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PUSHing Our Community Forward

Summer is in the bag, but before the kids headed back to school we were excited to support the Poletown Football Club’s youth soccer clinic. The two-day event brought together 50 soccer fanatics from Detroit’s elementary and middle schools to learn the sport and sharpen their skills. Our very own Austin Verville and his Poletown Football Club teammates spread the soccer love, demonstrated their skills and shared secrets to bend it like Beckham.

Check out how great the kids look in the PUSH 22 designed t-shirts!

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Supporting the Fletcher-Shinsky Golf Classic

Many of us at PUSH 22 love golf, and last week we had the pleasure to support and play in the Fletcher-Shinsky Golf Classic, an event that benefits our client Rochester College. Founded in 1981 by former Rochester College President, Milton Fletcher, the Fletcher-Shinsky Golf Classic unites both  alumni and friends during a day on the best links Metro Detroit has to offer. This year’s outing took place at the beautiful Twin Lakes Golf and Swim Club, a Golf Digest “Best Places to Play” course. Check out photos of the fun our team had at the event!

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Gary Goals Understands Branding

Gary Goals Flyer

His name’s Gary Goals and he scores goals. Anything else you need to know?

It’s remarkable what a clear vision can do for you – or your brand. Give people something they really want and then deliver.

The rest will take care of itself.

Rob Wilkie is the creative director at PUSH 22, an integrated marketing and communications agency supporting leading and emerging companies.

We’re counting down to the 2014 World Cup!

With just two days left until the 2014 Fifa World Cup commences (Brazil vs. Croatia will be aaaammmmaaazing!) we’re getting in the spirit! On June 12th, 32 countries will meet in Brazil for the biggest soccer (oops! football) event in the world. Our own Austin Verville, production/account assistant, starred in this PUSH 22 production to lead our staff in the excitement…and maybe show off his skills a little.

We want to know, how are you celebrating?

 

Your brand is talking on mobile. Do you like what it says?

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Your brand isn’t just your logo. Or your corporate colors. It isn’t just print advertising. Or direct mail or your signage.

It’s all of those things. And more.

Your brand is the sum total of all of the experiences that customers, employees and other stakeholders have with your company. And a great brand strategy is a reflection of the things that make those experiences unique.

Sometimes we’re aware acutely of those experiences. For example, we’d never let a misspelled building sign or rude receptionist destroy the brand we’re working so hard to build. But as new customer touch-points emerge almost daily, it’s easy to miss.

Mobile web is a great example.

Did you know that 25% of Americans use their mobile device as their sole source of Internet access? That’s a lot of people who may only ever experience your brand on a mobile device.

Will they like what they see?

If you don’t have a mobile device handy, you can check out your site using a browser-based mobile emulator. Just type your domain name into the “Website to emulate” box and you’ll get a glimpse into how mobile users are seeing – and experiencing – your brand.

PUSH 22 made the mobile experience a key part of our recent brand refresh but you don’t have to take on a complete brand overhaul before you upgrade for the mobile web.

Getting a simple mobile web solution is easier than you think, and we’d love to show you how. With a little effort and the right partner to help you, you can make a big impact on your brand experience.

Mobile-Wireframes

If you think you could use some help with your mobile web presence, contact your favorite PUSH 22 team member, or connect with us at info@push22.com

Rob Wilkie is the creative director at PUSH 22, an integrated marketing and communications agency supporting leading and emerging companies.

Finding Missy Higgins: Why Digital Content Works

Ever heard of Missy Higgins? I hadn’t either until today. How I discovered her is a great lesson in how the web works (and works and works and works) and why, if you’re not creating digital content, you’re missing out on a ridiculous number of opportunities.

At some point, some time ago, Missy Higgins (or her record company) decided to put out an email to her mailing list. I’m not on her mailing list but I am on MailChimp’s.

We don’t use MailChimp here but I am on their mailing list. They produce some great best practice guides for email marketing and so I opted in to have them periodically send me emails with resources and insights about email marketing. This week’s email contained a link to their email design gallery which I clicked on. Amongst the hundreds of designs, Missy’s email caught my eye for its simplicity, so I clicked on that and discovered that Missy Higgins is an Australian recording artist.

Missy sent an email. MailChimp liked it and shared it. Then I found it.

I wasn’t in Missy’s lead database but here we are talking about Missy. A random unexpected connection between Missy’s email content and me. And that’s why creating digital content is so important.

When you put content out there – blog posts, emails, forum posts, tumblrs – it starts working on its own. You don’t need to continually babysit it or push it or post it for people to find it. Because eventually they may find it. And when they do, if it’s interesting and relevant they’ll explore it or index it or share it.

It’s a numbers game. One that you can’t win if you’re only focused on the stuff you can control and instantly measure.

Turns out I’m probably not going to be a big fan of Missy Higgins but that shouldn’t bother Missy too much.  I just added to which will ultimately mean more opportunities to make new fans.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be one.

Rob Wilkie is the creative director at PUSH 22, an integrated marketing and communications agency supporting leading and emerging companies.

Responsive web? What you need is a responsive brand.

Responsive web and the nature of branding

The term “responsive” gets tossed around these days by just about everyone who works around the web. To the uninitiated, it’s almost always used within the context of web design and development and it simply means a site that can adapt on the fly to being scaled up or down.

Here’s a quick overview of responsive web design.

For designers and developers “responsiveness” is the next big thing because it means building one site that can perform across any device. It got me thinking that, for brand strategists, responsiveness has always been a requirement in the unwritten “brand spec.”

