Friday, October 25, 2013

Marketing: The Ultimate Investment

By Vin Ferrer / Social Media Strategist, NJ Marketing Agency, Graphic D-Signs, Inc.

Quick tips and tricks are a dime a dozen in business. Yet very few are actually worth their weight.

The reason why most don’t work fully (or even at all) is because they are dead on arrival, doomed from the start. They harp on a business’ ability to leverage its greatest asset.

And the biggest asset that a business has is itself. Its outward projection to the world of its value, mission, and identity. Simply put: its brand.
When it comes to marketing your brand, you need to go all in. You need to commit. You need to invest in making your marketing efforts integrated and appropriate.

Now think big for a second. Red Bull is a perfect example. Started as an energy drink company, Red Bull as a brand now stands for an action-packed lifestyle that strives to be larger than life. It pushes the limits. Its stylish and sexy. It drops from outer space at 800mph speeds.

Yet at its core, it is still an energy drink seller. Nevertheless they chose to invest in themselves, their brand, and their marketing efforts. Because of successful marketing, they have a brand that’s an out-of-this-world success.

Now think of Nike—the king of successful marketing. From humble beginnings as a shoe company (their shoes were made using a waffle iron), Nike worked meticulously to market their products with unique messages in line with the brand they hoped to create. Superior athleticism, indomitable spirituality, and refined modern style are some of the calling cards they’ve come to be known for.

They were making shoes in their kitchen and a few years later being associated with the biggest names in sports. And it was all because of marketing.

Now back to you, your brand, your customers, and your goals.

You need to tell a story. You need to form a relationship with the customer. And that’s called marketing.  

If you offer a quality service, product or combination then you’ve nothing to fear. Take hold of the conversation, and start off with social media. It’s the most cost effective use for your marketing dollars. Next, look to establish a true presence with a fresh logo, site design, and other collateral thereafter.  

Stationery, business cards, and brochures should all integrate your logo flawlessly and communicate your brand’s voice with compelling copy. Keep your brand in sync and integrated across all media, and one day you’ll be having billboards made up to advertise your awesomeness.

Being flaky and deceitful isn’t going to get you there. Think about the straight-shooting politician who’s later discovered to be cheating on his wife. World War III happens, from which his once hallowed reputation can never recover. Unless you’ve got millions stashed away for such an occasion, listen up. You need to be authentic and honest. You need to get this right.

Bring the personal touches to the spotlight, shine a light on some noteworthy insights, and carve out a voice that’s original and on point with the identity you want for your company. Brands big (like 7/11) and small recognize the power a smart marketing effort can have in ensuring their future.

Make the right decision and invest in your brand. Look past the short-term expense and see it for the long-term investment that it truly is. You’ll be creating a value for your products and services that is one step closer to priceless.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Top Examples for Plumbing Truck Wraps

By Vin Ferrer / Social Media Strategist, NJ Advertising Advertising Agency Graphic D-Signs, Inc.

For the less glamorous services available in today's market like plumbing companies, differentiation may be a tall order. Still, this presents a unique opportunity for some well-placed and implemented creativity to help separate your brand from the rest of the competition.

The fundamentals of the business remain the same: a commitment to friendly, efficient, timely and effective service will gain you word-of-mouth notoriety. However, an easy way to spur that word-of-mouth along is with a properly executed truck wrap design or fleet branding effort for larger businesses.

Take a look at some of the eye-catching truck wrap designs we've created for plumbing companies and contractors. They certainly do scream quality, professionalism, and positivity--all before you even experience their service. When a company can do that without even lifting a finger, you can be sure business is moving in the right direction!

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 Here's a retro-themed truck wrap design for a plumbing, heating and air company near Chicago. 
It took home silver at this year's New Jersey Art Directors Design Awards. 

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 Here's one of our best plumbing truck wraps, designed for a Florida HVAC & plumbing service.

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 We had some fun with this unique lettering design for a Minnesota plumbing company.

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 A truly Americana-type retro design for this California-based plumbing & HVAC company.

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 Time-honored values and modern efficiency is communicated in this NJ-based plumbing company truck wrap.

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A modernized retro design for the fleet branding of this NJ plumbing & HVAC company.

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 This Las Vegas HVAC & plumbing service has a truck wrap that really pops off "The Strip."

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 One of our best mascot-themed  plumbing truck wraps & fleet branding designs immediately shows a rock-solid brand promise.

Graphic D-Signs, Inc - The Small Business Advertising Agency is a New Jersey based advertising agency serving the marketing needs of small business with logo and branding creation, web design and online marketing, print design and collateral development and traditional advertising and consultation services for Plumbing contractors and other small businesses of all industries.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Crowdsourcing Your Logo: Pretty Much The Worst Idea You’ve Ever Had

By Vin Ferrer / Social Media Strategist, NJ Marketing Agency, Graphic D-Signs, Inc

Imagine this.

