Hope springs eternal…

Hope springs eternal…

Isn’t that how it goes at the old ballgame?

For everyone around here, tomorrow, the Milwaukee Brewers will capture most of the media attention with their Home Opener against divisional foe, the St. Louis Cardinals. Starting right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will be squaring off against the Cards righty Miles Mikolas.

I write that as if I know who these guys are. Truth is, I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I know baseball and love the game, even played it in college — but I don’t follow it like I used to when I was a card collecting kid. Heck, I didn’t find out about Brewers MVP Christian Yelich until August of last year, when he, and the Brew Crew went on a tear to get into the playoffs.

At today’s game, the Brewers owner, Mark Attanasio, will have his sons sing the national anthem, Bernie Brewer and the Racing Sausages will be there… and all fans who are in attendance will receive a 2019 magnetic schedule. Oh, and guess what, they can interact with the team on social media using #ThisIsMyCrew and #BrewersOpener. That’s 40,000+ fans coming to a game to eat hot dogs, drink beer and buy merchandise… and share their experience with friends in person and on social media.

And then, 40,000 more will do it another 80 times this season.

(Perhaps there’s a reason why Mike Trout just signed a $426,500,000 deal with the Angels.)

So what does all of this have to do with you and your business?

We get so busy in our day-to-day affairs, that business can turn into a real grind. Not only for us as owners, but for our employees and our customers, too. There is no “down-season” and the churn to drive new prospects into customers and customers into brand ambassadors can lose its luster. It’s then that you hit a plateau and your work gets hard… really really fast.

In short, your business begins to burn out.

Have a Home Opener – every year.

New product launches, new websites, and even the next trade show can give us a lift to broadcast a new message and help fire up the team. But did you ever think to actually create a “Home Opener” for your business — to set a real date, each year, to “open up” your business, your products or services, to your adoring fans (and their friends)? This is not to change your brand, but to enhance your brand. Like major league teams, it’s time to show your excitement to your fans that you have new talent to add to the vets in your line-up.

The easiest thought is an actual open house — to call in your best customers (and their friends) to re-new their interest in what you have to offer them. However, it could also simply mean establishing a digital launch of new creative work, new product offerings, introductions of new employees, vendor partners or associations that have improved your business. I guarantee you that you have business assets that have not been exposed to your customer base…

Have new certifications to show off or awards that you’ve collected? Taken pictures of your facility, products or people? Gone through your catalog? You could launch a new social campaign and drive traffic to a new landing page, complete with plenty of freebies — all for the price of admission — an email address. How about a dealer contest of some kind or advancing a new promotion?

Now is the time!

Don’t worry about being perfect. The real trick is you have just given yourself license to “brag” about your business to any and all simply because you created a Home Opener event… but it feels less like bragging and more like letting your team simply take the field. So here’s your chance to dust off your spikes, put a little rosin on the mound and show off your Major League stuff.

Know what? People pay good money to see that.

March Madness Mascot Deathmatch

March Madness Mascot Deathmatch

Forget about Duke, Virginia, North Carolina or Gonzaga…

it’s the Iowa State Cyclones you should be picking to win it all. 

Why?

There are many strategies in filling out your NCAA bracket, but until now, no one has given the “Mascot Method®” it’s due…

What’s the rationale, you ask?  

A fight to the death, on a basketball court, with five of the actual team mascots (and not a guy in a latex suit).  Also, they get to keep whatever armor, fur or skin; claws, fangs or weaponry available to them. We figure that’s only fair… you aren’t really much of a knight if you don’t have the sword and a suit of armor.  However, we don’t give much credence to imaginary characters — otherwise St. Louis University basically would win the title every single season (see below).   

Consider it gladiatorial combat:  

Why not Duke?
One might think the Duke’s Blue Devils might take it all every year, being “devils”, but in truth, the team was named after the French “les Diables Bleus”, a clever nickname for World War I Chasseurs Alpins — a French Alpine light infantry battalion. Formidable?  Perhaps, but being French soldiers, you know that a white flag can’t be too far behind.

Keep dreaming.
St. Louis could almost be unstoppable because the “Billiken” is “the god of all things that ought to be” — except for the fact that he’s simply a fictitious character contrived by a Missouri art teacher named Florence Pretz, in a dream in 1908. By that standard, you could name your team the Captain Marvels and win every NCAA tournament.

What the hell is that?
College mascots run the gamut with nicknames known only to their schools (i.e. Billikens).  Try these:
Hokies (turkeys); Terrapins (turtles); Orangemen (an Indian hoax); Racers (horses); Catamounts (cougars); Gaels (Irish folk); Sooners (land rush families); Tar Heels (poor naval store workers) and Aggies (farmers).

