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Why Guilt Is Good for Marketing and Building Emotional Response

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Why Guilt Is Good for Marketing and Building Emotional Response

Marketing strategists know the importance of hitting consumers right where it hurts. Depending on the product or service, the creative pitch and delivery should tap into an emotion. Anger, joy, dread, anticipation, doubt, fear, confidence, guilt, or shame, emotion is what drives people to relate to a given advertising message. And it’s this relatability that will hold their interest, allow them to process the message and hopefully, engage response.

We Are Glutton for Punishment

It turns out that guilt is more than a quick go-to, and I might add desperate, tactic used by parents in getting their kids to do what they’re asking. The art of persuasion in marketing is used by creative gurus to make the audience believe that they will feel some sense of guilt if they miss the advertising opportunity presented. Moreover, if the viewers give the guilt-ridden message attention, there must be a moment that resonates with them and further accentuates the guilt already in place. Here’s an example.

The Blame Game

In a society that shudders at the thought of being accountable for anything, no one likes to be reminded of a faux pas, mistake, indiscretion or a flat out epic failure. When it happens, many quickly jump at the chance to point the proverbial finger on someone or something else as being the source of the snafu. Yes, there’s a lot of finger pointing going on—just look at our politics and how the media portrays these cat-and-mouse antics that denigrate personal and business brand.

But blame seemingly raises the eyebrows of consumers getting them to stop, watch, and share the information. In fact, this isn’t counterculture anymore but the natural process of social media channels in action. Decades earlier, when it was good business practice to admit to a problem and fix it or put out a retraction correcting the misinformation, there is no such content animal in existence today. In fact, we thrive on marketing mistakes and often devise them on purpose. Remember, bad press is still – good press.

Part public service announcement, part big pharma-to-physician-to-consumer play, this TV spot hits parents and their teenagers hard by pitting them against one another through the sharing of vital health information, and laying some heavy blame. The advertiser, Merck, provides new knowledge to its audience while simultaneously shaming them for not knowing the info beforehand. Compelling as it is, this shame and indirect blame reinforces the importance of the message, leaving the audience guilty unless they act on the message… or forever be held accountable by their children. A cheap shot? Manipulation at its highest level? Absolutely. Is it effective? Just ask any parent that’s seen it on television because if they remember then it worked, right?

The Fault of Our Own

There are certain subjects that get people and their panties rolled up too tight: children, aging parents, fitness, education, personal space, and health to name a few. But when it comes to diet and weight loss, it reigns supreme on hitting people’s buttons on the woulda-shoulda-coulda rant. Though it may not always be expressed, many Americans would own the notion that they do need to lose, at least, five pounds. But oh the list of reasons why it isn’t happening. I could get rich quick if I could cite them all.

Not only is our guilt, laziness, and frustration about diet and weight loss a popular topic of conversation, it sets consumers up for the continual cycle of triumph and defeat. It’s what weight loss program developers and fat-free product manufacturers hope for and make a hefty profit on. Nonetheless, people are like sheep. And advertisers and their clients love sheep.

Dangers of Guilt in Advertising

You’ve probably run across individuals in your life who appear to thrive on misery. It must be a ‘thing’ considering the programming across media outlets echoes the sentiment. However, there is a flip side or two to this type of story. America likes a good amount of sap with their misery. It’s our way of coming out ahead, rooting for the underdog and winning, or holding on to hope, faith, and that it matters and makes a difference. This Fiber One commercial blends the bad and the good, well.

When we use guilt in marketing, it’s important to remember who the target audience is and how they are likely to respond.

Consider adding the following to your guilt-ridden messaging:

  • Happy ending
  • Humor
  • Solution-based final thought or call-to-action
  • Non-profit or charitable mention

Other than the misery-seekers and negative Nancys you may know, guilt is not usually something we like to share. Typically, we keep our guilt hidden or quickly deflect it with a good shot of blame sent elsewhere. But if you have to use guilt to give your marketing campaign the attention it deserves, make sure to give the audience a way out of feeling bad, by offering something that feels good.

Shame and Guilt, the Double Whammy

As risky as it can be, there are inherent benefits to using guilt in your marketing as it is representative of some of the twisted aspects of our interpersonal relationships. Think of a best friend, partner, or spouse. In the best of circumstances, you have gained a level of trust where you feel ‘safe’ in sharing exactly how you feel.

Unfortunately, this isn’t just about the compliments, thoughtfulness, praises and other displays of appreciation. It also includes those moments that really put you in disbelief, shock, and awe. And it is in these moments that we may not feel empathy or sympathy, but are compelled to remind the other person of their idiocy. Yeah, reality bites.

Alka-Seltzer found the sweet spot in this human condition and nailed it on their award-winning campaign from decades ago. Some may say that the copywriter and creative director were way ahead of their time. Although, I’m thinking that indigestion is timeless.

Watch What You Say and the Way You Say It

When did having ‘no filter’ be more acceptable than common courtesy? This positioning trait can be effective in advertising. But before you lead with content that emotionally shakes consumers without giving them any positive recourse when it’s over, ask yourself and your marketing team this: How would it make you feel? Do they enjoy eating a crow sandwich topped with guilt-flavored jelly? Does it shame them into making a change? And if they simply start sobbing, blame it on the writers. It’s always our fault.

Ask Us to Review How Your Brand Speaks to Your Clients

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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How Negativity Impacts Business Relationships and Ruins Marketing Campaigns

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How Negativity Impacts Business Relationships and Ruins Marketing Campaigns

Life circumstances have a way of setting the tone for who we are and how we perceive the world around us. While most of us may try to leave our personal world outside of the workplace, it’s obvious that to err on the side of ‘fail’ in that would be prudent. But why? Has negativity gone wild? Moreover, is it an accepted norm instead of a character flaw formerly sought to overcome? When negativity impacts business relationships, do we have the mental and emotional chops to strategically maneuver it in our favor?

Perhaps it depends on whether you see a glass half empty, half full, or ample with opportunity…

If Nothing Is Off the Table, Be Careful About How You Set It

Remember the days when you were a mere toddler or seven years old when your mind was full of wonder. The most difficult concept to learn (just ask your parents) was the term and acceptance of the word “No”. (I know a few adults that still have trouble with this.)

Is it because we are naturally hardwired for “Yes” or positive thought? Well if so, something happened between birth and the here and now. The good vibes have seemingly taken a back seat in our mainstream and it’s adversely affecting what we expect of ourselves, others, and corporate cultures.

Fear Breeds Fear and Discontent

Some say happiness is a choice. You wake up each morning and can decide how you perceive the day. Sure, a positive outlook is great, until the day comes at you like a runaway freight train. If you have the mental agility to step out of its way or embrace it head on, one could call you a survivalist. Notwithstanding that, over time, the freight train of pessimism will impact your business dealings, future relationships and potential for referrals.

If you encapsulate the bad sentiments that seem to supercharge human reaction and implement them into product or service marketing strategies, as many companies do, it will garner you more attention. But what kind of attention? And would you know what to do with it?

Where Negativity Breeds, Brand Reputation Follows

Where Negativity Breeds, Brand Reputation FollowsLet’s get back to you, this morning, when you decided to wake up on the right side of the bed. (Even if you didn’t, pretend you did.) If you’re a W-2 employee, you’re making your way to your job site. If you’re a 1099 contractor, you’re either heading to a client meeting, about to enter into a conference call, or nursing a cup of coffee just the way you like it from the comfort of your living room sofa, wearing your favorite sweats.

No matter how you show up at work, ask yourself this question as it relates to negativity: Are you part of the problem or the solution? Then again, if negativity is part of the productivity that oils the corporate machine, your adaptability to this mantra may be a source of job security. If you do it well, how effective are you at turning the negativity off at home? Something to think about.

