How to Maintain Your Brand Loyalty in COVID and Beyond
May 25, 2021
A brand often goes beyond messaging, taglines, and visuals. Often times your actions can affect your business now and beyond. Your brand is who you are. One of the biggest questions we are facing right now is how to continuously keep ourselves and those around us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of safety has drastically changed the way businesses must run in order to be successful during these times. The efforts an establishment makes to keep its employees and customers safe says a lot about the business’s brand.
A major way to show that you care about your employees and customers is keeping them safe. One way of doing this is having clear safety protocols showcased throughout your establishment. Rules limiting guests, mask mandates, and social distancing guidelines show that you are putting the safety of your customers at the highest priority. This builds a sense of trust between the customers and your business. If they can safely shop and dine at your establishment, they are sure to return. The pandemic has changed how businesses operate. For instance, in restaurants, booths and tables are closed off in an attempt to keep everyone safe and distanced. A lot of establishments have switched to paper menus or QR codes which gets rid of highly touched menus. Hand sanitizer stations and increased cleaning of highly touched areas are also seen in a lot of places. It is important to keep your employees and customers safe by implementing and showcase these protocols.
Consider Employee Safety
How you take care of your internal customers can say a lot about a brand. As for employees, people want to feel safe when they are coming into work. Before the pandemic, it was typical for employees to go through extensive training. Now, this type of training has changed into implementing safety protocols. Customers can tell when businesses are not taking care of their employees. It says a lot about a business that does not put effort into keeping its employees safe. Going against rules and safety regulations will turn away customers. For instance, an employee at a pizza restaurant in Beloit was not feeling well and the manager made them come in anyways. This careless act caused the employee to put himself and others at major risk. The employee, unfortunately, lost their life. That caused a lot of people to not support a company that does not value its employees. Without your employees, your business cannot run. Take care of them and make an effort to keep them safe.
Think About Your Customers
Switching gears to a customer standpoint, we are now faced with the question of how we can get customers to actually engage with safety protocols. An important part of a brand is considering consumer behavior. Remember your customers want to be safe. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you may want to consider keeping your bathroom open so your customers can wash their hands before eating their food. Also, if a business decides to close its bathroom to the public, customers are unable to wash their hands. Of course, you can put out hand sanitizing stations, but for a restaurant, washing your hands before you eat can prevent someone from getting sick. The issue for businesses is to balance the differing needs of customers with the safety of employees. It is important to understand varying behaviors and how you want to be accommodating and keep your customers safe.
Keep ALL your Customers in Mind
Different customers have different needs. Some customers have different sensory processing that can make wearing a mask overwhelming. Because of these differences, it is important to let those with health problems know they are being accommodated for. According to the CDC, it’s important to have protocols that consider the Americans with Disabilities Act in mind. While these have been unprecedented times, keeping safe is important. It is important to be respectful of differences. Not doing so can be harmful to a brand and create negative public opinion about your business.
Lead by Example
At the end of the day you are still a brand and your actions will define you even beyond the pandemic. All in all, safety is one of the biggest points on both customers’ and businesses’ checklists. Businesses need to lead by example. What we’re seeing is this pendulum of considering customer’s differing needs and keeping employees safe. Instead of closing their bathrooms, some businesses have locked them and have placed signs on the door saying to ask an employee for access. This notifies the employees that someone is using the bathroom and that after the customer leaves, it can be cleaned properly. People not following safety protocols watching other people follow them will most likely get them to start following them. A behavior change normally comes from seeing other people lead by example or learning from their behaviors. Another cordial effort businesses are doing is providing masks for those who enter without one. This effort shows that you value their business while also wanting to keep your employees safe.
Now more than ever, we need to look out for each other. Take the steps to evaluate the safety protocols your business wants to implement and make sure they are keeping your employees and customers safe.
