The Brand Quadrant: What It Is and How We Used It to Position Full Spectrum

Companies often use brand quadrants to position their brand and figure out how they want to convey their message. The purpose of a brand quadrant is to find the balance between centrality and distinctiveness. By finding this balance it will help customers better understand what this company does and sells.

Earlier this year, we had the honor of working with Full Spectrum, a homecare agency here in Madison. They were a startup at the time, and they gave us the opportunity to design new and unique marketing collateral for them. In collaboration with marketing consultant Marc Glazer from Three Suns, we did just that. Full Spectrum was able to hit the ground running with a wide array of consistent collateral that set them apart from the competition.

It’s important for businesses to think about the messages that their brand images send. By positioning a brand strategically, a business is able to communicate effectively with the target audience and help them stand out. After a marketing consultation, we determined that Full Spectrum’s brand should convey warmth. It should come across as an emotional brand, as opposed to a lot of its competition falling in the functional quadrant.

By deviating from what their competitors were doing, Full Spectrum’s different look provided another perspective that their customer’s hadn’t seen yet. It also made sense as a way to connect with Full Spectrum’s audience. After all, deciding to pursue homecare options for yourself or a loved one is nothing short of an emotional experience. An emotional brand image for Full Spectrum made sense on all accounts.

After determining how we needed to position their brand, we created strategic designs, as well as effective copy, containing the brand language for Full Spectrum’s marketing collateral. This included a website, business card, letterhead, car magnet and brochure. As always, we designed holistically. As a result, Full Spectrum’s collateral was both visually appealing and consistent, highlighting the importance of having one designer manage all print and web collateral. When you have a different designer for each piece of collateral, it is very likely that your brand will suffer inconsistency and confusion.

Our brand positioning was a guide to Full Spectrum for social media posts, future copy, content, and marketing campaigns and strategies.

We very much enjoyed working with Full Spectrum, and its entire graphic design and marketing process served as another reminder to us that thinking about the big picture is essential. To truly convey what you want to with your brand image, you need to ensure clarity and consistency across all marketing collateral.

To read more about our work with Full Spectrum or to see the collateral that we designed for them, visit our case study page!

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5 Things for Businesses to Consider When Developing a Brand

Well, we did it. We’ve revamped our website and the changes are officially up and running! It took a little over a year, but after a lot of hard work we’re proud to share our new online presence. None of these changes would’ve happened without the creation of our IH5 Web in 2016. IH5 Web contains our design and marketing guidelines for websites, and we’ve included them in our new website to share them with others.

IH5 Web proved to be an easy task for us. It also inspired the creation of IH5 Mobile and IH5 Branding. Mobile, like Web, was no big deal. Easy p-z. IH5 Branding, on the other hand, had us stumped for a moment. Why do companies decide to brand or re-brand? What steps should they take to achieve those goals? Those were some questions we were asking ourselves. To help answer them, we conducted interviews in a focus group with business professionals. Not surprisingly, we received a wide range of great answers to help us develop IH5 Branding. Here are a few questions we asked along with common answers we received:

Q: What makes you want to do business with your favorite brand?
A: I know their story. They’re quality. They have great customer service.

Q: What is it important for people to think about your company?
A: Reliable. Fun. Quality. We’re here to make their lives easier.

Q: What might cue you to brand or rebrand?
A: Not seeing results. A big change in management or organization. Straying too far from our original mission.

After listening to such answers and collaborating amongst our own team of professionals, we developed five key points for branding:

1. Tell Your Story

2. Keep Your Audience in Mind

3. Be Memorable, Be Recognizable

4. Stay Current

5. Keep It Consistent

By keeping these five things in mind, businesses can better connect with their audiences to communicate their brand messages, such as reliability, quality, excitement, etc.

We feel that IH5 Branding has taken our own brand to the next level and that it can help others to do the same. To read more about IH5 Branding, browse the other IH5 Principles, or to see our updated website, visit us at

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Awesome Tips for Great Food Photography: Follow These and Bring in Customers

Restaurant Week is getting closer, and we’re getting hungrier. The downside to having so many amazing restaurants in the Madison area is that we have to pick and choose between them. While we really wish that we could just sample it all in a fantastical, mile long buffet, we also realized that this is a good opportunity to talk about restaurant food photography. How do customers choose where and what they want to eat? As the saying goes, people eat with their eyes. Photos in a menu, printed or online, are a customer’s first interaction with a restaurant’s food. It makes sense, then, that those photos need to strategically entice people and make them hungry. So, we’re here today with another list of tips, this time pertaining to restaurant food photography.

