Happy Holidays?

Happy Holidays?

It’s the festive holiday season, which means most Americans are busy decorating, spending time with family and our typical bustling office is dramatically quieter than usual.

But that’s just not the case for retail businesses. Working in retail during the holidays gives a whole new meaning to “hustle & bustle.” It’s enough to make you feel like you are going insane. The constant restocking, the running around to find things for people, and just generally dealing with shoppers who have unrealistic expectations.

Seriously- holidays for retail can be down right horrific. Check out this article with some great examples of horror stories.

So we thought we’d take a moment and recognize the hard working Americans who put up with the rest of us as we wander the stores searching for the perfect gifts. Thank you! Without you we’d be lost. 

But in all seriousness, sometimes with all the stress and hassle of the holidays it’s easy to forget the important stuff. So, from our Black Rhino Family to yours, we wish you all the merriest of holidays and a very Happy New Year!

See you in 2018!

Content Marketing Trends in 2018

Content Marketing Trends in 2018

Content Marketing is the creation and sharing of online material (typically through social media) and is intended to get your target audience’s interest in your specific product or service. It is constantly evolving and just as it has in previous years, it is expected to remain a key strategy to increase brand awareness and acquire new customers in every kind of business. Compared to 2016, more businesses in 2017 have had their success with content marketing and 2018 will be no different. Sounds important, huh?

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: The key to continued success in this effort is the ability to anticipate upcoming trends and embrace change as quickly as possible. BOOM. The purpose of this blog.

Here are 4 trends that will shape content marketing in 2018 and that will [hopefully] help you and your business out in the new year.

Content production

Although obvious, consistent and original content is KEY for all types of business’s looking to execute a content marketing campaign. In 2018, brands can be expected to spend more budget dollars for content marketing, making it more competitive with other types of marketing.

Content marketing has always been known to be a small business's best method for acquiring customers (since it didn’t require a huge budget) however, now big brands such as Apple, Facebook and Google are also investing significant dollars in original content. So it’s safe to say that if the big guys are doing, you should be too!

Video marketing

To keep it short and sweet: video is the future of content marketing. Cisco estimates that video will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Go ahead, do a double take if you need but you read that right. Additionally, if that last fact wasn’t scary enough, 64% of marketers agree that video will soon dominate their content marketing strategies.

By incorporating video and live-streaming into your sales process, you provide your customers a self-serve, on-demand user experience all while being transparent. This way, you give them information at the right time without having to make salespeople always available and allow your customers to get to know more about your authentic brand.

Content personalization 

Personalized anything is always better. Of course, content personalization is a challenging task that requires a long-term, involved effort from your content team but trust me, it’s so worth it!

Gartner reported that brands that have invested in different sorts of personalization by 2018 will outsell those that haven’t by 20 freakin’ percent! So yeah, you should get to that creative thinking ASAP.

User-generated content 

User-generated content on social media works as credibility simply because users tend to trust and follow the actions and choices of other users. As a matter of fact, people trust content made by others more than they trust the brands' own content (shocker).

More and more brands are investing in user-generated campaigns that encourage their loyal customers to become brand advocates and share their positive experience with friends on social media. By doing this, you could build a positive perception among your potential audience members and build your authority overall. So go forth and create those hashtags!

Like any form of marketing, content marketing will change over time. But because the New Year is coming, we figured we’d sprinkle on some trends that will help your marketing succeed in 2018.

Results Or Outcomes

Results Or Outcomes

You may have noticed that in healthcare more recently, there has been a greater focus on “patient outcomes” as a success measurement to be considered. Patient outcomes differ from medical results. While medical results focus on the clinical success of an operation, medical procedure, or prescribed course of care at a specific point in time, patient outcomes focus on the actual state-of-being that the patient experiences and enjoys going forward after receiving such treatment or undergoing a certain medical procedure.

Another factor driving the move from producing medical results to producing better patient outcomes in healthcare is the idea of sustainability and/or permanency. While results are focused on the measurable differences (hopefully improvements) at a single point in time as compared to that same metric at a prior point in time, outcomes tend to focus on the changed state of something and how better off that something is going forward with some degree of sustainability or permanency.

