Advertising has always been a battle for the eyes and attention of those most likely to buy your products, but with so many ways to reach people now, especially online, being able to master this apparent chaos will give you a major advantage over your competition.
Original custom content is important because it reaches the exact person you need to reach, in the way you need to reach them with the message you need to reach them with, and gets them to take the desired action, maybe buying your product or service, donating to your nonprofit or voting for your campaign for dog catcher.
Images, whether photographs or videos, have a special power to reach people. The cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words exists for a reason. Think how many words a video, which is just many images strung together, is worth. This is why a larger and larger portion of advertising content, about 35%, is video content. It’s also about one-third of all time spent online in general and 80% of web traffic.
But regardless of the medium used, creating content that people would choose to consume and share on their own initiative is vital. No more do you have a captive audience that HAS to sit through your advertisements in order to get back to their show. Now you need them to CHOOSE to interact with them — and that takes a pretty targeted, customized approach.
Original custom content is targeted at exactly the person you want to reach and does so in a way that gets them hitting the like, share and subscribe button. Even if they don’t buy your product or donate to your cause that day, they are now consumers of your brand. Mastering this process is part art, part science but entirely necessary for success in a world with untold numbers of stimuli battling for even the briefest moment of every person’s attention.
A brand has an identity in much the same way as a person does. If it isn’t consistent, people are confused by and lose confidence in it.
Imagine a person who one day was obsessed with safety and the next was throwing caution to the wind, with no apparent reason for the inconsistency. If you were then asked who you should nominate for the neighborhood watch and who you should invite on the whitewater rafting trip, that confusion might mean they don’t make the top of either list because they seem neither safe, nor adventurous, or even a healthy balance. Just a muddled confusion.
With a brand, you don’t want to confuse people. You want to occupy a clear place in their minds. Not having a place in their minds means you aren’t on their minds as top pick for toothpaste manufacturer, yoga instructor or mayor.
But what is a consistent brand and how do you create one? The identity of a brand is what emotion one feels when interacting with it. The energy it gives off. The voice it speaks from. The passion it acts with. The values it holds dear. Creating a brand identity is like creating a character in a novel. You must bring them to life by crafting each part of their personality and being.
With a brand, this is done with clear intent — to be the kind of identity that achieves the purpose the brand was created for. A nonprofit that focuses on protecting endangered ecosystems will have a brand identity that is grounded in that mission and speaks consistently and clearly to the people who would most likely join on this mission — in this case, maybe a young, energetic, moral voice.
The step of creating a coherent and consistent brand is important enough to your enterprise to think about before taking any other step. It is much easier to have all your collateral, materials, advertising, logo and everything else speaking with the same voice from the beginning than it is to go back and get it all on the same page later.
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Or more appropriately, a blog with a thousand blogs must begin with a single blog. And this is that blog — so let us take the first step and introduce ourselves.
Old North Collective has big plans to take the world by storm, and (to mix metaphors) we’re ready to make our grand entrance. We are a group of creative professionals with a variety of skills, life experiences and insights that we’re confident will produce work that makes heads turn. “Old North” is a reference to North Carolina’s nick-name as the “Old North State,” and “Collective” is the best way to describe the company’s collaborative environment.
Our founder, Alex Zachman, is a man of mystery with a rich and varied background. He has found success everywhere from the barracks to the board room. You may see his beard, his camera and his focus on style and assume he is a creative with an eye for aesthetics. He is. But if you knew of his science background, his work in politics or his time serving in the U.S. Army, you may assume he is a results-oriented man of discipline. And he is.
The company brings this same balance of left brain and right brain to our own identity. While we thrive on art, inspiration and intuition in order to create the right branding and design, it is all backed with hours of in-depth research, statistics and analysis, and it’s executed according to the terms and schedule agreed upon.
Alex has gathered an accomplished cast of characters around him who each fulfill an important function for Old North Collective, whether photography,videography, strategy, advertising, design or copywriting. As a “collective,” we are all working together to get the job done. Stay tuned to see what all that will be…
Just some random musings from our merry band of creatives.