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Coloring For Grown Ups

Coloring isn’t just for kids. Yes, you heard me right! Coloring and drawing in general can be a good stress reliever as well as just being a fun activity. The act of coloring stimulates the areas of the brain related to motor skills, the senses and creativity.

Coloring can help us relax.

Some therapists recommend coloring/drawing for adults as a relaxation technique. If that isn’t an excuse to grab some markers or pencils, I don’t know what is! You can use it as a way to express your mood or feelings, which will affect the colors you choose or the images you draw. If you’re trying to get out of a bad mood or a rut, choose brighter colors and focus on images that make you feel happy and, in return, you just might feel … HAPPY!

blue coloring markers

It takes us back to our childhood.

Who didn’t love coloring as a child? Back then we had no worries and not many responsibilities, which definitely meant less stress. We got to focus a lot more on using our imagination and being creative in a non-judgmental way, instead of our worries in life. As a child it was vital to do activities that promoted hand-eye coordination, so why let them go in adulthood?

advanced coloring book

The goods.

Publishers have been releasing coloring books specifically for the more advanced colorers and adults. These books include images of mandalas (circular designs with concentric shapes), geometric patterns, free-hand designs, illustrations, florals and landscapes. The coloring books are presented in what artists call “line art”: as simple black outlines, allowing for the shapes to be colored in. Experiment with layering colors, using different shades of colors and you will begin to notice how they interact with each other in a pleasing or non-pleasing way. On another note – check out this article written about Johanna Basford’s hand-drawn coloring book, “Secret Garden” (I have linked above ‘florals’ to Amazon where you can buy it).

mandala

Overall it doesn’t matter what you draw or color. It can be from your child’s coloring book, one made for adults, a drawing you made yourself or an image you printed from the internet. You can use felt tip markers, copic markers, crayons, colored pencils or watercolors. The possibilities are endless! Use coloring as a way to reconnect with your inner child, a way to let go of your inhibitions and you will reap the benefits of expressing yourself.

So put down the technology for a half hour or more, pick up a coloring book and get your color on!


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Most Important Social Media Marketing Metrics To Measure

metric ruler

Does your company track its digital marketing efforts? Are you finding it difficult to choose which ones to focus on? If you answered yes to either of these questions, don’t worry; you aren’t alone. Social media marketing has brought with it a variety of new ways to reach customers, as well as potential ones. Along with these new tactics comes the challenge of measuring the results and how effective campaigns actually are. No one will argue that social media is the new face of advertising but, for some companies, is it worth it? Are they on the right channels, reaching the right audience? In this article are four key metrics your business should be tracking on a regular basis. Whether you monitor your mediums on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, making it a habit to check these statistics is crucial. Let’s take a look:

Engagement

Although this metric may not drive sales directly, it is the most important in terms of brand awareness. Likes, comments, shares and reach are all of the vital pieces of this puzzle. Producing content that people want to interact with is critical within a marketing strategy. In addition, the people who do respond positively to your content are more likely to relay that information to others. Facebook and Twitter have done a wonderful job developing and implementing software that tracks all of this for business pages. Under Facebook’s insights tab, you are able to see how your page is performing and find demographic data about your audience, and see how people are discovering and responding to your posts. You are also able to get an understanding on when your audience is responding to your content, this helps you to better form your timing strategy.

Brand Search Volume

Have you ever referred back to a company or brand you saw on a social media site while searching for something on Google? A 2009 GroupM study customers who are exposed to a brand via social media are 180 percent more likely to look for that brand when using search engines. Google Insights is a tool that allows you to monitor your company’s search volume versus your competitors. This allows you to see what types of content works better than others, which will drive better search results overall for your business.

measuring metricsCustomer Response Rate

Rather than pick up the phone to address an issue, customers are now taking to social media sites for answers. According to a 2013 study by NM Insight, 1 in 3 social media users prefer to contact a company via social media rather than make a phone call. Out of those who take to the web, only 36 percent said they had their issue taken care of quickly and efficiently. In order to establish and maintain relationships with customers, you must be willing to help them when they ask for it. Constructing a schedule that allows you to monitor questions and concerns people have about your business will allow you to keep up with these requests, ultimately leading to better customer loyalty.

Inbound Links

Unfortunately nowadays, your website alone won’t get you into the top results of search engine result pages. Inbound links have now become a dynamic part of reaching more potential customers and are one of the most important elements in successful SEO. Incorporating these links to your social media channels is incredibly easy and effective. Do you integrate a link to your main website with a majority of your social media posts? If not, you need to rethink your strategy. Take a look at your competitors and see how many links they’re implementing into their content; this will give you a better idea of what you should be doing. Open Site Explorer is a site that allows you to track up to 1,000 links with the free version.

