Yearly Archives: 2012

Your Website Redesign: More ROI Than You Think

Taking the leap on a website redesign can be an intimidating risk with heavy upfront costs. But do they really pay off? And if they do – how can you tell?

If the process is approached with a strong strategic focus from the start, you’ll enjoy a greater ROI than you originally thought possible.

Here are some thoughts on why redesigns can be the gift that keeps on giving:

The cost of a site is typically built full price or a la carte, depending on your brand’s specific needs. Some need to be tidied up or modernized from its last redesign. Others need a full-blown baptism into the digital age. That said, the typical website redesign is assessed to include a strategic communications overview (in other words, a brainstorm session to discuss where you’ve been and where you’re going), web design and development, programming, graphic design, content production, photography, and website deployment.

Redesign costs can vary by large margins depending on the size of the business, and most importantly, the number of pages. Great agencies know that when it comes time to quote a price, they should charge based on value to the brand x hours of strategic thinking x number of hands and hours of labor involved in its production.

There are three ways to tell if you’re getting a dramatic ROI from your site:

(1) You produce valuable content, and get the value you’re after in return.

Initial domain registration and website hosting costs relatively little, but security protection, routine maintenance, and ongoing content marketing — blogging, social media strategies, mailing lists and newsletters — can often add bulk to your budget. If you can produce these content pieces in-house, with an understanding for the type of useful content your audience wants and needs, you’ll be ahead of the class. Plus, you’ll be speaking in an authentic voice, especially if the new website successfully positions you as an expert.

(2) You’re attracting high quality leads and conversion rates with specific calls to action.

The number of visitors who come to your site and respond with a call to action, like signing up for a monthly newsletter or leaving their contact information, are the most important statistics in a website redesign’s ROI. Great web developers and strategist know that successful websites don’t just inform, they engage, inspire, and capture future customers. Clear calls to action are also critical to a site’s conversion viability. For example, look  at this call conferencing website. The CTAs are subtle but effective. It’s important to understand what the highest converting websites do differently.

(3) Your new UX shows you care.

If done strategically — with consideration to your target audience, developing content and site maps around persona needs, and encouraging a specific results oriented action — a website will succeed, and your customers will enjoy a new perspective on your brand as a reliable, trusted source. A soft statistic, sure, but a powerful one. Websites that are disorganized, that ignore mobile user needs, or have ways to troubleshoot on the fly often flatline.

More statistics to pay attention to:

  • Monthly web traffic, particularly post-redesign launch.
  • An uptick in social followers and mailing list signups.
  • A boost in conversion rates. For a website with 10,000 visits per month, a boost in conversion from 4–5% (relatively conservative growth) can translate into an added 400–500 leads per month.
  • Not only leads, but higher quality leads from the types of clients you want.

Website redesigns include plenty of heavy lifting. With a goal-minded strategic ally that helps to identify your unique needs, wants, and desired aesthetics, you’ll be able to clearly see where you’re going – and how far you’ve come.

What’s in a Name?

What's in a name infographic

Naming a Company, Service, Product or Program Requires Strategic Steps

Selecting a name for a new company or rebranding an existing company can be a complex task. The name not only has to stand out in your market, it also has to be free and clear from a trademark standpoint and it has to pass the URL and social media availability test. It’s not easy. Can people pronounce it? Can people spell it? Does it resonate? Can you own and protect it? Most importantly, will it stand the test of time?

Naming services, products or programs can be equally challenging. In some cases, you don’t have the URL and trademark challenges, but there are several other considerations to make. How does the new service name play into existing service naming structures? Will the name of a product or program contain the company brand name or exist as a separate brand of the company?

The Ins and Outs of Five Naming Approaches

There are five typical naming approaches shown in our infographic. Not every approach is right for every circumstance, company, or market. While the Heritage approach (owners’ last names) is commonly used in company naming strategy, it may not be the best option for a new product or for an entrepreneur that intends to sell the business down the road. Expressive (word taken out of context) or Invented (made up word or spelling) names if done correctly can be enormously powerful whether naming a company or a service, but it may have financial implications. Often these types of names are more expensive because it takes larger budgets to create brand awareness in a market. Companies that are in a position to rebrand often go this route versus new companies just starting out. Read our interview of AVOXI CEO David Wise’s rebranding effort.

Descriptive (literally what it is) and Experiential (benefit oriented) names can be really great choices as long as you don’t get too narrow in the selection. Companies, programs, products and services all change and evolve. If you limit yourself in a too specific name, you may need to rebrand later.

