Jul
27
2011
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Soloflight Physician-Focused Publications Win Communicator Awards

Two Soloflight-produced publications, The Apex of Trauma Care and Spinal Column, took home honors from this year’s Communicator Awards competition.

The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program, judged by the International Academy of Visual Arts, honoring creative excellence for communications professionals. Founded by communication professionals over a decade ago, The Communicator Awards receives more than 9,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world.

The fall issue of The Apex of Trauma Care, a physician-focused publication produced for the Shepherd Center took home The Award of Excellence, the competition’s highest honor. This honor is given to those entries whose ability to communicate puts them among the best in the field.

Another publication produced for the Shepherd Center, Spinal Column took home an Award of Distinction for the summer 2010 issue. The Award of Distinction is presented for projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement.

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Jun
17
2010
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Marketing Perspectives: Selecting an Agency: Top Qualities

As an agency that believes in putting our clients first and coming up with creative solutions that fit their needs, we are constantly looking for feedback to understand how to better serve our clients.

Research seems to have shown that clients are looking for specific characteristics within an agency including flexibility, working within tighter budgets, experience, understanding of their company and proven results. While we agree that these are all very important points that we strive for every day, we wanted to ask you for your thoughts. What do you     think should be added to the list of qualities you expect in an agency? Do you agree with the qualities I’ve stated or would you put more emphasis on different ones?

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Jun
17
2010
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Search Engine Pro Tips

I like to think of myself as a Google pro. I think that I can find anything if it can be found on the Web. Yet, after reading an article in January’s issue of Real Simple, I was surprised by the search engine tips that can make you even more of a pro.


For example, I never knew that using quotes around your phase can help or that putting a minus sign in front of a word will narrow your search. This really brought home to me the idea that when doing search engine optimization these types of search tricks can help put you on a client’s radar. So try out some new ways to search for your company’s information and see what you can find.

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Jun
17
2010
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Custom Content: Blurring Ads with Editorial: What it might mean for you?

Due to the current economic situation there has been a great deal of discussion related to the blurring between advertiser sections and pure editorial sections within magazines.

While the discussion has mostly focused on what this might mean for the state of credible journalism, those placing ads within these magazines should take the impact on advertisers into account.

If an advertiser places an ad within a special advertising section, readers seem to half-dismiss this content. Yet, you as an advertiser are paying good money for this placement. An alternative to putting your money into this type of advertising would be to turn that customized content related to your business and create your own publication for clients and perspective clients. To be successful though, you must give the reader something more than just a marketing brochure, you have to give them a reason to go back to that publication. Remember your clients are thinking about themselves, not you so add value for them, and they will thank you.

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Jun
17
2010
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Marketing Perspective: Green Value

Going Eco. Emphasizing Green. Conserving Resources. However you define it, sustainability has become a buzzword for companies across the globe. Yet, how much value do these corporate sustainability programs really have? That is just the question that Heather Clancy addressed in her article “McKinsey tackles value of corporate sustainability programs.”

Analyzing The McKinsey Quarterly’s research related to corporate sustainability programs, Clancy noticed the trend that corporate sustainability programs seem to add more value when these programs meld closely with a company’s core values or ideology.

Customers understand continuity. Customers like to know that you are living up to the values that you preach. If those values include a real care for the earth’s resources, then a great way to show them that you are doing this is through promotion of a sustainability program.

This philosophy can be applied to other programs that companies launch not just sustainability programs. Soloflight’s work with L-3 Communications on their redesigned code of ethics put a new emphasis on corporate behavior. Soloflight refined the code of ethics to convey the ideas of momentum and connect that are fundamental to the core beliefs of L-3. To illustrate this, we employed bold graphics and used a line motif that was inspired by global connectivity. The redesigned code of ethics was so successful in informing and motivating new employees. L-3 believed in their code of ethics to the degree that they wanted all employees to have easy access these values by creating versions in 13 different languages.


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Mar
02
2010
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What is your client really experiencing?

Survey your audience, Great customer service.

“Have you ever felt that it just isn’t right to pay the same price for a container that has decreased by 10 percent?”

Well, that can be the same feeling that your audience gets when a brand message doesn’t fit with the reality of the service that you are providing them.

