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Dealing with Alternative Facts: The Importance of Truth in your Brand Storytelling and Marketing

marketing tips

Looking back on 2016, the decision by Oxford’s Dictionary to name ‘post-truth’ as their word of the year feels remarkably prescient. I honestly thought that the fudging of the truth done by Brexit campaigners and Trump’s liberal use of facts were going to be an aberration, that ‘post-truth’ is just going to a word-of-the-moment thing that would quickly fall out of favor but it turns out I was wrong. We’re now about 6 months into 2019 and it’s been firmly established that we’re now living in a post-truth era.

The year 2016 opened up our eyes on how disruptively powerful fake news can be, especially when combined with the far-reaching power of social media. On a large scale, they can be used to effectively hijack a referendum and a presidential election while on a much smaller scale, these distortions of truths and facts can be used to create a brand narrative to bolster its standings. It’s the latter that is going to be the focus of our discussion and one that should be of particular interest to marketers and SEO services alike.

Brand storytelling in the age of alternative facts

Mere weeks after 2016 ended, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager and now counselor to the president, underscored the absurdity of the age we live in when she used the phrase ‘alternative facts’ in a discussion about the attendance numbers for Trump’s inauguration, which was notably smaller than the one for Obama’s. Last year, just as Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s administration was ramping up, the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, made waves by saying that ‘truth isn’t truth’ and that facts are essentially in the eyes of the beholder.

This depressing line of thinking isn’t just strictly limited to the political world; we’ve seen several marketing examples in the past few years that eerily resemble these talking points. First, we have the comically absurd case of Billy McFarland’s Fyre Festival, where a promise of a luxurious festival experience in the Bahamas turned out to be a real-life reenactment of The Hunger Games. There’s also the case of Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos where she went from holding the number one spot in a list of richest self-made women in Forbes in 2015 to being charged for defrauding investors in 2018.

In both of these cases, they both were pushing a certain kind of narrative that holds little to no basis on the truth and as expected, the backlash for both was as harsh as they were swift. Elizabeth Holmes in particular, with a black turtleneck and an eccentric personality that is not unlike Steve Jobs, was extensively covered in the mainstream media for a few years before her house of cards came tumbling down. Both McFarland and Holmes are now famous for all the wrong reasons and that’s the kind of future prepared for you once you start playing around with the facts.

Latching on to a truthful narrative

Finding a great pair of jeans is easy; you can easily find quality raw selvedge denim made by small, premium brands all over Australia but so far, the only denim brand I actually love is Sweden’s Nudie Jeans. Not because of the quality of their product but because their commitment to sustainability. Loving a brand’s product is different from loving a brand and this is what makes brand storytelling potentially powerful as they can inspire the kind of loyalty that quality products simply won’t be able to.

The key to this loyalty however is trust and the funny thing with trust is that once they’re broken, they’re not something that could easily be regained and the internet has a ridiculously long memory. From here on out, every single time you look up McFarland’s or Holmes’ name on Google, you’re going to be presented with a chronicle of their misdeeds. I don’t know if this is a case of Wikipedia vandalism but Billy McFarland’s occupation is now listed as fraudster, not entrepreneur as he originally claimed.

Finding your own truth

A brand’s narrative is their identity and if a brand doesn’t have an identity, what would make you stand out from an ocean of similar businesses. It would be like trying to connect to a machine that churns out one product after another. Sure, the product might be of a high quality but they would be sorely lacking in personality. Dig deep into your business (or yourself) and try to find out what makes you, you and try to use the same line of thinking into your company.

A life unexamined is not a life worth living and trust me when I say that a dash of existential crisis every now and then is actually good for your soul. Asking those big questions can be life-affirming and they might be just exactly what you need to discover your brand’s truth. If you’ve been asking those questions for a while now and you still find yourself without an answer, then you might have bigger problems than just your marketing. Your brand identity should serve as the core foundation of your business, including your marketing, and without a message to send, your marketing would just be pure fluff.

Calling Card: 4 Reasons Why Every Business Website Needs a Logo

web design tips

First things first, let’s get it out of the way that I decided to write this thanks to the news about Persona 5 Royal, an upcoming enhanced edition of the 2017 hit video game Persona 5. In both games, you control the ringleader of a high-school vigilante group, nicknamed the Phantom Thieves, that tries to change the hearts of corrupted adults by invading their subconscious realm known in-game as the ‘Metaverse’ and stealing their ‘Treasure’. I know, it’s quite a lot to process, but what I would like to draw your attention to is how the Phantom Thieves operate.

Before each heist, the Phantom Thieves sent out a calling card emblazoned with their logo of a party mask wearing a top hat and the words ‘Take your heart’ written on the card. Persona 5 is a uniquely stylish game and this calling card and the Phantom Thieves logo is a huge part of that style. The visual styling of the game and the dominant color scheme of black and red used in the game is reflected in the logo, which practically represents the identity of the overall game. This reason is what makes the logo so important and why, in terms of web design, it’s important for a business to have a logo.

