UX - Make Your Website Count

June 4, 2020| Branding, Digital

User Experience:Make Your Website Count

Crafting a compelling experience that goes beyond the design

As with other products/services, User Experience (UX) in relation to websites is simply how people feel when they use such. Nevertheless, UX is more than ‘just’ a pretty website. Of course, it is essential to be aesthetically pleasing, but it also needs to consider emotional satisfaction. Being driven by needs and experiences the use of more technology comes into play and therefore it is essential to keep it as user-friendly as possible.

UX Strategy

You can measure the quality of the UX strategy based on these three main factors :

  • Usefulness
  • Usability
  • Branding

UX defines and meets the user’s needs by following guidelines, hence it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. On the contrary, use standards that have been developed over time, that the user is already adapted to, eg. a logo is found on the top left or middle and when clicking on it you get back to the landing page.


UX Strategy In Detail

Considering the following will help to get the most out of your web design regarding UX.

1. Usefulness

What is the goal of your website? It is crucial to understand the purpose of your site and its usefulness to the user.
The layout of your site should be set up accordingly.

2. Usability

As mentioned in the introduction, visiting and navigating through the website is basically all about the frictionless experience of a user.

3. Design

The Design and UI (User Interface) refer to the aesthetic quality and obviously go hand in hand with the UX of your site. If your website looks up to date, you keep your user engaged and interested, build trust and visually tell your brand story within the website.

4. Responsive Optimization

This popular, fancy word means nothing more than having your web design layout adjusted to different viewport sizes e.g. desktop, mobile, tablet. After all 52% of website traffic accounts to mobile devices.

5. Performance

Make sure that everything on your website functions properly. Also check links and buttons, to make sure they point to the correct links.
Always keep an eye on your website load. People’s browsing on the web has become very efficient and if your website doesn’t load fast it is very likely that the user will abandon it and look somewhere else.


The Very Benefits of UX (and UI)

A website presents the challenge to provide the user with essential information about your business, services or products, but also gives the opportunity to act as a 24h sales channel that can inform, convince and excite.

  • Gain User’s Trust
    A well build and appealing website can in fact leave a positive impression with your users, and will help gaining credibility of your quality services/products and trust in your business’s values.
    Having a website that is the opposite might result in negative associations with your business.
  • Build A Relationship With Your Customers
    A good website will not only tell the story of your business, but also engage your users in it, so they will become a part of it. Creating such meaningful, maybe even sharable, experiences will improve the overall customer relationship, loyalty, and brand awareness.
  • Save on development costs
    Having a structured and well thought-through website, does not only benefit your visitors, but also yourself (the owner).  Firstly, it will improve your SEO immensely and secondly, when updating your site with new content it will be done a lot quicker and efficient!

Do you need a new website or redesign?

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Brand efforts during COVID-19 crisis

April 14, 2020| Branding

Brand efforts during COVID-19 crisis

The communication to customers in a crisis is key

The way brands position their message during the COVID-19 crisis is more important than ever before.

There are plenty of ways for brands to find an opportunity during this crisis, nevertheless communication needs to be empathetic, authentic and human. In this uncertain times honesty and transparency are essential and you may even want to invite a dialogue with your customers.

Setting the wrong tone, even by accident, may be perceived as not being able to comprehend or undermine the scope of the crisis, which will be remembered by (potential) customers.

Show that you take action in supporting the community during this pandemic

When possible for the business to take specific actions during these challenging times will be received as extremely positive and makes them live up to their brand and core values in a very compassionate way.

© Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Canada

I’m extremely proud to mention this company that I recently started working together with. Rocky Mountain donated CA$500,000 worth of handcrafted chocolate across Canada to non-profit organizations, frontline health care workers, food banks, and community groups.

© Christian Dior

LVMH, France

With Europe being strongly affected by the virus the giant group LVMH became extremely engaged in the fight against COVID-19. They switched their factory productions from famous fragrances of Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy to make hand sanitizer gel for hospitals.

Louis Vuitton, as well as Dior manufacture non-medical masks in their workshops.
The jewellery brand Fred donates 20% of its online sales to the initiative “Visières de l’Espoir”, which uses 3D printing to produce face shields for hospital medical staff.

© Nike

Nike, USA

Nike has also been extremely committed to give back during those hard times, not only by donating $1.6 million to eg. humanitarian organizations, medical care, food banks, but also by making use of their innovative know-how. In collaboration with the Oregon Health & Science University they developed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of full-face shields with air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect against the coronavirus.
The aspiration was to create a PPE in the most simple way (9-step process) and making use of available material, such as Nike’s collar paddings for footwear and cords for apparel.

