How to Digitally Pivot while Maintaining Your Brand

There is no doubt that there is a growing wedge between small businesses and big corporations. It seems as if the COVID-19 pandemic has been pushing that wedge even further. Small businesses have had to adapt tremendously. One drastic pivot involves the ways to market a business during the pandemic. The ways consumers shop is changing, and small businesses must consider these consumer changes that will be in effect both during and after the pandemic.

What We Know

The pandemic has changed the consumer marketplace in countless ways. People are less likely to go into stores, making curbside pick-up a must-have. Nearly 44% of the top 500 retailers offer curbside pick-up. More contactless ways of conducting business are nearly expected of restaurants and stores. We know that 60% of U.S consumers order delivery or takeout once a week, so it is crucial to make the transaction as safe as possible for both the consumer and the employees. To keep up with the changing marketplace and draw in business, it is important to consider the importance of an online presence and having these forms of consumption available for customers.

The Digital Pivot

If your business didn’t already have an online presence, now is the most crucial time to build one. For example, in restaurants, digital ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014. There are numerous places to start when building an online presence. One of which is to create a mobile app or website. Both platforms allow you to market your business online. The creation of an up-to-date website or mobile app gives business credibility which increases consumer trust and ultimately increases sales. In 2021, it is almost a must for a business to have a solid online presence. Even if a business were to have a website, it must be mobile-friendly since we are living in a very smart-phone centric time now more than ever. It is more likely that one will look something up on their phone if they are on the go, rather than a laptop or tablet. In addition to having an up-to-date website and/or mobile app, including an effective ordering system will also boost your business’s credibility. 45% of consumers say that offering mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more often, driving the customer to come back again and again.

Making Indoor Spaces Safer

While marketing business strategies to the digital world is important, it is also important to keep in mind how you will market your indoor dining or shopping plan if you choose to have one. During the summer, restaurants were able to serve customers outside on patios or rooftops. Now that it is winter, customers don’t even consider outdoor dining an option. However, some restaurants have had success with tents, heat lamps, and even igloos. These are all ideas to consider if effective COVID-19 safety protocols are met. When providing customers the option to dine or shop inside, it is important to display the COVID-19 safety protocols the business is mandating like requiring masks and temperature checks to ensure the safety of the employees and customers. These protocols are a direct reflection of your brand integrity. It is important to be professional, lead by example, and be socially responsible amidst the pandemic. How you treat your employees and safety concerns are a part of your brand moving forward. These actions dictate business opportunities, and it is important to recognize and take advantage of advantageous opportunities that boost business and increase sales.

Customer Safety in Mind

Operating a business during the pandemic calls for adaptation. We have a social responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe during this time. Having hand sanitizer handy in high traffic areas is essential. Some other tips we suggest are investing in air purifiers. The EPA states that when used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a confined space. In addition to that, investing money into new disinfectant technological advances or simply increasing your budget for disinfecting products and/or services. Consumers expect tables, counters, and highly touched surfaces to be disinfected regularly, so having these products on hand at all times is essential for safety. Lastly, let your customers know you care about not only their health and safety but the health and safety of others as well. This not only builds brand credibility but increases the trust between you and your customers.

Moving Forward

Having a good customer retention rate is a very important factor that contributes to the success of a business. If you increase your digital presence, your business will build credibility and awareness. Whether a customer decides to buy online, stop in, dine-in, or carry out, ensuring the safety of oneself and others will not only increase trust but will be remembered and respected by the customer as well.


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Immunize Your Restaurant with a New Online Marketing Strategy

COVID-19 has shifted the world as we know it, and restaurants need to adapt with it in order to keep thriving. While dine-in options have been greatly limited due to COVID -19, the restaurant industry still has a large number of customers who would rather order out than make food at home. As we enter 2021 with the pandemic still in full swing, now is the perfect time to accommodate these customers and revamp your restaurant’s online marketing strategies with IH Concepts.

What We Know

The pandemic has dealt a critical blow to the restaurant industry over the last year. It’s predicted that 33% of restaurants in Wisconsin could close due to COVID. Of the restaurants that will stay open, it’s predicted that 68% of them will fail to return to pre-pandemic sales. To keep moving forward and boosting sales, we think it’s important to provide what customers want: easy online ordering and simple delivery / pickup options.

Online Ordering & Delivery is the Future

While dining-in at restaurants may be declining due to the pandemic, delivery and pickup food options are still readily available for customers. The shift towards more delivery options in the restaurant industry is nothing new; even before the pandemic we found that digital ordering and delivery had grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014. Delivery is an incredibly convenient option for people who don’t have the time to cook, and to keep these customers coming back for more, ordering should be as easy as 1-2-3. That’s where an easy-to-use website comes in.

