Startup Marketing: 5 Startups that changed their name (and why) Nick Bowersox | July 28th, 2016

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A lot of time can be spent choosing the perfect startup name. Conventional wisdom says that the name should be less than 10 characters, easy to remember, and the .com has to be acquirable. Startup names can be descriptive (PayPal), suggestive (Amazon), or even fanciful (Apple). Once you find the perfect name for your startup, it’s hard to think that any other name could fit the company you are building.

But what if the company you are building begins to change? Startups are intended to be agile businesses that consistently face engineering and marketing challenges with creative thinking and a willingness to evolve. Just because the name was perfect when you launched doesn’t mean it will always be the right fit.

Unsure if your startup is in need of a new name? Take a look at 5 top startups that have changed their name (and why):

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Fresh from the SPRING: TJNCS11 Audree | July 28th, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for TJNCS11. Check out more great work on TJNCS11’s profile page.

Nicely done, TJNCS11, nicely done!

FFTS-TJNCS

What Trends in Email Marketing Mean For Your Strategy Lauren Nelson | July 27th, 2016

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Email marketing and customer communications strategies have long played an important role in a company’s user engagement and conversion rates. The direct nature of the messaging and ability to personalize those messages allows email to serve as an effective means of conveying information and persuading recipients to take specific actions.

Though speculation has bubbled over the past four years that such tactics were losing efficacy in a world where younger internet users, in particular, were showing preference for fast-paced messaging services, data shows that email use has actually risen substantially during that time period. It is predicted that more than 1/3 of the global population will be using email by 2019.

That doesn’t mean that email strategies are easy to develop and execute. Spam filters are the perpetual bane of the email marketer’s existence, and the dawn of Google’s Promotions tab has made things even more difficult.

In such a world, knowledge is power, which is why we were so excited to take a look at IBM Marketing Cloud’s 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study. The comprehensive study takes a look at email marketing KPIs by metric, industry, delivery period, function, and region, offering useful perspective on email marketing and communication strategies. Here are some of the key takeaways.

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More than a Logo: 5 Additional Ways to Leverage the Crowd for Your Creative Needs Lauren Nelson | July 27th, 2016

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When we talk about crowdsourcing creative work, the primary focus of the conversation is frequently on graphic design, and, more specifically, logo design. In all fairness, that makes some sense. After all, that’s the concept that’s been part of the digital marketing narrative for the longest period of time.

But as time has gone on, additional opportunities to leverage the crowd for your creative needs have emerged. In a world where more and more content is required to feed the digital marketing beast, knowing your options in this arena can only help you grow and flourish.

What kinds of services are we talking about?

Company Naming

A rose by any other name might be as sweet, but the name of your company can serve as an initial sniff test for would-be customers or investors, making the process of naming your company an important one.

It can be the first impression generated for those encountering your brand. You want it to be memorable and in line with the tone you’re trying to set as an organization. You probably shouldn’t change it anytime soon once you launch, so you want your selection to be a durable one.

Why not take it to the crowd? This might not be the most intuitive sort of crowdsourcing projects out there, but it is one of the most impactful, and with a decision as important as this, it can’t hurt to get a couple hundred suggestions in play before you make up your mind.

Infographic Design

Did you know that infographics are three times more likely to be shared via social media than any other form of content? If you’re trying to get your message across in a compelling fashion, infographics get the job done.

Unfortunately, they can also be difficult to design. Crowdsourcing infographic design can give you multiple visualizations of data that support the argument you’re trying to advance, giving you your best shot at making a persuasive case to your audience.

Email Template Design

Email marketing has, time and time again, been proven an effective tool for driving traffic and conversions for your business. But email marketing has become increasingly difficult in a world where people’s inboxes are flooded and Google is relegating content they view as suspect to the netherworld of the Promotions tab.

