Posts Tagged ‘ evok orlando ’

Putting Pencil to Paper – Making The Case For Illustration

Henri Matisse said, “Drawing is putting a line around an idea.” we’ve always liked that quote, but step inside any ad agency, design firm or interactive shop these days and the chance of seeing drawing, illustration, hand work, etc. being used in a project is slim to none. Sure, there’s lots of it to be found on the t-shirts being worn or the posters hanging in cubicles and the skateboards in the corner, but rarely in any of the work. If the key to effective marketing is positioning your products or services so they stand apart from the competition, especially in a world dominated by bad stock photography, illustration is an excellent option.

It seems as if clients and creatives automatically default to photography. It’s familiar, what they understand and what they know. Many people only think of illustration as being humorous or childish and nothing could be further from the truth. Good illustration is conceptual, makes strong connections and often translates an idea faster and more effectively than a photograph. Even stock illustration conveys more character and personality than your average piece of stock photography. And illustration is always a good choice when you need images of something that’s impossible to photograph.

Several years ago, our copywriter worked on a big project for a quasi-governmental agency that administered financial aid programs for college students. By law they were required to produce a booklet, similar to an annual report, that summarized all kinds of financial information and was distributed to everyone who had a loan with them. It also had to be state specific for each of the three states in which they did business. Since they made loans to all types of students, they wanted the images in the booklet to reflect diversity. The booklet from the previous year had used stock photography to achieve this but they felt it was a mess. Sixty pages of copy, graphs, charts and bad mismatched photos.

Their solution was to use illustration. They hired an illustrator to do about 30 simple sketches. The images were very loose drawings but clearly indicated the gender, race, age, etc. of the people pictured. There were also images of books, pencils, coffee cups and other random elements of student life. Since the drawings were loose, they used a single line to connect each image from page to page. The line started on the cover and ran through the entire book to the back cover, implying the loan you borrowed took you through your entire college experience. To differentiate from state to state they simply changed the color of the line from blue to green to red. The end result was a huge success. The client even received positive feedback on the piece – something that had never happened before. Best of all, the cost of the illustration was less expensive than if they’d had to buy a bunch of stock photography and Photoshop the images to try and make them look consistent.

Budgets and timelines are a factor with any project. And illustration doesn’t have to be expensive. There have been times in the past where we’ve contacted local colleges and art schools and met with students to see their portfolios. In several cases, we hired students to do work for an assignment. It’s a win-win situation.

Another option to consider is maybe you don’t need to use imagery at all. Good typography is imagery in its own right, and can make for a strong visual solution. Many illustrators will do some sort of hand-lettered type which serves to not only get your message across in words, but visually, as well.

There’s an old business adage that says, “When everyone else is zigging, why not zag and stand out from the crowd?” Illustration isn’t right for everything and many times the project will dictate when it’s appropriate. If the challenge is to get your clients products and services noticed, put pencil to paper and consider illustration rather than stock photography as a great way to make an impact.

The Basics of Package Design

Creating packaging for a client isn’t always easy, especially if you are creating a package for a product that you’re not familiar with or have never used. Below are some of evok’s best practices for creating award-winning packaging, along with a few of my own personal tips for success.

Take a field trip. Start with shopping around the competition to see what is out there. Check out your client’s retail environment to see how other products are presented on the shelf. Make sure you take your handy-dandy camera with you to take pictures of the competitors’ packaging. That way, you can go back and work on how you’re going to differentiate you client’s packaging from their competitors’ packaging. To take your research a step farther, look at other packaging that’s not within your client’s realm. This approach can help you come up with and an idea that could be a little more unconventional.

Contact your printer before you design. In addition to providing you with a die line for your job, your printer is a valuable resource for advice on paper or other material options. If you’re unclear about the kind of printer or process that’s appropriate for your packaging project, contact a printer with whom you have a working relationship. Remember to involve your printer at every stage of the design process to be sure that your concept is achievable.

Know the quality and production budget. Think about the quality of the paper, inks, spot varnish, emboss, metallic or a custom die. All those things will affect you client’s overall budget. When money is the bottom line, you must be flexible with the elements of your design. Set realistic goals that stay on target with your client’s budget.

Make the purchase. As a designer, your goal is to create a design that stimulates the consumer to make the purchase. Your design should increase product recognition, in other words, it should act as a “stand-in salesman”. It needs to do this quickly and concisely.

