I am passionate about digital marketing. Using a data-driven and artistic approach, I take on projects that can meet or exceed an organization’s long-term strategic plan. My specialties include creative and analytical communication, brand development, and marketing & sales strategies that contribute toward business sustainability, scalability & an improved customer experience.
I created a brand strategy presentation with the hopes that it would inspire change. As mostly an introduction, I failed to address several elements, including company (Buyer) positioning, strategic factors and most importantly, key stakeholders (employees). Failures aside, I’m quite confident that I could deconstruct the design and come up with a feasible, long-term plan that would incite metrics for profitability, scalability and an improved customer experience.
The greater joy is the chance to do this work with a team. A fearless leader to look me in the eye and say, “This is amazing. But what are you going to do with it, Chona?”. And then, to be surrounded by other supportive creators; we could sit down together and come up with something rather attesting! Marketing is always about brilliance, because there are a trillion answers and a trillion more ways to approach what we do (thanks to our beautiful digital landscape!).
Enjoy #impromptus no. 3 and take note: having a template works wonders and I highly recommend it to anyone trying to develop their technical writing skills.
This project may seem simple to you, but it challenges the idea of giving and receiving. In our digital space, we give constantly. And is the return of our efforts (ROE) measured through digital collaboration (DC) enough? Think: total impact of IQ + EQ + PQ or a new notion ascertaining digital quotient (DQ) / digital equilibrium (DE) / digital aspect ROI (DAROI). *I will explore these ideas in a future post.
When my mother received letters from her suitors (a common practice in her time), she did not write back. She kept each letter as if to say, I realize you are all interested, however I will hold in my heart, the one who is right. Is this action right? Is it just? We observe a similar practice in Japanese culture. The ritual is gift-giving (action), rather than the gift itself. Huffpost.com describes it in three steps – the reveal, the denial and the recognition. Or, revelation of intelligence + denying impact of emotionality + recognition of our role and place in digital space.
Using this interpretation, I could say that this project was aimed to reveal part of my identity/intelligence (I now question its visual and linguistic legitimacy in my current digital explorations), to reflect my denial of attaching emotion to the act of giving and receiving, and finally to sustain 2-way recognition/communication (between seller and buyer in this case) of the journey (action) itself – “For the Japanese, gratitude is a battle of endurance.”
We need to evaluate the tone and style of our expressions (gratitude being relevant today) as we delve further and further into a state of digital collaboration. We are impacted and at what point are we actually bringing more clarity to situations and circumstance? This is sort of the concept of ‘niceties’ and because I aim to maintain a certain level of accuracy in my work, details are important, but should my actions impose more or less scrutiny in regards to how my audience receives my message? This ties everything back to: total impact of IQ + EQ + PQ or a new notion ascertaining digital quotient (DQ) / digital equilibrium (DE) / digital aspect ROI (DAROI).
As you make your way through the below, try to remove feelings of assumption or judgement. Art is for everyone. Despite my specific approach, there’s a core selection from each demographic (Baby Boomer to Gen Z) that relates to my work in its simplest form, in other words – the visual and the language. For this project, I give it back to them!
Abstract – slash / roboto / elephant
This project started out with a photoshoot. I was dressed as Wenda (Where’s Waldo’s girlfriend) and my friend Allegra and I captured a series of images in and around Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia, Canada. There was lunch at Troll’s (fish and chips of course) and a brief introduction/chat with family business owner Ab Troll. Then, tea at another local establishment Flour Bakery and the final shot – me peering over … The Giant Hedge.
I developed the concept around a youthful, graffiti-inspired (old BLOX style) rendering of sweetness or the sweet spot/’magic’ that we often search for in our interactions with brands and art projects in general. My old style was always striking, vibrant and street culture inspired. Think – Keith Haring meets baby Andy Warhol.
