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Looking for a Better Client-Agency Relationship? Look No Further

Looking for a Better Client-Agency Relationship? Look No Further

Sara Gaviser Leslie is a brand marketer, creative consultant, and former Emotive Brand employee. After years of thriving on the agency-side of the equation, she recently took an interim position at Course Hero to experience the client-side of things. If you’re looking to improve your client-agency relationship, here are her five tips to make sure every project is a success. *** The Client-Agency Relationship Until recently, I’ve never experienced a brand creative project from the client-side. I was always the consultant. But, recently, when I took an interim but full-time role with a client,...
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When Your Values Aren’t Really Values

When Your Values Aren’t Really Values

Beware of Generic Values In the inboxes and Slack channels at Emotive Brand, there is a video that often gets shared before we embark on a brand video. It’s called “This Is a Generic Brand Video, by Dissolve,” and it’s a hilarious satire of when you try to make your brand stand for everything, it ends up standing for nothing. “Equality, innovation, honesty, and advancement,” the narrator says, in a salt-of-the-earth grumble, “are all words we chose from a list.” Company values not only shape the external identity of your organization, they act as an internal compass for your current and...
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Company Culture Trends for 2020

Company Culture Trends for 2020

At Emotive Brand, we’ve always been strong believers in the role that a company’s culture and people play in a business’ success. Yes, a sound strategy, a strong brand, and great execution matter, but ultimately, it’s a company’s people that make it happen—because without their efforts and belief in a company’s strategy and vision, even the best strategic plans will falter. Or as the saying goes: “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” There are tried and true ways to build a strong culture: a compelling vision and mission; values that are co-created across the company vs....
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The New Web: How Development Tools and Collaboration Enable New Design

The New Web: How Development Tools and Collaboration Enable New Design

From 2007 until very recently, the web was infiltrated by the same design patterns. Everyone is familiar with this: a generic headline with a call to action, three icons below describing features, and a few full-width, black-tinted images with text on top. When Sketch burst onto the scene in 2010, the web design discipline sped up, but the developer hand-off process was still tedious. Dimensions were specified using redlines, and the web was built with block and inline elements. Flash was dying, and there were no tools for designers to easily bring their more expressive designs to life....
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Employer Branding Trends for 2020

Employer Branding Trends for 2020

Today, we’re continuing our deep dive into the most important trends affecting your business, brand, and culture heading into 2020. Following our look at content strategy, let’s examine employer brands. Remember when the common sentiment toward millennials was laden with disgust? Who were those entitled young people and their outrageous demands for flexibility, remote working, and—gasp—having a greater purpose in work than making money? It wasn’t that long ago, but oh how the tides have changed. Now, as we all know, those “millennial” demands have not just become normalized, but meeting them...
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Content Strategy Trends for 2020

Content Strategy Trends for 2020

As the decade winds down to a close, we’re taking a look at the most important trends affecting your business, brand, and culture heading into 2020. First up, we’re examining all things content strategy: tone, technology, and personalization. Let’s do it. Mobile > Everything Else The simple truth is if it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work. There can be no compromise when it comes to the look, feel, or content strategy of the mobile experience—considering it is the dominant experience. In 2020, even more emphasis will be placed on increasing mobile user interaction. If your...
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Accessible Design Must Be the Rule, Not the Exception

Accessible Design Must Be the Rule, Not the Exception

In the nascent days of computing, the highly sought after feature we now call “dark mode” was the standard. Cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors got their green-on-black look from the phosphor inside of the screens. While this technology was long-ago abandoned, dark themes have re-entered the zeitgeist as the latest “new innovation.” “It’s thoughtfully designed to make every element on the screen easier on your eyes,” Apple claimed in its announcement of the feature for iOS 13. But here’s the thing: there’s no real evidence that’s true. For people with astigmatisms (approximately 50%...
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Stop Worrying About Getting Attention and Start Paying Attention

