Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Benefits of Routine

If you have kids then you already know: Back-to-school season is upon us. As my family has been busy shopping, organizing, and preparing to get back on a regular everyday schedule, it’s got me thinking about routine and its many benefits.

Many of us have a morning routine that we follow. Whether that includes journaling, packing lunches, exercising, or all the above, it has been scientifically proven that that daily repetition is good for us. Research shows that a daily routine helps develop healthier sleep patterns (which improve cognitive function) and according to the New York Times, “a morning routine reduces decision fatigue and can help you be more productive throughout the day.”

I’ve concluded that mornings really matter. The things that I do first set the tone for the rest of my day. I like to begin my day early, with coffee and a workout—and then I change my voicemail message. I am a big believer in the power of habit; and for as long as I can remember, I have recorded a new message every morning, which stems from the opportunity to make a strong first impression.
Here’s a few morning routines of successful people that I found interesting:

  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wakes up at 4 AM, drinks coffee, and then starts his workout with cardio
  • Warren Buffet begins every day by reading—he recommends reading 500 pages a day
  • Tony Robbins sets aside 10 minutes to reflect on everything that he’s grateful for. He suggests taking time every morning to focus on things you’re thankful for in/about yourself, your family and friends, your career, etc.
  • Oprah Winfrey wakes up before the sunrise and begins her day with meditation

And this, from Steve Jobs, is a favorite: In a 2005 commencement address he gave at Stanford, Jobs shared the motivational tactic he used to start every day: “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ Whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

What does your morning routine include? Are you doing things every day that you enjoy? If not, there’s no time like the present to make a change. Message us on Facebook about your routines—you just
might inspire us to try something new!

All the best,
Tim Connor

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Getting It Right: Integrated Marketing 2017

In July 2015, we ran this blog about integrated marketing—and now, two years later, the argument for integrating multiple channels as part of a strategic marketing effort still rings strikingly true. As digital media channels continue to become more pervasive, we need to incorporate those touches along with off-line connections, to make solid, memorable brand connections. 
   
The debate has been raging since the rise of digital media: Which is more effective? Print or electronic? If you want people to understand and retain information, studies consistently show that it’s print. Yet on the other side of the aisle, some e-marketers argue that print is dead. The truth is, in this digital age, there’s room for both in your marketing tool chest.

It’s no different than 20 years ago when we began to use new print applications. Today, we have more channels available, both online and offline. The genius is being able to blend the best of both via an integrated marketing effort.

Print and electronic marketing are not mutually exclusive—each channel has its strengths and limitations. And using them together actually strengthens your brand. Having a consistent, impactful message woven together using different channels (social media, direct mail, promotional products, pay-per-click, etc.) you can ensure that your brand is represented consistently while leveraging the impact of the cross-channel reach.

Using a mix of online and offline channels also allows you to re-connect with your audience throughout a campaign to reinforce your brand message, drive relevancy and prompt action. You might tweet about a new promotion, send an email blast and follow up with a postcard. And because each of these channels can be used to connect with a specific audience segment your message can be tailored just for them. That’s the power of integrated marketing.

An article in Entrepreneur magazine touts the benefits of integrating print and digital touches in your marketing strategy. It notes that print communications can actually leverage your ecommerce site and even strengthen your social media presence. Print engages multiple generations of consumers; can be used to drive social media traffic (via printed calls-to-action on postcards or print ads, for example); and extends your brand reach by sharing your reviews and information offline.

There’s no time like the present to evaluate your marketing effort. Whether you’re operating as a brick-and-mortar business or an online service provider, balance is essential. Print has a tangible, enduring appeal that complements modern digital channels. Using both will get results.

As an instant update to this archived blog, check out the link below: This recent article from Small Business Trends offers 10 great examples of integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content with PR, print with digital, etc. It’s worth your time to click through. 

https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/05/integrated-marketing-campaign-examples.html

Do you have any campaign examples you’d add to that list? I’d like to hear from you.

All the best,
Tim Connor
tconnor@shamrockcompanies.net

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Top Product Packaging Trends for 2017

Do you grab a bottle of wine off the shelf because you like the label? Or does a sleek graphic prompt you to try a new brand of shampoo? If so, you’re not alone. One-third of consumer product choices are based on packaging, according to research by The Paper Worker

There is tremendous power in packaging design: As marketers, it allows us to make an immediate—and ongoing—brand connection with our target audience. So, whether you’re planning a new product launch or sending a specialty promotion to B2B prospects, there’s no time like the present to rethink packaging design. 

In her blog published at the beginning of the year, designer Martis Lupus outlined predictions for the nine top trends for successful product packaging in 2017—and we embrace her view as spot-on. Below is a summary of those design trends:

1. Be simple, bold and clear 
Minimizing the elements used in a package design can elevate a product…as long as it gets the point across. In our fast-paced world, shoppers don’t always have the time to study each and every product detail. Stick to the essentials and make sure they help the buyer make a more informed decision; a clean-cut design can convey information and make a product shine using simplicity.

2. Embrace custom lettering
Almost every designer loves to get crafty and create some of their artwork by hand. We do this to get the organic effect: fluid imperfections—like irregular lines or natural texture fills—can make a product stand out through warmth and set it apart from digital designs. This warmth can create an emotional tie to the product, making it feel handmade and wholesome, or communicating a feeling of nostalgia. 

3. Go wild with color
It’s no secret that colors evoke emotions and affect purchasing decisions. Because of this, color has always been one of the most important choices in packaging design. Lately we’ve seen designers put colors to work in new and exciting ways. Bright colors and vibrant associations are beginning to make a scene on store shelves.

4. Repeat a pattern
Using well-chosen and beautiful patterns can elevate a package design from ordinary to ethereal. Repeating a visual motif that captures the essence of the brand sends a strong message. Whether your pattern is bold or playful, patterning your package can create a strong identity that customers will remember.

5. Use illustration as narrative
Behind every design there is a story. We seek out and cherish the stories that feel closest to our hearts. Packaging design has begun to incorporate narrative illustrations.

6. Put it in the mail
Remember the joy of getting something in the mail? With faster, more efficient ways to communicate, that experience has become more rare. Packaging design is here to save the day with an emerging postal trend.

7. Imagine ingenious die cuts
Traditional packaging tends to hide its contents, but modern designers are experimenting with die cutting to show products to their advantage. Whether it’s encouraging tactile interaction, mimicking a brand’s logo, or forming identifiable or humorous shapes, creating a window in your packaging can show the product in a meaningful or clever way, making a buyer stop and take notice.

8. Find vintage inspiration
Vintage package design is evolving each year (ironically) through the use of new technologies and materials. There’s something about vintage design that resonates through time. It brings back memories for people who lived through the original era and satisfies the curiosity of younger generations eager to explore the past.

9. Explore eco-friendly packaging
Eco-friendly, biodegradable, natural, sustainable… Call it what you will, going green with packaging is a trend that’s here to stay. Beyond its positive impact on the environment, it can also save companies money and attract customers.

Click on link below for the original blog by Lupus, which includes fabulous photos of each of these must-follow trends. https://99designs.com/blog/trends/packaging-trends-2017/

I find these trends inspirational in terms of how we can help our customers tell their brand stories while making memorable connections. Can you think of standout product packaging that prompted a recent purchase? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.