Shout Out Studio - Marketing That Motivates

Brand Marketing Strategy and Execution
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Why You Look Shady: Website Trust Indicators

Why You Look Shady: Website Trust Indicators 840 1120 Soula Spanorigas

Imagine walking into a store only to find the staff avoiding eye contact, the return policy hidden in microscopic print, and the product descriptions riddled with misleading claims. You would probably leave.   

Unlike the brick-and-mortar experience, where a warm smile and a friendly handshake can go a long way, the internet lacks the same human connection. This makes it easy for even the most legitimate businesses to struggle against the inherent skepticism of online shoppers, leaving potential customers wondering: Can I trust this business? 

With digital business interactions, trust indicators are critical to ensure potential customers of your credibility and reliability. Among the many trust indicators, certain elements stand out for their impact in fostering trust. From social media profiles to Google My Business pages, each component serves as a pillar in constructing a trustworthy online presence. Let’s dive into why these trust indicators are indispensable for businesses and why we re-examined our own.

Social Media Profiles

Social media profiles that are lively and up-to-date create a sense of familiarity, making you feel at ease and confident in what to expect. Your business’s social media profiles aren’t just about racking up followers or likes — they’re about nurturing relationships and showcasing credibility in a digital world where trust is everything. That’s why we post on social media regularly and respond to those who comment. 

Correct Contact Information

It might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many businesses miss the mark on this one. Making sure your contact information is accurate is crucial for earning trust online. Whether it’s your phone number, email, or where you’re located, having correct details that are easy to find shows you’re all about transparency and being there for your customers. People feel more confident in a business that’s easy to reach when they need help. Plus, having verified contact info squashes any doubts and proves your business is the real deal. Even if you do not have a dedicated office and you work from home, you should still list a virtual address and contact information so that customers know the best way to contact you. 

Privacy and Security Policies

Having clear and honest privacy and security policies is key for businesses to earn our trust. When a company lays out exactly how they handle our info — like what they collect, how they use it, and how they keep it safe — it shows they’re serious about protecting us. Businesses that make privacy and security a priority aren’t just following the rules — they’re building trust with their customers. By being open and accountable about their policies, they give us peace of mind that our data is in good hands.

Google My Business Pages

Think of a Google My Business page as a virtual storefront for businesses. It’s where you can find all the important stuff: where they’re located, when they’re open, and what other customers have to say about them. Having a top-notch Google My Business page not only helps a business show up higher in search results but also gives potential customers a sneak peek into what they’re all about. By making the most of this platform, businesses can make a big impression and win the trust of customers.

Ratings/Reviews Your Website

Customer reviews and ratings are super influential when it comes to deciding where to spend money. When a business takes the time to reply to feedback in a friendly and personal way, it shows they care about their customers. By staying on top of reviews on their website and Google My Business page, businesses can chat with customers, sort out any issues, and prove they’re committed to making people happy. This hands-on approach doesn’t just build trust — it turns happy customers into loyal fans. 

Case Studies/Showing Work

Case studies and portfolios offer tangible evidence of a business’s capabilities, expertise, and track record of success. When a business shares real stories of how they’ve solved problems and delivered results, it’s like saying, “Hey, look what we can do!” Whether it’s detailed case studies, quotes from happy, or visuals, showing off past successes is a great way to build trust with potential customers. By flaunting skills and achievements, businesses can stand out from the crowd. On our own website, we display our client work and what all we’ve done to improve our clients’ marketing strategies overall. This paints the picture for a potential new client in a visual way. 

Team Bios Showing Personality

Introducing the team members and sharing their backgrounds, expertise, and personalities humanizes the brand and fosters connections with customers. Team bios also provide insight into the individuals behind the business, showcasing their passion, dedication, and commitment to excellence. By putting faces to the brand, businesses can build rapport, credibility, and trust with their audience, creating a sense of familiarity and loyalty. Incorporating personality into the brand helps businesses stand out and forge meaningful connections. We made sure that everyone on our team is showcased on our website with information about what they do and a headshot so that people can match a friendly face to a name. 

Keeping Content Up to Date

Keeping content fresh, relevant, and up-to-date is essential for maintaining trust and credibility. Outdated or inaccurate content can break trust and undermine the perceived reliability of a business. Fresh content not only enhances search engine visibility but also signals to customers that the business is active, responsive, and invested in providing value. By prioritizing content freshness and relevance, businesses can reinforce their credibility and trustworthiness. Even if you don’t think you have anything to share, you probably do!

Trust is everything when it comes to convincing potential customers that a business is reliable and legit. Among all the signals that help build this trust, some really stand out. These trust indicators are like the building blocks of trust. So, it’s super important for businesses to pay attention to them and keep improving, just like we’ve been doing ourselves.

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Write Short, Not Shallow: Smart Brevity

Write Short, Not Shallow: Smart Brevity 840 1120 Jared

Read Time: 2m
Word Count: 512

Would you read what you wrote?

Seriously… if you aren’t the author of whatever you’re reading, do you really take the time to read every word?

More than ever, audiences are reading less and scanning more. So isn’t it time we start writing for how we actually read? It’s called writing with Smart Brevity.

Like persuasive or narrative writing, Smart Brevity is a unique type of writing. While not every person or organization will use it the same way, there are techniques everyone can apply to some degree — depending on the type of content produced.

Smart Brevity can be applied to

  • Articles

  • Social Media

  • Newsletters

  • Emails

  • Meetings

  • Speeches

  • Presentations

How Does Smart Brevity Work?

Smart Brevity is used to accomplish two things:

  1. Cut Down

  2. Call Out

By doing both, you’ll create a more memorable message. The more memorable your message:

  • The easier it is for your audience to act

  • The more attention you’ll get from your audience in the future

A more concise message also shows respect for your audience’s time — meaning next time they need information in a hurry, you’ll be their first stop.

Just remember: the goal is to write short, never shallow.

Cut Down

“Finding the right words or phrases to cut out is usually something that is easier said than done.”

“Cutting word count is easier said than done.” But when done right, Smart Brevity can cut your word count by 30% – 60%!

  • Remove filler words: adverbs, weak words, extraneous words
  • Gut check: is every word, point, or detail essential? If so, is there a simpler way?
  • Use abbreviations and contractions whenever possible
  • Ditch those 3-syllable words for some more ‘everyday’ language
  • 5-sentence paragraphs are out — keep it to 2-3 sentences
  • If listing 3+ items, break them up into 1-line bullets

Calling Out

Stop hiding your headlines and burying your bullets. What are the key takeaways? How far in would someone have to read to get to the most important point? Will your audience know the takeaways if they just skim it?
  • Keep your headline short — 6 words max
  • Start with a strong, one-sentence tease or lede
  • Highlight major statistics or quotes by putting them on their own line
  • Use axioms to label sections and denote value
    • Ex: Big Picture, Why It Matters, What’s Next, What We’re Watching, etc.
  • Include up top how long it will take to read, listen to, or watch your content
Compared to traditional writing, Smart Brevity unlocks the ability to more effectively communicate a memorable message in a fraction of the time. Like anything worthwhile, writing with Smart Brevity takes practice. But speaking from our team’s experience, the end results will more than pay for the time invested.

Wanna talk about Smart Brevity?

Versa Website Design

Web Design Type and Color

Web Design Type and Color 840 1120 Nathaniel Seevers

Small adjustments to brand expression can have a big impact on things like user perception and experience. When we started talking with Versa about a new website design, we asked questions about the brand and business evolution since their last website was created. We wanted to know what they had learned about themselves and their audiences. We wanted to understand how they’d grown or how the brand personality had changed as the business matured.