1. Less is more

While it might be tempting to include a photo of all the delicious items on the menu, too many photos can be overwhelming for customers. The pages will feel cluttered and customers will have a harder time deciding what to order. Instead, keep it simple by choosing a select few dishes to photograph. This technique is great for featuring dishes that you especially want to promote, such as house specials or customer favorites.

2. Use appetizing photos

This one might seem obvious, but food photography in a menu needs to be visually appealing. It needs to be appetizing. Though it might taste great, a lot of food is not easily translated as delicious on camera. Sometimes it takes a little gussying up. Bold colors, good lighting, the right angles—find the dish’s good side and work it. This also means photographing the dish in its true environment, to prevent dish appearing to float on a menu. It looks strange. Consider a table setting and plating details in your photographs.

3. Think about print first

First and foremost, restaurant food photography needs to look good for print. It needs to look good on the menu. Photos usually look much better on a computer screen, but a vibrant digital version might print into a dull one. Be mindful when digitally adjusting colors, because they will look different as ink on paper.

4. Stay true to your restaurant

While a menu should picture dishes in their best light, maybe looking better than they normally do, it’s important to not stray too far from the truth. Customers won’t be impressed if they think they’re ordering one thing and something that looks completely different comes out of the kitchen. Avoid over-styled photos, and stock photography if you can. Food photography can be fancy, but it also needs to be realistic.

5. Nothing beats expertise

Food photography is an art, and not every photographer works with food. If you want the best results for your menu, find a professional food photographer. They will have the exact lighting, tools, cameras and know-how to make your food look appetizing. It’s easier said than done. Heck, they’ll probably even have special food makeup for the job. Trust a food photographer’s expertise to ensure that you get the tastiest looking menu.

If you haven’t yet, we recommend you start researching what Madison area restaurants you want to try, or even ones that you want to re-visit. We definitely have a working list for ourselves. From all of us at IH Concepts, we wish you a delicious Restaurant Week!

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4 Important Marketing Tips for Restaurants: Follow These and You’ll Be Successful

When we found out that Restaurant Week was at the end of the month, our stomachs started to grumble. Those grumbles got even louder after thinking about all the good eats in the Madison area. We also got to thinking: This is a great time to talk about restaurant marketing. It can be really difficult to make your restaurant stand out from the competition. After all, customers have so many different options for dining out. Your restaurant could serve the tastiest grub in the whole Mid-West, but if you’re not advertising well enough, you could easily be losing potential customers to the restaurant next door. So, we’ve thought of a few tips to consider for restaurant marketing.

1. Budget for marketing

You’re a restaurant and you serve great food. Your ads should reflect the quality of that food. Professional work is going to cost more than homemade designs, of course, but your business will benefit more in the long run from consistent, expert designs. According to, one of the top reasons that restaurants fail is poor restaurant promotion. Ensure great promotion by working with experienced professionals.

2. Engage your customers

Again, customers have many, many restaurants to choose from. You need to give them good reasons to choose yours over the competition. One of these reasons should be that you engage and build relationships with your customers—you openly appreciate their business and welcome their feedback, both positive and negative. says: “You may never discover where you are going wrong unless you proactively consult your guests and read their rates.”

3. Choose appetizing color schemes

Certain colors such as red or orange have been shown to stimulate hunger. Darker colors like purple or deep blue can create a cozy, intimate feeling. When choosing a color scheme for your restaurant, consider the feelings you are trying to evoke. For more on color choices in restaurants, click here.

4. Don’t look like everyone else

We can’t stress enough how many options your customers have. It’s not enough to serve great food if your image doesn’t reflect it. What makes your restaurant unique? Why should people choose your restaurant over another that serves similar cuisine? Know the answers to these questions and have a visually appealing, consistent identity that communicates those answers to others.

