Judge not but realize you’re being judged.

Brand judgement


How do you want your brand to be perceived?

I recently changed my glasses from a nearly invisible silhouette frame to a more noticeable black frame. My prescription had changed and I was ready for a change as well. When I walked down my make believe runway at residence to model them for my friends, I received such comments as “you look so smart” and “now you look studious”. It made me wonder how I “looked” before.

It got me thinking. How are our appearances and more importantly our actions causing others to think of us, even before knowing us?

As I go about my life and experience what I call “growth”, I will let my attitude, new found knowledge and understanding factor into how I’m judged. I encourage you to have the same approach when it comes to how your brand is perceived.

Ready for a new look?

We all grew up being told “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But let’s be honest…everybody does. I’ll be the first to tell you whether I’m looking at a book cover, wine label, or protein shake bottle, my eye tends to go towards the things that are original and exciting which then makes my brain say “Why don’t you give that a try!” Nothing could be truer when it comes to your company’s brand. If you think I’m wrong, stop yourself next time you’re buying something new and ask yourself, “Why am I going with this brand and not that one?” You may be surprised.

When it comes to your company’s identity, your brand (or in this case I should say your “Mark”) should have the same effect on people. The logo/mark might just be a part of the brand BUT it’s a HUGE part. Maybe you’re saying to yourself “That kind of thing doesn’t matter, because we get the job done and our clients are happy!” This could be true, however think about all the new customers or clients you could be missing out on because as soon as they go to your website they think “Did I just travel back to 1995?” People want to work with people they like, but also people that seem current with the trends. Co-founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Whoa. So, how do you feel about your brand now? If your brand is strong, then great! Stick with your guns – especially with the customer experience part of the brand. But as we all get older…we age whether we like it or not. Same goes with your logo.

So, is the face of your brand old and outdated? Do you think it’s time for a facelift? If you’re interested in knowing how to get started with giving your logo a new look, connect with me via email at todd@atlantaideastudio.com and I’ll be glad to show you our process of renewing your brand with a fresh new face. Remember newness spawns momentum, and that might be just the right ingredient to get those people in the room excited about working with you!

Always Be Testing

split testing

A component of your business that is often overlooked is optimization. Just what is optimization? I think of it as part marketing, part design and part science. Typically, we use our first best guess to create. This goes for webpages, infographics, videos, product packaging – the list goes on. Our first best guess is based upon the due diligence that is conducted during the preproduction period of our projects. This may involve elements from a situational awareness profile, client surveys, cold hard data as well as our gumption.

Once a project has been launched we immediately begin compiling data. This can be measured through various analytics software, customer comments, and of course performance. A mistake that is made all too often is stopping here. We work to educate our clients about this being the beginning, not the end.

By testing various elements and monitoring performance, then making appropriate modifications based upon data, we are successfully split testing. Split testing can be a powerful mechanism to increase leads,sales and the overall effectiveness of your communication.

If you’d be interested in learning more about improving any of your digital assets, we’d be glad to discuss. Operators are standing by…unless they’re sleeping.

Selling through Social Media

Selling on social media
Video can be an incredible delivery mechanism for selling on social media

You know you need to be visible on social media. You know you need video content. What you don’t know is how does all this help you sell your product or service?

Reaching your demographic has never been easier. The different social networks give you the ability to key in on gender, age range, interests, location, etc. Educating through social media has proven a powerful sales tool. Creating a compelling video to communicate this message has shown to be the preferred choice by social media audiences. But just how do you go about putting all of this together?

Ooh, ooh, I know this one…

We’re able to offer social sales video marketing packages. This is a turn-key marketing solution revolving around a production that is targeted directly to your demographic and produced to be delivered through social media. To discuss your project, just give us a ping, ring or ding.

Where to Begin with Internet Marketing

where to begin with internet marketing

Are you hoping to start some internet marketing initiatives but unsure where to start? You’re not alone. Frequently, we receive inquiries from companies expressing an interest in online marketing but have no idea where to begin. I jokingly advise to start from the beginning. Ha ha.