Brands have always had to be fluidly scalable – up or down – with equal effectiveness. The web, social media and countless other evolving media, plus global competition and opportunities have made it ever more critical.

From the smallest interaction with a customer to global brand campaigns, brand responsiveness is a core principle of solid branding.

So what makes a responsive brand?

A responsive brand is one that writes the rules of engagement in such a way that you and I have a consistent experience no matter how or where we interact with it. It describes an expectation of what the relationship with the organization will be like – from how you answer the phone to your product development philosophy. Apple “thinks different” and delivers across every touch point – from their unique devices to their unique retail environments. Disney “Imagineers” every aspect of its business – from its movies to its theme parks to its cruise ships.

What do they share in common?

Both brands are reflective of the fundamental vision and culture of the organization. Both brands are fundamental to the who and the how of their organizations. And whether you’re selling phones, vacations packages or a better mouse trap, it’s the timeless secret to creating a truly responsive experience.

So how do you start creating a more responsive brand?

  1. Don’t focus on what you do. Focus on how you do it.  What you do is, or at some point in the future will become, a commodity. What can’t be commoditized is the way in which you go about doing it.
  2. Communicate it clearly to your organization.  Great brands live and breathe on the front line. If they aren’t on board with the brand you’re trying to build, it simply won’t happen, so make sure you’re communicating loudly and clearly.
  3. Branding is a team sport.  Great brands reflect your organizational culture and that’s not something the marketing team owns. People support what they help to build so make creating or recreating your brand an inclusive process.
  4. Someone has to push.  Sure it’s a little self-serving but most organizations can’t do it alone. There’s simply too much built in resistance to change. An outside partner (like PUSH 22) brings an objective perspective, and isn’t weighed down with the day to day realities of your business so they can help push from behind you start to lose their momentum.

Rob Wilkie is the creative director at PUSH 22, an integrated marketing and communications agency supporting leading and emerging companies.

Move forward thinking

We talk a lot about move forward thinking. But what is it? Brand activation isn’t only about what you do, your tactics, your every day. It’s about your path, your journey, your road.

We understand. We make brands happen. We help brands evolve. We create campaigns, buy media, have a team of fantastic thinkers, designers and strategists. Move forward thinking is not only about what you do – it’s how you do it.

Move Forward Thinking from PUSH 22 on Vimeo.

It’s not a figment of your imagination; the holiday season did come early

Now that the holidays have officially commenced, I’d like to get something off my chest. I’m a pre-holiday scrooge.  You see, I believe that there’s a sequence to be followed: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza. Well in the case of 2013, Thanksgivukkah then Christmas/Kwanza. I baulk at the sight of garland and Santa’s village set up at my favorite mall the first week of November – for goodness sake; I’m just diving into my kid’s Halloween candy! Unfortunately, big business doesn’t share my point of view.

The National Retail Federation defines the “winter holidays” as the 61 days in November and December. The holidays make or break annual budgets (hence, Black Friday). Retailers and manufacturers planned for this time of year long ago – allocating advertising and marketing budget last fall or earlier for the 2013 holiday season. They even shot their ads months ago. By the way, have you seen Kmart’s “Show Your Joe” ad? I digress … that’s another blog post all together.

So, as a marketer, I get it. I understand. I participate. What I and millions of other pre-holiday marketing scrooges forget is that the dollars don’t just affect the retailers, they impact nearly every facet of their finances – from employee headcount, wage and wellness programs to prices and discounts extended to customers the following year, the quality of their products and most importantly to us, vendor budgets. As a whole, it even affects our nation’s economy – did you see the Black Friday and Cyber Monday financial reports? You may also be interested in reading the National Retail Federation’s 2012 holiday season analysis.

So next time we groan about Santa and his elves showing up in early November, or stores extending Black Friday sales a week early, let’s remember that although it’s slightly annoying, its success is crucial to workers, families, marketers, firms and the good old dollar.

In case you’ve been living in the dark, check out Show Your Joe.

Corinne Petras manages social strategy for PUSH 22. She integrates with our clients to create lasting, meaningful media and public relationships.

Make process your differentiator

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“The great and powerful Oz has spoken!” and if you’re marketer, you’d better take notice. Why? Because no matter how loudly you say it, people aren’t really listening like they used to. A big advertising budget simply can’t shape reality like it did 30 years ago. And that means differentiating your brand – really differentiating it – from your competitors’ is harder than ever.

So what’s a marketer to do? I say pull back the curtain.

Take the humble doughnut. Doughnuts have been made pretty much the same way since the first doughnut was created in the mid-1800s and with rare exceptions, the doughnut innovation curve has been a fairly flat one. All things being equal, all doughnuts are created equal. So why is that I’m seriously considering a trip to New York right now?

The Doughnut Vault makes essentially the same doughnuts as the other hundred doughnut shops in New York. But the Doughnut Vault made how they make the doughnuts more interesting. And now I really want one.

So why not pull back the curtain on your own business? Embrace the notion that process is the new product and that how you make things can be as important as what you make these days – that what goes into the making of your product isn’t always obvious in what comes out.

But it is in there. And it’s a real opportunity to differentiate your commodity in a commodity-driven world.

And like as the Scarecrow discovered in Oz, pulling back the curtain just may be the smartest move you ever make.

Rob Wilkie is the creative director at PUSH 22, an integrated marketing and communications agency supporting leading and emerging companies.

Move Forward Thinking