8 Ways to Build a Focus Group on the Cheap

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8 Ways to Build a Focus Group on the Cheap

Focus groups get people to interact with your product, idea or solution and ultimately provide qualitative data and new thinking from your target audience. Great marketers know the importance of focus group, but this experience can get swept under the rug due to fear of cost and/or time commitment concerns.

Today, smaller corporations move at the speed of light but with decreased budgets and less time to do more work in more channels than ever before. The processes of Fortune 500 companies are irrelevant to smaller brands who often don't have the perceived "luxury" of conducting focus groups for even landmark products or offerings. But focus groups aren't luxury items. They're critical to your business. The bottom line is that some insights are better than none, especially when you're investing marketing dollars into content creation, events, or product development. Here are some tips for creating a focus group and getting results in a short period of time.

  1. Work with nimble, strategic agencies who can pull together groups quickly and then provide qualitative feedback within a short period of time.  
  2. Get hands on. You've been working with your brand long enough that with just a few comms, you'd be able to assemble an awesome focus group that's ready to open up to you. 
  3. Validate your questions with your peers before beginning. Nothing helps to cover the bases like involving others at the top end to give additional perspectives.
  4. Be honest & demand full honesty. You have everything to lose. When we are not fully open we lose the ability to guide our brand genuinely. Complete honesty is a great way to add value.
  5. Get out of the office.  Don't hold focus groups in stuffy places where the environment is too sterile (unless of course it absolutely needs to be). If your focus groups are more conversational and open your audience will feel relaxed and more inclined to participate. Locations: Parks, brunch, beach, quieter coffee shops. 
  6. If possible, commit to devoting two days with two separate audiences. That way you can test and validate your assumptions from the first day. It may even help you to prove your hypothesis.
  7. Tap into emotion. The great thing about focus groups is that they are PEOPLE with real emotions, problems and lives. TAP INTO THAT. THIS IS WHERE THE STORIES/CONTEXT/FEELINGS ARE. 
  8. Build brand affinity by thanking your audience (with a gift). Even though it may have been done on the cheap, make sure to thank them with some cool items, a gift certificate, or a handwritten note. Little things matter. 

You don't need to be in the dark when it comes to building focus groups. We'd love to share our insights with you on building focus groups that will have a great impact on your project or product. We've done this for some of our largest and our smaller clients. We're always happy to chat! Keep it FRESH. 

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FRESH Perspectives: Amy Elizabeth Hauser, GM Marketing Maersk Line

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FRESH Perspectives: Amy Elizabeth Hauser, GM Marketing Maersk Line

FRESH Perspectives: Amy Elizabeth Hauser

Welcome to the second edition of our FRESH Perspectives series. FRESH Perspectives is designed to give top insights from VIPs, industry influencers, marketing leadership, and all around amazing people. 

Today, we're profiling Amy Hauser, General Manager of Marketing & Sales Support at Maersk Line.  Maersk Line is the global container division and the largest operating unit of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group. It is the world's largest container shipping company employing approximately 89,000 people with reported profit of USD 2.3 million in 2014. The company was founded in 1928.

FRESH: Tell us a little about what you're working on these days. 

AEH: Communications, marketing and business development are my biggest functions. Maersk Line, Limited focuses on the US Military and US Government as our primary audiences, and as a public company, we also report to our investors, shareholders and employees.  I work on a wide range of projects--everything from crisis communications, to company-wide presentations and customer specific messaging.  Our communications are at times global in nature or very targeted to US Senators, Congressmen and other government officials to influence their votes on specific opportunities that influence the maritime sector. I'm also overseeing content creation and web production for the US Government Division of Maersk Line. And we're building two new offices, so I'm working to develop new branding for these spaces. 

FRESH: What are the two biggest issues marketers are facing today?

AEH: A big challenge is diminishing budgets and decreases in government spending. We have to make sure the US Government has funds allocated to continue to do business with us. If budgets don't get passed, we can't work with companies to transport cargo, such as humanitarian aid.  

We have a two-pronged approach of reaching out to lobbyists and government officials to raise awareness so that we can transport their cargo. A larger industry concern is that in peacetime economies, there isn't as much cargo moving back and forth. So business is diminished. 