Hopefully these metrics will help you shift your marketing strategy in a better direction. If you are already tracking this information, great! Be sure to research other metrics that can help your company grow and be more successful, as there are many more. The digital marketing world is a crowded, overwhelming place that can cause large amounts of frustration. By evaluating our online presence and its effectiveness, we as marketers can significantly reduce this unneeded stress.


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Public Relations Conference Gives A Different View On Career

The Loop Chicago Panel Session

Attending The Loop Divergent  was one of the most impactful moments of my young, professional career. I had the pleasure of listening to several amazing professionals. The panelists and speakers included Maureen Bausch, the CEO of the 2018 Super Bowl, Sara Gavin, president of Weber Shandwick North America, Michelle Giuda, ex-political communication strategist and communication professionals just starting their career. It was interesting to hear advice from professionals at different points in their careers. Check out  the top takeaways from the conference:

Client Relationship – Without our clients, we would not be in business, so it’s important to have a great relationship and an open line of communication with them. As an agency, it is important to find the best ways to communicate with clients, find the most effective way to spread their message, learn and understand their brand, etc. Eventually you should know them well enough that you know the brand of coffee and flavor of creamer they prefer.

Be Proactive – There are three different types of people in the world: those who watch things happen, those who make things happen and those who wonder what could have happened. In all aspects of life, especially the professional aspect, it is important to make things happen. Your career is in YOUR hands. Don’t be afraid to reach out to clients, the media, your boss or other professionals if you have a question or an idea. Making solid connections is essential in the PR world. Use these tips to learn how to be a master conversationalist.

Hard Work Pays Off – If you put in the necessary work, and then some more on top of that, people will notice. Be the first person at work in the morning and the last to leave at night. Think about it like this: If you’re not working, somebody else probably is, and they’re trying to do a better job than you, so you have to prove yourself. You must work hard whether it is physical/mental work or educating yourself.

PRSSA Conference Presentation

Be A Sponge – “Don’t think you can remain successful without keeping your brain sharp,” said Candeo Creative Communication Specialist, Felicia Clark, in her blog about the importance of continuing education. If you’re not working at your job, spend time reading about current industry trends, a new technology that could benefit a client or your favorite novel in general. Writing is a huge part of a public relations job. If you don’t read often, your communication skills could decrease. Seeing how other writers construct sentences and choose words can greatly benefit your writing, even if you don’t realize it.

It’s All About Perspective – Never look at your PR job like, well, a job. Try and go into the office every day thinking: “what can I do to help effectively spread my client’s messages and strengthen their brand?” Stay positive and enthusiastic about what you’re doing; it will benefit your agency/company, clients and career.

These skills will be very important throughout your career. Work hard, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Make sure to leave time for self-care, having fun, relaxation and never, ever, forget to …

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Why Branding Is Important

As an Art Director/graphic designer you automatically understand why a company’s brand is important because it is ingrained in us from day one of college. True fact, but that doesn’t mean that the company with a shudder-worthy logo understands its importance. One of my goals as a designer is to continuously educate clients about why design and marketing are two of the top things a business or company should focus on. I came across a beautifully written article on How Design written by Melissa Mazzoleni about the “4 Key Reasons Why Branding is Important,” based off a book called The Strategic Designer written by Dave Holston. I want to do my best at summing up why a company’s logo, identity, advertising and strategy are things to not just throw on the back burner.

Here we goooooo!!!

brand word cloud1. Branding not only looks cool, it gives a competitive advantage.

“Whether you’re a non-profit or a for-profit, your organization needs to compete for resources, funding and talent, and audience attention,” Mazzoleni wrote. To really gain that customer attention and “awe,” you need to stand out from your competition. If your prices, services and skill levels are very similar, what sets you apart? Your brand should mirror (when done correctly) your business’s strategic plan, customer service, tone and voice.

2. Brands provide a stable asset.

“Products might fail, companies are bought and sold, technologies change on a daily basis, but strong brands carry on through all these changes,” Mazzoleni wrote. A brand is really your company’s most stable asset. Using your brand along with strategic planning can act as a central hub for all decision making for future efforts in other areas. This stable asset will make  your company continuously recognizable. Picture some of your favorite retail products that you always buy because you trust their brand. Ask yourself, why do you trust them? Maybe you trust them because they have worked for you, you have heard about them through word of mouth, or the way they present themselves. So while other brands come and go, that one brand will surpass them.

“Consider that the Coca-Cola brand has been around for more than 120 years, while most of the world’s other valued brands have existed for just 50 years, and most corporations only last 25 years.”

