• 27/01/16 Advertising , Communications , Design , General Marketing , Karran Finlay Marketing , kfm , Marketing , Marketing Trends

    Case Study: How Do Retro Print Ads Stand Up Now?

    Print advertising has been around as long as advertising has. It has survived the rise of radio, television, and internet, while still going strong. There’s something about a really well executed print ad that speaks to us on a deep emotional level. Many technologies and aesthetic trends have changed over the years, but certain cornerstones of a good print ad remain the same.

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  • 26/01/16 Advertising , General Marketing , Karran Finlay Marketing , kfm , Marketing , Marketing Trends , Uncategorized # , , , , , ,

    Evolving to Meet the Needs of your Consumers

    Brand evolution

    Consumer research is an important part of ensuring your company’s offerings remain relevant and in demand. As consumer trends and needs change over time, smart brands will tailor their products and marketing strategies accordingly. Here are two case studies of top brands that are changing to meet the needs of customers and staying on top of the market.

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  • 13/01/16 Advertising , Communications , General Marketing , Marketing # , ,

    Ad Blockers: Digital Ads Need to Improve

    stop-adblockAd traffic on desktops across Canada has decreased by 30 per cent in the last two years. Even with mobile usage, desktop computer time actually hasn’t decreased so what’s happening? Ad blockers are the likely answer.

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  • 05/01/16 Environment , Green Marketing , Sustainable Marketing # , ,

    Upcycling: Not a new cycling trend

    PicMonkey Collage

    I only heard the term ‘upcycling’ for the first time yesterday and I love the concept. It goes way beyond the principle of recycling to actually rewriting the economic model – a huge shift, but one which we desperately need.

    I read an article by David Suzuki a few days ago and one line stood out for me and has stayed in my mind.

    Remember the big picture. Spend less time worrying about plastic bags and disposable cups and more time thinking about where you live, energy use in your home, how often and how far you drive (and fly), and what you eat.

    The big picture of upcycling is to eliminate the concept of ‘waste’ as we know it. It supports the process of a circular economy where products and materials are simply transformed, but never thrown away. As our population keeps growing, our waste keeps mounting, our natural resources keep depleting upcycling is really the only sustainable way forward.

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  • 11/12/15 Advertising , Design , Event Decor , Fashion , Marketing Trends # , , , ,

    The Top 10 Colours for Spring 2016


    While we’re on the trend of Pantone colours, this past September, Pantone released its top 10 colours that we will be seeing this coming Spring 2016 season. The colours are part of their semi-annual colour report for the fashion industry, which is compiled by a group of colour experts around the world who have synthesized all the hues used throughout the forthcoming collections and merged them with the colour trends they have been tracking globally.

    2016 Campaign

    In a new campaign we’ll be launching in 2016 we’ll be looking to this list for inspiration. Stay tuned to see how we use these colours in the advertising and marketing world.

    See the full list of top 10 colours here from InStyle.


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  • 11/12/15 Advertising , Design , Event Decor , Fashion # , ,

    2016’s Pantone Colour of the Year!

    Introducing Rose Quartz and Serenity
    Pantone 13-1520 & Pantone 15-3919

    For the first time, Pantone has chosen two colours to represent the 2016 Colour of the Year. The soft and sweeping duo will set an interesting trend for the coming year in industries ranging from fashion to home décor.

    Inspired by Societal Movements

    Explaining the choice, the company cited “societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using colour as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to colour usage.”

    Colours of Mindfulness

    As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colours that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

    The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of colour association.


    While the calming colours may seem too pastel on their own, you can easily ground them with a blend of earthier tones such as deep browns, forest greens and muted purples. Yellows and pinks blend easily, while brighter tones offer a burst of extra energy.

    For design, these colours are ideal for more tranquil industries such as meditation, bath products, sweet shops, weddings or childcare.


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  • 07/12/15 Advertising , Communications , Karran Finlay Marketing , Marketing , Marketing Trends , Strategic Marketing # , , ,

    Why Content Marketing Fails


    I want to take a minute to talk about ‘content’. Digital content. Social media content. Content marketing. Content creation. It’s one of those words marketers use so ubiquitously it almost starts to lose its meaning.

    How do you define something as big as ‘content’?

    The basic concept behind ‘content’ is that you write some words that are deemed valuable and relevant. Then you distribute it through your various channels in the hopes of getting the attention of your customers so that you can ultimately drive them towards a profitable action.

    Sounds pretty impersonal, doesn’t it? When you break it down like that, it’s no surprise that a lot of the content that companies produce isn’t really resonating with consumers.

    Where is the disconnect?

    Is it because consumers are just too desensitized to ads? Are ad-blockers to blame? Maybe. But there’s something important missing in most of this content. Promotional language is just too cold and too limiting to speak to real people. Marketers who are ahead of the game know how important it is to create a real emotional connection with their customers.

    Back to basics

    By now, skilled content marketers, journalist and writers know that you connect with people by appealing to their hearts and telling them a story. Story telling has been around for thousands of years. There’s a reason. It’s part of what makes us human. It’s how we have communicated with each other since language began.

    We need to take a look into the past and remember how we spoke to our customers before the digital age. People don’t connect to content – they connect with real stories that speak with emotion and authenticity.


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  • 29/11/15 Karran Finlay Marketing , Marketing , Vancouver # , , , , , ,

    The Science of Storytelling and Tips for Incorporating It Into Your Marketing


    “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” 

     As marketers, we know storytelling works and we should be incorporating it in our efforts. But do you know why it works? Do you know how to use storytelling to its fullest extent? Let’s look at the science.

    Psychology Today highlights how storytelling uses the tools of the storyteller-emotion, engagement, universal themes, personal connection, and relevance-to create a communication experience instead of a message and makes a compelling case for storytelling in marketing:

    Functional MRI neuro-imagery shows that, when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features and facts).

