Why Storytelling is Important for Branding

When consumers are exposed to hundreds and thousands of advertising messages a day, it becomes easy to tune out or make it difficult for advertisements to resonate and even harder to keep consumer attention. Can you recall 10 of the advertisements you’ve seen today? You might not be able to right away. We are a species of daydreamers, which makes it a real challenge for advertisers to create ads that resonate. How can brands hold the attention of so many wandering minds? The answer is in storytelling. The increase in content marketing, like blogging, and social media marketing has made it clear that storytelling is the best way to reach consumers.

Close up of an ink pen's nib

Close up of an ink pen’s nib

Storytelling helps consumers connect emotionally.

The personal touch that storytelling adds to branding and advertising makes it more relatable for consumers. Focusing on the brand’s story more than the actual promotion creates trust, which is important when many consumers generally don’t trust the ads they see. Today, more and more people are putting their trust in earned media like word-of-mouth or online consumer reviews than other forms of advertising. This means that consumers are more willing to buy a product or service if they share an emotional connection. Emotional connections in an advertisement increases the ads overall effectiveness because you’re more willing to pay attention to something that relates to your own experiences. Although advertising using data that says “75% of moms approve of this brand!” seems impressive, consumers are looking for a more human connection with a brand. For example, Extra‘s “Origami” tugs at the heartstrings by telling a heartwarming story between a father and daughter. Although the ad is still promoting Extra’s gum products, the ad focuses on how the relationship between the father and daughter grows with the product.

Our brains are more active when listening to a story.

Neuroscience has found that our brains are more active when reading a detailed story. Words that describe or the awaken the senses are more likely to elicit human reaction because our brains don’t make the distinction between what we’re reading/watching and what we’re actually experiencing. Our brains act as if we are a part of what we’re watching or reading, not standing by as a spectator. This helps brands turn their advertising into an experience for their target. Look at how Coke has turned the brand into a storytelling company by “selling an idea.” But that’s not all, our brains are less likely to wander when caught in an engrossing story. Our brains flip through about a hundred daydreams an hour, but with our thoughts tangled in the web of storytelling, our brains experience no daydreams. Stories awaken the “what’s going to happen next?” intrigue within us which, for advertisers, is incredibly important for holding the attention of viewers.

Storytelling portrays company values and goals.

While storytelling is great for emotionally connecting, it can also help reflect what a brand values. It helps the consumer get to know what the company is all about and helps consumers visualize the company’s goals. One company that did an excellent job with this is Chipotle Mexican Grill, who reflected their company value of producing sustainable, healthy and wholesome food products with their short film “The Scarecrow.” The Scarecrow, fed up with the way that companies manufacture foods, sets out on a quest to help “Cultivate a Better World.” Additionally, the film accompanies an app-based game that lets you play out the story yourself. Brands could show what they value the most with storytelling, even create characters like Chipotle did, to help emotionally engage their consumers with a story that portrays a simple message.

Storytelling gives us the power to connect with consumers through what we advertise. Stories can be portrayed in words, in pictures and in video, and on any advertising platform for any audience to connect to. We look for a human connection in everything, and storytelling makes a brand seem more human. A brand becomes more than a logo or a phrase, it becomes a living thing made up of values and ideas. It gives us the opportunity to show that a brand or product is more than just a brand or product – it’s an experience.

5 Advertising Mistakes You May Not Realize You’re Making

Great advertising can be phenomenal for a business’s success. Companies can crank out excellent ads with just as excellent results, but they can just as likely create some not-so-awesome ones due to unlikely advertising blunders. Everyone makes mistakes once in a while, but wasted money on failed advertising executions is a mistake nobody wants to make. Double check that you aren’t committing any of these advertising mistakes!


You’re not measuring your results.

In most cases, you’ll do your research before advertising executions are made, but don’t forget to do the research once the executions have been played out. Measuring the results of your marketing ensures that what you’re doing is achieving your marketing goals. Administer surveys to gather information about the consumer or talk to customers directly. The customer is always right, right? Analyze brand awareness by surveying the target market. Compare sales before and after advertising and marketing efforts. Has there been an increase in customer buys? Store visits? Additionally, check analytics for social media and see how the activity compares to the stats of previous activity. Keep track of your progress and failures so that you can grow from them, your results will prevent you from continuing any advertising mistakes.