After a brief personal assessment, if you’re finding that pessimism is more prevalent than not in your life, how many people does it touch? And how many do they touch?

Adulting can be damaging to your wellbeing. If only we can revert the clock and be that cantankerous child who cannot accept the word “No’.

Unfortunately, we crave the word “No” and all its direct and indirect monikers because that’s what feeds our interests and conversations, on- and offline. Did social media content force the hand of human disgruntlements or is it the other way around? The cause and effect of negativity gets lost in the blur of rage, shared.

Company Culture or Counterculture Is Like an Hourglass

Company CultureThe spine-tingling phrase of “being a company fit” continues to create a stir in employees and job candidates. When you’re in the company, it doesn’t take long before you can distinguish between the culture they want to emulate and the reality of what is. But employee or client dissatisfaction can quickly alter company culture into something best kept hidden, though seldom remains under wraps.

Company culture used to be created and illustrated from the top down, from C-level execs, to managers and their reports.  Naysayers to traditional work culture were once thought of as a subculture and limited to a small grouping of employees and contractors.

But now, because of social media, dissatisfaction can generate and ooze from the bottom up. If this goes unchecked, it quickly casts a wide net across social platforms affecting internal relations, client interface and trust, marketing reach, and perceived value overall.  But by shaking things around, you can get right side up again—unless negativity feels good.

If You Dish It Out, Better Be Ready to Take It

The standard fare for any business marketing endeavor will include a mention of one’s product or service features and benefits. For many companies, that approach isn’t good enough. Sometimes, advertising campaigns need to step outside of a brand positioning’s comfort zone and do the unthinkable. For many, this means resorting to tactics that take the pressure of a lackluster product and focus on all that’s wrong with their competitors.

This can be done in fun using humor or through mere innuendo, common across the decades of fast food, beer, and soda wars: Coke vs. Pepsi, and Bud Light vs. Miller Lite and Coors Lite, to name a couple.

Negative ad campaigns can be effective, as long as the business and the brand is well established and is likable.  However, companies do utilize negativity in their marketing strategy when drawing attention, any attention, is the reigning goal. This can be formulated as an internal or external strategy, though keeping things in balance can be challenging.

How to Put Good in the Bad

If you’re daring and need a good kick in the butt-of-marketing, adding a little content sneer, on-air mention, or balls out assault on your competitors. A little guerilla marketing, some bad taste, and who knows you could be the talk of the virtual town.

Mud-slinging? You betcha!

I recall working at a peer-revered terrestrial FM radio station here in the Phoenix metro area some years ago. We were part of a larger broadcasting company that had but four stations here in town: three rock radio formats on FM, and one sports radio channel on AM. Within the rock radio stations, there was music programming cross over between two out of three stations, such as:

Classic Rock > Album Rock > Hard Rock/Alternative

As you can see from the above programming flow, the album rock station shared some of their audience with either of the other stations, though seldom did listeners CUME of add TSL from classic rock to hard rock. This put the pressure on the album rock station to perform. And yes, that’s where I worked as an on-air talent, writer, and producer.

You might think that management thought it wise to market the stations collectively, position each as part of a “powerhouse of rock ‘n roll”. But that was not to be the case and here’s why. It was all about the advertising revenue (isn’t it always). The broadcast company would make more money if they kept the stations segmented, and, competing against one another from the inside out.

Marketing dollars were shifted each quarter, from one station to another. On-air talent blasted their peers at the other stations, live on their shows, without abandon. These negative jabs spilled over into audience sentiments, raising radio wars across the airwaves. Advertisers took advantage of the emotional fire and spent more money at multiple stations.

Here’s what was achieved:

  • Greater employee station loyalty
  • Greater internal work ethic
  • Low employee turnaround
  • Increase in listener retention
  • Stronger brand identity
  • Stronger brand awareness
  • Increase market reach
  • Increase in CUME and TSL (from station to station)

I wouldn’t recommend this approach today as I’m not sure it would turn out well with the added traction that social media provides. Because what you say and how you say it lives on forever in the virtual space.

Are Social Smut Campaigns the Best You Can Do?

Business Social Status

Statistics show that the increased rate of mental illness diagnoses and suicides today are correlated to social media presence and how we, as humans, gage its importance. As long as we, professional marketers, know where our audiences live, why not up our ante on how to approach them and leave the emotional slash and burn behind?

Until we can move past the divisive attitudes of winning vs. nothing-else-matters, negativity will continue to have rightful place in society—but at a cost. Even with all that we know about the impact of scorn and skepticism within media messaging, it remains a single key differentiator in how political elections are won.

Keeping a Lid on Sour Grapes

There’s an age-old saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Maybe we need to revisit that. As content media experts, we need to take ownership of our messaging because it affects our audiences. That’s our job, right? With all this power, perhaps putting some fresh eyes on irresponsible negative spins may help change the emotional and behavioral tide that is hurting our communities. And it starts from within.

Businesses Keep It Real on Social Networks

One of the most proactive practices you can put in to your business and its marketing is to make sure you have dedicated team members who do nothing more than monitor, manage, and respond to your social channels.

It’s a quick, reliable way to get an idea of how your customers and the public perceive your culture, your brand, and your products. In addition, active social engagements in real time allow you the opportunity to persuade opinion towards the positive, nurture the followers you do have, and build new relationships.

Are you ready to get an honest opinion about your own business culture? Does your mission take a misstep when it comes to your internal people? Do you walk your talk?

Send out a survey to your employees and make sure it’s set up for anonymous responses. There’s no reason to worry that the answers won’t be honest. Remember, people want to share their voice and be heard.

And if you’ve already decided that this will result in a bad turnout, perhaps you should get your negativity in check.

Need a Second Opinion? We Can Audit Your Social Channels and Help Identify the Risks

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Top 5 Marketing Trends to Add to Your 2019 Growth Strategy

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Top 5 Marketing Trends to Add to Your 2019 Growth Strategy

It’s hard to teach an old dog, new tricks. And for the seasoned marketing professional, dusting off last year’s creative and SEO must-haves isn’t easy – especially if you’ve experienced success with your current strategies. But laziness isn’t the true mantra of a media agency with any clout. So make room for the latest and greatest tidbits of online marketing services for 2019 to help bolster your business marketing efforts into the next plateau. Here’s our fistful of knowledge.

How Compelling Is Your Story?

This is, perhaps, the most exciting part of where brand marketing is headed in 2019. We’re back to all that’s golden in advertising and marketing — it’s about ideation. Remember that? Creative gurus and strategists are ideas people at heart and this year, we get to lead with that. So set up your conference room with the right amount of snacks and design a think tank made up of your best and brightest and let the light bulbs of creativity shine.

Truth Be Told

Drama fuels viral marketing. And unfortunately, drama also fuels what people find newsworthy. But it goes beyond that. We all know too well how media outlets don’t really put out news stories anymore and have been replaced with opinion segments impersonating what should be raw and real.

While we may never get back to news in the truest sense of the word (and industry) the essence of story will take center stage more than ever, with a twist.

Consumers crave what they can’t or don’t have and in that, we all want to feel validated in our concerns, heard by others, seen by many, and have the ability to touch and elicit change on a global scale. To accomplish this, online marketing needs to bridge the gap between consistency and change while simultaneously providing a seamless, personalized, sensory experience.

No Such Thing as a Sensory Overload

Brand Messaging

With the advent and overuse of mobile and stationery screens, consumers may not be getting real or truthful experiences (i.e. filters, reality TV that isn’t reality, etc.) but they want to believe that they are. It’s the need to create a more palatable reality than what’s in front of us, similar to why many people get sucked into drug and alcohol use.

The more humans feel, the more they mask the feeling.