Coworking Success: Must-Haves For Your Website
April 20, 2021
As more opportunities to travel present themselves, we at IH Concepts have been looking at different coworking spaces in other cities to work in. Now more than ever, people are turning to their digital devices for advice, information, and updates on the availability of coworking spaces. Some of the biggest things we have taken away from this digital transformation are important aspects to include on your website to attract and hold your audience’s attention. Some of these important features are crucial to helping your coworking space to attract more people and revenue.
The Importance of Visuals
To start, visuals. Visuals are important for any website to give viewers a feel for what your business is about. Including visuals not only gives your website a personal touch but also leverages your business into attracting more clients. The visuals you choose to include virtually invites clients into your space without making the physical trip in. Some of the most important pictures to include are pictures of the physical space you are operating in. Having pictures of your business allows clients and guests to safely check out your space amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Falsely portraying your space jeopardizes the relationships you can build with current and potential new clients. We had an experience visiting a coworking space that was completely unlike the pictures we saw online. You need to honestly portray your space with engaging visuals. A quick tip: highlight common spaces. People may be seeking out private spaces to conduct their business, but it is nice to see the space as a whole.
Video Tips and Tricks
Going off of the importance of visuals, if you decide to portray your co-working space using a video, make sure you keep it engaging and short. Viewers often let their minds wander, unless something really grabs our attention. Normally, the 30 second to 2-minute time frame is optimal. Try to craft your videos to be short and get to the point quickly. However, if you have more to say, keep going with it. Longer videos are informative content that is accepted but doesn’t waste viewers’ time. At the start, tell your audience what they should be expecting. This kind of transparency helps viewers trust your brand and will most likely put more time into exploring your content.
In addition to proper content, listing your rules and protocols for your collaborative spaces is important. How one rents out a collaborative space, time restrictions, procedures for social distancing, and any other rule should be listed. More people are traveling and could be looking for spaces to work. You should prepare to get people from out of town looking to use your space. Because of this, you should list out any procedures your company wants to take when allowing people who just recently traveled into your space. Quarantining, masks, social distancing, health and safety guidelines: all of these should be explicitly stated on your website.
Successfully Marketing your Website
You may be wondering how to successfully market your coworking website. Here are a couple of tips. First, make sure you list your space on Google. You should have all of the usual information on there like hours, website, phone number, email, and definitely photos. This is the first step to gaining an online presence. Another way is to create a membership package and daily passes. This can attract professionals nearby and out of town. When creating these membership packages, you could start by marketing a free trial. This is completely up to you, but this might draw more prospective members and give them a chance to experience your space before committing to a membership package. Being active on social media has its perks. Build up your social presence and utilize our tips on the content stated above. If you chose to offer perks to your members, highlight those. As stated before, it is smart to emphasize the safety protocols your company is taking to keep members safe during the pandemic. Genuinely think about how you are going to enforce social distancing and other health protocols to keep your members safe.
There are a lot of important aspects and features you can incorporate and highlight into your website to help you sell your business. It is important to have honest and professional visuals on your website to allow potential clients to truly see and feel your space before stopping by. Analyze your audience and see what kind of video content, if any, you want on your website. For any content, take the proper steps for it took look professional and inviting. List your protocols and rules for your collaborative workspaces, and especially list off the health and safety protocols your company has committed to taking amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Be transparent with your audience. This builds trust and increases brand awareness. Taking these steps will give your business leverage and keep your audience’s attention. These tips will make your website engaging and help you sell your business.
March 10, 2021
It’s 2021 and change keeps on coming! There are so many exciting things to discover in the graphic design world. New trends have shown a lot of promise in 2021. Keep reading to uncover the 9 enticing graphic design trends for 2021.
To start, let’s state the obvious: a lot of people spent the majority of 2020 and early months of 2021 being stuck inside. The work-from-home lifestyle is pretty sedentary and does not leave a lot of time to reconnect with nature. Sure, we were able to go on our quarantine walks, but that doesn’t completely satisfy the feeling of being in a green space. In 2021, people will find a greater appreciation for reconnecting with nature. Whether it be the use of a lot of greens, earth tones, or leafy patterns, this trend is one we’ll be seeing in 2021.