While there are plenty of 3rd party businesses that will deliver food from all restaurants (Eat Street, Door Dash, etc), 70% of consumers say they’d rather order directly from a restaurant, so all of the money goes to the business. Of these consumers, 45% said that offering mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more often. Repeat customers keep restaurants thriving, so it is important to listen to what these customers want: online ordering. We found that customers who place an online order with a restaurant will visit that restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t.

Benefits of an Effective Website

To set-up easy online ordering for customers, you’ll need an effective and mobile friendly website. While the main draw of a website for a restaurant is online ordering, there added perks as well. Effective websites are able to retain and draw in new customers. This can be with various promotions or deals on the website, along with the history of your business as well. Effective websites can also be linked to social media, so customers can easily find you and follow your social media pages. Once they have you on social media, it will be easier for customers to connect with you, and they will see the posts you create. With your website, you can also provide customers with updated COVID -19 information and business hours. As the situation is changing every day with the pandemic, having a space to update customers with business hours and updated safety precautions you are taking will keep them in the loop. Even after the pandemic has finished, all of these benefits from a carefully crafted website will be essential to boosting your business.

Show Your Safety Precautions

While we are all looking forward to being done with the pandemic, at the moment we need to focus on making sure that we keep everyone safe, staff and customers included. To make sure customers know you are doing everything you can to keep them safe, we recommend showing your safety precautions. Whether this be with signs at your business, or a post on your website showing what you are doing to prevent the spread of COVID -19, this goes a long way to making sure your customers feel safe.

Some examples of safety precautions include making face masks mandatory at your business and having hand sanitizer readily available in the building. Some other ideas are: completing temperature checks on all employees as they come in for the day, using antimicrobial treatment on heavily touched surfaces, and using an air scrubber in your restaurant to help keep the area clean. As you decide on the best precautions to keep everyone safe, keep your customer and staff members in mind. For example, you might give employees the choice of frequently applying hand sanitizer or frequently washing their hands with soap and water for 30 seconds.

Moving Forward

Keeping customers coming back is essential to making a restaurant thrive. If you create an easy-to-use and mobile friendly website, your restaurant will streamline the ordering process and make ordering convenient for your customers. While running a business in a pandemic has its challenges, a responsive website will help level the playing field.

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Apple Holiday Commercial “The magic of mini feat. Tierra Whack”: How Apple Pivoted in Quarantine

Apple’s “The Magic of Mini” 2020 holiday commercial strays from Apple’s typical annual holiday commercial. This year’s ad features Tierra Whack and focuses on embracing your uniqueness. The commercial starts with the woman rapper and songwriter appearing melancholy during the holidays, and she pops in her Apple AirPods as she walks alone through the streets. Once she gets into her apartment, she says “hey Siri, turn it up” to her voice-controlled Apple speaker. Once the music is turned up, a mini and energizing version of herself appears in the apartment. This mini version of herself is giving her advice to cheer up and let loose. The commercial then transitions to Tierra now dancing in her apartment with her sidekick on her shoulder. Her clothes have changed from a bland outfit to a unique patterned jacket with dramatic makeup, jewelry, and a fiery red wig. The lyric “I don’t want to be judged, I just want to be me” is repeated as the commercial features the Apple HomePod Mini with AirPods next to it on the table.

This Apple commercial uses Tierra’s unique music and style to show off the HomePod’s and AirPod’s ability to elevate the music experience and inspire music. They show that using a HomePod correlates with elevating your mood and embracing your unique style. The connection Apple tries to make is that a HomePod gives you creativity and the opportunity to embrace what makes you stand out. Similarly, by using a mini version of Tierra in the commercial, Apple tries to insinuate that the HomePod is a reflection of your unique self, and you can achieve confidence and self-love from using this speaker.

This commercial stands out to me because it is unlike Apple’s typical holiday commercial. In the past, Apple’s commercials usually play on emotions of nostalgia, community, and coming together, whereas this commercial focuses on embracing your own self and unique qualities. I think this commercial is different in 2020 because Tierra reflects a lot of our feelings of melancholy, loneliness and being insecure this year. So Apple is playing off those current feelings that many of us share and implying that a HomePod can cheer you up despite those feelings. If they did release a more traditional holiday commercial, filled with gatherings and communities coming together, they may have given off the wrong impression about safety measures or made people more blue about that the atypical holidays and festivities this year. Apple’s 2020 commercial aims to be relatable to the consumer this year, so just doing that creates a sense of community and togetherness.