When evaluating a website, it’s not enough to just say the design and functionality are outdated. Outdated compared to what, and how far? Is there a spectrum? If those are the only points of reference for new design, you’ll spend a lot of time chasing trends. We wanted, and Versa expected, purposeful progress.

After discovery sessions with the Versa team and collaborative work defining the current brand personality, we started to look at logical ways their identity elements could and should evolve. What needed to shift? What supporting pieces needed to be introduced? After all, why reinvent the wheel when you’re still trying to roll.

fonts 0 versa

When we referenced the updated personality work and our experiences with the Versa team and the Versa environment, two particular elements seemed out of place on the current site:

  1. Versa had an expansive color palette that included a beautifully vibrant red, but it was almost non-existent on the site and in their marketing collateral.
  2. Versa had a clean, versatile sans-serif font in their brand guide, but the serif paired with it on the website lacked the structure and attention to detail representative of the Versa experience.
Single Web Page Mcokup

For the new site design, we elevated the vibrant red from Versa’s palette and used that as the main color element through the site. The higher saturation allowed us to communicate important characteristics of the Versa brand, draw attention to important calls to action, and create paths through the site.

We replaced Versa’s original web serif, Alegreya, with Playfair Display. Alegreya can give a sort of old world feel, and its details begin to look less than polished at smaller sizes. It’s the opposite of Versa’s approachable sophistication.

The switch to Playfair Display created more structure in the headlines and allowed us to play with contrasting weights and sizes to create a clear hierarchy of information.

Though small parts of a much larger process and design plan, adjusting these two elements in a purposeful way improved the brand expression and the user experience.

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Mass Market Emails: You’re Doing It Wrong

Mass Market Emails: You’re Doing It Wrong 840 1120 Shout Out Studio

E Blasted

306.4 billion emails are sent and received daily as of this year (2020). Don’t worry; we’ll give you a minute. Because if you haven’t heard that statistic before, it’s likely to floor you. Three years ago, 74% of consumers were already overwhelmed by “Email Overload,” according to a study released by Edison Software. In that same year (2017), the number of emails sent and received each day was 269 billion. 

Thereafter until now, we have seen a nearly 14% increase of emails flood both personal and professional inboxes around the world. And that’s not even getting in the weeds of how Covid-19 has pushed email to become one of the most used forms of communication. As the boundaries between homes and offices continue to overlap, we expect the fatigue of ‘email abundance’ (for both professional and personal inboxes) to become inexorably linked.

Mass Market Emails - Spam

Email: Dead or Dying?

Doubtful. We asked ourselves if people still wanted to receive emails anymore.  And on the surface, one would expect that the answer is no. But hold on, 99% of consumers say they check their personal email every single day. Chances are when you’re conducting an email campaign, you’re going to be sending at least a few emails to personal email accounts. So, given that the open rate is about 15% for Mass Market Emails, there seems to be a huge disconnect.  Should businesses give up on appealing to and communicating with consumers via email if such a small percentage of Mass Market Emails are being opened? We don’t think so. Brands like Rivaltech suggest making a full switch to social media messaging from email, but we think there’s another way. People do still want emails from the right sender, with the right message.

Empathize Then Engage

So how can you increase that open rate as a small business owner or entrepreneur?  Essentially it boils down to two points. Point 1. Respect Your Audience: the details matter. Do the little important things like keeping your word count concise: 50 to 125 words boasts a 50% email response rate. Or making sure consumers can read your email on mobile. “Over 70% of consumers read their emails in a mobile app, and just under 70% delete the email if it displays poorly.” Yikes. And Point 2. Deliver Value.  Make the emails you send, count. Quality over quantity. “69% say they unsubscribed because of a high frequency of email.” If 99% are checking their personal email daily, those consumers are looking for something to catch and keep their attention. Don’t send out a flurry of emails you would be overwhelmed by as a consumer, which would ultimately lead you to unsubscribe if you were the recipient.

The post underscores the critical need for businesses to empathize with their audience in the digital space, where email overload is a significant concern. It suggests that success lies not in abandoning email as a communication channel but in refining the approach to make it more relevant and engaging.

By focusing on delivering value through well-crafted, concise messages and respecting the consumer’s experience on mobile devices, companies can foster stronger connections with their audience. Moreover, the shift in consumer behavior and expectations, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitates a more thoughtful, strategic use of email to cut through the noise. Brands must adapt to these evolving dynamics by prioritizing quality over quantity in their email campaigns and seeking to understand and meet the changing needs of their consumers.

This tailored approach, centered on respect and value, can transform the way businesses utilize email to engage with their audience in a more meaningful, effective manner.

Email will work, but only when done right.

Need Email Marketing Support?

Why Use taglines

Why Use Taglines When Branding

Why Use Taglines When Branding 840 1120 Shout Out Studio

The jury is out on the absolute necessity of a tagline in branding. Some argue that the majority of taglines are bad and basically worthless while others point to the tagline’s direct opportunity to communicate a brand’s purpose and difference right from the start.

A more reasonable statement would be that when conceived and created properly a really good tagline reinforces your brand’s message and helps connect an idea with your audience. Not having a tagline won’t sink your company. But why pass up the opportunity to communicate with the market?

Tagline Benefits

The right tagline provides a clear message of what your brand is all about. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams does this with the line, ” Built from the ground up with superlative ingredients.” The message gets right to the heart of what makes Jeni’s different.

A good tagline can elicit emotion and paint a picture of brand personality. Nike says, “Just do it.” L’Oreal Paris says, “Because you’re worth it.”

A tagline allows for brand versatility. Instead of naming your company something so overtly tied to your product or benefit, use your tagline to reinforce the message. If your company evolves down the road, a tagline is much easier to change than your entire corporate name and identity.

How to Build A Better Tagline

  • Start with your brand promise. Why did you create this business? How are you different? Why should anyone care?
  • Show personality. If your brand is a bit more upscale and dramatic make sure you’re speaking in that voice.
  • Make them read it twice. It might seem counter-intuitive but breaking the normal patterns of speech are a great way to grab attention.
  • Draw on emotion or action. Sony does both with, “Make Believe.”
  • Get inspired. Check out this list of the best taglines of all time.

Taglines serve as a concise expression of a brand’s essence, promise, and personality, playing a crucial role in branding and marketing strategies. They encapsulate a brand’s unique value proposition, making it memorable and distinguishable in a crowded marketplace. The art of crafting a tagline involves a deep understanding of the brand’s core values, target audience, and market positioning. It’s not merely about being catchy but about resonating with the audience on an emotional level, thereby fostering brand loyalty. Effective taglines have the power to evoke emotions, inspire action, and anchor the brand in the minds of consumers. They bridge the gap between a company’s identity and its perception by the public, making them an indispensable tool in the arsenal of brand communication. Brands that master the use of taglines can enhance their market presence, reinforce their message, and create a lasting connection with their audience.


Great Marketing is About Storytelling

Great Marketing is About Storytelling 840 1120 Marsh Williams

Once Upon A Time...

We met with a prospective client recently on another disaster recovery project, our term for someone who hired an unprofessional organization to help them create a website. 

All the usual suspects were present in the form of the story: great company, great brand, incredible product and an unbelievable, crappy, digital presence.

But here’s the part we want to get into…

The owner has a friend who they referred to as, “a programmer who said that they could build the website.” Now at first blush, there may not seem to be anything wrong with that but after cogitating (word of the day) on that for a while it hit me. Websites are not about programming; period. They’re about storytelling.