If you have a team of SEO marketing experts, you know that content marketing is strengthened by the right link building services. On the face of it, you are helping stories cast a wider net, hopefully within a niche. Here’s what you need to keep in mind going forward.

Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2019 Growth Strategy

What you do to your brand and your business this year will undoubtedly carry over into subsequent years. In fact, I cannot say this strongly enough. Unless your products or services only have an audience abroad and don’t touch U.S. consumers, the upcoming elections will bear down on social media presence.

While your business may not have anything to do with the American Presidency, social media will dictate that it does, with or without your consent. (Facebook and the Russian interference…)

The best way to try and keep your social marketing nose clean is to abide by these 5 marketing trends.

  1. Personalization

    Every aspect of marketing output needs a deeper imprint on personalization. From AI to brick-and-mortar experiences, emotional connection and digital intuitiveness need to meet consumers where they are, and in the moment.

  1. Sound Advice

    Alexa isn’t the only game in town. As people grow more accustomed to hands-free communication, our reliance on voice-activated technologies and messaging will play a bigger role in 2019. When you are orchestrating marketing campaigns, make sure to define and redefine your audiences. Incorporating audio-based marcom might give you an edge compared to your competitors.

  1. The Human Touch

    Rethink how you’re building relationships. I guarantee you that your audience is and will remain highly critical (and tell you so) if your messaging isn’t on point and genuine. In plain English: Don’t sell them, embrace emotional connection instead.

    You do this by integrating customer stories with your brand story. Heck, do an entire campaign on their stories as defining who you are. In reality, your customers are your best brand ambassadors so highlight them. Where they lead, others will follow.

    Tell these collective stories where they are most sought after and in the medium that people prefer: video, video, video. Vlog instead of blog. YouTube to create relevance. Dare to share moments that aren’t staged, forced or coerced. Have the courage to be real. The brands that have the balls to take off their veil, extoll their truth, and take the heat will get the attention. Isn’t that what this is all about?

  1. Cross-Channels

    People consume as much as they can in any given moment. Your marketing campaigns will get more viewer bang for the buck if you strategically place your messaging across the platforms that your target audience uses most. But don’t assume you know their media habits. Get the help from media buy and social experts before you spend your ad dollars incorrectly.

  1. Positivity

    Let’s get back to the upcoming Presidential election. The media hype is starting. The speculation has already taken root. Now, it’s only a matter of time before the negative tongue lashing begins. If we look back at the last political campaigns (all parties) no one can really claim owning the congeniality award.

    What we can say is that those social marketing impressions made politicians, and the people they hope to govern, look foolish, graceless, and irresponsible. Did anyone really win anything worth winning? Is there a positive endgame to anger and animosity amongst us?

    No doubt that there will be many unsavory, repeat performances. Though we may be well-intended, chances are that the deafening negativity could drown out the more virtuous messages and justified public outcries. And in this noise will live a dire need for peace, stability, and an underlying truth that must rise to the surface.

But we’re just marketers, right?

Don’t Squander Your Marketing Power

Consumers are like sponges. What you dish out, they will take, eat, spit out and share. Your 2019 growth strategy for marketing must be cognizant of this and maximize its advantages at every angle.

Minimizing your effect on your brand, your consumers, and potential followers is likened to negating your responsibility as a communications professional.

There is much to do in online marketing to take what’s wrong and make it right. Join us in resetting our industry standards. Help us evolve to a better place in time.

Be Part of the Marketing Evolution

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Vol. 87: Cultural Differences Affect How You See Color in Marketing

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Vol. 87

It’s hard to not judge a book by its cover when it comes to the visual display of marketing. Whether a billboard, banner ad, company logo, or landing page, each person will bring their own perception (or misperception) to the proverbial opinion table. And how to sway them in your favor is where color comes in.

No, we’re not talking about race relations here. But what we do want to share is how specific colors and their hues can either make or break your brand. When color is used effectively, it can be the best moniker to your name and carry its weight in gold (blue, brown, red, pink, white, etc.)

Color in marketing isn’t as simple as picking the one that you like or what you think your customers will be attracted to: Colorizing your brand might even require global acceptance. But how can you make the world happy when colors have different meanings from culture to culture?

It all comes down to strategy.

Once you understand the aspects of color and how they impact a person, color choice and positioning are better calculated:

  • Color is Feeling. Perhaps the most elementary aspect of color is how it makes us feel. It’s our first response to a bold fuchsia or muted gray as to whether we accept the visual stimulant or find it repulsive.
  • Color is Meaning. Personal experiences and traditions affect the way a person perceives color. For example, if you grew up in a beach town in Southern California, you might be drawn to royal blue and seafoam green, associating them with comfort.
  • Color is Light and Darkness. There’s a spiritual element that comes into play with color. Judeo-Christian theologies will often equate white with purity, while darker shades evoke mystery, the occult, or death. However, these connotations will vary from continent to continent.
  • Color is Tone. You may have heard about wearing a power red tie or blouse to an important meeting. Invariably, it will set the tone for the communication between people. Color can make a statement, without saying a word. Choose your colors wisely.
  • Color is Motion. Think about the last time you stopped and watched a sunrise or sunset. The colors that were first there changed over time. Your brand colors should be just as reflective of changes to your business. This is why having a color palette provides you more latitude in design strategy.

Read More About Color in Marketing

 

What Does Eminent Seo’s Brand Mascot Max Say About Who We Are?

According to the Colours in Culture graphic, our orange Max is…

  • Friendly (Western/USA)
  • Balance, Energy, Flamboyance (Japan)
  • Courage, Desire (Hindu)
  • Family, Learning (Chinese)
  • Healing, Learning (Native American)

We think that is all very fitting for our lovable little monster.

Max

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From the Eminent Team

6 Questions To Ask Designing A Company Logo - Eminent SEO

Fundamentals of Logo Design: 6 Questions to Ask When Designing a Company Logo

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Why Cultural Differences Matters

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Color Tells Your Story

In December, Pantone calls out its “color of the year,” dictating to many companies and consumers what the next 12 months will look like in trends and, hopefully, corresponding purchases. It’s a big deal to real estate and interior design businesses, textiles, apparel and accessories creators who want to make sure they garner appeal to their audiences and referring business partners. But there’s a methodology behind color choice. It’s multilayered and touches on where people are at in their hopes, dreams and current state of emotional flux. As such, this psychology of color in marketing isn’t only apparent at Pantone’s discretion but ongoing with every brand redesign and creative campaign. If you’re palette savvy, color will mean more to you than an afterthought. Done right, it’s the basis of shaping consumer behavior and responsiveness, both, on conscious and subconscious levels.

Color Is the Visual Personification of Emotion

In simplistic terms, think back on when you were a kid, spending time on a rainy afternoon with a box of crayons and a coloring book. No one said you had to use brown, black, gray, or tan for hair color when you filled in between the lines (okay maybe outside the lines too). Perhaps you stuck with convention on colorization or maybe you felt that blue, green, violet or chartreuse were appropriate choices for Goldilocks. But why? What was the reasoning behind color choice? It has much to do about what choice made you feel good or feel right about crafting the complete picture.

How we feel about a product or service, even prior to having a direct experience with it, can be initially carved from the visual brand itself, evident in a logo, product or its packaging, associated merchandising, and web design.

Let’s drill it down into a harsh human moment. Have you ever met someone and just didn’t like them? You may not have been able to put your finger on it but there it was… that feeling of nonalignment, discomfort and disinterest. Yeah… the psychology of color can show up like that too, affecting brand marketing on a grand scale. So how do you know what color is right for your brand? It’s not an exact science, not even close.

