Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What makes a logo cool?

So much has been written about what makes an effective logo—simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, appropriate (trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave … whoops, nope, that’s something else)—that you could blog about the subject indefinitely. But what makes a logo cool? “Coolness” is in the eye of the beholder.

One of the concepts we at RWA believe contributes to a logo’s coolness factor is a little hidden something that blows by most people. And, no, we’re not talking about the controversial subliminal advertising stuff. We’re talking the hidden symbols intentionally incorporated into logos that give the image a little extra oomph and may just work on a subconscious level to some extent.

This first one has gotten a lot of press, so you may already know about it. But it’s cool nonetheless. See the arrow imbedded between the orange “E” and “x?” It reinforces that “express” message.

 How about this one? Refocus your eyes from the tree to the white space that captures the likeness of a gorilla and a big cat face to face. Pretty cool, huh?

C’mon, this logo for Le Tour de France is epic. See the guy biking?

This one is a little tougher to see as well as to get. If you look closely, however, you can see a bear on the left side of the Matterhorn standing on his hind legs. The candy hails from Bern, Switzerland, a city, as the story goes, named after a bear.

Here we have a simple acronym for the London Symphony Orchestra. Or is it so simple? Upon closer inspection, you’ll see that it’s also a conductor with a baton in his right hand.

There are countless other examples in corporate America, but we thought showing you a few might get your thirst going for finding others on your own. At RWA, we crank out logos for small- to mid-sized businesses all the time, and while they don’t all contain hidden symbols, they’re effective and pretty darned cool—at least that’s what our clients and peers say.

So whether it’s time for a total rebranding or you’re just thinking about freshening up your image, RWA has the creative team to make your logo memorable and your business 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rebranding: A pain, an unnecessary expense, or your next step?

Businesses of all sizes bring to the table now and again the question of rebranding, and the reasons are many. Some businesses simply want to keep up with the times and so freshen their image. Others merge with or acquire another company that requires a new face to reflect a new direction or product. Still others need a rebirth to distance themselves from a PR gaffe or even to gain distinction from competition.

For smaller businesses, like many of those we at the Ryan William’s Agency represent, rebranding involves advancing the marketing and advertising components that a business initially developed on its own rather than outsourcing to professionals because of the myriad of factors that constrain new companies. Startups face issues of cost, inexperience, time, a firm understanding of their own advertising needs, and more. 

However, a few years down the road, a business owner may realize that his logo, for example, needs updating and a professional quality added to it. Maybe the same goes for his signage, print ads, brochures, media kits and the like. They may well convey the right information, but in a somewhat unsophisticated package. After some time, an astute business owner using homegrown ad materials may begin to realize that, to continue to grow, the company’s ad campaign needs to advance. Designs may need to evolve. Photography, graphics and copywriting may need to improve. Even additional mediums—radio, online components, direct mail, social media—may need to be considered.

A good advertising agency doesn’t come in and completely toss out your previous campaign. At Ryan William’s, we cherry pick what has worked for you in the past and look for ways to improve upon those already strong concepts, as well as analyze where your poorer performing dollars are being spent and reallocate that spending to better-performing products. Contracting with an ad agency to rebrand your business might seem like an unnecessary additional expense at first. But, the additional sales reaped down the line from allowing a professional to recreate and place your advertising can actually far outweigh the initial expense of rebranding now, and leave you to do what you do best—run your business.

Rebranding isn’t as much a growing pain as it is a right of passage and a sign that your business has evolved to the next level.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Emphasizing “free” doesn’t cost much

There are so many messages today that businesses want to get across to their market, concepts of how to covey those messages through advertising, and mediums in which to broadcast them that it boggles the mind.

But, whether you’re running online banner ads or dropping leaflets from a blimp, there are a few basic concepts that have been around since Goodyear first launched its fleet of dirigibles that are as effective now as they were then. (FYI: It was 1912 when Goodyear started flying their logo, and at that time, it was more of a balloon than an actual blimp.) The concept? Emphasize the word “free.” Make it bigger than the surrounding text if you’re advertising in print; make it bold; make it a different color, uppercase the whole word.


Or, in broadcast advertising, say the word several times. Say it louder. Add affect. Why? Because everyone likes free stuff. That’s why you take that “Bob’s Discount Motor Lodge” tee shirt even though you have 100 tee shirts already that you never wear. That’s why convenience-store chain 7-Eleven nearly doubles sales the day of its anniversary when Slurpees are free and customers end up picking up an unplanned extra this or that. Heck, there are multimillion-dollar companies based solely around the pens, mugs, key chains, refrigerator magnets and about 1,000 other promotional products that businesses give away every day—for FREE. You can also convey “free” buy saying “don’t pay a penny” or “send no money,” but “free” says it all and it’s succinct.

