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Rebranding—Sharing Our Experience

Rebranding—Sharing Our Experience

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Scaling a business can happen intentionally, or otherwise, unintentionally. Either way, you’re going to have to manage pretty big changes. For us, this means expanding our services, refreshing our entire brand, revamping our website, moving into a bigger office and welcoming new members to our team. Needless to say, we’ve been busy! Throughout our growth and rebranding experience, we’ve really taken a step back to evaluate our core values and focus on why we do what we do. At the end of the day, what we find to be most rewarding is building relationships and sharing the joy of flourishing in doing what we love. Our team finds great value in truly getting to know our clients’ stories on a personal level and authentically producing premium deliverables so that their businesses can succeed.

Branding

While we provide everything from light refreshes to complete overhauls for our clients’ brands, we also need to update our own brand, from time to time. Our old logo will always have a special place here at HMG. However, after nearly 14 years of only subtle tweaking, it was time to give our logo and brand the revamp they deserve. Our main objective for the logo redesign was to create a clean and appealing mark, which we plan to leave on the next 14 years.

Typography

We incorporated lightly-modified typography that draws classic and timeless aspects from Futura, but with a more contemporary feel—similar to Avenir. Following the necessary planning and modifications, we feel that our new typographic treatment will be here to stay for the long haul.

Color palette

From the beginning of our rebranding process, we made the choice to use our original HMG blue as a starting point. From there, we decided that the updated color palette should be simple, yet dynamic enough for integration across all brand assets. The new color palette has already started to appear on a few pieces of internal collateral, as well as on the winning entry in the 2017 Pixelwood Derby.

Icon

For our icon—we aimed to produce something that could stand alone and be recognized as ours. To achieve this, we crafted an abstracted composition that, upon closer inspection, reveals “HMG” in the angles. This was also created entirely with simple 90-degree angles.

Social Media

Every business has a story. We leverage social media to chronicle our company culture, the talent of each person on our team, and also some of the less extravagant bits of our day-to-day story. We value the personality and character of each member of our team and have found Instagram to be a great tool for showcasing the talent and creativity that flows throughout the office. We also make use of the real-time engagement that social media offers. Watching our peers succeed in the Austin community has been invigorating, and being able to interact and congratulate them on their success brings us all closer.

Through Facebook and Twitter, we’ve seen great interest in our blog and the informative content we post on hot topics within the tech industry. Readers benefit from our blogs which further explain certain areas of the industry, offer deeper insight into specific services and explain how they can get their head around ROI and many other topics. The majority of our posts are geared toward helping marketers better understand the digital world and the current trends that shape it.

What’s next?

Our vision for revamping our website is to create a more seamless user experience. Users should be able to quickly navigate to information on our services, and the information should be direct and easily absorbed. The ideal result of this would be that current and prospective clients come away with a clear understanding of who we are, what we do and how we think. Smoothing and polishing a user’s journey is essential for not only demonstrating your own understanding but also the value placed on each user’s time. For this reason, it also should never be unclear how a user would get in contact.

Now that we have laid the foundation for our updated brand, you can expect to see much more in the coming months. We have started planning our new website which should bring together all of our hard work and revamped branding elements. Let us know if you like what you see!

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Pixelwood Derby WIN!

Pixelwood Derby WIN!

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Yesterday was the fourth annual Pixelwood Derby hosted by Sitegoals, an Austin-based creative agency. In the last four years, the classic pinewood derby event has grown drastically, and this year, 29 Austin companies came out to compete including YETI, Favor, Alamo Drafthouse, Capital Factory, Rocksauce Studios, Workhorse and Samba TV.

Last year, our very own Britney Steers brought home the GOLD! She was good, but we knew we had to step up our game because it started to get pretty competitive. This year, Cartha Stewart swept all rounds and we came home with the first-place trophy for speed! Constructing this ever so aerodynamic pinewood derby car was anything but easy. Now that we’ve been unbeatable for two years in a row, the competition is getting hot. We’ve already started scheming for next year and we can’t wait to see what everyone is going to bring to the table.

Each year, the Pixelwood Derby benefits a non-profit in which it donates all proceeds. So far, the Pixelwood Derby has donated proceeds to the Thinkery, The SAFE Alliance and this year proceeds are going to STEMed Labs. STEMed Labs is a local non-profit dedicated to improving science, technology, engineering and math programs for students grades K-12. The goal of the organization is to leverage project resources to increase students’ interest in STEM and challenge them with real-world problems that prepare them to be purpose-driven innovators. For more information click here.