Create mock-ups. I’m a pretty visual person and I make mock-ups all the time. Sometimes when you design something flat that is going to end up being folded, you overlook certain things. You might be experience something along the lines of, “Oooh, I didn’t see that this color bar doesn’t align with this one on the other panel,” or “Yikes, this looks odd since the package lays on its side.” Create several packages so you can see what the shelf presence will be like. Ask your printer if they will run a couple mock-ups for you so you can see how the design works on the shelf.

Bar Codes 101

  • Bar codes must be placed in a spot that is highly visible and easy to scan.
  • A bar code must be printed at a scale between 85% and 120% of its original size.
  • Bar codes must be printed in a dark color against a solid light colored background. The contrast between a bar code and its background must be high enough to allow the bar code to be scanned.
  • Make sure your client provides you with their bar code number. A program like Bar Code Pro will enable you to generate an EPS file to place in your file.

Indesign Tip: How to create a “Book”

I had a big project for a client that consisted of over 60 rack brochures. When I laid them out, I didn’t lay them out in one Indesign file – they were all separate files. Although all the files were separate, if I needed to make a change, the last thing I wanted to do was open each file individually. Indesign has an option for you to create a “Book”. A Book creates an Indesign file that will house all my separate rack brochure files and combine them into one Book file. This is how it works:

File>new>book

A new palette will appear, and once it does, click the “plus” icon in the lower right hand corner of the palette.

Next, a window will appear asking you to locate your files. Once located, click Open. Note: The way you link graphics in your traditional Indesign files, applies the same way to the Book files.

Now that you have all you files selected into your Book, it’s time to save your Book. You can open any of your linked Indesign files via the Book, just select the file from the Book palette and your ready to go. You can print an individual file if needed and you can export individual PDFs from the book, just option click the files you want. If you want to print the selected files, click the print icon in the palette. If you want to export the files as a PDF, click the carrot icon in the upper left hand corner of the palette and select “Export selected documents to PDF”.

Creating packaging for clients can be challenging, but with sound research, clear objectives, a few mock-ups and using these organizational tips, you’ll be on the path to success in no time.

What to Know About an Annual Media Buy

When attempting to take your media in-house or when offering media services for others, it’s important to know that media can be purchased in several ways, such as by flight, monthly, quarterly or annually. The trick to being a successful media planner and buyer is knowing which structure works best for you and your clients.

A flight can be from a short as one week to as long as several months. It is a continuous buy, which usually serves to bring attention to one specific promotion.

The structures for buying media on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis are pretty simple – as they follow the standard definition of the time lapses listed above. Though you have to choose which structure is right for you, an annual buy, which is achieved by the media buyer placing the entire annual media plan at once, does have advantages over buying monthly, quarterly or by flight.

Listed below are the top 5 things you need to know about an annual media buy:
An annual buy will definitely give a buyer leverage to get the best rates, especially with television, cable and radio buys.
Due to the volume of the buy, the rates will be more negotiable and generally lower than if placed monthly, quarterly or by flight.
The closer the media buyer is to the beginning of the schedule when placing the buy, the higher the rates will likely be. If the media is sold out, the rates may need to be high enough to bump another advertiser’s spots.  At times, it may be so close to the flight that the station does not have any space available to sell. Neither of these situations is in the best interest of the client.
With print, if you know what you’ll be spending within the year, a media buyer can usually negotiate a contract to buy a certain number of column inches or spend a certain amount of money. This is harder to do if the buy is not purchased annually, as there can be short rates if the contract isn’t met. This isn’t good for either the agency or the client.
Annual buys can always be adjusted, moved and or canceled if necessary with sufficient notice to the media vendors, so you will not be locked into any media that isn’t working for you. Media can constantly be adjusted to give your clients the best outcome possible.

Annual buying is great for many clients, and with its adjustability, you’re really in a win-win situation. Not only do you get the best deals for being prepared and coming to your rep with a well-thought out plan, but you also get flexibility in order to meet your client’s needs.

With our ever-changing marketplace accelerating at such a rapid pace, new tools, trends and types of marketing are being introduced every day. Due to this fast-paced way of life, many believe that you should steer clear of annual buys – because you never know when something will change. Not true.

Annual buys can be bought in a way that is adjustable, allowing you to bump up or bump back spots, make changes to material, swap your :30 radio spot with a :60, etc. – you just have to know what you’re doing.

As we have seen lately in the marketplace, sometimes there are other situations with annual buys that need to be addressed, such as the programming change that moved American Idol from airing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to airing Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you bought a good spot on Thursday during a popular show with a competing station – and now because of a programming change, you have to compete with American Idol – there would be a problem. This is when you contact your rep and discuss your options. By doing so, you’ll learn just how well your leveraged your annual buy in the first place.