Color Theory

Color Wheel of Feelings

If you search for the meaning behind each color, there are a variety of answers available, it just depends on where you look and the preconceived notions you may already have about them. Though the color wheel provides answers, it is meant as an overview of what many people believe defines the feelings or emotions of these hues. But exercise some caution. Think of it similar to the game show, the Wheel of Fortune. You turn the wheel and it lands on a color. There is no rhyme or reason behind where the wheel stops turning. It’s somewhat the luck of the draw. The same can be said about brand color and how your target audience(s) responds. Are you feeling lucky?

Beyond luck (and knowing your target audience) you’d be wise to include psychological, spiritual, and cultural aspects of their thoughts and behaviors that could affect their perception of color.

Life Experiences and Associations Shape the Meaning We Give Color

Why do you like turquoise while your best friend swoons over carnation pink? There could be an association between the color and a positive memory you have surrounding it. This is sort of like a subconscious word association but with pictures. For me, when I envision the color midnight blue (my favorite) it reminds me of the sky and the water at night on the beach. It was peaceful, calm and a personal place to escape. Can you recall why you have your favorite color?

Spirituality Brings Color to Light

Aspects of religious teachings or spiritual thought can enter into colorization preferences. Many people who believe in Judeo-Christian faiths refer to white light as the means to ascend into heaven, while dark and eerie shadows represent pending death. In addition, those who believe in hell may describe it as a violent place, full of red-colored demons surrounded by bright orange fire.

For the metaphysically minded, color is often used to define a person’s aura. If you are told that you emanate a yellow aura, it means your energy is full of spiritual power and the ability to harness new ideas and creativity. But if you weren’t a spiritual person and didn’t view color in this way, seeing a brand symbol in yellow might be a subliminal sign of caution. If so, how likely would you be to trust this product or service?

Culture Holds the Key to the Tone that Color Sets

Depending on where you are in the world, the same color can mean something entirely different from region to region or culture to culture. For example, many Americans hold the color white to mean purity or goodness. However, in some countries in Asia, including China, Korea and Japan, white equates to misfortune, loss, mourning or death. Often worn at funerals in Eastern cultures of the world, white is the antithesis in North America as it signifies light and purity in Western society.

Regarding the color black in the U.S. and Canada, for example, its underworld connotation may bring discomfort to some but not to those who resonate with Goth or Gothic culture. People who consider themselves Goth follow certain color guidelines in their fashion. Often misunderstood by the general public, Goth individuals will don heavy contrasts in their clothing and makeup. Stark white faces, deep red or black lipstick, eye liner and clothing represents Goth culture but not as an obsession with death. Rather, the use of black apparel and accessories is more about emulating a dark or mysterious allure, while paying respect to Victorian and Elizabethan eras as well as punk couture.

How Business Gets Color All Wrong

Perplexed yet? While there are no guarantees that you’re going to get brand color choice right for everyone, it’s more about what you need to be doing to maximize the possibilities of appealing to as many people as possible. Here are some points of contention that could make the difference between a marketing win and a complete snafu.

Disconnected Brand Impression

There’s a hierarchy of linear thinking that plays an important role in brand color. It isn’t about choosing the right color but more about understanding the relationship between your product or service and how color should properly represent it. Men and women will favor certain colors over others differently and it’s rooted in how they perceive the meaning behind the color. If you take that into consideration when picking your palette, your brand color will more likely hit the mark.

To illustrate this concept, imagine a company entitled Green Machine. For the executive, the name could imply a money-making endeavor. For a horticulturist, the name eludes to landscaping. And for environmental enthusiasts, there’s an expectation that Green Machine supports ecological initiatives. If their brand color is only green, expectations of who the company is will not meet expectations of many because the color doesn’t make it clear.

Now, if the brand palette includes brown, this favors landscaping business. If green is partnered with blue, this aligns with environment. And if the green is interspersed with accents of black, there’s a more corporate or hard-edge feel, aligning with financial business.

The use of color in your brand should instantaneously equate to what your business provides, what it stands for, or ideally both. When your color represents your business authentically, you will more likely attract the people who would be interested in what you have to offer.

Personal Choice Rather than Audience Specific

Ego often gets in the way of selecting the colors that fit a business. It sends chills up and down my spine when ego takes front and center. I recall a client in Scottsdale who was starting a new marketing agency and needing to pick his brand colors. This new business was going to be the next best thing since sliced bread in the creative world, showcasing strong work by the best art directors, writers and videographers in town. The brand positioning was edgy, bold and confident. Think about the colors you would choose. I can already tell, your ideas are better than what the client decided on. You ready? He was adamant about navy blue and gray for his brand. (pause) I know, epic fail.

Miscommunicating Focal Points

Even if you’ve chosen your brand colors right to a tee, how you place them will strengthen your decision or dull it. Color, used effectively, can draw the right attention to where it needs to be: on a tagline, a product, or a pricing CTA. Effective use of color can serve as visual cues to a customer, leading them to where you want them to go on your website, and throughout the user experience.

Why Brand Messaging and Color Should Complement Vision

Whether you’re just a getting your business off the ground or considering a marketing refresh, color is a crucial piece of the success puzzle. In fact, make it part of your marketing plan to revisit its use each year. I’m not suggesting that you need to ditch what you already have, but maybe add another color to make the primary brand hue pop off the page. Or select a more subtle hue that brings the existing palette together better, defining your brand story more succinctly.

All in all, color is a personal preference. Though when a business utilizes the power it possesses through audience assessment and strategic execution across all media channels, color not only gives your company the attention it deserves but leads people to your door.

Rethink Your Color, Reevaluate Your Brand. Hit Us Up!

 

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Why Cannabis Design Without Showing Flower Gives Marijuana Business an Edge

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Why Cannabis Design Without Showing Flower Gives Marijuana Business an Edge

On the face of this notion, you might think that I’m ashamed of marijuana use as a whole. You could believe that there’s an insinuation here, that cannabis-related businesses should act as though they’ve got something to hide.

According to the federal government, they do. Facebook, Google and Amazon might concur with that sentiment as well because as long as cannabis product and service offerings don’t play by their rules (when they choose to enforce them), these businesses don’t or won’t exist. Then again, marijuana industry sales certainly don’t dictate that. In fact, there’s a lot to celebrate: It’s a billion dollar industry. But the same challenges that stand in the marketing and public positioning of these businesses also exist in cannabis design. It could be one of the factors for success and failure. Here’s why.

Marijuana Advertising and Cannabis Design Must Overcome Stigma in 3 Seconds

There is a three-second rule. No, not the one that applies to food dropped on the floor that’s still fit for consumption; that’s actually a five-second rule. I’m talking about three seconds. It may not sound like a lifetime. It is in radio. But there’s no visual element in that media channel – just the power of the mind. However, three seconds on a print piece, billboard or web display will represent a lifetime of brand perception to the viewer, whether the impression is on target or totally off the mark.

Many existing dispensary shops and ancillary weed-based businesses use the obvious indicator of the product, the marijuana leaf. But according to a recent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office report, 44 percent of logos in this industry had some form of the plant included. Isn’t the cannabis industry much bigger than that?

Think of it this way. If you had a company that manufactured a coffee drink flavored with butter (some people drink coffee as such), how impactful would coffee beans or a stick of butter be to the logo? Pretty meh, right? And it wouldn’t pass the three second test. That is, if a consumer even needed the entire three seconds before passing it over and looking for “Next”…

The Right Look and Feel of Cannabis Branding Makes Consumers Want to Touch It

Strong branding and alluring cannabis design are one in the same. Brand colors and placement, typeface, size and tone all play a significant role in how a consumer perceives who you are, what you do and how you do it. This is inclusive of marijuana enterprises as well. It boils down to creating the experience that a person wants to visit and revisit.

Positive Logo Brand Experience

More than likely, the first customer experience happens on a website. Unless it’s a landing page, the home page is the starting point. From there, people will then venture into the brick and mortar of the company, the dispensary, for example. But what then?