Yet, living up to your brand’s ideals can be difficult day in and day out, so assessing your current perception can give you a benchmark to gauge where you need to go with your service.

Conducting your own market research can help determine
where your brand stands.

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO TRY:

» Call clients you have worked with during the past year and get their thoughts on why they chose you.

» Ask your current customers how you have been doing compared to your competition.

» Assess if you are getting return customers.

» How you are getting your customers? If it is by word-of-mouth or referral then your brand is strong.

» Make sure your brand is integral to all parts of your business.

TECHNOLOGY TIP: Make it easy to manage and evaluate your findings. Create a free account with one of the online survey tools, and send yourself the survey titled with the client or customer’s name.  As you get feedback, enter it into the survey you sent yourself.  Do this for each contact you make, and at the end you will have a compilation of your results for comparison.

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Jun
02
2009
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Finding Out What Customers Think Of Your Brand

For a long time now, feedback on your brand was gathered through traditional channels. Customers would interact with service personnel, call into the customer service center or simply write a letter. Of course these aren’t the only ways to receive and obtain market feedback. And with the online world opening up, so are your options. Consider these:

Website surveys

Placing a survey on your website has benefits. You can ascertain the usability of your site (how easy you make it for users to find what they need), as well as get direct feedback related to your company and products. Companies like Vovici and Usability Sciences Corporation are just two companies who can help you plan and implement site surveys.

Online surveys

You can rent an industry list or use your own customer list to find out what people think. Brainstorm what you want to know, and then plan a survey that will ask those questions. Be sure that questions aren’t skewed to imply a certain answer—you always want objective results. Various companies like Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey offer free online surveys. Or, turn to a market research firm that can help you develop and implement a survey for you.

Discussion boards and forums

If you think there’s a good chance people are talking about your brand, then it’s probably happening online. Both Yahoo! and Google offer easy ways to form groups devoted to a topic, so search there for your company or terms related to what your company offers. Try doing a search for your company or a key industry term and add “+forum” to the end of the search string. Once you encounter active forums or discussions boards, register and start monitoring what members say. You’ll also want to
search the archives to see what’s been said in the past.

Social media monitoring tools

More and more companies are beginning to develop effective social media monitoring
tools. These new tools not only track blogs and boards, but also photo- and video
sharing sites like Flickr and YouTube. Think of these services as the equivalent to
traditional print clipping services. I recommend looking into Techrigy’s Social Media
Manager, Radian6 and Visible Technologies.

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Written by soloflight in: Marketing Perspective |
Feb
17
2009
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Should You Start A Blog Or Send An E-Newsletter?

We recently launched this blog after years of sending out e-newsletters. Our thinking was that a blog would give the entire staff an opportunity to share their thoughts in real time, as opposed to waiting for the next e-newsletter. 

For this reason, a blog was a good fit for us. But it got me wondering what makes the most sense for our clients, a blog or an e-newsletter? 

A blog is a more casual way to communicate. It’s generally conversational in tone and gives you an opportunity to talk about what’s on your mind. In comparison, an e-newsletter is typically more formal and is usually built around a theme with content that conforms. 

From a technical standpoint, blogs are much easier to to set up. In fact, if you started now, you could have your blog up and running in 10 minutes. E-newsletters, however, are HTML formatted and take longer to produce. As such, blogs are great when you need to get the word out fast. 

When trying to convey your brand’s personality, a blog is the way to go. But when trying to showcase your company’s culture, an e-newsletter is the smart choice. 

Finally, a blog is ideal if you’re trying to engage Generation X (ages 34-44) and/or Generation Y (ages 15-33). These groups make up a quarter of the U.S. population and generally distrust mainstream media and advertising. They appreciate and respond to the openness and informality a blog offers.

In my mind, there’s really no clear winner when it comes to a blog vs. an e-newsletter. Both have their place in the marketing mix. It’s just a matter of selecting the appropriate communication for your audience based on what I’ve outlined above. For a large percentage of our clients, I actually think it’s smart to utilize both as a way of connecting with disparate markets.

