Archive for the ‘Branding & Design’ Category

In a Digital World, Does Direct Mail Still Work?

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Gaining customers starts with awareness. Even though the Metropolitan Methodist Hospital is one of the more well-known hospital systems in San Antonio, their Emergency Room facility at the Quarry Market Shopping Center was relatively new, and residents didn’t always remember where they were located. So, the hospital reached out to Robot Creative for help with an awareness campaign.

The challenge was to get word out to the families living around the Quarry Market about the full-service ER right in their neighborhood. To do this, we presented a plan that included digital marketing blended with traditional forms of advertising like community outreach and direct mail.

According to a research by the Data and Marketing Association conducted in 2018, direct to consumer advertising has a response rate ranging between 5% for prospect lists (possible customers) and 9% for house lists (current customers). Physically handling a post card can create a different response than seeing an ad on a screen. According to stats quoted by the USPS, a majority of consumers feel mail is more personal than the internet and prefer it as the format for unsolicited information on unfamiliar companies.

Knowing that the tactile effect of a physical mailer was likely to have a good response rate, we developed several campaigns featuring hyper-local content that would appeal to our target audience.

  1. Post Cards – We designed and sent post card series to family households in the targeted region around the ER. These included information on the location of the facility as well as a brief description about services and unique qualities of that facility. There were two series, one with designs that featured local students/parents and one with prominent residents from the area. This gave readers familiar faces with which to identify and engage. We also included static and variable maps, showing each household’s unique directions from their location to the ER. This personalized and local experience made these mailers more relevant for residents in the area. Imagery from each campaign was utilized in both social and print advertising during the same time frame, increasing frequency and reach on the selected audience.
  1. Magazines – We also created a special magazine, In the Loop, to specifically reach new residents who recently moved into the same neighborhoods. These magazines gave a more in-depth overview of the Metropolitan Methodist Hospital and Quarry ER, still including information like location, but also education on preventative care and when to visit the ER versus an urgent care center or a full-service hospital.MMEC In The Loop Magazine

Compared to their peers within the system, the patient count at the Quarry ER increased 18% in the first year of this effort, while the system average declined. This proved that awareness campaigns utilizing a multi-touch point approach can and do work for B2C marketing.

Need more customers coming into your location? Contact us today to develop a winning strategy.

Do Brands Have an Expiration Date?

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Unlike a gallon of milk, a company’s brand can have quite a long shelf life. The key to maintaining long-term brand life lies with the ability of your brand to stay relevant and current. For most brands, doing a complete overhaul isn’t necessary. Rather, a refresh in some capacity will keep your brand from looking and feeling stale. 

Related: When your brand speaks, what does it say?

Logo Refresh

In terms of brand hierarchy, your logo is the face of your company. If your logo looks dated, chances are, your whole brand will be perceived that way as well. An update to your existing logo can help your brand look more current. And, by not completely starting over, you can maintain some of the brand equity you already have. A logo refresh usually falls into one of three categories:

Updated Colors or Fonts
Your logo may be solid in design and structure, but just need a fresh take on the color palette or font selections. Depending on how extreme of a shift you make, this type of refresh can be as subtle or dramatic as needed for what you want to communicate.

Updated Logo Redraw
Sometimes the initial execution of a logo falls flat, or the style looks outdated. A great way to breathe new life into your logo is to simply redo it with a more current or appropriate style in mind.

Same Concept, New Design
This third option gets close to a redo without completely starting over. There are so many ways to communicate one concept, and it may be that the one you ended up with on your logo was not the most effective or lasting choice. Is the idea still strong and relevant? If so, just give it another go and make sure you explore several design directions to communicate your concept.

Imagery/Visuals Update

Brands today have access to a multitude of visual options to tell their story. There are so many stock resources for photography and graphics available now. The quality, options and diversity of the imagery has gone up while the expense has dramatically gone down. Custom photography also has become more affordable with the growth of that industry. Even video production and stock footage can work within a wider range of budgets than they could just five to 10 years ago.

By rethinking the visuals that are communicating your message and thoughtfully selecting or producing imagery that works with your brand, you can dramatically change your brand’s complexion and how it’s perceived in the marketplace. Changing out imagery also can be accomplished more frequently than other brand elements (such as a logo or colors), because it’s normally considered more of a fluid part of a brand identity.

