Have you ever clicked open a marketing email you’ve subscribed to — I use Apple Mail, but other email clients like Outlook are also affected — only to discover those email newsletters aren’t loading the images that are integral to the message? When the images that form the heart and soul of structured email content aren’t displaying, showing up as only a question mark on a blue background, it’s a big problem for both sender and recipient.
If you’re using a web browser for email; Gmail, Yahoo, etc., then this isn’t a problem. It may be, though, for anyone using a desktop client to retrieve their mail.
If you watch television, use the post office, have a checking account, buy gasoline, or enjoy modern art, you’ve seen their work. Driven by both research and pure instinct, the duo is responsible for a library’s worth of abstract marks and recognizable logotypes that continue to withstand the test of time.
In one short (~3′) video, design legends Ivan Chermayeff* and Tom Geismar discuss their founding, the early days, what makes a mark memorable, and how they’ve planned for their iconic firm’s future in a global environment of design on demand, ranging from crowd sourced adventure to template driven desperation to cattle call design auctions that start at the bottom and usually progress downward.
Two Legendary Designers On Memorable Careers
In this video the unassuming pair go on record about the formative years, their staying power, and what they bring to the highly competitive table of corporate communications and graphic design. Whether you’re a client or a designer, what they have to say is invaluable in charting a communications course.
After a Penn Railroad train ran off the rails, PR pioneer Ivy Lee gained the upper hand over reporters covering the story with a subtle account of the accident that minimized the reputational damage to his client.
Public Relations Born Spinning A Train Derailment
The modern era of managed information began with a succinct press release written by a former newsman on behalf of his industrial client, a northeastern railroad that had just suffered a derailment resulting in multiple deaths. To be sure, ten eyewitnesses if asked to describe the accident would have ten different accounts of the exact same facts. But the one that made it into the New York Times that day is the only one that counts.
The first press release of the modern era was crafted in 1906 by Ivy Lee, one of public relation’s original founders, for his client the Pennsylvania Railroad. Following a derailment that resulted in multiple deaths, Lee arranged for reporters to be transported to the accident scene – under his watchful eye – and at the same time released an account of what happened, complete with asides, misinformation, and human interest. Continue reading →
When it comes to promoting a business, particularly a restaurant, nothing is more critical than the brand logotype. Getting it right goes a long, long way towards making an impression on a distracted public that sees thousands of visuals on a daily basis.
To be successful, a corporate mark requires design integrity, repetition in the marketplace, and a connection to the goods or services it represents. Whether abstract or literal, the Nikes, Apples, and Coca-Colas of the business world rely on a recognizable visual that connotes quality and trust.
Emoticon, Meet Emoji
Looking at the before and after (above left) of IHOP’s haircut and a shave, it’s difficult to imagine how the approval process resulted in what struck one reviewer as a “sinister” smile beneath the word mark.
It’s arguably more legible, but only slightly, and that’s about where it starts and ends.
The IHOP acronym, in case some may have forgotten, stands for International House of Pancakes. But that’s not what I see when I try to decipher the new and improved visual. Emoticon, meet emoji.
HOW Design recently interviewed Siegel+Gale, a New York based branding agency known for their standout work, on the recent spate of chain restaurant logo overhauls. For anyone who follows corporate design, the candid remarks by the agency’s designers are for the most part an indictment of the perils of lackluster graphics.
A couple of things stand out in this collection of shareholder dependent corporate eateries. First, it’s more than okay to overhaul the corporate brand on an as needed basis. Nothing says stay away like an aged, dated, and most importantly irrelevant logotype. Second, once having decided on a freshening, make sure you’re just not slipping sideways.
Design updates should – probably – include references to historical looks that over time successfully represented a company to its public. But don’t let fear of letting go put up unnecessary barriers to a truly fresh, inspired interpretation that acknowledges the past while extending the future. Bon appétit!
The first public inkling that something was amiss came when the company’s letter to dealers popped up on the brand’s product online forum. That was January 16, less than a year out from the 2014 official public launch and just a few months into production of the reverse sit-in trike designed to take on BRP’s sit-on Spyder.
slingshot parked for safety repairs
Considering the daily barrage at the time of global and constant publicity concerning GM’s failure to clearly and promptly address their otherwise miniscule ignition switch fatal defect, or the ongoing problems of Japan’s Takata Corporation, supplier of proven lethal airbags to the automotive industry, the approach taken by at least two powersport dealer website management firms to allow Polaris’ fledgling Slingshot to remain in their dealer client’s main banner rotator is puzzling to say the least.