3. Brands provide value.

According to Dave Holston, the author of The Strategic Designer, the value of a total organization is divided among two different areas: intangible and tangible assets. Brands fall under the intangible assets. Intangible assets increased from 17 to 80 percent in overall corporate value between 1975 and 2003. Brands account for more than ⅓ of shareholder value according to Businessweek magazine. So when all is said and done, intangible assets are the most valuable to a corporation/business and brands are the MOST valuable within the intangible assets.

On another note, brands bring trust and a “face” to your business or corporation. It is what appeals to your target audience. It brings the company’s culture alive to the consumers.

Take our agency for example (Candeo Creative). Our brand basically represents the experience and culture of our company. We are fun, bright, clean and fresh. Most people can get a glimpse of what working with us is like just by seeing our brand and marketing efforts.

candeo creative modern day mad men

4. Brands set expectations.

Last but certainly not least, a brand will set the bar for your company. The world we live in is full of promises. From airline mechanics to teachers, we are promising to do a thorough job and be successful.

“We have an unspoken contract with the people we live and work with, that they will do what they say they’ll do. We have similar agreements with companies, products and services,”Dave Holston says.

As Melissa states, we see these brand promises on a daily basis. We have an expectation of an experience when we make our selection, which has already been determined through our previous decision-making steps of “awareness, interest, desire, and satisfaction.”

As a consumer, things that influence our decision-making processes are rarely anything to do with the product or service. Our experience with the product or service is based off what experience we have had with the advertising, brand identity and the environment in which we experienced it. How does your BRAND stand out?


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Seven Women In The Film Industry To Keep An Eye Out For

As I started getting excited for the Oscars this year, I realized there aren’t many women getting awards or even nominated for categories other than “Best Actress” or “Best Actress in a Supporting Role.” I did a little research and found this very informative infographic by the New York Film Academy. Turns out since the Oscars began in 1927, Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to have won “Best Director” in 2010, a category for which only four women have been nominated ever.

According to this article on the Oscar’s Giant Gender Gap by Indie Wire, there have been 631 candidates for Best Cinematographer – yet none of them have been female.

It’s not surprising after learning that 1 in 5 workers in the film industry are women, but why is this number so small when they have so much to offer to the industry?

For example actress Angelina Jolie directed Unbroken which was nominated this year for cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing. Kathryn Bigelow earned Best Director and Best Picture for The Hurt Locker in 2010. And young writer Lena Dunham has written, directed and produced her own series, Girls, on HBO. However, these are names you’ve probably heard of. If you’re interested in more work from women in the film industry, then here’s a list to get you started!

1. Sofia Coppola, director and writer

Best known for her 2003 film Lost in Translation starring Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Coppola has directed a number of films including The Virgin Suicides (1999), Marie Antoinette (2006) and Somewhere (2010). She uses pastel colors and a handheld camera for a dreamlike aesthetic to reflect the inner workings of her characters.

2. Ellen Kuras, cinematographer

Ellen Kuras is the visual mastermind behind the popular films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Blow (2001) and Be Kind Rewind (2008). I was also happy to discover she was the cinematographer for one of my favorite feel-good films, Away We Go (2009).

3. Ava DuVernay, director and producer

Ava DuVernay directed Best Picture nominated film, Selma (2014), which depicts Martin Luther King Jr.’s equal voting rights campaign via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. This is a film you want to see!

4. Reed Morano, cinematographer

One of the youngest members invited into the American Society of Cinematographers, Reed Morano has had her work regularly shown at the Sundance Film Festival for years, and recently made her theatrical debut as cinematographer for the film The Skeleton Twins (2014), which stars Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell.

5. Rachel Morrison, cinematographer

Rachel Morrison has had six films premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the last five years. Her work on Showtime’s Rikers High got her an Outstanding Cinematography Emmy Nomination. Personally, I can’t wait to see her most recent film, Cake (2014) which stars Jennifer Aniston.

6. Mandy Walker, cinematographer

Mandy Walker, member of Australian Society of Cinematographers since 1999, has made commercials for big names like Audi, Nike, Kraft and Chanel No. 5. She’s worked on several feature length films including Jane Got A Gun (2015), Tracks (2013), and Red Riding Hood (2011).

7. Diablo Cody, screenwriter

Remember Juno (2007) and Jennifer’s Body (2009)? Diablo Cody was the screenwriter for both of those. She also wrote, directed, and produced Paradise (2013), which I haven’t seen, but judging by the trailer I can imagine it has the same quirky feel with a pull-at-your-heart-strings storyline.

Looks like I’ll be staying in this weekend for a movie marathon! Can you think of any other women in the film industry to keep an eye out for?

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