Black Lives Matter sign

Free, print-at-home signs supporting Black Lives Matter

Free, print-at-home signs supporting Black Lives Matter

At GA Creative, we strongly believe that Black Lives Matter. That’s why we created these free, downloadable, print-at-home Black Lives Matter signs. This is one small way we can support the necessary and overdue movement to eradicate racism in our country.

“Time and again, racist ideas have not been cooked up from the boiling pot of ignorance and hate. Time and again, powerful and brilliant men and women have produced racist ideas in order to justify the racist policies of their era, in order to redirect the blame for their era’s racial disparities away from those policies and onto Black people.”
Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America


What does innovation look like? Branding a global organization

What does innovation look like? Branding a global organization

Innovation Outreach is a decade-old member organization made up of dozens of global Fortune 500 companies who take a cross-industry approach to catalyzing cutting-edge technological innovations. The group comes together twice a year at innovation summits to discuss new ideas and digitally transform the way business is done. With ambitious plans to increase the collective’s value and give more back to members, Innovation Outreach sought our help to create a more contemporary brand for this brain trust, including messaging and positioning, a logo, and a website featuring public-facing pages as well as pages accessible only to members.

How we launched a new brand and website—in just 4 months!
In a kick-off meeting, we completed the Creative Brief, looking at different websites for inspiration and creating the site map for the public and private pages of the website.

We presented three creative directions to choose from—in the form of logo, color palette, and web page—all mapping back to the Creative Brief.

After a couple rounds of creative refinements, it was time to turn it over to our friends, and development partners, Smooth Fusion, who approach every development challenge with a can-do attitude. The parallaxing technique used on the website turned out just the way we envisioned it, with the background images moving on the screen more slowly than foreground images to creates an illusion of depth in a 2D scene.

Innovation Outreach is an amazing team of professionals who tackle the toughest technical problems both in the cloud and on the edge. Our team is delighted to see their brand come to life and excited to continue helping Innovation Outreach deliver more engaging experiences and opportunities for members to connect, share ideas, and innovate.

Is it time for a website refresh?

We can help, in record time.

Audience listening to guest lecture.

GA Creative sponsors Washington Marketing Summit, hosts panel called Beyond Branding

GA Creative sponsors Washington Marketing Summit, hosts panel called Beyond Branding

We’re thrilled to be one of this year’s sponsors of the Washington Marketing Summit, taking place Tuesday, March 5, at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. According to summit organizers, “250+ Washington-based brands will come together to share fresh ideas, solve problems, and make meaningful connections.” The summit is attended by chief marketing and brand officers, advertising and social media strategists, creative directors, and other marketers from local, regional, and national brands.

A day of discussion
There will be seven interactive discussion panels, one of which will be hosted by our own brand strategist, Julie Burke. Following are the panel details:

Beyond Branding

Moderated by: Julie Burke, Principal + Client Services, GA Creative

An exploration of foundational brand identity and its evolution as companies, products, and audiences change. How do Washington’s brands authentically live and convey their purpose to—and through—their audiences and ambassadors?

Panelists:

Time for fun
Not only will the summit give marketers inspiration and new tools for telling their own brand story, but there are plenty of networking opportunities. Four hours, in fact! This includes welcome breakfast, lunch, and cocktail party.

Beyond the summit-sponsored fun, in true GA style, our table will be spirited, as well. If you’re attending the summit stop by to test your knowledge at some marketing trivia for a chance to win a pocket-sized pick-me-up.

Whether you’re attending the summit or want to check it out from afar, follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get updates as they happen. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to hear about learnings after the fact.

Let’s connect!

We can help with advertising, branding, or trivia questions

People walking in downtown Seattle shopping.

How a branding expert approaches rebrands – and why it’s worth it

How a branding expert approaches rebrands – and why it’s worth it

 

An interview with GA Creative’s brand strategist Julie Burke: For more than 20 years, Julie has helped clients tell their unique stories, by facilitating brand input sessions and surveys, and asking the right questions to unearth brand strategies that move organizations forward.

Companies can’t afford not to pay attention to their brands. It’s the secret sauce that helps prospects quickly understand what you stand for. A strong brand helps you acquire customers more quickly because your message is aligned with their experience. Ultimately, a solid brand enables you to charge a premium because the market is willing to pay for a relationship they trust. We asked GA Creative’s brand strategist, Julie, for some insights for teams considering whether to rebrand and how to go about it. Here’s what she had to say.