Small businesses around the world

Apart from naming some of the most well-known brands it shouldn’t be unsaid here, that there are numerous small businesses- that might even struggle themselves- but are relentless in offering their know-how, skill, production facilities to provide masks, hand sanitizers etc. to support their communities! Those do a fantastic job and are an incredible inspiration!

Offer a gift of value to members & nonmembers

Offer discounts to show that you value and appreciate their business.
Be flexible with your customer and maybe even offer special rates. To name a few: in the fitness sector some offer free work out classes, mobile companies provide unlimited data for free or wave late fees, insurance companies reduct their rates for their contracts.

Shift the focus of your business

If the business allows, delivery might be the way to go. Finding creative ways to keep it running within a safe distance, while providing customers with what they might need/want.
Take Dunkin Donuts for example they more or less launched a specific loyalty program giving extra bonus points for pre-ordering or free delivery for getting your order right to your door steps.
Moreover, there has also been an exclamation of communities to “support your local businesses”, making people aware to buy locally helping especially smaller ones to prevent them from their struggles or having them to shut down completely.

Stay timely and updated

As we all are faced with an unprecedented situation, it is utterly important to keep up to date with recent developments. Adapt to safety & health measurements that need to be taken and keep your your customers informed about any changes. As customers are getting used to the current situation you also want to calm they fears and concerns. So, businesses need to show that they are managing and navigating through the crisis and are with them every step of the way. Be serious, on point and don’t create any false hopes.


LIV Super Bowl - Commercials 2020

February 3, 2020| Branding, Event

Super Bowl Commercials 2020

This 54th Super Bowl took place at the Hard Rock stadium in Miami, Florida, with the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Like in the years before, this years big game ads were anything other than cheap. A 30 seconds spot was available for $5.6 million and according to FOX they sold the entire allotment by late November.

 

Before we dive right into this years overview of commercials, the NFL itself had something to celebrate as well – 100 YEARS OF NFL. According to the motto ‘Here’s to the next 100 and the game’s future stars!’ we’re celebrating the sport, which is lager than any team or individual, reaching and bringing people together from all across the US (and let me add worldwide).
Below, also find a well made animation graphic taking you through a brief history of NFL.

https://youtu.be/lbkafMhmvMo

Agency: 72andSunny

(Image credit: Sports Logos.net)

Given the responses on the internet, it is fair to say that this years Super Bowl ads seem to have done quite well in general, with a a few exceptions of course. Nevertheless, this year ads did not spark a huge discourse, nor was there a single one that stood out in particular, like in the previous years.

Interestingly enough though, we were surprised to see two political ads from President Trump and Bloomberg, which we have not seen in recent history. According to a USA Today report the last political ad aired in a Super Bowl can be dated back to 1989.

A lot of commercials were star-studded again, featuring Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi, John Krasinski, Chris Evans, Maisie Williams, Post Malone’s, Martin Scorsese & Jonah Hill, Sam Elliot, Sylvester Stallone, Chrissy Teigen & John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Brady, Taraji P. Henson, Sofia Vergara …. and many, many, many, many more

DASHLANE
Agency: Lightning Orchard

Let me start with one of my favorite ads, that literally is to die for, because it’s simply hilarious and captures the essence of this business so very well!

https://youtu.be/B5lslSPfhkg

ROCKET MORTGAGE
Agency: High Dive

Your home is the one place where you can truly be yourself. What a clever way make this topic approachable, fun and Jason Momoa is just the perfect person for this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2ERWFMLptw

Did you ask yourself as well,…. how?!

Watch a behind the scenes video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCVftPzNB8A

MICROSOFT
Agency: McCann New York

Katie Sowers is the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl. Well done ad, that brings the message across in a very natural and positive way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xPn4DXIj5w


SNICKERS
Agency: BBDO New York

Seeing mixed opinions of a ‘Snickers-hole’ that’s feeding the world some Snickers. You make up your mind on this one… I’m fine with just the candy bar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLAV4LYO-yU

HULU

Whether you like Tom Brady or not, is Hulu missing the point when using a double meaning that mostly gets people talking about the player not the service?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ed61xjrZx8

SQUARESPACE
Agency: In-house

I really don’t mind simplicity but without the context of the extended version of the ad it’s extremely difficult to follow!
Quite confusing… don’t worry I can create your website 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVqtGHcQeos


Beer Branding

January 12, 2020| Branding

Beer Branding

According to the American Brewers Association total US beer sales were 1% down in 2018, nevertheless craft beer sales have shown an increase of 4% – claiming 13,2% of the beer market.

