Graphic Design Trends in 2018

Josh Spencer Graphic Design

In this era of digital art, graphic designers must stay ahead of design trends to remain relevant. What may have appeared cutting-edge over the past few years may look entirely outdated in 2018. 2018 is projected to be the year of crazy designs, imagination and experimental art. You may have already seen elements of these graphic design trends slowly creeping onto album covers, advertisements and banners. At Velocity Agency, we are continually monitoring current trends and planning to keep up with what’s hot.

Glitchy

Maybe it’s the resurgence of the 80’s and our fascination with nostalgia, but the glitch effect has already started appearing all around us.

Tarnished

Distressed clothing has already been the top fashion trend of 2017. Have you seen lots of ripped pants and holey t-shirts, lately? Contemporary graphic designers have pined over the “art of destroying.” This includes anything from splashing, ripping, breaking, and scratching the design.

Color Channels

The representation of distorted reality is highly influential on viewers. You may see this graphic design trend and may not be able to look away. This technique allows designers to create an illusional effect.

Double Trouble

Double exposure within the artwork is excellent for communicating several motifs at once. Therefore, a double exposure duotone may express futurism to show the advanced capabilities of the brand. Fashion brands are taking advantage of the double color light. This effect transforms minimalistic compositions into modern looking ones.

Typography

Typography isn’t going anywhere, but the way it is expressed will change. Typography will continue to get more imaginative and creative. While cropped typography was hot in 2017, the same principle behind the “ruined” aesthetic applies here too; parts of letters will be erased. Be prepared also to see typography as real-life elements.

Negative Space

Negative space refers to empty space in a design which forms a distinctive shape. Negative space draws the eye to the design in a way other forms of graphic design cannot. This effect is also being used with typography as well.

Bright Colors

You’ve heard the term “millennial pink, ” but 2018 will be all about bright colors. Bright colors will make the design pop and put brands in the spotlight.

One Color

More and more product presentations are using the same background color as the product that is presented. This technique is reminiscent of pop art in the 1960’s and pleases the eye.

There are way more graphic design trends expected to take over 2018, and here at Velocity Agency, we want all of you to know about it. Keep checking our blog for more exciting trends that will push brands further than ever before!

Generation Z: What to Know When Devising Your Holiday Marketing Plan

Josh Spencer Market Information, Seasonal

Just when you have figured out how to appeal to millennials, there’s a new generation in town: Generation Z. Currently, Generation Z is made up of ages 2 to 19. Most of this generation has used the internet since a very young age. They are comfortable with technology, and for them, communicating through social media is the norm By 2020, Generation Z will account for an astounding 40% of all consumers. However, few brands have considered how to go about appropriately communicating to this demographic.

This generation is the most technologically fluent generation thus far. Therefore, they recognize the value of their attention. They don’t like to sit through ads and they don’t give heavily sponsored content the time of day. This generation wants resources that give them exactly what they are looking for. Here are some facts about Generation Z that will help you appeal to them this holiday season.

Online Celebrity vs. Pop Stars

Retailers must be aware that this generation is less influenced by Hollywood and more influenced by everyday people who have built their brands. This includes YouTube stars and their peer’s reviews.

Realistic Expectations

Gen Z does not expect perfection in advertising and would rather brands reflect reality. This generation does not buy into fake perceptions of beauty and is all about crafting their unique image.

Social Media

This generation uses their social media with a purpose to find organization in their virtual lives, and they utilize different platforms for different reasons. Brands should inspire creativity so they can create a personal connection on visual platforms.

These are great things to keep in mind, but it’s important to know how they spend their money. Gen Z is more likely than the average holiday shopper to use retailer’s online wish lists and gift registries to help with their holiday planning. Gen Z’ers will do all of the research that they possibly can before purchasing. 8 in 10 of this generation researched items costing less than $50.00 this past year. Lastly, this age is very familiar with return policies and 8 in 10 made returns last year. That number is higher than any other generation. Always keep in mind that this generation will leave a review after purchasing any product.