So embrace that fact and think about the people you would want to create and tell your story; think about your reaction to someone who says I’m a programmer and I can build your website. Let us clarify right here that there are programmers who are great storytellers, but the primary skill for developing a great marketing program of any kind is the storytelling capability. That trumps technology of the delivery mechanism every time.

So to help if this happens to you we’ve put together a small list of things to ask anyone who says they can “build your website.” Top five things to ask someone who wants to help with your website.

What Does Building A Website Mean?

Building a website is a technical process, but designing a website takes a very different skill set. Designing a website takes the ability to ask you questions then package the answers in a compelling and engaging manner. Once that is done it’s time to “build the website.”

What Do You Think The Website Should Be About?

Any great story has a hero, whether it be you, your product, your passion for excellence in what you do, any of these items should be featured in your website.

What Should I Expect From A Good Website?

Interest, the purpose of most websites is to create enough interest on the part of a visitor to engage and learn more about an organization as a precursor to purchasing.

How Do I Know You Can Do This?

Listen to what the person/company tells you. Are they immediately jumping into demo mode showing you a series of projects, or are they talking with you about their ability to gain an understanding of your story and retell it using all of the capabilities of the Internet? If the person or company you’re speaking with doesn’t take the time to ask questions and “get it” they will not be able to tell it to others.

I want to see some of your work and talk to at least five of your past clients.

Yes, this may be a predictable step in the process, but do it. Talk to several clients and see what they say about both the end product but as importantly the process.

  • Was the company responsive?
  • Did the company regularly communicate with you about project process and approval stages?
  • What’s the best thing you can tell me about your experience with them?
  • What’s the worst thing you can tell me about your experience with them?
  • What’s the one thing I need to make very clear to them before hiring them to tell my story?

Think About It

To measure the success of a storytelling approach in marketing, focus on engagement metrics such as increased time on site, social media shares, and comments, along with conversion rates indicating a direct impact on sales or inquiries. Successful storytelling examples span industries, from Nike’s inspirational athlete stories to Airbnb’s customer experience tales, showcasing brand identity and customer connection. 

Common pitfalls include losing the brand’s voice in an attempt to tell a story, making the story too complex, or failing to align the story with the audience’s values and interests. For a more in-depth exploration, consider looking into marketing and storytelling best practices, case studies, and expert advice on effective storytelling strategies.

As a final point supporting our position, read this quick Blog entry from our friends at Oxford Academic.

So let us ask, does this change your perspective on the task of creating a website or digital marketing program?

Photo credit: Jim Pennucci

Reporting Article. Cover

Quarterly Reporting For Marketing Success

Quarterly Reporting For Marketing Success 840 1120 Soula Spanorigas

Regular reporting is key to ongoing marketing success. Not only does the practice help clients see where efforts are concentrated, it helps the marketing team adjust strategy based on learnings from the data. 

How “regular” this reporting should be is up for debate. The vast majority of our reports are delivered quarterly. The simple reason; scrutinizing data too often can lead to assumptions and hasty decisions based on data sets that are too small or not yet mature enough to reveal patterns. 

This isn’t to say that we don’t look at specific campaigns more often and provide a snapshot as needed. But providing an overview of key metrics every quarter, versus weekly or monthly, enables us to adapt and refine our approach in response to emerging trends. Our goal is to give clients the information they need to thrive in their competitive markets. We want our clients to feel empowered and prepared for long-term marketing benefits.

Here are a few more specific benefits to quarterly reporting:

Provide Transparency

Arguably the number one benefit for reporting is to keep clients in the loop. Clients want to see exactly how marketing efforts are making a tangible impact on their business. Regular reporting creates a feedback loop that supports continuous improvement. By identifying areas for work, we make changes to optimize our clients’ strategies over time.

Re-focus the Big Picture

Marketing can move fast at times and involve multiple elements or multiple people. It’s good to provide a refresher on the goals set for the current or preceding quarter and why. Imagine if we only updated our clients once a year — they’d miss out on understanding how different marketing strategies impact their performance in real-time. By providing quarterly reports, clients get a comprehensive view of the entire picture. Plus, it fosters better collaboration by constantly being on the same page.

Review Benchmarks and Competitive Analysis

Quarterly reports often include insights into the competitive landscape. Understanding how a client’s marketing performance compares to industry benchmarks is valuable for planning in the future. It also lets them know how they are doing compared to previous quarters and years.

Share What We’re Learning and Educate

Keeping our clients in the loop isn’t just about throwing numbers their way. In our reports, we segment data into categories such as social media, email marketing, website, etc. and discuss the performance as well as overlap of each. We compare relevant Quarter Over Quarter or Year Over Year data to spot patterns and document recommendations. When a client can see the bigger picture and track the growth of our marketing efforts, they have solid proof that their investment is paying off.

Fine-Tune the Game Plan

The marketing world can shift very fast. With quarterly reporting, we can figure out what is hitting the mark and what needs work. This gives us a chance to fine-tune strategies and make sure we’re putting resources where they’ll be most beneficial.

In the ever-evolving realm of marketing, the importance of regular reporting cannot be overlooked. By offering snapshots of key metrics and insights on a quarterly basis, we empower our clients to navigate their marketing efforts with confidence and clarity, ensuring that they are not just equipped for short-term gains, but for success in the long run.


How We Fight The Winter Blues

How We Fight The Winter Blues 960 1200 Shout Out Studio

Without fail, every year around the Daylight Savings Time change, the end-of-year doldrums creep in. Until the subsequent time change in March, we live in a sort of hibernation mode that has the potential to quash the creative energy we need to do our best work and help keep us thriving in the dark winter months. So how do we push through the busy year-end deadlines and stay stimulated, energized, and engaged through the dark days of fall and winter?


I swear by my “happy light.” It’s a lamp that works as a supplement to natural sunlight that offers me a serotonin boost during Ohio’s gray months. Fifteen minutes a day with the light on at my workspace, and swear I can feel a difference! 

I listen to a lot of music while I work, and sometimes a silly 90s hip-hop sing-along or a James Brown dance break is what’s needed to be able to then focus on a project. Gotta get the sillies out, like I tell my kids!

Otherwise, I keep my creative brain going in the slower months with classes to learn new skills (swimming, art glass, Reiki). Creativity requires time for fun and exploration. I try to make time for nearby trips to new places. But when I can’t, I blast the Beach Boys and plan tropical vacations that I’ll never go on as I count down the days until spring. 


I fight off the seasonal depression by working on my “gainz,” and searching for new moody folk music. I spend at least an hour or two at the gym every evening after work to move my body and burn calories. I find that sitting all day crouched down over my laptop puts me in a not-so-great mood and the dark skies at 5 p.m. don’t help at all!

Lately, I’ve been participating in spin classes and trying to hit new personal records when lifting. In addition, I joined a co-ed soccer team to further my soccer skills and interact with other people while being active. I find that keeping my evenings active helps me maintain my happiness and allows me to be more energetic and creative the following day when I’m working. 


As much as it is hard to wake up while it’s dark outside, lately, I’ve been making an effort to go to the gym or squeeze in a walk outside before diving into the workday. It not only kicks off my day on a positive note but also adds productivity to my mornings. It also allows me to catch the sunrise and soak in some extra daylight, especially with it getting dark so early. I’m also in a volleyball league and it’s something active that I look forward to after sitting during the workday.   

In the evenings, browsing Pinterest and reading fiction books is my creative fuel. Whether it’s unrelated to work or my career, they spark my imagination before bedtime. 