Tying Back to the Mother Ship

Leveraging your company brand name in conjunction with a service line or program is often used with Descriptive, Experiential, Invented or Expressive names. This naming tactic also strengthens the power of the main brand instead of starting from scratch with a new product brand. Take a look at these two website designs: Digital Insurance and Digital Benefit Advisors. The service division utilizes the name of the main company with a descriptor. Georgia Pacific used a similar combination tactic when branding a program called the GP Xperience.

Your company’s naming strategy is the basis of your brand and must be carefully planned and selected with purpose. Take note of these naming approaches and objectives. A great name can help your company, product or service stand out in a crowded market. It can help people connect with a program launch. It can position you as a leader, convey your culture and even explain what you do in a word or two. Make sure you’ve taken the time and consideration it takes to test it in your market, protect it legally, and give it the visual expression that moves your audience to act.

The Benefits of a CMS

Brand Fever provides solutions.
The benefits of using a CMS or Content Management System to manage your website are many. For managing a website you really have two options: a static website or a database driven website.

First, lets understand the difference between the two methods of publishing pages to the internet.

Static Content

A static website has the content of each page hard coded or written in individual files. Similar to having a collection of scattered documents on your computer, to make any edit you must find, open, edit and save the file. If you wanted to make site-wide edits you have to edit and save every single file. Each page of the website requires at minimum a basic knowledge of html (hypertext markup language, the main language that web pages are built with), as well as enough technical knowledge to connect to the web host server via ftp. This isn’t a skill that most website owners are willing to acquire so they would need to rely on specialists to make the edits for them (for a fee of course).

Dynamic Content

On the other hand,  a website built on a CMS platform is database driven and is thought of as being dynamic because the content is stored in a database and is fetched whenever a user requests a page on the site. The site is built in a framework and even site-wide changes are fairly fast. Updating content in a CMS website is done very simply by using a browser to access the content which is in an area that is password protected – no specialists required. Building the site probably still requires experts, but maintaining your site and making copy edits or publishing new content is easy enough for anyone.

Keeping it Fresh

Because a CMS makes it so easy to update and/or add new content to a website, the website stays fresh and relevant. In addition to information pages, a company can easily publish time sensitive data like news, press releases  and other events that are happening at the company. Also, a CMS makes managing hundreds of pages a relatively easy task.

The Search Field

Any CMS worth it’s salt will have search functionality built in which makes finding your well honed content child’s play and is certain to put a smile on your users face.

User Friendly

CMSs are very easy and intuitive to use and maintain. The leading CMSs (WordPress, Joomla & Drupal) are well documented with extensive support available online for usage, tips & tricks and troubleshooting advice. It isn’t necessary to have a computer science degree to operate a CMS–just about anyone can do it and that equates to money and time savings. It’s no surprise that the leading CMS, WordPress, is also the easiest to use!

Update Your Site From Anywhere

You can update your site from anywhere you have a browser and internet access.

User Access is “Roles Based”

Being able to assign different roles to different users is invaluable if you have many users adding content to your website. You may allow limited access to users who are writing posts for your blog while others are granted permissions to edit and publish those posts. Still others may have administrative access to manage the CMS backend.

Search Engine Friendly

Search engines love new content and as mentioned earlier, you’ll be more likely to add new content with a CMS because of it’s ease of use. More pages mean that the search engines have more pages to index. That can lead to higher rankings and more opportunities for increased traffic on your website.

The Community

Another often overlooked benefit to a CMS is the community that comes along with the CMS. There are teams of developers constantly developing, testing and improving the CMS. You login and are alerted that your CMS has an update available to make your site better and stronger.

The Bottom Line

A CMS will save you money while a static site will cost you money over the long term.

We Practice What We Preach

We almost always recommend a CMS for our clients who are looking to refresh their website or are wanting a complete redesign. We develop websites using the leading CMSs – WordPress, Joomla & Drupal because they are open source and well supported by a community of dedicated developers.

Have a look at these well designed CMS based websites.

WordPress – This isn’t your fathers’ WordPress. WordPress was once known for being a great blogging platform but it’s grown into a full-fledged CMS capable of handling almost anything you can throw at it. Our designers and developers create visually stunning and communicative custom solutions to specifically fit our clients needs. Here are a few examples of WordPress sites we’ve developed; AVOXI,  VSoft Corporation,  The Shepherd Center Society and our own website – Brand Fever.

Joomla – is another very capable CMS that we’ve used for several of the websites we’ve developed; Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, CSM Bakery Products, Digital Insurance and Fulton County Arts Council.

