September.

  1. Follow Their Eyeballs.

Have a legit account on the social media sites that they visit. No, it’s not a waste of time. Instagram is now the most popular photo-sharing site among teens age 12-17. One million of them visited the site last July alone.

Add to that the 93% of social media–using teens who have a Facebook account (according to Pew Internet research), and the 16% who use Twitter (a figure that has doubled in recent years), and you’ve got a lot of teenage eyeballs.

But to connect with a teen target market, you must do more than simply have a presence on the sites they use. You must also pay attention to what motivates and inspires them. Pay attention to what they post and WHY they post.  Most teens (and adults) love to be associated with the latest cool gadget, piece of technology or brand fashion item that everyone else seems to be enjoying. (Remember carrying ginormous boom boxes to school?) They want to be recognized and validated for their unique contribution to the world around them. How can you help them do so? Think outside the box. Could you offer a social media contest that appeals to these needs?

2. Know where the parents hang out. 

Always, always, always try to associate your brand and logo with having a good time, being helpful, or educating the community (value). One of my favorite clients, Clearview Credit Union decided to give away a “college student laundry bag” to every parent who opened a college savings account or college loan with them. On one side of the bag, we printed the bank logo along with laundry instructions. The opposite side had the logo of the participating college. Talk about helpful, fun, and educational!! They were a huge hit.

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

3. Give them sweet promo items as a gift. 

Who doesn’t love cool FREE gifts? I still get excited when I see a great logo or graphic on a promotional product and I’ve been in the business for 25 years. (think…your favorite t-shirt, logo’d sports bag, athletic shoes, purse or pen) I continue to love my Pittsburgh Pirates logo’d baseball I received as a gift for signing up outside PNC Park for another credit card I didn’t need. I still have that Pirates baseball and yes, I still use the Mastercard.

Word of caution: Be sure your promotion has a purpose. In other words, what is it that you want the promotion to do, exactly? Perhaps you can capture email addresses to build up your newsletter readership by gifting an item in exchange for an email address. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website or add more followers to your social media sites? Use the promotional products to ensure your marketing goals are reached.

Feel free to contact me any time if you need specific suggestions for your next project. Any more ideas? Comment below in the reply section.

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

13 Ways For Your Biz To Think Pink in October

Social Responsibility is a big priority for many companies.  How about yours? Does your team participate in a local “Walk For The Cure” or other fundraiser to show your support for a special cause? Branded products are an important component of any awareness initiative. Why? because pairing your brand’s logo with the cause shows goodwill to your staff and the community. Not to mention the warm and fuzzy feeling we all experience when putting ourselves out there to help others. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Fina Promos have put together 13 of our favorite product ideas for showing support. Just click on the PINK SNEAKERS PHOTO to get great ideas.

Branded products help show your company's support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Branded products help show your company’s support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Please leave a comment below and share how your business has shown social responsibility for the causes that matter to you.

All My Best,

Audrey Gotto-Owner and lover of pink sneakers.

Click to see our Breast cancer Awareness Products Video

WATCH OUR VIDEO

“Promote Your Selfie” – The Top Promotional Product Trend in 2015

Breakout product of 2015: the selfie stick.

If you haven’t heard of selfie sticks, they’re those telescoping wands with phone holders at the end of them that allow you to take selfies that don’t look like selfies. They come in Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth models. Why so popular this year? Consider a few statistics:

54% of internet users have posted original photos online.

There are nearly 62 million tagged selfie photos on Instagram alone!

Everyone is familiar with Ellen Degeneres snapping a selfie at the Oscars. The Oscar selfie was thought to be worth over $1 billion to Samsung. Several major celebrities were featured prominently in the selfie, along with the Samsung product logo on the back of the phone. The selfie was snapped with the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, and it became the most retweeted file in Twitter’s history – getting many more viewers in that way than at the event itself.
Many brands have since jumped on the selfie revolution building successful media campaigns around selfies, and some have done so very successfully.   Event professionals, PR firms, and some major brands are looking at ways to turn event selfies into marketing gold.
 A selfie Stick would make a great promotional swag gift at a fundraiser or VIP reception. By utilizing social media and print media prior to the event, a social buzz is created even before the first drinks are served. And can you imagine how many posts, shares and retweets such an event might garnish? Imprinted selfie sticks sell for approx. $8-$15 and believe me, it’s well worth your swag budget!
  At Fina Promotions, we run a #PromoteYourSelfie contest on Instagram. (Happily, our company sells logo’d selfie sticks AND imprinted T-shirts!) We ask  Instagrammers to like our image and follow @finapromotions on Instagram for a chance at a free “BUT FIRST LET ME TAKE A SELFIE” T-shirt. A random new follower is chosen every Thursday (Selfie Thursday) and they are notified by a direct message in their IG inbox and are tagged in our photo for the week. They can then post a selfie, and tag us in their photo wearing our shirt after they have received it.  We have so far in three weeks increased our Instagram following by 30% as a result.
So, what are you waiting for? Get with the trendy, beautiful people and #PromoteYourSelfie! I’m always happy to assist you with finding the perfect promo item for your next event.
All My Best,
Audrey Gotto
selfietshirt