We don’t know about you, but we’re ready to chow down at IH Concepts. Stay tuned for more restaurant marketing tips later this month. In the meantime, get your fork and knife ready for Restaurant Week!

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Getting Up Close and Personal – The Importance of Consumer Data Collection

Here’s the deal, we all love being made feel special, we love feeling cared about, we love being paid attention to. It’s human nature, no shame in it.

So, what does this mean for you as a company?

It means that whether marketing your brand, product or service, great content is no longer merely creative or informational or unique. Great content is all those things with another secret ingredient, PERSONALIZATION.

So now, what does getting personal mean for your marketing?

It means that your content needs to be personalized and contextually relevant in order to engage your consumers. To get there, you’ll need to identify who your target audience is and truly get to know them. This means taking the time to gather consumer data. In addition to the obvious demographics questions such as age, gender, income strata etc., dig deeper – find out what they value, their lifestyle choices, their decision making process etc. Once you have this data, be sure to integrate the findings into your content creation process.

You might now be wondering, why go through all this trouble?

Well, it goes back to the opening paragraph – human nature. We love feeling special. We are more likely to form emotional connections and loyalty to brands that resonate with us on a personal level. The marketing space is filled with noise and in order to stand out, your brand should always send out a message that you understand and care about what your consumers want. When people recognize their wants and needs being fulfilled by your brand, they’ll keep coming back. Keep in mind that it costs a lot more to acquire new customers than to retain old ones.

So, main takeaways:

Consumer data is the name of the game. That is the key to getting to know your audience. Utilize that key to roll out content that will reach your consumers on a personal level.

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The Revamp of MUM – How It Changed IH Concepts

We don’t mean to toot our own horn but we’re very proud of the work we did on the Madison-Area Urban Ministry (MUM) project and wanted to share our journey with you! As a results-oriented company, we were thrilled when, a year ago, Executive Director Linda Ketcham shared the impact that our work on her website had on her organization.

First things first, what is MUM, you might ask? MUM is a non-profit interfaith organization dedicated to helping people impacted by the criminal justice system. They have helped over 9,000 individuals and have a recidivism rate of under 5%.

While they were doing a great job on their own, they wanted to know how they could be making an even stronger impact, and so they came to us. One of their biggest challenges was figuring out how to stand out to the public in order to increase donations. Given that they compete against 1.5 million other non-profits for donations, cutting through all that noise was definitely a hurdle. In addition to that, MUM was also looking to increase their retention rates for online donors, which at the time stood at 25%.

We at IHC love everything they stand for and was more than excited to take this project on! We took whole picture design marketing approach. We began with making information easy to find on their website. Recognizing that users today are often in a time crunch, we restructured the website layout making commonly sought out information readily accessible. By doing so, MUM’s engagement increased by 30 times!

Next we looked at incorporating several call to actions on their website such as including a “Donate Now” icon. You’d be surprised by what a huge difference the smallest of changes can make. In this case, not to brag or anything, but it increased donations by 800%! (okay, maybe we’re bragging a little, but hey, we take pride in our work!)

Throughout the entire website restructure process, we made sure to integrate their brand identity into the designs. We at IHC wanted to make sure users browsing through their site had every opportunity to connect on an emotional level with MUM. We also wanted MUM to be unique in order to stand out and truly make an impact.

What made this project so special to us was that it was validation that we had something great up our sleeve. Since then, we create principles for doing a website an named it IH5 Web, which has produced success with our other clients as well. Working with MUM showed us how important it is to create marketing collateral to build a brand for clients as opposed to just a short term fix. We’ll also be taking this a step further by launching our IH5 Mobile and IH5 Branding principles set to launch later this year, and we’re excited to achieve great things with it!

When designing your website, be sure to keep the big picture in mind!

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The Design-Dos of 2017

Ever noticed how outdated trends that we swore we’d never be caught dead in eventually creep back into our lives? Well, design trends are subject to the same fate. In the past few years, graphic designers have shied away from bold, loud layouts and turned to minimalism. However, as we welcome 2017, we’re seeing a circle back to more vibrancy. With some help from Venngage, here are some tips that will help you jump on board the design train:

1. Think loud, think bright

Many brands have fallen into the comfort of utilizing safe, neutral, easy to digest colors to connect with consumers. However, now that the market is so saturated with such styles, it’s hard to stand out. Instead of staying with the herd, be fun again, get out there with some loud and bright colors! Your graphics will not only stand out, but will also be more memorable!