Sometimes you’re too close to your business. You are unable to see your company or brand the way others may. Working with a marketing consultant can help you see through other perspectives. We like to start by identifying your strengths. What does your company do really well? It’s easiest to build some momentum by playing up your strengths. Next we like to identify a demographic to target. Gender, age range, geographic location, hobbies, etc. are all excellent demographics to notate. Next we discuss the media. This is determined by considering your media budget, type of people we are targeting and your product or service. Video can be great at explaining your product or service as well as allowing viewers to “feel” your brand, however, you may only have a budget for a 1-page website and custom graphics to use on social media for boosting and promoting.

Finally we determine the outreach channels. With social media, it’s never been easier to reach your exact target audience. Also what’s great about paid advertising on social media is with many packages you only pay for the advertising when someone clicks on your ad to learn more!

By starting small and working to build momentum you can get with the times and use the internet to get new business. Contact Atlanta Idea Studio if you’re stuck or would like to discuss media production or advertising options.

How Great Ideas Are Born

HorseCamelThere’s an old saying that goes, “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.” This saying has been used for years in the advertising and marketing world. It holds a lot of truth though. I know, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve designed logos or been involved with the creation of a brand and the deciding factor on what the image is going to be is left up to a committee. You know how it goes, one person shows it to his wife or another to her husband for their opinion and then it starts the “let’s booger it” up syndrome. In the end more time, money, and an ugly horse is born!

Pride is a terrible thing. It ruins the best of everyone and everything. When someones pride gets in the way, it can suck the life completely out of something creative. Don’t get me wrong, you’re always going to need someone to be the decision maker, but the best leaders know that the way to be great is to put great people in charge of what they’re the best at. I hate to see leaders that just want to have their thumbprint on a project and end up making a poor decision. Remember it’s about what’s best.

When it comes to creating a great idea, whether that’s a logo, video, marketing campaign, or whatever, it has to start with a great team. So maybe I’m against a committee deciding the fate of how their brand will come to life, but I’m not against people working together to create the best “whatever” out there.

Sure, many great ideas have been given birth by one person, BUT I strongly believe we were designed as humans to work better together. This is why when you’re building a creative team, you put people together that are like-minded, ones that can work well together. The kind that will push each other to think deeper, and that will be honest and transparent with each another. Ones that enjoy being with one another and build off each others strengths.

I think we were pretty fortunate to find a good blend of creative thinkers and doers here at AIS. Sometimes my favorite part of the job is seeing where a script goes. You always need a starting point. You can talk about ideas all day, but to get anything done, someone has to put “the pen to paper” so to speak. In our case the magic happens once the initial idea is formulated into a script. We gather as a team to brainstorm and you’d be amazed at how putting the right people in a room together can cause such an amazing energy that one good idea turns into many great ones!

So how good is your idea? It could be just a few right moves away from being great!

Why Are Diamonds So Expensive? (hint: marketing)

marketing solutions
why are diamonds so expensive?

Did you know that contrary to popular belief, diamonds are not rare? Nor do they possess very much intrinsic value and aren’t considered a sound investment? Why then have men been spending 1-2 months salary on an engagement ring for nearly the last half dozen decades? One word: marketing.

In 1938 the company that would later be known as De Beers had to come up with a solution to a problem it was facing. The amount of people buying diamonds for engagements were diminishing. This was due in part to the Great Depression but also simply because many smart and prosperous women wanted to be different and preferred a different stone.

De Beers launched a campaign that would “forever” change our perception of a relatively worthless rock. Until the mid 1900’s, diamond engagement rings were a small and dying industry in America. The European market was in a similar downward trend, however, engagement rings consisted of about 75% of De Beers sales. The retailer hired a Madison Avenue advertising agency, N.W. Ayer, led by Gerold Lauck. After market research, it was determined that since over 90% of engagement rings were purchased by young men it would be crucial to inculcate in them the idea that diamonds were a gift of love: the larger and finer the diamond, the greater the expression of love. Similarly, young women had to be encouraged to view diamonds as an integral part of any romantic courtship.

So what did Lauck advise? He suggested that De Beers market diamonds as a status symbol:

”The substantial diamond gift can be made a more widely sought symbol of personal and family success — an expression of socio-economic achievement.”

“Promote the diamond as one material object which can reflect, in a very personal way, a man’s … success in life.”

After seeing success from the shift in how diamonds were being marketed, De Beers went on to suggest  a man should spend one month’s salary on a diamond ring. This worked so well they arbitrarily decided to increase to two month’s salary. Sound familiar?

