Prejean Creative Tells You Why – We Don’t Use Double Spaces

One space or two? Every time you put two spaces between your sentences, a typographer sheds a tear.

The origin of the double space between sentences probably lies with the typewriter, which used monospaced fonts. This meant that every character was the same width. Those have been replaced by proportional fonts, in which different characters have different widths.PCTYW-01

In the monospaced example above, a wide character (like “m”) takes up the same amount of space as a thin character (like “i”).

Monospaced type looks spread out and unbalanced, making it difficult to distinguish the separation between sentences. Adding an extra space was a logical way to make text more readable.

As PCs replaced typewriters, they abandoned monospaced type for proportional type. Not only is it more pleasing to the eye, but the characters are closer together, eliminating the need for the double space.

Chances are, if you learned to type on a typewriter, you add the extra space. Modern word processing makes this unnecessary. A double space is sooooo 1970s.

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Push the Digital Clutter Away and Notify Effectively

A Tip for Digital Engagement with Customers – Use Push Notifications
“How do I get the right message to the right customer at the right time?” This is the question that every marketer is constantly asking himself. And, the answer is always changing. As new channels of communication emerge, new tactics must be developed for reaching audiences where they spend their time, with information they want to receive. And, thanks to ad blocking software, it has become increasingly difficult to get users to view online ads, even those targeted to the user’s interests. In Q2 of 2015, over 45 million average monthly active users in the U.S. were using ad blocking software.

Significance of Push Notifications
Enter push notifications as a tool to send information from a company. Once a user agrees to allow them, businesses can use push notifications to inform consumers of information that may be useful to them, such as sales, coupons, new products or company updates. These notifications can link back to information posted on the brand’s website. What makes them so great is that the notifications can go through browsers, or directly through native applications. So, users can have the correct browser and/or native app installed on their device(s), and receive messages.

Let’s say “Lucy’s” is going to have a Labor Day Sale. With push notifications, when Lucy’s updates the sale information on its website, it will push out a message to customers. The notifications are a direct line of communication.

Push notifications have been proven effective. According to phunware.com, marketers estimate that open rates for push notifications is 50 percent higher than that of emails. This makes them a more effective means of communication than email campaigns.

Google Cloud Messaging
There is no doubting the benefits of push notifications: users choose to receive them, and they drive traffic to a company’s website. There are a number of APIs and third-party programs out there that send push notifications. However, Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) is a free service. GCM operates through Google Chrome, but companies also have the option to design a native app that will receive GCM push notifications, allowing them to reach customers who don’t have Chrome installed. Also, analytics can be viewed in the Google Developers Console, giving businesses valuable feedback on the effectiveness of the push notification system through their website.

Getting A Little More Technical With Google Cloud Messaging
To begin sending push notifications using GCM, appropriate Google Chrome service workers need to be installed on a company’s website, and the website must hold an SSL certificate (an https:// URL prefix). Once installed, when a user visits the website through a Chrome browser, the service workers are used by the browser to ask the user to subscribe the device to the website’s GCM service. Once accepted, the user will receive GCM push notifications from the site, through the GCM server, then out to the user’s Chrome browser.

GCM blog diagram Image

If a company chooses to create an app that pushes notifications to its users, it can still use the Google Cloud Messaging service. The developer will install the Google Chrome service workers in the backend of the app. Then, the push notification subscription is handled similarly to that of all native app push notifications. Consumers who install the app have the option to agree to receive push notifications during the native app install process. The users then have the ability to manage their notification settings (turn on/off). Native app push notifications are sent from your website, to the GCM server, then out to the native app holders.

Notifications can be sent from your website to both Chrome subscribers and native app holders in the same push, if you have added the necessary components to both. Information about the coding necessary to send the notifications from your website through the Google Cloud Messaging server is supplied by Google Developers.

Targeted Messaging
In the current digital marketing landscape, brands must have an online presence to stay relevant to consumers, but simply existing online isn’t enough. Companies must be able to communicate with consumers while they are interacting with the brand’s online resources. Push notifications allow a business to reach out to customers with messaging that they have elected to receive. The notifications are an effective tool that help businesses reach the right customer with the right message at the right time.

