I hate the American Advertising Awards a little bit. Here’s why.

As a social occasion, they’re great. You get all of Buffalo’s ad people in a room with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar and you’ll probably have a good time.

As a professional showcase, they’re unmatched. You show all their best work on the big screen and you’ll probably end up motivated and inspired. Long story short, there was a lot of talent in that room.

Despite how proud I might be to be part of that community, though, it’s hard not to go there and feel a little small.

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3 Simple Ways to Use Video to Promote Your Business

This morning, before getting out of bed or even fully opening my eyes, I found myself reaching for my iPhone to clear away all of the little red notifications. I checked my to-do list for the day, scanned through my e-mails to make sure there were no emergencies, and scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed. As I was scrolling through my newsfeed, I found myself watching several seconds of videos that I wasn’t at all interested in including footage from an EDM show, millennials sampling foreign candy, and a profile on a restaurant located half way across the country. It felt like flipping through TV channels of my friend’s interests.

It’s safe to say that I may be addicted to my iPhone and/or social media, but I like to think that I’m just keeping up to date. But, I promise you, it’s not just me. Device obsession is skyrocketing, according to a study by Deloitte done in 2015. I’m curious to see the data from 2016, as I’m sure it hasn’t declined in any way.

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Revving Up Your Social Media with Cause-Related Marketing

A social media profile is a direct extension of your business, and potentially the first point of contact for a large percentage of your audience. Does your social media account look more like a ghost town than a business profile?

If you’re getting lonely on social media, it’s likely that you’re isolating your social media marketing efforts. Believe it or not, your social media campaign needs to be able to communicate who your brand is concisely and accurately.

Values are an extremely important aspect of a successful brand, and social media only emphasizes the necessity for strong values. Through cause-related marketing, it’s possible to build loyal and meaningful relationships with your target audience through social media.

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4 Things I Learned from Zontee Hou’s “Alchemy of Content Marketing” Talk for AAF Buffalo

Judging by her resume, content marketing extraordinaire Zontee Hou may be the busiest human ever. She works at Convince & Convert, runs her own consulting firm called Media Volery and teaches at the City College of New York.

Somehow, though, she found the time to speak to AAF Buffalo on Oct. 12 over at Big Ditch on the “Alchemy of Content Marketing.” If you missed it, shame on you, but here are my five favorite takeaways.

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The Purpose of a Mission Statement

We build brands and brands have a lot of components. Some are tangible and obvious: the logo, the website, the brochure. Some, though, are a little harder to grasp, and almost none are as difficult as the mission statement.

“This is all well and good, but where do we actually use this?”

Mission statements are what I would call a “soft” deliverable. They’re internally focused, meaning they won’t be directly used to court and convert customers. They’re abstract, usually centered around values and aspirations than any concrete efforts. They’re not something you can use; they’re something you live.

So I’m not surprised when people hold up their hands when we’re discussing their mission statement and say “This is all well and good, but where do we actually use this?”

It’s a fair question, but it can be difficult to answer. Mission statements are malleable little pieces of text – you can use them almost any way you choose. There are four basic uses of a mission statement that usually come to mind, however.

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How to Find Your Stride in Digital Marketing

When it comes to digital marketing, I’ve found that many people want to do one of two things: try to do every digital marketing strategy at once or exist in a state of analysis paralysis. Guess what? Both of these methods result in poor results. There’s an overwhelming amount of possibilities for your brand when it comes to digital marketing and it can be tempting to throw yourself in quickly, but it’s so crucial to craft an intentioned strategy before doing anything at all.

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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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