We quite often get asked in initial client meetings why strong creative is so important? Our first comment often touches upon how customer engagement is so vital, and the largest piece of that is the creative direction and communication of your brand. Our second comment points out how strong creative can tell your story effectively. Impactful creative makes consumers identify easier with your messaging and will likely increase your sales and market share. For us, cohesive branding is an essential piece to every business and one of the starting points for building a strong foundation as a company.
Let’s circle back to the essence of why creative is important: to differentiate yourself and capture your audience as those are some of the main reasons we market in the first place. It all starts in the beginning and having the strong and properly positioned creative to build your campaigns off. Once this is completed, it makes it a lot easier to get your mission accomplished.
As an award-winning branding agency, we are often approached to develop a brand from scratch. Sometimes, all clients have is a passionate idea and a general direction on where they want to head towards. Or, there are clients who have done some of the legwork, but have a name + logo they’re not in love with and doesn’t reach the standard they want to achieve.
We love all our projects, but getting to work on a brand from the first step – the name – makes us all kinds of happy. Naming a product or brand is an interesting process. With the limited amount of available domains and overwhelming amount of existing companies in the world, you really have to get creative to find a unique name. And creative is what we like to be.
Of course, many will say: “Well, Google isn’t a word. Just make it up.” Yes, there are very famous brand names that are made up, but they are the result of dozens of hours of brainstorming, brand research, and brand strategy during their corporate branding process. And it’s this process of brand brainstorming that fills our creative glasses with creative juices.
Now – let’s break down how the helium team comes up with a really cool name.
1 // The Discovery Session + Brand Foundation All our branding projects start with a Discovery Session that gathers the decision makers + our entire creative studio to uncover why the client started the company, who does it serve, what makes them unique, and what are the upcoming goals.
It is through this meeting that we grab key words, terms, phrases, and audible nuggets that we’ll use to guide the naming process.
Before we starting working on the names, we first create a solid brand foundation consisting of positioning statement, brand story, and mission statement. Without these key brand components, finding an appropriate name would be impossible as the name is only 1 small component of a multi-dimensional brand experience.
2 // Word Vomit
Our Creative Manager, Enid, loves to describe this next phase as the ‘word vomit phase.’ This is where each of us at the agency write down every name we can think of. The good, the bad, and the very bad. Writing down names you know won’t work is crucial to the process. If you censor your brain than you’re stopping yourself from exploring all the possible naming options before you even think of them.
During this stage we also write down adjectives, emotions and random thoughts that can turn into taglines.
3 // Research + Refine Since pretty much every word under the sun is not available as a URL and there are hundreds of thousands of brands out in the universe, we don’t want to fall in love with a name to later discover a competitor has it or there is absolutely no way to make it work for the website domain or available social media handles. So each of us take our list of favorite names and research to see what’s available within their industry. Is there a creative way to spell the word or can another word be added to it that will better identify the client? These are questions we ask ourselves during the refining process.
4 // Voting All the favorite – and vetted – names are gathered into 1 list that is passed along to all team members. Not knowing who came up with which name, we all take a vote on which names would best fit the project knowing – at this stage – all the background on the client and the solidified brand foundation. The names with the most votes then go through a secondary vetting process.
5 // Name Vetting With the top names written on a white board [or whatever we find handy to write on in the studio] we then go through the pros and cons of each name in regards to the client’s product and industry. Through an open discussion, the goal is to leave the meeting with a handful of strong names or – sometimes – with the task to go back to step 2 and work on more naming options.
6 // The Moment We’ve Been Waiting For After we have a selection of strong + scrutinized names we present them to the client along with our reasoning. As humans, we resist change and since this is the first time the client is seeing a word they’re supposed to adopt, it can be hard to understand where it’s coming from or the why. For us, it’s important that we’re there for our clients to answer any questions as to how we came up with these names we’re suggesting they move forward with for their passion project, multi-million dollar luxury development or new venture.
Not only does January mean planning how we will market ourselves for the year ahead, it also means looking back at what we put out there in the past year to see what content received the most engagement and how we can incorporate more of that success going forward. For example, at the end of every month we send out a helium eblast that shares what we’ve been up to. If you’re not receiving it, you should be, so sign up here as fast as you can [scroll to the bottom of the page]. You don’t want to miss another month!
Recently we spent some time analyzing the results of our email campaigns over the past year to see what juicy tidbits could be extracted and figured we’d share some effective strategies.
Variety is the spice of life, so we like to vary the content in our eblasts. Some month’s we give an inside peak into life at the studio, other times we share projects we’re working on or have completed, and we also like to highlight our clients. By mixing things up every month your audience will be more likely to open your message.
MailChimp is the handy service we use to deploy our email campaigns. They give us tons of data that makes us a little cross-eyed, but it’s extremely useful in figuring out what resonates with our audience.
The way to tackle MailChimp data is to first identify the campaigns that had the highest open rates [how many subscribers opened the email]. The subject line with a higher open rate is clearly more interesting to your audience, so try and figure out what was appealing. Do they have anything in common or is it completely random?
Next, we look at the click rate and the clicks per unique opens. We like to look at the actual number of clicks as well. It helps to digest the data and make sense of it. The click rate tells you how many subscribers clicked in the email and the clicks per unique open reveals how many people who actually opened the message then clicked on the content. MailChimp not only lists the URLs that were clicked, but they also generate a visual map of where people clicked in the email. Categorizing the type of content included in your messaging will help to figure out what information interests your followers the most. It’s fun to move things around each month to see if placement effects engagement.
One thing we’ve realized is that sending emails more frequently does not necessarily increase the number of clicks in a campaign. It is important to decide on a schedule, whether it’s once a month or once a quarter, and stick to it. Consistency is key to developing a loyal following. Remember, content is king so be sure the overall subject matter is tailored to your audience. Our friend MailChimp gives the industry average for open rates and click rates, which lets you know how well your emails are received. We love this feature! The marketing + advertising industry average open rate is 12.2%. We’re proud to say our average open rate is almost twice the industry standard at 22%! Keys to our success are crafting intriguing subject lines, varying the content and consistently sending an eblast every month.
After analyzing the data from last year’s email campaigns we’ve recognized the type of content our audience engages with the most and will be sure to include more of that information going forward. Stay tuned for some snazzy helium eblasts! Let us know if you incorporate any of these tips into your email campaigns by tagging @heliumcreative on Instagram or Facebook.