Beautiful Photos & Videos for Your Website

brand management, Content management, Content strategy, visual communications

biking on bridge

By now you should know that building great content and remarkable visuals for your website and online brand is really important to your success. If you are starting a new business and you don’t have any of your own photos, there are plenty of new and popular photo and video websites and sources to choose from, including Clip Canvas and Open Footage and those listed here on Hongkiat.com.

I recently stumbled upon UnSplash from @pickcrew and I really like their creative work.  While UnSplash is a creative community of freelance professionals, they do giveaway 10 free (do whatever you want) hi-res photos every 10 days.  Speaking of free tools to help build your business, check out this massive list from The Next Web, here. We love 365PSD for one free premium graphic each day.

Just don’t have the time? Need help building your library of visual assets or creative content? Drop us a line at m.johnson@themarketcouncil.com

Visual Branding that Works for Your Brand

Brand Awareness, madeline johnson, photos for your brand, Public Relations, stock photograph, visual branding

trust-me

Although visual identity seems like only a portion of your brand, it is the first connection formed in the mind of the consumer.

That is why you should never underestimate the impact of your brand’s visual identity. Yes your customers will judge you by the face you put forward, including that on your website and social media. If new customers don’t notice you, you’ll never develop a relationship with them. That’s why your brand should look as amazing as possible.

Poorly-designed visuals –whether it be your packaging, marketing brochure, business card or website can actually hurt your reputation.

A great article about how to create and design a brand identity that builds trust and sells.

How to inform, engage and energize your consumer with visual assets that really pop off your web page – http://www.wix.com/blog/2013/03/best-website-images/

Need images for your new branding project but you are on a budget? Check out this post on the top 18 stock photography sites for great photography for your brand –

The Customer is #1

brand reputation, building brand trust, PR Agency, social media marketing, Star Powered PR

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When building a brand, it’s vital to reflect what is in the best interest of your core existence; the customer. They are the fuel to your fire and without them let’s face it, you wouldn’t be here. The question often surfaces, how do you leverage your social media to have customer influence and therefore, maximize retention and purchases?

A good place to start is knowing your customer inside and out. Discover their likes, dislikes, behavior and why they chose to be loyal to you rather than others. Answer customer FAQs via Facebook and Twitter. Stimulate them with riveting visuals on Instagram and Pinterest. Avoid trying to use your social media platforms solely to push your product. Be an interactive exchange, champion their interests and cravings by discovering their outside wanderings independent of your brand.

With such an overwhelming presence of digital and physical advertising tailored in emails and creeping in every breathable space, customers are seeking authentic, conscious and engaging brands. At MJMPR, we place our client’s customers needs at the forefront of our initiatives. For our client Surya Brasil, we understand our customers are environmentally conscious, anti-animal cruelty with a need for natural, all-organic lifestyle products. In inspiring them, we share the best all-vegan restaurants in local cities and DIY at-home projects using renewable and recycle materials. Customers are like friends, act like one and you could be friends forever.  

How to Keep Your Cool

brand reputation, building brand trust, Cool Branding, creative collaboration, Creative Marketing Campaigns, customer loyalty, Earned Media, editorial know how, future of marketing, marketing muscle

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MJMPR is here to serve it up. The universal ‘selfie culture’ pioneered by generation y-ers and millennials seems to be an invitation for big brand marketers to create campaigns based around the self portraiture phenomenon. Take for example, Colgate’s Visible White Selfie Campaign, advising viewers to post selfies to the teeth-whitening app with the tagline, “when you take a selfie, it should dazzle the world.” Albeit, having over 57 million hashtags on Instagram and having been officially coined Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2013, nothing is worse than a cheesy and overdone selfie campaign. What you need is to inject some coolness into your brand.

Collaborating & Listening to your Customers is Cool

A departure from this craze would be advantageous for big players who strive to emulate a cool image and avoid the common brand perception corporations unfortunately receive. Because let’s face it, corporations aren’t always portrayed as cool. Avoid corporate cluelessness by creating trends and not just following them. Think of Starbuck’s 3-year old launch of My Starbuck’s Idea in combatting a plethora of bad press. This crowdsourcing platform allows customers to contribute ideas for new products, give opinions/feedback and even see the status of their pending idea via their blog Ideas in Action. 

Empowering your Customers is Cool

Or think of Dove’s Selfie Beauty Campaign, although it utilizes the omnipresent ‘selfie’ it gives a much needed micro lens into this superficial behavior in efforts to redefine beauty. While remaining consistent with their mission statement of challenging the current beauty status quo, this Unilever-owned brand can emulate authenticity through their 2014 Sun Dance Festival debuted short regardless of their size and corporate structure.

Inspiring your Customers is Cool 

Remember Ben & Jerry’s Capture Euphoria Instagram Contest, where 127,000 users instagrammed their idea of euphoria with the tag #captureeuphoria and of those, 20 were chosen to be placed in print, billboards and a myriad of outdoor venue? A personal, fun and cool way to engage customers.

