Taylor Garries

Branding, Creative & Art Direction

How Quickly can we Convert Followers into Customers?

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Recently I was talking to a large, reputable organization about their marketing and communications efforts. When I mentioned that I’d want to ramp up their social media efforts to help build connections with younger members, they got a little uncomfortable. They pressed me for information. How would I use social media to grow their membership?

I explained that social media requires patience. There isn’t a direct do-this-to-get-clients technique with social media. It’s a communications channel that requires an authentic approach. No hard sells. You slip in your message sparingly. Only 20% of the communications should be self-serving.

But how, exactly, would I grow their membership with social media?

I left feeling a frustrated. I was talking to people that had expressed frustrations in building their membership, but they only wanted quick-fixes. What can we do to get new members tomorrow? They had ho interest in building a genuine, long-term, brand.

I wish more people would read this piece from Fast Company, Without The Right Message, Twitter Is No Better For Your Brand Than A Fax Machine. It really hits home with how I’ve seen many organizations use social media. A choice quote from the article that paraphrases an old advertising quote:

What this means in social media is sharing what is valuable to your audience, not what is merely valuable to you… Adding another social media channel to your network will not make an anti-social brand more social. It will simply increase your efficiency in alienating more people with greater speed.

That organization I was talking to? They had key questions about their brand that were unanswered. But they were too concerned with tomorrow to bother thinking about next year.

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Bits of cleverness

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Here’s a handful of advertising and design images that don’t quite merit a full write-up, but are clever enough to be noted here.


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What Happened to Lego?

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Lego has undergone quite a change. Legos used to be simple he says in the video. Now Lego is anything but simple. Instead Lego has chosen to focus on cross-branded sets, like Harry Potter and Star Wars. The kits that used to allow for – and encourage – creativity, imagination, and experimentation now build one thing only. What’s on the box.

Unfortunately no one seems to have told Lego’s marketing department about the dramatic shift in the product design. Ads that are passed around the internet lately contrast strongly with the actual product. It’s hard to find a better example of disingenuous advertising.

As someone who grew up adoring Lego, this change really saddens me. As a parent whose child is nearing Lego age, I’m nervous about buying Lego for her.


A 1981 ad that captures the Lego spirit.

A recent sampling from the Imagine campaign.

Some more recent examples of Lego selling imagination. (Simpsons, South Park, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Examples of the current product. How does the product compare to the ads?

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Yellow Pages Struggle to Maintain Relevancy

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I received this email from a client, who got it from her latest Yellow Pages account person (she gets a new one each year, I guess her territory isn’t very valuable). We both had a bit of a chuckle about YPG’s latest attempt to stay relevant. On one hand at least they’re trying something, but you can’t help but wonder when they’re going to address the elephant in the room: their core business is dying. This effort does nothing to address that, and is ultimately pretty hollow. The Yellow Pages have been replaced by Google, game over.

I’ve written before about the death of the Yellow Pages. Hating on the Yellow Pages is nothing new, rather it’s become pretty fashionable to do. While part of me feels sad for the people who’s livelihood depends on this business – it must be pretty hard to watch it die such a slow death – I think its end is long overdue.

I wonder, do people who work for the Yellow Pages use their own product, or do they just Google everything like the rest of us?

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History of Western Typefaces

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Stolen this from Mashable, this info-graphic is an interesting timeline of western typefaces that have shaped the (design) world.

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Twitter 2011 Year in Review

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I’m only about three four months late in posting this, but Twitter’s 2011 Year in Review is an illuminating look into the hot topics of the year. While the results are skewed slightly towards the interests of Twitter’s active user base, the big ones are still up there: Two and a Half Men, Japan, Rebecca Black, Charlie Sheen, and so on. The full site is worth a few minutes of time.

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The HP Rebrand that wasn’t (yet)

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I had set this aside months ago – when I first saw it – so that I could do a proper write it up. Unfortunately Armin Vit at Brand New beat me to it, writing it up twice(!) a couple of weeks after I first saw it. Nevertheless, this rebranding project is worth sharing, and I’m sure you’ll appreciate it as much as I did.

Moving Brands has really pared down its original case study from what I saw up there, which is a shame. That’s not to say I don’t understand – it kind of blew up for a while there, and the brand manager at HP probably had a few sleepless nights over all the hubbub. This kind of work is usually kept pretty close to the chest, and I’d guess HP is feeling a little exposed.

Nonetheless, the work that was available is really, enviably nice. Here’s a small handful of shots that I grabbed before they disappeared. Hopefully if someone from either HP or Moving Brands sees this, I won’t get into too much trouble.

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Harley Spirit

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Harley Davidson has been doing a great job with its brand communications for a long time now, and this ad is just one more example of how it’s done, properly. One of the great things about their communications is how exclusive the brand is. One of the best ways to create a passionate following is to define your brand, and exclude people from it. With clearly defined borders, your audience is either in, or its out.

The central tenet of this ad is that you are either a born Harley owner, or you aren’t. It’s an exclusive brand, as opposed to the come-one come-all inclusive brands.

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Hunting Season Begins

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This ad appears to be for a shopping centre in Italy, but the concept is still great. Retailers run their end of season sales at the same time, with smaller retailers looking out their shop’s doors to see when the bigger shops start their clearances.

I’m wondering how well the headline translates from Italian into English – it seems like a competent copywriter could tighten it up a bit.

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The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People around the World Buy and Live as They Do

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bibliography - 17If you haven’t seen Rapaille’s appearance on Frontline, it’s well worth a look. He has some fascinating and insightful conclusions about the way people think and feel about some everyday topics, but it’s his view about focus groups that really stands out in my mind: No one is giving you honest answers, they’re too busy showing you how smart they are.

Buy this book.

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