What is Culture in the Workplace? And Who Cares?

Culture in the workplace isn’t always intuitive; it is something you must work hard to create. It is representative of who you are and what your philosophy is – the DNA of your company if you will. This is why defining workplace culture is so influential right from the start.

From branding to your company mission, expectations, goals, marketing, and the content you are putting out there – company culture is the heart and soul of any business. And while culture is often challenging to define, doing so could give you a leg up in your niche. Establishing a positive, constructive, and encouraging workplace culture is the first step to not only attracting quality employees and clients but creating a unique brand. 

What is Workplace Culture? 

Company culture. 

No, this isn’t just a buzz term; it’s the real deal. But what does it really mean? In today’s crazy-busy world where the only constant thing is change, it is crucial to hone in on who you are and what your company stands for. Culture in the workplace has evolved over the years, helping organizations implement and promote specific values, beliefs, visions, habits, and more. 

Sure, company culture can impact your employee turnover and retention, as well as the overall mood of the workplace, but it’s so much more than that. Through different avenues (think branding, social media, blogging, digital marketing, email campaigns, and more) you can communicate to your audience exactly who you are and what others can expect from you. This is the overall goal of any business. 

Why Does Culture in the Workplace Matter? 

There are many reasons why understanding what culture in the workplace looks like for your organization matters. It is both a business strategy and a way to advocate for your beliefs and values through personalized tactics and avenues. 

A positive workplace culture can do the following:

  • Drive engagement
  • Attract long-term employees
  • Promote happiness and satisfaction
  • Improve performance 
  • Help your business thrive 

Let Your Branding Do the Talking 

So, where do you start?

Once you’ve established a healthy culture in the workplace, it’s time to get to work. Branding, marketing, and communications are all excellent tools that will help you connect with your audiences, both internal and external. These tools should be used to support your company culture, and, in turn, do the following:

  • Sell your services and products
  • Improve internal operations 
  • Attract new customers and retain loyal ones
  • Broadcast and promote your brand 

How do we do this? For starters, the Your Imprint team is here to not only help you create a plan that is tailored to your organization, but also to implement this strategy through a strong brand message that is fully representative of your company culture. 

Culture in the workplace matters because it is how others will see you. 

If your branding is off or if your marketing doesn’t align with your philosophy, it can cause a ripple of disruption from which it’s hard to recover. We can help you use the various digital marketing tools at our fingertips to share your company culture and make sure you are sending the right message to your audience. 

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Black Friday Shopping and Cyber Monday Deals: Tips for Success

black-friday-cyber-monday-marketing

Like it or not, it’s the most wonderful time of the year yet again – the holidays. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, whether you are a business owner or consumer. These two days are what kick-off the holiday spending spree, so it’s important you are prepared for what is to come.

Most businesses do most of their sales during the busy holiday season, which is just one reason why it is so important to get all your ducks in a row, so to speak. If you aren’t careful, the holiday shopping season can sneak up on you, causing unnecessary stress. To be successful with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, specifically, you must learn how to appeal to the mass of willing shoppers looking to spend their hard-earned money on your goods.

Enter: Digital marketing. In order to draw in both new and existing consumers, you must know how to use various digital marketing tactics to your advantage, such as SEO, advertising, social media, and web design.

Plan Ahead For Black Friday and Cyber Monday

If you ask any small or large business owner, the key to success with the holiday shopping season is to be prepared – very prepared. Over the last several years, it seems sales start earlier and earlier, with people lining up for Black Friday deals not long after the turkey has been carved. This means you must be ready for shoppers, well, now.

No need to panic if you are feeling a little behind, social media is here to help. Social media is no longer just about connecting with long lost high school friends; it is much, much more than that. Today, social media is a business owner’s secret weapon, and their ticket to success during the holidays.

Social Media: Your New Best Friend for Black Friday Shopping and Cyber Monday Deals

A great place to start is to create events for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday on whichever social media platforms you are using. This is an excellent way to get your brand on people’s minds, and who doesn’t love a fun holiday shopping event? There are many different directions you can take, such as Sip and Shop events or offering special deals on these days.

