The Nuts and Bolts Behind Business Cards

Business, InKnowvative Concepts, Business Cards

Don’t judge a business card by its cover? Ah, yes, I’m afraid so. Business cards, the silent piece of advertisement is scrutinized more than you think. It’s not just the design element potential clients are intrigued or impressed by. They want to learn the meat and potatoes, or the nuts and bolts about what your business has to offer.

Potential clients want to know,

  • Who you are
  • Where you are located
  • What exactly do you do
  • How can they contact you
  • How much will your products or service affect their wallet
  • How long will it take to reach customer satisfaction
  • Are you trustworthy and what does the BBB have to report about your business
  • What type of experience do you have supporting your business

Customers are savvier about their spending habits than they have ever been. Also, consumers have trust issue concerns with how they conduct business and the reputation of who they give their dollars to, especially when they have been burned by a business before. There really is more behind the business card than meets the eye.

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The Most Popular Font Types in America

Fonts, Inbound Marketing
Image credit: blog.hubspot.com

 

How much thought do you put into the fonts you use for your visual content?

It’s worth taking a moment to consider which font will best communicate your information. For example, most people know that Comic Sans is a faux pas for more professional situations. But what fonts should you use?

According to a study we conducted over at Venngage looking at the most popular font types in America, it might be worth basing your font choice on where most of your audience is located.

We analyzed the 50+ fonts we offer to see which font types people favor, and how their preferences vary depending on location. Our analysis focused in on the top 25 most populated cities in America, since they’re the ones creating the most content.

Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. 

Most fonts can be broken down into 5 distinct types: serif, sans serif, decorative, headline and script.

This infographic summarizes our findings:

4bb64565-9eef-4f88-a7f0-d985b1a48873 (1) (1).png

 

Let’s go into what each font type is, and when you should use them in your visual content.

Serif Fonts

A “serif” is a small line or embellishment added to the end of a stroke in a letter. A serif font has serifs! Pretty easy to remember, right?

There are a lot of different fonts that fall into this category. Times New Roman is a classic example. Merriweather and Playfair Display are other examples.

When should you use serif fonts?

Serif fonts have a more classic feel than sans serif fonts often do. They’re reminiscent of traditional print. With that in mind, any situation where you want to…Continue reading

Article source: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/most-popular-fonts-in-america?__hstc=178570363.5c92335259b9d839de7c64174bd14bcf.1511808670812.1511808670812.1511808670812.1&__hssc=178570363.1.1511808670813&__hsfp=3080333

Lego shakes up imagination in unboxing spot

Lego, Imagination, Gifts, Presents
Image Source: thedrum.com

Shaking up a present is usual for a kid, so when they get one that has great shaking sounds to the max, they smile and dream of great things. Lego takes that concept to the extreme with a new holiday campaign — ‘Shake Up Imagination.’

Lego Systems, in a new unboxing spot by R/GA, demonstrates how the sound of Lego can spark imagination without even showing the product. Unsuspecting kids received unbranded, wrapped presents and were asked to guess what’s inside. They began shaking the gifts and recognized the iconic sound of Lego bricks. They then excitedly began imagining what they would build.

From double dinosaurs to flying boats, the brand showcased the magic of their product, just by the sound. “It goes from New York to the Bahamas,” said one child about his ambitions.

See the spot by clicking the Creative Works box below.

Lego, Imagination

Article Source: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/10/30/lego-shakes-up-imagination-unboxing-spot

Instagram redesigns call-to-action bar to dynamically mirror ads

Social Media, Marketing, Instagram
Image Credit: Source: MarketingLand.com

For the second time in the two years since rolling out clickable ads, Instagram is updating the look of what people are supposed to click. This time the Facebook-owned photo-and-video app is tweaking ads’ call-to-action bars to better blend in while still standing out.

Last year, Instagram made its ads’ clickable element more obvious in an effort to make people more aware of the option and assuage advertisers’ concerns with the app’s direct-response options. A few months after replacing its ads’ call-to-action button with a horizontal bar that ran along the entire bottom of an ad’s photo or video, the company set the bar’s background color to switch from white to blue after four seconds to draw more attention to it.

Now, instead of blue, the bar will dynamically change to the main color contained in the ad’s photo or video, the company announced on Monday. Instagram will change the color of the call-to-action bar to better coordinate with the primary element of the native ad that grabbed the user’s attention.

According to an Instagram spokesperson, the redesigned look is meant to ensure that an ad’s photo or video is its standout element and to make people’s feeds feel more natural. It may also ensure that Instagram can insert more ads into those feeds without making them look overloaded with ads.