Spartans or Braves?
Or Knights, Raiders, Norsemen, Rebels and Pirates.  This is really tough to call, but there is a reputable resource that can give us insight — the 2009 TV show, Deadliest Warrior. We stated the rules of engagement above. What can Indian braves do against a Spartan phalanx on a basketball court?  We think the results speak for themselves.

Why not Sun Devils?
You might think that this “devil” would work where Duke’s does not.  You’d be wrong.  “Sparky”, the Arizona State Sun Devil is actually the third mascot for the school (after Owls and Bulldogs) and the name for little whirlwinds that kick up dust in the hot Arizona desert.  The best they can do is make some of the other mascots uncomfortable.

Guns vs. Knives… 
What’s the old addage, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”?  This holds far too true for many of these menacing mascots.  Pirates may get a musket and Raiders (masked outlaws) get 6-shooters, but Rebels have rifles and Volunteers, too… while the previously mentioned Blue Devils are still in existence today, armed with FAMAS assault rifles.  

Cats vs. Cats.
In this year’s tournament, 4 teams use Bulldogs, but in two match ups — we get Cougars vs. Panthers and Wildcats vs. Wildcats.  We looked to their respective logos for guidance, but found that it’s impossible to pick a winner — meaning BOTH death matches go down scratching and clawing with all sides losing in the end.  

A force of nature.
Although it is true, that a cardinal does show up from time-to-time for Iowa State fans, “Cy” is only a sideline mascot because they couldn’t depict a 300 mph storm very well at games.  Given that the school is going back to a tornado only logo, it would appear that the road to the Final Four and the Championship would begin and end with a category 5 twister.

Here’s the full bracket, see how your favorites fare in the Mascot Method®… you’ll be thanking us for the insight.

JSH&P is a small business branding agency in Cedarburg, Wisconsin — famous for creating memorable brands for those that can’t afford March Madness budgets. 

p.s. > JSH&P also wants you to know that no mascots were actually harmed in the predictions detailed on this page.

Case Study: Symplaris

Case Study: Symplaris

Brian Behnken is a smart guy… like a really smart guy.  The kind who starts businesses, sells them for tidy sum and starts them again.  What’s more, he knows how to dig through data and find savings for clients who are eager to it in their employee healthcare plans.

But, Brian needed to start from scratch.  He needed a name, logo, tagline, a look and feel for his new company, and he needed a website and marketing materials to make a big impact within his marketplace.

He chose JSH&P.

“Symplaris” came out of the word simple, of course, and the extension aided in an ease of saying the term.  It sounds established without being trendy.  

“We tried literally hundreds of naming possibilities and worked out way through the domains to find a .com that was available,” stated JSH&P founder Mike Farley. “Funny thing was that ‘simplaris’ was available, but priced through an auction site at $8,800.  We secured ‘symplaris’ with the “Y” and made a reasonable offer to the company that owned the “i” version.  They wouldn’t budge.  Dumb on their part, if you ask me…  since we just rendered their naming convention useless.”

The Gill Rule

The Gill Rule

Bob Gill is an 88 year old graphic designer who’s had the kind of career most of us can only dream about.  In short, you want your work to endure as long as Bob has… and yes, he’s the guy behind the typeface.  Show some respect.

That said, Bob authored a book back in the 80’s that changed my life.  I was called “Forget something or other…“.  I don’t remember.  Sue me.

What I do remember is that the book did two things… it actually showed me HOW he thought about design solutions that he faced and I could follow his execution.  AND, he had a knack for simplifying the design process with a few clever rules, that, for the most part, hold up exceedingly well.

BORING IMAGES NEED EXCITING WORDS.

BORING WORDS NEED EXCITING IMAGES.

It’s pretty self-explanitory.  If you or your copywriter has written something truly brilliant, don’t let the pictures get in the way of these great and compelling words.

That’s not to say you should dumb anything down.  Just follow that rule.  Make sure whatever imagery you think needs to be there, take second place to the words that are driving the “sale”.

Conversely, if you have an image that blows your audience away, why would you muck it up with a bunch of copy that dilutes what they just saw.  This simple balancing act has provided my work with a whole lot of sanity and smarts when our natural tendency is to vomit on everyone.  Don’t let your client do it.  Don’t you do it.

Here are some great examples of each:

GREAT WORDS. BORING IMAGES.

GREAT IMAGES. BORING WORDS.

Catalogs & Sell Sheets

Catalogs & Sell Sheets

For good graphic design firms, websites are at the core of everyone’s branding — but not every firm knows how to handle the “old school” marketing work that so many businesses in Southeastern Wisconsin need — namely, catalogs and sell sheets.