You’re an auto mechanic working seven days a week to make ends meet. You save for a few years, purchase an old Thunderbird, and spend the next three years fixing it up at nights and between shifts. You finally finish working on it, and instead of hitting the road, you turn the keys over to a stranger.

They immediately drive into a tree.

Crowdsourcing your logo is exactly the same thing.

Any hardworking business owner, entrepreneur or self-respecting worker for that matter knows the true value of what they create. They spend time on the things that matter, that drive business, and that create ROI. Yet many still can’t seem to understand the importance of the finishing touches. Your logo is that finishing touch, which should accompany the customer through every part of their experience.

Your logo is your outward brand representation to the world. It’s your calling card and your handshake. It’s a slick paint job on that T-bird, covering the muscle-powered machine of a business that took years to perfect. A random passerby shouldn’t determine how it looks.

Such has been the case for some big businesses, most notably Yahoo!, which held a “30 Logos in 30 Days” campaign to discern its current logo. While at first glance this may seem like a great way to engage your followers and fans, the approach is spectacularly flawed. Here are the main reasons why:

The Average Joe isn’t a Logo Designer— A well-crafted logo is a strategic tool, blending aesthetics and business strategy. The ability to design one isn’t something innate, it’s an expertise garnered over years of training, experience, and practice with logos. That’s why it’s called logo “design” and not logo picking. They don’t grow on trees. 

Bad Logos Cost More Money–The quick fix is a popular notion nowadays; this is why there is such a boom in convenience-related products and services. People can’t wait. But the smart individual realizes how costly shortcuts can truly be.

Most likely the design factory is using quick templates and clipart to create their logos. They may even go so far as to flat out copy an existing logo they find online. Not only will their victims not be able to copyright their own logo, but they may also become engrossed in an expensive infringement suit.

While a well-crafted logo might cost more in the beginning, a poorly designed one will cost way more in the end.

Quality Takes Time— Look on at any piece of valuable art, gourmet meal, or Top-10 highlight on ESPN. There you’ll find the culmination of years of hard work and steadfast dedication. Why shouldn’t your logo be of the same high caliber? If you’re willing to wait out the necessary steps, it can be. But recognize, that it won’t be done in a day or a week. The old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day” certainly holds true for this case.

If it’s going to last, all bases need to be covered through some extensive research, versioning, and forecasting. A design shop churning out hundreds of different designs at the drop of a hat should be a red flag.

The Crowd Doesn’t Know Your Needs—Why do lawyers spend so much time with jury selection before a trial? Because they want the best combination of people that will ultimately side with their perspective on the case at hand. They have their own agenda—winning the case—and their own motivations, goals and bottom-line needs.

Your business is the same way. It has its own particular needs, financial aspirations, and industry requirements. How can you expect a third party unaccustomed to your world to understand that?

Simply put: you can’t. You need a professional who knows how to speak at length about fonts and color patterns, whose storied portfolio boasts success stories similar to what you’re after.

In the age where businesses are trying to become more personable, more human and humane, and more insightful, the branding is make or break. Your logo is the face of that brand, and it’s in your best interest to ensure that it’s approachable, appropriate, and appeasing.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Google’s New “Hummingbird" Algorithm & What Small Businesses Need to Know

By Vin Ferrer / Social Media Strategist, NJ Marketing Agency, Graphic D-Signs, Inc.

It’s safe to say that business takes place in both the physical and Internet world, not just in separate ways but also as one.

Getting in front of your desired audience takes diligence, a working blend of organic SEO and well-placed content, and an individual or team with superior knowledge of the SEO game.

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This team needs to maneuver through your competition, financial resources, and a well-intentioned strategy to make SEO work for you. However, they must also work with Google – the constantly changing, unforgiving, always updating key to the searchability of your business online.  

Enter the "hummingbird" algorithm: Google's latest system overhaul meant to make their search engine even more accurate and efficient. The update boasts a deeper focus on user context and the multiple meanings words may have.  

An example of this might be if you searched “best place for dinner in town.” Instead of searching out entries to those listings that best contain your particular selection of keywords, it may search based on the underlying meaning – using your geographic location to locate brick-and-mortar establishments that have achieved a high consumer ranking. A number of other factors will also be used to forecast and put forward results based on the tremendous wealth of data Google sifts through, from a variety of online locations.

Going forward, a better emphasis will be placed on every word of a search query instead of simply the main keywords involved. The mission of Google is to better serve the consumer searching out a query, and this new algorithm is intended to do just that.

This system overhaul for the mega search engine is sure to not be without its fair share of kinks, and even though it was launched a month ago, Google only saw fit to announce it this week. For a more tech-savvy listing of the algorithm additions check out this story.

Small businesses may have already experienced a fluctuation in their search rankings; however, with this new-found knowledge, they can make strides to alter their SEO strategy accordingly.

A steady stream of high quality content is bound to still yield positive effects in SEO as this is one of Google’s hallmarks. The small business owner would do well to enlist the services of content creators or at the very least create such themselves to grow or maintain a positive online community and appearance.