The overall marketing elements used in this commercial are not as subtle as past holiday commercials. As many other companies have had to do, Apple pivoted its approach this year in order to reflect the values of the year. Usually the viewer rarely knows that it’s an Apple commercial until the Apple logo is shown at the end of the commercial. This advertisement, however, clearly shows off Apple products from start to finish. This change in style is interesting because typically consumers respond well to commercials that have a good message without shoving the product in the audience’s face. This commercial also took the route of using a celebrity to endorse the products over the usual Apple holiday commercials that feature more “average Joe” consumers. This approach is effective because it is showing Tierra, a well-known figure, as relatable and also struggling to feel happy during the holidays this year. With the audience seeing that they are not alone, people view Apple as a brand that unites people based on their similar feelings. Overall, Apple changed up their strategy quite a bit to reflect the changes in this unique year, and it is beneficial to the brand because it shows that they are current and sympathize with their consumers.

Ultimately, Apple’s 2020 holiday commercial reflects 2020 in the way that it is much different from past years. Instead of themes of community, gathering, and holiday joy, this commercial features the reality of 2020 holiday blues, spending time alone, and the need for a mood boost once in a while. Though this year is different, Apple is showing us that we can still make the most out of this holiday season. This commercial is one of many marketing strategies that have had to pivot this year, and though Apple is a big-name brand, even small businesses and restaurants have to consider a new marketing strategy. Stay tuned for our January blog on Immunizing Your Restaurant With a New Online Marketing Strategy.


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RGB, CMYK, Pantones: The Importance of Understanding Colorspace

Graphic design uses colors and strategic design to communicate a message, establish a brand, evoke a feeling, and much more. Using colors harmoniously is a crucial step to making a piece effective. A key part of that process is understanding colorspace, the specific organization and combination of colors. It is beneficial to understand colorspaces so you can understand a complex step in creating your designs to their greatest potential.

The Three Main Colorspaces

There are three general groupings of colorspace which include RGB, CMYK, and pantones, also known as PMS colors, and spot colors. RGB, or Red Green Blue, is a larger colorspace and is the combination of colors you see digitally on screens. The colors in RGB are typically a brighter color because of the backlit digital screen, but that can change depending on the monitor quality on a computer or tablet. The RGB colorspace is typically seen on websites, digital advertisements, popup ads on computers or tablets, presentations and slideshows, TV menu boards, and more.

CMYK, on the other hand, is a smaller colorspace that is used for print and graphics. CMYK, or Cyan Magenta Yellow Black, is what you see on physical flyers, prints, signage and more.

Lastly, Pantones and spot colors are colors used when an exact color needs to be replicated. These colors are used with offset printing presses, which are printers that use a particular mix of ink for each color instead of toners. Pantones, for example, are used with large companies when they need to replicate their signature brand color in advertising or marketing.

Differences Between the Colorspaces

Image Source: Glasscanopy

It is important to understand the differences between the different colorspaces so that you avoid any mistakes that come with using each of them improperly. First, it is crucial that you keep checking how your RGB colors on a computer are translating to CMYK colors for when they are printed out. Because RGB is pixels on a computer and CMYK is a physical mix of colors, the colors may change when they are transferred from digital to print. Similarly, it is important to keep in mind that RGB may show up differently on print because of the quality of a monitor or screen and the lighting in which you’re designing on the monitor. These factors can similarly affect how your RGB digital design shows up on CMYK physical mediums.

It is also important to note that Pantone colors can be used along with CMYK. A print job does not need to be strictly CMYK or Pantone, they can be used together. Pantone, however, is mostly used for limited print jobs with one or two colors and when a specific color must be replicated perfectly. If you want to mix CMYK and Pantone on one project, it is crucial that you make sure the printer supports a five or six color job. Commercial printers typically need a license to print Pantone colors. If your printer only supports CMYK, make sure you convert the desired Pantone color to CMYK before printing.


Above is an example of how RGB and CMYK can appear very differently. As you can see, the CMYK version appears a little less vibrant and less three dimensional. This example also points out that neon colors especially are extremely difficult to replicate from RGB to CMYK. In order to avoid your final graphic design product from changing its look as dramatically as this example, make sure you are following the tips below.

Tips for Using them Correctly

To ensure that your graphic design turns out as you expect, keep these tips in mind. First, as mentioned before, make sure to check how your RGB will look if you print it out. By test printing your design, you can make changes to your project if the shift from RGB to CMYK brought any color changes or surprises.