Of course, in order to be able to incorporate the word into your advertising and make use of its magic, it’ll cost you. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot when you consider the potential upside. Sure, that frozen corn-syrupy goodness that 7-Eleven gives away each year, the tiny promotional paper cups, and the extra labor needed to cover the increase in customer traffic all costs money. But what the company realizes in increased sales for that day alone—never mind the publicity realized from the event, which leads to future Slupee and impulse-item sales—is remarkable.

Simple enough, but it works. If you don’t already, consider incorporating the concept into your advertising campaign, but remember where you got the idea. From us, Ryan William’s Agency. And no need to break out the checkbook. This one is free.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Avoid helping your competitors

The concept is this and it’s a simple one: In your advertising, sell YOUR particular brand of product or service and not just the idea of buying the type of product or service that you sell. If you manufacture fans, for example, and your advertising convinces a potential customer to buy one—it’s summer, it’s hot, fans cost less to operate than air conditioning—but falls short of why the buyer should purchase YOUR fan, you very well might create a sale for your competitor. 
Seems like a no-brainer, but helping competitors with poor advertising happens all the time and not just by unsophisticated mom-and-pop businesses. Cruise lines sell the idea of getting away from it all. Automakers ask if, by golly, you don’t deserve a new convertible. Internet service providers push how much faster DSL is than dial-up service. But which cruise line, which make of car, which ISP? Ads that fail to position the advertiser properly can sizzle with a call to action—successfully driving consumers to a travel agent to book a cruise, to a car lot to purchase a car and to the Web to research Internet access—but who gets the sale is a crapshoot.
Of course, convincing your market that it needs whatever it is you sell is right up there on the priority list too, but directly opposite your brand, not below. Don’t just sell “a” vacation, “a” convertible or DSL service. Sell that your cruise line travels to where others don’t; that your make of automobile gets 45 miles to the gallon; that your ISP offers same-day installation.
Simple? Quite, but sometimes it’s the small stuff that’s overlooked. At Ryan William’s Agency, while we’ve got some big, creative widget-selling ideas, we also won’t let you forget the basics. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Twitter Twick

When the news of Congressman Anthony Weiner posting a less-than-congressman-like photo of himself on Twitter hit the big time, a lot of folks asked, “How in the heck do you post a picture on Twitter? I thought the medium was limited to 140 characters only.”

Well, it is. Tweeting pics really means adding a URL to your tweet that links to a posting of your photo. It’s akin to posting an image on your Facebook page and then tweeting about it and leading followers back to your post. Here’s what you do:

First, dial up www.TwitPic.com and log in using your Twitter username and password. The home page will ask you if you want to upload a photo or video (yes, you can upload video as well). Click on the link and a browser button will appear that allows you to navigate around your computer and upload the image or video you’d like to share.

TwitPic accepts images in GIF, JPG and PNG formats up to 10 megabytes each in size and videos in most formats up to 1.5 minutes in length. Once uploaded, add your Tweet message, which is limited to 114 characters to save room for the link to come, and voila—a tweet appears on Twitter with an automatically condensed link to your photo or video.

Okay, so the concept of tweeting pics is a bit of a misnomer because the process isn’t direct. But it’s not difficult to pull off, adds a twist to your tweeting routine and is a nice twick to have up your social media sleeve.

If you like learning about these kinds of tools as well as bigger-picture concepts to help you with your marketing and advertising campaigns, check back to the Ryan William’s Agency blog often. We’re always blogging about something useful, informational, entertaining or just plain funny. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sometimes it’s what you don’t say

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and although this installment of our RWA blog might be stepping on our copywriter’s toes, in the following three examples, they’d be right. We really like these print ads. They get the message across instantly and use virtually no words, other than a logo, doing it. Concepts like these don’t come along often, so when they do, agencies like to jump on them. Enjoy.

Bose Noise Reduction Headphones. Wonder how much they paid the model.

Lazer Bike Helmets. You should see the car.

8 in 1 Dental Snacks. No animals were harmed in the production of this ad.

At Ryan William’s Agency, we know that sometimes serious advertising makes you laugh and, if presented correctly, can sell a lot of widgets. Maybe we can work a little humor into your campaign.