Secondly, email marketing is a challenge. Our emails can't get through firewalls because these are government employees and their firewalls are ironclad. 

To solve for both problems, we've really focused on event marketing. This has been a good fit for us. We have a full time lobbyist on staff, but once a year we do a congressional "Sail-In" where we meet with congressmen and staff and talk about our issues. We also have several industry meetings and tradeshows in which we display our booth, our CEO attends and we get face time with key influencers and decision makers.  

FRESH: What things did you learn from your early big brand experience?

AEH:  I've worked with Coca-Cola and Concha y Toro, both huge international companies. At these brands, everything you do with marketing has an international impact, which is just like Maersk Line. Global strategy matters, but the details are most important to drive awareness. You can't get mired in the strategy and forget about executing the details. 

I've learned that relationships matter in working with the public. I've had the experience of working with colleagues from tiny countries, like Papua New Guinea, to the Global Sustainability team located in Singapore and the video production team in Copenhagen. In every project, the details are incredibly vital. Cultural sensitivity is important and every action across the globe has an impact so we have to be aware of what’s going on. Even though our communications are mainly in English, we often translate press releases and shore side communications into regional languages for our colleagues and customers.  

FRESH: What's your proudest accomplishment at Maersk Line?

AEH: After we went through a fierce reorganization, the executive management team didn't think we needed a marketing function. I had to be dynamic and prove my value to the team.  Out of 9 people, I was chosen to lead Marketing and Communications as the face and the voice of the brand. I have leveraged this experience to step up and take on a lot more responsibility.  

FRESH: Where do you think marketing is headed?

AEH: There is a lot of discussion about how mobile is becoming the powerhouse and data-driven marketing will become more sophisticated. Still, good content is key for any successful campaign. Because there are so many restrictions in place regarding how we communicate with our audience (the US government), we have decided to really focus on event marketing.  For us, there's nothing better than getting in front of people. There's so much online interaction that people are starting to crave a more human experience to feel more connected to each other and to brands. I'm focusing more on phone calls, sending thank you letters and getting people together for lunch instead of emailing newsletters or whitepapers. 

FRESH: How has Minty Fresh played a role?

AEH: Rightfully so, our leadership was sensitive about spending money on marketing following the reorganization. When things settled, it was very important to update our messaging and positioning. Minty Fresh did a great job of helping us say more with less content. Minty Fresh also was very instrumental in focusing us in on what we wanted to do. In conversations with Minty Fresh, we were provided with many options in regards to website design. Minty Fresh was able to make suggestions I hadn't even considered or known were possible because of their technical expertise and knowledge. All of this development ultimately paved the way for their beautiful site redesign. And it was less expensive than we estimated. 

FRESH: What are your goals?

AEH: We're opening two new offices. We want to get  settled in the new space. We also want to continue to align further with the messaging from Maersk Line headquarters. I'd like to make more connections in Copenhagen and develop videos specifically about US Flag shipping and Maersk Line, Limited.  My goals are to increase visibility within Maersk Line, publish meaningful and compelling content and increase our division’s business with the US government and military, one Senator at a time.  

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How Brands Use Microsites to Win Millennials

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How Brands Use Microsites to Win Millennials

Millennials are connecting with brands completely differently than any other generation. They, and others who have adopted Millennials behaviors, are your audience. 

But 84% of Millennials do not trust traditional advertising. Eye-opening stats for any brand. "Yawn. Alright cool, but why microsites," you say.

STATS DON'T LIE: 

  1. Only 1% of Millennials believe that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more
  2. 84% of Millennials state that user generated content on company websites influences their buying decision
  3. 95% of US Millennials in the US think friends are the most credible source of product information
  4. US Millennials prefer social content sharing
  5. 48% of Millennials state word-of-mouth influences their product purchases
  6. 42% of Millennials are interested in helping brands develop products and services

Done correctly, microsites don't have distractions that exist on the main site, enabling visitors to focus on the content, where they find real conversations and actively engage in calls to action. Microsite experiences elevate branding, provide a clear, trusted reason for repeat visits, increase the online footprint and are often a preferred part of the Millennial buyer’s journey.