Here at Velocity, we know that all generations need to be planned for in your marketing strategy. If you are having no luck reaching customers you want, then we have a team here to help.

All About Pinterest Marketing

Josh Spencer Advertising, Company, Mobile Technology, Social Media, Technology

Pinterest has helped you make tons of delicious meals, complete DIY projects, and throw great parties but many people miss the mark entirely when it comes to Pinterest marketing. Just like with any social media platform, Pinterest can help you reach your goals and objectives if you use it correctly. Here are some helpful tips to boost your brand with the power of Pinterest.

Keywords

Pinterest has very strong search capabilities. You can help even more people find your business by using keywords in the board titles. Make sure that you select a category for each board to help people find them.

Description Section

Keywords in your description section will increase the chance of your entire page being found. Keep in mind that users can tweet your pins and also include them on their blogs and other social media platforms.

Vertical Images

Images that are up to 735 by 1102 pixels can share a ton of information at once. This creates an engaging invitation to repin your pinned article. Remember, you can put the content onto a pinned picture rather than a long and dull caption.

Links to Your Website

You have two opportunities with each pin to add your link: one in the description and one in the source for the pin.

Embedding

You can also embed pins on your blog, and this is a great way to get more repins. Pinterest makes it easy to get an embed code on site.

Social Media

Remember that social media platforms can all work together. Tweet your pin and share them on your other social networks where they are relevant.

Pinterest for Business

Just like with most platforms now, Pinterest offers a business account so that you can monitor your data and analytics. On Pinterest, some pins are known as Rich Pins: movie, recipe, article, product, and place. Prepping your website with meta tags and testing out your pins is the smartest tactic to see which pins will bring growth to your product or service.

Collaboration

Collaborative boards help you reach a new group of pinners and have your pins be seen by more people. You do need to be careful about which boards you join because all the pins will show up on your Pinterest presence as well. Remember that Millennials and Generation Z love to be a part of the process!

Pinterest marketing can help increase the chance of your brand becoming successful and here at Velocity, we have a team of marketing strategists and social media professionals that work together to implement the best marketing strategies for our clients. If you are feeling confused and need backup, let us help!

Holly Jolly Holiday Marketing

Josh Spencer Seasonal

The holiday season has crept on us again. It’s crunch time in the marketing world! If you haven’t done much so far – fear not! At Velocity Agency, we have impeccable holiday marketing ideas to make your brand shine! Here are six tips to make your holiday marketing campaign a hit this year:

Harvest Your Data
Numbers don’t lie. You should always monitor your data to stay one step ahead of your competition. Take advantage of all the reports, charts and data you have.
 
Think About Sales and Promotions
Customers are always looking for deals and discounts this time of year. Start planning holiday sales and promotions that will work specifically for your business. For example, if you’re a candy store, individually package sweet treats and offer two for the price of one as stocking stuffers. These promotions can also be provided online to broaden your market.
Hit Key Emotions
Despite what you may think, decision-making is hardly ever purely rational. The truth is that all people make decisions emotionally before justifying them rationally. As a result, a successful holiday marketing campaign should be an emotional one. Focus on the feelings that are unique to the season. Values and feelings that abound during the holidays include friendship, family, good-will, giving back, gratitude and being home.

Make Your Campaign Easily Shareable
While it’s hard to predict what will go viral, you can always maximize your chances. 74% of consumers rely on word of mouth as the top influencer of their purchasing decisions. When someone learns about your campaign from a friend, it means so much more to them than seeing it in a commercial or in a Facebook ad.

Be Consistent
It’s important to make sure the customer experience is consistent across all channels. Multi-channel marketing is the norm for nearly every brand. This approach is much deeper than making the branding and color scheme cohesive on just social media. Your offers should also be consistent.

Here at Velocity Agency, we have a team that does it all. From marketing strategy, video promotions, graphic design, social media and more – we do it all. Are you looking for an all in-house marketing team that will create a holiday marketing plan for your brand? We are ready to accept the challenge!

