We are pleased to welcome Chris Konnick to the Ideaworks team as our new administrative assistant! Chris came onboard in November and has 26 years of experience working in project accounting and administrative support. When not at work, Chris loves to cook; she especially enjoys making Polish favorites like pierogis and kielbasi. She and her husband also recently celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary!
It’s no secret that team building exercises can be incredibly positive, boosting morale and productivity within the office. Over the past few months, our team has grown and evolved, making it even more important for us to partake in activities and tasks – both small and large-scale – that bring us closer together and help us remain upbeat, inspired and committed to excellence each day. As we reflect on recent efforts, we are proud to say that they were, indeed, the kind of constructive, motivating activities that a business hopes to enjoy!
In late July, Peter Steve, our owner and CCO, and Donna Hansbury, president & CEO, generously decided to plan an employee outing that was far different than the traditional company picnic: a spa day for the team! We started the day with relaxing treatments and lunch, followed by a delicious dinner together at a local restaurant. At dinner, we played games to get to know each other even better (complete with raffle prizes!) and shared lots of laughs. Together outside of work, we were able to unwind amidst a busy summer at the agency.
In August, we also began brainstorming new ways to keep engagement levels high on social media; we didn’t have to look far to come up with a great idea. We receive so many compliments on our beautiful office, and oftentimes, we tend to take for granted how inspiring our workspace can be. Thus, we decided to begin a Motivation Monday series on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, where we draw attention to a particularly inspiring spot within our office each week. So far, we have featured motivational quotes that hang on our agency walls, a shot of our conference room and a look at our beautiful building from the outside, all of which help to showcase how we source creative inspiration from unique places every day.
We took part in Hunger Action Month for the month of September, working as a team to collect donations for the Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO)’s Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank. We collected dozens of canned and dry goods, hygiene products and baby items that will be distributed to local families in need. From coordinating the donations and packing the car to delivering the goods and meeting with members of the CEO, this experience was one that drew us closer together while helping neighboring communities in the process.
Boss’ Day takes place in October, and this year, we decided to hold a special celebration for Peter and Donna to show our appreciation for them. Being that Donna was leaving for Italy just three days later, we put together an Italian-themed lunch for our two amazing bosses. From the antipasto to the homemade dips and the laughs and stories shared in our office kitchen, this memorable day was one of the best.
October also marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and our agency used that time to recognize the brave women who battle this disease, including some of our own friends and family. Jordan, daughter of our vice president of creative and operations, Patty Pugh, and her field hockey team sold t-shirts to benefit That Special Woman, a local women’s healthcare boutique. Spectators wore the shirts during the girls’ annual Pink Game, and Ideaworks kindly purchased a shirt for each of our team members. We sported them together and held our own a miniature “Pink Out” at the office.
It is with a great amount of enthusiasm that we are able to look back at the past few months and see our team growing together. We are committed to making the culture at Ideaworks as engaging as possible, and we are always grateful to have a wonderful team that is committed to discovering, dazzling, and delivering day in and day out.
We are THRILLED to bring you the next issue of Dazzle, our award-winning agency magazine! Here’s what you’ll find within its pages:
- An editor’s letter from Chelsey Tupper, director of marketing communications
- An in-depth look at Gen Z: the generation that you need to pay attention to
- How we are delivering on our agency’s commitment to social good
- How selecting a “charity of choice” makes good business sense, and how it has helped us form a great bond with Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge, a local no-kill animal shelter
- Tips for choosing the right marketing mix for your business
- “Checking out the ‘Real World’ at Ideaworks,” an article from guest writer Rachel Urbanowicz, mass communication professor at Misericordia University
- Life @ 197, spotlighting the Ideaworks team and recent happenings
- A recap of our winnings from the AAF Northeast Pennsylvania’s ADDY awards
- An article on storytelling from the desk of Peter Steve, owner & CCO
Please click here to read. Feel free to email Dazzle’s editor-in-chief, Chelsey Tupper, at email@example.com or art director, Allison Simenkiewicz, at firstname.lastname@example.org to share with them which articles and features you find most compelling! Enjoy!
