The present day market is saturated. There are almost no marketing strategies left where you’ll not face any competition. Unless what you have is a groundbreaking product, it is very difficult to stand out from a crowded marketplace. Consequently, you need to keep looking for alternatives to sneak into people’s imaginations. Advertisements are a way, but how much can you squeeze into a half-a-minute long media file? Here is where the Evangelism Marketing comes into play.
Brand evangelism is a word-of-mouth marketing where customers voluntarily recommend your product to others, and will practically do the marketing on your behalf. People are less skeptical of a marketing evangelist as opposed to other hard-core selling techniques, simply because that person is not affiliated nor associated with a brand. As a result, there’s a higher chance of converting a potential lead into a definite sale when you use brand evangelism.
Evangelists can be carved out of loyal brand followers. If you are a startup looking to establish your presence in your chosen niche, you need to identify who your target market is even before you launch your product. Once the connection has been made, and the lead or prospect has been turned into a paying customer, you’ll face the challenge: turning that one-time customer into a customer for life. If you can even turn one loyal customer a month initially, it is a huge positive.
Establishing brand loyalty is important because these kinds of customers will not just buy your product; they also become your brand’s passionate advocates. You get new business based on word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals from them. The best thing about this? These loyal customers come across as credible, unbiased, and authoritative because you haven’t paid them a single cent.
This marketing strategy does sound quite lucrative and relatively simple. However, there are a lot of principles involved in it. The simpler the strategy, the harder it is to master it. So how do you perfect Evangelism Marketing so as to have an efficient group of loyalists doing your bidding? We’ll discuss these principles in the next post.
This week we talked with Adam Figman, Head of Content/Editor-in-Chief at SLAM Magazine to talk about what Adam does and dive into SLAM’s activations during NBA All-Star Weekend…we also find out who he thinks is the best-dressed in the NBA. Let’s go!
Varsity Partners: You’ve been at SLAM for nine years, tell us about your current role and how the company has evolved in your time there.
Adam Figman: My current role at SLAM is Head of Content and Editor-in-Chief of all content that we produce, which includes overseeing all social, video, website and magazine content. When I started as an intern in 2010 SLAM’s focus was mostly around the print magazine with maybe two or three of us working on digital content — and even the few of us who worked on the website and social channels were balancing that with print duties. Today we have around 15 people who create digital content of many sorts — original video, highlight mixes, funny and/or informative graphics, photos and so, so much more. We also now have a big merch business and we produce a few events every year. In other words: It is now very, very different than it used to be.
VP: SLAM Magazine’s first-ever cover featured the Hornets’ Larry Johnson. Fans in Charlotte still love the style and personalities of the ’90s Hornets. How did SLAM leverage that love for ’90s hoops and culture during All-Star Weekend?
AF: All-Star Weekend was a blast. We wrapped a Sprinter in SLAM covers that spanned from those 90s days all the way to our more recent covers that feature people like LeBron, Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, Klay Thompson, Jayson Tatum and more. We pulled up to events all over the place, sold exclusive merch out of the back, did some interviews with players and rappers in the Sprinter and created some fun content moments around the Sprinter. Plus, it essentially acted as a moving billboard for our brand.
VP: SLAM is entrenched in the sneaker/”fit” culture that dominates social media (check out the NBA’s best dressed on SLAM’s @LeagueFits account). How did you capitalize on that with activations surrounding ASW?
AF: There’s sneaker events left and right during All-Star Weekend, so we pulled up to all of them with the Sprinter and covered them socially on @SLAMKicks (our sneaker channel) and @LeagueFits (our style channel). Tons of players feel the need to pull out their best fits during All-Star, so @LeagueFits was bumping 24/7. And then during the Game all the brands make sure their guys are wearing their newest stuff, so @SLAMkicks was a fun follow during the NBA’s big events.
VP: The SLAM Sprinter activation was awesome. How did that come to be? What did the response look like in person and on social media?
AF: That was just an idea that someone had in the office that evolved into something that we mocked up digitally that evolved into a real thing a few phone calls later. It was amazing — seeing the way people looked at it and took photos (and then posted photos) of it every time we pulled up anywhere made it obvious that it was working.
