Our Latest Blogs

Our Solutions News Blog was envisioned to gather and share information from the very best to help you and your business to become more effective.

image
One key part of being a great marketer is understanding how people think and knowing why they act the way they do. 10 principals.
image
Which Social Network Should You Advertise On? Social media advertising is a great tactic to use to supplement your print advertising.
Thursday, 24 October 2019 14:40

Casting a Niche Net | Getting Personal

As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin puts it: “Personalization wasn’t supposed to be a cleverly veiled way to chase prospects around the web, showing them the same spammy ad for the same lame stuff as everyone else sees. No, it is a chance to differentiate at a human scale, to use behaviour as the most important clue about what people want and more important, what they need.”

Casting A Niche Net

Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

Trends in customer trust by Salesforce Research reinforces the notion that brands can win more business by creating personalized customer experiences — a message we’ve heard for some time now. Based on a survey polling over 6,700 individuals from more than a dozen countries including Canada, the 2018 report finds consumers are demanding greater personalization and will often disclose the kind of personal information needed to create more personalized experiences if they feel the business is being transparent about how the data is used.

“Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an era defined by continuous technological innovations that are transforming customer expectations. As lines between digital and physical worlds blur, today’s customers demand deeply relevant, personalized experiences across devices, channels and interactions,” according to the report. “In fact, the average customer uses 10 different channels to communicate with companies. Despite this, today’s customers expect tailored engagement across all channels.”

Fifty-four percent of respondents say the marketing messages they receive aren’t as relevant as they would like them to be – suggesting that some companies drastically need to improve their personalization capabilities – while 84 percent say “being treated like a person, not a number” is very important to winning repeat business and maintaining brand loyalty. “Customers expect businesses to understand not only what they are purchasing, but why, as well as how they use products and services, and they expect it fast,” the report reads.

The majority of survey respondents say they are willing to share personal information if it is used to deliver more personalized engagements, and expect that personalization to be coupled with transparency. What’s more, 51 percent of respondents across all age groups say they are comfortable with companies “applying relevant information about me in exchange for personalized engagement,” as compared to 64 percent of millennials and Gen Zers.  

What’s interesting is 86 percent of total respondents – and 91 percent of millennials and Gen Zers – say they are more likely to trust companies with their personal information when they explain how it is being used to deliver a better experience for them, suggesting that strict security and privacy protocols alone may not be enough to dispel fears of data misuse and breaches.

“As time goes on, businesses will contend with a more savvy customer base that expects greater personalization, along with respect for the data they swap for it,” the report concludes.

Source: PrintAction / Written By: Alyssa Dalton

 

At Dominion Blue, our story started in 1912 with an ad featured in the city directory. It was one of eight companies involved in blueprints. We were located in the Bank of Hamilton Building at 432 Hamilton Street. Our focus was simple, offer what architects, engineers, contractors, the government and businesses wanted; preeminent quality large format Maps, Blueprints, Brown Line, and Blue Line Prints.

It was not a splashy opening, but it was honest. Our "can-do," "just-works" and our clients soon realized that we were ultimately providing print solutions that helped them to succeed. By hearing our story and knowing why we do what we do, they quickly discovered that we understood their needs.

A lot has changed since then. Of course, our state-of-the-art digital printing equipment and the breadth of our product and services offer is immense in comparison. But one thing has not changed; we've been building trust with our clients ever since that day and won't stop until we either meet or exceed each one’s expectations.

Knowing how to tell your business story needs to be a crucial part of your operations. A brand story has a strategic purpose aimed towards drawing people in. To perfect your story, try the following tips, and when you're ready give us a call because print can help bring it alive in many ways.

Five Essential Tips for Business Storytelling

To perfect your story, try the following tips:

#1: Set The Parameters

Your business story should be engaging. But if it doesn’t have a clear focus, you’ll quickly lose the attention of consumers. Establish context right off the bat.

To start your brand story, answer the following questions:

  • Who is telling the story?
  • Why is the story being told?
  • When and where is the story taking place?
  • Who are the people in the story?
  • What are the people trying to achieve?
  • What challenges are faced?

