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

 

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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

   

4 Painless Ways to Encourage Online Reviews

Online business reviews can influence internet search engine results. This is crucial for small business owners wanting to increase local seo results. Search engines such as Google take into account how many times your business is mentioned in reviews. Your business getting alot of mentions usuually translates into appearing higher in search results than a business that isn’t reviewed  often. Research suggests that consumers generally trust peer recommendations more than they trust advertising.

A recent Nelson survey found that of 25,000 internet consumers from 50 countries 90% trusted recommendations from people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.

I’m not going to lie. Getting reviews is not always easy. In fact, I find it to be challenging for a number or reasons. 1.) Who has the time to find your review site, compose a review, and get it posted quickly? 2.) Some of your clients no doubt love you and your product but they just aren’t skilled writers. 3.) Transparency is always an issue. Have you ever read an online business review that just felt fake?  False reviews are tacky and will actually hurt your seo results.

That being said, here are 4 painless ways to encourage online reviews for your business:

  1. Encourage your customers to leave ratings and reviews of your business if they are satisfied with your work. Send them a simple email after a service is rendered, give them a flyer at checkout, a call to action on your website or a phone call or  direct text message. Don’t be shy. You’ve done a wonderful job. Asking for an endorsement is fine, as long as it is authentic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don’t miss our updates! Subscribe here.
  2. Provide customers with a variety of sites to post reviews about you. For example, if you are asking for a review via email, send the appropriate links in the body of your message so that they can easily click on the site and get typing directly.  Instead of just providing links at the bottom of your email signature, why not kindly encourage and/or ask for a review? make this the SUBJECT OF YOUR EMAIL, not an afterthought or closing comment.
  3. Respond to Reviews. The Good. The Bad. And The Ugly. Be proactive about responding to all reviews. Say thank you. Say you’re sorry. Say something! If the comment is a postive one, thank the customer for their feedback and encourage them (by name if appropriate) to use your services again. If the post is negative, explain that you appreciate their honesty and ask the customer to get in contact with you about their concerns so you can address their problems directly. And do that. I love seeing when business owners show the negative posts and their susbsequent  tactful replies.  Through your replies, customers can get to know you  as an individual, not just ‘business x.’ Transparency and authenticity are gold in the business world.
  4. Never ever post false reviews. False reviews are eventually discovered. Because of their obvious generic transparency, you risk the chance of losing visibility in search engines. Worse yet, the visibility you do get will not be the kind you want. Exercise patience and be consistent with points 1-3 and eventually you will build a strong  business online review sampling.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto- Fina Promos

 

Why Social Media Marketing is Still King in 2016

via SEO In 2016: What It Means For Your Content Strategy.

I love precise, easy-to-understand  articles that help me stategize my marketing efforts for my small business. To be honest, I do not often find them in the vast sea of “content articles” on the web. However, this morning I read an article written by Jessy Smulski, contributing author for Business2Community that I feel is share worthy. Click on the link at the top of the page to read the full article.

So, research shows us that these four factors are important aspects for SEO in 2016.

  1. Mobile Browsing is Boss.  Stop procrastinating on this. Get your website on par.
  2. Social is Increasingly Important. Yep. Stop thinking Facebook is a waste of your marketing time.
  3. Voice Search is a Game-Changer. People talk to their phones to find you.
  4. “Rich Answers” Are Stealing Thunder. Write your content intelligently.                                                                                                                                                                                                       SEO infographic from LeapFroggr                                   SEOInfographic

The Impact of The ” Joe-Cool Factor” On Your Brand Image

As a kid, I loved the Peanuts characters created by Charles M. Schulz. In particular, my favorite cartoon character was Snoopy. He was the original cool and trendy dude. Joe Cool was my hero. His trademark round sunglasses and “Joe Cool” turtleneck sweater (imprinted with his name, no less!) continues to be a timeless fashion statement. With his little buddy Woodstock following in tow, he projected the silent (Literally, silent. He was a character that did not speak) message that if you were to be seen with him, you must project your own trendy coolness.

What does Snoopy teach us about building our brand image? – That it’s hard to overstate the power of cool! When a product has that cool factor, you appreciate it, tell your friends about it and want to associate yourself with it. Whether that comes from a killer feature, a unique design, or a striking aesthetic, branded products that wow the recipient will give your business a trendy brand image.

So, How can your business and brand be more like Joe Cool? How do you wow your audience? One easy way is to incorporate the latest retail product trends into your marketing programs and company events. When choosing premium customer or employee gifts, promotional items, or even apparel branded with your logo, pick (appropriate) branded products that say “trendy’ like a Bluetooth Activity Band. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of an already hot trend.. 

Fina Promos Bluetooth Activity Band

Wearable technology is huge right now in the consumer market. I was meeting with a client last week who was wearing one of these and I have to admit that I felt a bit left out of the cool factor. After all, I am in the branding business. I SHOULD have the latest trendy tech products items, right?! My point is to put the latest consumer trends to work for you and your marketing brand.  Whatever promotional item you decide to align your brand with, be sure it is associated with quality, popularity, and a positive emotion.

Visit our promotional products catalog pages for the latest trends in branded products or tap on image for more products that project the “Joe Cool” factor!

See 12 More Trending Promotional Product Ideas!

13 product ideas of what’s cool and trending right now.

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