So while a surgical operation can produce a positive result – the surgery was successful, it's possible that the patient outcome may show itself to be not quite as positive. I'm sure we can all imagine an instance where someone could say “The procedure went really really well and Tom is doing great” only to hear at some point later, “...yeah, looks like Tom might have to go back in, he's starting to have some of that same pain again.” Positive medical result: Tom's surgery was successful. Not quite as positive a patient outcome: Tom's changed-state (his alleviated pain) wasn't sustained.

In marketing the focus tends to be on results - what were the results of the campaign?, how many new leads did we get?, wow we increased sales X%. These are just a few of the common things that are typically heard in marketing meetings that focus on comparing a specific metric at a specific point in time to the same metric at a previous point in time. And they are all incredibly valid, extremely meaningful, and very important things to note.

But what if as marketers, we shifted our focus from producing marketing results to producing better client outcomes? What if we didn't view the campaign (and its results) as a single measurable event at a single moment in time, but instead saw that “result” as something that simply establishes a new baseline for our clients? In this scenario any increase in sales, while important, would more importantly also become the new sales threshold not to fall below. Having the new sales floor being the newly increased sales number, puts the client in a changed-state and in a better state-of-being. This type of thinking is rooted in being focused on producing better client outcomes - putting clients in a better state on a permanent or sustainable basis vs. simply producing marketing results.

At the Black Rhino Marketing Group our focus is on producing better clients outcomes. For us generating a customer increase for our clients through the marketing efforts we develop would simply be a producing marketing result. And that simply isn't good enough. Producing better client outcomes means that it's not just about increasing new customers for our clients, but instead it's about increasing those numbers with the right kinds of customers, those that are enjoyable as well as profitable to work with, that pay in a timely fashion, and those that will have longevity long term. These are the types of things that put our clients in a better changed-state going forward. These are client outcomes!

If your company's marketing is producing successful marketing results, we commend that. But if you want your marketing to produce better outcomes for your company, you need to speak with us. Today!





Graphic Design in Iran

Graphic Design in Iran

About a week ago my colleague asked me what the difference was between graphic design in Iran and the United States…

I responded:

“Actually, not a big difference. If the U.S. has beautiful actress/handsome actor shown on a billboard who is enjoying a bottle of water, there is an image of a Persepolis soldier being used for the same concept in Iran. Both are trying to show their identity.”

I moved to the United State 6 years ago and am still struggling with language and so it’s not been easy to express myself in a way I want to. But while Farsi is my first language, I find good deign is a language of its own.

Even though the relationship between Iran and Western countries, especially United State, hasn’t been great, one of the most sensitive parts in studying graphic design is our relationship with the graphic design of the West. Our graphic culture has constantly looked to the West as an example, it has been shown in all aspects of graphic design in Iran, and this influence hasn’t been just in graphic design, you can see the foot print of the West in all kinds of art in Iran, such as music, fashion and Fine Arts.

Iran is a country in which its people are tied with its art and design; walls are decorated with tiles and floors are covered with carpets. Every shape and color in the carpets have been designed to represent something in our life: a flower, an animal or even a special event such as wedding, birth or death. Some carpets have been made based on a plans which have been designed by a designer and some like “Gabeh”, have been improvised based on daily events. I believe living and seeing these extraordinary arts and designs make them ordinary in our eyes and this could be on of the reasons that Western graphic design has been imitated by Iranian designers for decades.

In the modern age, where the internet breaks the walls between countries, we expect to see more influence of West in Iranian design but what we see instead is the revolution of getting back to our roots while still being able to communicate with the world. Artist and designers of all kinds, such as fashion, furniture, jewelry and of course graphic design, try to use their identity in their works while still being able to send their message to people who have no knowledge of the Iranian culture. Some believe that the identity in graphic design is only applicable to cultural graphics, because graphics in the area of information and publicity take form based on the content, information, message and relationship with the audience. Communication requirements leave no space for identity, but the current graphic designers in Iran prove it is wrong.

The influence of the West has been happening for decades and having thousands of years of history in art and design, helped Iranian graphic designers be able to communicate the rest of the words while having their identity in their works.