Trying to Navigate the Labyrinth That Is Google AdWords? We Can Help.

Google AdWords campaigns are not “set it and forget it” advertising. The magic of pay-per-click advertising is the ability to monitor real-time data and adjust your campaigns as necessary to get the best return on your investment. For a pay-per-click campaign to be successful, it has to not only be set up correctly, but also monitored and adjusted regularly.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Instant gratification is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for consumers. They want information now, no matter where they are or what time of day it is. This has become both an opportunity and a challenge for businesses trying to market products and services. The evolution to micro-targeted advertising from mass advertising allows you to better target your consumers, and pay-per-click advertising is a tool that has been invaluable to businesses in their quest to meet consumer demands.

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from the use of pay-per-click advertising campaigns. Some of the key benefits of this type of advertising are:

  • Real-time monitoring allowing for easy adjustment of campaigns without incurring extra costs.
  • Ads and settings can be tailored to specifically reach audiences based on their current search habits.
  • The ability to track traffic and prove ROI with solid data and tie it directly to conversions beyond the click, such as purchases, newsletter sign-ups, etc.
  • Setting and maintaining a budget, allowing for greater cost-control measures.
  • Controlling when you are charged, whether it is by clicks, views, impressions or conversions, so you are more likely to be spending money on potential customers rather than wasting clicks on uninterested parties.

The most commonly used platform for pay-per-click advertising is Google AdWords. The process for ensuring successful Google AdWords campaigns is two-fold. First, it requires a significant amount of due diligence to research targeting methods, audiences and keywords with which to build the campaigns, as well as creating advertising and landing pages that capitalize on the targeting methods. This is a long, winding process that requires an understanding of the end-goals and tactics for achieving those goals, as well as up-to-date knowledge of the AdWords platform.

Next, it requires constant monitoring to ensure the best results. Campaigns need to be reviewed daily, and adjusted as necessary to be sure they are accomplishing goals. But, it’s not as simple as looking at the click-through rate and determining a campaign “successful.” It is crucial to monitor the status of the ads and keywords or other targeting methods being used. It is important to look for trends, successes and failures so that adjustments can be made. There are always ways to improve campaign performance if you know what to look for when monitoring a campaign.

This is where we can help.
Anyone can sign up to implement AdWords campaigns. But it requires research, practice and knowledge of the platform and its latest updates to be able to use the platform effectively.

If you aren’t familiar with the data that AdWords provides, it can quickly become overwhelming. A key part of what we do is staying informed of the most up-to-date information in our industry, which includes any changes or updates to the AdWords platform. We can provide insights and best practices advice for running effective campaigns that meet or exceed your goals with our Google AdWords certified staff and experience running successful AdWords campaigns.

We’re ready to help you implement the best campaign possible for your business. Our goal is always to manage campaigns that meet your business goals. Our processes for doing so begin with substantial research on trends in search for your industry and audiences. We then use those trends to create campaigns that most effectively communicate your messaging and reach your targeted audiences. To ensure your campaigns are as successful as possible, we monitor them closely and make any adjustments necessary based on the data.

You don’t have to go it alone. We are ready to guide you on your journey through Google AdWords advertising.

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Prejean Creative Tells You Why – The Case for Illustration

Imagery is essential in your marketing communications; it can make a notable first impression and influence the perception of your brand. While photography is one of the most commonly used types of imagery, illustration has many benefits, too, and should be considered in some cases.

Your goal is to create a unique and memorable personality for your brand, and illustration can achieve that. Like your brand’s fingerprint, a very distinct illustration style can become instantly recognizable. With an endlessly broad variety of illustration styles to choose from, it’s easy to create a unique and cohesive look with illustration. Furthermore, illustration is used less frequently in advertising and tends to stand out more for that reason.

Some examples of iconic and memorable illustration use. Left to right: Apple Computer, Coca-Cola, Shepard Fairey

Illustrations are also great for representing abstract ideas and concepts. They offer the opportunity to create a visual metaphor more effectively than a photo. A less literal approach can engage the viewer’s mind in clever ways.

Some examples of conceptual illustration. Left to right: Davide Bonazzi, Brian Stauffer, John Holcroft

Compared to photographs, illustrations can convey a broader range of tone or mood – from somber to silly. Extreme ends of the color spectrum, unrealistic proportions, and surreal elements might look out of place in photographs. However, these characteristics are right at home in illustration and can serve to enhance the message. Illustrations allow us to suspend our disbelief.

Some examples of illustrations that convey mood. Left to right: Daniel Stolle, Coca-Cola / Office, Joyce Fan

While photography may be important if you are advertising a physical product, illustration can be useful to represent an intangible one, such as cell phone service, computer software, or Wi-Fi. Mascots, which are used to represent many brands, often employ illustration.