Focus on trust. To overcome trust issues and improve brand communications, microsites are a beautiful place where brands can host two-way conversations and curate brand and user generated content from social media or anywhere else. Trust is found in conversations. Trust is found in peer-to-peer discussions. Trust is found where audiences discover authentic stories of people who reflect their experiences and stories. In building a mircosite, brands are building communities for their customers to explore, learn more and develop affinity for a brand.

Sephora, one of our clients, has done a beautiful job of creating such an experience with their Beauty Board. Beauty Board works as an experience that aggregates and curates social media content and direct submissions from users through the interface. Here, the Millennial audience can see what works for others, what others have to say, which products are popular, and tell their own stories as well. It is a perfect example of how a great brand can build trust and community--THE foundational elements to engage Millennials. 

Microsites also create a playground for consumers to explore and get a sense of the deeper meaning of the brand and it's personality. McDonald's has put a lot of hard work into appealing to Millennials in response to increasingly negative awareness around their brand. They've set up numerous microsites that target different ethnicities, cultures and consumers of all types in the buying journey. McDonald's delivers curated content to reshape brand image. 

If building greater rapport with Millenials is important to you, consider a microsite to generate conversation and build trust. It's a lot easier than you think. For more insights and direction, reach out to me directly at desmond@mintyfreshdigital.com

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3 Steps to Become a Great Storyteller

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3 Steps to Become a Great Storyteller

Don't let the title fool you. You were born a great storyteller. Storytelling is the fundamental way human beings communicate. Everything we say tells a story.  You do it already in every aspect of your life. So, baby, you were born this way. 

Storytelling for brands is no different. Every brand, product, offering, service, thing-a-ma-jig and whatchamacallit has a story to it--a history, a purpose, a reason why it's important.  As creatives, our job is to make that story come alive and then make it matter to the other person at the receiving end of each touchpoint. So how do we tell great brand stories that make a difference? 

An Example:

We worked with DocuSign to create testimonial videos. Instead of following the corporate interview template that so many other brands do, we were inspired to tell a story of DocuSign use in the out-of-the-office setting of Hawaii, with real customers. The result was an an attractive story that brought DocuSign's product offering to life in a meaningful way. Audiences loved it. The steps we took to tell this story were simple, and we're sharing them with you today. 

3 Steps to Become a Great Storyteller

First, get your facts straight. Great storytelling starts with a thorough understanding of what you're talking about. It involves research and a complete comprehension of the subject matter. It also requires a great understanding of your audience and their preferences. Think about what facts are important for your audience to understand, what reasons they have to believe, and what statistics will make your offering different. If you do this, you're already on the path to creating a great story. 

Set the mood. Having the facts straight on the audience and subject matter will allow you to develop story types that could best resonate with your audience. For instance, the Millennial audience who has a greater mistrust of brands, might trust a brand story that features real people instead of actors. If that's the case, you can start to create relevant stories that feature real people and go from there. In essence, setting the mood is about sculpting the personality of the story, so that your audience can consume it better. 

Finally, be fearless. Creative development is tough, not because it's "hard to do," but often because rejection is hard. Great brands are fearless storytellers. They take on tough issues, and tell tough stories that others shy away from. They may add a flavor of social discourse at times, or take a stand on how things truly are in the world. It's risky to take a stand for something, but the end result is that you're able to differentiate your brand, offering, or products from the other noise that we regularly tune out. 

If you're looking for more insights on how to tell great stories for your brand, connect with us today, or reach out to me directly at desmond@mintyfreshdigital.com.

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Don't Hire a Copywriter. Hire a Persuader.

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Don't Hire a Copywriter. Hire a Persuader.

Sometimes I check my spam folder to see if there is, like, one spectacular, beautiful email from someone who is "the chosen one." Someone who is such an amazing writer that I respond, "Enough with the fraud, you conniving felonious poet, you. Have you ever considered a career in advertising?"