Not being patient.

Advertising shouldn’t be about instant gratification, because it likely won’t satisfy your marketing goals right away. Great advertising takes a bit of time to build up to become the most effective. Not every person who sees your ad is going to drop everything and rush to buy the advertised product, but exposing the ad to the consumer often enough can help them remember to do so in the future. Allow some time for the ad to resonate before you become discouraged. Once you feel that the time is right, measure the ad’s effectiveness.

Targeting too many consumers.

You may feel like you’re better off marketing to more than one market. Or, you may want to target everyone. However, failing to establish a target audience can misdirect your marketing executions and lead to little or no results simply because the message doesn’t apply to everyone. Your marketing actions should be done with the target in mind, even something as simple as a Tweet or a Facebook post can make marketing more efficient. An established target audience helps give your advertising more structure and makes executions consistent because they’re reaching the same market, not all markets. Look at current consumers and company products/services when trying to find a target. There are likely similar markets that can benefit from what the business has to offer. Find them so you can hit a bullseye with advertising.

You’re all business… all the time.

Business updates, new products and sales are a few great things that businesses can talk about on social media. However, sometimes you need to remind customers that it’s a business run by people. Celebrate the accomplishments of employees, share fun stories that have happened during the day, be personal. This helps establish brand loyalty and trust between the customer and the business. However, be sure not to go too far in the other direction. While it’s fun to do something silly or personal can show the company’s sense of humor once in a while, don’t lose sight of your marketing objectives. Make sure that you maintain a balance between the business and the fun.

Creating too many individual ads.

While individual advertisements can be effective, you are more likely to see more results when campaigning. Chances are, you have more to say than can be accomplished in a single advertisement. Advertising campaigns work from one big idea, and they allow you to say more, reach more and target through different advertising platforms. Build upon each advertisement as you go, and be sure that they’re consistent with your message.

Keep these ideas in mind if you feel like your advertising is falling short of your goals. Be consistent by campaigning, don’t be afraid to be personal and be patient. Don’t be discouraged by mistakes or shortcomings, learning from mistakes is one of the best ways that advertising strategies can grow and become something more outstanding.

September Targeting List



01 Labor Day
11 Patriot Day

Day Events

3 Skyscraper Day
4 Newspaper Carrier Day
5 Be Late for Something Day
5 International Day of Charity
5 International Vulture Awareness Day
5 Cheese Pizza Day
5 World Beard Day
6 Read a Book Day
7 Salami Day
7 Buy a Book Day
8 Iguana Awareness Day
International Literacy Day
8 World Physical Therapy Day
Teddy Bear Day
12 Video Games Day
12 Chocolate Milk Shake Day
13 Grandparent’s Day
13 Hug Your Hound Day
13 Programmers’ Day
13 Positive Thinking Day
13 Peanut Day
13 Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day
13 Fortune Cookie Day
14 Eat a Hoagie Day
15 Greenpeace Day
16 Guacamole Day
16 Collect Rocks Day
16 Working Parents Day
17 International Country Music Day
17 Constitution Day
18 Respect Day
18 Cheeseburger Day
19 International Eat an Apple Day
19 Butterscotch Pudding Day
19 Gymnastics Day
19 Talk Like a Pirate Day
20 Wife Appreciation Day
21 Miniature Golf Day
21 International Day of Peace
21 World Gratitude Day
22 Dear Diary Day
22 Business Women’s Day
22 White Chocolate Day
22 Ice Cream Cone Day
22 Elephant Appreciation Day
24 Punctuation Day
25 World Pharmacists Day
25 National Comic Book Day
26 Lumberjack Day
26 World Dream Day
26 International Rabbit Day
27 World Tourism Day
28 Family Day
28 National Good Neighbor Day
28 Drink Beer Day
29 World Heart Day
29 International Coffee Day

Week Events

1-7 International Enthusiasm Week
1-7 National Nutrition Week
6-12 National Waffle Week
7-15 National Suicide Prevention Week
13-19 World Hearing Aid Awareness Week
13-19 Child Passenger Safety Week
13-19 National Assisted Living Week
17-23 Constitution Week
20-26 National Farm Safety and Health Week
20-26 National Dog Week
20-26 National Indoor Plant Week
20-26 National Singles Week
20-26 National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

Month Events
National Piano Month
National Chicken Month
Baby Safety Month
Self Improvement Month
Honey Month
Classical Music Month

10 Tips for More Social Media Engagement

Social media is proven to be incredibly important for businesses big and small. They act as a platform to maintain a relationship with consumers and also help with increasing brand awareness. However, social media isn’t always a piece of cake. One day, a business may find that they aren’t gaining many followers, likes or interactions on their social media pages. If it seems as though social media engagement has come to a complete halt, keep these tips in mind to help improve your social media strategy.