The Journey of the Marijuana Brand Experience

Let’s say you’re driving home from work on a Friday evening and although you’ve put the work week behind, you’re still carrying the stress of the job (as many of us do). While you’re approaching a stop light as dusk begins its descent, something catches the corner of your eye. There, at the top right corner of it.

There’s a billboard, extolling the virtues of a marijuana dispensary located just around the corner. You’re a card-carrying member of the cannabis community so you follow the sign to check it out. You’re thinking that, more than likely, they’ll have something to help ease the tension from your neck and back. And they’re just two miles from home. Timing is everything. But here’s what I haven’t told you yet: the company’s name, Kind Meds. Emotionally approachable? Heck yeah!

One more anecdote before we move on … If your web brand doesn’t align with your on-site experience, you’ve created a consumer disconnect. For businesses that rely on marijuana marketing to increase brand awareness, engage new customers and build brand loyalty, it’s everything.

Let’s take this up a notch.

Tomorrow’s Marijuana Advocates Might Be Today’s Adversaries

What if the person in that car heading home from work wasn’t a marijuana advocate? In fact, what if he/she is one of the millions in the United States who still support the Schedule I drug classification? Even with the recent news that the DEA moved some marijuana formulations into Schedule V, making this the first time it provided a sliver of government-backed legitimacy to its use, it isn’t widely known to the general public.

Even with the anti-cannabis tide changing, leaning more towards acceptance, how could a brand convince a person, dead-set against the product, to give it a moment (three seconds) of consideration?

The Don’ts of Cannabis Design and Branding

If you’re trying to get the attention of consumers who are on the fence about cannabis use, reminding them about past stigmas and conflicting legal regulations (state-to-state and federal) won’t do your brand any favors.

Instead, make sure your cannabis design and overall brand sell an experience or a lifestyle. There are effective ways to execute this, as there’s no reason to state the obvious by using a marijuana leaf. It’s boring, dated and represents lackluster creativity. Besides, you cannot “sell” product through cannabis advertising any way.

What you can do is create cannabis design that excites the senses and exudes a direct representation of the company and the corresponding audience(s) you’re wanting to attract.

It’s All About the Packaging

Recent stories and concerns across the country are forcing necessary changes in the way cannabis products are packaged. Some states are instituting new guidelines in marijuana products that not only minimize the allure of edibles to children, but make it more difficult to open the products (child-resistant and child-proof).

Brand Persuasion in a Name

Meanwhile, let’s get back to the potential new cannabis lover, yet to try the product. Normally, a billboard that had a hint of marijuana theme to it would never get a second chance. But there’s something about the name Kind Meds. It’s warm, inviting and supportive. What if the entire brand experience echoed the same description?

This is powerful brand positioning. It creates, through suggestion and statement, what the dispensary stands for and what they deliver to the consumer. No matter how the cannabis industry evolves (or stands still at some point), the term kind will always relay positivity and something to be shared. Perfect for social media campaigns.

Brand Differentiators Are Essential to Shine Beyond Competitors

Just like any other industry, cannabis businesses must use design and marketing to create memorable impressions on their customers and prospects. In today’s retail culture, it isn’t just enough to throw up a sign, open your doors and expect the sales traffic to flow.

Consumers want to do their research. They want to find verifiable sources that speak to the benefits of what you have to offer. And when they finally decide to come face to face in store, the research and testimonials have to match up to their experience. If it happens, they’ll buy that product and cannabis swag you have on the shelves, share their experience and be your brand ambassador. Then hit repeat.

How Do You Put Cannabis in Front of People? We Do This, Well.

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Is Cannabis Marketing Out from the Shadows and into Mainstream Legitimacy?

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Cannabis Marketing Going Legit - Eminent SEO
Marijuana. Legit. Are these two words separate entities or do they belong in a singular phrase? Wishful thinking or the reality in the not-so-far future? Depends on which side of the fence you sit on. But for   those who work within the cannabis industry, it’s legitimate and many advocates and customers can attest to it.

Just by looking at this specific business sector on its own merit, the numbers and associated forecasts for growth not only support a serious consideration but stands to be the next, big, missed opportunity (if you haven’t jumped in with both feet yet). So, whether you’re a grower, wholesaler, distributor, retailer or anyone with an ancillary product, how do you differentiate yourself from competitors? It’s all in the cannabis marketing you do and the way you do it.

Facebook Changed the Dos and Don’ts of Marijuana Marketing, Again

Legal Cannabis Recreational Sales 2021 ArcView Group - Eminent SEOJust when we thought it wasn’t safe to swim with the sharks of Facebook, they actually stepped up to the plate of public outcry and accountability. After listening to their users – and most notably their former platform users – who were up in arms about the recent shadow ban on cannabis marketing, they copped to it.

Before Facebook made changes that support the industry, it prohibited user access to:

  • Marijuana advocacy group pages
  • Cannabis-related events (public and private sectors)
  • Licensed caregiver info for medical marijuana patients
  • Dispensary searches for CBD products
  • Information about new laws or regulations
  • Meetings, conferences and other educational series from cannabis-related associations

While Facebook has theoretically opened its doors to the cannabis community, at least for the time being, individuals, groups and businesses will need to be Facebook compliant in order to come out from the shadow bans effectively and be visible to the community.

The following are the new Facebook guidelines that enable medical marijuana advertising, dispensary marketing and others in the industry to maintain a viral presence:

  • Requires specific Facebook verification for users and pages.
    • Blue Verification Symbol – applies to brands, media and public figures
    • Grey Verification Checkmark – applies to individuals and businesses
  • Verifications allow for ranking/presence in search results.
  • Without verification, individuals, business entities, etc. will be blocked.

So now that you know what the new playing field is for Facebook, where do you go from here for advertising your thoughts, resources and the marketing information that’s pertinent to marijuana-related business?

Agility and Collaboration in Digital Ad Agency and Cannabis Client Partnerships

Digital Ad Agency and Cannabis Client Collaboration - ESEOYou know what you know; now, admit what you don’t know. In marijuana business outreach, there isn’t much room for faking it. Let me illustrate.

Not everyone is comfortable with recreational marijuana – some prefer the use of alcohol. On another parallel, many consumers prefer pharmaceutical drugs compared to CBD oils and other products for relief of health-related symptoms.

But for those who truly don’t understand the obvious faux pas in the advertising copy italicized above or subtle nuances in design for cannabis marketing, you would never know I just stated something that compromised the business. If you know cannabis marketing, you understand. If you don’t, I just made a medical claim about CBD oils. That’s a no-no.

If you are the owner of a dispensary, distribution channel or retail store searching for ways to increase your visibility in the marketplace, knowing the legal limits of your advertising and public relations content is immeasurable.

However, as a digital ad agency with expertise in cannabis marketing, our clients don’t have to know everything. We don’t expect them to. But what we do need from our marijuana-based clientele is a level of collaboration that is transparent and agile. It has to be, because it isn’t just that you’re competing with other dispensaries, other growers, or other advocacy groups, for example; you’re competing against what you can’t see – the black market of the trade.

Much of what is needed to effectively promote within the marijuana mainstream is founded in the same tenets recommended for the advertising agency/client partnership as a whole: It’s all about a relationship of fluidity and collaboration. It might entail more ego-headbutting … but the results are astounding and support building long-term, successful relationships.

Subject Matter Experts Are Worth Their Weight in Gold

Not all weed-related businesses are owned by people who partake in the product. Many don’t even possess the basic knowledge about what’s entailed in the various business verticals within the industry, but they do know numbers and when an investment shakes out as a lucrative endeavor. They might even know marketing. They could have the background in traditional marketing that provides a deep-rooted know-how of the importance in brand story, the need to promote local, the use of trade publications, online communities, and boosting community outreach.