Delivering on Brand Promise

It’s not enough to talk about it. You need to Live it.

Frieda y Diego Rivera a self portrait by the artist Frida Kahlo
On a beautiful fall day in 1999 my husband and I visited the San Francisco Museum of Art. We were fortunate to be able to see the painting Frieda y Diego Rivera a self portrait by the artist Frida Kahlo during our visit to the museum that day. This portrait was a painting the acclaimed Mexican Modernist painter created in 1931 – of herself with her husband, muralist and political activist Diego Rivera. I saw a lot of incredible artwork on our West Coast trip. Priceless works of art at the SMOA and the Hearst Castle, among other places we visited but by far my favorite piece was this painting. The work has incredibly vivid color and yet is simplistic in style. The subjects said so much with their eyes and their body language. The painting had a very primitive feel to it but at the same time it was very beautiful. It was my first time seeing in person, the work of Frida Kahlo and from that day forward I have been intrigued by this artist and her life. Brand Fever creative director, Kendra Lively, has been as well, opting to personify Frida on Halloween this year. Amazing picture included!


Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

A fierce passion for their native Mexico – a commitment to the plight of the common man and believing in the ideals of the Mexican Revolution – was something that both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera shared. These characteristics were ever so present in both of the artists’ work and to our good fortune we will get to experience it first hand in the very near future right here in Atlanta, GA.

The High Museum of Art will be host to a major exhibition of work by both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera beginning February 16th 2013. The exhibition titled “Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting” will remain on view through May 12th 2013. Read more about it here. The High Museum of Art will be the only U.S. venue for this exhibition.

That’s what we love so much about this client. They consistently deliver on their brand promise. The leadership at The High Museum of Art consistently designs partnerships that result in amazing art and culture experiences for the Atlanta community and far beyond. Their unprecedented three-year partnership with Musée du Louvre in Paris from 2006-2009—welcomed over 1.3 million visitors to the museum from all 50 states. It was followed by partnerships with The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the National Galleries of Scotland that brought such exhibits as Monet Water Lilies (2009), Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting (2010) and Picasso to Warhol (2011). They live their brand at The High Museum of Art. They don’t just talk about it. I can’t wait to personally tour the Frida & Diego exhibit next year. What a treat!

Hear About His Brand Journey – AVOXI CEO

Meet AVOXI CEO, David Wise.

October marked the month DOW Networks changed their name to AVOXI and Brand Fever teamed with them to create a new visual identity system, logo, tradeshow booth and website that took the global VoIP (Voice Internet Protocal) call center business by storm. In this interview we hear from David Wise about his journey.

What prompted the brand rejuvenation and name change investment?

The call center industry has really evolved since we started the company 11 years ago. Our business has changed and so have our customers and their needs. We were also experiencing some name confusion with DOW Chemicals. DOW Networks was completely unrelated and did not convey the innovative nature that our new name, AVOXI, signifies for our company today.

Did you realize how much market intelligence would actually go into a new brand and logo design?

I had never had gone through a rebranding process before. I did not have a clear idea of what brand value was or how to create it in a systematic way. Brand Fever educated us about the process. A lot of homework and study was done to help us create a unique position in our industry. We involved most of our senior leadership and sales in the process. Brand Fever really got our people involved.

You mentioned at the launch that the effort took your management team through a brand journey via the process? What was it like?

Brand Fever helped us highlight what our customers wanted to hear about through detailed research, surveys, and interviews. They helped us identify needs and reconnect with that outside perspective. You get too close to it sometimes. Brand Fever forced us to take a step back. We redefined and rebranded all the products as a result.

We also made changes to our market research strategy going forward. It’s no longer us standing around a white board delivering what we “think” they need. Brand Fever’s branding process opened up a more collaborative way of thinking about new product lines that we concretely know customers want.

What were the immediate reactions by employees, customers and partners after launch?

There is new energy in and around the company. It’s been very well received. In fact, when we took the new brand to our first global conference in Singapore two weeks ago, people commented that their company needed to go through a rebranding process as well and wanted to know how we went about it for ours–the ultimate compliment. They loved it. Our excitement brushes off on others. It’s great to see.

What were you most impressed with about Brand Fever? What about the tagline “Because Business is Calling”?

Brand Fever came up with tagline and the mark. While others weighed in, I let Vicky Jones ultimately make the choice. She’s the expert and it’s brilliant. It’s the very essence of what our customers are most concerned about. Brand Fever has long been known for their creativity. What I was most impressed with was their well-defined approach to brand strategy. We have an infrastructure that clearly outlines how to implement the brand in everything we do, so it works to our advantage and reinforces the message.