 

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Prejean Creative Tells You Why – Hanging Punctuation

Hanging Punctuation
No, it’s not a form of corporal punishment, but any designer worth their weight in umlauts should be punished if they don’t remember this basic rule of typography.

What does hanging punctuation accomplish? Quite simply, it creates the illusion of a uniform edge for a block of text. Hanging punctuation positions the marks outside of the margins; most notably outside the left or right alignment of the body of the text. The marks float or hang in the margin creating an optical and visually pleasing type alignment (see the example below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end result? A subtle, but professionally executed appearance to your type treatment.

Next up on Prejean Creative Tells You Why – Degreed Designers Don’t Use Defaults

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Extending a Brand Requires Diligent Strategic Planning

oreo_blog_gfx-05

Brand extensions are risky business. Companies have to remember that consumers are fickle. Brand image/associations in the minds of the public are difficult to alter. Some brands have done it very successfully, with complete adoption from consumers. But, others have failed. There are two paths that can be taken – a line extension or brand extension.

Line Extensions
Half of all new products introduced each year are line extensions.

Line extensions seek to increase a brand’s user base by leveraging the parent brand equity to target a different market segment in the same product category. They are often a different flavor, ingredient variety, form, size, shape or application of a brand. Ever eat a Peanut Butter Oreo or Baked Lay’s potato chip? How about using Bounty Basic to clean up a spill? Those are all line extensions that have been embraced by consumers, and have proven sustainable over time.

Line Extensions          Line Extensions       Line Extensions

Line extensions can be very beneficial to brands. They can:
– Reduce product promotional costs
– Increase brand recognition
– Expand shelf space
– Increase profits
– Expand customer base

A big risk to line extensions is cannibalizing sales from its other product lines. Brands also risk tarnishing their image when they lose sight of their core audience and value proposition. New Coke flopped because the company angered consumers by halting production of the original formula. McDonald’s Arch Deluxe tried to reach a segment that didn’t identify with the brand by creating a higher-end sandwich, but consumers didn’t bite.

Line Extensions          Line Extension

Success is certainly never guaranteed, but brands can increase their chances of product reception by staying true to their image, targeting a specific market segment and listening to their consumers.

Brand Extensions
Brand extensions are a much riskier proposition.

Brand extensions leverage parent brand equity by introducing a product to a different, but complementary, product category. Ever use a Tide To Go stick to get out a fresh stain? Or how about Clorox Wipes to clean bathroom and kitchen counters? Or eat Oreo Ice Cream for dessert? Those are all classic success stories of brands extending into a complementary product category.

Brand Extensions          Brand Extensions          Brand Extensions

But success isn’t easily achieved. Brand extension risks include loss of reliability if a brand is extended too far, damage to the brand image if customers are confused or frustrated, and outright failure if the extension doesn’t have advantages over the competition. Consider these products: Frito Lay Lemonade, Cosmopolitan Yogurt and Colgate Kitchen Entrees. Based on market perception and understanding of these brands, do these products make any sense? No. These all failed because the category they tried to enter was not complementary to the current category, and the products did not fall in line with the core value proposition of the brand.

Brand Extensions           Brand Extensions          colgate kitchen entrees

However, done correctly, brands can see tremendous benefits from brand extensions:
– Increased parent brand image
– Marketing efficiency
– Reduced risk of failure
– Increased market coverage
– Reduced risk perception by customers
– Revitalization of the parent brand

Brand extensions are most successful when strong, secure brands extend into a product category that complements their core proposition.

Mitigate Risk to Parent Brand with Careful Planning
A company’s brand is its most valuable asset. It is a consumer’s window into a brand. Altering that view in any way poses a great danger. The dilution of a brand can be an unfortunate side effect of a poor strategic extension plan.

The decision to extend a brand has to be made through a well thought-out, strategic plan. It cannot be made hastily or under duress. Consider this: sales are down. It might be very tempting to think that quickly adding a new product or variety of an existing product is the key to righting the ship. But there are many roadblocks to successful brand extensions, and failing to plan for and overcome any of them may have dire consequences beyond loss in revenues. An extension should not be used as the solution to a problem. It is a strategic tool to tap into a potential revenue-generating market by utilizing a strong brand image to gain market share. And it is a tool that should be used very carefully.