1. Use a call to action.

Encourage followers to share or like posts by including a call to action that gets the audience to share content. Try not to use simple phrases such as “Please RT” or “please share” because that likely won’t give the audience enough incentive to do so. Be creative so that the audience gets enthusiastic about replying to a Facebook post, RT-ing a Tweet or interacting with a business’s social media accounts in general. For example, a produce store can post recipes that include specific products from their shop and ask the audience to reply with images of what they create with that recipe. This makes the post a little fun and also prompts the audience to buy these products if they want to create the recipe in the future. Make sure that the call to action is clear, easy to see and understand so that you can generate more responses.

2. Create buzz with promotions.

Promotional posts or giveaways are a great way to get your audience excited. It gets them involved while also giving them the opportunity to receive a reward or discount. Try using call to actions like, “share this image and give one reason why you love our brand, and you can win a $25 gift card!”.  Asking the audience share promotional posts allows for the opportunity to expand your audience as well and get new consumers involved with the brand or business.

3. Post photos and videos.

Photos and video posts often get more attention online because images process quickly for viewers and are easier to understand. They stand out among text-only posts and have a better chance of being liked or shared. Depending on the business, photos may work better than video content and vice-versa. For example, a boutique would benefit more from posting photos of customers wearing their products, while a hardware store would find better use of video for recording how-to projects. Photo and video content make it possible for your audience can connect with your business emotionally. So, consider using product images, video messages, graphics or any other type of visual to grab consumer attention.

4. Do your research.

Stay current on news in the industry by designating time to research. One of the easiest ways you can do this is by checking in with other businesses in the industry. Take a look at their social media presence and see what they’re doing right or wrong. This can help you with social media marketing ideas (no stealing!) and keep you up to date with industry news and trends. Checking other websites or blogs can also help give you some extra insight.

5. Make sure that everything is current.

Nobody wants to hear about old news, especially in such a fast-paced an changing environment like the social media world. Keeping up with the times and, most importantly, being one of the first to talk about something can help increase traffic on one’s social media page. If you get word about an interesting story or bit of news in the industry, share before the word has already spread. If something note-worthy happens at the storefront, share it within the hour instead of a few days later so that it is more timely. Additionally, keeping up with daily holidays can help you come up with relevant social media content.

6. Get more personal.

Connect with followers by giving a business or brand more personality. Share photos of employee outings, birthdays or accomplishments so that the audience can see that it’s not always about business. Showing the faces behind what makes a business special creates trust between a business and their customers. Post photos of employees hard at work on a project or even choose an employee “star of the month” so that the audience can learn more about them.

7. Interact with followers.

One important thing for businesses to keep in mind is keeping in touch with their followers once they have them. If someone asks a question or posts a comment to their page, they make sure to respond promptly and appropriately. They shouldn’t leave anyone hanging when they ask a question and practice excellent customer service skills on their social media accounts to show customers and future customers that they care about them and what they have to say.

8. Keep posts consistent. 

Chances are a smaller business might not have a lot of time for social media, let alone have a designated employee to take care of posting to their accounts. However, businesses can lose followers because they are posting infrequently and inconsistently, or prevent them from getting any new followers in the first place. If someone stumbles across a business profile for the first time and notices that they haven’t posted anything in a month or only post a few times a year, chances are, they’re less likely to hit the “follow” button. Smaller businesses should designate at least one day a week to set aside some time to post to their social media account(s) and interact with their followers. They could even try scheduling future posts so that content is shared at the most appropriate time. Decide what amount of social media communication is best and make sure consistency is maintained.