This kind of trend brings a sense of magic to one’s graphic designs. These patterns catch people’s attention and make them wonder. The idea is to leave a memorable impression on whoever sees your design. Optical illusions are playful. They’re not always individual because both the designer and consumer are engaging with and making sense of the same design. Pops of color and intricate patterns will make your design very memorable.
Monochrome and Duotone
Monochrome and duotone palettes give your design a more mature look and feel. They come off as modern and cool. A popular trend that has emerged over the past year or so is the idea of minimalism. Utilizing monochrome and duotone gradients and palettes adhere to the idea of minimalism while making an impressionable design that is sure to be remembered.
Compared to a lot of designs created last year that used a lot of abstract shapes and flows, this year more and more designers are utilizing the potential of the rigidness of geometric shapes and patterns. These shapes give off a sleek design that can be paired with a variety of color palettes. Geometric shapes and patterns allow for a nice flow and create harmony within the design.
This trend’s main element is imagination. For years people have envisioned what the future may hold. This feeling of curiosity and imagination is inspirational. It gives your design the power of optimism when it comes to looking ahead. This trend will have a lot of bright color schemes, curves, and computer-inspired typefaces that will send visualizers into the limitless imagination of the graphic designer.
Designers have a powerful voice. 2020 showed us how important our communities are and how we must stand up against inequality and systemic racism. In the last 9 months, there has been a lot of transparency in racial issues. We are hopeful to see the authentic representation of various cultures, skin tones, ages, and identities throughout every industry in 2021, including graphic design. From companies to employees, we hope this graphic design trend fosters real change. Using images that celebrate real people and their characteristics and uniqueness is contributing to a better and more inclusive future that inspires and encourages people of all backgrounds.
Muted Color Palettes
Throughout many years of graphic design, the use of bold and bright colors was a major trend. Now, more and more people are interested in seeing relaxed color tones. If you are looking to convey feelings of safety and security through your design, muted color palettes are a great option. More often than not, people tend to correlate light tones with those feelings. Even nostalgic feelings can be brought up when muted colors are present. Muted color palettes are heavily associated with natural and organic feelings.
In relation to muted color palettes, there is something quite interesting about the absence of color in a design. Bright and bold colors are great for getting one’s immediate attention, but the trend of using more muted palettes in 2020 might be taking another step further in 2021. This graphic design trend also brings out a sense of magic and nostalgia. For your next design, think about using the classic black and white effect which creates an enticing atmosphere that allows the other aspects of your design to stand out.
Authentic and Honest
2020 was a very unpredictable and chaotic year. People are looking for more authentic and meaningful graphic designs that really spark inspiration and speak to them. No one wants the added pressure of perfection. Being authentic and showcasing your honest work through graphic design is starting to matter more and more to viewers. It builds a sense of trust, understanding, and community.
2021 is going to be a very unique and progressive year for graphic design. There is so much room for creativity and authenticity for designs. Whether you want to change up your color palette, redo your logo, or update your homepage, you will be successful. There are endless possibilities when diving into one of these trends, and your designs will be memorable.
How to Digitally Pivot while Maintaining Your Brand
February 16, 2021
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.
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.
Immunize Your Restaurant with a New Online Marketing Strategy
January 15, 2021
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.
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.
Apple Holiday Commercial “The magic of mini feat. Tierra Whack”: How Apple Pivoted in Quarantine
December 16, 2020
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.
RGB, CMYK, Pantones: The Importance of Understanding Colorspace
November 11, 2020
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.
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.
RGB Versus CMYK
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.
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.
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.
Conducting a Photoshoot in a Pandemic: How to Safely Visually Market Yourself
October 14, 2020
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.
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.
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.
6 Important Considerations for Your Newsletter
August 11, 2020 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.
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.
Caspian Grill: An Example of How Proper Restaurant Marketing is the Key to Success
July 7, 2020
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.
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.”
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.