Image Source: Ashworth Creative

On a similar note, if you are planning on printing your graphic design, you can easily change your settings on your computer to CMYK colors instead of RGB. As you can see in the picture above, the CMYK version appears a little less vibrant and less three dimensional after it was converted. By starting with CMYK, you can avoid any color change surprises and use CMYK right away.

An important thing to note is that neon-like colors especially are extremely difficult to replicate from RGB to CMYK. Extremely bright neon colors are hard to replicate on the printer, so make sure to check if it will work in CMYK before printing. If you are using a graphic designer to create your designs, make sure to ask them to see a printed copy of the project before the final product so you can see how it will physically look. This ensures that the final project will be exactly what you were envisioning.

Final Thoughts

Colorspaces are an important element to understand in graphic design, even if you are hiring a graphic designer to do the project for you. Without understanding colorspaces and how they work, your design has the potential to turn out much differently than expected. By understanding how colorspaces differ, you can go ahead with your project with confidence.

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Conducting a Photoshoot in a Pandemic: How to Safely Visually Market Yourself

At IH Concepts, we occasionally need to conduct photoshoots for ourselves and our clients to get the proper imagery for their business and remarketing strategy. Over the years we have successfully completed many photoshoots, but never with a pandemic as an extra hurdle. To help educate others, here are some insights into our experience, and some tips for conducting your own photoshoot in a pandemic.

Preparing for the Photoshoot

When preparing for a photoshoot, especially in a pandemic, you’ll need to get the details planned out in advance. In our case, as soon as the idea for conducting a photoshoot was discussed, our team started going over the necessary precautions and things to consider due to COVID-19. As we prepared for the project, we made the decision to interview all participants in the photoshoot to determine any risk factors they may have, and to assess their comfort level with being involved.

Keeping the area safe and sanitary was a top priority, so we decided to hire a professional cleaning service to assist us with disinfecting the set and props for our photoshoot. For the safety of all involved, we went beyond that and even researched options that could help disinfect the air in the photoshoot location. As you plan for a photoshoot, it’s important to not skip over any details.

Medical Considerations

The health and safety of all members of a photoshoot is very critical, so safety precautions should be taken in advance when preparing. There were many medical considerations we kept in mind as the date of the photoshoot drew closer. As a first line of defense to keep the set virus free, we required everyone involved in the shoot to be tested for COVID-19. In addition to that, the professional cleaning service we hired sprayed antimicrobial treatment on our props and high-contact surfaces to disinfect them before the shoot and minimize any chance of spreading germs.

To educate ourselves on any further safety measures, we also discussed the photoshoot with a doctor beforehand. From this meeting we did learn that COVID-19 has a 5-12 day latency period before a host can spread it to others. For the safety of everyone involved, keep your team informed on proper sanitation and have a plan in place.

Space Considerations

One of the most critical decisions for a photoshoot, especially in a pandemic, is considering the location. To keep everyone involved in the shoot at a safe distance, try and utilize an outdoor set if possible. We aimed to use an outdoor location when possible, but for the purpose of this shoot we found that we were able to hold it inside while also social distancing and keeping in mind the building capacity. Additionally since we had to do a great deal of our pictures inside, we utilized a SAM S400 air scrubber by Scientific Air Management to address any concerns of droplets or aerosols in the air.

Day of the Shoot

On the day of the photoshoot, it’s important to follow-through with all of the preparations and planning you’ve made. On the set for our photoshoot, we required that all talking was kept to a minimum to reduce the chance of spreading bacteria. We also required temperature checks on site and questioned everyone there if they were experiencing any COVID like symptoms (a few days after the photoshoot we also followed up and asked everyone again if they were experiencing any symptoms). To keep things as clean as possible, we also ran an air scrubber at the shoot location.

For extra precautions, we kept the shoot location corded off to keep any visitors or other people from walking into the area. This ensured that only people who were successfully tested were allowed in the area and that no one was accidentally in the background of our images. Our photographer arrived early for the shoot, which gave us plenty of time to go over our photoshoot plan in great detail, ensuring that we got all of the images we needed. Due to our planning, the photoshoot went smoothly and was a success. Things do not always go according to plan however, so when planning for your photoshoot allow extra time in your schedule to be safe.


While planning a photoshoot in a pandemic may seem difficult, we found it to be a great learning opportunity for our team. By planning ahead and following the safety restrictions we set in place, we were able to complete our task and get the excellent images we needed. By following these tips and planning in advance, you can have a successful photoshoot while keeping people safe.