VP: What do you use to gauge whether or not SLAM’s activations are successful? How do you feel things went in Charlotte?
It’s a mixture of just having a good feel for what’s working/what isn’t and then diving into some numbers to see how our social engagement is doing. Charlotte was a success by every measure.
VP: What was your personal favorite part of NBA All-Star Weekend?
AF: A mixture of seeing the way people responded to the Sprinter (both in real life and digitally) and just catching up with people throughout the industry who I don’t often see because they live in different cities across the country.
VP: Final, fun question. Shoe game or whole outfit — who’s in your starting five for the NBA All-Drip Team?
AF: Ah, man. I’ll go with Kyle Kuzma, PJ Tucker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Russell Westbrook and Devin Booker. All rockstars.
If you want me, Bruce, you’ve gotta take me as I am instead of trying to change me into something else. I’m no suburban bridge player. I’m a newspaper man. Darn it.
Hildy Johnson, His Girl Friday
I love Cary Grant comedies. And His Girl Friday is one of his best. Hildy, the ‘girl Friday’ of the film is a quick witted, whip smart, to the point, maguyver-esque funster who loves a good story. It’s not her ex-husband’s charm or their obvious chemistry that ultimately brings them back together. In fact, it’s their shared pursuit of justice, of righting a wrong together, that closes the deal. Not only do they work well together, they *work* together — as equals. It’s the respect that wins her, not the shenanigans. Truth is, Rosalind Russell is a powerhouse. And Hildy is actually a woman who’s got a spine and holds her own quite well, thanks.
So it’s always been a bit sad to me that the term “girl Friday” has come to mean something less than the above. It’s probably carried with it some of the racist and classist overtones of the term “man Friday” from which it stems — to varying degrees. At best, a girl Friday is the steadfast assistant, always there in a pinch to bail you out. At worst, it’s the underappreciated and overworked doormat, who’ll jump at the chance to help her superiors for no reward other than a smile and pat on the head — no matter what it costs her, or how much it prevents her from having a life of her own. In the movie, she’s a crackerjack partner.
But add 79 years and she’s an underling or the worst kind of cowering, write-off-able female cliché. She’s not empowering, she’s a cautionary tale.
When I named my company, I was frankly naïve to the fact that the term girl Friday was seen by almost everyone as sexist, even if only around the edges. I wish I could say that my obliviousness was surprising, but the truth is that I was blind to a lot of the ways that sexism plays out, in fact was already playing out, in my life and the lives of the women, and men, around me.
Sure, I thought girl Friday might be a little simplistic for what I was doing in my work with independent restaurants. But I had such a close relationship with all my clients, they knew me so well, and I really did, and still do, become a kind of go-to for nearly all of them — the term seemed to convey exactly what set my company apart, what made the work I do so gratifying to me: the teamwork, personal connection, moxie, and partnership. Working against the clock to right a wrong, and beat the odds. I decided the term would be kind of a gate keeper, a litmus test — only the clients that got it got in.
It’s hard to believe it, but that was fifteen years ago! And the truth is, I’m hardly a girl anymore. But that’s not really what’s led me to this place today. It’s not what’s needing a change.
The truth is, I still pride myself on delivering all those outcomes above and more to each of my clients. I still think it is what truly sets my company apart.
But I’m no longer satisfied with that — being one of a few that approaches bookkeeping for independent businesses this way. More and more I find myself wanting to speak to a larger vision of what financial services relationship can be for independent owners and independent bookkeepers and accountants alike. And like any dream worth its salt, this one can’t be done alone. I find myself wanting to reach out, to contribute ideas worth spreading, so to speak.
I guess I could argue that, even in a higher profile, it shouldn’t matter that girlFRIDAY is in my company name. People shouldn’t automatically assume that working with and for others, being a steadfast problem-solver and advocate, means you are somehow diminished, and therefore that the term is sexist. This is what seems rather sexist to me, to be honest.