As someone who thrives off social interaction (and works alone from home every evening), briefly chatting with family or friends is one of my favorite ways to remain energized and engaged as the sun starts to set.
Around the last hour of the day, I’ll occasionally hop on a Zoom call with my mom or a few friends who are also finishing up their workdays. While there isn’t a ton of conversation to be had (since we’re all still working), the small talk and occasional comments sure beat the silence of my apartment — wrapping up my day with a little fun while remaining productive!

…And not to steal from Melissa… but I second the importance of proper lighting! That’s why I’ve replaced all the lights around my workspace with dimmable, color-changing bulbs — allowing me to increase brightness as the sun sets and change the tint to the color most comfortable for my eyes. 


I’m working to counteract all the time in front of the laptop with more analog activities. Reading real, physical books has always been part of that. I spent much of this year reading works by Raymond Carver, John Steinbeck, Flannery O’Connor, and Larry Brown—authors who inspired my favorite modern fiction writers. 

Outside of reading, I try to keep creating—using my hands—just not within a digital design program. At the moment, that means home projects. We recently repainted the kitchen, and soon, I’ll take a shot at building a bench with storage for a spot near our living room fireplace. There will be no shortage of home projects to keep me occupied and looking at problems from a different angle. If only I could Command+Z the real-world screw-ups. 


I’ve spent a lot of time living in Colorado, and while winter is definitely winter there, you still get these fantastic blue skies and massive amounts of sunlight. At the risk of stating the obvious, Ohio is a different story. 

I’ve found the best way to combat the Midwest doom and gloom is to stay connected with others. When every fiber in my being is screaming to hibernate and dissociate with the world, meeting and spending time with family, friends, and colleagues is the absolute best medicine. If nothing else, you can commiserate on the crappy Midwest winters.

…and on select occasions when we do have blue skies, I go for a ride in the convertible – no matter the temperature.

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Measuring “Good” Design

Measuring “Good” Design 840 1120 Nathaniel Seevers

Measuring Design

We produce regular reports for our clients to give them a picture of performance and ROI for the services we provide. In those reports we measure a number of things from execution against big picture strategy down to specific performance metrics on specific channels for a specific period in time. 

Graphic design, web design, print design are a few of the regular services we provide to clients. Even though it’s not as simple to measure as say, the conversion rate of a Linkedin campaign or the click rate of an email newsletter, design can still be measured, if nothing else for internal improvement.

Like art, there is always some level of subjectivity to design. People will like or dislike a piece of art or piece of graphic design without being able to communicate why. We all carry innate biases built by a lifetime of experiences and collection of tastes. “I don’t know, it just speaks to me.”

Like art, design can be measured against principles and technique. But this type of evaluation requires certain knowledge in the area, be it oil on canvas or front-end web design. Unlike art, the sort of design we produce in branding and marketing can also be measured against functionality. 

In combination with design principles like balance, space, contrast, hierarchy of information, etc., we also look at the intended function of the design piece. Function could be the objective of an advertising campaign; function could be alignment with brand attributes, it could be the design’s ability to engage a certain audience demographic.

This is where a creative brief or a set of design parameters comes into play. This is our documentation of purpose and parameters, the baseline for measurement. Being able to look at those two components allows us to answer some of the whys—why a client or a creative director didn’t like a design piece or why it didn’t live up to performance expectations. 

Success becomes the melding of design for function and design within a set of parameters, while allowing room for the down in the gut emotive connection to design. 


The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Photoshop AI

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Photoshop AI 900 1150 The Design Team

You can’t open your eyes or ears these days without crossing paths with the term AI. It’s a hot-button topic, and for good reason. The slope is slippery and steep regarding what can be (or should be) created with the use of AI tools. 

Our team has spent minimal time with tools like MidJourney, but when Adobe introduced Generative AI in the latest version of Photoshop, we began to explore. 

Adobe describes generative AI like this, 

“Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can translate ordinary words and other inputs into extraordinary results. While the conversation around this technology has centered on AI image and art generation, generative AI can do much more than generate static images from text prompts. With a few simple words and the right AI generator, anyone can create videos, documents, and digital experiences as well as rich images and art.” 

It’s worth noting that Adobe has integrated generative AI into several of its products, but for this write-up, we’ve focused on Photoshop as it’s arguably Adobe’s most widely used program. 

Here’s a rundown of our experiences: 


Sure, you can use Photoshop AI to add a rainbow to your photo or replace your father-in-law with a juggling clown. But I was more interested in how generative AI could improve production processes and provide flexibility with image assets. 

For example, say you snapped a photo or sourced one (that allows for alterations), and this photo in question is in portrait format but you’d really like to use it in a square or landscape aspect ratio. With the right steps and prompts, generative AI can help you “expand the content” of the photo, essentially creating the world outside of your photo frame. Below you’ll see the simple steps I took to do just that. 

As with most things in Photoshop, there’s more than one way to get where you’re trying to go. One option would be to expand the canvas using the crop tool, then use the marquee tool to highlight the area you would like to complete and use Generative Fill.

But, if you’re only looking to complete the image outside of the original frame, Generative Expand seems to be the way to go. Simply select the crop tool to expand the original canvas and background layer, then click Generative Expand and let AI determine the most appropriate variations. As with Generative Fill, in Generative Expand, you can provide a prompt or leave the field blank and let AI determine the most “logical” course of action. 


Generative AI in PSD has me tripping. But it might just be a “me problem.” After playing around with these images and trying to add realistic elements to the photo on the right, I’ve realized that writing successful prompts is a skill to be mastered.  

This may seem stupid but the first time I got in there, I selected the whole canvas, wrote “Add flamethrowers behind the guy in this image” and got some very wacky results that eliminated the guy and created a whole new scene entirely. 

The AI algorithm is designed to analyze composition, framing, and cropping but it can only do that when a partial area is selected. 

The trick behind it is specific area selection and descriptive prompts that help the AI understand what you want. They give you tips like, “Avoid using words like add, fill, change, and instead describe exactly what you want generated. “ Doing this helped me get results that were closer to what I was envisioning. 

It isn’t a science, so it takes a lot of experimentation to get the right image and style. 


Take AI for what it is at this moment. AI right now is great for helping expand backgrounds, creating some beautiful scenery, or adding an occasional element. There’s a lot of fun to be had with adding accessories, or maybe even changing what you’re wearing.

If you take the time to figure out how to prompt the program, it can be a great tool. Use smaller selections to fill in the background pieces and overlap your marquee with the current background just enough to give AI something to work with.

Another tip for better results – unless you’re a fan of a few extra phalanges – steer clear of adding humans!

Have thoughts on AI design?

Breaking Bad Marketing Header

Breaking Bad Marketing Habits

Breaking Bad Marketing Habits 1920 703 Nathaniel Seevers
Updated 9/13/23


We get it; you have goals to meet, there’s a lot to do, and there are only so many days in the week. The boss wants to see strong numbers in the next report. You’ve heard, “we need to move the needle,” among other trite business phrases. That sense of “do what it takes” urgency can, over time, instill bad marketing habits that are based on a short-sighted view of progress.

Despite the best of intentions, a large number of companies are using new technologies with old methodologies. From tactical to philosophical, here are 7 marketing bad habits every company should break if they want to see better results. read more

Outsourcing Social Media

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Social Media

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Social Media 1920 700 Isabell Gruetzner

You don’t have to be an expert in social media to capitalize on its benefits. A dedicated team specialized in social marketing can help navigate the many social platforms, rules, opportunities, and content types. 