Once you have a better idea of what you want to do for these busy shopping days, it’s time to promote. Relying on a wide range of digital marketing tactics will help you with a lot of this. From content marketing to SEO, and of course social media marketing and advertising, find what works best for you and run with it.

Don’t Forget About Branding

This part is often overlooked, but we can’t stress the importance of focusing on branding during the holidays enough. Branding is your opportunity to create a specific identity for your business, which we like to think of as the soul of your company. During the holidays, you must get in the spirit and rely on your brand design to do the talking for you. With so many options out there, making your brand stick out from the best is an absolute must. The last thing you want is to fall through the cracks because of poor branding or a weak digital marketing campaign.

The holidays are a festive, fun-filled time of year that bring out the best – and sometimes the worst – in all of us. For business owners, learning how to navigate Black Friday and Cyber Monday in a way that represents your brand truthfully can be challenging. Stay true to who you are, plan ahead, focus on outstanding brand design, and don’t be afraid to use social media to your advantage. These few little things could be the difference between finding success this holiday season and missing out on tremendous growth opportunities.

And remember, have some fun! Life is far too short and naturally stressful – it’s up to you to ease the burden with humor, joy, and gratitude.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The History of Halloween and How it Applies to Brand Communication

Holiday Brand Communication

Americans – both young and old – just can’t get enough of Halloween. Beginning at a young age, October marks the start of the holiday season, bringing out the kid in all of us. From pumpkin-spiced everything to all the spooky decorations and festive costumes, it’s impossible to not get into the spirit of Halloween. But where did this ghostly holiday even begin, and what does it have to do with brand communication?

The Seriously Ancient Origins of Halloween

Let’s dive into the history of Halloween first.

Halloween was created from Samhain, an ancient harvest festival that took place at the end of the Celtic year. Centuries ago, this festival was a way to mark the changing of seasons from summer to winter. During these first years of Samhain, the spirits of the dead were believed to return on October 31st, damaging the crops and playing evil tricks on those who were still living.

In the eighth century, the holiday was made a bit more official when Pope Gregory III declared November 1 as the day to honor all saints – or ‘All Saints Day’. The night before Samhain soon evolved, becoming known as All Hallows Eve and, today, Halloween. While our ancestors’ experience with Halloween was more of a mystical event, our Halloween is a conglomeration of Samhain, All Saints Day, and All Hallow’s Eve. Today, the spooky holiday is all about getting dressed up as your favorite superhero, carving pumpkins, and trick-or-treating.

Different Cultures, Different Celebrations

While the Celts are credited with ‘starting’ Halloween, many other cultures all over the world have had their own relationship with October 31st for as far back as we can trace. You may be wondering where the costume element of Halloween started, and thankfully we have an answer! During Samhain, celebrators would wear animal skins during large bonfire celebrations, and others would dress up as saints or angels for All Saints Day festivities. While times have certainly changed, this tradition has stayed the same.

Halloween was first introduced to the United States in the mid-1800s when Irish and English immigrants brought their traditions along with them. Yep, you have culture-growing immigrants to thank for the chance to dress up as Lady Gaga or your favorite SNL skit.

While America’s Halloween has roots in Irish and English immigrants, things look quite a bit different today than they did in the 1800s. For example, the first “trick-or-treaters” definitely weren’t adorable children dressed to the nines. In fact, they were Medieval English people who believed in the practice of “souling,” which occurred when the lower class would beg for sweet breads, offering to pray for others’ souls in return. The version of trick-or-treating we all know and love didn’t start until around the 1930s.

Using Halloween for Brand Communication

OK, now that we understand where, exactly, Halloween got its start, let’s look at what it means for your business. For businesses, Halloween marks the start of the holiday season – a.k.a. marketing game-time. It is estimated that Americans spend more than $9 billion on Halloween, which is just one reason to respect the holiday, even if it isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, or witches brew, rather. With so many opportunities to build brand awareness with good brand communication and show customers your fun side, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed. This is where a smart digital marketing company comes in handy.