Video Marketing on Social Media

Josh Spencer Social Media

The most important strategy in content marketing today is video on every social platform. If you don’t implement a social media video strategy for your accounts, then you will come up short. The platforms of distribution for video content online have shifted drastically over the last few years. Facebook gets more daily minutes watched than YouTube. Additionally, Snapchat’s daily views are now in the billions. Video on Twitter has taken listening and one-to-one branding to a whole new level.

Most people think that YouTube is the destination for finding the best video content for their social media pages. 300 hours of video content is pushed to YouTube every minute and it assists in growing personal brands. Although it is still valuable, the problem with YouTube is that it’s in a downward trend compared to Facebook’s 4 billion daily video streams. A number that is only going to go upward from here on out.

Facebook has moved to the forefront because of one word: data. Although we already mentioned that video is the most powerful tool in your arsenal on all platforms, it’s important to know how each platform differs.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a great way to reach a younger audience, but keep in mind the video content only lasts 24 hours. It is also perfect for brands that want to give their audience a peek into what happens behind closed doors.

YouTube

YouTube is ideal if you want to build a community for your brand, but it’s hard to stand out because of the massive size of the platform. Since YouTube is owned by Google, its videos are given higher ranks than those hosted elsewhere.

Facebook

Facebook is a great forum for engaging with your audience, but posts have a limited lifespan. When a video gets great engagement on Facebook, it shows up in more people’s timelines and serves as an excellent forum for engaging directly with the audience.

Twitter

Twitter is a powerful engagement tool, but not right for brands looking for deep insight into their audience. It provides countless opportunities for brands to get more engagement with their customers.

Instagram

This platform is great for engagement from Millennials, but Instagram is known for not playing nice with other platforms. Instagram is owned by Facebook. Therefore, you can use many of the same paid ad data and segmentation options on Facebook.

Velocity Agency has an experienced marketing team that produces highly successful marketing strategies. If you are falling short of developing your brand or just need an extra push, call us today!

Starbucks is No Longer Seeing Red

Josh Spencer Seasonal

It’s the time of year when the flavors of fall fade away, and peppermint mochas beckon consumer to get holly jolly. A significant signaling of the holidays is Starbucks’s red cup. Since 1997, Starbucks has welcomed the holidays with a cup that ranges from modern and abstract to nostalgic and traditional. The cup design is mostly red with white details to evoke the warm fuzzy feelings we associate with Christmas. In 2015, the company took advantage of the popularity of minimalism in design and debuted a completely red cup.

The cup spawned a social media uproar. Consumers claimed there was no holiday cheer or mention of Christmas on the cup. A movement of people ordering coffee and asking for their name to be “Merry Christmas” and posted it on Twitter with the hashtag #merrychristmasstarbucks. To avoid another round of controversy, Starbucks responded with a brilliant campaign in 2016. The cup was to be designed by the consumer. Starbucks held a contest to support the creativity of their customers by inviting them to share their designs on Instagram. Starbucks received more than 1,200 individual submissions from 13 countries, and the images were featured in an online cup collection. Every design was featured on a cup. This excellent PR work remediated the outrage that sparked the year before.

In 2017, Starbucks fuzed its ideas from the previous two years in honor of the holiday cup’s 20th anniversary. This year’s cup features a black and white sketch with just a few splashes of red and green. The design is meant to encourage drinkers to grab their art supplies and fill in the rest. The design was described by the Executive Creative Director Leanne Fremar as an “ode to years’ past.”

In the colder months, Starbucks profits raise on an average of 12% and the reaction to their holiday menu on social media is always highly positive. Starbucks continues to be the master of consumer-based and straightforward marketing strategies that keep on giving. Which holiday cup was your favorite and why?