What is a brand strategy and why does a company need one?
A brand strategy supports long-term organizational goals and objectives, which typically revolve around increasing customer retention and attracting new customers. It sets the stage for how everyone across the company should communicate who you are and what you do for customers, in a way that’s different from competitors.

Companies need a brand strategy because advertising and communications should not be built in a vacuum. Choices around messaging, imagery and design should all map directly back to the overarching strategy. When you’re up against a competitor, whoever can more clearly and consistently articulate value will win the race when it comes to engaging and closing customers.

The better your company does at following a brand strategy, the more “brand equity” you will build, making your company itself more valuable over the long term.

How should a company go about developing a brand strategy?
It’s important to start by gathering as much input as possible from stakeholders across the organization, representing different functions from sales and marketing to product and customer service. Plus, gather insight from those outside your organization, including partners and customers. By conducting a brand audit and analyzing survey results, you can identify where impressions are consistent and areas for improvement.

Another key step up front is gathering data about your customers and prospects, and segmenting them into groups that personas can be built around. Personas are fictional representations of your target audience that take you beyond basic demographics. They help you dive deeper to build an understanding our audiences’ specific behaviors, concerns and needs.

A brand strategy should also identify brand attributes, or the dominant personality characteristics of the company. These are traits to be communicated through images, stories, interactions and experiences with your brand much like personality attributes permeate your interactions with people.

How do you approach developing the visual elements of a brand?
Our team uses the brand strategy along with exercises on creative preferences to inform the visual design of brand elements. We may look at competitor materials r communications from those in similar industries and discuss what we like and don’t like. Do you want to be edgy or conservative? Do you want to be more real or aspirational? We also take information from the brand audit to address all the various uses, from the website to advertising to sales literature and event materials.

We typically present two or three creative options for clients to choose from. When there’s a team of stakeholders involved in selecting the visual elements, we’ll have each person rate the options against the brand criteria as a way to see if one solution rises to the top.

Your brand name, logo, color palette, typeface and photography should all work together to present a cohesive impression. By using the key elements of your visual identity properly, you can ensure that communications retain a consistent look and feel that captures your mission and culture and advances your strategic plan. Templates for commonly used communication vehicles, such as ads, presentations and case studies, can help maintain consistency no matter who is creating them.

What key things have you found can make or break branding efforts?
One of the biggest mistakes companies can make after investing in a brand refresh or a total brand overhaul is not having the necessary guidance, training, process and oversight in place for developing communications that adhere to the new brand look and feel and tone and voice. Here are five best practices I recommend to keep a brand intact:

  1. Identify who will be creating communications on behalf of your brand. This will inform the best process to instill the brand, and ensure consistency in communications.
  2. Determine how you are going to organize, store and share brand assets. This will depend on the size of your organization, the number of individuals and teams creating communications on your behalf, the complexity of your brand and your budget.
  3. Create detailed brand guidelines. At a minimum, include brand attributes, writing style, logo, tagline ,color palette(s) and/or combinations, typography, supporting graphics, photography/image style and examples of the brand in action.
  4. Deliver training to those people identified in step one. You may need to host multiple training sessions to address particular individual or team needs. These can be in-person brown bag sessions or live online meetings. Either way, make sure to record these sessions–including the Q&A–for those folks that are later identified as brand ambassadors, creating materials on the company’s behalf.
  5. Make sure there is a clear point person (or email alias) that people can contact with questions. And consider offering to review/approve creative. For some clients, we serve as a brand ambassador, responding to questions and offering guidance to in-house or freelance writers and designers.

What results do you expect companies to see from investing in a strong brand presence?
We’ve guided companies large and small through everything from brand audits to logo and website refreshes and total identity facelifts. The clients who have worked with us on creating a cohesive, relevant brand presence have seen accelerated growth. In some cases, the up-leveled, polished brand has helped the executive team command a higher price when they sell the company.

Investing in a new brand—whether it’s a total overhaul or just a refresh—means a commitment in terms of time and money. When does it make sense to explore a rebrand? We advise clients that have experienced a merger, change in direction, increased competition, expansion to a new geography or audience, launch of a new product or service, or simply have a gut sense that their look and feel is outdated.

You won’t see the business results you want if your organization has outgrown your brand to a point that it doesn’t accurately reflect who you are or what you do—and is telling the wrong story.

Time to freshen up your brand?

We can help.