Despite the slight decrease in total sales it is inevitable to say that the beer industry is however a significant market defined by $114.2 billion sales, hence offering huge economic potential.

Craft brewing

The trendy word of ‘Craft Brewery’ has come to spread thanks to the popularity of rather smaller, and independent commercial breweries with the goal of making stronger and more variable flavours of beer. The exact definitions for that may be tricky to recognize, especially for a casual beer lover; so simply seek the certified independent craft seal to identify a U.S. craft brewer.

Brewers Association

The growing number of US breweries provides business opportunities and at the same time inflames a battle of successful (long-term) market establishment and market dominance.

Therefore, it is ever more important to not only win over your customers with a deliciously refreshing beer, but taking it a step further than the competition and creating an over all brand appearance that will distinguish yours from the rest.

BASIC KEY INGREDIENTS

1. Developing a game plan for a tasty beer

I better leave this part to you – the brewmaster!!
Definitely offering my services as a taster.

 

2. Define & position your brewery

The most important question you have to ask yourself when defining your brewery’s brand position is ‘Why?’. Understanding what makes your brewery unique to identify the differentiation to your competition. What are your core values, who is your ideal customer and why should someone be interested in your brewery, let alone buy your beer? What emotions should your brewery provoke?
What is your brewery’s story/history, where is it located and what end game do you pursue regarding distribution.

Getting aware of all this might even be a helpful tool to discover your tagline, think about ‘Born in the rockies’ (Coors), ‘One Life, Right? Don’t’ blow it.’ (Kona Brewing), ‘Beer for punks’ (BrewDog) or ‘Dam Good Beer’ (10 Barrel Brewing).

 

3. Define your brewery through branding

  • Name
  • Brand System (logo, colors, typography, visual elements…)
  • Label, Packaging Design
  • Print Assets
  • Website
  • Environmental Design, Signage

Name
As with most brand names there are few aspects you should consider when deciding on a brewery name. Reflect on your brand history, niche and values to find a name that is relatable.It should be easy to remember. In addition, check that there aren’t any cultural misconceptions!
For brewery names, specifically, evaluate whether additional product lines can be integrated.
Last, but not least, make sure the name hasn’t already been claimed. To be 100% certain you can also contact a (trademark) lawyer.


Brand System

Of course, your logo (and tagline) will be an essential asset of your brand system and will find application in print assets, labels, packaging, merchandising etc. Apart from the main logo you might want to develop additional elements like icons and patterns. When creating those remember that typography and color have a huge impact on how your brand is being perceived in the very first seconds, eg. bold, vintage, modern etc.
It is also important to have your designer develop a brand guideline to define its usage.

 

Print Assets
You will need various print assets when for advertising, flyers, menu cards etc. Your designer should be able to create a cohesive look based on your brand system.


Label, Packaging Design

Make sure to use durable, waterproof labels
Keep in mind! Packaging/Labels need to have all required information and be approved e.g. by TTB (US) or according to EU’s provisions on food labelling.

 

Website
Investing in a website is essential to give your (prospective) customer the nitty-gritty information like products, location(s), opening hours, brewery tours, and in the long-run you might even expand and include events and a shop.
Be sure to develop a responsive website, which basically means that the layout adapts to different sizes of devices, like mobile and tablet and consider investing in SEO (so your website is ranked high on search engines).

While your website might be under construction, I suggest that you make use of an online presentation by teasing or giving most necessary information with a microsite. Meanwhile, it is also a good idea to think about your social media presence and include it in your marketing plan. Those platforms are more or less free tools to promote your beer/brewery. With frequent updates you can attract, inform, connect with new customers and/or visitors easily.

 

Environmental Design, Signage
With an environmental design you have the possibilities to turn your brand story into a brand experience. When customers visit your brewery you want to captivate them and live your brand values in a ‘3D space’. The way your brewery space will be designed, use of materials, atmosphere, music, signage etc. will give them a well rounded, cohesive experience.

Are you a brewmaster who needs a hand with brand strategy & design?

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LIII Super Bowl - Commercials 2019

February 4, 2019| Branding, Event

Super Bowl Commercials 2019

Agency: 72andSunny SPOILER: WINNER! Not sure it’s fair to say that an ad for the NFL can be the winner of them all, but it simply is! Celebrating its 100th anniversary more than 40 current and former NFL Players have come together to make this ad truly stand out showing the passion for the game in all its glory- or should I say messy banquet hall.