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How We Work With Clients

How We Work With Clients

Posted on May 16, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Finding the right agency can be a difficult and stressful process, usually due to several factors simultaneously in motion. You may need help developing a branding strategy before it’s time to begin the web project, or you may need to coordinate ongoing marketing efforts, such as PPC or retargeting, within the scope of a much larger project that is already underway. It can also be tough to choose an agency that fully understands and harmonize your story, brand and culture consistently through every single project. However, the right fit is usually self-evident, meaning that you’ll know when you’ve found the right one.

Here at HMG, we pride ourselves on the authenticity of both our creative process and work itself. Staying true to our core values, our team of experts collaborate daily to maximize creativity and apply diverse perspectives to each client and their story. First and foremost, our top priority is to cultivate long-lasting partnerships with every one of our clients. Maintaining transparent communication is key to developing rapport and managing expectations throughout the course of each project. We also consider ourselves to be part of each client’s team, committing ourselves to the development of unique, high-quality deliverables that position them for success.

As a full-service marketing agency, our professional bandwidth allows us to cater to marketing needs across the board, from brand assessment and strategy, to web development and implementation of interactive marketing initiatives. Whether you need one of our services or five of our services plus ongoing maintenance, we tailor each project to align with your specific needs, brand and culture. During the kickoff meeting, we will dive into your values, your target audience and your customer journeys. Then we will incorporate our findings into your web project, digital marketing strategy, or whatever else you may need.

And now for the fun part—budgeting! Establishing a clear understanding of your budget upfront allows us to remain transparent when communicating realistic expectations for how a project will align with its existing budget. We generally make two budgeting methods available: fixed-rate bids and ongoing retainers.

Large-scale projects which clearly define a set of deliverables, such as a web development project, typically work best with a flat, fixed rate, which can be easily made into a monthly investment. Fixed-rate billing also works well when bundling services together, into a custom package. However, quite often, a client will also require ongoing marketing services in addition to a larger fixed-rate project, which would necessitate a retainer.

A retainer is a pre-purchased block of hours. Retainers are usually implemented when our services are required on an as-needed basis. With a retainer, you have more flexibility for how the hours are spent and on which projects or services they are allocated—whether that be PPC, retargeting, web maintenance, or ongoing creative services such as print collateral.

In this digital age, technology is rapidly changing and the need to keep up with its dynamic evolution is greater than ever. So let’s connect and chat about how we can support your marketing efforts!

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Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Posted on May 04, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Technology has disrupted many industries in its rapid evolution over the past 50 years. Keeping up to speed with tech trends, much less staying ahead of the game, can be a real challenge. As a result of the demanding digital age we now live in, the vast majority of industries have integrated technology into their systems. With this in mind, the team at The Spa Mart knew to approach their new spa distribution venture with a strong emphasis on technology.  

That’s where HMG Creative came in. We were contacted by the development team, and immediately understood their vision for a top-notch eCommerce and online education website that would better serve spa professionals. We took their idea and molded it into a fresh, bold brand to encompass the values and traditions of the spa industry.

After completing The Spa Mart’s branding, we shifted gears into a six-month web development project that takes advantage of Magento 2.0, the successor to the widely popular eCommerce platform of the same name. We’ve also incorporated a system called Odoo, which is an inventory control manager that will allow The Spa Mart to better manage orders and control their back office system. Our client’s main goals were to build and nourish relationships with their customers, help their customers grow their own businesses and provide premium customer service. With the website functioning as the nucleus of their company, we integrated different customer journeys to provide optimal user experience for each customer depending on individual needs—whether they seek to purchase products or search for an online course.

The web-development project consisted of site hierarchy, user experience design, visual design and content strategy. Currently in the optimization and customization phase, the ability to continuously manage and optimize the site is a primary focus as we perfect the site’s flow. As they say—a high-quality, growth driven website is nothing without proper marketing. Taking this to heart, we are also currently in the process of developing a tailored digital marketing strategy to include powerful digital media management, such as pay-per-click advertising and retargeting.

The Spa Mart has been an incredible client, and our team here at HMG is grateful to be able to work with such amazing folks. We share the passion for building relationships and helping others grow their own businesses, so here’s to flourishing in doing what we love!

The Spa Mart’s site is currently active, fully responsive and hosted at HMG Creative.

If you would like more information on our services, leave us a comment or click here.

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Knock Your Block Off

Knock Your Block Off

Posted on Apr 27, 2017 by Ian Wilson

Few things are more frightening to a creative than the blank page used to begin every project. It can be unnerving, and you may lock up. Then after jotting down a handful of ideas, you face a new challenge. This time your subconscious is trying to break your stride by sowing the seeds of fear, self-doubt, and temptation.