Every sales force wants to have a better calling card than just their business card.  Leaving a great sales kit behind (one that doesn’t get tossed into the cylindrical bin) is crucial in turning cold calls into warm leads into active customers.

We know a thing or two about providing the kind of work that not only showcases your brand and your products, but also does so in a way that really “sells”.

Next time you tired materials need an overhaul, look to us at JSH&P to add the spit and polish you’re brand demands.

The 6¢/day Marketing Plan

The 6¢/day Marketing Plan

OK, for any of you familiar with Gary Veynerchuk, the foul-mouthed sommelier (and king of sagely business advice for the connected generation), this statement is a blatant steal of his $1.80/day marketing idea.

It basically goes like this:

Post your own wit and wisdom, pithy comment, probing question or laugh-out-loud retort to 9 top articles under 10 different hashtags every single day. This started as an Instagram strategy that you can view here — and I recommend that you do. WATCH GARY

As a fellow “great” marketer, recognizing and swiping good stuff is crucial to what we do.

So I stole, adapted and credited.

Unless you’re like Gary, and have a camera crew with you all the time, a smartphone attached to your face or have no other workload to accomplish for the day, reading and posting 90 comments a day is a little tough to do. I guarantee you, if you did, you’d begin to get notoriety and a whole bunch of people checking out your profile, BUT, you may lose all of the clients you have because you have no time for them.

That’s why my 6¢ strategy may actually be one you can utilize AND see real results from.

The switch it this, if your wit and wisdom is worth 2¢ (and whose isn’t?), then EVERY DAY, find three articles or posts that are within your LinkedIn feed to add something to their conversation. That’s it. Doesn’t have to be War & Peace. Just play Johnny Appleseed.

Know what?

Often, asking a great question is all that it takes for others to recognize that you “know your stuff”. Don’t go posting self-serving stuff and links back to your own website. The people you are connecting with want advice that helps THEM — not you. Honestly, do this over and over again. It works by building up your brand, while building theirs, too.

Whether you are looking for a job, new business or business connections, this simple and timely strategy is one that you can actually live up to… and reap the kind of rewards that come to those who confidently build a brand of goodwill within their industry.

As Big as Design Gets

As Big as Design Gets

Crazy Horse Memorial

When the Abbey Group of Milwaukee needed creative help, they turned to Creative Director Mike Farley at JSH&P to assist. 

The project is as big as they come… helping generate interest, visitors, donors, and ultimately fundraise for the Crazy Horse Memorial.  The monument, a work in progress by the Ziolkowski Family (Korczak Ziolkowski was one of the original sculptors of Mt. Rushmore), is the world’s largest mountain carving located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is considered The Eighth Wonder of the World in progress — the entirety of Mt. Rushmore fits under of Crazy Horse’s armpit!

“Storytellers” is the branded name for those who contribute to the mission of the Crazy Horse Memorial.  JSH&P helped create the logo design, brochure design and copy editing, as well as full stationery package and fundraising kit, and posters designs — both for resale and as a coloring poster for kids.

Garbage Words

Garbage Words

Most marketing is garbage and you want to make sure your words don’t end up in the trash. If your marketing is full of awesome adjectives (i.e. — best, greatest, advanced, special), know that your audience is not having the same reaction, as when you wrote it.

Why?

The ad industry, my industry, has done an exceptional job of making impactful words completely meaningless. If your competition claims the same thing, and they often do, the consumer is left with a big bag of confusion… and the answer to confusion is to toss it out.

Think of it, all of your best stuff, mentally crumpled down into the waste basket.

So how do you capture attention and trust?

TIP 1: Use unique qualifiers and real world examples to help differentiate your brand from the pack. A qualifier like “We’re the no.1 __________” is a whole lot better than the word, “best“. No.1 is provable and leaves little room for doubt.

TIP 2: Choose to be the leader in something… anything, even if you’re a small fry in a big market. If it isn’t sales volume, perhaps it could be customer service or on-time delivery or that you have a process/formula/product that is truly unique in your industry. “We work harder,” is a start… but you can already see the doubt creeping in, so you better back it up with “…and guarantee you’ll agree or your money back.”

TIP 3: Becoming credible in today’s market is paramount, and the best way to gain credibility is familiarity. Your marketing plan and messaging needs to lose more adjectives in favor of finding ways to spend more time with your clientele… like YouTube videos, social site engagement, LI commentary, thought-leadership articles, networking, workshops …and 162 other ideas not mentioned here.