    Advertising research reveals emotional response to an ad has far greater influence on a consumer’s reported intent to buy a product than does the ad’s content—by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials and 2-to-1 for print ads.

    Research conducted by the Advertising Research Foundation concluded that the emotion of “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales.

    Studies show positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.

    Stories are the brain’s way of organizing information – in other words, how we rise above the noise. Stories package information for rapid comprehension by engaging the brain at all levels: intuitive, emotional, rational, and somatic.

    Consumers expect you to earn their attention, not interrupt them for it.

    We’ve come up with six tips to incorporate story telling into your marketing efforts:

    1. Develop a clear understanding of your target audience. This goes deeper than a one-page “audience bio”. Speak to your audience and ask why they buy from you. What do they like about your company that keeps them coming back? Once you understand their answers, you will be able to create material that truly speaks to your audience.

    2. Through your conversations, identify emotional drivers your customers and followers experience. This emotional analysis will help determine what your customers truly care about and how to tap into that passion.

    3. Prioritize authenticity as much as possible. Highlight stories from employees, customers, supporters and other industry folk. Don’t shy away from using details like names, settings and positive outcomes. The more relatable your story is, the more your audience will respond.

    4. Whether you are using Facebook, a blog, Twitter, Instagram, direct mail or even a billboard, use the strengths of your channel to tell your story appropriately. From two words to 140 characters, create a story that’s shareable across your channel of choice.

    5. Give your stories credibility. No one says facts and figures should be completely eliminated from your storytelling, but when data and story are used together, audiences are moved both emotionally and intellectually.

    6. Encourage user-generated content to share different perspectives of your overarching story. Try hosting a contest, managing a hashtag or interviewing industry leaders to create third-party content with storytelling flair.

    Stories stimulate the mind; it is now in our job descriptions to send our audience on a journey that leads them to solutions that solve their problems and, hopefully, boosts our bottom lines.

    To read more on the science of storytelling visit Psychology Today.

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  • 27/11/15 Advertising , Business Development , Karran Finlay Marketing , Marketing , Vancouver # , , ,

    Defining Your Target Market


    No matter what you’re selling, you need to understand who you’re selling to. This applies to any type of company or organization – to increase engagement, members, buyers, etc. you need to relate to your audience and to do so you need to know who they are. Who is your audience/customer? Why should they buy your product? What can your company/product/organization offer that no one else can? Here are six steps on how you can identify your target audience.

    1.  Identify the solutions you provide or/or the problems you solve

    The starting point in defining the target market for your proposition is to understand the solutions you provide (or the problems that you solve). Once you have a good idea what these are, you can start to work out who is most likely to have these problems or require these solutions.

    2. Paint a picture of the customer

    Start to list all the different types of customers that have the problems you solve. Once done, you can start to build up a picture of these customers. Group them by location – where do they live, what is their environment like. Then group them by market sector – are they professionals, retired, students, etc.

    Ask yourself other types of relevant questions about these people. Are they married? Are they male or female? Do they play sports? Define them in as many relevant ways as possible.

    3. Who will gain from the value in your offer?

    Ask yourself:

    • To whom will these problems be most troublesome?
    • Who will have the most to lose by not dealing with these issues?

    If you can demonstrate that the cost of NOT sorting out the problems is GREATER than the cost of dealing with them, then your case becomes compelling.

    Remember to take into account aspects like emotional upheaval, stress and the risk to reputation when implementing your solution, as well as a bottom line cost. It is all these factors that make up the value in your offering.

    4. Think about your market

    Today we live in the world of niche. For example, we are no longer prisoners of television schedules or shopping mall buying. We can watch what we want or shop where we want at our convenience from almost anywhere in the world; meaning every person can enjoy a unique viewing experience. The world is our virtual oyster.

    The web is fantastic at delivering personalised products and services, cutting out many of the distribution challenges that previously existed.

    It is these factors that mean it is a more effective strategy to be a big fish in a small pond rather than the other way round. It will be easier to build your reputation and gain referrals. You will also find you get more from your marketing endeavours.

    With the previous knowledge gained, start to segment your market. Choose if you want to work:

    • with particular types of people – high net worth individuals, men, women, students, and so on?
    • in certain geographical locations – Toronto, North Vancouver, Canada, San Francisco, Boston and so on?
    • around tight market sectors – professionals, doctors, athletes and so on?

    5. Look internally at your company

    One way of deciding on the right markets to pursue is to think about your company and your business.

    • Do you have particular areas of expertise?
    • What capacity and work load can you currently handle?

    6. What else is available?

    Once you have decided the answers to some of these questions you must look at the market to see what else is available. The question you must have an answer to is:

    • Why am I uniquely placed to solve the problem?
    • What do I offer that no one else can?

    It may be that for some marketplaces there is no answer. However, in certain sectors or geographical locations there may be many competitors offering a similar product or service.

    Once you have all of your answers, it’s useful to create an audience bio – basically a made up persona that has your list of target audience traits. Get to know this person and build your product or service to appeal to her.

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  • 25/11/15 Advertising , General Marketing , Marketing

    The Best Way to Reach Holiday Shoppers


    With so many people shopping online now, social media plays a huge part of influencing shoppers.

    Online consumer reviews and recommendations carry much more weight than company-branded content. People regularly trust consumer reviews more than anything a company might say about their product – even if it’s from consumers they don’t know. It is the authenticity that they trust.

    Furthermore, many savvy online users are installing ad blockers. Smart companies are rethinking how they reach consumers and looking for more organic and authentic solutions.

    Get creative with your marketing! Put your content in front of the right bloggers and social media influencers to make a bigger impact!

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