Social media can be useful for many things, but above all, it should motivate. At the end of the day, a collaborative social media partner should not only help your business connect and engage with your audience in authentic and meaningful ways but develop and execute marketing that benefits both your business and your consumers.

Here, we explore five examples of how the right social media partner can help grow your business — new or old.

Outsourcing Your Social Media

Knowing vs. Communicating

Knowing something and the ability to communicate something are two very different skill sets. While you know your brand best, effectively communicating its message can be a different story. 

Whether you’re a startup still finding its voice or an established business adhering to set standards, establishing a consistent and authentic tone and voice is crucial for connecting with your audience. 

The right social media partner can help you maintain a consistent brand voice, ensuring that every update, post, or image aligns with your brand’s attributes and resonates with your target audience.

Finding Time To Keep Up

Social media is a dynamic medium. While staying up-to-date on new trends and platform innovations is crucial, it can be incredibly time-consuming. 

Like it or not, keeping up with the ever-changing social media environment is only possible for those who can immerse themselves in it daily. A team of individuals who live and breathe social media is your all-in-one resource for assessing the landscape, testing new platforms, understanding opportunities, and identifying fleeting trends — saving you time and enabling you to focus on… you guessed it… whatever it is you do best. 

Audience Monitoring

As your business grows, so too will your audience — leading to increased activity and the need for more monitoring. The cycle goes on. 

Managing social media might be feasible initially, but it can become overwhelming as you continue to expand and see success. Partnering with a social media team will ensure that you have experts available to respond to customer inquiries, establish new customer connections, strengthen existing ones, and revive fading relationships.

This sort of support and attention is also typically required to keep a close eye on and get ahead of any negative reviews, complaints, or public relations crises. 

Investing Where It Counts

Not all social media platforms are made equal. Certain platforms like Yelp, LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram typically require additional investment to reach new audiences or even maintain an active presence.

This is your social media partner’s time to shine — saving you time and money by identifying which platforms are worth investing your resources into! Once you’ve set your goals, the hard work is done; leave the budgeting, strategizing, and execution to your social media sidekicks. 

Outsourcing Your Social Media

Analyzing Your Efforts

We all know that in order to gauge success, you need to benchmark and analyze key metrics. In the case of social media, this primarily includes followers, reach, engagement, and impressions.

The other half of the story is what most don’t know: how to interpret the data, let alone how the heck it relates to your goals. Needless to say, it can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with the metrics. 

Outsourcing your social media to a quality partner who will not only interpret your data, identify trends, determine what drives changes in metrics, and suggest appropriate actions to optimize your social media efforts… but will also educate your team on how to do so, if desired. 

Never be afraid to seek outside help regarding your social media strategy. After all, A social media partner can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal — helping you to effectively communicate your brand message, navigate the ever-changing social media landscape, scale your efforts, allocate resources wisely, and optimize your performance.

Still looking for help, advice, or just have a question? Let us know! No sales. No B.S. Just good, honest answers meant to help you or your team truly understand the value of working with the right social media partner. 

Mobile Design

Cracking Mobile Design: Supercharge Your Business

Cracking Mobile Design: Supercharge Your Business 1900 700 Soteria Mathewson

That feeling when you create an awesome full-width layout for your website. 🙂
And then you look at it on mobile. 😐

When I first started creating for the web, mobile design gave me a reality check. I treated it like an afterthought, something I could clean up later. But I’ve come to realize that this system is not ideal! 

According to Statista, “Over 53% of global website traffic comes from mobile devices.” That means more than half of people will see my “good enough” mobile website and maybe never even visit my perfected, overthought, full-screen design. 

Mobile Design Matters

No matter how spectacular your full-screen design is, if it doesn’t translate to a smaller device, people will hop off before they can scroll to the content they came there to see. Websites that fail to deliver a seamless experience on mobile devices will lose valuable traffic and conversions. 

This isn’t something that consumers take lightly. According to Think With Google, a digital marketing resource, “Mobile-friendly sites have a 67% higher chance of converting users into customers.”

The facts speak for themselves. Optimizing your mobile design allows you to capitalize on this potential for business growth and create better relationships with your customers.

How Can I Fix My Current Website?

If you’ve neglected your brand’s mobile experience, don’t fret, hope is not lost! Many companies are still working toward a seamless mobile experience while testing the boundaries of what people can do on their devices.

Amazon, the top e-commerce provider in the world, has always focused on mobile optimization. In recent years they have implemented responsive design principles, simplified navigation, and enhanced checkout processes to provide a seamless shopping experience on mobile devices.

Ten years ago, making your website “mobile-friendly” was about making sure text and images fit properly on a smaller screen. Nowadays, we are perfecting the use of AI chatbots; testing augmented reality, and using geolocation data to target people personally–all to improve the experience from a mobile device. This may seem like big talk for big brands, but businesses of every size can benefit from improving their mobile device experience.

macbook pro 2018 laptop mockups Vol 13 D

Getting Started

1. Check the Data
We recommend getting started with a Mobile-Friendly Assessment. Use the Google Mobile-Friendly Tool and Google Search Console to evaluate your website’s mobile performance. These tools provide insights into potential issues and technical suggestions to enhance your site’s mobile compatibility and visibility in search results.

2. Once you have the data, think like a user.
Step into the mindset of a first-time visitor and consider their needs and expectations. Evaluate the user journey and identify pain points. Ensure that key elements such as contact information, customer support, and calls to action (CTAs) are easily accessible and prominently displayed.

3. Optimize Viewing
View your website on various mobile devices, including phones, tablets, small laptops, and desktops. Assess how your site adapts to different screen sizes and identify any usability or visual issues. Determine which device your site looks best on and make necessary adjustments to improve the experience across all devices.

4. Streamline and Prioritize Content:
The biggest red flag I get when visiting a new site on my phone is information overload. Don’t be afraid to condense your mobile info, hide unnecessary visuals, and direct people to their desktop for a full viewing experience. Eliminate excessive clutter and distractions that can obscure smaller screens. Streamline your content to prioritize essential elements for the user journey, such as CTAs, forms, and posts.

5. Enhance Loading Speed:
Slow loading speed can significantly impact user experience. Use the Google Page Speed Tool to assess your website’s performance and identify areas for improvement.
And if you are more familiar with the technical side, or have a web design resource handy, consider using these other speed optimization techniques:

  • Utilizing the srcset attribute ensuree optimal visual quality and faster loading times.
  • Explore next-generation image formats like WebP, which offer better compression and quality.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to cache and serve your site’s files more efficiently.
  • Load specific JavaScript and CSS files only when needed, reducing unnecessary resource loading.
  • Caching plugins like WP Rocket improve page load times by pre-loading resources.

You may think that speed is only a tech problem, but in fact, it is the designer’s job to ensure that the photos they choose are properly formatted to work with the website. Designers can optimize images by paying attention to the export settings. Photoshop’s Save for Web function for example, is perfect for exporting images with the right balance of file size and quality.

6. Upgrade Your Hosting:
If you’re experiencing persistent performance issues, consider upgrading your hosting provider. Popular shared hosting services like GoDaddy or Bluehost may not always offer optimal performance. Explore reliable hosting options that prioritize speed and reliability to ensure a smooth mobile experience for your visitors.

Maximize Your Mobile Design

Improving mobile design on your website is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today’s mobile-centric world. By implementing some of these tips and techniques, you can create a compelling mobile experience that enhances brand visibility and engages and converts visitors. 

