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  • 02.26.16

IQ Wins 2016 Silver Addy Award

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Last night, IQ received a Silver Addy Award for our work in the Regional/National Online Campaign category. The awards were held at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, hosted by the Atlanta Ad Club. 

Officially, the show “recognizes and rewards the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising.” However, to us, awards like this signify that in addition to meeting our main objective, which is to make our clients successful, our work also receives appreciation from other creative talent in our industry (and we appreciate you too, guys!).

IQ is proud of the work that our teams produce every day and proud of the clients who give us the opportunities to do that great work and win a few awards here and there.

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  • 02.23.16

We’re Making Room on the Shelf for More Awards at IQ

IQ Awards

At IQ, our highest priority is meeting our clients’ business objectives. Our strategic process grounds all of our work in data that inform plans to confidently provide our clients with a return on their investment through award-winning creative that gets consumers to act. While award wins aren’t a KPI for us, it’s always fun to celebrate.

And the celebration has begun.

Not only are we an Addy finalist for our three GEICO spots full of office humor and ridiculous scenarios, we’re also a finalist for three CUNA awards for our work for Oregon Community Credit Union. The rigorous CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference recognizes exceptional efforts from credit unions around the country. Along with being a finalist for three CUNA awards, we also got the heads up that we’ve won at least one prestigious Diamond award for our OCCU work. Check out the helpful online Home Buying 101 center for OCCU, the Random Acts of Kindness where we helped OCCU treat U of O students to some unexpected gifts ( TVs, bikes and tons of swag), as well as our unconventional and heartwarming OCCU member testimonial campaign.

We’ll be sure to let you what happens at the awards ceremonies. Until then, we’ll be practicing our acceptance speeches in the mirror.

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2016 Super Bowl Advertising Commercials Wrap Up

IQ Wrap Up of Super Bowl Commercials

Some IQers watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials. Here are some of our favorite and not-so-favorite commercials from this year’s “big game.”

The Good:

Audi – This is exactly the kind of emotionally driven commercials auto companies need to run with right now to get consumers to buy cars that aren’t just your basic vanilla get you from point A to point B types.  Basically, if you want someone to buy your super expensive sports car – you need emotion.  If you want someone to buy your poorly built and will likely break down piece of junk – you need emotion.

 ACURA NSX – David Lee Roth was the perfect voice for their target audience. I have listened to my husband play that exact track of David Lee Roth’s isolated voice repeatedly for years. He was very inspired by it. I’m so glad it now serves a more useful purpose. 😉

Doritos – Some people were offended by this spot but it was my favorite of the night – the only one I literally LOL’ed at.  It was the epitome of a “WTH” moment and whether people loved or hated it, it’s getting the most coverage and attention.

Amazon Echo – I’m a fan of the product anyway but I like that they featured the product more than just making it all about the celebrities (My husband and I tested it and we got the same answers she gave in the commercial).  Also smart marketing strategy to have the Twitter promoted trend the day after the ad ran for additional context.

Budweiser/Helen Mirran drunk driving – An important message delivered in a way that makes you want to be responsible. Less memorable is who sponsored the commercial.

The Bad:

MINI Cooper – Being different.  It made me feel like they wanted to be just like every other company that wants to “be different.”  MINI has such an amazing story and sadly no one will ever hear it because they never talk about it.  Disappointed.

Social Finance AKA “SoFi” – The worst commercial. For the amount of money spent to run the ad, they skimped on the creative process and made a forgettable, bland bank ad. Something you’d 100% skip in YouTube pre-roll.

Split decision:

PUPPY/MONKEY/BABY

“I hated and loved it at the same time. So obnoxious. I can’t get it out of my head.” – Carol

“No.  Just…no.  It came on TV, I screamed and I’ve never seen my fiancé run so fast into the living room because he thought I had fallen and likely broke something.” – Emily

“I loved Puppy/Monkey/Baby so much it’s my new ringtone.  Not only was it hysterically entertaining, we’re all talking about it today! It also reminded me of the 2004 Quizno’s commercial featuring singing rats. Yeah, I loved that one too.” – Russ

You can watch every 2016 Super Bowl commercial online here.

What can IQ research for you?

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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IQ Spotlight: Megan Hawkins, Strategist

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  • 01.25.16

Decoding Modern Marketing Series Overview

We have recently begun a new series, Decoding Modern Marketing. The full overview article by IQ CEO Tony Quin is here. We’ll have Part 1 here for you next month.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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Decoding Modern Marketing – A new series

DecodingMM

Midsize companies are waking up to new dangers.

During the recession, while consumers sharpened their digital buying skills and the Fortune 100 raced ahead, many midsize companies took advantage of the competitive lull and avoided the investments necessary to keep up with the digitally empowered consumer.