Surviving Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Josh Spencer Seasonal

Not long ago, Black Friday was a one-day event. Now, Black Friday sales seem to last an entire season. Brands launch sale days in advance and stretch out the holiday shopping season as long as possible. Some shoppers seem to be losing interest in Black Friday. There has been a 72% decrease in social media conversations about Black Friday since 2012. While Black Friday is on the decline, the internet is favoring Cyber Monday. The decline in Black Friday is due mostly to the negative presence on social media. More than half of the conversations on social media surrounding Black Friday have had a negative connotation. Whether you choose to embrace Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the pressure is on to compete with nearly every other brand in the country. So, with so much pressure to be at your peak performance, how can you win the holiday season?

Here are some strategies that can make your holiday marketing flourish:

  • Revisit Last Year’s Data
    • It’s important to look back at last year’s data and monitor keywords, contents, promotions, traffic and conversions. You should know what the behavior of your consumers was the previous year to create the best marketing plan in the current year.
  • E-Blasts
    • Email marketing is still a strong weapon in your arsenal. It is responsible for 27% of holiday sales. Your e-blasts should be simple, include a special offer, extend your sale and eye-catching.
  • Social Media
    • Using social media should be an obvious strategy for Black Friday. Just like with e-blasts, you can share coupons, promotions, deals and contests on all social media platforms.
  • Paid Ads
    • Facebook ads are extremely effective. They have the potential to reach target audiences instead of reaching one that will likely not purchase your product.
  • Target Millennials
    • Millennials spend the most money in our current economy. Make them a part of your brand’s strategy! You should experiment with social media, write valuable content and be honest in all of your ads. Millennials love to be a part of your brand, so allow them to co-create content.
  • Mobile Optimization
    • More than 70% of adults in the US own a smartphone. Your business should be smartphone friendly so that customers can access coupons or promotion codes.
  • Video Content
    • Stand out among all of the scary black Friday footage that has gone viral in the past years. Generating video content that is fun and creative will entice your consumers as well as drive more traffic to your site.

Velocity Agency has helped our clients succeed year-round, but we know how to make a promotion stand above the rest. Don’t let your business get left behind! Contact our highly skilled and professional marketing team so that we can help you have the happiest holiday for your brand yet.

Public Relations Managers

Josh Spencer Clients, Company

Superheroes in Disguise

Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and the public and is commonly shortened and referred to as PR. A career in PR involves gaining understanding and support for your clients and trying to influence opinion and positive behaviors. You may have heard somebody say “that’s great PR” about a commercial for a brand, or a donation to a charity from a washed up celebrity. One of the most important duties of  Public Relations managers is crisis management.

In 1996, Odwalla Good’s apple juice was contaminated with E.coli resulting in one death, 60 becoming sick, and more than 20 lawsuits. Odwalla demonstrated fantastic PR by immediately recalling all Odwalla products containing apple or carrot juice and the CEO accepted responsibility when talking to the media and vowed to pay all medical costs for those affected by the outbreak. Odwalla also released daily press briefings that updated the public along with full-page newspaper ads and a website explaining the situation. This created a sense of concern for the safety of the public and demonstrated the company’s willingness to take full responsibility for their mistake. Today, the company has been bought by Coca-Cola for $186 million.

Launching a new product is also where PR is crucial for success, and Apple is winning in that department. Apple creates a good deal of media hype around each new product before release by following some rules to live by in the PR world:

  • Establishing what is newsworthy about the product
  • Creating a buzz with social media
  • Writing a media release
  • Encouraging and dispensing Product Reviews
  • Holding an Event
  • Continuing the hype after release

It’s not hard to believe that when Apple is launching a new iPhone that people camp out for days to be the first to have their hands on it.

Lastly, great Public Relations Managers know how to be a skilled storyteller and put a spin on media to persuade public opinion in favor of their brand. Here at Velocity Agency, we know that spinning the news isn’t generating propaganda or blatantly lying but a tasteful skill that requires skill and experience. Our entire staff is well versed in the art of public relations that will make your brand stand apart from the crowd. If you are looking for a team that will help your brand attract not just clients and customers but fans, give us a call today.