Spam ends up in the spam folder for a reason. While there is a highly technical explanation, let's assume that it's because the writing is "undesired," too. Marketing often depends on the written word, so the story, and every word in it, should move audiences to take action. If you want to hire copywriters who know the art of persuasion, here are some steps we take at Minty Fresh Digital. 

First, get the facts straight. Great copywriters have a complete comprehension of the subject matter. They also understand who they are talking to, what the brand voice sounds like, and how their audiences prefer communication. Persuasive writers have facts on what's important for the audience to understand, what the reasons-to-believe are, and what statistics will make the offering different. Sound familiar? It's also part of the process to great storytelling. 

Color. When we read, our brains convert words to images. That's how we work. When it comes to persuasive copywriting, color brings the language to life. The imagery created by the words should resonate with the audience and awaken senses at the same time. If your current writing doesn't do that, it's a problem. Call us. 

Be specific. You don't have much time. Persuasive writers know their time is limited, as attention spans shorten. Keeping things short and sweet makes a great impression, keeps audiences searching for more and build brand affinity. 

For more insights on how we can help you create persuasive copy that brings gallons of black ink to your bottom line, connect with us today, or reach out to me directly at desmond@mintyfreshdigital.com.

 

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FRESH Perspectives: Bryce Anderson, San Francisco

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FRESH Perspectives: Bryce Anderson, San Francisco

Welcome to the inaugural edition of our FRESH Perspectives series. This series is designed to bring you top insights from VIPs, industry influencers, marketing leadership, and simply put, amazing people. 


FRESH PERSPECTIVES: BRYCE ANDERSON, SAN FRANCISCO

Today, we're profiling Bryce Anderson. Born in San Francisco, Bryce is a Marketing and Sales wunderkind who launched and sold multiple businesses in his mid-20s before sharpening his focus to advertising, marketing & social media. 

FRESH: TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROMANCE WITH FACEBOOK BEFORE FACEBOOK WAS FACEBOOK.  

BA: Right around the time that Facebook launched Fan Pages (a long time ago, and yes I’m dating myself) also known as 'Business Pages,' I was running a lot of Cost-Per-Action (CPA) affiliate marketing campaigns. At the time, Facebook did not charge page owners to serve impressions to their own fans. If a brand posted an offer, it ended up in all of their fan’s newsfeeds. 

It was a huge opportunity to segment millions of consumers based on their dating interests, brand preferences, lifestyles and hundreds of other targeting parameters. Putting relevant offers in front of our segmented owned-media, allowed us to rake in the conversions. It was incredibly lucrative. By the time brands caught on, we were well-positioned as social media experts and able to leverage our experience to start a social media agency, well before that term became popular. 

FRESH: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE WORKING ON THESE DAYS.

BA: Most of my time is split between helping brands find their voices and producing videos that are both authentic and shareable. Video’s popularity is skyrocketing, so the bar for attention-worthy video continues to climb. I help brands connect with their audiences better. I’m also developing new innovative customer acquisition strategies. Behavioral retargeting and responsive email funnels are driving impressive results for both small businesses and marquee brands. It’s fascinating stuff.

FRESH: WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ISSUES MARKETERS ARE FACING TODAY?

BA: There are so many marketing channels to maintain and discover on a daily basis. There’s also a ton of data to shift through. These prolific channels and endless heaps of data make it difficult for marketers to know where to focus their efforts to drive the highest ROI. There is just an immense amount of content for marketers to absorb in order to stay sharp. It’s increasingly more difficult for today’s marketer to know where to start and what to concentrate on. 

FRESH: WHAT THINGS DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR EARLY BIG BRAND EXPERIENCE? 

BA: Big brands are looking for customized solutions that accommodate their audience’s specific needs. They are not interested in cookie cutter ad campaigns. The research and development stage is critical. For agencies, the best way to help big brands is to listen and truly understand their business objectives. When you have visceral understanding of a brand, creatives are empowered to make award-winning campaigns that change the entire trajectory of the industry. 

FRESH: WHERE DO YOU THINK MARKETING IS HEADED?