9. Don’t forget about hashtags and keywords.

With the staggering amount of content posted to social media every second, it can be difficult for posts to stand out. Carefully choosing particular keywords or hashtags can help customers pick your business out among the clutter. When customers are looking for a particular product or service, they will often search a particular key word or short phrase. For instance, if a consumer is looking for a place to take their family to breakfast, they may look up something like “family breakfast restaurants” or “pancake house.” Think of a keyword or words that could be associated with your business and incorporate it in your social media bios and posts.

10. Keep audience attention with storytelling.

Everyone loves a good story, right? Social media is a great tool for storytelling, and storytelling is a great way for consumers to connect with a brand. Continue showing the personal side of the business by talking about exciting happenings at the store, share some industry tips, tell the story behind the company or brand or even share some business conflicts. You may even start a blog if you’re looking for a bigger storytelling canvas. Websites like Facebook, Google+ or mobile apps like Instagram allow for lengthy narrative, but what about Twitter? Trying to confine a good story in 140 characters can seem limiting, but it can also allow for more creativity. Innovative stories can lead to a stronger customer relationship, so don’t be afraid to get personal with the audience.

There are plenty of ways that social media can be utilized to benefit a business. It keeps the customer updated and acts as a window into the business itself, but social media can only benefit when you keep the audience engaged with the content you are posting. For the best results when social media marketing, remember to be personal, be current and, most importantly, be creative.

How to Draw the Eye With Newspaper Ads

Newspaper advertising is the oldest form of advertising as well as one of the least expensive and the most trusted. Newspapers can be beneficial to any advertising campaign, but designing an ad that catches a reader’s eye can be a challenge when the ad has to compete with the articles and the rest of the advertisements in the paper. Sometimes, newspaper ads can be very small, which to some, may mean that it limits creativity and make it even more difficult to grab attention. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t create an effective ad design, it only means you need to think bigger to create smaller.

Cut the clutter.

If your advertising space is small, keep the text to a minimum. Try to include only the essentials, like your company name, catchy headline, address and contact information. Adding too much text can clutter the advertisement and overpower any visuals that you might use. Too much text can also blend the advertisement with the rest of the publication and make it harder to read.  On that note, you want to make sure that your text size is readable. If you’re trying to make space, shrinking the text size might seem like a simple solution, but a font size under 11 points might be a little harder on the eyes.

copy light ad

No need to overpower an ad with copy when you can let your images speak for you.

Let visuals be your words.

When keeping the text at a minimum, the easiest way to get the message across is using visuals. Images of the product, people using the product or simply using stock images to help represent what the ad is trying to sell can speak much louder than copy. Images that include people that represent the target audience can make the advertisement more relatable and more likely that the target will read the rest of the ad. If you’re using a large visual that takes up the entire ad space, remember to use text that is still readable on top of the image.

Jump Back In Ad

Ads with visuals can grab attention and make it more relatable to the reader.

Ask a question.

One way to entice readers to look at your ad is to ask them a simple question that they can relate to. This can be used as a headline to draw the reader’s eye. Readers will subconsciously answer your question and become more involved with the ad, ensuring that they will continue reading the rest of the copy. The more a reader is involved with the ad, the better it sells and the better it promotes brand recognition.

Wanna Feel Like This Ad

Wanna feel like this? Of course you do! Ads that ask relatable questions lead to more attention.

Grab attention with color and copy.

Like any other ad, you don’t want to waste any time grabbing the reader’s attention, and that’s especially so if your ad size is smaller. This can be done with eye-popping color, if color printing is available. The most attention-grabbing color palette consists of warm colors like yellow, orange and red. Bold lettering is a must for headlines so that they draw the eye immediately. Most importantly, once you have their attention, you need to be able to keep it. Since the headline of the ad is likely the first thing that readers will see, make sure that your wording is catchy. Some key words that are most likely to evoke a reaction from readers are unbelievable, powerful, instantly and ultimate. Brainstorm exciting buzz words and stay away from ho-hum adjectives like good, great and nice.

pancake ad

An excellent color palette paired with eye-popping graphics and catchy copy equal a super sweet newspaper advertisement!

Keeping these tips in mind the next time you’re creating a newspaper ad can give you the upper hand when fighting for the attention of readers. Even if you’re trying to squeeze an ad in the classified section, there are still limitless possibilities to what you can design. When you’re thinking creatively, ad size doesn’t matter!

