The News Chair
  1. Every Brand Needs a Guide

    April 24, 2015 by Christopher Lloyd

    Brand Guide

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    One of the things I most often turned to in my journalism career was a stylebook. These stylebooks act as a guide for writers and editors so their usage of language is consistent from story to story. The Associated Press guide is generally considered the standard.

    They cover everything from what job titles get capitalized — sorry, realtors, you’re not one of them! — to how to abbreviate Montana.

    Branding guidelines are their counterpart in the marketing sphere, but they cover so much more than just language. Also referred to as brand rules or style guides, branding guidelines are most critical in determining how a company’s image is represented visually and graphically.

     

    Consistency is key

    Tim Coulon

    Tim Coulon

    Coles Marketing Vice President, Creative Tim Coulon said branding guidelines act as safeguards so best practices are always followed when a company’s logo, imagery or other visual element is shared with the public.

    “Branding guidelines ensure a brand’s image is protected and portrayed consistently across all platforms — Web, brochures, print advertising, e-communications, billboards and other collateral,” he said.

    A brand style guide gives clear directions for how things should look and how they should be created.

     

    Guideline ingredients

    Branding guidelines can vary from just a page or two showing the company’s logo and acceptable palette of colors, to entire books laying out what language can be used in any sort of outreach to the marketplace and target audiences.

    Here are a few essential components for a brand style guide:

    • Logo – size and placement
    • Fonts
    • Colors
    • Web-specific elements

    Other items commonly addressed include the company boilerplate, how to label subsidiary entities, typography to be used in additional circumstances, letterhead, PowerPoint presentations, social media guidelines and even how to compose a voicemail message.

     

    Creating a new guideline

    When a new company is born, or an existing one is undergoing a rebranding effort, it’s a good policy to draft a new branding guideline with input from all key levels of leadership. That way everyone is on the same page regarding messaging and imagery. It’s a way to be proactive and not rely on fixing mistakes after the fact.

    “For a small business, it may be as simple as making sure the colors of your logo always come out right,” Coulon said. “Larger companies tend to have more involved branding guidelines, since they often use outside vendors and agencies for their outreach efforts. This way they can ensure brand continuity without having to reinvent the wheel each time.”

    And branding guidelines should evolve as the brand does, giving space and freedom for new colors to be established, websites to be redesigned and print materials to be updated.

    Need a branding guideline for your company? Coles Marketing has plenty of experience in creating a style guide to fit all your needs.

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  2. Assistive Technology Gets an Upgrade

    March 5, 2015 by Tiffany Whisner

    March is Disability Awareness Month — increasing awareness and promoting independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities.

    INDATA4

    According to the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, adults and children with disabilities represent slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population. This is the 25th year for Disability Awareness Month, and Hoosiers who want to make a difference can get involved in activities and events throughout the month.

     

    I have the privilege of working with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads as one of our clients. And they just recently opened a new technology lab for people with disabilities. From home automation devices and wearable gadgets to robotics, the INDATA Project is making assistive technology accessible and user-friendly for everyone, particularly to those people with disabilities.

    INDATA2

     

    “The big challenge is getting people to realize every device someone without a disability can use for convenience can also be used by someone with a disability to enhance that person’s quality of life and independence,” said Brian Norton, the manager of clinical assistive technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. “Assistive technology can have a profound impact on how a person with a disability interacts with people and their environment, excels in school, and performs in the workplace.”

     

    INDATA1It was amazing to watch the robots and high-tech devices capture the attention of people who came to the open house as well as the media, who highlighted the new lab on air and through social media. And this technology is available to all — the INDATA Project offers loan-interest loans, funding options and an equipment lending library to Hoosiers with disabilities.

     

    “We want people to understand assistive technology doesn’t have to be super expensive,” said INDATA Director Wade Wingler. “This technology lab is a great way to show off the best AT in the most approachable and user-friendly way possible.”

     

    For more information about INDATA, visit www.eastersealstech.com.

     

     

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  3. Thirty Years of Bringing the Relationship Home

    February 25, 2015 by Christopher Lloyd

    homeshow2015LG

    Earlier this month, Coles Marketing wrapped up work on the 2015 Indianapolis Home Show. It was another year of runaway success, marked by massive attendance and remarkable media coverage. And believe it or not, it was the 31st year Coles has been the public relations agency for the Home Show. It was one of the first clients landed by President Barbara Coles after she started the business.

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

     

    So how does Coles maintain such an impressively long relationship with the Home Show? And how do we keep getting the media to show up in impressive numbers and give the same annual event big play, year in and year out?

     

    The answer is simple: relationships, prodigious planning and pure hustle.

     

    Start early

    “The work begins many months before the actual 10-day show,” says Coles Account Manager/Social Media Strategist Tiffany Whisner, one of the firm’s primary point persons on the Indy Home

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    Show. “We keep track of the trending celebrities, both nationally and locally, and begin to brainstorm ideas for certain features and celebrities. We are always trying to think outside the box.”

     

    Stay in touch

    Coles touches base with local media throughout the calendar year with important news, such as high-profile celebrities who have been booked to appear at the show or the revelation of the builder and plans for next year’s Centerpiece Home.

     

    Do your homework

    As the event date approaches, the Coles team starts pitching a variety of interviewees, features and highlights to the media outlets to provide them the opportunity to cover many different aspects of the show. That way, each newspaper, TV station or other media feels like they can get their own distinct bite on coverage without treading the same ground.

     

    Chris Mercier

    Chris Mercier

    “Many members of our staff have worked in the media themselves, so we all have extensive contacts. But most of all, we do our homework, and we treat our media relations colleagues with respect,” said Chris Mercier, Vice President, Public Relations.

     

    Be prepared

    Right before the show opens, Coles sends out an exhaustive media briefing kit filled with information and interviews on dozens of notable vendors and individuals. This is always accompanied by complimentary tickets for key journalists – plus creative gifts that keep the Home Show top of mind for on-air coverage. (You can never go wrong with flowers or food!)

     

    Create attention

    “We attempt to grab the media’s attention from the start of the show with the opening day ribbon cutting ceremony and then continue that momentum throughout the 10-day event, with live and taped TV and radio coverage and stories in the local newspapers,” Whisner said. “We tie that into a strong social media presence on several different platforms — making sure media, show vendors and attendees all know the daily happenings at the Home Show.”

     

    Capture and capitalize the buzz

    In dealing with big celebrities, such as Kathy Ireland or Ty Pennington, it’s important to make them feel comfortable and protected, make sure their transportation arrangements are seamless and they have enough downtime to enjoy the city while they’re here.

     

    And then, once the Home Show has closed in early February – do it all over again!

     

    “With a long-term client partnership, a success for them is a success for us,” Whisner said. “We want our clients to be successful as a result of all our efforts, and this is especially true for the Home Show.”

     

    “It’s incredibly rewarding to see a company grow as a result of our collaboration and efforts,” Mercier said. “These clients trust us to make the best decisions to help them stand out and succeed.”

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