Earlier this month, our Director of Marketing Communications, Chelsey Tupper, attended the 2017 MCON conference, held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. This annual conference sparked her interest, as it is designed for individuals who are dedicated to social good and societal change, and who want to hear from some of the most notable thought leaders on cause-related marketing and activists who feel passionately about their work. Much of what was discussed included ways to attract more millennials to show support and interest in a particular cause by using creative branding strategies and other well-thought-out marketing tactics that resonate well with this generation.
During the conference, Chelsey heard from a number of accomplished speakers who drove home a vital point: through its work, a business must personify its very roots and reasons for doing – put plainly, each day, employees should reflect their company’s core beliefs. In addition to the #GivingTuesday Townhall, during which she learned about assimilating charitable efforts in your business practices annually, this central message from MCON resonated for Chelsey, who would return home to continue breathing life into Ideaworks’ own philanthropic initiatives with the entire team – a practice that Ideaworks has been committed to for over 20 years, as one of our foundational values is service to others.
This dedication is shown by our unwavering commitment to local organizations like Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge. Blue Chip Farms, located in Dallas, PA, is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter that provides care, comfort and a loving home to every animal that is brought to its safe haven, regardless of health impairments or age. Being animal lovers, Ideaworks’ owners Peter and Judy Steve elected Blue Chip as our charity of choice in 2015. Since then, we have gone on to provide a wide range of marketing support to Blue Chip at no cost, helping its team spearhead some of its most valuable initiatives like Adopt-A-Kennel, Legacy of Love and the newest sponsorship program, Kitty Condos. Working with Blue Chip continues to be one of our company highlights, but this has not been a solitary effort. We continue to reflect upon our core beliefs and participate in various cause-related initiatives.
In March and April of this year, our team participated in the Back Mountain Chamber’s Spring Food Drive, donating non-perishable items to the Back Mountain Food Bank. Giving back to the community and providing healthy, nutrient-rich meals to families is an effort we are committed to in our work, as some of our largest clients are proponents of healthy living, clean environments and optimal quality of life.
This month, Ideaworks was fully committed to raising awareness for various causes and helping individuals in the process. We “went purple” for Alzheimer’s and other dementias, being that June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Our team enthusiastically involved themselves in this project by changing our email signatures from black to purple text, the recognized color of the Alzheimer’s Association, and including a call to action to “#ENDALZ” in the sign off. We also scheduled a day to wear purple and heightened awareness for this worthy cause on social media.
Also in June, we had the opportunity to team up with the Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind. We hosted a high school student in the Association’s Transition Assistance Program, who expressed an interest in becoming a graphic designer and photographer in the future. She learned a lot while job shadowing our creative designers and also enjoyed lunch with our team where she was able to hear more about what differentiates us as an agency. We are proud of this young girl and know she will continue to grow in her craft in the years to come.
At Ideaworks, we firmly believe that day in and day out, you should be communicating what your business is truly about, and acting as a spokesperson for those values that your company holds dear. While raising awareness during National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, choosing Blue Chip Farms as our “charity of choice” and partaking in other local initiatives have been excellent opportunities for us to get involved, they will certainly not be the last. As put by Christina Tosi (award-winning owner of Milk Bar Bakery with locations in New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Toronto), who offered insights to her MCON audience, “It’s easy to support things when you believe in them.”
When the ground begins to thaw, greenery returns to the landscape and the sun’s rays feel just a little bit stronger on our skin, we know that spring has finally sprung. Along with the many simple pleasures to enjoy during springtime, people make the most of the beautiful weather by doing some (often much-needed) spring cleaning. This month, we’ve juxtaposed swoon-worthy weather and the art of the marketing approach. While businesses – like ours! – pride themselves on innovation, bold concepts and unabashed creativity, they also shouldn’t fear simplicity when “simple” is needed.
We spring clean to weed out what no longer suits us while hanging onto the essentials – the pieces we can’t live without; similarly, your marketing approach can be rethought, reworked and refined to better suit your business at any time. To “spring clean” your marketing style this year, consider staying short and sweet, especially if you’re interested in strengthening your online presence.