BA: Advertising has become insanely evolved. Today it's invasive and borderline creepy at times, but that’s the new normal, like it or not. Consumers will not even register an unintelligent ad. Millennials want conversations. The generation after them wants even greater specificity. Razor-sharp, targeted, personally optimized ads are today’s reality and the next generation of advertising. We’ve already seen it. Ads must keep getting smarter, or they will get lost in the noise. 

FRESH: WHAT'S NEXT ON YOUR AGENDA? 

BA: I’m doubling down on brands and marketing. I want to get deeper into telling stories that are worth listening to, worth sharing and have a positive impact on society. It’s an exciting time for brands as they are now able to truly connect with people. I’m looking forward to both watching and participating as this new era of fast-paced, uber dynamic advertising and marketing unfolds. 

CONNECT WITH BRYCE ON LINKEDIN

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Your Most Important Video: The Anthem

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Your Most Important Video: The Anthem

Video is a foundational offering at Minty Fresh. For us, it's interesting to reflect on the types of videos that people ask us to work on.  Typically we work with established "start-up" brands all the way up to Fortune 20 companies, and we do a variety of work for them in video and beyond. But when it comes to creating video, the most important video that we create for our clients is something we call the "Anthem" video. 

WHAT IS AN ANTHEM VIDEO?

Many folks would call the anthem video a homepage video. But there are so many ways to use this particular video (social, email, event, pre-roll) that we choose to call it an anthem. This video communicates the story of your brand, what you stand for, and why others should believe in you in the short span of 30-90 seconds. It's your elevator pitch, your masterpiece, your everything. If the world blew up and aliens discovered our lost civilization thousands of years later, this video would be the crown jewel informing them of who we were as a people and what we stood for (or at least how awesome our brands are). The anthem video has the chance to "make you", and that's why we're talking about it today. 

WHY CREATE AN ANTHEM VIDEO:

In short, an anthem video is the best way to do two things:

  1. Engage your audience in a story that connects them emotionally to your brand.
  2. Sell your products or services or brand value proposition in a direct and unique way.

Because it's video, it can be delivered in a myriad of ways, like:

  • sharing on social media,
  • front and center on the website for quick and optimized engagement,
  • embedded in email blasts for increased engagement,
  • shared with YouTube to run as pre-roll for particular content,
  • played on big screens at conferences or small booth spaces to capture attention and let viewers learn without engaging salespeople directly.  

The list is truly limitless, which means the ROI is extraordinary. With ROI that's passed across multiple outlets and platforms, it's a no-brainer that starting with this type of video is one of the smartest choices a company can make.

We'd be delighted to share our experiences and results in creating Anthem videos for our clients and bring great ROI to you as well in the video field. Reach out to us, and let's get a conversation started.  Thanks for reading and keep it FRESH. 

 

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Three Steps to Create Effective Video

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Three Steps to Create Effective Video

We all know the stats around how well video performs. We know it engages, builds brand affinity, drives people to through the sales cycle, and improves conversion rates immensely at the point of sale. But video is expensive, it costs a lot of money, takes a lot of time, and sometimes can require the efforts of dozens of experts to produce it. So, what's the most cost effective way for a marketer to create video that's impacting and 110% effective?

Strategy & Development
Once you have your budget set and engage agencies, discuss the strategy and development section first.
 Find out how they do it. Choose an agency who has an approach you love. An agency that's going to do a remarkable job with your video knows that the key to creating impacting and effective video starts well before creative thoughts begin to bubble. Awesome video starts in the strategy & planning phase.  A great agency will do it's own research as well as work sessions with you to get deeper understanding. That's what we do. Traditionally this involves us learning all we can about the following:

  • Audience & Value Proposition
  • Key Insights About the Audience
  • Objectives & KPIs
  • Product Insights
  • Reasons to Believe, Statistics and Advantages
  • Brand Attributes
  • Structural Recommendations
  • Creative Influences
  • Mandatory Dos or Do Nots.
  • What Do We Want People to DO?

Done correctly and with an experienced team this type of work session could be completed in a couple of hours (or a lot more depending on scope) and have a tremendous impact on the quality of the video. 

