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Marketing Maintenance: Perfect Time for a Fresh, New Look

You may know that there’s something wrong with your brand identity, but can’t quite put your finger on it. It could be something that just cosmetic, or it could be something that goes much deeper.

Refresh Versus Rebrand

It takes years to build your brand identity, and you want to be able to maintain its integrity. Lots of hard work and late nights are as much a part of that identity as your logo. But, you know there’s a problem when potential or existing customers no longer gravitate toward your brand. You may need a simple refresh to show your vitality or a complete rebrand to focus on new markets.

Refresh – It all starts with your logo. You’ve seen the big companies, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi (logo progression seen above) or IBM and AT&T, slightly adjust the look and feel of their logos to fit the current trends and styles. They know that a logo can’t stay relevant forever. Now, think back to when your logo was made. The trends and styles influenced its design during that time, and could be outdated if it was many years ago:

  • Color Gradients
  • Multiple Images
  • Insensitive Symbols
  • Ornate Fonts

Older styles have a difficult time translating to digital media. The nuance gets lost, resulting in a dated look and feel.

Updating your logo requires cosmetic adjustments that symbolize your identity today. Modern design is all about thoughtful simplicity. A brand refresh allows your logo to evolve with your business. And, it’s much more than just your logo. Here are some things to consider that won’t break your budget:

  • Logo – change in color or minor touch-ups.
  • Business Name – change in font.
  • Presentations – updated with a new look and feel.
  • Business Stationery – reflects the new look.
  • Website – easier to navigate and understand at a glance.

All of your sales materials, letterhead, business cards, and digital media get the same type of spa treatment.

Rebrand – Have you recently purchased another company? Had a merger? Or has your business model and market strategy changed? If you said yes, then everything about your current brand identity may say very little about your company. A rebrand can create that distance between old and new.

Repositioning your brand can be a significant reboot of your identity, which requires dramatic changes to your visual identity. It’s also a change in messaging. There may be a new story to tell one that’s new and exciting.

  • New Mission
  • Corporate Narrative
  • More Services
  • Expanding Network
  • Professional Image

Because of these changes, your current brand is no longer sustainable, and to hold on to it any longer may cause negative brand equity. Rebranding your business is a way of looking into the future to see what your brand can be. Here are some major things to consider:

  • Investigating New Markets – business intelligence to understand target market demographics, psychographics, and historical trends.
  • Increasing Visibility – being the new kid on the block requires strategic ad spending.
  • Content Strategies – develop a narrative that fits the company’s mission and vision.
  • Social Media Campaigns – build customer engagement and loyalty over professional platforms.
  • Community Outreach – show the world that you care about where you live.
  • Business Networks – increase the reach and depth of your resources through more reliable connections.

Each of these requires the proper marketing materials to leave a lasting impression and remain front of mind when they need your services. The time and financial investments that you make toward a rebrand will pay off for years to come.

The current business environment has given us more time to capitalize on opportunities to grow our brand. This is the perfect time to update your brand identity. Some of the projects listed above can take a substantial amount of time, so they will be ready to launch when everything has recovered. At Pinstripe, we are experts in building the perfect brand identity. We have helped some of the biggest corporations in the Tampa Bay area with their rebranding. We can help you refresh your brand so that it connects with your audience. Contact us today to develop and execute a successful plan.

Proposed Legislation May Restrict Legal Advertising

2020 legislative update_featured

A bill has passed through committee in the Florida House of Representatives (PCB CJS 20-02) that would restrict the advertising of legal services. According to Florida House staff analysis, these changes prohibit legal advertisements from containing certain terminology or use of protected health information.

  • PCB CJS 20-02 passed a committee vote, now filed as H 7083.
  • Prohibits legal advertisements from using certain terminology or failing to include specified disclosures.
  • Violations subject to penalties under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Law firms advertising that there is recourse for bad prescription drugs may become more difficult in the state of Florida. The bill, H 7083, has overwhelmingly passed a critical subcommittee vote, which will add more advertising stipulations for legal advertising to the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1288, is still in committee and doesn’t appear to have any momentum. The only difference between the House and Senate bills is language focusing on disclosure of “claim amounts.”