But the fact is that for me, right now, in this moment in time and in our culture, it doesn’t matter that it shouldn’t matter. What matters is that, however misunderstood, girlFRIDAY is sending a diminishing message to some, and that is categorically different than the message I want to send — particularly to younger women.
the good-bye girl
I’m not ready for some big roll-out and roll-over to the new public face of my business. But I just couldn’t let today, International Women’s Day, and my participation on a panel about how to better elevate women in my field… well, I just couldn’t let all that go by. I can’t sit there and talk about what we all can do right now to move the needle for us all without acknowledging the realization I’ve come to: something so fundamental to my business is, well, fundamentally off. I mean, really… put it off over fear of a few hiccups on branding and transition? Not very empowered. Not very Hildy. Not very girlFRIDAY, actually!
In short, sometimes when you know, you know — and damn the planning and graceful transformation.
So, girlFRIDAY, my lovely, it’s time.
You’ve been fantastic. You’ve inspired me. You’ve centered me. And you’ve frankly given me something fun to talk about. You made it easier to capture, create, and convey the kind of business I want to run, and the kind of renegades I want to run with. You’ll remain in my history, my story, and at the heart of what it means to me to do the work I do and truly be a trusted partner. Every day.
But it’s time to graduate your public face. It’s time for your next chapter:
You’ve always been forging ahead, exploring what’s possible for clients while also cutting a path for bookkeepers, developers, and accountants who are next. You’ve always enjoyed solving for the X of connection and better relationships between disparate parties. You’ve always been looking to move the needle. You’ve just done it with your head down. It’s time for your name to reflect what you’ve really always been up to. And to do it facing out.
Title: The Avengers (The Avengers Initiative) Type: team of extraordinary individuals Slogan: unknown
Movies: “The Avengers” (2012) by Joss Whedon, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014) by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, “Ant-Man” (2015) by Peyton Reed, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) by Joss Whedon, “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, “Doctor Strange” (2016) by Scott Derrickson Logo Author: unknown / film crew Typeface: none
All images are the property of Marvel unless stated otherwise and used under fair use.
Laughter is my escape. And open conversations are what I live for. It’s why stand-up comedy is my favorite art form. It’s also why Andrew Schulz is one of my favorite comedians. “Alt-right Andy” is controversial to some and a witty critical thinker to others.
Think of when you’re deciding whether someone is being blunt or just plain rude when asked to be honest. Andrew’s style of comedy is being objective and keeping that same energy on “difficult” topics — like what to call transgender people or his masculinity being challenged while sky diving.
In the great words of Taxstone, “I say all that to say this, beloved”: Andrew Schulz’s brand of comedy separates him from the pack. Whether you can’t help from cackling or decide to walk out one of his sets, Andrew is someone very relevant in the comedy scene.
John Henry has been preaching, “When someone thinks about a product or service, you want to be in their top 5.” It can vary by field, industry, niche, or location, but you’re in trouble if your brand isn’t recognized. And Andrew has both positioned and differentiated himself where he has a strong and growing community of Assholes.
With this following, he now has no desire to bend to the will of the networks and the industry. He has cultivated a supporting from podcast listeners and show-goers to where he lives and creates on his own terms. He just creates content for people looking for a laugh without the restrictions or fear of sounding inconsiderate or insensitive.
When Life Gives You Lemons…
That is why as a freelance UX strategist for women- and POC-led small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Not only do I empathize and understand my audience, but I also desire for them to become household names (top 5) in their respective lanes.
And I know where I want to narrow my audience even further in the future.
Focusing on this specific niche maximizes my opportunities with people and projects I truly can say I’ll be excited for. That spark helps me keep my sanity and ensures I’m not just going through the motions.
What are you doing to be considered in the top 5 of your lane? Also, what is your lane?
For me I see brands a little like the ‘Force’ in Star Wars. Something which flows through everything in your organisation, your people, your offer, your products, your services and how you communicate and deliver all of this to the wider world.
Your brands image is determined by how people perceive your business based on all direct and indirect experiences with your organisation, not just your advertising or your digital chatter, but the products they use and the service you provide them.
When you start to think about all the touch points people interact with your brand it’s easy to see that their is more to your brand than marketing communications.
So if this is the case why is it that most brand agencies don’t look at the wider picture. Developing a brand proposition and story is great and looking at how you communicate this is important. Most brand teams sit in the marketing department of businesses and in some cases work closely with human resources to help build the brand from the inside out.
