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Ben Lee - 9:59 am May 21, 2014

Standing the Test of Time

In the world of advertising and marketing, there are as many books on the subject as there are agencies themselves. Some are good, some are great, and some are just plain horrible. So how do you pick the wheat from the chaff? Our agency’s senior copywriter, a reader of books himself, found an excellent article that recommends some great books on marketing and creativity that have stood the test of time.

Check out this Top 5 list and enjoy: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/5-marketing-and-creativity-books-stand-test-time-157640

Ben Lee - 9:13 am January 24, 2013

Is Social Media a recipe for success for B2B?

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about social media. But does it work for B2B companies? It seems anytime social media is mentioned in B2B circles, people scoff because they have this preconceived notion that social media is all about teenagers and Facebook. Wrong!

Little do they know, studies have shown that B2B companies with an extensive social media presence report ROI more than four times that of companies with no social network engagement. Think LinkedIn, online communities, surveys and YouTube demos.

With these kinds of results, you would think more B2B executives would be on board—but they’re not.  In fact, almost 43% of B2B CEO’s never even considered social media.

Why not? Maybe it’s because B2B buying decisions are bigger than most B2C decisions.  Maybe it’s a risk-averse reaction to reputational concerns and online relationships. Clearly extensive research must be done before any major purchase is made.

Ironically, social media can aid those B2B decisions.  Social media allows for engagement between individuals and it humanizes a company—it can help establish and deepen relationships with customers and vendors. Having the power to receive instant feedback and answer questions or concerns with a potential client should be reason enough to give it a try.

Not to mention, all of the different social media platforms will help improve your search engine rankings on Google.  I would say that’s a serious perk.

Ben Lee - 12:16 pm January 11, 2011

Logo Evolution

A client asked last week, “When is it time to change our logo?” Eric answered him briskly, “When your company changes.”

Your logo symbolizes your company. It stands for all your corporate values and represents the customer experience. When those aspects change significantly—that is they improve—the logo needs to be updated to capture them. That’s what Starbucks Coffee will be doing in March when it rolls out its new mark.

Among my favorite logos are AT&T, Shell Oil and Volkswagen—all old ones that have evolved over the years with their corporate ancestor. Mostly they get modernized to reflect progressing aesthetics. Shell Oil, for instance, has updated its shell and evolved it from a representational image to an expressionistic one. Volkswagen’s initials-in-a-circle have gotten sleeker, more high-tech (and expensive) looking as their cars have done the same.

Apple Computer started out with a crunchy-granola, fruit label type logo that spoke of its California upbringing and small-company, “hand selected” philosophy. It was a great way to represent food and wine and a new way to talk about technology. As Apple dedicated itself to simplicity and being the computer anyone and everyone could use it drastically simplified its logo to just the apple with rainbow. Changes from rainbow to black to white to chrome reflect contemporary aesthetics as well as Apple’s position as a technology leader.

None of the companies we just discussed use their name as part of their logo. This is partly language-neutral globalism, partly ubiquity and partly pride. Starbucks has joined this crew with a 40th anniversary iteration of their mermaid. A company spokesman said that the mnemonic refinement reflects refinement of their strategy.  The Associated Press dug a little deeper (January 5, 2011)

“The brand is now evolving to a point where the coffee association is too confining and restrictive,” said John Quelch, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School. “Starbucks is fundamentally selling an experience, but by no means is coffee the only part of the experience. It is important that they not have a logo that is too confining.”

I never did see the connection between mythical human-fish hybrids and coffee. I sort of get how she can symbolize the other-worldly, get-away-from-it-all experience of relaxing with a good cup of coffee (something Starbucks has never had). But what she has to do with students and officeless consultants sponging wi-fi, lines of SUVs snaking toward the take-out window and the pseudo-socializing of social networks someone needs to explain to me.

Ben Lee - 12:18 pm December 27, 2010

Instant Authenticity

Why build a connection with consumers when you can buy one, ready made and only a tad out-of-date? Lucky Whip anyone?

Short & Sassy is how I like them.

Short & Sassy is how I like them.

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