Parameters will help you develop an engaging story that makes sense to your audience. Set the scene so that consumers know exactly what you’re talking about. Most importantly, establish why you’re telling them this story. This will guide the audience through the narrative and hook them all the way to the end.

#2: Be Authentic

Authentic storytelling is key to gaining consumer trust. Don’t try to fool your audience with an over-the-top tale. Customers know when you try to pull a fast one on them, and they don’t appreciate it.

Your business’s story doesn’t need to be elaborate. In fact, if your business doesn’t have an earth-shattering history, your story shouldn’t try to create one. A genuine narrative is more likely to connect with consumers than one without a shred of truth.

Transparency celebrates your uniqueness and acknowledges the human aspect of your brand. Recognize that things are not always easy by showing your own challenges and failures. This creates an emotional connection, as well as reveals admiral characteristics, like innovation and resilience.

You might want to take an “open book” approach to communicating with customers. Explain how things are made/done at your business. For example, you might use all local ingredients at your restaurant. Use these details to create an interesting story.

#3: Have A Clear Outcome

A great business story leaves your audience with something. What lesson was learned in the story, and what should consumers learn from hearing it?

Business stories should have a clear outcome. Provide a hopeful, thought-provoking message with actionable points that compel your audience to connect with your brand.

Here’s another story for you: In the late eighties, my partner and I wanted to write software, but we were not sure about the niche we should pursue. After doing tons of research in the phonebook and at the library (there was no internet back then), we learned that employment agencies had a desperate need for a recruiting network solution. Over thirty years after launching our startup, Top Echelon’s recruiting network has hundreds of recruiting firms and millions of candidates, which helps hiring professionals make more placements.

The story gives an idea of who we are and where we come from. The outcome sparks confidence in our offerings and values. You can use your business’s real-life outcomes to convey a message to your customers.

#4: Be Consistent

A disorganized brand story leaves customers confused and uninterested. Make sure your brand is consistent across all communication channels. Use the same colors, logo, and slogan for digital and print marketing materials. The repetition of images and verbiage associated with your business creates brand awareness.

You need to be consistent when speaking about your brand. Business storytelling takes practice. Know the story inside and out before presenting it to customers. This will help you tell the story naturally.

#5: Get Customers Involved

Use business storytelling to strike an emotional connection with customers. Talk about how an event related to your business affected you and what you learned. This creates an immediate response that makes your story memorable and shareable.

People like to be a part of stories. Your customers can be characters in your brand. Come up with ways to get your audience involved.

For example, Patriot Software reached out to some of our customers to hear their startup stories. Black Sheep Boutique and Lamplighter Brewing Co. were among several companies featured in business storytelling examples on our blog. Showcasing these businesses directly linked our customers to a part of our story.

Telling the story of your brand is an ongoing process. Each day, your business grows, shifts, and adds new chapters to its story. Make business storytelling an essential part of your operations to attract and retain customers.

Source: Forbes / Written By: Mike Kappel

Published in More Success

Marketing often gets thrown on the back burner because it feels like time away from your business.

You’re happiest when you’re talking to your audience directly.

You’re telling them all about a product, service, or cause that you care about — and there’s a level of connection there that marketing can’t touch.

Or so you think.

It’s true — there’s plenty of yawn-inducing marketing material out there that makes you wonder if the writer herself was asleep at the keyboard.

But your business can do better than that. You can share something with your audience that awakens their attention, evokes emotion, and fosters ironclad loyalty..

Make Storytelling Your Competitive Advantage

Can storytelling really do all that?

Stories are the seeds of connection. They have staying power — think back to all the stories you can still remember from your early childhood.

And they’re more important than ever as a way to stand out from your competition.