How will you measure success? Has sales or business development pipelines increased?

Certainly we will look at Brand Fever’s SEO strategy and make comparisons between the old website and the new–that’s easy to do. We’ve seen short-term effects already that are very positive. For me, it’s a long-term investment. We have the opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to old prospects in the market and those are measurable leads that we can tie directly to our new brand. We feel like a different company. We’re having new conversations with our existing customers and prospects and showing them what we can help them do. There’s value to Brand Fever’s process.

View the work »
Read more about Avoxi “Successful Brand Strategies Begin with Intelligence” »

Successful Brand Strategies Begin with Intelligence

Reinventing a brand and changing a company name isn’t something done on the fly. Smart brands and their accompanying messaging strategies must take into account market intelligence. Creative execution has to be thoughtful, inventive and time-withstanding. October marked the month DOW Networks changed their name to AVOXI™ and Brand Fever teamed with them to define new brand positioning, a new visual identity and website that took the global VoIP (Voice Internet Protocal) call center business by storm. (view the work).

It all started with qualitative research in both the form of a qualitative survey and one-on-one interviews early this summer. AVOXI’s management team examined what their employees and customers felt and thought about their needs as stakeholders. Next, detailed competitive sketches of the companies in their space were pulled together so that their new positioning statement and tagline could truly be unique, ownable, and differentiated.

Seep in Strategy

Once intelligence was considered, tagline development, key messaging, website structures and sitemaps ensued. AVOXI picked “because business is calling” as its tagline because it took a very complex call center process and simplified it into the very reason why they exist for their global customers. The logo likewise took on a clear mission, with the central “O” designed to show not only global networking, but also a conversation bubble to denote call center representatives.

Creative that Simplified

Brand Fever also recommended the use of InfoGraphics and Icons to help simplify the complex messages related to the telecom’s call center services. A mobile site that complements the website was implemented to make it easier for customers to view and read from their mobile devices.

Brand Fever President Vicky Jones commented, “Whether it was online, offline or mobile, we kept three central concepts in mind when bringing this new brand to life… 1) Base it in Intelligence 2) Seep it in Strategy 3) Build it out with Creative Excellence—those are the things that create and build brand value.”

With brand value come big rewards… we’ll keep you apprised of AVOXI. AVOXI offers reliable call center solutions, customized to meet the unique communications needs of customers around the globe. Visit them at AVOXI.com.

Honored to Accept


Each year, Appleton Coated brings together a panel of leading designers from across North America to serve on their Design Council. Our own Vicky Jones is honored to accept their invitation to participate on the Appleton Coated Design Council for 2013 and will serve as a judge for this year’s U360 Design Competition. Entries are due December 7th. A link to the entry form is provided below. Don’t forget to submit your best work on these fine papers!

BrandFever believes that a print component to an integrated marketing campaign is a powerful way to evoke action among key constituents while building brand equity. Listen to how Appleton Coated defines the purpose of print:

“There’s something undeniably unique about a printed piece. Timeless. Important. Engaging. Each page unmatched in its ability to communicate subtle shifts in color and emotion. In print, details beg to be touched, providing a tactile invitation to revisit the message again and again. Print is personal, portable and now more than ever, responsible.”

How did your company utilize print this year? Submit Your Work

Please Note: Clients of BrandFever may participate in this competition. Judges simply step out of the voting when involved with a particular entry.

Building Brand with Content Marketing

Content Marketing infographic

Take a Look at the Right Path

When you take a step back and look at it, the movement of building brand through content marketing isn’t that different from the movement behind corporate responsibility. Both ask the company to give back in a way that is valuable to customer or greater society in a less self-serving way. And as with sustainability efforts, there is brand value and greater returns to be awarded to companies that do it well.

Content is King

Answering people’s questions in a formidable and valuable way endears people to your brand. The more companies can contribute to the conversations that affect their stakeholders the most, the more brand value they will build. What is different about the thought leadership environment now is that reach goes so much further than it used to with social media. A referral of content is an endorsement that carries weight in many regards. It’s not just simple brand awareness. It’s valued.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Bryan Rhoads, global content strategy for Intel, said it best writing as a guest blogger,

“Today’s web is an endless 24/7 cycle fed by content and social actions. In this cycle, brands are realizing that content is currency…”

Positioning yourself as a thought leader and spreading those messages out in tactical way at different levels of depth is key. Different people will process information differently depending on where they are in the sales cycle. Someone in the early stages of getting to know your brand may only be looking for social media hits, while others in later stages may want to read blogs and get answers and drill into white papers or case studies.