Media planning and buying are complicated processes, so before beginning a plan, make sure to do your research on the different buy structures. If you need guidance, feel free to contact evok advertising at 407.302.4416.

Biting the Bait – Making Promotions Work For You

Promotions. Offers. Incentives. Why do they work? Why do consumers buy into them? The most vital and critical piece to any promotion lies in thinking like the consumer, which companies may forget when launching a promotion. We recommend putting yourself in their shoes. Familiarize yourself with their fears, their skepticism and their doubts. Listed below are key points to follow when rolling out your promotion.

The offer must appeal to target audience. Some companies find that reaching a specific target audience, such as children, creates a challenge. Motivating kids to fundraise for their schools can be a cumbersome task for a hard-to-please audience. Would one offer them rebates that take six to eight weeks to receive? Or would one offer them a class pizza party? You can determine which one will achieve results based on the context of the promotion, the willingness of the children to participate and their perceived value.

High perceived value. A consumer’s perception is their reality. The product offered has to have value in the consumer’s mind, and be an offer they usually would not go out of their way to buy. When offering a product it’s not necessary to give away a Ferrari of the year, instead give away a car that has the same perceived value as a Ferrari, but in reality only costs $20,000. Scale your giveaways to your budget but keep consumers’ perception of products mind. Presentation of that product helps as well.

Immediate satisfaction. We are a microwave society. Today, people expect to be satisfied immediately. If your offer has a delayed satisfaction for your consumer, it may not be successful. Mail-in rebates that companies offer are a prime example, and can lead to lower consumer participation. Think about when you’re surfing the web, and how long do you wait for a websites to download…15-20 seconds? You take the risk of losing a consumer the moment they have to wait.

Keep the process simple. If consumers see a complex web of tasks and processes needed to participate in promotion, they may walk away. People, for the most part, expect companies who offer incentives to make them as easy as possible to obtain. If the amount of work it takes to get an offer overshadows the perceived value, then the probability of getting consumers to act diminishes and vice versa.

Be honest. Do not be ambiguous when it comes to the messaging. Be upfront – tell them what they are going to get and how they are going to get it. The fine print, also known as disclaimers, may scare people away. When the list is never ending, consumers may not act on the offer. In the end, honesty and being upfront is appreciated.

Be legal. Make sure that you follow all state guidelines when launching a promotion or sweepstakes. The rules can vary by state but as a rule of thumb, remember; you cannot make a consumer buy your product or service to be eligible to enter to win a prize – that’s a lottery and illegal in most states. You have to provide the consumer a free way to enter the promotion with the same opportunity of chance. This does not apply to a gift with purchase, where everyone is awarded a prize. See the state of Florida’s guidelines here: http://www.800helpfla.com/sweepstakes.html

Remember, it’s not about what you sell; it’s how you sell it.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Broadcast News Interviews

Having the news media interview you or someone from your company sounds like a dream come true, huh? What many people don’t realize though, is that interviews can make or break you. A single interview can determine how the public perceives you and your company. As we all know, perception is reality – so how about grounding yourself in reality – crossing your fingers and hoping for the best isn’t going to cut it.

But alas, there are training courses on how to give a good interview, literature available online and books that you can buy to help you out. Problem is, many interviews are unexpected and on the spot.

To you, we give our top 10 tips for interviewing on camera for edited broadcast news features, clips or segments. Take this whitepaper as an overview, an outline of what to do, how to act, and more importantly, how to say what needs to be said.

1.    Do Dress Accordingly – When attending any event or company gathering, where there will be news cameras, dress accordingly. No flashy colors, weird hairstyles, bulky jewelry or overdone makeup (like cat-eyes). Depending on where you are, you might need a full suit and tie. For many casual events, consider wearing a polo shirt with your company logo on the breast. Picture being on camera from the sternum up, but don’t discount the slacks!

2.    Do Think in Sound Bites – Wherever you are, you should be able to produce a short,
9-second sound bite for the camera. Include: Name, position & company, where you are, what is happening and how this is beneficial to the community and/or the company.
For example, “I’m Jennifer Johnstone, public relations manager of evok advertising. I’m out here with the Florida Tuskers football team today as they celebrate breast cancer awareness and honor 10 local survivors on the field.”

3.    Don’t Forget Key Points – I’ve seen it dozens of times – the person being interviewed gets in their sound bite and then stares blankly at the camera. As a true advocate of your company or organization, you should be able to produce a few key points that will keep the camera on you a little longer. The better the points, the better the coverage. Hopefully your cameraman will continue asking you questions to keep you on your feet, but don’t take the extra help for granted, it doesn’t always happen.

