#Unplugged

Last week, we were blessed to travel to the lovely Dominican Republic home to gorgeous white sand beaches, gracious hospitality, and very spotty almost non-existent wi-fi.

We were very excited for our nine-year-old son to experience his first trip out of the country. Between the three of us, we had 2 cell phones, one work laptop, our family laptop, an iPad, and a Fitbit.

Upon arrival, like bonafide tourists, we were snapping photos of the palm trees and buildings and ourselves with tropical beverages. And what would one do with these photos next, upload to Facebook, of course! No such luck. Downloading…. Error…. Unable to process….

I joined the gaggle of other guests at the lobby desk in search of wi-fi codes. In a resort that attracted visitors from various parts of the world, I could see this desire to connect is not unique to the USA.

But alas $40 per day!?! I’ll pass, thanks. Reluctantly, we unplugged for the week.

In any language or even without words, you can see the disconnect being connected has created. It’s no wonder this video has been viewed over 50 million times.

In our week of being unplugged, we discovered:
1. We didn’t miss it that much. (Okay… maybe after day 2)
2. We still like each other. Whew!
3. Work went on fine without us. The people we trusted did what they were supposed to do.
4. We spent more time really appreciating the beauty of our surroundings instead of just photographing the sights for social media.
5. We made new friends poolside from all over the USA, Canada, and France. We learned about their culture and even picked up a few new words in other languages.
6. We got a real kick of watching people take selfies (one gal must have taken 40 selfies in the pool) and Snapchat (one musclebound dude nearly broke a leg on sandcastle while capturing his best kissy face on camera). Very entertaining!
7. Without tracking it via the device, we’re pretty sure we logged 20k-30k steps/day. There’s a lot more time to walk and discover when your heads not down on a screen!
8. On the four-hour flight home (GASP) we played cards and talked while others watched movies solo they had downloaded in preparation.
9. By day 7, disembarking at home and observing entire families deeply entranced in their phones, we found ourselves reflecting on what impact all this connectivity is having on real social relationships.

I hope that you will get the chance to be #unplugged if not, by force, then perhaps by choice. In a recent survey, 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.” I assure you, you can. It’s quite refreshing!

Challenge: Set aside a day each week to be device free. Can’t do a whole day? Start with an hour each morning.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” —Anne Lamott

 

All images belong to Adventure Photos & may not be republished without express written permission.

Print Advertising: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In print advertising, artwork is the initial impression that consumers have of your business or product. It’s the first step in gaining the attention of the buyer you are trying to sell to. That visual typically is the difference between if the person decides to pay attention to the pieces of your advertising- the verbiage, the product or service itself, and the offer, or moves along to what captures their attention next.

Almost every day I have conversations with business owners and decision makers who ask about how their artwork should look. It’s an important question and comes up so often because many people just aren’t sure how to go about it. Most people (including me) know what they like when they see it but don’t know how to express that verbally or artistically. That’s ok though, and the reason why my company employs very talented and artistic designers. I trust them implicitly because they’ve proven their professionalism with our clients consistently through the years. And they’re not just artists, they know what works and what consumers like.

With that being said, I have learned from many years of experience the difference between good and bad artwork:

 

Good

– Simple clear message

– Holds interest

– Stong call to action

 

Bad

– Requires the reader to work hard

– Missing attention-getting elements

– Can’t tell what you are really trying to offer

 

Ugly

– Full of clutter

– Low-quality images

– Overuse of color and fonts

(Graphic Designers nightmare)

 

Avoid the temptation to include every product or service line you offer in your ad. Don’t make the prospect have to think about or evaluate everything and the kitchen sink you threw in there. They don’t want to think and they’ll ultimately move past your ad and forget all about you. Tell your prospect we are Acme Company, we make your life better, and do it for 40% off. That’s it.

If you’re worried about leaving out something you think might be important then include your website address. If the prospect wants or needs more information they will gladly take the time to visit your website and learn more about everything you do and why it’s important to them. Your website is your encyclopedia, your print advertisement is not.

 

Contributed by Jeff Vice

Less is More – A Lesson in Music and Marketing

Can you tell your story with a single image, a single word, one note or sound?
It’s not so easy, right? So how do we get to “less is more”? I often look to my experience in music to help answer these difficult questions and this is one of those times.

Legendary jazz guitarist Pat Martino explains his
development in this short clip.

Like Martino, many musicians focus on “bedazzling” their audience with speed and facility in their formative years,  whereas the seasoned musician focuses on tone and clarity, making certain he/she communicates the desired feeling to the audience. I like that he referred to his audience as the “victim” of his immature approach.