Marketing Lessons from the Pumpkin Spice Latte You Can Sip On

Josh Spencer Seasonal

Fall is officially here and you’ve already felt the effects of fall fever. You have moved your sweaters to the front of your closet, you passed a pumpkin patch on the way to work, and you are anticipating the slew of fall festivals on your calendar. Pumpkin spice has taken over this season and it isn’t slowing down.
There are pumpkin donuts, bagels, hamburgers, chips, beers, liquors, wines, yogurts, salty snacks, cheese and even toothpaste. In 2017, America’s pumpkin spice obsession is bigger than ever. Sales of pumpkin products have grown by 79% since 2012 and have grossed $361m compared to $201m five years ago.
Most of us are not buying pumpkins and serving up slabs of it for dinner, so why are we so obsessed with the pumpkin spice flavor? Pumpkin spice is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, not pumpkin itself. Profound psychological reasons underlie your innate craving for this flavor. This flavor evokes positive associations like cool breezes, piles of leaves, crackling fires and the cozy togetherness of the upcoming season. Combining this with successful marketing makes pumpkin spice “taste like fall.” Our sense of taste is 80% smell, therefore, it’s the cozy smell of pumpkin spice that evokes fall nostalgia more so than the taste. Take the aroma of pumpkin spice, combine it with sugar and the consumer immediately has a warm, homey and nostalgic digestive experience that is arguably addictive.

The pumpkin spice trend started in 2003 when Starbucks’ espresso brand manager noted that there was nothing pumpkin flavored on the market and created the pumpkin spice latte. One of the key factors behind the pumpkin spice craze is the fact that it is a limited time offer. Tying an LTO to a season or a holiday associated with indulgence conjures up excitement for the product, creates enthusiasm around the product, and drives consumers to purchase the product before it’s gone.

All companies have very carefully planned marketing strategies when it comes to their seasonal product, especially Starbucks who has a verified Twitter and Instagram for the pumpkin spice latte. The posts are amusing, creative, and visually appealing as well as diverse. Starbucks has remained current by evolving their brand and products through storytelling marketing mainly by making the PSL a character that directly communicates with their audience.

Learning About Storytelling from Found Footage Films

Josh Spencer Technology

The Blair Witch Project is still one of the most beloved horror movies of all time. On a budget of $60,000 and a grossing of $248.6 million, other filmmakers took note of the film and followed suit. The Blair Witch Project is an excellent example of found footage: a subgenre in film that is presented as if they were discovered video recordings.

Found footage films make sense for horror because it puts the viewer in the shoes of the story and allows them to experience scares more viscerally and directly. People love horror movies, but sometimes being spoon-fed demons and monsters through traditional marketing for horror films has played out. At the time of The Blair Witch Project, found footage films were not a new concept. In fact, the subgenre got its start in the 1980s. Many film critics have dubbed this style of lazy film filmmaking, but the results don’t lie.

Handheld cameras and improv only heighten the inherent danger, insinuating that what’s happening onscreen is happening moment by moment in environments that could turn on the actors at any time. Some found footage films have been major flops in the past, so there are several rules to producing a fantastic found footage film.

Be Relatable

A good found footage film should be set in a relatable environment or a space that is recognizable to keep the belief of the audience alive.

Establish a Reason to Film

There has to be a reason why the characters are filming to make a found footage film work. The Blair Witch project’s premise center around a group of filmmakers that had the idea of making a documentary in the woods. Cloverfield was released in 2008 with a completely different premise: monsters. Instead of being a traditional Godzilla-like movie, the characters are at a party celebrating while one character is making a movie as a memento for his friend when disaster strikes.

Cut to the Chase

Don’t bore your audience. Eerily build suspense instead! Avoid strained banters and keep the movie reasonably short in comparison to traditional films.

Embrace the Limitations of the Style

When you’re telling a story with found footage, you are telling the story with much less exposition than a typical narrative. You do not need to explain everything or have narration; it’s about the images being captured on film.

Here at Velocity Agency, we know that making something authentic and real is essential for the success of our marketing campaigns. The powerful storytelling marketing behind the success of found footage films is the same strategy that we use to take our clients to new heights.