It’s never been more important that your emails be effectively designed. It’s the best way to not only avoid the Twilight Zone of the inbox, but a great way to drive higher click-through rates. Crowdsourcing can be an excellent way to get innovative email template designs that do just that.

Mobile App Design

It’s not uncommon to view mobile app development as a package deal. You find someone to do the work, you give them your idea, you hope they come through. In some cases that might be enough, but in many cases the people you engage for such development are programmers by nature. There’s nothing wrong with that, but programmers don’t always have the expertise in user experience that a mobile app designer might have.

Crowdsourcing design once features have been determined is a way to make sure that your app doesn’t just work — it wows. Designers tend to have a better feel for how a user interacts with the functionality of an app or website, so their insights and suggestions can make all the difference in terms of behavioral statistics and user retention. Getting ideas from a slew of designers is even better.

Presentation Writing

There are a number of reasons you might need to speak in front of a crowd. Maybe you’re accepting an award. Maybe you’re giving an address at a conference. Whatever the reason, such events provide a major opportunity to wow individuals who could be future customers, allies, and evangelists. If you’re in a position to give such a speech, you probably aren’t terribly bad at it, but there’s certainly a noticeable difference between a good speech and a great speech, and most folks don’t have a ton of experience in the speechwriting department.

Crowdsourcing the drafting of your presentation can give you an edge in this sense. It might seem weird to be relying on people who don’t know you to help craft your words, but even the most lauded public speakers in recent history work with a team of speechwriters. Why shouldn’t you benefit from many minds as well?

And there are slew of other kinds of crowdsourcing projects you can explore, as well. Think outside the box! All the best people do.

Keep Calm and Trust Your Designers Lauren Nelson | July 26th, 2016

So you need some design work done. Maybe you need a logo. Maybe your website needs a facelift. Maybe you’re putting together an important presentation for a conference. In any case, you need someone to help make things look great.

The first step is acknowledging the need. Bravo — you’ve done that! The next step? Letting the designers do their job.

A company may engage any number of contractors and freelancers over the years to help them advance their brand. They’ll hire SEO firms and PR teams and content creators. They’d never dream of telling the SEO expert how to do their job. Designers, on the other hand, are often treated entirely differently.

Can we make that font bigger?

Let’s add a gradient here! No — drop shadow!

Eh, I’m just not… feeling it.

 

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Companies have no problem telling designers how to do their jobs, and they frequently feel justified in it. Why? The (misguided) answer may be found in art philosophy.

We can’t necessarily technically explain why we like or dislike a piece of artwork, but we know it evokes certain feelings, and we use those feelings to form opinions on the quality of the art in front of us. This is what British art critic and philosopher of art referred to as evocation of “aesthetic emotion.” The argument, essentially, is that technique doesn’t matter if the end result doesn’t strike a chord with the viewer.

Companies often extrapolate that framework of evaluation — even if they can’t articulate it — to the world of graphic design. After all, graphic design is a form of artistic expression, right? So relying on “feels” to make strategic choices about design makes sense, yes?

Not really. Read the rest of this post »

What Comic-Con Can Teach Businesses About Promotional Products Lauren Nelson | July 25th, 2016

Once a year, San Diego becomes the nerdiest, most magical place in the world as thousands of super fans convene for the International Comic-Con. This year continued the tradition of fantastical celebration, with major announcements from DC and Marvel, the history making premiere of Star Trek Beyond, a brand new Blair Witch, and a Skype-endorsement from Edward Snowden.

 

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The convention is usually associated with spectacular cosplay and enthusiastic community, but you don’t need to have a dog in the Marvel v. DC fight to appreciate this week of revelry.

(Though, to be fair, most of the crowdSPRING crew is #TeamMarvel4Life.)

No, even the straight-and-narrow-suit-and-tie set can learn a lot from the branding tactics executed at Comic-Con and beyond by content creators.

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Monday Motivation: Food for Thought Lauren Nelson | July 25th, 2016

Good Monday Morning! Well.. as good as a Monday can be.