Here are a few things storytelling can do for your business:

  • Draw people in: Stories pull us in like moths to a flame. Think about your favorite TV show or the last book you couldn’t put down. Don’t worry — your brand’s story doesn’t have to be a murder mystery to get people’s attention. Just think about the basic elements of any story (characters, plot, conflict, dialogue) and how they fit into your business.
  • Open their eyes to the people behind the business: How does your audience view your business or organization? If you’re good at what you do, there’s a good chance they think of you positively. But what if you could really show them what your business means to you? Make your product, service, or mission come alive by sharing how it motivates and inspires you each day.
  • Be unique and unforgettable: There will always be businesses with new techniques and fresh approaches that claim to do something better than you. Don’t fall for the trap of trying to do what they do better — focus on doing what you do better. Think about you business’s story and figure out what makes you different. Make this a theme in the marketing materials you create and share.
  • Provide value (to your audience and yourself): Stories deliver both entertainment and education. If you write a blog post sharing how you got involved in urban sustainability you’re educating readers and also reflecting on your personal story. Putting ideas into words helps you solidify your thoughts and gain confidence. This can come in handy the next time you decide to push yourself further and speak at an upcoming industry conference.

How can you start incorporating storytelling in your business?

Once you start to see the benefits of storytelling for your business, you’ll start wondering how you can start using it right away.

Luckily, you have plenty of outlets at your disposal. Your website, your signage, brochures, and printed communications, email and direct mail, your blog, social channels, presentation centres, and so much more.

When you're ready to start planning it all out give us a call and through our Print with Insight Program you'll be turning heads your way in no time.

 

Source: Constant Contact / Written By: Miranda Paquet

Published in More Success

"Building a skyscraper? Forget about steel and concrete, says architect Michael Green, and build it out of ... wood. As he details in this intriguing talk, it's not only possible to build safe wooden structures up to 30 stories tall (and, he hopes, higher), it's necessary."

Michael Green Tall Wood Buildings

Vancouver’s Michael Green Architecture, a firm specializing in timber buildings, has been acquired by Silicon Valley startup Katerra.

Timber is trending. Earlier this year, Azure wrote about the proliferation of plyscrapers around the world: thanks to the possibilities of cross-laminated timber, which is fire-resistant and as strong as concrete, wood construction is being considered for 70-storey buildings in Japan, 80-storey residential projects in London and mid-rise college campuses in Toronto. And one of the most prominent champions of timber construction is Vancouver-based Michael Green, whose firm has been pushing wood buildings – and indeed wood cities – since 2012.

Green, who authored The Case for Tall Wood Buildings and won a 2017 AZ Award for Environmental Leadership for his T3 Minneapolis office building, promotes timber as an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete. Earlier this week, Michael Green Architecture (MGA) was acquired by Katerra, a Silicon Valley construction startup that received $865 million from Japanese venture capital giant Softbank Vision Fund. Reportedy valued at over $3 billion, Katerra is run by former Tesla interim CEO Michael Marks; it lists itself as a tech company, though it aims to disrupt the construction industry.

Green says that, after the acquisition, he will remain the president and CEO of his firm – it will be called Michael Green Architecture, a Katerra company. In an email, Green says that its parent company will help “advance our agenda on design, quality, sustainability and affordability.” MGA and its two dozen employees will remain in Vancouver.

Katerra, Architectural Record notes, wants to vertically integrate all aspects of construction, from design to subcontracting. Founded three years ago, it, like Green, focuses on affordability through efficiency: Katerra has created market-rate multi-family housing and student and senior housing, with projects focused on mass-timber construction. The acquisition of MGA, it seems, is a step towards making its architecture division more environmentally friendly – and could provide Green with wider resources, both human and financial, to achieve his wood-built ambitions.

The terms of MGA’s acquisition by Katerra were not disclosed.

Green said the acquisition allows him to make a bigger impact on the North American market – though his reach already extends beyond his Gastown office. MGA’s recent projects include the OSU College of Forestry building at Oregon State University, a proposal for the world’s tallest timber tower in Paris, and Riverfront Square, a 2,000-unit residential project in New Jersey.

Though the acquisition is a victory for Green, it’s also a promising step for the future of timber construction. Silicon Valley’s embrace – and investment – in architecture, green design and wood construction could have a lasting impact on the built environment. For a glimpse of what the future may have in store, watch Green’s influential TEDxTalk above.

Source: AZURE / Written By: Mark Teo

Published in AEC News