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Dec
16
2008
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Creatively Solving Problems: 13 Tips That Work

Facing a marketing dilemma? Worried about making a bad decision? Below you’ll find unconventional, yet effective advice on how to push past mental blocks. So go ahead, give these tips a try.

TIP #2: Think of an object related to your decision. Get it and hold it. Then ask yourself what you want to know and let your thoughts wander. Record what comes to mind.

TIP #3: Be inspired by past success and see how you can achieve it all over again. Write down your previous successes and look for parallels with your current situation.

TIP #4: On an airplane? Take advantage of being away from meetings and phone calls. Put on some headphones and let your mind drift. Jot down your thoughts as they come to you.

TIP #5: Agree to make a decision within an hour. No ifs, ands or buts. In 60 minutes, you’ll need to make an actual movement towards your ultimate goal. When you arrive at a decision, write it down as a means of committing to it.

TIP #7: Use images to help you problem solve. Quickly draw pictures, doodles or symbols while thinking about your dilemma. Then try to decide what they all mean.

TIP #8: Imagine how someone you admire would handle the situation you’re in. Think about sharing your plan with him or her. What would the response be? Take notes and use them as your guide.

TIP #9: Wait at least 3 days to make any decisions after a major life event. You don’t want it affecting your decision-making abilities. Simply write down the ideas you have and come back to them after 72 hours.

TIP #10: Right before bedtime, think about your problem. When you wake, jot down what you recall about your dreams. Later, see what your subconscious might be trying to tell you.

TIP #12: Stand perfectly still. Ask yourself a question about your situation. What did you hear, see or feel? Does it mean anything to you? Write down what you experience.

TIP #13: Give yourself at least 30 minutes of alone time, door shut and cell phone off. Having quiet time can help you realize the solution to your problem. Write down your thoughts as they come and try to make sense of them later.

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Written by soloflight in: Marketing Perspective |
Oct
29
2008
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Connecting With Your Brand

Recently I read an article about branding that I thought raised an interesting point. It asked marketing managers to answer the following question:

Do you have a brand, or do you just have a popular product?

A brand, of course, represents an attitude or personality and can therefore be extended beyond its original product. A popular product is, well, just that. It’s obviously something that people need, but most likely not something people connect with.

For instance, a $399 Acer laptop is the #1 selling laptop on Amazon.com as I write this. But you’ve probably never seen someone put an Acer sticker on their car. I have, however, seen a fair amount of cars with Apple stickers on them.

So let’s say you do have a brand. How can you remain true to it? Well, for starters, it’s important to revisit your brand from time to time. After all, every initiative your business undertakes either supports your brand’s strength or weakens it. And since you’ll obviously want to increase your brand value over the long term, here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself.

Brand Promise

  • What is your brand promise (value proposition)?
  • What differentiates your offering from competitor’s products and services?
  • How do you provide customers with superior value?

Brand Attributes

  • What words do you associate with your brand?
  • What would your brand be if it were an automobile, celebrity or animal?
  • What does your brand stand for?
  • What benefits does your brand offer customers?

Brand Positioning

  • Who are the brand’s current customers? Will your future customers differ? If so, how?
  • How do your customers interact with your brand?
  • Who are your target customers and why?
  • What’s your company’s vision?
  • What’s your company’s key competitive edge?
  • How’s the public perception of your brand? Is it relevant?
  • How do employees view your company and brand?
  • How would you like to see your company perceived?
  • What are your brand’s strengths and weaknesses (internally and externally)?
  • How do you offer maximum value to your customers?
  • How is your brand positioned in the prospect’s mind when compared to competitors?
  • What are the brands your brand competes with? How do you view them?

Brand Equity

Can you assess how your brand is doing in each of these brand equity areas?

  • Perceived Quality
  • Name Awareness
  • Brand Associations
  • Brand Loyalty

Once you’ve taken the time to answer these questions, you might be surprised with by difference between the reality of your brand and your perception of it. Sometimes, companies have moved beyond their brand. And in other cases, they’re falling short of it. If you find either of these situations to be the case, we should talk about what it’ll take to get your brand re-aligned.

Renee Solomon | Principal & Chief Creative Officer | Soloflight Design

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Written by soloflight in: Marketing Perspective |

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