Versa VideosTall 1

Size Matters When Filming Interviews

Size Matters When Filming Interviews 960 1200 Jared

An often-overlooked fact about those not used to being on camera: An interviewee’s “comfort level” during a conversation is set from the moment they walk in the room — determined by the amount and size of equipment setup.

While hiring a professional video service seems smart… there’s one thing they ALL bring to the table: The Fear Factor.

If the interviewee is like most people, odds are those bright lights, long mics, and big ‘ol cameras are going to be the first and only thing on their mind until the moment they walk out the room.

With over a decade of client work clocked in, our team has heard all the horror stories about a coworker, client, or consumer interview gone wrong. And might we just say:

Intimidating your interviewee is one of the best ways to tank the quality of their responses before even asking your first question!

Talk about blowing an opportunity:

  • 79% of consumers claim to watch testimonials to learn more about a company, product, or service

  • 66% report they’re more likely to make a purchase after watching testimonial of how a product/service has helped someone else like them

Those are not numbers to ignore.

While a smaller setup, like a “SmallRig,” may not look like much, that’s the whole point now, isn’t it? With a tool like this, your team has everything it needs to film a quality interview… without the whole fear factor!

{ To clarify, this is NOT an ad. We are just adamant believers in quality content marketing and speak from experience that this is a great tool to help teams capture high-quality content. }

The SmallRig includes:

👉 A mount for your phone (easily adjusted horizontally + vertically)

👉 Mounted light (with adjustable brightness + color temperature)

👉 Mounted microphone (that links to your phone’s camera)

👉 Mounted battery pack

👉 All housed on tripod legs with easy-to-hold handles

To be clear, a camera is not included. The SmallRig is intended for use with a phone as the camera. That’s right, no big, expensive cameras required — nearly any smartphone camera captures high-resolution video!

Remember: The less-intimating your setup, the more comfortable your interviewee will be — meaning better conversations, and better marketing materials.

How to Lose a Sale article

How to Lose a Sale in 5 Easy Steps

How to Lose a Sale in 5 Easy Steps 1920 703 Marsh Williams

Ah, the life of a salesperson – endless pitches, countless presentations, and a never-ending quest to hit those quotas. It’s no wonder they spend so much time honing their skills in the art of persuasion. But what about the lesser-known talent of completely missing the point when a customer is ready to make a purchase? Fear not, dear readers, for we have compiled a comprehensive guide to ensure that salespeople everywhere can continue to sabotage their own success.

Step 1: Preparation is Overrated

Why take the time to research your client’s needs or learn about their pain points when you can wing it with a generic pitch? Who cares if you’ve been handed a golden opportunity to customize your approach and demonstrate that you genuinely understand their needs? The key here is to focus on what YOU want to say rather than what the customer needs to hear.

Step 2: Monologue for Maximum Miscommunication

Nothing says “I’m not interested in your opinion” like a good old-fashioned monologue. To truly excel in not listening, be sure to talk non-stop and avoid pausing for breath. As your customer’s eyes glaze over, you’ll know you’ve reached the pinnacle of missing the point, and no matter what, don’t ask the customer what they want because that might distract you.

sales call

Step 3: Fully Embrace the Art of Interruption

Listening is overrated, and there’s no better way to prove this than by interrupting your customer every time they try to speak. After all, how can they possibly contribute anything valuable to the conversation? You’re the expert, and they should be grateful for your insights..

Step 4: Ignore Those Bothersome Buying Signals

Is your customer nodding along in agreement? Are they asking for pricing or delivery details? Whatever you do, don’t acknowledge these buying signals! Instead, plow ahead with your pre-rehearsed script, oblivious to the fact that you could be closing the deal.

Step 5: Power Through Those Questions & Concerns

When a customer asks a question or raises a concern, it’s a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your lack of interest in their needs. Try to brush off their questions or change the subject to something you’d rather discuss. Who knows, maybe they’ll eventually give up on getting their questions answered and just buy out of sheer frustration.


A customer can’t possibly buy until you’ve finished selling. You have an agenda, and you have to get through what you want to say. How could they possibly be qualified to buy when they haven’t heard your presentation, watched your demo reel, or glazed over at your PowerPoint?

Simple Messages Header

Why Simple Marketing Messages are So Darn Effective

Why Simple Marketing Messages are So Darn Effective 1920 703 Marsh Williams

Well, well, well. It turns out that all those fancy marketing techniques, buzzwords, and jargon that you learned in your MBA program aren’t so effective. According to some painfully obvious statistics, simple marketing messages are actually the most effective way to reach customers. Who knew? Let’s take a look at some of these stats.

Attention Span

Attention spans can range from 2 seconds to over 20 minutes, but the average human attention span is mere 8.25 seconds. Oh, and it’s getting shorter. The average human attention span decreased by almost 25% between 2000 to 2015. Humans currently have shorter attention spans than goldfish (9 seconds). So, it makes perfect sense to cram as much information as possible into those precious few seconds, right?

Wrong. In fact, a study by Google found that ads with simple messaging performed better than ads with complex messaging, even when the latter had longer viewing times. So, it seems like customers actually prefer a clear, concise message over a convoluted one. Who would have thought?

simple sign

Clarity is Key

Another study, this time by Nielsen Norman Group, found that users on the Internet tend to scan content rather than read it in full. In fact, they typically only read about 20% of the words on a page. So, if you want to get your message across, you better make it simple and easy to scan.

But why stop at clarity? According to the same study, users also prefer websites with simple, clean designs. So, if you want your marketing message to be compelling, just make sure it’s easy to read, easy to scan, and easy on the eyes. Simple as that.

People Like Brands They Understand

Communications firm, Edelman, found that customers are more likely to trust a brand if they understand what it stands for. In fact, 89% of consumers said they would stay loyal to a brand that shares their values. So, if you want to build a loyal customer base, make it easy for your audience to connect with who you are as an organization.

simple shopping

Let Me Tell You a Story

A guy enters a store to buy a sweater. The shopkeeper starts telling the customer all about the ranch where the wool comes from, how well cared for the sheep are, and the fact that the wool is transported by electric vehicles charged by energy from wind farms. The shopkeeper is thrilled to tell him all about what differentiates his sweater from all the others.

After five minutes, the customer walks out. The shopkeeper follows him and asks why he left. The customer responded, “I don’t care about your sheep. I just want a f*cking sweater.”

The next shopkeeper simply says, “our sweaters are great quality. What size and color would you like?”

Whether by stories or stats, it’s pretty clear that simple marketing messages are more effective. The goal of marketing is to increase awareness of your brand or generate leads; it’s to get the conversation started. The actual conversation is where the marketing handoff to sales takes place. So many companies have so much to say that the tendency is to try to tell a person everything in marketing. So, just stick to the basics, keep your messaging concise, and understand where sales and marketing meet.

Or, you know, don’t. It’s your business, after all.

CG PiinterestTall 1

Building B2B Brand Awareness with Pinterest

Building B2B Brand Awareness with Pinterest 960 1200 Soula Spanorigas

What’s one way to get 1.5 million impressions? How about 3,000 outbound clicks? Don’t sleep on Pinterest for your B2B brand. We leveraged Pinterest to grow Chute Gerdeman’s audience on the platform by using the following approach: 

Set Clear Objectives

Our primary objectives for Chute Gerdeman’s Pinterest are to enhance brand awareness, maximize impressions, and also drive clicks to their work pages. Our goal was to create a holistic and impactful Pinterest presence that not only boosted immediate engagement, but also contributed to the long-term growth and recognition of the brand. 

Know Your Audience

Before developing any boards, we had to deeply understand Chute Gerdeman’s audience and what they searched for. We conducted keyword research related to their work to gain insights into their audience’s interests and understand whether our content would stand out among pins in similar categories. 