If a marketing company or advertising agency tells you that they know cannabis marketing but don’t have the clients to prove it, don’t just walk away; run!

Marketing Marijuana Is Like Alcohol Branding, Seriously?

This Marijuana Buds For You - Eminent SEOTo pull from a well-known, popular tagline, “This Bud’s for you,” from Anheuser-Busch, imagine using it to promote a specific retail shop that has an exclusive strain of marijuana.

Let’s take it further: This particular product has been known to promote better sleep, though there is no U.S. scientific proof, merely the feedback from those within the cannabis industry who have used it.

Let’s say you’ve got a friend of a friend whose brother-in-law is in this amazing alternative-gone-country band, and the members commit to creating a jingle for this-bud’s-for-you. You can use it in your videos, email campaigns, website and radio campaigns, and maybe even television. I mean, why not? They did it for alcohol, right?

Yeah. So … NOT.

Legal-Ease, No Such Animal in Cannabis Marketing

Cannabis remains prohibitive on the U.S. federal law level. Although alcohol manufacturing, distribution and sales went through its drama decades ago with prohibition, etc., they came out of it and legalized it. Marijuana isn’t there yet … but the industry is changing seemingly on a monthly basis. And because it’s evolving that fast, businesses need to align themselves with marketing agencies that are knowledgeable.

We can also look at this sideways. Marijuana, as a business, is already more legit by the sheer fact that it has a pharmaceutical component to it. Research continues worldwide in uncovering the benefits to patients with various health issues that experience a reduction in symptoms or enhanced well-being due to cannabis use. Alcoholic beverage manufacturers and distributors can never tout that. But we still can’t claim it via marketing efforts either.

Without trademark protections available from the government, competitors within the industry can exercise bad ethical practices without a lot of backlash. In a way, those committed to the cannabis industry are virtual pioneers, navigating through unforgiving mainstream methodologies and advertising pathways yet to be discovered, let alone accepted.

Brand Identity Is Everything

Once you’ve got a handle on the legal and ethical best practices, it’s easier to be able to focus on the creative aspects of branding for cannabis marketing. One major consideration should be made for consumer persona or your audience. Especially in ad campaigns and social strategies that are trying to tug at non-marijuana enthusiasts, your prospects. You have to compete for their interest and convince them to step away from traditional mindsets and explore something new.

In a recent interview with Entrepreneur.com, Cassandra Farrington, Co-Founder and CEO of Marijuana Business Daily, defined the challenge as such, “Mainstream society … they don’t want to feel edgy, they want to feel like it’s as normal as having a glass of wine.” Yes, in the short term, it’s a tall order.

Some use celebrity endorsements to boost brand credibility and awareness, which can carry a lot of weight, but for those not wavered by star status, product quality will always reign supreme in brand loyalty. And celebrity popularity can change with a tweet or two. Though product quality can only be shared through word of mouth, and strategically placed trade communications.

Getting in Front of Your Back Story

Marijuana Plant Grows In Dirt - Eminent SEOKnowing your audience helps you generate your strategy but it also helps you define the overall tone of your campaigns: the language, cadence, look and feel of the copy and design.

If you want to reach baby boomers that are open to alternatives for pain management, what you say and how you say it should be congruent to them and what they care about. Again, you cannot make product claims, per se, but you can exude a lifestyle in your marketing.

If your audience is made up of Generation Z or millennials (especially for recreational use product offerings) create more of a buzz about your brand by providing a compelling story (or back story) about your business. This story could be something unique about the owner, the company mission or vision, or the employees.

What really resonates with the younger audience (over 21 years old only; have to remain compliant) is any story that speaks to sustainability. If you can espouse to lowering the environmental footprint related to the growing, packaging and distribution of the cannabis, that’s the kind of marketing tale that will go a long way.

Check out these 10 cannabis advertising and marketing strategies and see if your current program meets the criteria.

Pick a Niche and Then Be the Source of the Source

While cannabis companies cannot push product like traditional CPG marketing, industry advocacy is the best position to start with to set up for success. Over time and a solid, organic, digital marketing strategy, brand identity, market reach, customer retention and consistent referral business will come. Focus on being “the source of the source” within your market – part advocate/part teacher. Be the quintessential resource and, if possible, pick a specific niche and lead with that.

COO Joe Hodas of General Cannabis, an investment firm, and formerly a high-level Dixie Brands marketing exec, believes that “the increased growth of the overall market will allow niche products to proliferate and thrive.”

Is your cannabis marketing buzzworthy to consumers and referring businesses? We can help.

See How We Help Cannabis Businesses

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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The Importance of a Website SEO and Brand Audit

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Not auditing a website before determining the scope of work for a large SEO project is like going fishing with no bait. You’ll only get bites from the small fish that don’t really know SEO. An experienced SEO agency will not take on a large SEO project without auditing it first.

Oh, your website isn’t working? Can’t afford a website SEO and brand audit? There’s your problem right there. You don’t have a budget to do real marketing. Might as well not even finish reading this post then if you’re “one of those.”

What’s Does a Website SEO and Brand Audit Include?

I think it’s hilarious when business owners call and tell me their website traffic is tanking and when I offer a paid website audit, they tell me they don’t need it. Huh?!

Every website needs an audit, even if there is SEO actively being done. A full website SEO audit would include reviewing the following:

  • Your brand and how those keywords appear on Google search
  • How well search engines can access the website
  • Which keywords the website is currently ranking for
  • The design and user experience quality
  • How fast the website loads on all devices
  • How the website scales content to fit on all devices
  • The online brand reputation
  • Social media exposure and messaging
  • Website content quality
  • Quality and quantity of backlinks
  • How many internal links are broken
  • Duplicate content issues
  • Link penalty issues
  • Competition and their organic exposure

A comprehensive website SEO and brand audit should be performed by an SEO expert – someone who knows what to look for. Tools can help identify issues, but it still requires a professional to dissect the data and tell you what’s really wrong with your website. It also requires an expert to develop an effective SEO strategy that will fix all the issues found in the audit.

Seems like common sense right? That’s because IT IS.

You should perform an audit on your website on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. This doesn’t mean tracking the website in a tool and waiting for the tool to tell you what’s wrong. I mean a real website SEO audit where someone manually reviews all of the action items mentioned above.

Why You Need an Audit Right Now

Benjamin Franklin Investment In Knowledge Interest Quote - Eminent SEOBusinesses often come to us with broken websites. The business owner doesn’t really know why their website is broken because they’ve been paying for “SEO” for several years. The truth is, their business probably wasn’t really investing into a real SEO campaign. There are a lot of companies out there that do spammy SEO techniques and get away with it because business owners aren’t aware of the shadiness.

Businesses that are caught up in the old SEO techniques, or that haven’t had their website analyzed in a while, need an audit right now to get out of the slump they’re in. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we will need to do a major cleanup of the past SEO to make the site compliant with Google’s quality guidelines.

Another reason you need an audit right now is because your website probably sucks. I’m not saying that in a bad way; it’s just true. There aren’t a lot of website developers that understand the complexities of SEO. Therefore, they won’t have the ability to build you a fully optimized website. It will just be a skeleton.

The real website experience comes from high-quality user experience designs, silo architecture, dynamic development and great content. If you’re missing any of those, your website sucks.

A rock-solid website requires a team of professionals to develop the site, because designers, content developers, website developers and SEOs should strategically work together to develop the most KICK ASS website for its industry.

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When your website isn’t producing leads, your business is losing money and opportunities for growth.

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That should be enough reason to purchase an audit.

Keeping Your Website Healthy Means More Money for Your Business

When you maintain a healthy website, the organic rankings will climb. The rewards? More money for your business because you’re constantly attracting qualified leads.