Pre-Production
By all means, speak up during pre-production.  Creatives are great, but they cannot read minds. The pre-production phase is critical, as it usually is the first stage where a creative and visual representation of the strategy manifests. A key to creating video that's powerful and efficient is to participate in pre-production phase--this includes, big ticket items like scripting, storyboarding, casting and location approvals.  If you're not 100% pleased with things at this point, speak up and redirect the visuals and creative. This guarantees that the early shape of the video maps to what's been in your head. 

Production & Post Production
If possible, show up on shoot days and for post production days. Don't wait until review periods to ask questions.  You're paying for it, so you should feel empowered to ask and get answers when you need them. The post production editing and design phase should follow the plan that was set up in the Strategy and Development phase. But sure to critique and gut-check the video with peers or small focus groups to make sure it's resonating. 

These steps are a FRESH approach to the video production process. They've been very effective for us with our amazing clients, and they've enabled video to have a broader reach and to come together for a very competitive price. We'd be delighted to share some additional insights about the video production process and can help your brand as well. Until next time, keep it FRESH. 

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Video Is Money

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Video Is Money

 

Do you like your job? Do you like piles of money? Do you want more ca$h money to stuff into your pockets? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please keep reading. While we can't promise what your CEO will do for you for being the best kick-ass marketer on the face of the earth, we can promise that if you adopt a video plan into your marketing strategy, you'll see great results at the bottom line. 

STATS DON'T LIE

Let's start with stats. 

  • 70% of marketers think video works better than any other medium
  • Internet users spend 88% more time on websites with video
  • 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it.
  • 74% of all internet traffic within 2 years will be video
  • Millennials prefer video communication over any other type of content.

Simply put, video is absolutely one of the best ways to communicate with your audience. Video is one of the most powerful mediums to create messages.  It’s how we see the world beyond us. Produced and distributed appropriately, video builds continuity, excitement, and improves brands and conversion altogether. And furthermore, it's steadily becoming the preferred medium of communication for Millennials and the majority of the world. Check out our insights on Millennials in our last blog post. However, just 24% of companies today use online video for audiences. I'm sure they like piles of money too, but video as a core part of strategy could have a profound impact on business today. Trust us...it will. Brands are starting to catch up. Are you? 

OUR APPROACH

We don't just create videos. We create compelling stories. We've produced videos for nearly 90% of our clients. Our in-house video production is a cornerstone. That means we do everything from strategy to creative concepts, production, post-production, A/B testing and distribution. And we work with video influencer partners to create original influencer videos. But it's our storytelling that sets us apart. Storytelling is the fundamental way human beings communicate and share experiences. It's a springboard for emotion, brand affinity, just plain old liking something. 

Our video production starts with a deep dive to understand the audience and value proposition, then we apply a custom filter of storytelling to get you closer to your audience, compelling them to take action.  There's a big difference between a product video, and a product video with a story. Let your imagination fly.

If you're looking for a partner (to achieve superstar marketer status and) to bring your thoughts to life, connect with us.  We'd love to get a conversation started and bring FRESH thinking to your brand.

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It's the Mood, Stupid.

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It's the Mood, Stupid.

Remember your first camping trip? When you were sitting by the fire, late at night, and Uncle Karl was telling scary stories that made you shriek with fear? That's mood. Take away the fire, the darkness, and you've got uncle Karl just telling a bunch of stories. (Don't be weird, Uncle Karl.)

Great products are awesome on their own. But market-leading products are supported by a strong brand, great design, and powerful storytelling. Great products are able to change our outlook on life and transcend merely being something optional, to being a vital component of our existence.  So how do we create the perfect mood for our audience? At Minty Fresh, we believe this is shaped by a few key components: Audience insights, brand consistency, and design. 

AUDIENCE INSIGHTS

Uncle Karl wouldn't tell the same campfire story to a bunch of seniors because he throughly understands his audience. He's spent enough time knowing that they can be shaped by his storylines and what he has to say. The same is true for brands. Brands must first do a very thorough job of understanding who their audiences are, what they do, what compels them to make choices and what moves them emotionally. Often times, this comes in the shape of audience personas. We've worked with many of our clients to develop these personas, which ultimately help designers design better, marketers market better and companies close more deals. 

