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For the Right Audience, a Print Redux

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Evercore_IT_Winter2015_low_7We like to say that we’re “media-agnostic,” meaning that we are open to whatever strategy and channel works most effectively. Depending on the audience needs, printed thought leadership may be an important component of a larger, 360-degree, integrated content marketing program. Such is the case with Evercore Wealth Management, which publishes Independent Thinking four times annually.

Our team redesigned the publication in 2014 and through a partnership with the client organization, continues to design and produce each edition. The publication is but one part of a system of content being published by Evercore Wealth Management, with each of the main articles coordinated to appear on the rotating carousel of the firm’s website. The winter edition, featured here, shares insights on Tax-Efficient Wealth Planning, the Investing Outlook for 2015, and Planning to Achieve “The Number” — that milestone which leaves us financially independent.

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God is in the details: A sophisticated “tiered reader experience,” crafted with entry points and easily digestible, engaging presentation of content

Working with the client team, we’ve collaborated to package a best-practice corporate journal — elegant design fitting for the audience, with a compelling composition of industry insights, thought leadership, arresting photographs, and current data shown as easy, clear information graphics.

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For more information, visit www.evercorewealthmanagement.com. If you have an interest in improving the quality of your content marketing or corporate communications, please visit www.iridiumgroup.com.

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Case Study: Burford Capital

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

burfordcapital_2In 2014, our group led a strategic redesign of the flagship website for Burford Capital, a legal financing firm that helps clients with business risk solutions and funding for corporate litigation. The site was just recently launched, reflecting a culmination of many months of work in research, planning, design, and development by IridiumGroup and the client team.
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A phase of stakeholder interviews shared insights into the company’s strategic goals, audiences, communications and channels, brand image, competitive set, and content needs of the site.

A proposed navigation, site structure, and wireframes were developed to meet the usability needs of several key audiences on both the legal and the corporate, client side. Burford Capital’s marketing leaders directed the content and navigation. It was important to deliver the proper messaging and desired user experience to all audiences, whether the purpose was to explain litigation funding, convey its business value, report progress to investors, share whitepapers, or to provide a deeper tier of reading and related links.
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The discovery that was done with Burford’s executive management team provided critical insights that guided and informed the design. Burford Capital works predominantly in academic, intellectual property and provide a full suite of solutions, but in some ways is also an investment institution. Early in the process, it was clear that the design should be typographical, or word- and content-driven, with a focus on delivering information in a clear, simple, easily accessible manner.

Also, we wanted to provide a visual expression and platform that would appeal to corporate attorneys, CFO’s, in-house counsel and corporate risk professionals. Our team worked to deliver an approachable, engaging, and inviting experience — but also, one with a quiet, restrained, and elegant presentation of data points and information. It was our goal to project a brand image of global thought-leadership in the emerging world of litigation finance and legal risk solutions. For more information, visit: http://www.burfordcapital.com/

 

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Innovations, Driven by a Monotony of Marketing

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

My job affords me a luxury. I have tremendous gratitude for the things I have learned over the years as we have led cross-industry brand initiatives for some of the world’s leading organizations. But at times, all it takes is a long walk in the city to observe new ideas. Considering this blog, which was intended to reflect the current culture or a snapshot of contemporary marketing, I’m seeing that there are many varied items of interest emerging lately — perhaps appropriate to the disruptive, seemingly haphazard business and communications climate we live in. I’ll share a brief note here that relates to a compelling trend I’m noticing on the streets of New York.

The User Experience
I don’t think it would be an irresponsible statement to say that a lot of consultants base advice to clients on their own perceptions as a customer. I do it. I’m human. I see advertisements, retail merchandising, integrated marketing, and digital or traditional direct campaigns, and I see and how effective — or at times, how ineffective — a particular practice can be.

IMG_20140905_162443Lately, I see great examples of innovation in marketing. Take my stroll down Columbus Avenue last weekend, where I stumbled upon an interactive experience in real estate outside the offices of Halstead, a real estate broker in New York. The touch screen display offers profiles of new properties available to anyone casually passing by. That’s west side Manhattan, but on the east side, the Halstead experience has a counterpart that is perhaps even more novel: The cupcake ATM at Sprinkles. Yes, I wrote cupcakes — available to pedestrians in an automatic, street-facing display. Each cupcake costs $4.25 and buyers can choose from among red velvet, cinnamon sugar, Cuban coffee, and banana dark chocolate. Served in a small pink and brown box, cupcakes are available at the ATM on a 24/7 basis, and replenished throughout the day by bakers inside the store.