Cut to 2016: Consumers, both B2C and B2B, have become sophisticated buyers. They have the tools to make smart, fully informed buying decisions every time. They are demanding, digitally savvy and unforgiving of brands that do not serve them well, especially on social media. They expect easy, enjoyable experiences in store, online, and with the products and services they buy.

In a nutshell, they want it good, fast, and cheap, and if they don’t get it from you, they’ll find it somewhere else.

At the same time, competition is brewing even in the sleepiest of verticals. Companies are realizing that if they don’t superserve their consumers, one of their competitors will or already is. And the quality of such an experience has been set not by the sleepy competition, but by the world’s top brands, so the bar is very high.

While the big companies have used the recession years to shift their focus to connect with the modern consumer, midsize companies are only now waking up to the need to get their marketing and consumer experience up to speed. But time is running out. Nimble new brands are finding ways to disrupt almost every industry with product innovation and better consumer experiences, and big companies, like Amazon, are spreading their enormous wings with even more innovation, making it ever harder for laggards to get into the game.

With a relatively stable economy under our feet, we have entered the fat part of the snake, where many midsize companies are ready to catch up. That means acting now to shift to a consumer-centric orientation in which everything that touches consumers is designed with them in mind.

Midsize companies that have managed to slide by without more sophisticated marketing and just manufacture and distribute will have to become marketing companies now, which is a daunting prospect for many. But the alternative is worse. As a big-box retailer recently said to a longtime brand on its shelves: “What I want from you is a brand, and that means you have to get good at marketing. If I want a product, I’ll make it myself.”

The good news is that even though time is short, you can quickly build a modern marketing machine that will superserve your consumers and future-proof your brand. That’s what IQ’s forthcoming 10-part series, “Decoding Modern Marketing,” sets out to do. This monthly series is an executive guide for midsize brands ready to usher their marketing into the digital age. That said, “Decoding Modern Marketing” is applicable to brands of all sizes, large, midsize, and small.

View the overview of Decoding Modern Marketing here. We’ll be back with Part 1 next month.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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IQ Spotlight: Megan Hawkins, Strategist

IQ Strategist Megan Hawkins

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so once a month we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record, what is your name and your title at IQ?

My name is Megan Hawkins and I’m a Strategist at IQ.

What is one thing you never leave the house without?

It’s so cliché, but my phone. My iPhone has everything I need on it. I wish I had a cooler answer, but I always leave home with lip balm and my phone.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally.

This isn’t at all what I went to school for. I went to school for Sports Broadcasting, and then realized pretty quickly freshman year that me being in front of a camera is just kind of a bad idea, I like being behind the scenes more. In my first job out of college I really loved the research, planning and strategy work I did. I also found out that I really work well in an agency environment. I enjoy the culture, the people and the smart work that goes on in an agency.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

It’s the ability to produce work that not only is designed well and looks great, but is also supported with strategic planning and research.

What are you most passionate about in your life, and why?

I am most passionate about my family! I have a husband and a dog. My dog is a Lab-Australian Shepherd mix and we go on long walks through our neighborhood every morning. My husband and I have owned our home for a little over a year now, so we’re still exploring the adventures of renovation and home repairs. I also really like to cook and bake, and I’m saving up for a camera so I can start a food blog.

Quickfire:

Pirates or Ninjas?

Pirates with ninja-like skills.

Pie: Apple or Pumpkin?

Apple. With ice cream.

Bright or Neutral Colors?

Neutral.

Math or English?

English.

Board games or video games?

Board games.

Now you know a little more about Megan Hawkins!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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IQ’s Favorite Apps and Services of 2015

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IQ’s Favorite Apps and Services of 2015

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of our favorite……apps.

Unroll.me – Far superior to Gmail’s tabbed approach, Unroll.me is the simplest way to manage and filter your email to greatly reduce the number of times your phone vibrates and distracts you from what is truly important.

IQ best apps - unroll.me

Slack – Email will never die but that’s not stopping Slack from trying. Slack manages office communication with great cross-platform integration and we love the awesome giphy feature.

IQ best apps - Slack

Spotify – The streaming music service’s user base continued to grow this year and they extended into the fitness app market by launching a running feature that detects steps per minute, matching song pace to the user’s actual pace.

IQ best apps - Spotify

Instagram – While VSCO made a strong push this year, Instagram is still the photo sharing app to beat. From a marketing perspective the new self-serve ad platform they unleashed this year is fantastic!

IQ best apps - Instagram

Marriott – In addition to the great design this powerful hotel app (yes, we were surprised a hotel app made the list too) does more than just book your next stay at any of their 4,000 properties. You can chat with an associate to dial in the specifics of your booking or make special requests.

IQ best apps - Marriott

Timehop – Time travel to your past social posts. One of the best apps even though it can cause some self-shaming.

IQ best apps - Timehop

Snapchat – Started as a joke among older millennials but they’ve innovated to be a good news source for a tough market of media consumers, and their creative filters are almost memes themselves!