“On average, B2B marketers employ EIGHT different content marketing tactics to achieve their goals,” reports the Content Marketing Institute. Brand Fever developed this five-step infographic to put you on the right path to a content marketing strategy. Let us know what you think!

View this full infographic at visua.ly

Marketing Budgets & Building Brand Value

What percentage of revenue should go back into Marketing? This time of year it’s the million dollar question. 2013 budgeting is upon us for most of corporate America. A trusted VP of Sales once shared that his gauge was always the following formula: 1-3% of revenues should be reserved for marketing and 8-10% for sales (including headcount). Much more complicated formulas have been published over the years that look at major expenses such as rents and profit margins to come up with the golden figure. The truth of the matter is that there is no text book answer. Every company is different.

Every company is facing different challenges in any given year. The best size for a company’s marketing budget is determined by a host of factors including resources, company culture, values, market, and timing. The best management teams will look at the overall needs of the company, what it’s going to take to get revenues to where they want them to be and decide if they can afford—or afford not to—make the investments. As we referenced in our blog post Favorite Insights from 2012 Top Global Brands companies that have strong brand equity do better than companies that fail to invest.

There are three key reasons for investing in company brand. Solid brands make it:

  • Easy for the customer to buy
  • Easy for sales to sell
  • Easy for customers to stay and refer

Tactics Fall into These Strategy Buckets

Everything in your marketing budget essentially falls into these three categories and some of it overlaps. Tactics that fall into the making it easy for the customer to buy category are awareness related. Sponsorships, advertising, public relations campaigns, corporate sustainability programs, social media strategies all could fall into this bracket along with a potential web site redesign.

Making it easy for sales to sell carries business development and prospecting tactics such as events, prospect databases, e-newsletters, direct mail, ebooks, or sales kits for a new product launch. Making it easy for customers to stay and refer contain all your loyalty and cross sell initiatives–customer communication and education programs, awards or rewards programs, gifts and tickets. Solid thought leadership programs can cross all three key categories. You see where we’re headed, but the point is this: Tying line by line budget discussions with an easy to understand brand equity story for executives outside of marketing, just may help your case.

Integrated Marketing Campaigns Take on More Robust Meaning

You have a brand to build. Don’t let your budgeting meeting for marketing become a conversation about what was spent last year. Integrated marketing campaigns get results and create brand equity. Take a look at AmericasMart as a case in point. Make sure you use the right market intelligence tools to determine where your company brand stands on all three of these fronts. There is a direct correlation between rising company revenues and increased brand equity. If you time the investments correctly and your value proposition and delivery is on track, watch your company take off.

Creative Excellence Brings Brand Value to Life.

 

It amazes us that even in our own industry, there are marketing strategy consultants and web development agencies out there that protrude and lead with bad brand design for their own entities. It typically goes like this: You’re at a conference, meet, and have a great conversation with a president or leadership team member about creating brand value for companies. Sam looks great and speaks intelligently about his field. Then he hands you his business card. It’s flimsy, generic and uninviting, probably done at VistaPrint. It looks unprofessional and doesn’t convey the same image as the dynamic guy you just met.  How serious are they?

Bad First Impression Translates to Lost Sales

And You May Never Know You Had Them

Here’s another scenario. A potential customer hears your ad on the radio and has a need. She looks you up on the Internet and finds your website lackluster, cluttered, and hard to navigate. The copywriting is complex and difficult to read, so she does a two second search on Google and finds your competitor. Their website is visually appealing and she quickly finds the information she wants. You just lost the sale without evening knowing it. Had the website experience lived up to the ad she heard on the radio, she likely would have made a purchase. A poorly designed brand experience works against you. The website that successfully executed creative design excellence helped convert a new customer.

Creative Excellence and Smart Design

Entice People to Read On

The companies that create strong creative brands that are visually identifiable and smartly designed, carry clear and relevant messages, and are consistent across all integrated marketing channels maintain a competitive advantage over those who fail to invest in winning brand strategy. It’s why executives at NikeIBMStarbucks and Apple are so dedicated to building their brands.  It’s not so much about making things pretty as it is conveying a professional, innovative message to your key stakeholders that cuts through the clutter and entices people to learn and want more.

Business development and sales creation is hard. A strong brand identity helps bring opportunity to the table through customer loyalty, referrals, name recognition and reputation. Solid first impressions lead to sale conversion. Bad ones rail road the entire process. Is your brand working for you or against you? We have been awarded with creative excellence achievements for more than 15 years. Let us take a look at your brand.

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