As I’ve long maintained: Creativity is kinetic. In other words, keep your pencil moving or you’ll end up stuck in the mud. If you do (and you will) find yourself at a standstill, being able to recognize what’s happening can help you to break yourself out of that unproductive mindset, which is the first step to getting back on track. For this reason, I’ve compiled a short list of a few common obstacles you’ll likely face.

  • Stop waiting for the winners

Think of your mind as a jar full of jelly beans, where the blue beans are the brilliant ideas you’re after. If you’re only allowing the blue beans to leave the jar, then your overall yield will suffer. A better plan would be to first pour everything out, then follow that up by sorting the great from mediocre. Getting the subpar ideas out of your head also has its benefits, because it frees up mental resources, clearing the way for fresh ideas to move in.

  • Don’t puppy-love your ideas

We get it, you’re clever. However, your role at this point is to catch as many of the ideas spilling out of you as you can. Just because you think you’ve hit pay dirt is no reason to jump the gun and begin refining. If you feel this way about a recent idea, chances are that you’re harboring a bias toward an idea that it is probably too cute or grandiose to make the final cut anyway. It may be that it only sparkles in contrast to the string of lackluster ideas that led up to it. Plus, creativity usually happens in bursts, so it would be a titanic mistake to stop upon reaching the tip of the iceberg.

  • Stick to the plan

Strategy is the anchor for your campaign. It’s purpose is to ensure that your work aligns with all other work in order to maintain a cohesive and uniform message. The further you try to stretch the leash that tethers you to your strategy, the more work your audience will have to do to make sense of what you are trying to get across. If you make them do too much work, they’ll likely give up and move on.

  • Safety third

Creativity occupies the shared space on the venn diagram between a problem’s solution and novelty. Just as you stick to the strategy, you must also find new ways to approach it. This is the time to take some risks and see what happens. Think of it as shoplifting from the candy store in your mind. When your ideas begin to feel robotic and manufactured, try pushing them to a frightening extreme. Then walk them back to find the breaking point.

  • Physical needs take mental energy

Whether you’re hungry, restless, tired or just plain hungover, your body is trying to get your attention. Working through these distractions can be tough, and your work will likely suffer due to divided focus. Conversely, the endorphin boost from taking a walk, or getting up every so often to stretch, can be great for productivity. Physical activity also doesn’t need to be exercise, it can be as simple as arranging your lunch in an eye-appealing way or giving yourself time to get enough sleep. Find out what works for you, and incorporate it into your process.

Ultimately the solution to getting stuck is always to get back to work. You could wax intellectual about process, or stall for time setting up your environment, but it’s never going to give you the same satisfaction as real progress. Instead, do what the pros do—roll up your sleeves and do the work. Taking a page from one of the United Kingdom’s most renowned prime ministers:

“When you’re going through hell, keep going.”—Winston Churchill

Now, don’t you have some work to do?

 

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How Influencers Have Impacted Marketing

How Influencers Have Impacted Marketing

Posted on Apr 13, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Influencer marketing seems to be taking the lead as this year’s most “influential” marketing approach. Have you ever noticed someone you follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat mention different products from time to time? I hate to break it to you, but that influencer you follow was more than likely paid to mention that product on their personal feed. This approach gives companies access to thousands, if not millions, of people they would not have otherwise been able to reach.

Influencers are seen as thought leaders for very specific niches. For example, if an influencer is regarded as being someone who is “trendsetter”, the second they mention a brand or product, their followers are immediately opening up a new tab to get their hands on it. This causes a spike for the number of search mentioning that particular product. This is exactly what companies want, and why they are willing to pay big bucks to influencers to push their products to their loyal, unsuspecting followers.

Influencers make it easy for a lot of companies to reach thousands and even millions of people in their target market because of the fact that there are influencers in just about every niche. By sharing their stories, influencers have made themselves relatable to a wide range of people. There is a good chance that no matter what your product is, there is an influencer that has thousands of followers that are right in your target market. Once a marketer finds an influencer that has a sizable audience they want to reach, they don’t have to work very hard to reach possibly millions of people that sit right in their market!

Influencers are also well connected with other influencers, possibly in a different niche. When influencers partner with other thought leaders, that’s double the exposure to your brand. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all have messaging features as well. If someone sees something they think a friend might like, they can send it to their friend via direct message. At that point, the friend is exposed to the influencer, and thus your brand or product.

Social media has opened a new world to marketing. With the rising number in internet users that use ad blockers (about half), your retargeted advertisements are now less likely to be seen. With social media influencers, even though they may mention that the post is an ad, it still has a massive impact on the actions of their followers. What influencers are you following?