The first portion centres around strategy, the next on my Social Seller & Social Buyer personas and finally, the Wenda portion (introducing myself within a specific context) finalizes the presentation. I printed the images on glossy card stock and hand-cut each one with a paper cutter. The final presentation resembled 7-inch vinyl singles and are displayed most effectively in a stack, layed out as placards on a table or mounted onto a wall with colourful binder clips (yellow, purple or stainless steel would work).
Along with my visual presentation, I designed a series of stickers that were printed on matte sticker paper and cut by hand. I then assembled the stickers, one by one, into individual, resealable plastic bags. Two of the images are BLOX identity concepts. The one with the primary color wheel represents right-brained or creative BLOX and the other with the black and white bunny mascot (and letter B branded roboto typeface mouth) represents left-brained or technical BLOX. The remainder stickers were simple and fun applications of imagery used in the presentation. To top the set off, I made a collaborative-style logo (powered by) for the agency I was presenting to.
As a fun treat and tribute to the jam jar (featured in several of the images), I filled a couple of clear canisters with bright fruit candy (I once had a banana necklace) to match the colour theme and concept of sweetness. I also included a book containing 85 pages of work samples and creative/technical resources – collateral, white papers and articles. The book was bound using the specifications below:
8.5″ x 11″
Double Sided, Colour
Colour Laser, 98 Bright, 32-lb.
Binding – Wireless Binding – Black
Standard front cover
Pastel Yellow, 90-lb. Index
Standard back cover
Pastel Yellow, 90-lb. Index
The final products were wrapped in colourful confetti paper and fastened with two Jelly Marketing stickers. Everything was arranged bento-style in an unobtrusive Staples box with a package of fun pastel highlighters and a final ‘hello’ letter placed on top.
I am eternally dedicated to my work and process. This project was a homage to my academic background as a printmaker and street identity as a writer. When I was practicing regularly, the art forms themselves took shape. There was no plan, just creation. I would compare it to writing and reading classical music. I can’t really compare it to anything else. But my efforts today are different. They are positioned around understanding and fully utilizing the creative + technical aspects of my brain. So, now there is a need to plan and there is a need to create, but by having a specific outcome in mind.
At the end of it all, this has generated the foundation of A Brand Strategy. You will hear more about this in the coming year.
A few quick work goals for 2020 –
Find a job that I’m happy about
Develop Digital Presence business model
Develop A Brand Strategy
Next up: who’s down for white, black and corporate-friendly? Is it time to revisit my Digital Presence business model? Yes/No?
The question remains – To mail or not to mail? To give or not to give? To receive or not to receive? What matters most? Having or expecting? Waiting or forgetting? Are you a yes-man or a no-sayer? Check back guys!
I was excited about creating these designs. The work was produced using Canva and took about 30 hours (including printing and assembling) to complete. I left out the personal part of my proposal, but I hope you can derive a positive sentiment from the style + tone I chose to go after!
This portion of the proposal defines a brand strategy in three parts – the social media aspect (WHAT), art direction aspect (HOW) and digital specialty aspect (WHY). At best, these aspects are shared and applied to a project equanimously in order create a sweet spot, ‘the magic’ or WHERE and WHEN true potential can emerge.
This whole concept is derived from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Theory which purports that great organizations create their foundation by addressing WHY they exist, HOW they go about their mission, and then finally, WHAT they do.
In my model, social media is used as a product or service we sell, however this can be changed to web development, SEO, email marketing etc.
The HOW is the people who are involved in the project. It is what sets us apart from the competition. It is what makes us unique and indispensable.
Lastly, WHY is the ultimate outcome. Very few organizations know WHY they do what they do. Why is not about making money. That’s a result. Why is a purpose, cause or belief. It’s the very reason your organization exists.
In synergy, any set of core values can be realized. In my model, I value belief, faith, trust and love. As a brand strategist, my ultimate outcome paints a beautiful picture for both the seller and buyer. The PICTURE is the agency differentiating itself from competitors. WHERE and WHEN this occurs impacts results – profitability, scalability and customer experience.
Have a look at this brief slideshow and let me know what you think –
Remember, there is always room for further or greater interpretation. This is the sweetness of advertising. Branding is the #1 method we can use to portray our message, whether that message be creative, technical or both, a brand is responsible for defining who we are and what we do!