As I’ve already alluded to your brand is made up of a variety of elements from your communications, your people, your products and your services. But most brand agencies will only look at the typical brand infrastructure relevant to the skills they have. Your brand proposition will be designed and developed, in most cases with the leadership team through workshops, research, one to one interviews, market analysis etc… The brand is then defined and launched internally through ambassador programmes, internal launch strategies and then externally to your customers. And this brand is measured and monitored by a brand team most likely in the marketing department.
But here lies the issue for me.
Your brand is bigger than your marketing or human resources department. It’s all the elements that people interact with it including your products and your services. When developing new marketing materials you have to get brand approval and make sure it meets the carefully crafted guidelines. But if your brand is also about the products and services you offer, who manages this?
Who aligns your products around your brand proposition? What department or person takes ownership of this?
How do you make sure the service your customers receive align to your brands values and mission? Who manages this?
The future of brand management will not only be how you manage your communications and marketing activity or how you engage your employees around your brand proposition. Future brand departments won’t just sit in marketing or human resources but they’ll need to oversea product portfolios and service offerings.
Brand agencies will need to adapt and consider how they can help organisations build and manage their brands across a variety of areas outside of what they focus on today. This will enable your brand to not only communicate it’s promise but to also develop products and services inline with what you stand for.
So are current brand agencies really brand agencies or just communication agencies? The future of brand management flows much further into your organisation than it does today and to create a brand which stays true to your promise it needs to flow through the entire organisation.
For Democrats, the 2020 election will be an uphill battle. The challenges they face include Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting, a Russian troll army, the visibility of the incumbent president, electoral college disadvantages, and many more.
But there’s one problem we’re not even talking about, and it’s self-inflicted:
Democrats suck at branding.
I should know. As a brand strategy consultant I’ve worked with some of the biggest and best brands in the world, and wrote a book on the psychology of brands.
Branding is not logos and slogans. It’s also not marketing and advertising. It’s more subtle, and more powerful, than that.
I define a brand as a collection of associations in the mind. These associations give you a gut feeling about the brand, and that feeling can then sway whether or not you buy, or vote for, that brand. Branding is the process of building up those associations.
Whether we realize it or not, these associations and feelings influence our decisions all the time. Democrats are pretty good at short-term marketing for individual candidates and campaigns. But they are terrible at building a strong long-term brand.
This is no small thing. Branding has the power to shape perceptions, frame ideas, and inspire voters.
Of course, voting for a politician is different than choosing a toothpaste. Both, however, rely on the same evolutionary mechanisms built over millennia in our brains. Whether we’re buying a house, a car, choosing which college to go to, or who to vote for, we’re swayed by subtle, often unconscious, associations built over time.
To see how bad Democrats are at branding, it helps to look at how good Republicans are at it. Here are a few of the positive words and phrases Republicans have successfully appropriated as their own…
Republicans look even stronger when you see how they have negatively branded Democrats:
Tax and spend liberals
Apologizing for America
The liberal media
Giving handouts to “welfare queens”
Soft on crime
Hollywood elites (or just “the elites”)
The nanny state
Job killing taxes
Job killing regulations
Government takeover of healthcare
More recently, they’re attacking Democrats as encouraging “late term abortion,” and even “infanticide.” They’re also working hard to make “socialism” into an evil boogeyman so that whoever the Democratic nominee is (and regardless of their actual policies) that person will be immediately tagged with the negative baggage they’re connecting to that word.
Of course, virtually none of these accurately reflect reality. But these ideas stick in the mind. They end up framing debates and conversations, and Democrats end up using these wordings and frames themselves, which cause them to be strengthened and further embedded in voters’ minds. Democrats get caught in the trap of playing by Republicans’ rules, and on their terms.
These framings work. After all, what self-respecting conservative would vote for, and not actively fight against, a “communist baby killer?”
On the flip side, what are the negative branding words Democrats use to describe Republicans?
That’s right, there aren’t any.
Democrats fail to fight back on these ideas. They cede all branding to them. This lets Republicans define the narrative and language, and by doing so, lets them define the ideas.
On the positive side, what do Democrats stand for? You may be able to list some recent policy ideas like the Green New Deal, or Medicare for All. Or maybe some principles like common sense gun protections, being pro-choice, and maybe civil rights and LGBTQ rights.