This legislation comes on the heels of a 2017 survey by the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). The ILR surveyed over a thousand adults currently taking one or more prescriptions a day. The survey found that a significant amount of the participants would reduce their dosage of a drug if they saw an advertisement about a lawsuit for injury caused by a medication they were taking. Nearly half of the survey respondents said they would definitely or probably stop taking the drug immediately after seeing the advertisement.

Legal advertising focused on pharmaceuticals may have the potential to affect viewers adversely, resulting in severe consequences. The findings of the 2017 study were confirmed in September of 2019 by the Federal Trade Commission. Through the government’s Adverse Event Reporting System, consumers stopped taking their prescription drugs after seeing commercials about litigation regarding those medications.

According to a legal brief about the proposed bill, H 7083 “prohibits legal advertisements from containing certain terminology and prohibits certain use, sale, or transfer of protected health information without specified authorization for purposes of soliciting legal services.” The brief goes on to describe some of the prohibitions and requirements:

  • Prohibits a person who submits a legal advertisement for publication, broadcast, or dissemination, or who pays for or otherwise sponsors a legal advertisement from:
    • Failing to clearly and conspicuously disclose the sponsor of the advertisement;
    • Failing to clearly and conspicuously disclose the award amount the client received after paying for legal services and costs if the advertisement includes information regarding the amount of a damage award obtained on behalf of a client;
    • Displaying government agency logos in a manner implying an affiliation with that agency;
    • Including terminology implying that the product has been recalled when it has not been;
  • Requires a legal advertisement to clearly disclose the warning, “Do not stop taking a prescribed medication without first consulting your doctor,” if the advertisement solicits clients who may allege injury from a prescription drug; and
  • Prohibits a person from using, obtaining, selling, transferring, or disclosing to another person without written authorization protected health information to solicit legal services.

The proposed bill also outlines the cause of action for anyone that suffers physical injury as a result of legal advertising, as well as action taken by the Department of Legal Affairs or state attorney.

Even though these bills may not pass during the 2020 session, they certainly are not dead. There is a good chance they will get passed in 2021. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. I can also provide you with a copy of the proposed bill and the state’s legal analysis.

 

 

 

Zodiac Marketer: Aquarius

aquarius zodiac Astrology Marketing

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Our next zodiac sign is Aquarius: birthdays between January 20 – February 18.

Aquarius is an air sign with the strengths of originality, being progressive, and being a humanitarian. A couple of Aquarius’ weaknesses are that they can be temperamental, uncompromising. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

Progressiveness in Marketing

Being progressive is a useful trait in any business. A progressive person stays in tune with new technology, industry news and advancements, and keeps their finger on the pulse of current events and ideas. Progressive business people tend to be more open minded and adaptable, which is an attitude that promotes agility and flexibility, two traits necessary to survive and thrive in our ever-evolving contemporary world.

While getting stuck in a mindset or habit can be detrimental and even fatal to your business, don’t be afraid to embrace tradition where appropriate. Tradition and legacy have an important place, particularly for professional services businesses. A blend of embracing new ideas while cherishing the legacies that brought us here demonstrates a thoughtful, well-rounded depth of character.

A progressive business person is also more likely to ask for feedback from their team and be a more present, compassionate leader. These are two rising leadership qualities that will improve business performance and reputation.

Originality in Marketing

Originality may seem like a no-brainer in marketing, but at a time where it seems like everything has already been done, originality can be a challenge. However, thorough research gives us insight into the existing creative work in an industry, so we both have an idea of industry trends and what to steer clear of in order to

For example, in our design projects, creating to the highest design standards is Pinstripe’s goal. We do thorough research on both the brand we are creating for and its industry to make sure we are not overlapping with competitors. Research teaches us what to avoid so that we can get closer to an original logo concept. At the end of the day, a strong mark and color palette that speaks volumes is what we aim for, not a masterpiece work of art.

Humanitarianism in Marketing

Humanitarianism as a topic can help to boost your marketing campaigns, but it’s also important to be a humanitarian behind the scenes. What’s the difference?

Humanitarian acts are endearing, and if you portray your company in this light, you are appealing to people’s compassion, goodness and “tugging at their heartstrings,” so to speak. You see this every day in television commercials, on billboards, and on social media. An example is Johnson & Johnson’s 2019 commercial series. These commercials promote the many ways that Johnson & Johnson has products for your “whole life” and all the work they do to keep people healthy for their whole lives, not just as babies.