 

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As you settle into your workweek and plot your course of action for the hours and days to come, it can often feel like detangling a box of Christmas lights originally packed by a drunkard: trying, time consuming, and headache inducing. But it doesn’t have to be painful. Sometime you just need to frame the thought exercise the right way. Our suggestion? Make a list of questions through which you measure your decisions today.

Not sure where to start? Here’s some food for thought while you try to get things sorted:

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Weekend Reads: Get Outside the Box Lauren Nelson | July 22nd, 2016

As another Friday draws to a close, the time has come to relax. But if you’re not going to be doing anything, you might as well let your mind wander. Sometimes it’s in those moments of stillness that the next big thing hits us head on. To inspire you towards such revelations, here are a few reads to tickle your mind:

 

 

But if you’re all done thinking for the day, maybe we can help you crack a smile:

 

 

Ok, you’ve been sufficiently inspired and entertained. Now go enjoy yourself!

 

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22 Ways Brands Can Use Facebook Live Video to Drive Business Lauren Nelson | July 21st, 2016

It’s a well-established fact that video can drive major engagement for a brand. As Gary Vaynerchuk pointed out last year:

The single most important strategy in content marketing today is video. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Youtube, the content you need to be thinking about creating and marketing on social for your business is video. Period.

No matter what you’re selling, no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for the biggest video platforms, you are going to lose. And in case you haven’t noticed, the platforms of distribution for video content online have shifted drastically over the last 18 months. Facebook is getting more daily minutes watched than YouTube, Snapchat’s daily views are now in the billions, and video on Twitter has taken listening and one to one branding to a whole new level.

 
What could be better than that? Live video.

Apps like Meerkat and Periscope shook up the market in this respect, but other social titans weren’t far behind. Facebook, in particular, realized pretty quickly they were going to have to evolve in that direction to keep their user base engaged. Initially they introduced the feature to their platform last year for verified accounts, but eventually they expanded access to the general user base.

 

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Though demand for the service had been demonstrated by smaller players, Facebook live video feeds didn’t catch on right away. Celebrities like George Takei have been more likely to use it than others, allowing the feature to function like a video-based version of a Reddit AMA, but most users were either unaware of its availability or unsure how to use it.

That’s begun to shift over the past couple of weeks. Following the live feed from Philando Castile’s girlfriend that was broadcast right after her boyfriend had been shot by an officer, a slew of people took to the live platform to express their frustrations. Suddenly, Facebook’s live video had found an audience, with one of many applications in the spotlight.

As the live broadcast option gains greater visibility, it’s anticipated to become a more frequently used feature. In acknowledgement of potential growth, Facebook recently updated the look and feel of such video experiences. As Design & Trend reports:

Facebook announced that it has begun rolling an update to its live video platform that would allow longer live broadcasts.

People and Page administrators will now be able to broadcast Facebook Live up to four hours per session, according to VentureBeat.

When Facebook Live first launched, it only allowed users to broadcast live videos for up to two hours. The social media site said that people have requested to make livestreams longer and so the company has done just that by doubling the limitation.

Facebook has also added fullscreen and video-only modes through the update. Previously, Facebook Live videos were presented with a square aspect ratio to give room for comments.

Now, livestreams are broadcasted and viewed in fullscreen on mobile devices. Fullscreen mode will work in portrait and landscape mode for iOS devices.

On the other hand, Android devices will only support portrait mode. Facebook says that landscape mode will be available more widely “later this summer.”

 

This change makes the live video functioning even more appealing to both users and broadcasters. But it should also be an exciting opportunities for businesses engaging in social media marketing. Why?

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Fresh from the SPRING: Sbdesign Audree | July 21st, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this Book Cover project.

Let us start the slow clap for Sbdesign. Check out more great work on Sbdesign’s profile page.

Nicely done, Sbdesign, nicely done!

FFTS-SBdes

 

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