What is meant by “keeping it short” is exactly what it sounds like – cutting back your content! According to the Bloomberg View and Sparks & Honey, a New York-based marketing agency, Gen Z (young people age 19 and under) has a (remarkably short) eight-second attention span! With an annual buying power of well over $40 billion and an incredible influence over what their parents purchase, it’s imperative to ask yourself how you’re marketing toward this generation.
The key to enticing consumers is to keep your content short and striking. Gen Z – along with virtually every other generation – is incredibly visual. To echo some marketing basics: if it doesn’t look appealing, it isn’t going to sell. To keep your content visually appealing and shortened, consider letting your images take center stage as opposed to your copy. Allison Outdoor Advertising Inc.’s “10-Commandments of Billboard Design” suggests using seven words or less when creating a billboard and letting images do most of the talking. This rule doesn’t just pertain to billboards, but the design of marketing collateral in general. With a strong image and only a few words, your brand more than likely will resonate much better with target audiences.
While seven seems to be the magic number for billboards and other collateral, consider applying a similar shortening strategy on your social media, because billboards certainly aren’t the only places to keep your content condensed. Evidenced in research by Wistia and published on HubSpot’s Marketing Blog, your average video length should be right around the two-minute mark. With the rise in visual marketing and the stronghold that video giants like YouTube have on consumers, you’ll want to remember this number the next time you post a video for your business. Additionally, Instagram captions should be kept under 125 characters, and even the 140-character limit in a tweet is a bit too steep. Remember these figures for social media success, and don’t be under the false pretense that more copy will automatically result in more sales!
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of keeping it short, let’s move onto to the sweet side of things! When it comes to marketing and “keeping it sweet,” it doesn’t necessarily mean plastering photos of puppies or kitties across your pages; although, people do have undeniable sweet spots for our furry friends. Today, consumers want to see authentic, genuine, “no filter” snapshots of your business’ daily functioning, or as Arnie Kuenn calls them in his article entitled, “Visual Content Marketing on 3 Major Networks: Ideas and Inspiration,” “backstage” looks. Think about giving consumers a short look at how a product is made, an authentic peek at your office culture, a glimpse at some of your philanthropy or just a few smiling shots of your employees. As Kuenn notes in relation to visual content marketing, posting photos of your staff or a peek at your daily processes “[humanizes] your brand.” It’s important to think about the types of photos you’ve been posting or using in your brochures, videos, sell sheets, etc. If you haven’t given employee faces or some of your projects a little limelight, it’s certainly not too late, because you do want to show consumers that your business has heart. Breaking away from stock photos for your visual components, as Buddy Scalera notes in his article, “Say No to Stock Photography and Create Authentic Images,” and going genuine is perhaps just what your business needs when you’re spring cleaning your marketing approach.
Implementing what Forbes calls “nostalgia marketing” is also a great way to keep it sweet. According to Forbes, using nostalgia in your marketing technique works best with Millennials, because this group in particular longs to fondly recall their childhood memories; it’s why “90s-style” choker necklaces and Pokémon GO were all the rage last summer. Peppering some nostalgia into your approach will appeal to the consumer on an emotional level without overdoing it.
This spring, keep it short and sweet if you want to do some thorough spring cleaning on your marketing approach; in doing so, you’ll appeal to wider groups of consumers, freshen up your social media and create some much-needed sunshine to drive sales!
It is with much excitement that I am introducing myself as the newest member of the creative team at Ideaworks Marketing! Being an individual who loves to write and story tell, I am passionate about communication and the role that words play in our understanding of people, businesses and – more broadly – our world.
I graduated summa cum laude from Misericordia University in December 2015 and hold a bachelor’s degree in English, as well as my Pennsylvania Instructional I teaching certificate in English/Language Arts grades 7-12. I have past work experience as a web content editor and substitute teacher. In my spare time, I love to travel, experiment in the kitchen, and spend time with my family, friends and fiancé!