The blue call-to-action bar had been the most obvious signal that a post was an ad, though it only turned blue after a post was on screen for at least four seconds. By making the call-to-action bar feel more like a part of the photo or video, the difference may not be so obvious to people swiping through their feeds. If that proves true, then Instagram may be able to insert more ads — and relieve Facebook’s ad-load pressure, which is expected to decelerate the company’s ad-revenue growth this year — without overdoing it.

Article source: https://marketingland.com/instagram-redesigns-call-action-bar-dynamically-mirror-ads-226356

Study: Social marketers’ top challenge is measuring ROI

 

Marketing, Social Media
Image source: MarTech Today

Marketers continue to spend more money on social campaigns, and they continue to struggle to appraise what they receive in return for that money.

Measuring return on investment (ROI) was the most commonly cited challenge facing social marketers, according to a study conducted by Simply Measured, a company that sells analytics software for marketers to measure the ROI of their social campaigns.

The social analytics firm surveyed almost 1,000 ad agency employees that span 111 countries and specialize in social marketing, roughly half of whom held the job title of social media manager, marketing manager or director of social media. Of the survey’s respondents who were asked to identify their top three challenges, 61.4 percent picked measuring ROI was picked by 61.4 percent, followed by “tying social to business goals” at 35.5 percent.

Attributing social marketing spend to business results has been an increasing area of focus for marketers, as well as for social platforms. The more money marketers pour into social media, the more they expect to know how that money converts into revenue for their businesses. And social platforms like Facebook have seen this as an opportunity to solidify marketers’ social investments and siphon spend from more established channels like TV and search.

During Facebook’s most recent earnings call (PDF), COO Sheryl Sandberg described the company’s shift in emphasis away from “proxy metrics,” such as video views and brand lift, and toward “sales metrics” because “the more that we can tie ad viewing to sales, the stronger our case is with our clients.”

Engagement before conversions

However, for sales metrics to take hold, marketers need to wean themselves off proxy metrics, such as likes, comments, shares and retweets. And they have not yet.

According to the survey, 57.8 percent of respondents said that engagement metrics were the metrics they used the most to gauge a social campaign’s success, whereas 23.6 percent cited conversion and revenue metrics — e.g., website traffic, conversions and revenue — as their most-used metric to measure success.

Compounding matters, marketers are more interested in analytics tools that enable them to count engagements than they are in conversions. Per the survey, 52.7 percent of respondents said that tracking engagement metrics is the most important feature they seek in a social analytics tool. By comparison, 39.4 percent cited the ability to track conversions as their most sought-after capability.

Perhaps because of marketers’ preoccupation with engagement metrics, social data plays a somewhat restricted role in informing clients’ social strategies. While 61.5 percent of respondents said they use social data to assess campaign performance, only 36 percent said they use social data to measure ROI.

Marketers’ favored social channels

The hierarchy of social platforms that marketers spend the most money on mirrors that of those they use the most in their campaigns. Respondents’ six most-used social networks are the same six social networks on which they spend the most money, and in the same order: Facebook takes the top spot, followed by Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest. If it weren’t for 27.1 percent of respondents claiming to use Google+, the mirrored hierarchy would extend to include Snapchat in the seventh position.

While the two charts share the same order, the stats differ drastically. Facebook is far and away the platform that most respondents spend money on. And even though fewer than half as many spend money on Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-and-video app outpaced Twitter by more than double.

The divide likely has to do with Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Instagram being largely pay-to-play platforms for brands, thanks to their respective algorithms that sort the posts in people’s feeds. In other words, marketers may not feel as pressed to spend money on Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn because they are able to reach enough people organically. However, that thinking wouldn’t apply to Snapchat, which is typically considered a pay-to-play platform. Snapchat’s relatively small standing may have to do with it being inaccessible to many advertisers, though that has begun to change.

Influencer marketing

Simply Measured also surveyed agency employees about influencer marketing. Marketers have warmed to incorporating people with large social followings into their campaigns, but not necessarily to the point of dedicating a share of their budgets specifically to this type of marketing.

According to the survey, 54.9 percent of respondents said influencers are an important part of their marketing strategies, though only 18.7 percent said they “strongly agree” that influencers play a vital role in clients’ social strategies. However, 66 percent said they have no dedicated budget for influencer marketing.

The fact that brands are not earmarking dollars specifically for influencer marketing may have to do with the channel serving more of a supplementary than standalone role. Asked how they use influencers in their social strategies, 59.2 percent of the respondents said that influencers serve to extend the reach of campaigns, a role similar to that of PR outreach.