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6 Important Considerations for Your Newsletter

When you wake up in the morning and check your emails, there will most likely be countless newsletters in your inbox. Needless to say, newsletters are a very efficient way to spread your brand awareness. However, as we have all experienced before, newsletters can be irritating and quite often, we delete them without ever reading them. To circumvent the newsletter going to waste, there are six criteria that all companies should follow when it comes to an effective newsletter.

Keep Your Content Relevant

The first aspect is relevant content. When it comes to effective newsletters, knowing the audience is extremely important. The purpose of the newsletter should be defined before moving onto the other aspects. Is your newsletter educational or are you selling your product? Here at IHC, we decided to keep our newsletters educational, however that does not mean that you cannot sell your products on your newsletter. To decide the end goal, doing some research and identifying your audience can help in expediting the process. Once the audience and end goal has been defined, you will be ready to move onto designing your newsletter.

Consider Design and Consistency with Your Brand

Following relevant content, the next consideration will be the design of the newsletter. The design of your newsletter should be brand compliant and be consistent. The last thing you will want is for your newsletter to gain popularity, and then due to a design chance lose that association with customers. Color schemes and visuals are important in being able to catch the attention of your readers and they can help give your readers something to look at the text.

Now as for the text, one mistake companies will make is to have walls of text. This will lose your reader’s attention. It is imperative to keep in mind that when you send a newsletter out, you are asking a favor out of your customers. They will not want to spend their scarce free time reading walls of texts. The last aspect, fonts, can be often looked over. Fonts can be limited to certain computers, therefore when you choose a very specific font, there is a chance that it won’t register on your customers’ screens. Having a backup font can be handy in the case that your primary font won’t register.

Make Sure Your Newsletter is Mobile Friendly

The third aspect is whether your newsletter is mobile friendly or not. With the emergence of smartphones and tablets, people are accessing the internet more often from their mobile devices. According to BroadbandSearch, mobile traffic has increased by 222% over the last 7 years. In 2013, mobile phones made up 16.2% of the worldwide internet traffic. Fast-forward to 2019 and that same statistic has increased to 52.2%. This data is strictly mobile phone usage which does not include tablet use, so the true portion of internet traffic by mobile devices may be much higher. As the numbers show, consumers are more likely to want to read your newsletter on the go. Not having it being mobile friendly will be a severe disadvantage to your newsletters’ success.

Establish an Appropriate Schedule for Your Newsletter

At this point, you have now defined the relevant content, the design considerations and the mobile compatibility of your newsletter. The next consideration is how frequently you release it. Finding the Goldilocks zone for frequency is a hard task but doing research and conducting surveys can make the job easier. The topic of your newsletter may also greatly influence the frequency. For example, if your newsletter’s topic is about the stock market and covers predictions on how specific stocks will perform, the demand may be daily. If the topic is educational or based on news, it may be beneficial to release it once a week or month. IHC’s newsletter is educational and released monthly. The decision will be ultimately based on the relevant content and what your research shows.

Be Familiar with the Platform You’re Using

The fifth aspect you will want to consider is understanding platforms. It is important to know and understand the ins and outs of your newsletter whether using platforms such as Mailchimp, Mad Mimi or Constant Contact to name a few. Knowing the template and the parameters as well as understanding what they can do is important. As mentioned earlier, mobile internet usage is increasing, leading the way for social media as well. Releasing your newsletter on a company Twitter or Facebook account may be effective in gaining pageviews.

Test, Test, Test!

Lastly, the final aspect to a successful newsletter is to test it. It is so important to send tests to yourself or a colleague before sending to subscribers. We recommend typing in the email of the people you send it to instead of forwarding, which can cause some issues. We recently had a client that had display issues regarding forwarding test emails. We were able to redirect that client to include the receiver’s email in the platform. Email sites vary so much in this age that it is imperative to test them on different accounts. The newsletter may look correct on Gmail, but the display may be altered in Yahoo. When it is so hard to catch the attention of consumers, sending them a faulty product will surely turn them away. It is beneficial to get into the habit of testing your newsletters.

Final Thoughts

Crafting a newsletter can be a daunting task and may take several iterations to perfect. When your newsletter is sent out, it will sit in an inbox along with many other newsletters. These six criteria should be followed so your newsletter does not end up in the trash.