BRAND CONSISTENCY

Uncle Karl doesn't start the story off screaming. He's not laughing all the way through it either. He's very consistent and deliberate in presenting the story. He uses eye contact regularly, moves his hands and gestures. Consistency is key for brands too. This might be referred to as the big picture of "storytelling." Among many things, brand also includes, voice and story. We work with our clients to land on the central brand story and a central brand voice. This defines how you talk to your different audiences, and how you communicate why you exist and why your offering is important. Having a central voice and story creates consistency in all messaging, and it empowers brands to move forward in unison. 

DESIGN

Knowing his audience and knowing the central story and voice he should speak in, Uncle Karl adds in his own flavor to the campfire story. He throws another log into the fire so that his face is illuminated. He sits you in a tight, close circle, and adds an occasional BOO! here and there to make you jump. This is storytelling design at it's finest. Brands can learn here, too. Each element that composes the story must engage design at the highest levels, so that each particular detail resonates with the audience. This is what being FRESH in design is all about. It keeps old stories new and makes them seriously resonate with the audience. To stay competitive in an extremely noisy forest, brands need to continually refresh designs to engage audiences better, whether it's in the shape of additional video, improving UX or simply adding photos that engage better in social. 

IT'S THE MOOD, STUPID

When audience insights, design, and brand meet, they create a mood that shapes the decisions that audiences will take, whether it is to dismiss, engage, or even share. As Forbes reports: 71% of buyers who see a personal value in a B2B purchase will end up buying the product or service. Creating a mood that resonates with your audience helps them see personal value. Building personal value over the long run results in customer loyalty. Thus, yes, it's the mood, and thank you Uncle Karl. 

To build a better mood for your customers, connect with us. We'd love to sit with you and share our experiences in creating better moods, designs, stories, and brand voices for some of the most awesome companies out there. Until next time, keep things FRESH

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FRESH Thoughts on Content Marketing

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FRESH Thoughts on Content Marketing

Think back to the first time you heard "Content is king." If you're like me, it was a really exciting moment when we knew that brands could be more than billboards and TV ads. To keep things FRESH and growing at your brand, we recommend doubling down on content creation & content marketing.

Long ago, content surpassed being "king", passed Oprah-status--now it's just how things are done. Kind of like blue jeans--which exploded when they first came out--today it's just how we do casual. Over the last decade, we've seen an explosion in all types of content shared across the web. Because of that, it's been easy for some brands to lose sight of how big of a game-changer content strategy and content marketing are. 

STATS DON'T LIE

  • 90% of consumers say content is useful
  • 50% of consumer internet time is spent engaging with custom content
  • Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets
  • Buyers complete nearly 57% of the buying process before talking to sales

OUR APPROACH

Since our inception, we've operated as a content marketing agency. At the high end, we start with Content Strategy. With Content Strategy as the foundation, brands can build more effective websites, platforms, and individual pieces of marketing content that solve for customer needs. Content Strategy directly supports your marketing and sales goals, weaves together a cohesive and consistent story over time, and keeps customers coming back. Most importantly, having a content strategy is one of the best ways to measure marketing ROI. 

Next, we get to work creating the optimal types of content that will resonate with your audiences.  Some of our clients find video to be the most effective means to drive two way conversations and engagement. Others find whitepapers and eBooks help close the gap between curiosity and conversion when it comes to their customers. Whatever the type of creative output, we do it all in-house, focusing first on creating great content that shares a beautiful story or message and keeps customers moving forward in the buyer and brand affinity journey. 

If you're looking to up the ante on driving engagement, connect with us. We'd love to sit with you and share our experiences in creating content for some of the most successful brands in the world. Until next time, keep things FRESH. 

 

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Marketing and Millennials

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Marketing and Millennials

Millennials are the new face of America. So when it comes to connecting your brand to this generation the following is true: Pay attention or be left behind. We've chosen this FRESH topic to shed some light on this important group, and to help you get a flavor of what's happening and why it matters to you. 