Some examples of mascot illustrations. Left to right: Planter’s, Michelin, Kellogg’s 

Whether you use illustration, photography, or a blend of the two, the imagery you and your marketing team use can be a key element in your brand’s success.


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Spring Cleaning Your Brand

Each spring, we endeavor to clear out the clutter of our closets and desks to start fresh. Why not do the same for your brand? Brands get cluttered over time, which chips away at their identity. To prevent this dilution in brand identity, it becomes essential to eliminate or update assets that are no longer relevant.

Evaluating assets regularly also helps to keep your brand from appearing stale. Freshening up brand assets can have a stop-effect on your audiences, like they are seeing your brand for the first time. It’s the same, but it’s clean and fresh and appears new.

There are a few areas that are ripe for a spring-cleaning effort.

Digital Media
Do your organization’s digital media assets – websites, social media platforms, blogs – have consistent visual identity and messaging?

It is important for brand recognition that all assets follow the brand identity and messaging. As organizations grow and develop more assets, it is common for identity and messaging to get altered, jumbled or even lost. Regularly auditing all digital media platforms is good practice for ensuring consistent brand identity.

Are they still relevant? Do your current marketing efforts serve them?

An organization’s goals and key performance indicators (KPI) are important drivers of marketing efforts. As companies grow and evolve, goals and KPI need to shift to keep pace with that growth.

But, they are often overlooked or forgotten and become irrelevant. Regularly updating the goals is important for validating marketing efforts.

Have your audiences changed? Is your messaging to them still pertinent and does it address their needs?

Like organizations, audiences regularly evolve and their needs change. If you don’t evaluate your audiences, you will miss these changes and your marketing efforts will be less effective.

Evaluate your messaging as well when reviewing your audiences. If your audience has changed, your messaging will need to be adjusted to effectively reach them.

Are you tracking data where possible and reviewing in context of goals and KPI? Are you measuring the correct analytics?

Most organizations have access to more data than they could possibly use, and they are easily overwhelmed. However, if you approach the data in the context of goals and KPI, it can be more easily managed.

Ensure the data you are monitoring and analyzing is significant and is delivering the information you need to know.

Are your campaigns performing to expectations? Do you continue them, or do you scrap those programs and start fresh?

Part of any marketing campaign is the evaluation, but as some campaigns continue to run, the evaluation stage gets forgotten.

To ensure only the most effective campaigns are running, be sure to evaluate performance against goals.

A Breath of Fresh Air
Don’t let your brand go stale. Keep it fresh by taking some time this spring to tidy up any clutter surrounding your brand.


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Maintain Control of Your Brand. Create a Brand Standards Guide.

You worked long and hard to develop your brand and its visual identity. Now you need to protect those assets and ensure design consistency across all collateral created for your brand. What’s the best way to do that? Create a brand standards guide that states explicit rules for using brand elements. Ultimately, the guide becomes a roadmap that gives direction for visual branding without hindering creativity. It is especially important to share the guide with anyone – employees, vendors, advertising agencies, customers – using brand elements to create collateral and marketing materials.

Our art director, Gary LoBue, Jr., stresses the importance of a style guide, “Not having a standards guide would be like building a home without the blueprints. You’re merely guessing as to how to handle a critically important element’s color, size, spatial orientation or proportion in a variety of settings.”

Elements of a Brand Standards Manual
The content and length of a style guide vary by organizational needs. But, the basic elements of the guide are consistent. Every style guide should include:

Brand and/or mission statement – It is important that users of the guide know the brand. The mission statement, brand values or organizational philosophies help others understand the guiding principles of the brand, which should also guide their use of brand assets.

Logo Use – The logo is the key element to the brand identity. This detailed section of the style guide clearly shows different approved versions of the logo, as well as correct and incorrect treatment and uses of the logo.

Color Palette – Color is one of the most recognizable brand elements. This section of the guide gives very specific information regarding the brand’s color palette, including, both primary and secondary, and exact hex code, CMYK and Pantone colors for web, screen and print.

Typeface Guide – Fonts convey certain messages and ideas through their design and are therefore key elements in a brand identity. The details of the fonts and font families used by a brand need to be clearly identified.

Imagery – The use of symbols, graphics, photography or any visual imagery should be clearly defined. Sometimes, imagery is more recognizable than words, making it crucial that any visual elements are recognizable brand assets.

Some organizations that have more complex structures go beyond the basics to include more details guiding the use of visual brand elements in marketing materials. Such sections could include:

Template Designs – For organizations with multiple locations and vendors, it is prudent to include a section that specifies the layout of business templates, such as stationery, business cards, presentations, etc. The details should also include paper specifications for use with materials to be printed.

Social Media Policy – Maintaining control of anything on social media is extremely difficult, but this section of the guide establishes the framework for social media for an organization. It also dictates which platforms the brand will be active on, who has control of the accounts and the visual identity on each platform.