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Caspian Grill: An Example of How Proper Restaurant Marketing is the Key to Success

As restaurant week is approaching in Madison, we wanted to take the time to tell the story of our success with Caspian Grill. Caspian Grill is a local restaurant in the Madison area that is known for its delicious Mediterranean food. This family-oriented restaurant has always been a fan-favorite for us at IH Concepts. Caspian Grill gives a small, family friendly feel that many people love in the Madison area.

There are many ways where marketing will help your restaurant succeed. Caspian Grill is just one example in showing why marketing matters. Between having a proper website, inviting colors, a good social media presence, and a design that tells your story, advertising is an investment that will show in the message you’re sending to your audience.

According to the USA’s National Restaurant Association, “Only about 3% of the average restaurant’s monthly sales is spent on marketing. This typically isn’t enough.” Aaron Allen, restaurant marketing consultant, says “Digital marketing for restaurants is certainly something that any restaurant, regardless of budget, should invest resources into.” This is why when Caspian Grill came to IH Concepts months ago for a meeting, we could not have been more excited to help.

Developing an Attractive Identity

We were ready to give Caspian Grill a visual presence to help their new ventures hit the ground. Before opening, IHC developed a brand new identity including a new logo, business card, take-out menu, and a TV menu. The new marketing collateral was ready to be released.

Aside from creating new menus, logo, and business cards, IH Concepts had designed their new sign. The new sign displays a fierce fire, with colors of red, orange, and yellow. The red letters over the black background really makes the name of the restaurant pop. As the article written by Victoria Davis has to say, “the restaurant might be easy to miss if it weren’t for its richly warm and vibrant orange walls and front desk neon sign blinking the word “specials.” The new design truly catches everyone’s eyes as it is so vibrant and inviting. According to Stan Mack of Chron, “Advertising also can help you develop important aspects of your reputation.” This is something we have advised our clients to do in the past.

Taking Their Social Presence to the Next Level

In addition to helping with their identity, IH Concepts assisted Caspian Grill with some of the photos for their social media as well. For their social media accounts, IH Concepts has taken some of their photos that have been used for their platforms. According to David Miles, “With the right kind of social media marketing, your restaurant can start to build a customer base through word of mouth.” We have advised our customers in the past to focus on social media marketing, as it is a very effective way to target your audience.

Achieving Success

Photo by Victoria Davis for The CapTimes

September 2019 came around and it was time for Caspian Grill to present their new brand identity. The success of the marketing collateral with IH Concepts has been tremendous. Caspian Grill often gets people coming from everywhere to eat at their restaurant. Some customers come from all over the Greater Madison-area. People have been very impressed by the quality of food and the new design.

The success metrics since the collateral release have been very impressive. The restaurant is always bustling with people coming and ordering every day even as Caspian is only doing takeout at the moment, but hopes to open for in-person dining soon. The collateral has been a huge hit for Caspian Grill, and we could not be happier for them. The positive reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook can prove just how successful they have been.

Caspian Grill was even featured in the Wisconsin State Journal. The article, written by Samara Kalk Derby, describes the high-quality food that Caspian Grill has to offer. Derby says “The borscht ($4.95) came in a big, deep bowl with lots of finely-chopped cabbage and carrots. It had a great flavor and was served with three small square slices of dark rye bread. A small cup of sour cream made it irresistible.”

Cap Times also acknowledged Caspian Grill’s new identity as they featured it in an article as well. The article, written by Victoria Davis describes what the owners have to say about Caspian Grill and just how much of a family friendly place it is. “It’s our business, yes, but it’s also like a home away from Baku for us,” said Gelfand, whose two children often help out with cooking and serving at the restaurant. “It’s a family business and we wanted this place to be small and warm and feel like family home to others too.”

Final Thoughts

Overall, IH Concepts could not be happier with the release of the marketing collateral with Caspian Grill. Where most restaurant’s fail, Caspian Grill’s investment in marketing positions them to continue to be a hit with the community. We are proud to call Caspian Grill a client, and one of our favorite places to eat! We cannot wait to see how much more Caspian Grill will continue to succeed.


Related IH Concepts Articles

5 Important Things to Consider For Your Menu

What King of Falafel Taught Us About Restaurant Marketing

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

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

The Rules of Deciding Whether to Use Custom vs Stock Photography

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Copywriting: How to Be a Content Ninja

For every company, copywriting is becoming an integral part of the business. Your brand presence and how large it is, can help your business grow in awareness, ultimately raising revenue. The three keys to writing copy, according to a class taught by University of Wisconsin Creative Services Manager Kyle Henderson, are the audience, clarity and relevance. By focusing your efforts in strengthening those three pillars, you can strengthen your content.