I will be working with our Director of Marketing Communications, Chelsey Tupper, to develop content for the agency. Ready to bring my experience and passion for communication as the new Marketing Communications Manager, I am most excited to take a personalized, detail-oriented approach to working with our clients!
We’re excited to show off the 2017 Ideaworks calendar! Each year, we brainstorm a new calendar concept to make sure it’s fun and interactive. Our team then works diligently to bring the concept to life. Once produced, the calendars are given to clients, business associates, and friends of Ideaworks, and they are always a hit!
For 2017, our calendar celebrates the unexpected by paying homage to the quirky holidays that tend to get overlooked but make life a lot more interesting. This year’s calendar design is a true representation of the culture and chemistry here at Ideaworks. We’re forward thinking; not afraid to suggest bold, new ideas to clients; and we work hard (and play hard too). Speaking of playing, the vibrant colors and dynamic images throughout the calendar also serve as a gateway to a wonderful augmented reality experience using the Layar App. Each month has something new and fun in store, and if that’s not enough, the back of each card is a puzzle piece.
Let us know if you’d like to receive a 2017 Ideaworks calendar, and we’ll be sure to get one to you. From all of us at Ideaworks, we wish you and yours a new year full of many happy surprises. Remember to make the most of each day, and of course, celebrate the unexpected!
We’re excited to bring you the fall issue of Dazzle, our agency magazine! Please click here to read. We have no doubt you’ll love the bold design and find the content helpful and insightful. Enjoy!
Whenever anyone starts a business or is trying to grow a business, it’s always the same dream – visions of your logo and company name everywhere, not being able to keep your shelves stocked, not having enough manpower to keep up with demand, phones ringing off the hook, social feeds full of conversations between engaged consumers, and too many media requests and mentions to count. However, rarely does this happen. Why? Because most times, business owners do not stop to give their company’s brand serious thought. You might have a great product or service to offer, but if you don’t position your brand correctly, your business won’t achieve true success.
Think about those brands you see, hear, and read about all the time, such as Uber, Dyson, Dollar Shave Club and Airbnb. Why do you think these brands are plastered all over the place? Yes, their success has placed them in the forefront, but it’s how they achieved that great success that’s the real story. The reason these brands are booming is because each one has challenged their respective market leaders, resulting in a revolution in that market. As such, each one of these brands can be referred to as a “challenger brand.” More specifically, a challenger brand is a company or product brand that is not the category leader in a particular industry. Challenger brands play from a position behind the dominant player or leader in an industry. The process of achieving challenger brand status does not happen overnight. The aforementioned brands were and continue to be committed to their marketing strategies and did not shy away from putting a lot of time and effort into devising their marketing plans, brand identity and positioning. They carefully researched their respective industries and the key players. As a result, they didn’t jump in blindly; they knew their competition and how vital it was to have a solid marketing execution to attract customers.
Take look at Airbnb for example. For those who aren’t familiar, Airbnb is an online rental service that enables people to list, find and rent vacation homes. It is a marketplace for vacation rentals that charges a fee for connecting users with people who have property to rent. Founded just eight years ago, Airbnb already has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 191 countries. How does this great success happen when there are thousands of hotels and motels? It happened because Airbnb differentiated its service from the leading brand or in this instance, a category of brands in its industry, which are hotels. Instead of always needing to stay in a hotel with people all around or having to reserve several rooms next to each other if traveling with friends or family, Airbnb provides accommodations that are much more private than the typical hotel and allows groups of travelers to stay together instead of being sectioned off in separate rooms. Additionally, travelers can actually get an idea of what it’s like to live in the town or city being visited. Thus, Airbnb provides a greater cultural experience than staying in a hotel.
Differentiation is just one key characteristic of challenger brands. In sticking with the Airbnb example, not only does Airbnb differentiate itself from the average hotel, it also creates market segmentation. Early on, Airbnb identified those consumers who are under-valued or under-served by leading hotels, such as individuals who cannot afford grand hotels and/or hotels in close proximity to areas of interest for the duration of a vacation, along who those traveling in groups. With Airbnb, not only are there more desirable budget-friendly options, but groups have the option of renting a house verse being divided in a hotel.