Social analytics software preferences

Finally — and perhaps the least surprising finding in a survey conducted by a social analytics software provider — 52 percent of respondents said they need social analytics software to do their best work. The runner-up resource was “human resources” at 35.7 percent, followed by publishing software at 12.3 percent. For this question, as with the biggest challenges question, respondents were asked to select their top three most important features.

More surprising may be the types of social analytics tool that agencies typically use. Despite Facebook’s series of measurement errors and Twitter’s own measurement mistake, agencies most often turn to platform-provided analytics tools to collect social data, including engagement stats, follower counts and website conversion measurements.

Of the respondents, 47.2 percent said the platforms’ tools are their primary way of collecting social data for clients, followed by 31.1 percent that rely on third-party social analytics tools and 10.4 percent that manually monitor their clients’ social accounts. The remaining 11.4 percent use some combination of the aforementioned methods.

Article source: https://martechtoday.com/study-social-marketers-top-challenge-measuring-roi-204879

Open Innovation is Alive and Well in the Pet Industry

Pets, Innovation, Business
Image Source: Getty Images

By Stephen Key
Co-founder, InventRight      

 

It is an incredible time to be a product developer. Like solving problems? Enjoy being creative? Today, you do not have to start a business to launch an idea into the market. You can go the licensing route and begin receiving passive income for your creativity instead. That’s the beauty of open innovation, the increasingly widespread practice of companies looking outside their own walls for the best new product ideas. By licensing your idea to a company that has existing distribution and relationships with retailers, you can get to market fast. In that way, as a business model, licensing simply cannot be beat. Innovative companies recognize this — even ones with a long and storied history of research and development like GE.

The pet industry is particularly ripe for open innovation and licensing. According to the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet today. That’s a lot! Last year, Americans spent a record $66.75 billion on their beloved companions. During the recession, the industry barely took a hit. Thanks to the Internet, dogs and cats are more popular than ever. And there’s the well-documented trend occurring worldwide of young people increasingly referring to and treating their pets like surrogate children. There’s a huge opportunity here for people who are creative.

Which is why I traveled to the annual pet trade show SuperZoo in Las Vegas earlier this week to ask companies explicitly: What do you need from us? After licensing many of my own ideas for products, I know what open innovation looks like in practice. But since I’ve made it my mission to help other people license their ideas, I’m committed to going one step further. The show is not as large as the Global Pet Expo in Florida, but it was very well-attended, light-hearted, and a lot of fun. How could it not be, with dogs of different shapes, sizes, and colors running this way and that? Turns out, people who love their pets like to have a good time. The theme this year was “Better Together,” which spoke directly to the inclusive nature of the industry at large.

As is typical, some companies were receptive to open innovation and others weren’t. You can tell which are and which aren’t pretty easily. Companies whose products all share the same beautiful design aesthetic? Not a good fit. These companies aren’t really innovating. Their focus is on designing products that are extremely pretty to look at. Their in-house designers are tasked with creating the look and feel they want their brand to reflect. These companies do not look at outside submissions. They’re more likely to acquire a brand outright or bring in a designer they like to keep working with them.

But I also met CEOs like Tim Blurton of Hyper Pet LLC who embrace open innovation emphatically.

“We love inventors and people with ideas. And we love being able to work with them and take their ideas and make them marketable, so we both benefit,” Blurton said. “Bring us any ideas you’ve got! We’ll listen and see if we can work on them.”

For Dr. Steven Tsengas of OurPets, intellectual property is of paramount importance. His company has something like 170 patents to its name. Electronic pet toys are increasingly popular, he told me, as he pointed out several products of his that make use of Bluetooth technology.

For companies like Ethical Products Inc., which has been in business since 1952 and markets its products under the brand SPOT, working with inventors is a way of life. Ausra Dapkus, the vice-president of purchasing and product development who is in charge of working with product developers and inventors, described her role in the following way.

“I take their ideas and then communicate them to our factories overseas to bring those products to life,” she explained. “I try to translate their vision into something that can actually work in production, which can sometimes be a challenge… but somehow we always manage to work it out.”

At the Ethical Products booth, professional inventor Chuck Lamprey showed off one of his licensed products. (Full disclosure: I know Chuck because he was my student.) Since he began developing pet products seven years ago, Lamprey has since licensed about nine of his ideas, all of which are still selling on the market. At first, he told me he struggled to make a good first impression at trade shows because he’s shy. But in time, as his knowledge of the industry grew, he became much more comfortable approaching booths.

