How to Design a Fantasy Football Team Logo Jason Byer | August 3rd, 2016

Geek Fantasy Football Names

The 2016 NFL season isn’t far away, which spells excitement if you’re playing fantasy football this year.  But does your team logo inspire excitement? While your office colleagues might be excited about the team name, the logo is a powerful source of pride that shouldn’t be forgotten. 

Picture your team sitting down at your favorite wing bar ready for the Fantasy Football draft. What symbol will you rally around? Will it look like a kid slapped it together in MS Paint or will the other bar patrons give you a nod of approval when they see your team logo? Here are some tips to create a team logo that creates excitement and pride all season long. 

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How Crowdsourcing Can Supercharge Your In-House Brainstorming Lauren Nelson | August 3rd, 2016

brainstorm

 

Advertising executive Alex Faickney Osborn was frustrated. The storied firebrand of world renown advertising agency BBDO, he was less than impressed by the creative ideas his team had been bringing to the table. So in 1939 he began working on a process he believed would inspire his team and others to think outside the box and push each other to dream big. He shared that process with the world in his 1948 book Your Creative Power, calling it “brainstorming.”

Whether in the classroom, the conference room, or the boardroom, odds are you’ve taken part in some variation of this creative process. There’s a reason for that: it works. Groups can and do make each other better. As cliche as it sounds, iron sharpens iron.

Well, most of the time at least. Despite the brainstorming’s widespread popularity and ubiquitous application, it’s an approach that can be overused, wasting a great deal of time. It also only works if the dynamic of the team brainstorming allows for equal and unrestrained participation, which can be a tall order when your team is a mashup of personalities.

As a result, different tweaks have been introduced over time in an effort to make brainstorming more effective and efficient. In a video for Fast.co, Senior Editor Mark Wilson talked about some of those alterations, including something called “brain writing.”

 

 

But regardless of whether you’re writing down ideas or shifting coffee cups by a few millimeters, there’s still an inherent limitation to team brainstorming: the team itself.

That’s not to say that your team isn’t wonderful or that they’re incapable of coming up with good ideas. But they are, at the end of the day, existing within your culture. Over time, thought patterns can become increasingly homogeneous on your team, as members learn each other’s quirks and adapt to each other’s needs. That homogeneity can have a significant impact on not just demonstrated creativity, but creative capacity.

Does that mean brainstorming is worthless? Of course not. But it might mean that your brainstorming efforts need a shock to the system, and crowdsourcing creative work can do just that.

Crowdsourcing is often discussed in terms of convenience and value for your dollar. Those are absolutely some of the associated benefits. But really, the primary benefit of crowdsourcing is that you get a litany of ideas presented to you by a diverse group of creatives.

That’s fantastic when you’re looking for just the right logo or tagline, but the projects you commission via crowdsourcing do not exist in a vacuum. They’re collateral that will interact with a number of other elements in your overall marketing strategy. And that’s how crowdsourcing creative work can be uniquely beneficial to a marketing team in a rut. Seeing a wide array of creative concepts associated with your value proposition or upcoming initiative can help do what in-house brainstorming alone could not: spurring truly unique ideas from your team.

It’s a concept that would make Osborn drool.

 

Image Source: Iron Post Media

5 Ways to Tackle the Tricky Business of Measuring Branding and Marketing ROI Lauren Nelson | August 2nd, 2016

Return on investment

 

One of the major benefits of the digital age is that marketers now have far more meaningful metrics by which to evaluate the success of their initiatives. It’s no longer just about creative swagger and assumptions regarding your audience. We have an avalanche of data on consumer preferences and behavior, website usage, content engagement, and more at our disposal.

It’s enough to make ya giddy.

With this data comes the ability to quantitatively evaluate the performance of our efforts. A landing page, for instance, can be analyzed relative to conversions. Your display ads can be scrutinized according to cost per lead. Your social media posts can be compared on the basis of impressions and engagement.

But is that really enough to demonstrate ROI on an overall strategy? How do you calculate the dollar value of a shared meme from your Facebook page? How do you determine the expected RoR on a newsletter subscriber? How do you assess the impact of a prominent retweet to your bottom line? How do you nail down the contribution of a new logo to your profits?

This conundrum is particularly relevant to those making a case for a specific budget or allocation to a marketing initiative. This data glut has created an impression among those not directly involved in marketing that everything can be boiled down to decimal points. But what about all of the peripheral marketing and branding activities taking place that push your audience to convert? How does one explain that to the powers that be?

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Battle Royale: Evaluating the Marketing and Branding Efforts of Clinton and Trump Lauren Nelson | August 2nd, 2016

If you’re a fan of the musical Hamilton, you know elections weren’t always this polarizing. It wasn’t until 1800, when young upstart Aaron Burr chose to break with tradition and openly campaign against favored Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson, that the idea of directly attacking an opponent and speaking on your own qualifications became a thing.

 

 
Admittedly, things have… intensified… since then. The 2016 election cycle spend blew past the $1 billion mark in April of this year, well before the final candidates in the general had been decided. Now that both the Republican and Democratic conventions are over and done, things are about to kick into high gear, with a high dollar budget to match.

Where do all those dollars go? The most expensive branding and marketing campaigns in the world.

That’s what a campaign is, at the end of the day. It might have started with Aaron Burr talking at social clubs, but campaigns today include millions dumped into advertising, social media strategy, promotional products, and more. And just like any other campaign like this, some of it’s good… and some of it’s awful.

So how are the branding and marketing efforts of the candidates stacking up to date?

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Monday Motivation: Thought Candy Lauren Nelson | August 1st, 2016

Monday mornings can be hard. The burgeoning to do list on your desk can quickly become overwhelming if you start things off on the wrong, under-caffeinated foot. It’s gonna be alright, though. To help ease you into the workweek, we’ve compiled some excellent reads that will inform, engage, and inspire as you tackle the marketing and branding challenges ahead.

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Weekend Reads: Daydreamin’ Lauren Nelson | July 29th, 2016

It’s gross and rainy in Chicagoland, so you’ll have to forgive us if our minds have already turned to happy, shiny visions of the weekend. We figured we wouldn’t be the only ones looking for a distraction as Friday goes on, so we thought we’d share some diverting reads for your own mental escapes.

 

But it is Friday, after all. Give yourself a giggle with this rainbow of fun:

 

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A Mile in Their Shoes: Framing Your Content Marketing Strategy Lauren Nelson | July 29th, 2016

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There are thousands of articles, videos, and books out there, all eager to tell you the “secret” to effective content marketing. There’s a reason such resources are in high demand: 88% of all B2B businesses are investing in content marketing, along with 80% of B2C businesses. Of course folks are gonna want to know how to get it right.

Many of these resources focus on tactics and analytics. A great deal focus on management and tone. That’s a great starting point, but insufficient. Your strategy can be technically perfect and impeccably measured, but there’s an element to marketing along any channel that will always rely on subjective and immeasurable creativity and humanity. Guidance on how to excel in that facet of your marketing has always been difficult to form and process, but it’s sorely needed if you want your investment in content marketing to pay off.

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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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