There are so many great ways to let your personality show while engaging existing and potential customers at the same time. Heck, so many people get into the spirit of Halloween that supporting a brand that does the same is a win-win for everyone. Whether you are doing some internal training or looking to engage customers will staying one step ahead of your competitors, here are some great tips for marketing your brand communication around Halloween:

  • Host a contest (online or in-store) – Engagement is key when it comes to communicating your brand. A festive way to do just that is by hosting a contest of some sort. From having people guess the number of candy corns in a jar (tantalizing them with a gift card or similar prize) to putting on a pumpkin carving contest, have some fun with it!
  • Get creative with hashtagsSocial media and hashtags give you a great opportunity to get creative. The power of words is a big one, and a dedicated hashtag will be a good way for customers to get involved.
  • Collaborate with other businesses – Supporting local businesses starts from the top. There are tons of opportunities to collaborate and team up with other businesses for special Halloween events that will showcase you both.
  • Get in the spirit of Halloween – Whether you have your employees dress up, you decorate your business, or you make some fun Halloween posts on social media, getting in the spirit of Halloween is one of the best ways to market your brand.

Have fun with this and don’t overthink it! As we learned, Halloween is all about coming together and celebrating the change of seasons, with a little ghoulish fun sprinkled in here and there.

Business Branding for Beginners

Business Branding for Beginners

logos-business-branding

 

What makes these images recognizable?

It’s not just the logo.

You know the name, the colors, the tone, the shapes.  You know the weird clown, the simple swoosh, and the flaming red sticker on the curvy Coca-Cola bottle.  I’ll bet you can even describe what kind of experience to expect when you encounter the products.

That’s the Business Brand.

But, there’s more to it than the look and feel.

A brand has a soul.  It has a sound, a voice, and a personality.  Think of it as a child. You want your child to grow into a grateful, helpful, and appreciated member of society, but you know there’s only so much you can do. Other influences make a brand who and what it is.  While building on your business branding, you’ll need to make impossible decisions, but you’ll experience great joy in the process. The brand, like people, has a life of its own. It’s up to you to nurture it, but your customers and employees will have peer-level influence.

Business Branding Basics

Good business branding needs a good marketing strategy, and that all starts with your brand. Your business branding is the foundation of your entire marketing plan, and it’s in both traditional and digital marketing strategies.  It’s in everything, including your:

  • Web design
  • Social media posts
  • Blog
  • Print materials
  • Advertisements
  • Uniforms or name tags
  • Sales funnel
  • Responses to reviews
  • Networking plan
  • Elevator pitch
  • And much, much more…

Before you begin, dedicate a few hours to sit with the below questions.  Grab a pen and a piece of paper (to avoid device distraction) and find a comfortable spot.

I know it sounds corny, but you must be the brand when you answer the following questions:

  • Are you formal, professional, or conversational?
  • Do you use slang?
  • Are you witty or serious?
  • Are you informative or persuasive?
  • Do you use emoticons?
  • Do you use grammar and punctuation casually or formally?
  • How do you use or react to humor about your product or service?
  • How active are you on social media?
  • What do you really care about?
  • Use 3-5 single words to describe your business branding.
  • What’s your vision?
  • What’s your mission?

Does the audience currently engage with your brand?  In other words, are they buying from you?  If not, find out what posts, products, services, blogs, ads, etc. have the most engagement, leads, or sales, and use them to help you build on your business branding.  If you’re just beginning, look at your competitors and see what’s working for them.