When it comes to audience, there are three main questions you want to ask yourself. The first question is “Who are they?” You must be able to identify who you are talking to before you figure out what the message is going to be. Are the audience potential buyers, potential donors, or are they potential advertisers? By categorizing your audience, the message you want to give will become clear. The second question is “What do you want them to do?” Without knowing what your end goal is, constructing a message will be close to impossible. You must clarify whether you want the audience to buy something or if you want them to trust your company. The last question is “What do they regard as good reasons to act?” Putting it in simpler terms, this is the “Why” for your audience. What is the driving force behind why they are listening or reading your copy? Does your audience want to feel inspired, or do they want detailed accounts of your company? This last question will help tie everything together along with the first two questions. Knowing your audience will allow your copy to be clear and relevant to them. This in turn will speak to their reasons of why they should act on your company.

The second point to effectively writing copy is clarity. Your audience will only seek as much information as they need. As you may recall, the first point of good copywriting is the audience and they will dictate the clarity. The information may be important for a buyer to read, but is it something that is relevant to your target? As for the information, it is important to determine the correct amount of information needed. If you don’t have enough, the copy will cease to be adequate for the audience no matter what. On the other hand, adding too much information will only hurt your copy as it will weaken your message. Fillers should be avoided. Clients and potential customers may leave if they deem your message to be unclear or irrelevant.

Another key point to clarity is the platform that is being used. Is the copy a social media post or is it a blog on a website? Is the social media platform being used Twitter or Facebook? These are important questions that must be answered before writing your copy. Social media posts will typically be shorter than a blog and when it comes to specific platforms there are other specifications that can affect your copy. For example, Twitter will have a word count restriction while Facebook doesn’t. Instagram is based on pictures while Twitter and Facebook are not tied down to images.

Relevance boils down to the question, “Is it something my audience would care about?” You may begin to notice; the audience is essentially the backbone to effective copywriting. In order to have relevant information, research on your audience is important. Know who they are, know their habits and know their likes and dislikes. Mediums such as focus groups or surveys can be helpful. However, surveys can be tricky as the questions you ask may influence the answers you get. Making sure you ask the right questions is key.

Keep in mind, there are many different ways to create relevancy. One method is altering your tones. Several tones will be needed for different audiences. The tone that is needed for a children’s toy store will differ from the one needed for a restaurant. Another method to create relevancy is using typographies. Writing in cursive differs greatly from when it is in block bold. A cursive font may work well if your audience is looking for elegance and flashiness while block bold may be better suited for an audience looking for grit or masculinity.

Effectively writing copy can be a tall task but it is necessary as it can be the last piece to push your company forward. By writing copy, you can connect with your customers in a great way. Remember, the keys to effectively getting your point across are your audience, the clarity and relevance. By successfully combining these three aspects, you will be well on your way to quality copywriting.


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The Design-Dos of 2020

As the new year begins, new design trends are emerging. While many styles from the past continue to trend, there have been various new styles expected to be utilized in design in 2020. Both Graphic Mama and 99 Designs have shared their graphic design trends for 2020 which we found aligned well with our trends. We have created a list of the graphic design trends to look out for this year.

1. Get Personalized Using Collages of Drawings

Incorporating a man-made drawing illustration in your design can help obtain a personalized and fun vibe to your design. This trend is popular because it can relate to your viewers. It allows for an immense amount of creativity.

2. Monochrome Effect Will Enhance Your Photos

The theme of using a monochrome color effect has been increasingly popular. The monochrome effect incorporated the duo tone trend from last year. This trend is often seen in photographs. Simplicity is going to continue to trend in 2020.

3. 3D Designs Create Depth

Using 3D graphic design techniques gives your design a livelier and more creative look, rather than 2D which looks flatter. It is more engaging for the viewer to see a design that is believably realistic.

4. Metallics Make Your Design POP

Shiny and metallic colors really pop in a design. According to Graphic Mama, by using a gold color, it conveys luxury, class and good taste. Shiny metals are extremely trendy right now and will continue to trend for this year. This trend is great for brand identity, it will help your brand to stand out.

5. Make Your Images Mysterious with Masking Effect

The simple, minimalistic look is trending in 2020. Using image and text masking will help you to achieve that look. The whole image is not revealed, creating a mysterious look that keeps your audience engaged and wanting more. Although this trend is not new, it will be especially popular this year.

6. Thick Letters and Typography Hooks Your Audience

Fun and creative typography helps to grab the attention of your viewers. Typography takes written text and transforms it by using designs and shapes, but the message is still readable. Say goodbye to thin letters and hello to thick. This year bold letters are coming back.