Image Source: Robert Berki

2. Bold is the name of the game

When it comes to typography, it doesn’t need to be in-your-face, but you do want to grab your audience’s attention at first glance in order to get them to read your content. It takes a lot more today than it did a decade ago to get a viewer’s attention. Especially in this age where everyone seems to be in a time crunch, you NEED to be BOLD to get their attention. This transition that Celestial made is a great example!

3. Google’s got you

Two words, Google fonts. Well, for starters, they’re free. And as if that wasn’t enough, they’re some of the most versatile and easy to use fonts out there. You’ll never have to work too hard to find fonts that look great together. They also tend to mesh well with your blogs or websites. To top it off, Google Fonts are universal across multiple platforms, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

4. Keep it real

Yes, there are some great stock photos out there. However, let’s not forget about branding. Whatever you put out there represents your company’s identity. Be the company that cared enough to create original photographs. Readers will recognize the authenticity and respond to it.

5. Back to the drawing board – literally

In this age of consumerism, brands face the challenge of cutting though the noise of their competitors and truly connecting with their customers. Nothing says genuine like a hand drawn graphic. It separates you from the pack and can also be that first step for a more personal connection.

Image Source: Design Mantic

6. Minimalism with a twist

When we say minimalism here, we don’t mean your standard greyscale, safe, neutral tones. We do mean keeping the essence of your graphics simple enough, but with bold and fresh pops of color. In other words, the layout shouldn’t be busy, but it should also by no means be dull.

7. GIFs, GIFs, GIFs

If pictures speak a thousand words, then animated GIFs would speak a million. From a technical standpoint, they’re great as they don’t require any special software to run and have small file sizes. From a branding standpoint, it catches the viewers’ eyes and are far more expressive than text and ordinary images. Because of data concerns, you’d want to be careful not to overdo it, but they’re a great alternative to still graphics every once in a while.

That got your attention, didn’t it?

8. Play with Duotones

Who says two vibrant colors don’t go together? Sometimes, all you need to do is find a couple of colors that complement each other to bring your graphics to life. Duotone layouts can get tricky in terms of designing, but the final product will be well worth your time. It brings originality to your website and draws people in!

As 2017 rolls along, we invite you to roll with these trends. Break free from the overly clean, white layouts and bring color and vibrancy back into your designing! Let this be the year to make bold choices for your branding!

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5 Things to Consider When Building a Mobile Website

Admit it.

We’re all guilty of it.

Say it with me.


Yes, we love scrolling through our social media, or responding to emails through our phones. However, in this technologically driven age, mobile devices offer us much more. Almost anything that can be done on a computer can be done on our smartphones. Think online shopping, research for services or anything under the sun.

The bottom line is, if your mobile website is not optimized, your company is losing a huge chunk of customers. Users today expect a fully functional mobile website, without which, they wonder, “Are they even still in business?” On top of that, as of April 21st 2015, Google, recognizing that they make up 50% of mobile searches, made it a requirement for all websites to go mobile.

With all that being said, here are 5 tips your mobile website simply cannot do without:

1. Info should be immediate

Users are typically on their mobile devices when they are on the go or in a time crunch. What this means for you is that your mobile web should be able to deliver all its essential information, appropriate content and functions at a glance. Oftentimes, when users struggle to navigate through the web, they give up and seek what they need elsewhere. This is equivalent to a customer leaving a store empty handed and frustrated because they could not locate what they were looking for.

2. Make essential info a priority

Say you just landed in Boston for a last minute trip. All you want is to find a hotel and call it a night, so you start browsing on your phone. Wouldn’t it be great if all the information you needed was right there without having to navigate in frustration? Users today do not have the luxury of sifting through piles of information. Pinpoint the information that your user would need or want, and give them that, and only that.

Pro tip: A focus group suggested that most people wish all mobile websites had a hamburger menu (link) for navigation.