But there is no clear overarching brand idea that is based on core values like the Republicans have.
Republicans seem to know intuitively (or were taught by people like Frank Luntz or Roger Ailes) that to win people over it’s not about hitting them with facts. They know you have to appeal to people’s core values, their morals, and their emotions.
Republicans go to issues like safety (immigrants are dangerous, crime on the streets, you need guns to protect yourself) or personal responsibility (no free lunch, I worked hard so you must too, I paid for college so you have to also), etc. These Republican appeals are personal and emotional.
Instead of building a strong brand built on values, morals, and emotions, Democrats tend to focus on policy ideas and lists of facts. We saw this happen with Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. They all thought “surely if I just tell people the facts about global warming, trickle down economics, or Trump’s lies, people will see the truth and be persuaded.”
But that’s not how the mind works. As mountains of evidence from cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience show, we humans are highly irrational and driven by emotions.
People vote based on party first, and they align with the party that best fits their values and morals. Pushing facts, or writing a snappy slogan for every new campaign, isn’t going to change someone’s morals and values. It runs too deep for that.
Instead, Democrats need to constantly, consistently, repeat what they believe in and why. They need to make clear the core values they stand for. Over and over and over. This is what will slowly start to change the perceptions of who the Democrats are and what they stand for.
It should not be up to each individual candidate, or to any specific campaign. It has to be a collective effort where all Democrats across the country say the same things, loudly, passionately, repeatedly, and in lock step. Just like Republicans do.
We have the high ground. We are on the right side of the issues, and the majority of Americans agree with Democrats on most major issues:
Protect Social Security
Protect Medicare and Medicaid
Reasonable gun control
Protect the environment
Support Planned Parenthood
Equal pay for equal work
Safe abortion availability
A fairer tax system that reduces inequality
Higher minimum wage
Health care for all
Quality education for all
Support for Veterans
A pro-growth business environment that produces satisfying, good-paying jobs
So if all that is true (and it is) how can we possibly lose?
We lose because 1) Republicans are much better at branding these issues and their party and 2) Democrats make every candidate start from zero instead of building a clear brand across the party that all Democrats can leverage.
Today, “liberal” has become a bad word. I see progressive/liberal friends shying away from saying they are Democrats. We need to take these words back, and make them ours. We have to show the values and morals that define our thinking. We have to imbue them with the meaning and emotions we intend, and not let Republicans define them for us.
The time is now. With the barrage of scientific reports on climate change calling for ever more drastic measures, time is running out. We have to vote out climate deniers, and vote in Democrats.
It’s all about the details. As a creative agency, we collaborate with clients across a variety of industries to transform their brand into a unique visual identity through custom packaging design. From beans, to beer, to cannabis and more, explore a few of our favorite recent projects to see how every detail delivers an authentic branded experience to the consumer.
When Jack Rabbit Beans came to us in need of a packaging update, we collaborated with their team to develop a design system that was approachable with a hint of nostalgia. Drawing inspiration from their extensive brand heritage as the first brand of packaged beans and focusing on their core demographic, we achieved the ideal aesthetic for their rebrand hitting shelves this fall.
Click here to view the entire Jack Rabbit x Anthem Branding collaboration
As demand for their beer increased, we collaborated with the Lone Tree team to create a design series that’s iconic, impactful, and accessible to reach their expanding audience. Taking some inspiration from their former branding, we worked on a cohesive, contemporary, and professional design system that’s rooted in Lone Tree’s Colorado heritage but offers a more premium aesthetic.
Click here to view the entire Lone Tree Brewing Co. x Anthem Branding collaboration
We took the logo created by Simon Walker and worked closely with Steady Hand to extend the branding into packaging, a website, social media images, and marketing materials. To capture the laid back, sunny, but straightforward nature of the brewery, we created illustrations centered around each beer, using colors and imagery rooted in the comfort of the southern countryside, with a nod to each beer style’s heritage.
