MicroSoft to Buy LinkedIn

Microsoft to buy LinkedInThe big news from a branding and marketing standpoint this morning is that MicroSoft is buying LinkedIn for $26 Billion.

I think that the “Business Social Media” platform is about to have some major changes, even though the press release insists that everything will remain independent.

LinkedIn boasts 400 million members worldwide and MicroSoft is claiming mobile and cloud. Obviously LinkedIn has what Microsoft has wanted for a long time: a strong social media platform that is filled with business people around the world.

A joint company conference call today, at 8:45 a.m. Pacific Time/11:45 a.m. Eastern Time will be available via webcast at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor to find out more.

Finding the Right Color

When I worked in the toy industry (both at Hasbro and at Little Tikes) finding the right color of the toy was critical. And equally important was the communication between all the people who had a hand in bringing that product to market.

Beyond the designers, there were graphic designers, packaging printers, retail merchandisers, advertising executives, licensing partners (think cookie jars, sleeping bags and party favors), and countless others who need to know the actual color of a the product.

Getting it all to match on a package logo, a t-shirt, a ball cap – the color matters!

So how can you figure out what color you need to specify if you are working with an existing palette? Here’s a handy website tool from Pantone that will allow you or your designer to get a quick handle on the color you need.
right color finder pantone color finder

Some designers use the eyedropper technique. That works well for printed materials but it is helpful to have swatches that can be attached to the product when setting a standard and providing to a company who may be licensing your brand, logo or product for use with their product and brand.

Even if you aren’t a designer with an eyedropper tool on your software, you can install a tool in Google Chrome and to easily match a color on your website or another photo. This will work wonders when you’re having trouble finding the right color that matches your other marketing elements. You’ll have to use Google Chrome (not Firefox or Safari) as your browser to install this too.

color pick eyedropper tool

Instagram Launches a New Logo

the new instagram-logo-colorful icon 5_2016the old instagram-logo-iconInstagram announced a new logo recently.  I’m wondering where all marketers will be scrambling to make the adjustments.

Is it shown on any of your printed material? (Hope not!) Do you use a list of social media icons linked to your social media accounts on your website or blog?

If so, are you using the “latest” Instagram logo? Well, better click thru your websites to make sure you’re plugin’s and social media icons are up to date!

Click here for branding information from Instagram Brand Resources.

Here’s how they announced their refreshed logo a couple of days ago. This is how they described it:

Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form. You’ll also see updated icons for our other creative apps: Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse.

We’ve made improvements to how the Instagram app looks on the inside as well. The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app.

The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.

I’ve seen a few very short videos on Imgur that make fun of the changes… I guess there are always folks that love to make fun of any changes.  Here is the “official” video on an account called Instagram on Vimeo makes the change look a bit more complicated.

Instagram Launches a New Logo With Simple Icon over Rainbow Colors

And I believe that this post explains a lot of the thought process that went into the new logo.

Why is it Important to Have Good Press Releases?

Good press releases help to promote your organization's mission and provide informationGood press releases are the backbone of strong public relations. While some press releases are just self serving, there are many good reasons to have current press releases sent to the media, posted on your website and published out on the internet.

Good press releases:

  • Keeps your company top of mind
  • Helps prospective customers learn more about your company
  • Alerts potential employees that your business is growing/progressive
  • Recognizes employees or volunteers which contributes to keeping your company morale high
  • Serves as a documented history when you look back on where your business has come from
  • Helps internet search engines to find your website {USE WITH CAUTION!}
  • Helps to orients new employees to programs
  • Provides a “30 second commercial” in the ABOUT section of the press release

If you’ve never heard about a company before, you have no idea if they are honest, progress, short sighted, greedy, community minded, innovative, old fashioned, collaborative or interesting.

Some companies never make the news. That is okay except they are invisible. This makes it harder to persuade. Harder to sell to a new customer. Harder to attract a new employee.

Some companies only make the news when someone else writes about them. They are at the mercy of the writer to get it correct. To understand a sometimes complicated project, issue or program. Without any press release posted on your website, will the writer know who to call? If you don’t make it easy, many times a reporter who is short on time will only try a few ways and places to connect, before writing something like “the company did not return calls” or “there was no comment by press time.”

The reason I say “USE WITH CAUTION” about getting search engine optimization (SEO) from the press release is that many companies with unethical (or ill advised) public relations advice, flooded the internet with their press releases – in essence spamming the search engines with their promotional writing.

There is a big difference in getting your press release published on a trade journals’ website or a local news organization’s portal than there is just plastering it across the internet.  Duplicate content can be a red flag for black hat SEO attempts.

You may want to consider having a backgrounder page on your website for the press and media to learn more about who to contact. By including factual information about your company and links to old press releases, someone can quickly get up to speed about your company’s organization, products, services, and outlook to your industry.

Knowing Your Target Market: Three Generations in the Workforce

Creating persuasive messages and distributing them in targeted media that your audience and market will respond to everything in marketing.

If you are targeting a business to business customer, you are likely crafting a message for one of three generations. If you are wanting to target market three generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials) you probably already know that they all think and act very differently.

Trying to appeal to all three generations at the same time is difficult at best!

Do you know who is buying your product? Influencing? Recommending? And what criteria they use?

Target Market three Generations Defined

In the chart below from 2015, you can see that there are three distinct groups.

Labor Force Composition by Generation

The different generations have a different criteria of what is important and use different words and phrases. When you are trying to target market three generations you have to be very broad in your appeals. And depending on who is doing the copywriting, you may find the wrong words actually offend rather than attract the very potential customer you’re trying to talk with (Take a look at her reaction at 3:07 into the video!)

Target Market Three Generations: How Old Is OLD?

I guess it is all about perspective, but putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is crucial to creating the right tone. Years ago I resented being called a “kid” when I was in my late 20’s. By the same token, the word elderly, senior and old have connotations and denotations that you just shouldn’t ignore.