Along with differentiation and segmentation, challenger brands also possess the following qualities:
- Out-think, rather than outspend, the competition
- Committed to being the best at what they do
- Embrace productive disruption and unconventional approaches
- Use the competition’s size against themselves
- Provoke new conversation
When you think about Airbnb, isn’t it easy to see how each of these qualities is representative of the company?
Now that we’ve established what a challenger brand needs to do, let’s break it down even further and look at the five distinct types of challenger brands. Looking at each of these will help you determine if your business or organization is or has the potential to become a challenger brand. The five distinct types of challenger brands are:
- Lightening rod: Creates attraction, does the unexpected, adds shock value. Examples: Dollar Shave Club and Lady Gaga
- Heretical: Game changer, takes ideas from other industries and improves upon them. Examples: IKEA and Silvercar
- Foster rejection: Creates a “cult-like” following, focuses only on a very specific niche audience, hyper focuses on their target. Examples: Mini-Cooper and United Colors of Benetton
- Compulsive servitude: Over delivers, superior promises and services. Examples: The Ritz-Carlton and FedEx
- Constant Evolution: Technological advancements, the product or service is always evolving and does not stay the same for an extended period of time. Examples: Google Fiber and Shinola
Going back to our Airbnb example, which type of challenger brand would you say it is? If you guessed heretical, good job. This type of challenger brand best describes Airbnb because it is a total game changer in the travel/hospitality industry. Airbnb took ideas from this industry and improved them in order to create a much better consumer experience in many different ways. Which category do you think your brand falls into? Is it the same category you would like your brand to be in? If you think your brand can fit into more than one category, be careful. Think about the granular, fundamental purpose of your company or service. To be a challenger brand, you must have a clear vision and focus of what it is you want to do or provide.
The concept of challenger brands can get you thinking differently about your company. Every business owner wants the same kind of success Airbnb has seen in just eight years, but to do so, it’s imperative to take a step back and invest in your marketing and branding efforts. It might take a lot of time and energy, but the investment will be worthwhile when the dreams you had back when starting your business become reality. Click here to take our quiz to find out if your brand is a challenger brand, and if so, which type!
Does your brand fall into one of these five categories or do you think your brand has the potential to become one of these challenger brands? Connect with us. At Ideaworks, it’s our passion to think of ideas that will make your brand, product, or service stand out and resonate with your target market regardless if it’s challenger brand material or not. Who knows, after a conversation with us, you might start to see your brand in a new light.
Blue Chip Animal Farm invites the northeast Pennsylvania community to take part in its Legacy of Love memory wall unveiling on Saturday, November 5 at 1 p.m. at Blue Chip Animal Farm in Dallas, PA. The event will celebrate the installation of the organization’s Legacy of Love memory wall constructed entirely of commemorative bricks purchased by Blue Chip supporters.
Bricks purchased not only contribute to the ongoing construction of the memory wall but also help to offset operating costs at Blue Chip. Bricks can be purchased online at www.bcfanimalrefuge.org in addition to at the event. “We hope to create a wall of 600 memories at Blue Chip Farm, and to build a space of love and remembrance for all of the animals and animal lovers that have passed away. Those who purchase a brick are doing a service in memory of their loved ones because 100% of the funds will go to support the ongoing cost of operation of Blue Chip Animal Farm,” says Cordie Braun, director of Blue Chip.
Ideaworks has taken on Blue Chip as its charity of choice, which means we provide the non-profit with complimentary marketing services. Specifically for the Legacy of Love memory wall, Ideaworks created the marketing materials and webpage, along with coordinating and executing the public relations effort for the unveiling event. Ideaworks also did the Legacy of Love billboard design, which can be seen in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. Lamar Advertising was very generous to donate the billboard space. We hope you’ll come out and support this wonderful organization on November 5 and/or purchase a brick to memorialize a pet or pet lover in your life.