Follow Through With Your Approach

Through visually engaging content, our aim was to establish a strong and recognizable presence within the Pinterest community. By leveraging the platform’s visual appeal, we sought not only to attract attention, but also to foster a connection with our target audience. We determined what content we would share, how often we would share, and which categories would resonate most with their audience. For Chute Gerdeman, the primary focus is showcasing their design projects. We crafted Pinterest boards with the themes of grocery store design, restaurant design, retail design, with a look inside the process with sketches and renderings. 

Use Vertical Imagery

The majority of users browse Pinterest on mobile, so it is important to create pins that are formatted vertically. Utilizing vertical imagery aligns with the visual nature of Pinterest, enhancing the user experience and increasing the likelihood of content being noticed, engaged with, and shared. We see most of our success with the use of vertical idea pins. If the photo was not originally taken vertically, we resize and re-crop as needed. 

Go High Quality or Go Home

Aim for the highest quality image possible. Image quality is extremely important on a visual platform like Pinterest. High quality images are important for increased visibility and engagement as well as the optimization of your pin. Pinterest favors the highest quality images. 

Use the Right Language

Put in the effort to ensure there are complete descriptions in your idea pins. Most of the time, we use language from Chute Gerdeman’s website that describes exactly what the images are and how each design was carried out. This can help improve SEO and encourage users to click on links leading back to the website. 

Double Check Links

Make sure the links all work. Every pin should lead to the original source. In our case, this is Chute Gerdeman’s work pages. 

Track Metrics

Pinterest makes it super easy to see which pins are resonating with your audience. Use this information to inform your Pinterest strategy going forward. We saw that restaurant design pins performed particularly well, so we started to pin more in that category. 

Don’t Stop

Consistently pinning is what ultimately led to our client’s success on Pinterest. Daily consistency in pinning will lead to your pins getting more views, and in turn, more clicks to the website, and conversions.

Rewarding Results

Since we began managing Chute Gerdeman’s Pinterest account, their engaged audience on the platform has increased 39% year-over-year. Total impressions increased 27% year-over-year and total outbound clicks have increased 32% year-over-year. 

A combination of consistent pinning, high-quality vertical images, and compelling copy is critical to increasing overall brand awareness each year. 

Stats as of May 2022 to now:

Screen Shot 2023 11 08 at 10.59.09 AM

Think Pinterest might be a good fit for your business? 

architecture 1

Considerations for Marketing Your Architecture Firm

Considerations for Marketing Your Architecture Firm 1700 537 Shout Out Studio

You’ve worked hard to build your firm’s reputation in the architecture industry. But now, you may want to enter a new market—or simply grow your business. As competition increases, you may be finding it harder to rise above the noise. 

Whether your key challenge is attracting the right types of clients, closing sales, growing a new line of business, entering a new market, or moving into a niche, strategically marketing your architecture firm can help get you to where you need to be. But, like with the spaces you design, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Let’s explore a few areas of opportunity where you can get more from your marketing.


Branding vs. Marketing

If marketing is the what and how, branding is the why—why you exist, why clients should believe in you, why first impressions lead to RFIs and RFPs. Brand is more than a name or logo; it’s the firm’s values, philosophy, positioning, and promise–the foundation upon which effective marketing is built. 

For architectural firms, a clearly defined brand that accurately reflects the people and purpose behind the work can fuel marketing communications and attract more of the right kind of client partners. Brand perception may feel abstract, but the results are quite real.

A recent BCG + Google study revealed that “companies with strong brands show a
74% higher return on their marketing investment,and hold a 46% larger market share,
than weaker brands.”

The case for strong branding is clear—it helps connect with your clients emotionally, can create clarity for your internal team, and, most importantly, gets you recognized by potential customers.


Be Where The Search Begins

More than 60 percent of all B2B relationships begin with an online search. Do you know where your firm ranks in Google’s search results? Pull up an incognito tab in Google and search “architecture firm” and “your city.” If you aren’t on the first page, there’s marketing work to be done, and that work begins with the right SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. A marketing partner can create a customized plan that considers all of the factors that influence SEO ranking including content, links, domain authority, and more. Improving your ranking for searches related to your firm’s services can help drive high-quality leads at certain points in the decision-making cycle. 

Important Note: Marketing is not a one-time thing you do–it’s a long game. It doesn’t happen overnight or with the click of a mouse. It takes sustained effort to see results. For sustainable growth to occur for your architecture firm, you have to keep your marketing engine running. But the good news is that you don’t have to waste time on tactics that won’t be effective. 

Let’s work together to craft a
custom marketing plan!


Build an Audience

So where can you build your audience? The better question is: Where should you build you audience? The answer to that will depend on your brand positioning, target audience, and many other factors. Maybe Architectok needs another star. Then again, LinkedIn tends to work best to engage B2B audiences. Choosing the right social media platforms to engage your unique audience and drive them to your website is essential. 

You may be wondering if your firm needs a social media presence. Regardless of how you feel about using it in your personal life, when you look at it through a business lens, it’s valuable, as 40% of B2B buyers use social media to help inform their purchasing decisions, according to a recent Gartner Digital Markets Insights.

While your business won’t be a fit for every social platform out there, the visual nature of your business makes social an ideal place to give your audience the first look at a new design and to show off your completed projects. Building your audience, learning what resonates with them, and doing more of it is how to nurture your audience and move them closer to contract.


Educate Your Prospects

If your architecture firm is like most, at any one moment in time, about 90% of your prospects are in the information-gathering stage. We know that, from years of marketing research, this is the most critical time to engage your prospectand not with a hard sell. 

Most architects don’t long to be salespeople in addition, but one thing we find that many architects loveand are usually really great atis educating. Audiences love to hear architects discuss their philosophy, their process and share details about the projects they have brought to life. Digital marketing can bring these personal stories to the masses and promote your firm simultaneously. For architects resistant to appearing on social media, it may require a simple mindshift from thinking of marketing as selling to thinking of it as educating. This shift has made the difference for many architects who struggle with the “s” word (selling). Marketing is educating! Say it with us!  

Now that you have your educator’s hat on, think about the questions that your prospects have while gathering information online. What can you teach themthat they want to knowthat could make your firm stand out? That information can form the basis of your firm’s new content (articles, videos, social media posts, blogs, etc.). If done correctly, all of that educating will drive new traffic to your website, increase your rank in search results and land you more of the right kind of inquiries. 

Just by sharing the information prospective clients want to know (and some things they haven’t thought of yet), you will have gotten them to your website, where the right conten

Marketing Your Architecture Firm

Wow Them with Your Website

Your website should accurately reflect your brand and your work and encourage prospective clients to reach out for a conversation. It’s important to note that the nature of your business carries higher expectations for the website experience. Much like successful architectural design, the website should strike the right balance of form and function, and the quality should align with the quality of the work you produce for your clients. It’s an opportunity to translate your firm’s brand values to digital.

In this industry, proof points are important. Your website is the ideal place to showcase large, quality images of your work, speak to process and approach, as well as highlight the talent behind the output. An experienced marketing agency will ensure your website not only reflects your brand, but is also user friendly, visually appealing, and informational.

Choose The Right Partner

In the end, marketing is just like any other aspect of your business: it takes time, effort, and resources to succeed. That said, the rewards of successful online marketing can be great. The right marketing agency can help you boost your brand, grow your business, and generate leads to change the trajectory of your architecture business.