3. Create effective clickables

Maximize ease – when you’re on the go, you’d probably rather click onto a phone number rather than copy paste it onto your dial pad. The same goes for information such as emails and directions. Instead of subjecting users through the copy paste inconvenience, clickables eliminates frustration by helping users to avoid misclicks and by minimizing walls of text which could be confusing under time constraints.

94% of users prefer having phone numbers, emails and addresses to be clickable. Of those 94% of users, 50% of them would actually leave the site to find another with clickables.

Convinced yet?

4. Minimize load time and data

This one might seem obvious, but we’ll emphasize it anyway. To put it into perspective, you could potentially lose 73% of your customers if your mobile website fails to load in a timely manner. And what do we mean by “a timely manner”? Well, 83% of users expect a 3 second load or faster. Mobile data is also still a user concern. While it is necessary to make a mobile website visually appealing, be mindful of data draining elements such as graphics and videos. If you can do without them, you might want to.

5. Think design and branding

What do Apple, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have in common? Consistent branding which has earned them global recognition. When designing anything that represents your company, be it web or print, design with your brand in mind. Creating brand consistency makes for a more recognizable company which could then increase client base. It also shows more credibility. It shows that your company has a strong sense of identity and ultimately increases your perceived value amongst clients.

Before running off to create that mobile website, here’s one last thing to keep in mind: Your website is just one part of your marketing effort. Look at the whole picture.

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Cherish Time with Loved Ones: How Apple Tied Products to Their Message

Christmas lights, homemade ornaments, and family members joined together singing Christmas songs. What sounds like a perfect holiday card also describes the 2015 Apple Holiday Christmas ad.

The ad opens with Stevie Wonder and blues singer Andra Day performing Stevie Wonder’s 1967, “Someday at Christmas.” In the beginning of the commercial, Stevie Wonder is seen utilizing the Voiceover Accessibility feature on a MacBook laptop. As the song continues, the scene of a festive, holiday living room with people decorating the Christmas tree plays out in the background. As the scene plays out there is a quick glimpse of an Apple Watch.

Throughout this commercial the references made to Apple products are surprisingly few. The few glimpses, however, are exceptionally clever and well placed. By taking this approach Apple sends an even more powerful message. Referencing both the Voiceover and the Apple watch without making them the main focus of the commercial showcases the confidence Apple has for their brand and products. Additionally, by shifting the focus of the product Apple has put the emphasis on what we should all be thinking of this holiday season—spending time with family and loved ones.

While spending time with family and loved ones over the holidays, many of us have special traditions we take part in. In the commercial, the family came together decorating the Christmas tree and singing Christmas songs. Although somewhat less traditional, every year my family bakes a mass amount of Christmas sweets and then watches multiple Christmas movies. Whether singing Christmas tunes together or throwing baking flour across the kitchen, this year let us all take Apple’s lead and focus this season on our family and loved ones.

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Opening Your Heart: Apple’s Holiday Message to All

2016image Living in seclusion, away from everyone, a man is desperate to be a part of the community and share in the holiday joy. Apple’s 2016 holiday commercial, titled ‘Frankie’s Holiday’, depicts Frankenstein as he seeks to find acceptance.

Heading into town, Frankenstein is met with looks of shock and horror. He heads under a large Christmas tree with festive lights draped around his neck and begins singing the tune “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.” Embarrassment creeps in as one of the bulbs dangling around his neck goes out. A little girl from the crowd reaches to fix the bulb. She then leads the surrounding villagers to join in with the carol. Frankenstein finally feels accepted and like he’s a part of the community.

Apple admirably makes this heart-warming message the focus of the commercial and only subtly shows Apple products throughout. This message of acceptance is an important reminder to take with us, especially when our society is constantly placing the emphasis on differences. Rather than be separated by our differences we must all come together as a community, spreading love and acceptance.

The holiday act of compassion shown by the little girl to Frankenstein is the perfect example of how we can bring this message to life. The more we accept and appreciate all those around us, the more successful and fulfilled we will be as a whole. This holiday season cherish time spent with family and loved ones, and also remember to put all differences aside. Following the message Apple leaves us with, “Open your heart to everyone.”

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