The purpose of a logo

A logo isn’t exactly a piece of art nor is logo a bland mark of identity the way barcode is; it’s a combination of both. A logo has to be visually distinctive and representative while still being visually appealing. The uncultured probably has no idea why the Starbucks logo is that of a mermaid but anyone who’s ever read Melville’s seminal book, Moby Dick, knows that Starbuck is the name of the first made aboard the Pequod, the whaler captained by Ahab in his pursuit of the titular whale. The mermaid is just a natural extension of the nautical theme carried by the name.

The name and the logo don’t really have anything to do with coffee but it was unique and distinctive enough that even a mere glimpse of the logo would lead your brain to connect it with Starbucks. It’s not the coffee or the pumpkin spice latte that makes Starbucks, Starbucks. It’s that mermaid staring at you from the side of the cup, which is exactly what the logo was designed for. Your logo is the leading protagonist when it comes to your brand identity and this one fact results in 4 different reasons why your logo is essential to your website

Your logo dictates the overall styling of your website

Just how the dominant color scheme displayed in Persona 5’s calling card reflects the entire video game; the aesthetic of your company’s logo forms the aesthetic foundation of your web design. The Starbucks website for example features the color green in a dominant role and the website for the sandwich chain Subway also features a highly visible green and yellow color scheme. Color is just one easy example of how a logo could affect the overall design of your website but other factors could also be affected.

For example, it is possible that the typeface your website is going to use relies on your logo. In the website for Persona 5, the typeface used for the headings is identical to the one used in the calling card, which is similar to the cut-and-paste letters typically seen in ransom notes. The logo represents the core identity of your company so it only makes sense for your web design, which forms the digital representation of your company, to take after the identity of your logo.

The logo act as the compass in your website

In pretty much every website I could name, clicking on the logo would take me to the homepage of said website. A logo isn’t there just for simple eye candy, it can also perform specific functions; as a mark of consistency in your web design and to provide users with a specific navigation tool. Just as how a compass would always point to the magnetic, not geographic, North Pole of this planet, the logo should always lead to the homepage of your website. It’s also important to make sure that the logo stays on the same position in every single page of your website to ensure consistency.

For the purpose of branding

The Ferrari is commonly referred to as ‘the prancing horse’ thanks to their logo, taken from the emblem of Italian WW1 ace pilot Francesco Baracca. The Italians are particularly smart when it comes to branding as Lamborghini typically names their car based on Spanish fighting bulls, which also happens to be their logo. When used intelligently and in conjunction with other parts of your business, your logo could be used as a unique branding opportunity since your logo is unique to your company.

It’s what the audience expects and sometimes demands

As of now, whenever I’m looking for a new pair of jeans, I always try to look for brands with a signature back pockets. Other than the fact that these back pocket stitching could help imbue a pair of jeans with a semblance of life, I also like it when a brand has their own mark of identity they use on their products. This is why it’s important for a business to have their own logo proudly displayed on their website as it’s a visual identifier that is now pretty much expected by the audience and in my case, demanded.

The Most Engaging Types of Digital Marketing Content Your Audience Will Absolutely Love

content tips

When you are in a happy relationship, the problem is not about if your partner loves you or not. It is more about whether your relationship will stay that way or end quickly. Sometimes we can get something so easily, but preserving the value is another story. The real example I can give you is; a trend. It is so easy for a popular product to be the hype in the industry, but so quick to disappear once another new hyped up trend comes in. It is easy to spend money for shopping, but it is hard to manage it. As a person who works at a creative agency that provides web design, web development and SEO services as well as other services that can help clients’ business grow, my hardest challenge of keeping up my good work is how to keep audience interested in my content so that my clients will find more new customers as well. That being said, with our team’s hard work, we have succeeded in keeping our clients satisfied with our work by using more engaging types of digital marketing content that will keep audience entertained and of course they will absolutely love it. How? Keep reading to find out!

Videos and motion graphics

Be honest with me, when you see some content, which one would you prefer; video or text? I absolutely love videos and motion graphics and I’m pretty sure many people would choose videos over text. However, there is one thing you should understand when it comes to having video as content; the way you engage with viewers in that videos or motion graphics. I always go to YouTube to watch videos about life-changing lifestyle tips, but I don’t like the type of video where a man or a woman just talking about some tips in the video without including tools or aspects that can engage and interact with viewers. I always love watching content from Improvement Pill on YouTube. Instead of flat out talking about tips, they use graphic motion and great animation to boost the explanation and turn it into entertaining education. Sure you can still use the usual real-person video, but make sure you add fun stuff in it.

Infographics and social media micronarratives

Static content is a powerful tool for capturing and keeping audiences’ attention. On social media, share small snippets of information like fascinating graphs, for example, that can stand alone in posts. Using mini-infographics can also drive traffic to full-length infographics living on your site or blog.

Interactive infographics

According to Demand Metric, interactive content can boost a 70-percent conversion rate. That’s because interactive infographics, widgets, landing pages and more can help viewer personalise content for themselves. BuzzFeed’s famous quizzes are the good example for that. I for one am fond of their fun quizzes. I love it when I visit an online shopping website with features like interactive infographics or quiz because it is more effective to help me know useful things about myself and find what kind of products that are suitable for me.

Even though there is nothing wrong with using text for content, too much of it can make the content dull and lifeless. Engaging types of digital marketing content like those I have mentioned above can help you communicate better with your target audience as well as boost their interest in buying your products or hiring your services.