What’s driving these types of experiential marketing innovations? Well, one explanation is that technological advancements over the last 25 years have created a mind-numbing, geometric growth in channels to reach the consumer. As a result, it all means less, and along with desensitized consumers comes more noise — or a different kind of noise. In brief, the constant drone of a billion messages across a billion microchannels is pushing marketers to discover to new ways to share their message.

The people who develop and activate brands realized that in order to be heard and seen, they have no choice but to create experiences that are disruptive, ways to engage weary customers with arresting and novel ideas. That provocative headline, offer for “free” or “discounted” product, those reward programs and that daring (is it even legal?) photograph? It’s no longer enough. Now, we need cupcakes dispensed to our waiting, sugar-deprived hands on the street — which, will also create a social buzz and gain lots of earned media to build the brand. In the weeks and months to come, look for this trend to get even greater traction. The digital marketing experience, in my opinion, has failed on many fronts to truly engage and earn loyal customers. Technology presents marketers with a new playing ground and new opportunities, but we have yet to tap the vast possibilities to engage, inform, and inspire consumers. But interactive pictures of houses listed for sale, and cupcakes dispensed on the street? Now, that’s a beginning.

IMG-20140831-00844The fall is an inspirational time and I have folders with dozens of clipped articles and saved links to share, so I’ll be updating this blog frequently. We also have a flurry of new prospects and leads in the hopper that are yielding interesting dilemmas and challenges for our clients, and our A-team of professionals. Is it possible to make a compelling print magazine that appeals to that ever-elusive Millennial? Are eBooks a thing of the past, or have they simply not been marketed well enough? What’s the best way to pique the interest of the affluent patriarch, or how can one best engage the corporate attorney? Solving these and other questions is a large part of my job, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

As part-hobby, I’ve also been photographing another trend in what once would have been called guerrilla marketing, and which now I suppose we can call experiential retail: A review of outrageous food trucks, which I’ll share in a future blog.

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Posted in Advertising, Brand Identity, Brand Image, Business, Customer Experience, Design, Marketing, Media, Social Media, Technology | No Comments »

 

90 days, and counting

Monday, August 25th, 2014

HEUER-STOP-WATCH-STH810As of today, we have precisely 90 business days left until 2015. In addition to fall being “back to school” season, it’s also “getting back to business” time as we begin the sprint to year-end and the promise of the new year ahead.

Bear Bryant famously said, “It’s not the will to win that matters. . . everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

It’s difficult to understand any company being satisfied with the status quo of their business. By now, many of us have learned that this isn’t exactly the age for complacency. The climate is volatile and shifting rapidly; every business market is disruptive and unpredictable. Things change and new opportunities — and challenges — arise. For the marketing industry, it’s the globalization of labor, but also the digital revolution, which has created thousands of new micro channels through which we build brands.

As confusing as it is, this is definitely not the time to wait it out on the sideline, or feel content with traditional practices. If anything, there’s an urgent need to assess the organizational plan, tighten or sharpen all messaging, and better define the most appropriate channels.

At our offices, we are in meeting several times each week to better understand the behaviors of buyers in those markets where our clients work, as well as the ones where we work. We ask, “What changes to value are driving their emerging needs, and how to be positioned more effectively to serve those needs?” It’s about practical, tangible business results more than it ever has been.

On the client side, it can be a daring, brave gesture for any leader in any organization to raise their hand and suggest that the brand can be challenged, that the modus operandi of marketing operations can be better. The inaction, however, is definitely the greater evil.

What actions can you take now to prepare to take your organization further, grow your business, and seize emerging opportunities in the market? How can you improve the performance of your brand and communications? What would empower you to compete more effectively than you have in previous years?

You can make 2015 as successful as you wish. All it takes is a commitment to make smart decisions, work hard, and build your brand with clear and compelling messaging that conveys your value proposition.

IridiumGroup can help your organization define the obstacles, set goals, develop your strategy, and create a strategic marketing and communications plan that will lead to a successful platform for your brand. Together, we can develop the tactical tools to engage and activate new business opportunities to enable positive change for your organization.

Some of our most successful clients have taken those steps; others are working to position themselves to capture emerging opportunities. There’s no time like the present for you to get started. Visit our website to learn more, or contact me to discuss how we can collaborate on your behalf – and make the most of the 90 days ahead.

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Posted in Advertising, Brand Identity, Brand Image, Business, Customer Experience, Design, Marketing, Media, Social Media, Technology | No Comments »

 
DWAYNE FLINCHUM
Founder & President,
IridiumGroup Inc.

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