Black Friday Saving

Go with your hunch and request a custom quote today for a logo design, business card design or full branding package and you will receive 25% off. Our black Friday special runs all weekend long but don’t wait, get on it today!

The Work Hive – It’s How We Work

18 months ago, we played our Hunch and started our very own marketing business here in Saskatoon. Today – we have no regrets leaving the worker-bee lifestyle of a nine-to-five even though it felt like jumping out of an airplane at the time. How did we make it work? We brought together super talented freelancers and collectively, we formed our very own work hive.

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Engagement – Are You Ready To Commit To Your Customers?

When we think of the word engagement, many of us think about a commitment, a relationship. Now think about engagement and how it relates to your business.

  • How can we better develop relationships with our customers?
  • How can we show our commitment to our customers?
  • How can we expect our customers to stay committed to us?

These are important questions. Now more than ever, our customers have access to products and services from markets all over the world, so how can we keep them engaged to us?

Fostering Creativity

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Creativity is arguably the most important asset a company has, but also the most difficult one to harness.  The creative capital of a company is what sets it apart or keeps it ahead of the competition.  In the world of business, having a novel concept – whether it be a service, product or a combination of the two – is the difference between grasping the market, marketshare and the profits therein, or not.

Companies are quickly coming to the realization that in order to thrive, they must become more creative, which has lead to the creation of new roles within in organizations  (Innovation Manager, Chief Innovation Officer) or in some cases, entire business units to dedicated to this process.

In terms of the marketing industry, creativity can mean the difference between an average marketing solution and a wildly successful one.  While it can be difficult to measure, grasp and utilize creativity, there are ways to help find more creative solutions to a problem.

1. Reframe the Context – When we attempt to find a solution to a problem at hand, we often rely on our memory to pull from previous experiences that we’ve had in similar situations.  This comparative is what leads to similarities in solutions that an organization, and within it, an individual offers.

A solution to breaking out of this mindset, is to approach the problem from a different context.  Take a moment to think about how you approached the problem, and then attempt to describe it in an entirely different way.  This may require taking the standpoint of a different stakeholder, and can be helped along by asking someone who isn’t currently invested in finding a solution to the problem, such as a friend or a family member.

2. Free yourself from Failure – Outside of creating art for the sole purpose of art, it is difficult to think of a situation where the use of our creativity isn’t required for a right or wrong solution.  More aptly put:

 

 “Feedback generally promotes effort – because we want to impress the evaluator – but effort is insufficient for creativity.”

Peter Gray

If we are constantly concerned with creating something to a particular standard – external or otherwise – then we are forced to rely on internal understandings of what fits the bill.  Remove these barriers, and freedom reigns, promoting true creativityAn excellent example of this is the 80/20 rule, adopted by Google, where employees are allowed to dedicate up to 20% of their work time on personal projects they believe will benefit the company.

3. The thinker vs. the drinker – Concentrating solely on the problem at hand can hamper efforts of finding a novel solution.  It can be difficult to remove our thoughts from the progress that we’ve made on a problem, thus forcing our train of thought to continuously reach the same or similar conclusions. Sure, looking at a spreadsheet for hours on end, using the test-retest method, can help find what numbers are off or missing, but truly coming up with a creative solution to a problem may require removing yourself from that problem.  This could be anything from going to the gym, pacing your office, having a 15-minute breather with a colleague or yes, even having a drink.

My suggestion: Carry a notebook around with you, write down your inspirations and apply them to the problem at hand – if they are relevant or not!  Often times the best solutions come to us when we are least thinking about them.

4. Get Bored! Giving yourself some free time to do absolutely nothing seems near to impossible today.  From the moment we wake and check the AM emails we are constantly connected to technology that is designed to make our lives easier, but has in turn made us more accessible and therein inundated with the mundane.  When was the last time you didn’t check your phone, nonstop, while waiting for another to arrive for a lunch date?

We live in a culture obsessed with being busy, so freeing your mind from outside distractions can be difficult.  One way to achieve a blank state of mind is to practice meditation (Meditation: Small dose, big effect via PsychToday).  More often than not however, this point will come at the end of the night, as you lie in bed, right before sleep kicks in.  So don’t forget that notebook!

For a more robust reading of how to break of your creative slump, please read Psychology Today, Vol. 46, No.3, May/June 2013.

Fleeing_creativity_by_berthjan

To create a controversial ad or play it safe…that is the question!

In today’s society where social media and viral videos are at the top of the marketing game, advertising campaigns must be able to break through the noise, grab your attention and create a buzz! Every year, people around the world complain about ads, taking offence to the messages intended merely to sell products. On that same note, it is often times these ads that go viral, where millions of eyeballs are stimulated by the “shock advertising”.

Risk and Reward - Words on Dice

“Family first, product second.”

Liberty Bottleworks - Response to irate customer

There have been many examples of how companies can effectively use social media for customer service in recent weeks, most of which show how the use of social media can add a personal touch to a large corporation, and provide a positive experience for customers. That is until recently.

Transform Your Company Blog Into A Marketing Machine

So you decided as a company you were going to start blogging. You hear it’s the cool thing to do and everyone is telling you that it could really help your business. You call a team meeting and lay it all out for your staff. To keep things organized, you even put together a blog schedule and your team now has a new item on the To-Do-List every week. Sounds great but in reality, things get messy. Your blog is full of boring and blah content that your staff is just throwing together so they can say they got it done.

Now your biggest fear is that your readers and clients will think this is junk but don’t worry, there are steps you can take to transform your blog into an effective marketing machine.

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Our Time with the University of Saskatchewan

We are Saskatoon’s small business marketing agency and our management team and contractors are all University of Saskatchewan alumni. Why am I telling you this? Well because a few months ago, we were approached to create a “recruitment experience” for the U of S.  It was a no-brainer for us. We’re proud U of S alumni and it was a great way to get back into the University scene…I would love to go back for just one more term (I think most of us alumni would say the same thing).

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Every year, universities across Canada set out with a goal of attracting students from close to home and around the world. The U of S has a lot to offer but year after year, a generic Powerpoint presentation was their main communication tool for recruitment. Boring! They knew it…we knew it. Nowadays, fancy transitions and cool photography just doesn’t cut it. With today’s technology, there are so many cool things to be done. This year, they wanted to break through the noise and throw a curve ball. The U of S brought on our team to create a recruitment experience like none other. They wanted to stand out from the crowd and make a statement! We did just that.

Emotion & Advertising

“Intellect and Emotion are partners who do not speak the same language. The intellect finds logic to justify what the emotions have decided. Win the hearts of the people, their minds will follow.”

– An Excerpt from The Wizard of Ads by Roy H. Williams

I first read The Wizard of Ads in 2008, and these were the words that stuck with me. Since then I have gained a real appreciation for advertising campaigns that create an emotional response.  Through creating an emotional response, regardless of what emotion it is,  you remove barriers that rationale places, and begin forming a relationship, a feeling, and a memory. How an advertisement makes you feel will be what you associate with that product or business.

Inbound Marketing VS Outbound Marketing – We Have A Winner

inbound-marketing-vs-outbound-marketingIt’s a crowded world out there and marketing is now about breaking through all the noise and being relevant. Sounds easy right? Not so much. Is your marketing strategy resulting in sympathy cards? Don’t worry – you are not alone. In fact, most small business owners in Saskatoon are facing the exact same pain points when it comes to marketing their product or service. In today’s society, people have to get away from “build it and they will come” and instead focus on “build it, market it and they will come.” There are two ways to market your business or organization and it’s a mighty clash between “Inbound Marketing” vs “Outbound Marketing”.