Click here to view the entire Steady Hand Beer Co. x Anthem Branding collaboration
LucidMood is emerging and adapting quickly into the expanding cannabis industry through their breakthrough product in discrete, portable vape pens. Teaming up with the innovative Boulder-based company, we created their visual identity and developed their full packaging system. Our goal was to create a refined, approachable, and high-end aesthetic that deviated from the boisterous and often tacky packaging that currently exists in the marketplace.
Click here to view the entire LucidMood x Anthem Branding collaboration
As you can see, a thoughtful and compelling message paired with eye-catching package design will distinguish your product and invite consumers to take a closer look.
Interested in custom packaging design for your product? Contact our design agency to speak to a branding expert. We’ll turn your unique story into a engaging package system. Let’s create something together.
Ta-da? A quick glance at the new A-Class reveals that is a slightly sportier Mercedes Benz but still undeniably a Mercedes Benz. From all outward appearances, it suffers from many of the same issues the people in the commercial were railing against. Yes, the interior has been completely redesigned but we barely get a glimpse of it. And yes, you can now talk to a built-in voice assistant like Alexa, Siri, and Google.
If you visit the A-Class page on the Mercedes Benz website, you see that there are a lot of things that they’ve re-imagined. Many of which that would be appealing to potential buyers and not just to “millennials.” In fact, the A-Class was introduced to expand market share with those that may have not considered them before. So, the question is, why is that not the focus of the commercial?
Takeaway: Focus on benefits that can apply to anyone within your psychographics. Don’t spend precious seconds not showing or talking about the multiple benefits the product has. People aren’t going to buy because of posturing, they’re going to buy on benefit (even if aspiration is the benefit).
How Nike Got It Right
Shifting gears, let’s look at Nike’s brand ad now.
I don’t know Nike’s brand promise. Chances are that if I did, I would be under NDA and couldn’t share it. If I had to guess, I would say that their brand promise is about helping people see that there is greatness in themselves, far beyond what they perceive. If you look at every commercial starting with the first “Just Do It” ad that featured an octogenarian who ran 17 miles every day, all of them tie back to this core notion of you can do more than you think.
So against this brand promise, we see Nike point out all of the sexism that women face in the world of sports and encourages them to be better than they ever thought possible. And while it is clearly targeted toward women, it also signals to the rest of the world, “this is messed up, you can do better too.”
It is a holistic expression of the brand that starts with what seems to be insurmountable negatives and ends in a crescendo of encouragement.
Takeaway: If you understand what your brand promise is, you can clearly express it in multiple ways that can have a long-lasting positive impact on the brand.
Pure brand marketing is a bit tough. It acts to remind consumers not only that the brand exists but what it stands for. Knowing the brand promise and brand attributes is the first step. Applying them well is the second. In the case of Mercedes Benz, we see a company going out of its way to knock itself down in an attempt to elevate one of its car lines. In the case of Nike, we see a company perfectly expressing their brand by building aspiration and encouragement. Be more like Nike.
DESCRIPTION Xplor is a company that produces software to help teachers and parents of primary school children to communicate easier and faster. The software helps them to manage child care more efficiently, and focus on the development of children rather than on administrative tasks. Xplor’s employees believe that a more significant impact on education lies in improving the software.
By automating administration, we help teachers, educators, and parents focus on a child’s learning (Xplor)
OBJECTIVE The objective of this project was to propose an idea for the rebranding of Xplor to give it a more modern, innovative, technological look and feel. Another part of the project was to create a concept for the web app that teachers would use to communicate with parents, take attendance, make announcements, etc.
DEMOGRAPHICS Teachers/administration of primary schools, and parents of primary school children anywhere in the world.
LOGO DESIGN To create a new logo I concentrated on what the company does and what its primary focus is. I highlighted a number of the adjectives that I think make Xplor who they are:
I wanted to avoid using the child theme in the logo because it is not a software for children. Only adults (teachers/parents) use it.
Why I came up with this idea for a new logo and why I think it works? First of all, the elements of the logo form the X in the negative space which stands for Xplor. Second, the arrows in the logo symbolize movement and development and, therefore, make it look technological and innovative. The logo has a human-centred meaning because the arrows are pointing to the centre. Each component has its colour which associates with the adjectives that define Xplor. The elements in the logo have slightly rounded angles which make the logo look friendlier and more loyal.