Did you watch the big game? Well, let’s get down to business. If you wanted to appear on the big screen at this years LIII Super Bowl you had to put $5 million and up on the table. Hereby CBS was pretty much on the same level in comparison to NBC’s pricing last year.

Homerun for CBS

Apart from all the hype of the most anticipated ads in a year don’t forget to keep an eye on how CBS promoted its network including CBS all Access and Showtime.

Companies are increasingly taking their new brands and products to the big stage
Accomplished, well-known brands take a step further seeing the value in promoting new products. There’s no bigger platform to grab millions of potential customer’s attention that ‘easily’. Basically, it’s guaranteed that people will actively pay attention, not mentioning the social impact. However, such companies can’t make a lightly decision about going into the Super Bowl- in the end it’s a $7 – $10 million outlay. It definitely depends on the product and the creative. This year companies like PepsiCo, Kraft-Heinz and Anheuser-Busch were going for this marketing strategy.

  •  Kraft-Heinz: Frozen Food Brand Devour
  • Anheuser-Busch: Budweiser (Copper Lager), Michelob Ultra (Pure Gold), SpikedSeltzer (Bon & Viv)

PepsiCo – Spotlighting it’s 1 year old water brand Bubly feat. Michael Bublé

Agency: Merkley+Partners

Super Bowl Commercial contenders, who will score a TD?!

Automotive: Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Lexus, Jaguar

Airlines & Travel: Turkish-Airlines, Norwegian Cruise

Food & Beverage: Bud Light, PepsiCo, Pringles, Avocados from Mexico, M&Ms, Bon & Viv, Doritos, Devours, Skittles, Planter, Bubly, Pizza Hut, Budweiser, Burger King, Stella Artois, Michelob Ultra, Planters

Consumer Goods: Colgate, Olay, Persil

Media & Online: T-Mobile, Mint Mobile, Verizon, Bumble, Wix, Hulu, Amazon

Others: TurboTax, SimpliSafe, WeatherTech, Sketchers

Mercedes Benz – Say the Word feat. Ludacris

Agency: Merkley+Partners

This Mercedes ad has not really been mentioned in either the top or the bottom section, but it definitely made it on my top list. It’s just simple, not trying too hard, puts a smile on your face and most importantly brings the message across- own a Mercedes, and get what you actually want.

Amazon – Alexa, Not everything makes the cut

Agency: Lucky Generals

Alexa might not have made the cut in all sorts of products, however Amazon did with their commercial. It was one of the more pleasing ones to watch, probably also because of Harrison Ford’s acting.

Bud Light & Game of Thrones

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Droga5

The genius collaboration of Bud Light and Game of Thrones scored a TD amongst the viewers! The creative twist in the end of the commercial, despite the risky move of having the Bud Knight getting knocked off his horse, turned out to be a huge success. The unexpected crossover with the teasing of the final season of Game of Thrones definitely got everyone talking about it.

Sketchers – Easy feat. Tony Romo

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Droga5

Whether you’re a Cowboys fan or not, how can you not like Tony Romo?! – It might not be a smashing commercial but come on “Romo Mode” and that smirk,  just pure entertainment!


Given the fact that PepsiCo was an official sponsor of the NFL, which was held in Atlanta- the hometown of Coca Cola-  it’s interesting to take a look at them as well.

PepsiCo undeniably had their full branding game on, eg. they put up ads all over Atlanta with slogans like ‘Look who’s in town for Super Bowl LIII’ and ‘Pepsi in Atlanta, how refreshing.’ An extremely witty way to approach the rivalry between those beverage giants.

When it comes to their big Super Bowl ad it’s not quite sure whether the question ‘Is Pepsi OK?’ will be answered with certainty. The commercial is not bad, but it also doesn’t really hit the mark, rather features a mess of celebrities.


What you could also observe was that a lot of companies used cross media marketing extensively to get the most of their ads, spendings, respectively. Basically this is not a new strategy at all, however this omnichannel approach has been extended so that brands started to create a wider story around their messaging. Whether it is an extended ad, short movie, live-stream, online game etc. the viewer is supposed to interact with the brand in a deeper way.

 

Overall, the commercials this year really tried to stay away from anything controversial or politic and focused on sending across positive messages including climate change, diversity, unity, empowerment and human connection.


Package Design Makes A Difference

January 16, 2019| Branding

Package Design Makes A Difference

Packaging, branding and vice- versa; make your brand storytelling work on all mediums.

Once you’ve defined your brand, brand strategy respectively, it should be relatively easy to identify what your brand stands for and in what way this can be represented via packaging. Of course, this also works vice-versa, because how much you invest in your packaging reflects on your brand as well. Cohesiveness is probably one of the most important keywords here.