In my next few posts, I will showcase elements extracted from a direct mail proposal I created about brand strategy. The images below are a continuation of my Seller & Buyer persona study (also see image description in Previous Projects) and comment on the social aspect of selling and buying in the marketing industry.
Here is a pertinent excerpt from another relatable post Brand Names –
For example, we (Sellers & Buyers) make the same, dedicated connections when observing a special life experience. Then, this can be observed through products and services. We recall brand names and in the long-term, we remember who you are for what you can bring to the table. Then, the name you have chosen to attach to your products and/or services will become synonymous and eventually engrained in time.
The original document was printed on glossy cardstock and sized like a 10″ vinyl record cover. They were presented in a stack, so that the viewer could lay them out on a table and take in a visual and sensory experience.
I placed a variation of the BLOX rabbit mascot in the bottom right hand corner of the images, the seller mascot wearing the creative BLOX logo and the buyer mascot wearing the technical BLOX logo. I’ve just recently defined this aspect of my brand and have much more to explore regarding it in the future.
An example of a campaign would be to recognize employees within a large organization. This matters because each employee plays a specific part in helping the company succeed. The employees represent community, because they live where they work and work where they live. Think local (global further down the line), sustainable, viable and profitable.
An example of a promotion would be to develop quick, one-minute videos showing customers a range of products and how they could be used at home. Imagine a household cleaning products line or sleek and modern furniture for the bedroom, then promote the best-selling features of the products in an environment where buyers dwell. Think top of mind, clear, fast and evergreen.
At the end of the campaign/promotion cycle, offer an appealing call to action like, “Our products are made with environmentally friendly, cruelty-free ingredients! Click here to see PROOF and we’ll send you a FREE antibacterial cloth!” Or, offer a discount on stale inventory like, “Receive a FREE eco-friendly table lamp with any purchase of a nightstand!” Think longevity, adaptability, convenience and action.
The next step is establishing or fine-tuning the objectives for presentation. We need to understand the business’ identity (more to do with the company itself)and image (more to do with their brand) to develop an effective expression of their work.
Some examples of identity aspects would be things like catch phrases (trendy sayings), slogans (company mottos), keywords (descriptions), tone (for example academic or casual), values, a mission statement and a vision. Identity aspects can be imbued in the work and are most likely to be effective in a post’s caption or ad copy.
Some examples of image aspects would be things like branded colour scheme (best to stick to one or two), a logo (optional), a tag (optional), branded typeface (best to stick to one or two) and style (for example, sleek and modern). Image aspects can change, it’s important to be flexible.
Next, true potential will be revealed via design elements, bringing everything together for the audience to capture. The best design elements to consider would be things like source (where is the content coming from – stock imagery or work from an artist), medium (what forms do they want to use – photography, graphic design, text-based, video etc.), composition (how will images be composed), pattern (what pattern will the posts follow) and grid utilization (applying creativity to posting layouts).
The main goal of a social media strategy is to achieve balance + harmony with the work itself and to find the ‘sweet spot’/the magic for HOW the work is done. You will know your goal has been met when 1 – both the Seller & Buyer are satisfied with the results; 2 – an efficient workflow has been put into place; and 3 – you have a good idea of HOW to put everything together for publishing. And with the right timing/scheduling and succinctly, yet artfully composed caption/copy, clients’ social media platforms will sing! Think always compete with the best.
Remember, if our work is easily understood and done, then the client’s business can consider a greater capacity (which in turn opens up new avenues for us!). Have metrics set up to evaluate the work. If businesses are wondering HOW to put together the required metadata (aspects and elements) / to successfully scale relevant data (the large scale attributes like brand image and company identity) / which in turn impacts the fluency and efficacy of their overarching campaigns and promotions / we can provide a concept kit in a simple and easy to read format.
If you’re enjoying this new listicle style I’ve been using lately, please let me know. I would be happy to produce more work this way.