Those dealership content management contractors are well paid on the their promise of providing vigilant oversight, facilitating manufacturer communications, and lightning quick content updates to franchisees usually ill-equipped to oversee the day-to-day front end needs of online marketing. Or not.
crisis management – crucial for credibility
Taken together with the lack of transparency by the manufacturer, Polaris, and it’s a perfect example of a communications misfire from the top down that’s disappointing at the very least, lending further credence to the industry’s ongoing need for professional communication managers with the knowledge, skill, and authority to manage the occasional crisis. Consumers deserve better for a three-wheeled product that tops out at nearly $30,000.
Florida’s Pinellas County is the most densely populated county in the state. It’s also the smallest, but that has never affected its ability to draw tourists from around the globe, intent on visiting world-class beaches from Caladisi Island State Park on the northern end to Fort Desoto County Park guarding the entrance to Tampa Bay.
With gas prices at their lowest level in years, an economy that’s on the rebound for the first time in years, and a brutal winter that continues to lash the northeast, convincing northerners to turn their wanderlust into momentum and head south isn’t a heavy lift.
The edgy “WinterBlows” campaign plants irresistible (and guaranteed to have lines forming for selfies) faux snowmen on the sidewalks displaying sandwich boards headlined “Sunshine or bust!” and the WinterBlows.com URL.
Is it working? I’d have to say yes, considering how congested the main two-lane north-south beach artery, Gulf Boulevard, has become in recent days. There’s nothing that can match a smart, well executed, marketing solution.
Like every other area of corporate communications, from PR to advertising, the social in social media is the leading influencer effecting the creative upgrade.
finding new media outlets
For GE, that means taking advantage of previously untapped platforms like late night talk, boosting “Fallonventions” on the Jimmy Fallon Show to demonstrate the brand’s human side.
Others describe the new approach as moving from data to gut, and doing what connects emotionally. United States Gypsum (USG), hardly a warm and fuzzy candidate for storytelling, did just that in their “It’s Your World” ad series.
With user experience driving this new approach, the goal is to connect potential buyers using content that explains a brand’s product in an engaging and educational manner. How well that will work with traditional buyers used to making dollars and cents decisions based on bottom line performance will determine B-to-B creative in a way that could be hugely transformative.
And if its proven effective in the long run over traditional methods, the need for involving creative direction that’s familiar with social media will be paramount.
Ogilvy Social describes how brand reach plummeted after Facebook hit the brakes on organic.
Brands, Markets, Budgets Strategy
Once not so very long ago, retail business had a narrow choice of media for advertising and marketing; the Yellow Pages, newspapers, and broadcast. Depending on the size of the market, a newspaper or two may have offered competitive rates, along with radio and t.v. But unless your business was cars, clothes, furniture or groceries, it was pretty much hit or miss.
As broadband began rolling out there was a brief moment when print was cruising laid back at altitude while digital media was taxiing for takeoff. Didn’t last long. Overnight, print and the public airwaves found themselves powerless to head off the rush to the exits by marketers chasing the promise of free forever online homesteads. Woot. Continue reading →
Will Gay Wears Yellow Shoes At Helm of Disney In-House Creative
What’s it like to head up the in-house shop in charge of Disney messaging? For Yellow Shoes creative director Will Gay, it’s just another day in the candy store, where his clients include Disney Parks, Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club, Disney Cruise Line and Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa.
Speaking to over 75 Ad Fed Tampa Bay members and guests, Gay recalled his beginnings as an art director and his fascination with how completely the Wonderful World of Disney, an NBC network pioneer in the early days of broadcast television, engaged the audience.
“I realized that what the audience was watching was just one big infomercial, and then it dawned on me that if people can be entertained they’ll forget they’re being advertised to,” a connection made as he studied how Walt Disney approached the marketing challenge.
Yellow Shoes the agency was the solution to a problem the various Disney brands – which includes eight theme parks – were having running their campaigns independently of each other. The agency’s name reflects the color of the footwear of Disney’s most famous icon, Mickey Mouse.
Gay’s biggest success, the recent Free The Goat campaign, was powered by Disney’s highly developed network of bloggers, a healthy portion of social media, and a popular Twitter #freethegoat hashtag that’s still popping up. The goal, aside from driving attendance, was to directly channel user involvement and to capture the unique metrics of a devoted consumer.