Three Ways (with some notes) to Help Your Brand Grow (and keep growing)

  1. Use your colors, fonts, elements, and shapes throughout all Everything from your e-mail signature to your website font should match your brand’s style.
    • Don’t use more than three fonts, but three is pushing it. Choose one serif and one sans-serif from Google Fonts.  The third font can be a fancy one used for call-outs or quotes.
      • Remember, just because you think it looks good that doesn’t mean your readers will like it. Research shows that people prefer serif and sans-serif fonts (especially serif).
  2. Make sure everyone in your company knows how to talk to customers and potential customers.
    • Write an elevator pitch. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but it’s necessary. You don’t have a lot of time. We’re an easily distracted and often inattentive culture. Have the best elevator pitch that makes them want to know more.
    • Teach your team what not to say and do. For example, if you want to be good-natured, professional, and intelligent, you don’t want your team cursing and wearing clothes that don’t fit in with your brand’s personality.
    • Revisit the “who we are” topics regularly with all members of your team.
    • Throw events and do team-building activities that emphasize your brand.
  3. Create 3-6 guiding principles and post them everywhere, teach them everywhere, live them everywhere. Our six guiding principles are:
    1. Be helpful
    2. Bring joy
    3. Keep learning
    4. Have integrity
    5. Nurture partnerships
    6. Honor and respect everyone

Don’t underestimate the power of the collective.  Your audience’s voice is vital to your growth, and it changes as frequently as new ones develop.

Listen and adapt. Learn when to say no, but almost always say yes. 

Help Your Brand Stay Ahead of the Competition

  • Dedicate 30 minutes a day to researching your niche. You may be able to cover this in your workday. Be mindful of ways to learn more about your industry.
    • Check out Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, or enter common keywords in the search engine. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer.  What problem do you need to solve?
    • Follow your favorite blogs, social pages, and websites.
  • Check out your competition and see if they’re doing anything new. SpyFu and SEOptimer have some free information.
  • Research indicates that social audiences love current events, so keep an eye on the news, especially as it relates to your industry.
  • Find opportunities to teach about your industry, product, or service.
  • Fear of failure will stunt your growth. Failure happens. It must. It’s the only way to be successful.  Instead of caving into the fear, plan ahead.  Plan out a policy, process, or action plan for things like negative reviews, bad press, theft, natural disasters, spam, hacking, and employee misbehavior.

The most important message to take from this article is to make sure everything you and your employees do falls within your guiding principles.  Those values should be reflected in your business branding efforts.  It takes a village to raise a brand, so be sure to pay close attention to how those outside influences are affecting your business brand.

Graphic Design Jobs: Roles, Responsibilities, and Pay

Graphic Design Marketing Jobs

This is the second post in a series about digital marketing jobs. Keep your eye on our blog or our social media channels as we add more careers in the coming weeks.  Read the rest of the series here

A picture speaks 1,000 words. It’s a cliche, we know. But, as an aspiring graphic designer, it’s something you ought to believe. Graphic designers create visuals out of ideas, words, or even datasets. They may design brochures, logos, or business reports.

Designers should be clear communicators, think creatively, enjoy using technology, and be able to manage their time well. Many graphic designers will have a degree in communications, art, or a related field. However, a degree is not necessary to succeed in this field. Instead, employers will be interested in a candidate’s experiences, portfolio, and skills.

Job Role 

Graphic designers develop visual materials to educate, inspire, or entertain an audience. They communicate ideas through images.

Many argue that the first graphic designers used images to express their oral language. In fact, these visual languages, including Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese characters, allowed society to communicate emotions, business matters, and daily events.

Today, most graphic designers use technology to create their pieces. Platforms like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are extremely popular; however, designers use other tools as well.

Graphic designers will not just create images. They will also meet with clients, develop various concepts, consider various fonts and colors, ensure all designs are free of errors, and answer questions about the design’s usability. Depending on their job, designers may focus on creating typography, marketing materials, presentations, or illustrations.

Job Responsibilities 

Job responsibilities will change based on the type of place a graphic designer works. For instance, a freelancer who works from home will have different responsibilities than a graphic designer at a large company. Additionally, an entry-level designer will have different tasks than a lead designer.

However, this list combines some of the job’s major duties.