Ultimately, big brands can be cool if they stay true to their vision statements, avoid bland and cliché selfie campaigns and act progressively cool in their marketing schemes. Small brands often set examples for bigger brands in instituting cool. The difference in their approach is not regurgitating what they see, but rather reacting to it in a new way.

Here are some of our go-to sources we consult to feed our imagination and curiosity in igniting cool vibes:

WGSN – World’s Leading Forecaster 

Trendland Digital Magazine  

The Cool Hunter

How to Reign Supreme on Social Media

Brand Awareness, brand reputation, building brand trust, Cool Branding, future of marketing, online marketing, social media marketing, Star Powered PR, Successful Networking

Image

1. Curate Valuable Content  Content that inspires, amuses, (even a good laugh goes a long way) informs or assists people. If it doesn’t have an instrumental purpose, trash it. Remember it’s not how much you post but how good you post. 

2. Once a Day Just Isn’t Enough  Imagine NPR, CNN, ESPN or BBC only reported once a day – and failed to repeat and cross-promote reports? Post away – all day and night. Yes, you will piss some people off but that will happen anyway.

3. Get Creative – It can’t be said enough how generic and easily anticipated the caliber of Instagram and social media posts have become. The ability to stand out has become that of a science. Think of your social media as a gallery, curate effectively.

4. Let’s Get Visual – According to Citrix, nearly “half of all users have reposted a photo or video they have found online” while 63% of Social Media is composed of images. Targeting a youth culture with an appetite for pictures and distaste for traditional paragraph-styled articles may be a tricky one (Hence, the laundry list phenomenon pioneered by Buzzfeed). Think: images are bait and content is the catch. 

5. No Pushing – Your followers don’t want to feel they are being pushed products 24-7-365 (at least, not explicitly). A brand’s voice should remain authentic and ring true. Your followers can weed through the bull and certainly aren’t afraid to unfollow you or worse, tell you.

6. Give Credit Where Credit is Due – Feeling really inspired by a photo? Do your due diligence and source the photo, even shout-out to the artist’s work. Building relationships via social media increases followers and makes you less intimidating and more approachable.

7. Be Playful and Professional – It’s a balancing act, teetering between relaxed and corporate. You don’t want to come off as too casual or too bland. But don’t be afraid to tweet a #flashbackfriday of your brand’s first campaign or #ootd an intern’s brand-on outfit. Versatility and being relatable in social media always wins.

8. Surface the Unknown – Be curious. Think inside and outside the box. Consult what’s trending on Google News. Alternate news updates with stimulating tech articles like Wired Magazine’s discovery of a “Tool that Boosts Your Privacy by Opening Your WiFi to Strangers.

9. Be Thoughtful  Create a social media calendar. Avoid posting just for the sake of posting. Don’t be lazy and do your research. And specifically, don’t post anything you yourself wouldn’t personally read.

10. Know When to Weigh In – Nowadays, everyone’s a critic and a comedian. It’s important to know when to stand up or sit down. If it’s within your industry and valuable, consider it imminent. If you have to question it, don’t even think about posting it.

Building Brand Karma

brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, future of marketing, Uncatergorized

We knew it was coming. It’s all about building good karma.

kar·ma/ˈkärmə/Noun

1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) The sum of a person’s (in this case brand’s) actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
Websites to bookmark –

Brand Karma promises to make brand owners accountable. They share people’s brand opinions through all channels and help people make better purchasing decisions. Help business and brands become a more positive force in the world.

EXPO is an online video community of consumers who share their unbiased, honest reviews and opinions through various word of mouth programs with their peers and brands.

Little Black Book from First Direct is all about good recommendations. Customers get to share their best experiences. An unforgettable meal, an exhilarating performance or hidden gem of a place to stay.

The “Me to We” Global Movement

brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, code of conduct, Collaborative Consumption, customer loyalty, Experiential Marketing, Uncatergorized

Courtesy of BMW Guggenheim Lab

We are fascinated by the evolution of important movements that have evolved from competing for a smaller slice of consumers’ disposable global income.

Crowdsourcing– let go, trust and let others take over, leaving the design element to the consumer, sometimes skipping retail altogether and letting the creative process take place where ever it may. Tapping into the collective intelligence of the public. Aiming to engage fans on a deeper level and solve bigger problems.

Social media engagement that helps to build international networks and encourage social entrepreneurship while inspiring consumption through charitable endeavors while creating campaigns that stimulate a sense of interaction.

Teamwork with connections that promote a positive exchange of skills, ideas and culture as well as integration and interaction.

Sustainability that inspires, educates, activates and celebrates as well as focuses on rising above defeat rather than suffering from it. For example, BMW Guggenheim’s mobile lab that is traveling around the world to inspire innovative ideas for urban life.