On The Lighter Side
Oreo is a classic story of successful line and brand extensions. Through careful research and strategic planning, Oreo has been able to stay relevant in a market that is constantly changing with consumer tastes. It celebrated its birthday on March 6, 2016, 104 years after the first Oreo was sold to a grocer in Hoboken, NJ. March 6 has been commemorated as National Oreo Day, in recognition of the brand. In honor of such an iconic brand, we hosted an Oreo tasting party at our office to share each other’s favorite Oreo flavors, as well as our favorite ways to eat them. Here’s a peek at the flavors we tasted.

Oreos2

Visit our Facebook page to see what everyone’s favorite flavor is and who among us are the “dunkers,” the “biters” and the “twisters.”

Share with us your favorite flavor(s) and whether you are a “dunker,” “biter” or “twister.”

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Leap Day Offers Brands a “Ready Made” Marketing Campaign Theme

Leap Year 2016

February 29 is an exceptional date. It comes around only once every 4 years to right the course of the Gregorian Calendar after the earth’s rotation has thrown it off a bit. The uniqueness of Leap Day offers the perfect opportunity for brands to run a special promotion/campaign that takes advantage of a Leap Year theme.

Here are a few ideas about how to make the most of the distinctive marketing opportunity that is Leap Year.

Capitalize on the Leap Year Theme
A marketing campaign theme needs to be memorable and relevant. It should link to whatever is going on around your customers. However, it isn’t always easy to develop a unique marketing campaign theme. Sometimes you may need to reach out for prospective messaging opportunities you can adapt to your brand messaging.

Leap Year provides a built-in starting point for a fun promotional concept that you can build a marketing campaign around, utilizing advertising, events or promotions.

For example, if your products are considered luxury goods, your campaign could center on the idea that the customer deserves to buy himself the one item he has been putting off. And February 29 is the perfect “special” day to do it. Encourage your customers to “take a leap on Leap Day.” Add a promotion to the call to action and you will plant a seed in the minds of your customers that they deserve to buy a special item on a special day.

Host an Event
Hosting an event is a great way to get people interested in your business because they have an opportunity to interact with you and your brand face-to-face. Event marketing works because brands are engaging consumers in a willingly participatory position.

Events are much more effective when they are attached to a theme or occasion, something that makes the event distinctive, and February 29 certainly qualifies as a special occasion. Tie the event to a unique Leap Day promotion and you’ve got a golden opportunity for your key audiences to interact with your brand.

Leap Year 2016

Such events can be an open house, a “Leap Year Lunch” for colleagues or vendors, a preview party for a new product/service launching at a later date or a free seminar on industry specific topics that offers valuable content to customers.

Whatever your event, be sure to highlight the value to the customer.

Run a Promotion
Leap Year offers a special “once in every 4 years” opportunity to offer promotions or discounts to customers. Successful promotions motivate your customers to interact with your brand because it is in their best interest. Leverage the chance to have a promotion for that one day only, drawing in your current customer base, as well as potentially reaching new customers who came in for the promotion and turn into repeat customers.

Some examples of Leap Day promotions: drinks or appetizers with a catchy Leap Year name that are served only once every 4 years, discounts to customers born on February 29, free shipping on all products ordered on Leap Day, giveaways to customers who make in-store purchases, or new customers who sign up for your mailing list or like you on Facebook get a free promotional giveaway.

Utilize Social Media
A Leap Year marketing campaign is a prime opportunity for social media engagement with customers. Depending on how you are organizing your campaign, social media may be your best medium to reach customers. The interactive nature of social media provides the perfect medium for quickly spreading your message and maintaining momentum and relevancy for the length of the promotion.

Leap Year 2016

 

 

 

There are some things to do before, during and after an event/promotion when using social media.
Before:
• Create a unique, short and memorable hashtag to use across social media channels.
• Make a plan that details how to promote on each channel.
• Use targeted ads on each channel.
• Have ticket or promotion giveaways.
During:
•Monitor and engage with attendees by addressing questions, sharing interesting messages and addressing any complaints.
After:
•Evaluate the social media campaign.

Don’t Leap Over Leap Year
Take advantage of the uniqueness of February 29 to promote your business and interact with customers. Leap Year may seem like “low hanging fruit” for a marketing opportunity, but that is exactly what makes it the perfect occasion to treat customers to something special.

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