Whether your marketing team needs support or you are the marketing team, a highly skilled, knowledgeable marketing partner can tailor a custom strategy to your firm that aligns with your business goals.

Let’s discuss how we can create a tailored marketing strategy together. Contact us.

pexels tranmautritam 326502 1

Refresh or Rebrand?

Refresh or Rebrand? 1920 594 Soteria Mathewson

Refresh or Rebrand? When is it time to change, and how much?

In 2012, Proctor & Gamble launched TidePods, a revolutionary dissolvable pod with multiple cleaning solutions that worked to clean and fight stains without pouring or spills. This invention helped P&G reach a new market and gain a competitive advantage.

Who knew that the “Tide Pod Challenge” would emerge in 2018 and spread like a wildfire as adolescents across the country were “dared” to eat them like a tasty snack. 

You can’t prepare for the stupidity of future generations, and you must always be ready to problem solve. After the “Tide Pod Challenge,” Tide went into crisis management mode and rethought its messaging and packaging. They used a public relations campaign to validate concerns, show action and control the narrative.

When it comes to your business and brand, adaptation is key

In 1994, when eCommerce was officially introduced, it was revolutionary for the shopping experience and terrifying for the design community. Until this point, most agencies and designers focused their creativity solely on print, and television advertising. The online platform introduced a new advertising spot, a smaller canvas, and a more significant challenge for creative professionals. The design industry was forced to adapt to meet the changing needs of the consumers and businesses they worked for. 

That’s how design works.

Values change, needs arise, and design helps us problem-solve. Whether driven by the introduction of new technology, the change in consumer preferences, or the desire to stand out, there’s never a wrong time to evaluate how your company has evolved. And when your company evolves, so should your design. 

This begs the question…

The question is ambiguous because it depends wholly on the state of your company. 

Many companies are scared to overhaul their brands completely. Whether they’re afraid of the backlash or losing the loyalty of their customers, they’ve spent time and money on the old one, or they just don’t think this is necessary, we’ve learned that there is a proper time to rebrand entirely, and a proper time to simply refresh the design elements. 

Even the strongest brands have a shelf life. According to Brand Leader, “Even household names go through a brand overhaul every 7 to 10 years.” 

You know it’s time for a complete rebrand when:

  • Your branding no longer reflects the core values of your company
  • You’re failing to differentiate yourself from competitors
  • Your business model/strategy has changed
  • You’re undergoing a merger/acquisition 

When doing a complete rebrand, it’s not just about visuals. By contrast, a rebrand is a complete repositioning of your brand. With a rebrand, you leave everything about your current brand in the past.

This means re-considering your company, Strategy, Positioning, Personality, Voice & Tone, etc.

Clean Slate.

A great example of this, an impressive rebrand is Burger King

Realizing that they were falling behind in their market and struggling to compete, Burger King began making internal changes to improve the quality of their products and eating experience. They changed their recipes to move towards healthier, more desirable food, refreshed their store design to create a more enjoyable eating experience, and improved the accessibility of their restaurant with curbside pickup spots, a walk-up window, and multiple drive-through lanes. 

To express these quality and structural improvements, they also completely overhauled their brand and visual identity. In 2020, Jones Knowles Ritchie, Executive Creative Director Lisa Smith, and Burger King’s in-house design team worked together to strategize a rebrand that came out in early 2021.

Inspired by the logo roots, they designed a bold and retro logo that better communicates the “best of Burger King” and the energy behind this rebrand.

burger king logo rebrand bk jkr dezeen 2364 col 0

In addition to the logo redesign, they introduced more “in your face” photography and an illustrative style that aims to make the brand appear less synthetic and more desirable. 

burger king rebranding cover 1024x425 1

Burger King has re-evaluated its place in the fast-food industry. They have seen where they are falling short and have overhauled their brand to improve their place in the industry. Much needed and well respected by many renowned agencies, the Burger King Rebrand is an excellent example of the right time and way to Rebrand your company. 

Learn more about the refresh from the design firm here.

The changes made by Burger King were necessary and vast. But perhaps the need for large-scale change isn’t that evident at your company. 

You’re not falling behind, you’re not restructuring, but you simply feel your branding doesn’t quite fit with the world around you. 

This is usually a sign that you may not need a complete overhaul but simply a refresh. 

Reasons to Refresh:

  • To correct out of date trends
  • To showcase core values that arent being appropriately showcased
  • To reflect the evolution of your business
  • To help showcase new product lines

A Brand Refresh is more of a cosmetic solution to a problem; rather than starting from scratch, you’re simply giving the brand/design a facelift. 

When doing a brand refresh, start with the essential core values and evaluate how they are expressed in the visual identity. From there, we find places to improve, whether in typography, spacing, balance, or contrast. In a similar but less dramatic way, The J.M. Smucker Co completed a brand refresh in late 2020 that got some controversial feedback. 

Rather than a complete overhaul, Smucker simply refreshed their identity to reflect the evolution of the company and its products. 


The primary purpose of the Smuckers facelift was to accurately accentuate the company’s diverse portfolio of brands. Although the feedback from this update varied widely. Everyone considering a refresh or rebrand must understand going into it that the changes made will not always be liked. 

Change requires disruption. People hate change. 

Don’t be scared to refresh or rebrand. As your company evolves, so should your design.

See our article, “How to work through a brand refresh,” to learn more about refreshing YOUR logo to match your changing company.

alphagamma Content Marketing World Conference 2020 opportunities

Content Marketing Is No Longer A Luxury

Content Marketing Is No Longer A Luxury 2048 945 Soteria Mathewson

Recently three of our team members attended the annual Content Marketing World Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. They came back energized and excited to share takeaways from this year’s conference.

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What Is Content Marketing?

More than just specific content for your brand, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that aims to distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and nurture audiences, drive profitable customer action, and ultimately help you meet business goals.

Content marketing, like other industries, is constantly changing as technology develops and consumer preferences shift. As leaders in the field, it’s important for us to stay ahead of critical changes and insights that impact our clients’ content marketing efforts.

Here are some takeaways from Content Marketing World 2022 that any business creating content (and that should be all of you!) can use to develop more effective and engaging content.

Double Down On Empathy

Post-pandemic, many people have a heightened sense of uncertainty, vigilance, and distrust. As marketers, empathy and transparency should be the foundation of all of our work. An honest and unexpected approach gains trust and shares an authentic version of ourselves and our businesses that consumers can connect with.

Strategy Is Significant

Many agencies offer the same services. So what sets them apart? It’s not just the social media or web content they create; it’s the content strategy. Anyone can create content, but a valuable agency partner communicates a consistent stream of meaningful information across all channels. Look for a strategy-first agency to ensure your marketing dollars are used most effectively.

Play The Long Game

Content marketing, done right, takes time. Sure, we can see an immediate impact from campaigns, but for a long-term, sustainable marketing program to be successful, a patient approach is needed. You need time to build an audience that knows, trusts and likes you and to see results that will move the needle.

Audience First

Creating content that your audience connects with is not as simple as it seems. Gain an understanding of your customer rooted in data and insights—not just demographics, but how and why they buy, what they hope for, and even what they fear. Craft content in your sweet spot—the intersection of your expertise and what buyers need and want to know. Test your content with a small audience segment and revise the content strategy as needed based on their response.

Content marketing is just one important piece of the marketing puzzle. If you’re creating content without an integrated marketing strategy, you’re left wondering if your content (and dollars) are making any meaningful impact. Need help connecting the dots and upping your marketing game? We’d love to help. Helping is our favorite.  and let’s chat about how to put our expertise to work for your business.


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