 

First impressions matter

First impressions generally take only a few seconds, therefore effective packaging is important to:

  • grab the (potential) consumer’s attention
  • convince him of the product (which he might not even know) or
  • make him consider/take a closer look at it and
  • ultimately make him decide to chose your product over the competition


Design that stands out

Your packaging represents your brand and consequently it’s promise to deliver a quality product and experience. There are multiple factors given the design that can make a difference and create an impact or not.

Aesthetics

As mentioned before, stick to your overall brand style and transfer your art of storytelling onto your packaging. Keep in mind that your choice of packaging material can have a huge impact regarding quality.

Color

Color is an important aspect when designing your packaging. It’s one of the first things that can grab your customers attention. However, when choosing colors consider whether it fits to your brand, as well as the psychology and cultural usage of it, to make sure you’re sending the right message.

Icons

In our age of digitization emojis and icons have become a crucial element, and are often even understood internationally. Such icons can come very handy as they not only have a specific meaning, but also are connected to memories and feelings.

Emotions

All of the above definitely contribute to create a certain feel, and consequently trigger specific emotions within your customer. Therefore, it’s important to know your target group and build a connection with them. Such emotions can lead to long-term relationships between the customer and the product (brand), which is the ultimate goal.

 

Depending on the product you’re trying to sell, envision how it might look like on a shelf next to each other and/or surrounded by competitors.

Unpacking the Design

So far you put all consideration into account given the design aspect. However the process does not stop here. I’m pretty sure you once bought a product that was shrink-wrapped in plastic and you had to work your way around with scissors to finally hold the product in your hands…

This is an example of bad user experience and could lead to the consumer, as satisfied as he might be with the product, next time standing in front of the shelf consider grabbing the competitor, because he remembered the struggle of opening.

It is utterly important to think about the whole user experience when unpacking, so the customer will be instantly confirmed to have bought something of good quality, and has a great first impression.

Do you have a packaging project coming up?

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Why to rebrand

December 28, 2018| Branding

Why To Rebrand?

Embrace a rebrand

A company’s brand identity is the fundamental that ‘it’s built on’. Above all it states its core values and defines what image it represents. However, a brand identity is never completely finished and needs to be adapted from time to time.

A rebrand is necessary due to different changes within and outside of the company, be it that your audience expands, the company’s goals change or due to technological progresses and future trends.

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS A REBRAND?

Generally speaking it’s an overhaul of your existing brand image. This may include a new brand strategy, a new brand positioning and a new brand image (logo, typography, graphic assets).

Of course, a rebrand does not always have to be as far fetched – sometimes just a logo redesign can be enough to refresh your brand.

Do you need help with a rebrand?

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The Art of Introduction

December 20, 2018| Branding

The Art Of Introduction

Make your business cards stand out

Networking and making connections is essential in every area of our social life. Even though it might not be face to face all the time these days, you definitely want to make the most out of your “direct contact approach”. This is especially important when you want to make your first impression count. A handshake can be forgotten quite easily, not so much a unique business card with your contact information that will appear in someone’s purse later on.

Make a memorable introduction with your business cards!

A business card is not just a simple piece of paper with your contact details on them, but a representation of your brand your business, respectively. Hence, hiring a professional, who understands your brand values/ identity and is aware of the various print options is important. This way those values get translated on your business cards. The possibilities regarding design and print process are very broad, so it’s best to invest your money once, and wisely.

Did you know?

Back in the 17th century “business cards” or better so-called “visiting-cards” were used by the aristocracy when attending an event. In order to praise the arrival of the guest such cards were handed over to the servants to get introduced.

Later on those cards were essential for anyone of the upper class to bring to every household they would visit. Vice-versa they were collected from those visiting.

Another form of business cards that was used, particularly in London, during this period were “trade cards”.  Such trade cards were usually a form of business advertisement that included a map and directions. A pretty clever way to promote your business, considering systematic street names and numbers haven’t been quite developed back then. Those cards were often printed with woodcut or letterpress (something we can’t get enough of nowadays).

During the Industrial Revolution it became essential for the rising middle class to exchange contact information (on plain, heavy paper & with clear lettering), which can be seen as a combination of visiting and trade cards- a first version of our modern business cards today.


To sum up, investing in the design and quality of your business cards is essential in order to impress your opposite and stay relevant.

 

  • With business cards you can make your (first) impression count
  • They are very effective direct marketing tools
  • Their design & quality can be unique – and make you stand out
  • Business cards show that you are prepared

Do you need new business cards?

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