7. Be Simplistic with Line Art

Achieving a clean and elegant look can sometimes be difficult. Using line art is a careful yet effective way of obtaining this look. According to 99 Designs, designers are able to create unimaginable shapes by combining line styles. There are curvy lines, which have more of a natural look, compared to geometrical lines, which portray a more technical look.

8. Go Vintage

Design trends are always going in and out of style. That is what is so great about graphic design. A popular trend from the 50s is making its way back to 2020. Earthy colors give off a fun and vintage feel. If you missed the vintage look do not worry, it is coming back in 2020.

9. Communicate Your Message with Simplified Illustrations

Sometimes simpler is better. Simplified illustrations can communicate your message clearly and efficiently. This is a trend that designers will be using more often in 2020.

10. Look Out for Live Data Visualization and Motion Design

Providing a live data visualization allows for your viewers to stay engaged. This trend will be used to show elements such as dashboard trends. Live data visualization style combines geometry, neon colors, and dynamic animations. The style of motion design and live data visualization is increasingly popular.

11. Incorporate Patterns to Draw in Your Viewers

Combining multiple patterns and textures will be seen often this year. It is a nontraditional trend that designers are loving. Gradients used to create engagement, but this year it’s all patterns. As the minimalistic style is popular, incorporating patterns and textures will really help your design to stand out.


2020 will have it all. It will be a mixture of simple and complex. Finding that balance is key. These various design trends will be used in a variety of projects. To check out more design trends from 99 Designs and Graphic Mama click here or here.


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Previous Client Transformations – Before and After

At IH Concepts we have the opportunity to work with a variety of organizations and businesses. For February we wanted to focus on three clients we worked with to show how we were able to help transform their business with some ideas and changes we suggested, as well as the key take-away points for a positive change.

Emily Grace Photography – First Impressions Are Crucial

When we first started working with Emily Grace, she expressed embarrassment about her current business card. We started working on new ideas for it right away to help make her business stand out. To create this change, we developed a logo that created a unique brand image. After that, we made sure that the information on the business card was straight to the point and easy to follow, with attractive colors and a professional look. Finally, we had the business cards printed in a unique shape unlike the typical rectangle, so it would help stand out from the competition and be remembered. After the new business cards were printed, our client’s business became more recognized and found a large increase in interest for their services. This business transformation shows the importance of creating a powerful business card that makes a positive first impression and draws your client in. A business card is often the first thing a potential client sees, so it needs to make a strong impact and stand out.

Healing Hands Home Care – Keep Your Information Organized

When we met with Healing Hands, they wanted to update the look and feel of the brochure that they had created. The initial brochure had been created as a Word document, so to best utilize design elements and creation we began a new file in Publisher and got to work.

Right away we worked with the text, making sure it was easy to read and had proper spacing and kerning between the lines and letters. We then created a color palette and logo that both worked together to communicate their message with just a glance of the page. We then worked on creating a piece that resonated with their audience and would draw them in once they saw it. Finally we added images that connected overall with the brochure information and would connect with the people who were looking for this client’s services. This created a strong cohesion between the back and front of the brochure.

After we finished creating the new brochure, our client kept receiving compliments on the overall look and professional information that their brochure had. This transformation showed the importance of keeping information organized when it has a lot of text and content. Breaking up the information with images helps keep the reader engaged, and visuals improve their response overall.

Madison Urban Ministry – Your Website is Worth the Investment

When we spoke with the Madison Urban Ministry their overall goal was clear: they wanted to take their organization to the next level. To best serve the community, they wanted to be attractive to their younger demographic, stand out to attract donors, while competing with 1.5 million other non-profit organizations.

We developed their website using our IH5 web principle, creating a site that not only communicated their message professionally, but it looked good while doing it. We also merged their marketing side with the website, to help them continue reaching those who need their services, as well as reaching out to potential donors. To help communicate their message of hope and positivity, we also brightened the colors utilized for the design. As a final step we created a call to action, improved how people would access the information, and made the information on the website easy to find.

After their new website was created, Madison Urban Ministry reported that their Donations increased by 800%. Making the information for potential clients and donors easily accessible with a professional website is a must with the digital age we are in now. While it may take a bit of time and money, a professional website is well worth the investment and will yield positive returns once created.

In Closing

Looking at these business before-and-after transformations helps to better understand the importance of organization, first impressions, and a professional appearance for your marketing materials. While it may require a bit of an investment early on, the positive returns from this careful consideration far outweigh the negatives.


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