Creativity with a model that fuses the online and offline worlds, while still maintaining its tradition of crafted storytelling. The goal is to weave the brand into the conversations while making it an empowering and universal truth.

As Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Film Festival, said during this year’s seminar program “A good story is telling something you haven’t known; something that hits your gut, your heart and therefore, your emotions.”

Buy Good, Feel Great Marketing

brand reputation, cause related campaigns, customer loyalty, Guiding Principles for Success, reputation management, Uncatergorized

Creating shared value is a partnership between corporations and consumers. Mindful marketing + mindful shopping habits might just mean a better tomorrow.  From the smallest of start-ups to the largest of corporate charity efforts and in the name of responsible consumption and making purchases that empower peace of mind. A few efforts inspiring us today.

Warby Parker Glasses offers an alternative to overpriced and less fashionable eyewear. Through their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program; they hope to serve the one billion people on earth who do not have access to glasses. According to Warby Parker a pair of glasses can often define one’s path either as a contributing member of the community or one subject to poverty.

Beach bags from Mombassa Drive. Their goal is to bring you products that support the people and environment of Africa.

Blissmo is a new flash-sale site where LOHAS-minded (Lifestyle of Health & Sustainability) shoppers can discover organic & eco-friendly products, They recently launched blissmobox, a monthly subscription service delivering curated boxes of well-loved organic & eco-friendly products by mail.

Pepsi is funding amazing ideas that refresh the world. Their campaign encourages communities to dream it, submit it, get enough votes 
and Pepsi promises to help make it happen.

Tom’s Shoes matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need.  Why? Because many children in developing countries grow up barefoot.

Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry is a national event that brings together thousands of restaurants and millions of consumers to help ensure no child in America grows up hungry. From September 18-24, 2011, participating restaurants will raise funds to support No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength’s national campaign to end childhood hunger in America. In 2010, over 4,000 restaurants joined their sponsors and partners to raise more than $1.5 million.

Virgin Money Giving, the not-for-profit fundraising website (virginmoneygiving.com), announced a partnership with Virgin Atlantic and charity travel specialists Key Travel to offer special discount fares to fundraisers taking part in fundraising challenges overseas.

The Power of Personalization

customized promotions, personalized brand experience, Uncatergorized




Brands that create positive experiences to gain emotional involvement are getting it right.

Experience branding takes into account all of the touch-points a customer has with your brand.  It goes beyond just marketing, where touch-points are simply components in the marketing campaign. The power of personalization should be incorporated into sales, customer service, operations, services and social media.

Marketing is getting very personal and the power of personalization cannot be underestimated.  The goal is to anticipate what your customer wants and needs from your brand based on their previous visits and what’s new and exciting that you have to offer them now. If the customer is new, than be sure to get to know what they are all about. Their likes, dislikes, habits and what brought them to your brand in the first place.

  • London’s Red Carnation Hotels has guests fill out a special request form prior to their stay and then personalizes the experience with thoughtful touches like i-Pods pre-loaded with customized media and customized jogging maps of the local area for guests.
  • HSN Launches ‘HSN ID’ (a personalized mobile shopping experiences) and a customized way for consumers to access HSN’s special offers, live broadcast and more,at their convenience on their Sprint ID Android phone.
  • Diesel, the fashion brand, has created an augmented reality where people can create their own laws on their very own island.
  • The Spa Villagio  takes personalized indulgence to a new level with an exclusive space where a customized spa experience is crafted with the guests choice of scents, sound, and spa refreshments for treatments and therapies.
  • Ladies can transform their wardrobe with Linda, the bra lady. Customers get the perfect bra fitting for everything from swimwear to evening wear.
  • A personalized sports program and nutritional analysis await you at the One and Only Resort spas.
  • Whether it’s polar, desert, jungle, mountain or river, Epic Tomato’s  has taken a unique and personalized approach to adventure expeditions around the world.
  • Nike hit the ground running with the ultimate custom design process at Nike id.
  • Smythson’s brand heritage was built around personalization with customized calling cards and personalized stationary

Brands don’t need big budgets to personalize their customer’s experiences. They just need to pay (detailed) attention to their customers.

Building Brand Pride

brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, Uncatergorized

According to studies by reputable researchers, 70 percent of new firms that have at least one employee survive for at least two years. Roughly half go on for five years, according to the Small Business Administration.

With so many uncontrollable factors that work against a company’s success (ex. an unpredictable economy), the case for building brand pride becomes imperative.

Brand pride is how you and your employees demonstrate the belief in your brand’s worth, merit and superiority and is extremely important to building a successful company.

This passion and confidence in your company must shine through in everything you do including what you communicate and deliver to the your customers. Brand pride should be built into your products, training program, operations manual and marketing collateral.

Your brand pride is contagious and bonds customers and employees to your company and builds brand loyalty, not to mention keeping your company’s prices stable. Consumers will pay a premium for quality. Quality services that are performed with pride.