4.    Don’t Kill the News Values – Most broadcast news interviews are used and reused over a 24-48-hour cycle. That means you may be interviewed on a Thursday and not make your big TV appearance until Saturday. Even though these segments can be edited, try not to mention the date and time that you are being interviewed. This will kill the “timeliness” of the interview, and you don’t want to mess with the news values! Also, referring to the cameraman by name is not a good idea. Broadcast news segments will stick an anchor in front of you to introduce your interview. Say his name is Tom, and throughout the interview you are referring to Bill. It won’t sound right and the public will sense something is off.

5.    Do Play the Game of Bridge – If you are a person who stays in the moment, you may start to realize that the cameraman, or even the interviewer, is not asking the right questions. Bridges serve as a nice way to acknowledge what the reporter is saying, but to link the question back to your key points. After answering a question that is close to allowing you to reach the heart of the matter, but misses the mark, throw in a bridge.
Here are some examples:
•    “Great question, but the heart of the matter is…”
•    “I would say that … is more to the point.”
•    “Another thing to remember is…”
•    “Let me add that…”
•    “…but in addition…”

6.    Don’t Speak to Your Co-Worker – When you are giving an interview, remember that you are speaking to the masses. Don’t use jargon that only your co-worker would understand, and don’t over complicate simple things. Be wary of acronyms as well. One of our clients is NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association), but in an interview I would use the full name frequently. The rule about using the whole name first and only once, only works for print. What if the media edits out the one time you said the whole name? Chances are they will, especially if it’s true that once an interview goes on, the interviewee gets more comfortable and sounds more natural.

7.    Do Take Your Time – Rushed answers are the worst! They never will have the same effect as a well-thought out answer. When you are interviewing, remember to take pauses to think about things. Because of your adrenaline, a pause will feel like an eternity to you, but will really only be a few seconds in your interview. Also, long pauses can be edited out of the final piece. Another tactic I use when thinking of a great answer is repeating the question.
For example:
“And what strides have you made in the community thus far?”
“Well, our strides in the community have been numerous during our eight years in business. Most notably, our recent…”

8.    Don’t Play Goggly-Eyes – Before I even get into body language, let me first address the question I get most often – where do you look during your interview? There is a person, and there is a camera. What if the person is holding the camera? And the camera – what if it’s next to their face? ALWAYS stare at the person when they are holding the camera. Looking at the camera will make you nervous. If the person is holding the camera on their shoulder, it will create the illusion that you are looking at the camera. If there is a reporter on camera with you, keep your stage presence in mind. Talk to the reporter directly, but it’s okay to occasionally look at the cameraman as if they are involved in the conversation, like you would with an audience. Though you must make sure that you are not giving only half your body to the camera. Stay open.

9.    Don’t Smile Just to Smile – Everyone says to smile when you are on camera. But, be careful with this rule. I don’t want the President of So-And-So Financial Company smiling on camera as he tells me that their stocks have gone down and I’m out over 50%. I don’t want to see a giddy, smiling face make an announcement that their local mom and pop shop can no longer survive since the big guys moved in next door. I’m not saying you need to cry about it, but be sure to keep serious news, serious.

10.    Do Correct the Incorrect – While on camera, you may be presented with a question that contains an untrue fact. The goal of a good interviewer is to correct the misinformation before proceeding to answer the question.
For example: “With eight guerilla publicity stunts in only one year, does your agency believe that consumers will no longer find these stunts entertaining in 2011?” “Actually, we have produced 10 stunts this year, and as an agency we believe that as long as they stand out, and create enough hype in the marketplace to go viral, they will continue to be successful in maintaining public attention in 2011.

Stepping up Your Use of Web Analytics

You’ve taken the first step, you’ve applied a web analytics solution to your website. You’re familiar with the basics, but how do you make real use out of the numbers? Here are 10 tips for getting more out of your tracking:

 