Change Your Voice

Your brand’s Voice (the words and phrases you purposely and consistently use to communicate your message) can really add to your brand’s personality. A brand voice is commonly overlooked by many companies, but it presents a huge opportunity. Addressing a voice that isn’t defined, or revamping your messaging can definitely help with your brand’s longevity.

You may just want to tweak some of the words you commonly use with synonyms that align more with your brand’s personality. It may seem subtle, but can resonate with your audience on a very fundamental level.

If you need more of a global shift in how you communicate with your customer, changing the overall brand voice can have a dramatic effect and pay big dividends when it comes to making your brand feel new and re-energized.

When Does it Make Sense to do a Refresh?

A refresh of some of your brand elements is usually done to address a need. It’s not something you want to undertake just because a certain amount of time has gone by – constant changes to a brand causes confusion and overall diminished brand equity. You should consider a refresh if one of the following situations occurs:

Competitor Brands Look and Feel More Current Than Your Brand
Identify which parts of your brand need to be updated and address them specifically to be able to compete on the same level (or better).

Your Position in the Market has Shifted
Has your company introduced or acquired new offerings that change who or how you do business? Or maybe your business has grown and needs to look and feel bigger. These situations present an ideal time to visually announce there has been a shift in your company.

Audience Perception has Shifted
A business needs to continuously monitor trends in how their target audience perceives not only their company, but also the industry as a whole. Some examples of perception trends that might affect how you would like your brand to be perceived: environmentally friendly, healthy, local, less corporate, rugged, specialized, global, fast, socially responsible, etc.

Stay Fresh!

Overall, a brand refresh can maintain and build upon the brand equity you already have. It also helps maintain customer relationships through changing times, and can help your company speak more effectively to potential new customers. By keeping on top of your brand with a refresh when needed, you can avoid having to do a complete rebrand at some point.

 

Think your brand might need a refresh? Contact ROBOT to discuss your needs and keep your brand from going stale!

When your brand speaks, what does it say?

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Your brand is like your business’ personality. You may have created it yourself, you may have hired a branding company to develop it, or perhaps it has evolved unintentionally. However it was developed, this is your brand.

If you aren’t managing your brand, it may begin to communicate information you didn’t anticipate or don’t want. These “brand fibs” can take on many forms – some are subtle and some are more obvious. The following are common brand missteps to look for and avoid.

Aren’t you a bit underdressed?
The foundation of a company revolves around its mission statement and business goals – it’s at the core of why you’re in business in the first place. All your branding decisions should be in alignment with these goals. By veering away from who you’ve said you are and what you are about, you’ve just broken your promise to your customer. Let’s say, for example, you are a high-end custom home builder. You’ve done a good job of creating an office and work environment that echoes luxury. Your products and services are superior to your competitors, and your target audience has a high level of education and income. If your branding communicates a less-than-average quality and speaks at a level lower than that of your audience, disconnection occurs. This affects the perceived value of your offering and how much your potential customers are willing to pay for it.

What’s with the shifty behavior?
This is probably the most common mistake made by small businesses. Using and applying your brand to all your marketing materials, business cards, stationery items, website, etc. should be done with consistency. The regular visual and verbal reinforcement of your brand leads to higher recognition and memorability for your company. By changing up brand elements on various mediums, you can dilute your overall brand and lose out on potential customers knowing who you are and what you’re about. For example, if your branding colors are Pantone shades of blue and gray, don’t let John in accounting change his business card to deep purple and yellow because those are the colors of his college alma mater. Even more subtle variances in things, like inconsistent use of font selections, can chip away at the strength a consistent brand can communicate to your audience. This shifty brand behavior also affects the perception of trust from your customers – they’re not sure what to expect if your brand is all over the place.

1997 called and wants its color palette back.
An issue can arise if what you are communicating with your brand is not as applicable as it used to be. Industries are constantly evolving and moving forward and your brand needs to move with it. Let’s say you started your dot com company in the 1990s and haven’t made any updates to your overall branding since. Does your brochure or website have phrases like “Surfing the world wide web” and “The information super highway”? Are there dial-up modems in photos, and a high concentration of beveled buttons with drop-shadows? You get the idea. If you aren’t moving with your industry, your industry (and competition) are leaving you behind.

So is all of this really that big of a deal?