1-Minute Workshop: Rainbow

Quick Cover - BannerCreating a Rainbow in Adobe® Photoshop®

1MW _Rainbow Step 1

Step 1

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a rainbow in five simple steps in Adobe Photoshop. Begin by opening a photo in which you wish to apply the rainbow.

1MW_Rainbow Step 2

Step 2

Next, create a new layer. This will be the layer on which the rainbow will be created.

1MW_Rainbow Step 3

Step 3

Select the Gradient tool from the Tool bar. In the Options bar (directly below Photoshop’s menu navigation), click on the Radial icon to select radial for the style of gradient and then click on the Gradient Editor to open the gradient options. Select either Spectrum or Rainbow from the gradient options. If neither exists, simply create your own colors for the rainbow.

1MW Rainbow Step 4

Step 4

In order to define the shape of the rainbow and keep the color bands fairly narrow, you’ll need to push the colors together tightly. Simply drag all the lower tabs (below each color) toward the right side of the window so that they are tightly packed together and the tabs are touching one another. Make sure the colors on the ends fade out gradually. When satisfied with the gradient, save it as a new gradient or click OK.

1MW Rainbow Step 5

Step 5

With the Gradient tool still selected, click toward the bottom of your image (make sure you’re on the new layer from Step 2) and drag up towards the center of your image. When you release the mouse button, you will have an instant rainbow effect. Experiment with the direction of the mouse and the distance that you drag the cursor to achieve different results in size and placement. To complete the effect, reduce the Opacity of the rainbow layer to allow the underlying image to show through.


5 Tips for Better Branding

Branding is incredibly important for a company’s growth and for developing a loyal following and relationship with it’s consumers. However, brand is more than just a nice logo. When you are thinking of your brand, you need to be looking beyond the visuals and consider elements like customer experience, your social media presence and even the attitude of your staff. Branding is how you want your consumers to view you. Research on your market and your target consumers can give you a great insight on what it is that they value, and what your brand can offer them. Here are a few tips to consider when developing your own unique brand.

Master barista

1. Differentiate your brand from the rest.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Of course you want your brand to stand out amongst the others. However, when thinking about branding, your mind may start to wander towards the product you are selling. No matter how unique your brand is, there is likely to be someone else out there who sells the same, or similar, products. So, think beyond the physical, and start to think about how you want your brand to make customers feel. Think about what makes you unique and what element(s) of your brand you wish to project onto your consumers. Understand what value your brand has to bring to the table and be able to translate that onto different marketing platforms. While we’re on the subject, remember that each marketing and advertising outlet should be treated differently. Tailor your message so that it stays true to the brand, but is unique to the platform.

2. Make an emotional connection. 

If you want to ensure brand loyalty, your brand should make an emotional connection with its message. Brands like Harley Davidson are known for making their customers feel a sense of belonging with their brand. Their branding strategy allows for brand loyalists to feel a connection between other Harley-loyal consumers. This sense of belonging is strengthened by Harley Davidson online communities and clubs. With that being said, the internet offers up many opportunities for brands to create that emotional connection. It serves as an outlet for consumers to talk about the brand, share and interact with it in ways that they couldn’t with traditional marketing platforms. The experience that your brand offers to the consumer should help create that emotional connection.

3. Stick with simplicity.

When creating advertising messages, you might feel obligated to cram a bunch of information about your brand. But, that could get confusing for consumers and ensure that it won’t be leaving a lasting impression. Make your message is clear and easy to understand by focusing on the core quality of your brand. Having a great brand doesn’t necessarily mean you need to highlight everything that makes you great.

4. Keep it consistent.

Great brands aren’t born overnight, so strong branding relies on your consistency. This is incredibly important because consistency leaves an impression on the consumer and ensures them that you’re a brand that they can trust. Once you have established the elements that define your brand, don’t change them. Something as small as changing your color scheme can confuse your customer base and make your brand seem less trustworthy. Existing consumers should know what to expect from you, while new customers should be able to recognize your brand down the road.

5. Remember that your brand is not static.

Brands evolve over time, and it’s important to evaluate your brand’s growth and success over time to make sure that your message remains consistent to your objectives and remains relevant to your customer base. Sometimes, the market can change, their interests can change or your brand could start going through its own evolution. So, remember to continue doing research on your market, make sure that your message is relevant and the consumer stays engaged. Remain flexible, listen to your customers and, most importantly, be open to new opportunities.