Can we draw parallels in visual art, dance, storytelling, etc. What about marketing? Although many companies/brands make “victims” of their audience with more unfocused communication, I think it’s safe to say many of the strongest brands we’ve experienced have been communicated in clear terms and visuals aka MORE IS LESS.

A few examples:
Disney: Where Dreams Come True
Nike: Just Do It
Apple: Think Different

Steve Jobs presents his “Think different” campaign in this clip.

Similar to Pat Martino, Jobs highlights Apple’s focus on simplifying their approach with respect to product line, marketing, and distribution. Certainly we know this strategy and Apple’s commitment to executing this strategy yielded game-changing results.

I am proud to be a part of an organization that focuses its energy on delivering greater value to our clients with a simple and transparent experience. When we execute effectively, our audience of Homeowners in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana are on the receiving end of the best of the best customer experience which our clients offer.

2 related videos discuss simplicity in branding.

Contributed by Joe Sucato

Pat Martino Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO4NQ2tyOV0

Steve Jobs Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li9a0JFUuos

Simplicity in Branding 1 Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Otx_N5XQXA

Simplicity in Branding 2 Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OEdMIZ6uSg

Emotional Advertising

Emotions process inputs five times faster than your conscious brain. In response to emotions we are compelled to do something. People buy products and services on their gut reactions rather than information. We make a decision on how we feel about a brand or product in 3 seconds or less.

Psychology Today says “A nationally advertised brand has power in the marketplace because it creates an emotional connection to the consumer. A brand is nothing more than a mental representation of a product in the consumer’s mind. If the representation consists only of the product’s attributes, features, and other information, there are no emotional links to influence consumer preference and action. The richer the emotional content of a brand’s mental representation, the more likely the consumer will be a loyal user.”

Most people recognize 6 emotions: happy, excited, love, sad, angry and scared. Below we’ve found ads that represent each of these emotions.

Happy

Scared

Sad

Love

Anger

Excited

Your brain is trying to survive, we are constantly trying to decide what information we need to keep and what is not important. Brands are latching onto emotional ads because they work! Create a powerful message with your brand that your customer will never forget.

 

 

Contributed by
Caitlin Tuohy & Syd Miles

 

Heart and brain image: https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-208368856/stock-vector-cute-brain-and-heart-meditation-logic-and-feel%2C-cartoon-characters-balance-your-life-vector-illustration

Emotion icons image: https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-154903019/stock-vector-smiley-face-vector-emoticon-set-in-white-flat-icon-sticker-with-colorful-funny-emotions-and-facial-expressions-vector-illustration

Video for happy: https://youtu.be/po0jY4WvCIc

Video for scared: https://youtu.be/BlfinjxFEYI

Video for sad: https://youtu.be/3t6bLugtJkQ

Video for love: https://youtu.be/XLpDiIVX0Wo

Video for anger: https://youtu.be/yIxA3o84syY

Video for excited: https://youtu.be/s4WVhcXogGk

PEP TALK

Today I had to give myself a pep talk. I thought maybe somebody else out there needs one, so here is what I said to myself.  And, yes, don’t laugh…I said it out loud, smiling, into a mirror.

First a little theme music to set the mood.
When Taylor Swifts song “Shake it Off” topped the charts, my friend and former co-worker sent me this viral version with a built in pep talk.
https://youtu.be/1Rn6wdPoeS4
She said it reminded her of me and my ever-present  positive mental attitude. It’s true I’m a glass half full kinda girl!  (Evidence: awarded 2013 Optimist of the Year)

But some days, well, it feels like things just suck. Shake it off!

In sales, there a ton of No’s. Soon there will be a Yes. Most sales people stop just short. Don’t stop.  Shake it off!

The puppy spends 15 minutes in the yard being urged to “go potty” but instead suns himself in the grass.

  Upon entering the house, promptly pees on the carpet. You are lucky you are adorable, Rosco!  Shake if off!

You discover someone you trust is keeping a very big secret. Remember that trust is a gift you give someone.  It’s unfortunate but totally outside your control. Don’t waste an ounce of energy. Shake if off!

Every where you turn, the world is turning into a crazy place full of crazies.  Shake if off!

And sadly we’ve lost dear friends and others are very sick. All I can do is hug my family. Love more. Be more present. Count my blessings. Make every day count. Have faith. Shake it off!

Hope this makes you smile. Be the best in all you do!

 

 

Contributed by Heather Kuth

All images are the author’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.

Shake it off image: http://designroast.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/hand-lettering-inspiration-1.jpg

Employee Spotlight : Joe Sucato

Get To Know Our Account Executive, Joe!