TIP 4: Don’t be afraid to recycle your message. Stop creating new mousetraps, all-the-time. Move your best material into every social silo you can think of. You need prospects to bump into you and spend time with you, so that you can gain their trust to buy from you.

Great stuff, right?

 

Have you read the Million Dollar Sentence? It will make this article even stickier.

Got JSH&P?

Got JSH&P?

CREATE YOUR POWERLINE

We have a food proof system that helps businesses get on the right path for their marketing — called Powerline.

You’ve heard of elevator pitches and Unique Selling Propositions, but “a Powerline is a USP on steroids.”  Perhaps the best way to explain it, is to document the most famous ad campaign of the last 50 years…

“Got Milk?” is arguably, the world’s most memorable marketing campaign.  Fashioned in 1993 by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Producers, they created a whole new way to think about brand marketing and coined a new term… deprivation marketing.

In essence, what would the world do without your product?

It was a novel concept and one that could have backfired quite easily, but there’s more to milk than meets the eye.*  You see, there’s an interesting process we use, called a Powerline, that helps brands determine who they are, who they target and most importantly, why their prospects should even pay attention.

In the case of milk, a commodity that had been sold for decades on “milk is good for you”, started losing marketshare with the introduction of more beverage choices in the 90’s AND confusion in the market place on whether milk was actually good for you.  An axiom that was, and continues to be under fire.

The Original Milk Powerline:

CONVINCE moms
THAT they should buy more milk for their families,
BECAUSE it builds strong bones for healthier bodies.

But mom was beginning to question this (from lactose intolerance to anti-milk messaging).  So GS&P crafted a very different rationale for California Milk Board consumers…

Here’s the Got Milk? Powerline:

CONVINCE grocery shoppers
THAT they have to put milk in their cart,
BECAUSE without milk, you can’t eat your favorite foods.

Read that again.

It doesn’t say “moms with 2.4 children” or “purchase 6.4 additional quarts of milk”, it just says, someone in the store ready to buy… but might have no interest in putting milk (even a little pint of milk) in their cart or basket.  And why would they?  Because if you put Oreos or Fruit Loops into that same cart, you can ONLY eat them WITH milk.  Milk’s no longer a commodity, but THE brand that makes certain foods taste better!  So much better that you can’t even picture having these foods with ANYTHING else.  Gatorade on your Frosted Flakes?  Orange juice with your Toll House cookies?  No way!  This single sentence helped marketers of milk focus their attention on who they were attracting and why they would comply. 

So what can you do?
Now the trick is to apply this kind of thinking to your own business or brand.  Who do you specifically need to reach out to?  What should they do?  And then, the kicker… why should they believe you?

The CONVINCE line is the hardest to come by.  Frankly, it’s why JSH&P gets hired to take on brands.  We’re pretty good at deciphering a universal truth about the companies we work with and framing a sentence that gives new life to start-ups and stagnated businesses.

Give it a try, write your own Powerline.  You may just have solved the 800-lb. marketing problem that’s been plaguing your team.  Want a good place to start?  Try your hand at writing your own Powerline and find a universal truth about YOU.  

Here’s the very first ad created under this tagline…

 

*The director of this original commercial was none other than Michael Bay of Transformers fame.

NOTE: The milk mustache campaign was developed by another agency (Bozell) for a slightly different purpose, but recognized the brilliance of the tagline and made it a part of their memorable creative (with the help of Annie Leibovitz photography).

 

Read more of a “how to” on creating your own Powerline here — an article on LinkedIn.

Fundraising to a whole new level

Fundraising to a whole new level

The Field Museum

A world renown organization like Chicago’s Field Museum is accustomed to working with the very best people and business resources on the planet… so is it any wonder that JSH&P is involved?  Especially, in membership and fundraising efforts that’s record-breaking?

In short, it’s just one of the many things we do.  In this case, we worked under the direction of Bill Cox and Access Direct Marketing, an integrated agency that specializes in non-profit fundraising.  Their systematic approach helps ensure positive outcomes for institutions and organizations that rely on a few well-crafted campaigns that help raise awareness, increase membership and ultimately drive more dollars to their bottom line — assisting them to continue the important scientific research that The Field Museum does every day.

JSH&P provided the creative spark and graphic production to help coordinate fully integrated campaigns, in both direct mail and email/social that helped raise over $200,000 in one day… not to mention, an on-going campaign that has membership levels on the rise.  Good thing, with new exhibits, new construction and a new look on the way, the Field will be well poised to attract even larger audiences to its venue.

Interested to learn more about The Field Museum‘s good work?  JSH&P’s fully recommends taking a trip through it’s historic hall to learn more about the stunning world around you.