  • Meet with clients to discuss ideas, themes, and imagery.
  • Work with a wide range of media and graphic design software, including Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Be aware of current graphic design trends, but choose to only engage trends with clear intentions.
  • Manage multiple projects at once, and meet deadlines.
  • Consult with marketing and sales departments to develop a cohesive voice.
  • Prepare rough drafts and present ideas.

What about pay? 

Pay varies depending on levels of experience and education, and location and company matter too. However, a graphic designer should expect to make $30,537 – $60,598, according to PayScale. The median pay for all graphic designers is $42,071, but senior-level designers make an average of $58,804 every year, according to Glassdoor. 

Data from Glassdoor suggests that graphic designers tend to stay in their field. Many go on to become senior graphic designers, art directors, or even web designers.

The YourImprint team is full of knowledge about how to succeed in digital marketing, and we are eager to help aspiring marketers! Learn more about the field on our blog or view some real-life design pieces in our portfolio.

Start the New Year with A Solid Brand Identity

brand-identity

Most of us welcome the fresh opportunities that come with the New Year.  With resolutions in hand, we set out to make each year better than the last. Why not make this year yours?  Now is the time to pull out those jotted dreams you’ve got hidden on that folded napkin in your desk drawer and begin checking off your New Year’s goals.

What’s so important about brand identity and good brand design?

Your brand is what’s said about you when no one’s around. But, no matter how great your product is, if your brand is weak, your business will fail.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you’re in a crowded shopping mall. Can you tell where they’ve been based on the colors of their shopping bags?  That’s brand identity.

Smart companies understand that a brand requires:

  • Logo
  • Color schemes
  • Typography
  • Photography
  • Tagline
  • Slogan
  • Mission, Vision, and Values

Some companies have become so recognizable by their color scheme that they’ve been able to drop their name from their signage altogether (think of the Golden Arches).  That’s brand identity.   

Creating a solid brand design is essential to success. It kickstarts the buyer’s journey.

At the beginning of the business, so much emphasis is placed on creating the best product or service on the market. You put your heart and soul into making sure you’re the best; you never consider what it takes to create your brand.

This is common; however, understanding the need to have a brand strategy in place in the early stages of the business life is paramount to your success.  In the case of a well-established business, organizing a branding or rebranding campaign to reboot your business can often push sales to unprecedented levels.

The Ever-Changing Cycle of Life and Business

Everything changes, all the time.  Just consider how fast our technology has grown and how quickly we’ve adapted to this change.  Even with a solid foundation, companies must constantly change their strategies with the ebbs and flows of cultural norms.

According to a recent article on inc.com, as of 2016, there were 2.3 billion social media users in the world and that number is rising rapidly. This has forced a massive shift in the way companies market themselves and their product.

Without constant changes to your digital marketing strategy, your company risks becoming superseded by a sub-standard product with a better brand.

In short, having a tired brand is the same thing as having no brand. 

Getting Your Brand Design in Place

Having a fresh brand is as important as having a quality product or service.

Questions to Consider:

  • Who is your key audience? What are their demographics and buying behaviors?
  • What are your crucial business goals?
  • Where do you see your business going in five years? Ten?
  • What sets you apart from your competitors?
  • What makes your product/service better than the place down the street?

Visual Elements:

  • Logo
  • Color palette
  • Typography
  • Photography/graphics

Keys to Good Brand Identity:

  • Distinct:
    • It should stand out from competitors and catch your audience’s attention
  • Memorable
    • Remember those shopping bags from earlier
  • Flexible
    • Your brand should be as scalable as your business
  • Cohesive:
    • Each piece of your brand and business should complement the brand identity
  • Easy to apply:
    • Any designer, developer, or other creative could produce materials that are consistent.
    • Using the same colors, fonts, shapes, and elements will help everyone remember you.
    • The tagline should be all about your business in a few short words. This is a lasting phrase.
    • Slogans speak to the audience about the product or service, so it will change with campaigns.

All the above is useless without a brand voice.  Your tone, values, cornerstones, and messaging guidelines are crucial for proper communications.

Do you need branding or digital marketing help in the New Year?

Get a Quote!