Joe grew up in Buffalo, NY.

He later on moved to NYC where he played a lot of gigs!

With love in the air Joe married Mehves.

Like everyone at RSVP Joe also loves animals! He has Lady, a mischievous golden retriever pictured here with her boyfriend.

Joe believes success is continuously developing your gifts and using those gifts to contribute productively to society.

All images are Joe Sucato’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.
Buffalo, NY Image: https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVvcflIhZE2YA68gnnIlQ?p=Buffalo%2C+NY&fr=yhs-mozilla-004&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004#id=1&iurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hotelroomsearch.net%2Fim%2F2015%2F01%2Fbuffalo-new-york-2.jpg&action=click

Employee Spotlight : Jeff Vice

Get To Know Our Account Executive, Jeff!

A memorable story from Jeff’s childhood was when he was 13 he was scared of roller coasters. His 15 year old cousin picked him up over his shoulders and carried him onto a roller coaster knowing he would have fun. He was right. When it was over they got right back on and rode it over and over.


One nerdy thing about Jeff is all the random facts he knows! He learned all the capitals of all the states when he was four and he knows a lot of geography and history. When he’s driving down the highway with his family he might point out why a town they’re passing was named, what it was or something that happened there in the past, or maybe someone famous who lived there. His wife, Kim, says he’s full of useless trivia that no one cares about.


If Jeff could tell his 13 year old self one thing he would tell him succeeding or failing with your education will define the rest of your life.

The best book Jeff ever read was The Big Short.
“With stagnant wages and booming consumption, the cash-strapped American masses had a virtually unlimited demand for loans but an uncertain ability to repay them.”
— Michael Lewis, The Big Short

One thing that might surprise you about Jeff is that he may act like an old guy but he still feels young!

Roller coaster image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Image-Lightning_Racer_at_Hersheypark_station.jpgThe Big Short book image source: https://mises.org/sites/default/files/styles/social_media_1200_x_1200/public/static-page/img/4283.jpg?itok=1vTs8xrD
All other images are Jeff Vice’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.

Employee Spotlight : Syd Miles

Get To Know Our Graphic Designer, Syd!

Her personal philosophy is “You can come out bitter or you can come out better.” She did lettering of it and it’s above her desk every day.

She defines success as knowing her younger self would be proud of the adult she has became.

One nerdy thing about Syd is that she isn’t big on TV. The first TV She had in her house, after 5 years of not having one, she gutted and filled with books.

One thing Syd could not live with out is critters. She has cats and would love to add a dog to the mix soon!

If she weren’t a graphic designer she could see herself being in the peace corps or working for social services.

 

All images are Syd Miles’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.

Employee Spotlight : Heather Craaybeek Kuth

Get To Know Our Regional Sales Manager, Heather!

Her favorite meal to cook is pancakes, bacon, and eggs. The smell of bacon cooking wakes the family up! Did you know she often gets eggs from her own chicks?

Heather loves everything girl-scouty. Sewing, crossstitch, crafting, scrapbooking, cooking. But she balances out that “nerdy-ness” with some fun hobbies like boating and travel!

Theatre is one of her faves! Though she may not be able to drag her spouse to an event, she’s been taking her son since infancy hoping to make a theatre-goer out of him. They’ve seen orchestras, ballets and Broadway. Also Wicked at the Aranoff, which was amazing. Any of the Christmas plays and LaComedia in Springboro are some of her favorites.

Her personal philosophy is to reach for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.

Her favorite place to be is home. Hopefully, with a nice fire going and a good book!

Heather defines success as doing what you love and loving what you do.

All images are Heather Craaybeek Kuth’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.

Employee Spotlight : Caitlin Tuohy

Get To Know Our Project Manager & Senior Graphic Designer, Caitlin!

Caitlin’s favorite thing to do when she’s not working is junkin’. She gets super excited to go and dig through someone else’s junk and loves finding new “old” stuff to add to her collection.

Most of our team are pretty big animal lovers and Caitlin is no exception! Before her younger sister came along she made do with her family cat.

Caitlin defines herself as imaginative, passionate/driven, and empathetic. We agree! Whether it’s remodeling her home, helping at her family’s daycare, designing, or pulling together RSVP mailings in a timely fashion she always gives 200%.

She is a fantastic project manager and designer but if she wasn’t doing this she could see herself being a teacher. She had planned on being a teacher and even had her college picked out accordingly but at the last minute changed her mind and decided to go to The School of Advertising Art, which is how she ended up doing the amazing work she does today!

All images are Caitlin Tuohy’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.