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.

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

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A Brand-Driven Approach – Sierra Motors

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Sierra Motors first contacted Robot to develop a logo and identity package. But after the logo, stationery and messaging were complete, we didn’t stop; in fact, you might say we punched the accelerator.

Environmental Branding
It was important to Sierra Motors that customers immediately pick up on the brand message when they walk onto the lot or into the sales office. To communicate this message, we developed custom vehicle magnets with main messaging points, testimonial posters highlighting customer feedback, license plates with custom frames and rearview mirror hangers. We also provided signage recommendations for each lot.

Refreshed Website
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To tie the brand into Sierra Motors’ online presence, we designed and produced content for sierra-motors.com. Functions of the website include a simple lead capture form, a refer-a-friend feature and access to an online payment portal for customers.

Collateral Materials
To round out Sierra Motors’ identity, Robot Creative developed additional printed pieces, including a tri-fold with vehicle maintenance guidelines and a handout card with information on Sierra Motors’ referral program.

Read more about the original brand development

A Menu Refresh is Just What Mama Ordered

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In conjunction with a full interior redesign, Mama Margie’s reached out to Robot Creative to design their new digital menu boards. The new menu design creates a cohesive brand for this restaurant chain by integrating custom food photography, an expanded color palette and new branding elements with the refreshed interior design.

The customers’ ordering experience and Mama Margie’s sales goals were distinct areas of focus for this redesign. Starting with menu design psychology and consumer behavior research, Robot Creative made recommendations on the structural layout of menu including categorization, item placement and panel arrangements to maximize profitability.

For a restaurant that is open 24/7, it was important to make the most of the digital format. Flexible, rotating spaces were incorporated to run limited time offers, to highlight featured items and to target certain menu items during specific times of day. The new menu prominently features brand-essential menu items through strategic placement and photography.

Branding Goes Through The Roof

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Roof Monitor™, a revolutionary product for the roofing industry, reached out to Robot Creative to create a cohesive, memorable brand and marketing approach for their product launch.

Brand Strategy
As a new technology, one of the main goals of the product launch was education. It was critical for Roof Monitor’s target market to quickly understand the product and its benefits. A straightforward and memorable name combined with a descriptive tagline immediately convey the message behind the product and its purpose. Robot reinforced the distinctive color and shape of the Roof Monitor sensors in every aspect of the design for the brand, from the logo to the illustrations to the infographics used in collateral materials.

Website and Social Media
Robot developed a responsive website to tell the Roof Monitor story that seamlessly transitions from a desktop computer to a tablet or other mobile device. Additionally, Robot established a foundation for Roof Monitor’s online social media platforms, including strategy, graphics and initial post design for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Product Launch
The product launch coincided with a major industry trade show. Robot Creative provided event strategy, designed graphics for a 20’x20′ island exhibit and developed related collateral materials.  Specialty invitations enticed industry leaders to an exclusive preview dinner, and social media countdowns created buzz leading up to the event. A feature article was timed for release in one of the industry’s most prominent trade publications in the weeks following the launch event.

Music Festival Promotion Design: Die Nacht Der Clubs

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Robot recently designed the promotional materials for Die Nacht Der Clubs (Night of the Clubs), a music festival in Hamburg, Germany, for which participants buy bus tickets that take them to up to 25 local music clubs. We designed the logo, posters, flyers, stickers, admission tickets, web banners and landing page.

This festival is unique in that there isn’t just one genre of music or club included in the lineup. Clubs and music styles at the 25 venues include punk, techno, house, metal and even jazz. It’s a full sampling of the great variety of bands that these clubs showcase, and Die Nacht Der Clubs is a single event that brings them all together. The client was looking for an overall clean look that didn’t lean towards any one of the music styles.

So if you happen to be in Hamburg on May 9th, buy a ticket, hop on a bus and enjoy some great music and a variety of local clubs. Tell them Robot sent you!

Revved-Up Identity: Sierra Motors Identity

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Sierra Motors sells and finances vehicles for customers with challenged or no credit. What makes Sierra Motors stand apart is their ability to provide the necessary financing quickly. They wanted to appear less like your local corner financing car lot and more like a polished, professional financing company to compete with larger national chains.

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Visual Speed
Sierra Motors was already using red and black with black and white checkers. We wanted to create a more unique corporate logo and a more cohesive brand. Since Sierra Motors provides such speedy transactions and financing, a speedway theme was the logical choice. The iconic black and white checkered flag was incorporated into the new logo, as well as bold red and warm yellow italicized type reminiscent of the numbers you see on the side of race cars.

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Swift Messaging
To have genuinely cohesive branding, identity must also carry into writing. Since the name Sierra Motors doesn’t directly communicate the product to customers, a new tagline, “Financing You to the Finish Line”, was developed to tie the core service offering in with the speedway theme. This tagline also speaks to the credit challenged, portraying the need for financing in a positive manner.
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The Race Goes On
We didn’t stop there – ROBOT continues to work on revving up the Sierra Motors brand. We are developing a number of visual products to be used in their locations, such as finish lines and speedway graphics. We also remain focused on their written identity, (think winner’s circle and pit crew passes). Keep an eye out for a new and improved Sierra Motors location near you!

Love to Swim and Tumble School Rebranded

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Love to Swim and Tumble School already had a ton of professional materials, as well as a mix of items created in-house, in circulation but their brand was inconsistent. Although the materials were professional and functional, something was missing. Their brand was not carried throughout all collateral. Some materials still had an older version of their logo and the color schemes varied widely.

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We immediately decided that playing up the “love” from their name was the direction to take. (Once we learned that owner and founder Mary Reilly-Magee’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, there was no turning back.) The possibilities for incorporating “love” and the heart from their logo in other ways were endless:

  • We transformed their monthly newsletter into the “Heartbeat”
  • Notes of appreciation for the coaches became “Love Notes”
  • The referral program is now “Share the Love”
  • Loyalty money became “Love Bucks”

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To ensure their new branding is used consistently, style guidelines were created for color schemes, backgrounds, photos, fonts and illustrations, and we created templates for in-house documenting printing and emails.
The branding process for this client is now lovingly referred to as “Loving it Up”, and we’re only getting started. Look for a new brochure and other materials in the near future!

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