Millennials are classified as those born after 1980--the first generation to come of age in the 2000s. Let's get some facts straight. Here are 10 facts from the White House on Millennials:

  1. Largest and most diverse generation
  2. Shaped by being birthed into technology
  3. Value family, community and creativity in their work
  4. Invest in human capital more than previous generations
  5. Reliant on loans for education
  6. Study more, work less while in college
  7. Employment negatively effected by recession 
  8. Women are better educated
  9. Getting married later than other generations
  10. Less likely to be homeowners than previous generations

THE MILLENNIAL ECOSYSTEM 

Millennials aren't just customers. They're the new generation of marketers, too. This double impact has a global impact and is sending marketing strategies on an entirely new trajectory. Big brands are not only taking notice, they're also taking action.

For example Visa is tirelessly exploring its relationship with millennial audiences by engaging startups who can help them tap into this audience. Through a relationship with our partner, KITE, Visa offered a $50,000 bounty to the perfect startup who could help influence and improve their relationship with millennials. 

As professional marketers, Millennials are using the tools they themselves use in daily life to connect with customers, resulting in the explosion of storytelling content, video, imagery, user generated content with an immense emphasis on social media. Born into video and social, they're defining the status quo for marketing. 

As consumers, Millennials are engaging in more two-way conversations with brands than ever before. They expect to be heard, and to participate in the shaping and direction of brands and the world itself. Instead of being marketed to, they expect engagement, to see themselves in products, and to have discussions around brands. This is social. 

WHAT WE'VE LEARNED

Our work with Sephora has provided us with hands-on insights around many particulars related to this audience. Sephora continues to do an excellent job of engaging audiences through common social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But more importantly, Sephora has done a beautiful job of creating customized content that helps Millennials feel heard and has created two-way conversations through experiences like Beauty Insider and Beauty Board

Marketing with and to Millennials isn't just a casual stroll through the park. Technology is evolving and new innovations are changing the way we market, sell, connect, and communicate daily. For brands, what's true is that we all need to stay connected to what new trends are and to have our finger on the pulse of every morning. If you're trying to do anything with your brand, consideration of this generation must be a key element to your strategy. 

We'd love to share our insights with you. Keep things FRESH

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Welcome to The Fresh: A Message from the CEO

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Welcome to The Fresh: A Message from the CEO

Welcome to our new blog, The Fresh

We're excited to share our most recent work, insights and stories, as well as those of our clients, friends and industry influencers. 

2015 has been a remarkable year for us. As a small, nimble marketing agency, we've had the privilege of working with amazing brands on strategic initiatives and creative output, like FICO, SephoraJamba Juice, and Maersk, and up-and-comers who have blossomed into industry leaders, such as, DocuSign, Pure Storage and ClearSlide to name a few. We're also very excited about our new partnership with KITE--that helps brands partner with the best emerging innovation companies.

WHAT WE DO & WHY IT WORKS

To our new friends and acquaintances, we are masters of video production, branding, content strategy, design, copywriting, and other marketing components. We cover A-Z for marketing support, design and strategy, in-house, on time and on budget. With a vast experience in working with big brands and helping small brands to emerge into "something great", we pride ourselves on two things:  

  1. Our Process:  Our process involves collaborative work-sessions, open communication and development. We work with you to truly understand what matters and why, to pinpoint what really moves your audience. This empowers us to create a strong, singular brand, and content that’s sharp and effective.
  2. Storytelling: Storytelling is the fundamental way that human beings communicate. It's what sparks emotion, love, passion. This carryover is especially important for brands who want to connect with their customers and potential customers. We’re focused on storytelling in everything we do. Customers love, embrace and respect brands that they can connect with on an emotional level. Whether it’s design, video, UX, copywriting, content strategy, brand or anything else, we start with a storytelling approach. 

WE'D LIKE TO DO MORE WITH YOU

As we approach the holiday seasons, connecting with target audiences is even more valuable. We're ready, willing and able to engage with you, starting with a conversation about how we can help you achieve your goals. We look at our clients as our friends and partners, and we'd love to develop our relationship with you. Our phones are always on and email is never down, so reach out to us!

Best Regards,

Desmond Croan, CEO of Minty Fresh Digital

 

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