Now that we see how a successful marketing campaign can pay dividends for a company even decades after its creation, isn’t it time to give your marketing efforts a closer look?

Note: Excerpts were taken from Rohin Dhar’s article “Diamonds are Bullshit“, have a read if you’d like to see more on diamond price fixing and such.


Groundhogs aren’t funny

Groundhogs aren't funny

In the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a weatherman named Phil, who finds himself living the same day over and over again which happens to be.. well…Groundhog Day. At first he uses his dilemma for selfish gain, but in the end he sees how he can change people’s lives with acts of kindness which transforms him forever. Good moral. Now, this might not be my favorite Bill Murray movie, but there’s not much I don’t like that Bill Murray has done. He’s a brilliant actor in my book and has great comedic timing. So what’s my point?

Here you have a good story idea, with a funny script, but let’s say that the lead was Tom Selleck instead of Bill Murray?…Now you’ve got a completely different movie but the same script. I mean Three men and a baby was cute (I guess), but let’s let the man do what he does best, solving mysteries and driving a Ferrari in Hawaii. This is why it is so important when choosing the right talent for your video.

Good talent ain’t cheap, but it’s more about who is right for the job than who is the most expensive. Here’s just a few tips to help when booking talent for your video project:

  1. Use both talent agencies and your network when searching. Talent agencies will have some of the best professional talent out there, but remember you can also post jobs via social media networks and sometimes it will play to your advantage. Plus, it can give you a little exposure for your upcoming project. Don’t forget agencies take or add a % to booked talent.
  2. Get auditions. You might be able to see someones photo or even watch their reel, but you’ll never know if that person is right for the job unless he/she reads your script on video. Most talent agencies will do this or you can get the talent to do a “self-audition” via smartphone or camcorder. It will save you time and money for sure!
  3. Don’t go with the first person you see or hear. There is a sea of great talent and I know from my own personal experience that I thought we had the right person right off the bat, but really the perfect talent for the job was the last person we saw.
  4. Be open to interpretations. You may be the writer or director, but sometimes it’s the talent’s interpretation of a line or script that makes it really sing.
  5. Set a budget. Obviously if you don’t have a budget for talent, you’re not going to get what you want (most likely). Be realistic with your budget. Remember that the talent carries the idea so you may need to put more money towards this than another line item.

Remember these are just some some simple steps to take next time you’re hiring talent for your video project. Happy Groundhog’s Day!

Cost versus Value

Video production cost and value
Video production cost and value can greatly vary depending on your goals

Often times when shopping, we place too much emphasis on cost and not enough on value. A friend once said “you never save money by saving money”. That phrase has always stuck with me.

When looking for professional services, the same rules apply. Many of our eventual clients reach out inquiring about a particular service and have a budget in mind. Once we discuss and identify the scope of the project, they are able to understand what all is involved to pull off a signature production or a brilliant marketing strategy. More times than not, the actual cost to pull meet the expectation is greater then originally anticipated. The reason is simple. Most of the time that goes in, occurs on the front end. For video work, this is in preproduction or discovery phase for marketing strategy. We like to pretend we’re the client and get a full understanding of what obstacles we’re up against.

When price shopping, always be sure to compare apples to apples. Make sure you set clear expectations and understand the process that is involved to deliver the solutions you desire. We have on more than one occasion been called in to clean up anthers mess.

Reputation Management

reputation management
Pit bulls are perceived as a vicious breed

Social media can be an incredible tool for building your business. We all remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in the summer of 2014. The challenge generated over $100 million in donations in a single month. To put that into perspective, the organization took in $2.5 million for all of the previous year. Another lesser known success story comes from Fiskars. The company best known for making scissors and other craft tools created “Fiskateers” a brand ambassador community program to help build brand loyalty. This initiative cut into their competition (pun intended) by increasing online mentions, increasing sales and creating relationships between Fiskars and its customers. You can see the success story here.

The downside of social media is that anyone can say anything about your brand. Many companies are proactive by utilizing a reputation management service to share positive information with the public. This approach can prove invaluable when defending against a jaded competitor, disgruntled employee or resentful ex-wife.

Atlanta Idea Studio can assist with creating a reputation management strategy and also with the corresponding media to propel it.