A humanitarian company donates money to support charities, sends their team out to volunteer on a regular basis, and gives back to their community and the world. A company that has humanitarian programs in place doesn’t just use the imagery and vocabulary to promote themselves.

A truly humanitarian company goes a step further to align its mission and vision with making the world a better place, like the company 4Ocean. This company exists to clean up our oceans while simultaneously providing jobs for coastal communities around the world. Savvy consumers will actually do the research to support companies who live their mission rather than just using heartwarming imagery to make a sale.

Avoid: Being Temperamental

Have you ever had a temperamental coworker or boss? If so, you know how unproductive this behavior can be. In fact, moody people are the antithesis of productive ones for so many reasons.

If you have a temperamental person in a position of leadership, their attitude and unpredictability deter employees from presenting new ideas or speaking up about injustices in the workplace. This fear of open communication because of a potential backlash from a boss prevents the free flow of ideas. It could also cause employees to harbor resentment and have a negative impact on their job performance. If someone resents leadership, they are more likely to resent the company and underperform, cut corners, and lose passion for the company’s mission. Employees may even be motivated to leave the company in search of a more fulfilling and positive atmosphere.

Temperamental coworkers are annoying at best, and at worst, can be downright disruptive. Their negative mood swings can weaken morale, impede teamwork, and create distrust within the team. Creativity can be stifled, and great employees may seek more fulfilling opportunities elsewhere.

Don’t be the person who stirs up this type of disharmony in the workplace!

Avoid: Being Uncompromising

At its core, compromise is an important aspect of interpersonal relationships. I’m not talking about the romantic, first date kind of relationship. I’m talking about a serious, productive working relationship.

Businesses are all about good relationships, right? So, you should expect to compromise in a variety of business situations on a regular basis. Don’t ruin your business relationships by being uncompromising. If you expect that compromise will happen and you practice it, you’ll be a much better negotiator. You’ll also be free of the stress that comes from all that conflict.

Have you ever experienced any of the above traits in your marketing campaigns or business? We’d love to hear your stories, the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Quick Tip: Brand Guidelines Begin with Internal Rollout

brand style guide_featured

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

Graphic designers and the marketing department aren’t the only ones that need to know how to steer your brand in the right direction. If you want to maintain your brand’s integrity, you need to start from within.

 

Maintaining Brand Identity

You already know that your brand is more than just your logo and tagline. It represents your entire organization, which is why we develop guidelines to keep it coherent. Any email, billboard or radio spot that steps outside your guidelines can have a negative effect on your brand identity.

  • Consistency – Because each impression counts, your brand needs to be memorable and easy to recall. Even minor changes to your brand can mislead your audience.
  • Authenticity – Any change to your brand may alter its meaning. When this happens, even as a joke or for a funny meme, it may get you into legal trouble.
  • Professionalism –When you don’t follow the guidelines, your presentations look like student projects. We call this the “Microsoft Paint Effect” because very few good things come from MS Paint.

 

The Problem Is Internal

Employees in search of creativity should leave your brand alone. To exercise their creative muscles, they should be encouraged to join an art class or build their own brand to be showcased on their personal Wix site.

Perhaps they don’t understand why the colors and typography of your communications need to always be the same—always. It’s time you educate them, and here are some quick tips on how.

Brand Awareness Survey

This will bring your fellow employees into the process of maintaining your brand guidelines. Your survey should ask several things:

  • Brand awareness – You need to gauge what they know and don’t know.
  • Current Messaging – Are they aware of what the current messaging is?
  • Satisfaction – Does the brand work for their role in the company?
  • Workarounds – Do they ever create brand workarounds? Why?
  • Suggestions – How can our brand identity be improved?

Make It an Event

An event will get more people engaged, especially if it’s fun. You can discuss the results of your survey and have a Q & A session. Yes, this requires an investment, but think of it as an ounce of prevention. Fewer mistakes mean fewer problems and lost opportunities with clients.

Distribute the Guidelines

You can send frequent internal emails that focus on the most common mistakes people make regarding your brand. Each email should direct everyone to have a copy of the guidelines or a link with quick access to them. Brand-specific templates should also be available for anything from email signatures to PowerPoint presentations. For your initiative to be effective, it has to extend beyond the guidelines.