Stop Worrying About Getting Attention and Start Paying Attention

The most valuable currency in the world is the fact you’re reading this right now. Your attention is like a scarce mineral and companies will blast mountains with dynamite for the tiniest trace element of it. It’s safe to say we live in the attention economy. In exchange for everything being “free,” we have transitioned from being customers to the product. The phrase “time is money” has always rung true, but never before has it been so monetized or measured. As a result, naturally, brands desperately want to know one thing above all else: how do we get attention? How do we differentiate, go...
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Don’t Let Your Product Ruin Your Brand

Don’t Let Your Product Ruin Your Brand

It’s a tale as old as time. You can’t sell product without a brand; you can’t sell brand without a product. Product designers and brand designers are sometimes viewed as adversarial disciplines, but in truth, both sides are working toward the same goal with different tools. But what’s the right balance? And how can you get the best of both worlds? To begin, a bit of level-setting. Product Designers Product design is commonly defined as the approach to building a new product from start to finish. This encompasses market research, identifying problems, product development, designing informed...
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Eight Questions to Evaluate the Strength of Your Brand

Eight Questions to Evaluate the Strength of Your Brand

Do you ever wonder about the strength of your brand? And its impact on your business? Do you monitor it and measure it? Do you evaluate it like you do for your business? If you wanted to know how it’s doing, would you even know what questions to ask? We’ve put together a quick diagnostic test to help CEOs assess when it’s time to for a strategic brand check-up. Eight Questions to Ask Yourself to Evaluate the Strength of Your Brand Does your company have a purpose that your employees live up to every day? Is it meaningfully activated in your corporate strategy, inspiring how your business...
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What Makes a Perfect Concept Statement?

What Makes a Perfect Concept Statement?

Over the course of a branding project, there are thousands of micro-decisions to make along the way. As much as possible, agencies try to establish a common way of seeing and evaluating work to minimize decision fatigue. In our case, we create an Emotional Impact and a Brand Idea. We start by identifying four emotions we want to evoke in our target audiences, and then craft a big idea that brings these emotions to life across business, brand, and culture. The thing is, as much as you try to establish frameworks and lenses and litmus tests, you can only ask a client to hold so much in their...
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Three Key Advantages of a Strong Brand Strategy

Three Key Advantages of a Strong Brand Strategy

Active Brand Management A brand strategy can take what people know and believe about your business to new levels. Active brand management takes a valuable asset that may now be largely underused and turns it into a powerful competitive weapon. Regardless of how sophisticated your current approach to branding is, your business has a “brand” today, though you may have acquired it by default. Simply by being active in the marketplace, your business will have accrued a reputation, a level of fame, and a degree of notoriety (for better or worse) with your customers, and within your industry. A...
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Business Imperative: Socializing Strategy

Business Imperative: Socializing Strategy

One of the first things we learn in business is the importance of “having a plan.” Preferably, it should be a strategic plan, complete with milestones, action items, KPIs, and other important measures. This is definitely true. You need to have a plan, and you need to be socializing strategy. As someone who’s been in the consulting game for many years, I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat down with new clients only to discover that while there may, in fact, be a carefully (and expensively) constructed strategic plan, it’s a mystery to most employees. Chances are, they learned...
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Why Business Leaders Must Address the Big Picture

Why Business Leaders Must Address the Big Picture

Business Leaders, Caught in the Small Picture It’s easy for business leaders to get caught up in the details of everyday business, assuming the role of micromanager, not leader. And because leaders may not be focusing on big-picture questions surrounding the vision, mission, and value of their business and brand, many leaders end up feeling stuck—trying to figure out how to implement strategies without any real framework to guide these decisions. As a result, employees and middle managers can often suffer. Too often, big-picture questions are dismissed as important, but not necessarily...
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Non-Business Books to Improve Your Brain and Brand

Non-Business Books to Improve Your Brain and Brand

When I worked in a bookstore, I would often help young businesspeople find the books their bosses wanted them to read. This assignment was to help them expand their thinking, get a new perspective, and stand out from the crowd. But invariably, they would always ask for “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” or if they were in sales, “The Art of War.” To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with these titles! But in the words of Haruki Murakami, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is...
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