  1. Hits should be discarded from the conversation.
    Everything on your website is stored on a server somewhere. Each time a request is made from the user’s computer to your server, it registers as a hit. A hit is counted when the page is loaded, when each image is loaded, and when the rest of the content is loaded. Hits were a common term to use in the early days of the world wide web when images took a long time to load and were therefore used sparingly, but a modern website might be composed of hundreds of images and other content types. One visit from a single user would register so many hits the resulting number is meaningless, but the term ‘hit’ has become so common to our vernacular that less experienced website owners might refer to a hit when they really mean a single user visit. Make sure you don’t read or refer to these two statistics interchangeably; it confuses the discussion for those that know the difference.
  2. Views vs. Visitors: It depends on your website
    A visitor is calculated by your analytics software as a request from a unique IP address generated by an individual’s computer. Whether you’re looking at “uniques” per day, per month or per year, a visitor is counted once. A visit, on the other hand, can be generated multiple times by a single user. One person might go to your website multiple times per day, and each time this is added to an overall count of total visits to your website by multiple users. Which of these statistics should interest you more depends on the type of website you manage. On a promotional website for a single item that you only expect someone to buy or sign up for once, you would benefit more from knowing the number of unique visitors, but for a large e-commerce site offering multiple projects, you would most value visits from any number of buyers who might shop many times over.
  3. Incorporate your search terms
    It’s easy to forget that your audience is not like you. Chances are, the public you are marketing to is not nearly as informed about your product or industry as you are. Undaunted, website managers attack this problem by providing a wealth of information and instructive materials on their websites. This approach is very helpful once consumers find your website, but what if they can’t find it in the first place? Analytics offers insight into the keywords that are bringing people to your site, and it’s vital to pay attention to these cues. Users may not be using the same terminology or jargon so familiar to insiders, and a more colloquial term, used more frequently throughout the copy, might draw more visitors. Take advantage of both your analytics program’s capabilities to show what keywords brought traffic in and what phrases they searched for once they arrived at your website.
  4. Be aware of how your traffic is calculated
    Analytics, one way or another, is triggered by code placed somewhere in the coding language that generates your website. Google Analytics, for instance, requires a small piece of Javascript to be placed before the end body tag, and most programmers insert it into the footer code to ensure that it is included on every page. The website analyst should therefore keep in mind that any page that doesn’t have that code will not be counted. Page views of a PDF, for example, will not be incorporated into overall website page views, nor will views of the RSS feed. Websites such as blogs that are highly dependent on RSS views should supplement with a method of tracking RSS statistics.
  5. Visitors from different sources have different behaviors
    Referring URLs is arguably the most valuable statistic that analytics programs offer. General visitor traffic provides much less insight about the type of user wandering your content than knowing where that user came from and what his additional interests are. Once you start noticing a surge of traffic from a particular source, add that referring URL to a segment and let your analytics program show you what users from that source did once they reached your website. You might find that some campaigns convert more sales when targeted to the audience of a particular website, or that they show more interest in some pages than others.
  6. Set conversion goals
    This is an additional step to any analytics program: telling the software what counts on your website as a conversion. For e-commerce websites this might be a page view of a purchase confirmation, for a corporate website, it could be the view of a confirmation after subscribing to the company newsletter. Whatever your goal is, it should be reflected in your analytics program, and most solutions will even give you the option to set a dollar figure to each conversion.
  7. Studying browser statistics is time well spent
    Time is money, so time should never be wasted. Website managers who insist that their development team spend equal time accounting for every browser type back to 1997 may find their programming team putting a lot of man hours into very small segments of your audience. You may have three users looking at your website on WebTV every month, but is that a significant portion of your audience? The internet has advanced too far to design for the lowest common denominator anymore.
  8. Bounce rate should be kept in perspective
    The bounce rate for your website is calculated by determining the number of visitors who go to the home page and then go somewhere else on your website, rather than “bounce” right out again. That doesn’t mean that it makes sense to strain resources in pursuit of 0%. There will always be some percentage of users who reached your site by accident. If someone got to your website looking for information about cats and you build catwalks, that traffic is not useful to you anyway. There are even some websites that offer all of their important information updates on the home page, negating the need for returning users to go anywhere else. Set a realistic percentage for your website and try to stay at that rate.
  9. Technology moves slower than you think
    Everyone’s talking about mobile devices with Internet capabilities, but not everyone has one. More importantly, they probably aren’t using it to browse your website. Across nearly any industry, your analytics program will most likely show that visits to your website from mobile devices accounts for under 3% of your traffic, perhaps much less. Rather than jump to the conclusion that this is because your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, consider instead the behavior of Internet users. The most dominant period of day, in which a business website will experience a high volume of traffic, is Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, when the American workforce is at the office. Users browse business websites on their computer at work, they play with apps on their phone. You may have an audience in the mobile market, but you may also serve them best by leaving your website alone and developing an app.
  10. Embrace change, but make it an informed decision
    You may like blue, but that doesn’t mean your audience responds to it. Weigh the time it takes to make a change across your website against its performance by testing it on one page and tracking how it affects your conversions. Testing is ultimately the most powerful capability your analytics program will give you.