IQ best apps - Snapchat

Venmo and Cash – Instant and secure ways to send and receive money between individuals. It’s actually frightening how fast they work. Venmo took it one step further and socialized the act of sending money.

IQ best apps - Venmo and Cash

TwoDots – More than a few of us are addicted to this game. Just download it and curse us later.

IQ best apps - Two Dots

Favor – Their tag line is “Get Anything Delivered” Seriously. Anything. Food from your favorite barbeque place? Done.

Need a stapler? Done.

Anything you want in your city in under an hour.

IQ best apps - Favor

Tripit – If you connect your Outlook, Yahoo, or Gmail accounts Tripit will automatically pull plane tickets, hotel confirmation, restaurants reservations, and event tickets into the app and send you reminders of where you are supposed to be when.  One place for all of your itinerary needs. Some of us won’t travel without it.

IQ best apps - Tripit

So what will 2016 bring? We’re betting on apps and services that provide deeper connectivity and tied into wearables as more products enter the market at lower price points. Let us know what technologies IQ can research for your business.

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How Much Should you Budget for Marketing – what other companies will spend in 2016

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How Much Should you Budget for Marketing – what other companies will spend in 2016

How much to budget for 2016 Marketing

Having worked on both client side and agency side, I’ve experienced the end of year budgeting season from two perspectives. On the agency side, we work with clients to set goals for 2016 and then back out of that tactically to estimate (in terms of cost) what it’s going to take to reach those goals. In an agency, we get to dream about all the exciting things we could do to help move our clients’ businesses forward. We get to brainstorm and collaborate then present exciting ideas to our clients. But what many on our side don’t know is what you (our clients) go through during the final few months of the year – the planning, negotiating, revising, justifying, compromising, etc. Often it requires internal campaigning with adjacent departments to partner on initiatives so that budget can be shared. It’s a draining process and any data that might support your proposal for an increase in budget helps.

While the process will always be messy, taking a look at what others are doing helps provide context. Each year CMO Survey publishes a report with what companies spend in marketing and the percentage of revenue and the overall company budget that the marketing budget represents.

First the big numbers. Marketing budgets represent 11% of overall company budgets. This is further broken down by the type of company with B2C product (vs. service) companies getting the most budget at 17.5% and B2B product companies getting the least at 10.1%. Interestingly, the trend is on the upswing, with companies investing more on marketing than any report since 2012.

CMO Marketing Budget Report

While marketing budgets continue to take a larger percentage of overall company budgets, the net investment, however, continues to decrease as company budgets overall continue to decrease. On average, marketing departments intend to invest 6.6% of company revenue, down from 8.3% in 2015. Again, B2C product companies are leading overall spend with 10.4% with B2C services companies taking the bottom at 5.3%.

2016mktgbudget2

It should be noted that these numbers are inclusive of all marketing department efforts including operations – that’s everything from the costs associated with your brand advertising campaigns to the salaries of all of your marketing employees. Looking at total budgets then might be of little value to those of you who are creating budgets that get submitted to a CMO for inclusion in the overall budget, so let’s break it down a bit to see where companies are investing.

One of the biggest gains for 2016 will continue to be in digital marketing spend with a 12.2% increase year over year. B2C services companies, who we saw previously were getting the least amount of marketing budget as a percentage of revenue, will have an average 20% increase in their digital marketing budget, while B2C product companies will see a 14% increase.. On the other hand, traditional advertising spend for 2016 will be down 2.1% marking a significant swing toward digital.

Mobile marketing is another large focus for companies. In the next 3 years, companies say they will increase mobile marketing spend by 15.6%.

Investment in CRM also continues to be prioritized, with an 8% increase in marketing spend in 2016. Brand building will see a 5.5% increase. New product introductions will see 8.3% increase. And new service introductions will see a 4% increase.

Gone are the days when companies could do the minimum and hope to slide by without seeing any impact on the bottom line, and this latest data underscores what it takes to compete in today’s increasingly active, competitive marketplace. While this won’t make your job over the next month or two any easier, hopefully it validates what you’re asking for. Here’s to a successful 2016!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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Why Context Matters for Media Strategies

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Why Context Matters for Media Strategies

Strategy Perception - Context

If you’re paying attention to the ad industry at all, you’re probably aware of the ‘attention’ media buyers have received by their clients. The kind of attention that costs thousands or millions to resolve.

Though you should always be assessing media spends and evaluating effectiveness, its come to our attention at IQ that many marketers today neglect a seemingly obvious and important piece of media effectiveness — context.

It’s important to seek 3rd party research for a number of applications in marketing. But think for a minute about your own consumption patterns.

Have I ever purchased directly after clicking a banner ad?

or,

Have I ever purchased a product from preroll video advertising?

or even,

When’s the last time I purchased a new product based on TV ads?