These days, he’s confident because he know he adds value. He walks up to companies he wants to invent for and says something along the lines of: “Hello, my name is Chuck. I have many products in the marketplace. If you have needs in a particular area, I would love to help you out.”

This year, several CEOs explicitly thanked him for stopping by and expressed how much they appreciated that he was paying attention to the industry and actually inventing for them.

“Repeat trade show attendance is very useful in that way. They get to know me and that I’m serious about this,” he explained. “What I want to do is add value. It’s not about me and it’s not even about the company. It’s about the consumer. What can I give to the industry?”

His attitude is spot on. You cannot merely submit your ideas for new products to as many companies as possible and hope for the best. Becoming a professional independent product developer is all about communication and the relationships you build. That’s why attending a trade show can be so effective. You’re able to introduce yourself face-to-face and shake hands.

But some of the companies I interviewed were frank with me. In principle, they loved the idea of open innovation. In practice, they were frustrated. They’d become wary of working with inventors because so many of them failed to do their homework. The ideas these companies had received didn’t take their brand into consideration whatsoever, so they had decided to stop looking at outside ideas altogether.

The benefits of open innovation are enormous, but sifting through submissions takes time. So does getting back to product developers about why their ideas aren’t a perfect fit, which is a crucial part of the process. When companies decide their limited resources are better spent elsewhere, we all lose out.

If you have an apple and the company you show your idea to is selling oranges, that’s not a good fit. Most likely they are not going to be interested. And in that case what you’re sending is basically spam.

There’s a balance to be struck. Licensing is very much a numbers game. You need to contact enough companies about your idea, not just the major one or two players. At the same time, firing your sell sheet off to every single company in an industry isn’t going to get you very far.

So please, check out the websites of each company on your list of potential licensees. What are they all about? Can you tailor your sell sheet to better fit the needs of their consumers in some way? (Sometimes this is as easily accomplished as using a different color.) Remember, there are actual people reviewing your submissions at these companies.

Many people were honest with me about the fact that selling pet products has fundamentally changed. Between Amazon and other online retailers, brick and mortar sales are simply not as important. Savvy Internet retailers like the startup Chewy.com, which was recently acquired by PetSmart, offer better customer service. Before you show your idea to a company, investigate how it sells its products. If you don’t understand the retail landscape, you’re at a disadvantage.

Some companies were very clear with me about letting inventors know they could already be working on something similar, which is why they won’t sign a non-disclosure agreement right away. That’s perfectly reasonable.

Like always, I kept my eyes out for simple products, which are my favorite. I was not disappointed. Catit’s Flower Fountain water bowl is the best-selling cat accessory toy on Amazon, I was told. It’s a compact water fountain with a flower design on top that enables you to adjust the flow of water to your cat’s liking. Simple, very cute, and with smart packaging to boot: By cutting out a few pieces, the shipping box is transformed into a toy. If you own a cat, you know how much they adore playing with boxes.

This is an exciting industry to invent for, truly. Who doesn’t love pets? Open innovation in the pet industry is a win for all of us.

Article source: https://www.inc.com/stephen-key/open-innovation-is-alive-and-well-in-the-pet-indus.html

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: JUL 28, 2017

Pittsburgh Zoo reaches out to millennials with new app

Inbound Marketing, Animals, Digital, Pittsburgh Zoo
Image Credit: Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette
 

Snap a selfie in the Islands exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and you may end up with big sunglasses on your face and a pineapple drink in your hand — at least that’s what might appear on your smartphone screen if you’re using the zoo’s new app.

The app, which was developed by the Station Square-based Schell Games and launched this spring, features a dozen Snapchat-style photo filters that the zoo communications team hopes patrons will share on social media.

A lion’s mane appears around a photo subject’s head when using the app near the lions’ den, and patrons can appear as though they’re scuba diving in the aquarium.

“We’re reimagining what this experience can be for that more screen-minded individual,” said Laura Gething, communications manager of the Pittsburgh Zoo, a nonprofit with the mission of conservation.

Ninety-two percent of 18- to 29-year-olds own a smartphone, according to a Pew Research Center study this year.

The app is just one way the zoo aims to reach the millennial and post-millennial generations.

According to Pew, millennials are those born between 1981 and 1997 — now the largest living generation. Other analyses define the post-millennial generation, or Generation Z, as those born after 1995.

“Kids automatically are intrigued by zoos, but how do we make our facility a great place for other than just that standard audience?” Ms. Gething said.

Experts find that…Continue Reading

Article source: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/tech-news/2017/07/10/Pittsburgh-Zoo-reaches-out-to-screen-minded-Millennials-with-new-app/stories/201707070184