Anticipating Crisis

Being a brand is hard, being a person is hard, in 2016 it seems like we’re all balancing on a tightrope with only our big toe. Make a mistake, and you bet someone will be there to point it out. You’re being watched and criticized more than ever before. You know, Benjamin Franklin said “by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail”, but I like to think of it as “anticipating crisis”. This might make you feel like a debbie-downer (or me sound like a pessimist), but it’s crucial to think about the potential opportunities for failure so that you can swiftly avoid them and be successful.

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Why Are Bad Commercials So Good?

Good advertising cuts through the noise and makes a point. 99% of the time, bad advertising does that better. If the goal of advertising is to get people to remember your message, then it often seems like the best course of action is to either for your advertisement to be staggeringly great or absurdly terrible. The latter is much easier to pull off.

Think of all the terrible local commercials you’ve seen in your life. They’re usually for a car dealership or a lawyer. They pop up between glossy national commercials, immediately noticeable for their grainy images, bad acting and endless repetition of poorly sung jingles.

Chances are you remember at least a handful of these commercials. Past that, you’ve probably discussed them with friends, family and new acquaintances as a way to break the ice. These “bad” advertisements often become a part of our cultural fabric, remembered and referenced fondly and often, if only in mockery.

There’s something to be said for the staying power of these cultural artifacts. I asked the LUMINUS team to name some of their (least) favorites.

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3 Ways to Stay Creative as a Content Writer

From the time I was a little girl and throughout my undergraduate studies, I dreamt of being a professional creative writer. In grade school, I would read every book I could get my hands on. In high school, I scribbled through journals with short stories. In college, I fell in love with poetry. So, how did I end up writing ads, websites and blogs for businesses? No regrets here, I love what I do. Writing web content has helped me become more organized, more efficient and more creative. You may be struggling to maintain your creative energy as a content writer, I’m here to help you create better work.

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Why Naming a Brand is So Hard

Nameberry.com is a website totally devoted to the art of naming babies. There’s an entire active forum where parents who can’t decide on a name can interact with “Nameberries” who will help you brainstorm potential names for your newborn.

The Nameberries are awesome and seem to be very helpful. The names they pitch are sometimes a bit too unique for the people who are asking (Atlas, Story and Anthem are all great names but can seem a little mythic for a newborn), but they’re almost always interesting and help folks to narrow down what they really like and what they really want.

The whole process reminds me of naming a product. Babies are much more important than products, of course, but you’re still confronted with similar dilemmas.

  • You want a name that you love.
  • You want a name that’s unique.
  • You want a name that truly fits what you’re naming.

The problem with all of these problems is that they’re impossible to solve, at least right away.

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The Simple Question I Ask Every Client

I ask new clients one simple question when I’m trying to figure out how to help them.

“Why do you deserve this?”

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Why You Need to Highlight Your Star Players

Scenario: You walk into a cafe with a friend. The cafe is new, very trendy (we’re talking $5 lattes). You ask your friend how they heard about the cafe and they respond, “oh, I saw their barista on Instagram write Beyonce lyrics with the foam in the lattes!”

I know that the magical Beyonce cafe is too good to be true, but the scenario isn’t. How many times have you gone to a specific hair salon because you’ve seen the Instagram of one of their stylists? People are finding businesses online and, more than ever, they want to know about the products they are purchasing, down to the nitty-gritty details.

They want to know that their dollars are supporting businesses that align with their lifestyle. Even deeper than the history and breakdown of the product, they want to know about you and your team. Your employees are no longer just employees, they are an integral part of your brand and the professional development of your employees should be a huge focus of your business.

If you’re thinking “this doesn’t apply to my industry”, you’re probably wrong. From restaurants to boutiques to tattoo shops, customers are interested in the staff that makes your business successful.

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Why You Need to Find an Enemy for Your Brand

Here are three stories:

  • I had a dream last night that I was driving.
  • I had a dream last night that I was driving, but I didn’t have any hands.
  • I had a dream last night that I was driving, but I didn’t have any hands. My wife was in labor in the backseat. I steered with my teeth, weaving in and out of traffic, making it to the hospital just in time.

The first story is boring. The second story is weird. The third story is weird, but at least it’s a story, and that’s because it has conflict.

You passed middle school English class. You know that all stories are supposed to have conflict in order to qualify as stories.

Similarly, brands need some level of conflict in order to rise above the level of mere commodities and become something that people can actually care about. While storytelling and conflict can take a variety of forms within a brand, the most common way to introduce interesting, loyalty-breeding conflict into your brand is by creating an enemy.

But why would you want to harsh things up like that? Isn’t there a better way?

The good news is that no matter how nice you are and how good your brand is for you, your customers and the universe, you can absolutely find an enemy that you can define yourself against.

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What Does Pokémon Go Have to Do with Marketing?

If you’re wondering why there’s a sudden resurgence in your colleague’s interest in Pokémon this week, you’re probably the only one who hasn’t heard about Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go is an augmented reality app for iPhone and Android devices, released this week. Essentially, you open up the app and it combines the nostalgic world of Pokémon with our very own, leading us to wander around the world with our phones in front of our faces looking for the little creatures.

But this isn’t the only augmented reality people are using: from Google Glass to educational apps like Star Walk, augmented reality has been on the rise for several years.

Besides looking really cool while using it (see below), what does this mean for marketers?

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Tim’s Going to be on Businessology!

Mark your calendars! Luminus’ very own Tim Bouchard is scheduled to appear on the Businessology podcast on Wednesday, July 20th.

Businessology is a podcast hosted by CPA Jason Blumer, aimed at helping creatives run their businesses more effectively. Through real examples of agencies “figuring it out”, he helps agencies do better work by working better. On this episode of Businessology, Tim will discuss his recent eBook, Golden Mean Pricing.

Golden Mean Pricing provides guidance on pricing creative projects for freelancers and small business owners. Check it out here.

The Top 4 Ads in District 2, Says the AAF

We won a silver AAF District 2 Addy for our work for Druthers!

We actually found that out a while ago, but we just got the award today.

What we also got was the showbook that features all of the AAF District 2 winners, and they’re awesome.

We’re proud to mentioned in the same breath as a lot of these folks and we’d like to run down the best in show for you.

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