Departmental Brand Playbook

Because your guidelines can be a hundred pages or more, you can work with each department to have specific playbooks that are relevant to their workflow, but not specific to any individual position in the company. Only the designers need to use the technical specifications for your logo. Besides, quick reference guides take less time and energy to use, so in theory, more people will use them.

Be Available to Help

If it’s outside their playbook, you need to be available to help them. Create an FAQ section in your guidelines for quick references and have an open door policy. This will keep them from feeling like the guidelines are too strict and not allowing them to do their job.

 

Brand Integrity Can Be Fragile

Anyone that touches your brand, internally or externally, has the potential to misuse it. If you really think about it, this makes your brand fragile. So, if you want to protect it and your company’s brand identity, you need to start where it has the most touch.

“Consider the brand’s custodians by establishing the full picture for the brand in a detailed style guide that clearly states every type of media it will go on. Creating guidelines for the brand in case it gets passed on, will help protect the it from misuse by other designers and non-designers who get to work with it, keeping the brand consistent,” says Evie Larson, Pinstripe Marketing Creative Director.

Larson developed the following gorgeous visual brand style guide for MFM Legal that contains design guidance covering many elements such as logo, color, composition, photography and typography. This guide follows our recommendations for style guides.

 

Pinstripe understands how businesses manage their brand guidelines. We recently helped a multinational, multi-billion dollar business refresh their brand identity, as well as maintain their brand integrity. Contact us to learn how we can develop your brand guidelines to be more consistent—to look more professional.

Zodiac Marketer: Capricorn

zodiac marketer capricorn_featured

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Our next zodiac sign is Capricorn: birthdays between December 22 – January 19.

Capricorn is an earth sign with the strengths of responsibility and discipline. A couple of Capricorn’s weaknesses are speaking in a condescending manner and being a know-it-all. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

Responsibility in Marketing

One of the tenets of marketing is that you are speaking to an audience of some kind or another. When you have this type of reach, the message you send will affect many lives, some of them who haven’t even seen your message. It goes without saying that you have a certain amount of responsibility to communicate a message that does no harm. Communicating honestly and with integrity will ensure that you are publishing a responsible message to your audience. Always consider the consequences of your campaigns and messaging.

Discipline in Marketing

Discipline comes in many forms and can be applied to so many aspects of business and marketing. We are going to focus on just a couple, including discipline in file organization and discipline in checking your work.

Discipline in file organization, you ask? YES! This seems like one of those obvious working items that no one even needs to think about. It is this assumption that creates filing and organization disasters. Even the most well-meaning, organized person can end up on a dark path of procrastination and neglect in filing, which leads to the dissolution of your filing system.

Start a system with intention and strategy and stick to it. In marketing, this is important because you will have a lot of creative files, including design, video and written content. It all needs to stay organized so you can access it when someone needs it.

We still receive calls from clients that we did creative work for a decade ago. They are requesting design files that were misplaced or accidentally deleted. Good thing we’re organized. Part of our service is to make sure that our file system is backed up by the cloud and easy to access.

Checking your work requires patience and discipline as well. This applies not only to project work, but emails you are sending to your colleagues and clients. Review what you’ve written once or twice for punctuation, spelling, and any other errors. People notice when you send something with spelling errors, no punctuation, or no closing. This could be seen as a reflection of your work and/or work ethic. As far as checking your creative work on projects, this should simply be part of your workflow.

Avoid: Condescension in Marketing

This one is so obvious that I almost didn’t include it, but I thought it worthwhile mentioning. Condescension can be an insidious act, one that you don’t even know that you’re committing. Be careful with your marketing messaging; ensure that you are not alienating a group of people with subtle condescension or other offensive content that was not intended to be received that way. We live in a diverse world with people of many different backgrounds—be sensitive and thoughtful with your messaging to avoid losing segments of your audience.

Avoid: Being a Know-it-All

No one likes a know-it-all. But, aside from being unlikable by virtue of thinking they know everything, know-it-alls keep themselves from learning new things and skills. In marketing, this can be detrimental, if not a downright fatal mistake. Learning something new is key to understanding your  industry, business and goals. If you resist learning new information because you’re a know-it-all, you are missing out on all that knowledge that can help elevate your marketing campaigns to new levels. This goes for your clients as well. There is no better way to get to know your client and their industry than listening and learning.

Have you ever experienced any of the above traits in your marketing campaigns or business? We’d love to hear your stories, the good, the bad, and the ugly!