I see a lot of movies. And as much as I adore a quirky independent film or a sweeping period drama, my first love is a popcorn-friendly summer blockbuster. The bigger the budget and the more ridiculous the storyline, the better. Give me sexy explosions and an unlikely hero trying to save a world on the brink of destruction, and I’m a happy guy. And so it was, with the sort of excitement usually reserved for 7-year-olds at Christmas, that I sat down for a late-night screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
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“Hey, let’s put together a promotional video and tell the world about the company through our YouTube channel!” Sounds like a straightforward statement and a great idea in this day and age of owned social media platforms — but the idea of creating a video and posting it on YouTube is just the beginning. There is so much more to creating a promotional video than just grabbing a camera and rolling. A project like this requires much forethought and planning. Some tips to think about:
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It’s great when you’ve developed a specialty or become an expert on a topic. You know an industry or market forwards and backwards. It’s a key point of differentiation for many brands — expertise — and something to use to your advantage. But sometimes that deep knowledge and experience can be a hindrance to generating new ideas or investigating different possibilities. You become stuck in a rut, doing what you’ve always done or rejecting new ideas or approaches because “it’ll never work.” You see obstacles instead of possibilities, if you can even see the possibilities in the first place. You say “why bother” instead of “why not.”
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Understanding the target audience is probably the most important thing we do here at Two Rivers Marketing. It’s the basis for creating messages that are meaningful and memorable. So when Vermeer Corporation asked us to create graphics to hang on the walls at the Des Moines International Airport concourse area, it was easy for us to put ourselves in the audience’s shoes.
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A popular question we hear at the agency is: “What’s your opinion about the future of long-form content?” It’s a great topic to consider because a big part of marketing these days is creating “stuff” for people to read, listen, watch or otherwise consume. Understanding the popularity and viability of different lengths and formats of “stuff” is important to our success. Historically, much of the stuff marketers created was short-form content — TV or radio commercials, magazine and newspaper ads, billboards, etc. It was mass media content that we hoped would reach the right people.
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My husband and I are parents to 6-year-old identical twin boys. Sometimes, I find myself loving them in a way that makes me want to put them under the covers and read books to them for the rest of their life just so I don’t lose sight of them. At other times, I find myself hating that no matter where we need to be, someone always has to go to the bathroom, or someone is always thirsty, or someone is always, always, saying, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom!”
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We love building mobile apps at our agency. Mobile development plays a significant role in the future of digital marketing. But developing mobile applications can be expensive. Native development of apps to support iOS, Android and most recently MS Surface devices is a financial commitment. If there is a need for a mobile app, it’s important to have a vision in place with a plan to enhance and expand the application to grow its value and purpose over time.
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A few weeks ago, the Des Moines area was blanketed with more than a foot of heavy, wet snow. And while I was cursing Mother Nature as I cleared my driveway, the neighbor boys across the street were building the biggest snowman I’ve ever seen. Easily 15 feet high and, at the base, 8 feet across. It was ridiculous and awesome and the kind of thing only a couple of bored, industrious 14-year-olds are capable of creating.
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Corporations are people — at least those with a good message, anyway. It’s hard to develop an emotional connection with a faceless logo or product, and those companies that showcase a personality (rather than just a product) are bound to be more successful at developing a relationship with the audience. The following will take a look at five ways to humanize your brand, citing some of my favorite examples of campaigns that don’t push the product, but rather, showcase the personality of the company, the people behind the products and what they care about.
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Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, made an announcement last year to Starbucks “partners” (their term for Starbucks associates), that in partnership with Arizona State University, they would offer eligible associates the opportunity to finish a bachelor’s degree with full tuition reimbursement. Since the announcement, there have been arguments on each side of the fence — naysayers have stated it was a PR ploy with a low risk because historically, deals of this nature are not taken advantage of by those to whom its offered, while supporters stated it was just one more way Starbucks was showing its associates they were valued and appreciated.
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