You’ve likely completed a purchase from a form of display advertising (loosely defined). Now think of your answers to these types of questions in the context of your consumption —“What else was I doing during this time?” Your answers will vary here.

Maybe you were checking email, and clicked a link to an article. Maybe you were attempting to watch your favorite show on Hulu. But definitely, you were checking messages on your phone, your Apple Watch, your Fitbit, or corralling the kid(s).

We live in an era of multitasked, multiscreen, low attention span consumption habits. In this case, we must consider the context for which an ad of any sort is seen by the consumer to develop a style of ad that will grab attention when we need it to.

To make the best ads possible, marketers must consider context along with attention and strategy to determine the right approach.

Below is a brief framework for creating more effective ads:

1.  Context

Where will the consumer be when viewing the ads? 

– What platform will the ads be viewed on? 

– What will the consumer (likely) be doing when viewing the ads? (i.e. multitasking) 

2. Attention

How attentive will the audience be on this platform? 

– Which screen will their attention be driven to?

What type of content will surround the ad? 

3. Strategy

Based on context and attention level, should the ad promote engagement or persuade the consumer? 

– Should the ad inform or entertain primarily?

– How critical is attention on first touch? (considering multi-channel ad campaigns)

The history of advertising leans heavily on persuasion. Shopping used to be fairly linear in that you might see an ad on TV or in a magazine and head directly in-store for more information. Advertisers had to persuade you enough to get you to physically try or buy.

But as the internet expanded in popularity, so did ad channels, creating a new ad content approach: engagement. Consider social media advertising. Attention spans will be remarkably low due to the amount of content. For this platform, its critical to get attention fast through entertaining content. This is why context matters first and foremost.

The next time you’re planning for new ad campaigns, try using this framework to right size your spend by platform and create content that’s appropriate for the context. If anything, you’ll likely have well grounded creative ideas and maybe even happier customers over time.

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3 Ways Voice and Tone Influence Brand Perception

It's all in your voice and tone

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

We’ve all heard this adage before. While it may serve a purpose in personal communication, it’s just not true for brands. As a brand what you say is just as important as how you say it. And since most brand communication is written, you’ve got to account for a lack of vocal and facial nuance with what you’re saying, too.

Every brand has a style guide, and just as important as having branded logos and colors is having a brand voice and tone document. This document will help you figure out how to express the brand’s values and thinking in written communication on websites, emails, social posts, and more. Voice and tone are two distinct aspects of verbal and written expression that impact how a brand’s audience perceives them.

A brand’s “voice” is much like a person’s “voice.” It’s how they speak, the words they use and the order of phrases that communicate a feeling or message.

A brand’s tone, just like a person’s, changes subtly depending on the topic. A brand may use more slang or be more energetic on social media, but more straightforward on an email or a landing page.

Let’s look at an example of how the voice stays consistent while the tone shifts with circumstance:

How a brand interacts with their audience on social media on 4th of July is going to look a lot different from how they do on Memorial Day. Why? Because 4th of July is a day of patriotic celebration, and Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving our country. You wouldn’t want to share a post for Memorial Day with the cheerful exuberance you would expect in a 4th of July post. If you did that, you risk alienating the members of your audience who have ties to the military.

Clearly the tone is just as important as the voice in these kind of posts, and both are equally likely to influence the way an audience views a brand. Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking of how to use your brand’s voice and tone to positively influence your audience:

1. Pinpoint what you want to talk about as a brand.

Understanding what topics you want to talk about as a brand is a great first step. These topics should relate back to the brand’s values. You can incorporate the brand values into your writing on these topics. This is a great way to reinforce who your brand is and what the brand stands for.

2. Understand the words that evoke your brand values to your audience.

You know who your brand is, but are you showing your audience who you are as a brand? To find out what your audience thinks of you, you can use social listening to analyze what words or phrases your audience uses to describe you. Using emotionally evocative language is a simple way to impact how your audience sees you. If your audience sees you as glib when you’re going for lighthearted, take a moment to look at the language you’re using as a brand and find ways to keep it playful but sincere.

3. Treat your audience like a part of your team.

You want your audience to become fans and advocates of your brand. You don’t want your audience to feel like they’re being condescended. Share tips, but don’t write in a way that makes your brand sound superior. This can be the simple difference between saying “You may know _____ but did you know _____?” versus “here is every little thing about ______.”  Encourage your audience to create and share their own content with your social media accounts by writing posts that have a personal touch. If your audience feels like you’re creating a community, they are more likely to feel connected to your brand and be involved with your social accounts.

Ultimately as a brand what you say and how you say it impacts how your audience sees you and relates to you. By creating a clear voice and tone guide for your brand you can understand how your audience sees you. As well, you can have a positive influence on their future interactions with your brand on your website, via email and social networks.

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