Will I go out of business if I use a different shade of orange on my website than on my brochures or if I use Comic Sans on my letterhead? Maybe not, but in an increasingly competitive market, you will probably lose ground (and business) with your competition that has a similar, clearly branded offering. In addition, some brand missteps will affect customer perception more than others, but continued and cumulative veering from your brand can cause lasting and sometimes permanent damage to your overall company image.

Brand Audits and How They Work

At Robot, one way we evaluate a company’s brand alignment is to perform a brand audit. It’s an exercise we use to inform whether your brand needs some minor tweaking or a complete overhaul.

Our full brand audit package starts with target audience profiling and user perception surveys. The results confirm who you’re selling to and what your current brand is communicating. Along with this information, we review all your marketing materials (both visual and messaging) to determine where there may be alignment issues with your brand. Finally, we provide recommendations on what materials are working for your brand – and which ones are not working and in need of a refresh. More times than not, companies have a solid brand base to work from and just need some guidance or rework on a few pieces of collateral.

Maintaining a consistent brand is hard work. Sometimes it’s very obvious to a company/owner that their brand is not working together or is not quite aligned with the business and mission goals. They’re just not sure how to get back on course or fix it. In other instances, you may not even realize what your brand is communicating with your marketing efforts. Remember, your brand is always talking. Every touchpoint factors into the perception of your company.

If you suspect your brand has alignment conflicts, contact Robot for a brand audit to make sure your brand is saying what you want it to and need it to say!

Learn more about how Robot can help with branding >>

Responsive Logos – a Study in Scalability and Branding

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by Andrew Watson

A recent project by London based designer Joe Harrison, shows an experiment with the logos of some major brands and how they might adapt to a responsive environment. Responsive web design has gained a lot of traction in the past few years to address the widespread use of mobile devices and tablets that require information to be viewed in a different way than a traditional computer monitor – at smaller sizes, different aspect ratios and flexible orientations.

Most designers create stacked and horizontal versions of a company’s logo to accommodate different uses. This project is fascinating because it shows how a logo can scale in response to a device while proving that a solid brand is recognizable even in it’s simplest form.

Visit the site http://responsivelogos.co.uk and drag your browser window left to right to see how these logos scale. I love it when you get to the smallest version and it’s just the logo mark and color. The brand still comes through – super cool!

How would your logo respond?

LegalPRO Software Branding, Collateral and Website Development

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IGN_websiteBRP_websiteLegalPRO develops, sells and supports legal software products. To support the growth of LegalPRO’s most popular product, BankruptcyPRO, and to assist cross-promotion efforts for other products, Robot developed a cohesive suite of brands, brochures, tradeshow materials and integrated websites for the parent company and its products.

Websites for BankruptcyPRO and I-Got-Notices, two software products, were part of an all-encompasing brand overhaul for LegalPRO in which the spirit, energy, and accessibility of a small team were captured through an updated website and accompanying collateral materials.

LegalPRO’s “big enough, but not too big” size and flexibility were the key messages communicated through team highlights, approachable language and selective use of hand-drawn graphics to emphasize the approachable nature of the LegalPRO team.

Robot also created a company overview brochure that carries across the same style of imagery and the message of individualized service. The LegalPRO team is a big focus in the brochure and is introduced with a fun, personable approach, representative of the company brand. Illustrated headshot photos with brief personal bios provide a snapshot of each individual’s personality.

LegalPRO’s company culture and attentive customer service set them apart from the industry. The new branding and sales tools highlight these key differentiators and provide end users with a company overview that is in-line with its approachable attitude and personalized service.  

Travis Commercial Real Estate Brand and Website Update

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TC_LOGOTravis Commercial Real Estate Services, a leading commercial real estate company in San Antonio, wanted to refresh their overall brand and website.

The goal of the rebrand was to slowly transition, rather than radically reinvent the logo, mindful of the investment required to apply the brand across signage throughout the city.

Logo and Stationery
travis_stationeryWhile maintaining the original mark and overall type arrangement, Robot updated the typography of the logo and replaced a drab khaki with a brighter, fresher shade of green. A bold pattern was added to a new stationery package, and a secondary color palette was developed.

Website Updates
The updated logo and color palette are pulled into the design of the new website, along with refreshed content and new photography. Technical upgrades to the website included:

  • Integration with third-party property search tools, allowing for automated refreshing of current property listings
  • Responsive design, allowing users to access the site using mobile devices and tablets
  • An easy-to-use content management system, making it possible for Travis Commercial to update copy and photos throughout the site

travis-responsive