Keeping your website optimized with fresh content and digital assets creates a real advantage for your business. Websites can see thousands of organic rankings and easily 20,000 unique visitors by just keeping it clean with fresh, high-quality, optimized content the audience wants to see. We know because we’ve done it.

Don’t Cheap Out on Your Website SEO

Looking for qualified inbound leads? You need an audit.

Looking to grow your website traffic? You need an audit.

Trying to dominate your competition online? You need an audit.

Have an outdated website? You need an audit (and a new website).

To be real, every website should have a professional website brand and SEO audit done right now. We’re on a mission to clean up all the spammy websites that provide zero value to users. More specifically, we’re looking to build businesses valuable websites that have beautiful designs, messaging and SEO.

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If your website SEO isn’t bringing in qualified leads or your website isn’t converting them, an audit is considered PRICELESS.

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If you’re ready to dominate your competition and grow your brand organically online, you have to invest in SEO. Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Our Website Audits and Custom Strategies

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Examples of Neuromarketing Done Well to Help Inspire Your Marketing Strategy

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Examples Of Neuromarketing Marketing Strategy - Eminent SEO
There’s an intuitiveness to digital marketing that if your campaigns aren’t geared toward each platform uniquely, your advertising and social spends may miss your proposed target audience. Why?

Whether we, as consumers, like it or not, Facebook, Google and other social channels and search engines respond to our behaviors online. It’s the way we receive direct and indirect promotional messaging based on our interests.

Yes, “big brother” is watching our every move. But, there’s another way that marketers can learn about consumer interests and it has everything to do with how we think, feel and react – subconsciously. If you’re thinking, “This sounds complicated,” it is – yet, it isn’t.

The term is called neuromarketing. In short, neuromarketing is based on the head games we play with ourselves, unknowingly.

NEUROMARKETING = 1 PART BRAIN + 1 PART EMOTION + 1 PART RESPONSIVENESS

Chances are you’ve already seen examples of neuromarketing in your day-to-day but weren’t aware of it. That’s the beauty of it – when neuromarketing is executed correctly.

Playing off the way humans react to stimuli (products/services messaging), neuromarketing provides mechanisms to measure:

  • What we respond to,
  • When we respond,
  • Why we respond, and
  • How to tailor branding and sales initiatives to increase conversion rates.

I’ve found some great examples of successful neuromarketing campaigns to share, but before that, let’s dive a little deeper into the way market researchers use technology in neuroscience to get a better understanding of what drives human behavior in the sales funnel.

The Before and After of Neuromarketing

One of the more challenging aspects of predicting how your target audience is going to react to your brand or promotional messaging is that you can’t predict it. People are fickle. Emotional. Transient. Impulsive.

There is no magic trick or special sauce (except for McDonald’s’) that will draw prospects and existing customers to your business. However, neuromarketing can test the waters, so to speak, and provide a consensus of what to expect.

Focus Groups Represent Consciousness

Many marketing agencies will set up focus groups to gauge consumer interest and opinions before a hard launch of a new product or update to a brand. What neuromarketers can do to enhance a focus group session is to bring the science of the subconscious to meet head on with consciousness. This is where it gets interesting – in fact, humorous.

How Often Do We Mean What We Say and Say What We Mean?

Ask your friend if they like Sriracha sauce and you’ll get a roll of the eyes with a screeching, “Well duh, who doesn’t?” Then you ask if she wants to head to Burger King for a Sriracha-infused fish sandwich and the response is, “GROSS!”

Maybe she doesn’t like fish? Perhaps she has an aversion to anything Burger King. But she said she liked Sriracha sauce.

This is part of the challenge in neuromarketing: the many variables of human nature that make what we say not always an accurate assessment of what we mean or how we feel.

The Nitty Gritty of Neuromarketing

Neuroscience Human Responses Consumer Behavior Neuromarketing Quote - ESEOResearchers will monitor how a person sees an online ad, for example, by using an fMRI scan that will provide details of brain activity. In addition, this is a great way to A/B test a promotional message for a marketing campaign.

The “A” ad might show the same copy with a different design or image than the “B” ad. The viewers’ brain activity can give an indication of their subconscious response to each.

EEG images are also used to show how a person emotionally responds to a product or service, depicted on the web, print or broadcast. For online-specific campaigns, neuromarketers track where a person’s eyes move about a webpage, usually going to the most prominent areas of the ad first.

Once noted, marketers can then use the information when choosing color palates for their brand. This also indicates where the primary messages should be placed (layout-wise) for maximum traction, increasing the click-through rate.

There are numerous ways that neuromarketing has come to light and can assist in the go-to-market, prelaunch process. Now, let’s put some sizzle to the science.

Neuromarketing Puts the Snap, Crackle and Pop Back in your Advertising

Perhaps the golden ticket in an advertiser’s ability to successfully tap into the mind of a consumer is by making the experience memorable. The most powerful part of the prior sentence is the word experience.

If you can create an experience for the user, it will be more memorable, will evoke emotion, decrease bounce rates, increase time spent viewing, build more relationships and convert more sales – even if you’ve only got their attention for three to five seconds. How?

  • Poke their curiosity.
  • Challenge their intellect.
  • Ask their participation.
  • Reach their comfort zone.

Not every marketing campaign will hit all four goals noted in this list, but it’s something to keep in mind when considering how neuromarketing can go to work for your business.

5 Examples of Neuromarketing by Household Brands

Neuromarketing invokes the subconscious, allowing advertisers to sway behavior based on emotion without thought…stirring the deeper recesses of our brains. Through neuromarketing, marketers hope to engage our internal chemistry, and that may not come with specific reasoning, but more from responsiveness based on memory or deep-rooted cognition from another time that provides appeal in the present moment.

Apple

While many businesses will pull out all the stops to try to win your attention and, ultimately, loyalty, some companies have a distinct brand presence – so much so, that there is no other brand like them. Their brand is their calling card. Apple defines this strength.

Neuromarketing in this instance showcases the power of simplicity because Apple’s positioning is always about its singularity. In a sea of competitors, Apple is always at the forefront of the industry wave.

When introducing the iPhone, Apple used imagination and how consumers feel separate yet connected by their mobile device, allowing them to enter and exist in their own world – just by turning them on. Apple pokes at the viewer’s curiosity.

Trivago

The online travel booking company Trivago uses the anchoring or comparison approach in its market positioning. Trivago’s brand ambassador presents a specific destination and then lists options for hotels and other accommodations that the consumer may not readily find if they use another booking company.

Through a no-nonsense, sometimes whimsical portrayal, the spokesman here is trying to make the consumer feel silly for using anything other than Trivago. This campaign indirectly challenges the intellect.

M&M’s

Other examples of neuromarketing focus on the brain’s reward center, the same area of the mind that responds to all things pleasurable: sugar, alcohol, drugs and sex. Yes, these are substances that have addictions associated with them. But there’s a reason for that.

Human beings respond to people, places and things that excite the senses, sending messages to the brain that spur desire, anticipation, expectation and reward. Once experienced, the body will then respond in the same way to sight, sound, scent and touch that relates to the first experience. M&M’s draws from this aspect of neuromarketing.

For the last several years, milk chocolate and peanut M&M’s have been depicted as human-size products. Oh, what would it be like to have a 66-inch M&M to nosh on? Fantastic!

Lay’s

This next neuromarketing example is my favorite of 2018 so far: the Lay’s Potato Chip “Operation Smile” bags campaign. I think this one is brilliant! A product packaging rebrand that brings experiential marketing to a multi-layered level. Each potato chip flavor has its own redesign, with the very top of the bag portraying a different smile. After all, smiling is contagious.