Signage Specifications – Provides users with business sign specifications to ensure that signs across multiple locations are visually consistent. Signage can be indoor or outdoor, and should cover a variety of possibilities, such as stand-alone buildings or shopping center locations. Keep regulatory requirements in mind when developing this section.

Merchandising Applications – Your brand doesn’t belong on everything. That’s why this section of the brand guide is beneficial. Use it to outline what types of products can be branded and how to use the brand elements on them.

Website Design – This section sets out instructions for anyone developing and posting content for an organization’s website(s). Hierarchy of elements and visual assets must be consistent across all pages of a website. This section serves as a guide for keeping a consistent design.

A Worthwhile Investment
No matter the size or the complexity of your organization, it is crucial to have a brand standards guide to ensure visual consistency across all collateral material. Your brand identity must be preserved and protected at all times, and an investment in a style guide is one that will not be wasted.


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It’s Oscar Time – the Prejean Creative Team Picks Our All-time Best Movie Posters

The 89th Academy Awards® ceremony is upon us and all eyes will soon be on Hollywood’s red carpet. The glitz, the glamour, the paparazzi – it’s almost palpable.

So what better way for us at Prejean Creative to get into the mood than to put on our tuxes, grab our tiaras and share the movie posters we believe raised the bar, pushed the art form or maybe even deserved that little golden guy.

May We Have the Envelope, Please!
Kevin Prejean’s Nominations:
From 1927, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. An exquisite Art Deco and futurist masterpiece. Timeless.
Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. From 1968, this poster exemplifies fear, loathing, psychosis and paranoia.
Otto Preminger’s 1959 classic Anatomy of a Murder. A Saul Bass masterwork of design and intrigue.
From 1979, Ridley Scott’s Alien. The hatching egg; the elegant type treatment; a sense of fear. In space, no one can hear you scream – a perfect visual execution of potential and kinetic horror.
Robert Altman’s 1970 anti-war comedy M*A*S*H. Very simple, a little bit odd, but truly a memorable image.

Lisa Prejean’s Picks:
From 1975, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. While all seems normal above the water, something undetected and terrifying lurks just beneath the surface.
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen’s 1996 film Fargo. A cross-stitch of a murder scene; bizarre perfection for the Coen Brothers.
Mike Nichols’ 1967 groundbreaking The Graduate. An image just provocative enough to hint at the manipulation and temptations of the plot.
From 2016, Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation. Great symbolic imagery for a movie about a slave uprising.
2015’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. The use of the black & white imagery with minimal touches of red is beautifully striking in this special IMAX edition poster.

Molly Metzger’s Selections:
From 2012, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Capturing the theme of the movie perfectly, we see a graphic depiction of slavery, freedom and retribution.
Milos Forman’s Best Picture winner of 1984, Amadeus. The man… The music… The madness… an inspired and dramatic image based on the original Broadway poster.
Pixar’s animated entry from 2009, Up. A minimalist design that tugs at your imagination and hints at the adventure that is soon to follow.

Michael Culpepper’s Favorites:
From 1994, Disney’s The Lion King. With this poster, Disney regains its former glory and its animation crown.
The 1980 Irvin Kershner classic Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. A long time ago in kids’ rooms far, far away, this was the poster every Star Wars fan had on his or her wall.
John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. From 1986, nothing captures this decade’s craziness like Kurt Russell, mullets, kung fu and air-brushed illustrations.

Gary LoBue Jr’s Nominees:
From 1996, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. A movie poster posing as a book cover, or is it vice versa? Brilliant.
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Oscar winner Schindler’s List. It’s no accident that the list imprints over the inside wrists of the two individuals on the poster.
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park. A logo and tagline doing the heavy lifting. Simple. Memorable.
Bruce Brown’s 1966 documentary The Endless Summer. The poster that made a certain eight-year-old want to hitchhike to southern California.
From 1958, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. A dizzying display of typography, color and graphics. Another visual masterpiece by Saul Bass.

Bonnie McDonald’s Nominations:
From 2010, Tim Burton’s dreamy Alice in Wonderland. Colorful and full of the nuances you would expect from a place known as Wonderland.
Hollywood’s first blockbuster, 1939’s Gone With the Wind. The “As God is my witness, I’ll never love another poster again” poster.
William Friedkin’s 1973 genre-altering The Exorcist. The one light you want to stay away from, yet he has to go there. He has to go.
Tobe Hooper’s 1982 screamer Poltergeist. The simple, scary, white noise, little girl, “they’re here” in our TV, heebie-jeebies poster.
From 2012, the Joss Whedon-penned The Cabin in the Woods. The blood red / deathly black colors are eerie, and the copy line, too hilarious for a scary-movie lover like myself.

Cue the “Get Off the Stage” Music
We hope you found this Oscar edition blog informative and entertaining. Please comment by telling us about your all-time favorite movie posters.

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