The consumer can then take the bag, hold the top of it in front of their own mouth and convey a smile. Just the act of doing it makes the consumer smile, laugh and invite them to share it with their friends or family.

In addition, because each flavor has its own design, consumers may want to buy more than one flavor to experience all the smiles. And when the chips are gone, they will be hard pressed to find another potato chip brand experience to equal what Lay’s offers. Remember, you can’t eat just one.

Clever Turns of Phrases

For targeted audiences by age or geographic area, a marketer might want to tease their memory by tugging at something familiar but with a twist. Known as hippocampus headlines, these clever phrases of copy often use an American adage and change just a word or two near the end.

This draws the audience to what they know, holds their attention and then keeps them considering the message because of the shift. I don’t know of a campaign that uses the following phrase, but it would be ideal for a water-flavoring product:

You can lead a horse to water but you CAN make him drink.

Now You Need a Neuromarketing Marketing Strategy to Understand How Your Customer Ticks

See Our 4-Step Inbound Marketing Approach

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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‘Mad Women’: Companies Flourishing Due to Women in Marketing

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Mad Women Of Marketing Companies Flourishing - Eminent SEO Staff
In comparison to the “golden age” of advertising in the 1960s, when the best creative and strategic brand initiatives came from men (because women were only perceived as adequate for secretarial work and bringing coffee to the big guns), today’s women in marketing are a force to be reckoned with. How we got from then to now took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I should know. I’ve been in the business since 1980.

While my early days fell long after those represented in the hit television series “Mad Men,” some of the misconceptions about women’s abilities back then are still evident today, yet tucked under the whispers of men and women at the office Keurig machine. This is what gives rise to the mad women of marketing, and it goes well beyond the #MeToo movement.

Perception of Feminism vs. Actual Roles

Women In Marketing Experience Sexism Boston Globe Statistic - Eminent SEO“Business is business.” It’s a common philosophy among the successful. But if you are a woman who has been passed over on a promotion or accolade due to gender, it’s hard not to take it personally.

Sure, there are situations when a man has more experience, more formal education, more talent, more entries in his book of business. In this instance, I am speaking to an apples-to-apples scenario. Why then, would a man get the advantage and is that still the case?

While working as an on-air talent, producer and marketing writer at a No. 5 U.S. market FM radio broadcast company, I was an integral part of a team saddled with going through the ratings reports when they came in.

During one intense session that took us in to the wee hours of the morning, we broke to stretch our legs. Nonetheless, I stayed at the conference room table, as did our boss who sat across from me.

I mused to myself for a moment, taking note of how everyone in the group, except for the boss, was a female. So I asked, “Why is everyone in here a woman?” He smiled and without hesitation responded, “Because if you want something done and you want it done right, ask a woman.”

At that moment, I thought it was an empowering thing to say. Over the years, I’ve changed my mind. It took me a while, and with more career disappointments under my belt, some sexual assaults on the job, a divorce and a real understanding about how strong women in marketing threaten an entire vocational culture, I finally get it. And if you don’t just yet, let me help.

“Marketing requires intricate attention to detail and organized processes to
execute a strategic campaign…because it’s evolving by the minute. It’s about telling
a story, building a brand with compassion and reaching business goals as an empowered team.”
Lacey Bertnick, SEO Director, Eminent SEO

Women in Marketing Experience Sexism

Back to what my old boss said about his favored choice in hiring women. The following facts illustrate the truths that led to his hiring preference:

  1. Single moms make up a large portion of the workforce.
  2. Many single moms must work.
  3. They can take a pay cut due to item No. 2 above.

I fit the profile. Many of my coworkers over the years have fit the profile as well. If you don’t, you probably know someone who does.

Aggressive or Driven?

When a corporation looks to promote from within, the one awarded with the title can be a result of a singular characteristic or a myriad of them. Seniority, ability, an internal reorganization or the infuriating “it’s who you know” offer some of the reasoning.

Though when it comes to a woman in the position of a possible promotion, the following factors are taken into account:

  • The effect on others within the company
  • Industry and public perception (if it’s a high-profile opportunity)
  • How the candidate will respond

Oh yeah, and there’s that important subject known as pay rate. Are these also the terms of consideration when a male is contemplated for hire? It depends.

According to MarketingWeek.com, the “pay gap between male and female marketers
has widened from 20.8% in 2016 to 22.4% in 2017,” favoring men.

You’ve probably heard that a man with wisps of gray hair is distinguished, while a woman is old. When a woman is in a position of power, she is often viewed as a bitch. For a man, he is simply driven.

“A woman who is outspoken and assertive in the workplace would be
perceived as overly demanding, whereas a man exhibiting
the same characteristics would be praised for his passion or tenacity.”
Nicola Yap, Organic Marketing Strategist, Eminent SEO

Unfortunately, this isn’t the intellectual skew beholden to men only. Some women share this ideology, which is self-defeating in the quest to climb the corporate ladder in marketing. But times are changing.

“Women are changing the way consumers feel about
brands with more cause marketing and less sex appeal.”
Jessica Feldman, Digital Marketing Specialist, Eminent SEO

The Good Ol’ Boys Club Is Dead

Nothing can be more frustrating to a woman in sales, marketing or creative than coming up with a great promotion, product positioning or ad campaign and then presenting it to a male supervisor only to get it passed on to the decision maker as if the idea came from him – the man.

“When I first started working in digital marketing, it was an ‘old boys club’ and
they weren’t too happy to see a girl step in. My male coworkers wanted me to fail,
left me out of important meetings and memos. I was ridiculed, harassed and talked down to,
paid less and given fewer opportunities than the men. It’s part of why I started my own company.
No one should put up with daily sexism just to earn a buck. I hope to help change that.”

Jenny Stradling, Founder and CEO, Eminent SEO

Some women got tired of the disrespect and mistreatment. Instead, they broke the rules and formed their own marketing agencies, tipping the uneven scales of an industry to make a decades-long wrong, right. In Arizona, I’ve had the privilege of working with two great female business owners in marketing communications, Carrie Martz of the Martz Agency and Jenny Stradling of Eminent SEO.

The Tide Is Turning

The “Mad Men” show was engaging with solid storylines and on-target acting. Perhaps part of its allure and strong audience following is that it served to remind us where we (women) started in marketing and how far we’ve come. In fact, we have arrived.

“If you want to create a successful multi-channel campaign, get a woman to help you.
She can use her insight to attract many others from the female realm. It’s like using the ‘Girl Code.’”
Danielle Knox, Creative Director, Eminent SEO

Now that there is immense public outcry regarding racism, gender-bashing, safe spaces and equality in all forms, the mad women of marketing can take a load off, put their feet up and bask in the glory of our force in the business community. A fun example is a new TV ad campaign for Overstock.com that pits a man against a woman.

Mad Women of Eminent SEO and Others Represent Well

Creative business industries such as advertising, design and marketing have been known for bucking tradition with more flexible guidelines in where we work and how we work. Ours is an industry that can easily connect the most intriguing and successful initiatives with a truly collaborative environment. For example, Thrive Marketing just opened its doors to a new, women-focused working space in Gilbert, Arizona.

The end of silo office environments, strict organizational hierarchies, and the 8-to-5 business models have shifted across many industries, but started in marketing. Remote work, shared work shifts, and team achievements have much to do with women in marketing, because to survive, we had to be flexible.

Juggling family obligations, meeting client deadlines and staying current with industry trends requires a flexible and scalable business model, especially for women. Now many companies have adopted these pathways, supporting women more than ever before.

In final thought, remember: A scorned woman hath no fury (laughing), but we do a hell of a job!

Comment Time: Discuss How You’ve Seen Women Change the Face of Marketing and Business for the Better.

Avatar for Melanie Stern

Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

More Posts

Follow Me:

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