It’s always exciting to announce a new team member, especially one that brings so much experience and breadth of talent to the IRONCLAD team. That’s how I feel about Amy Wieser Willson. While Amy might seem like a new face to the IRONCLAD team, she is anything but new. Amy joined us full time in January 2014, but she has worked with IRONCLAD off and on in a contract and part-time capacity for the past four years. In fact, Amy has been involved in projects for nearly every client before becoming a full-time member of the IRONCLAD team. We’re so pleased to add her as our vice president of client services. (more…)
Archives for Marketing Insight
So you need to design a logo. You want an awesome, market-stealing, show-stopping, kick-butt logo. Where do you start? How will you get from no or old logo to awesome logo? DON’T PANIC! With IRONCLAD’s foolproof process, we’ll help take your logo from zero to hero and provide brand identity that will surely steal the show.
Know the Client. A logo needs to be a true reflection of your organization’s core values, so we kick off the design with a heart-to-heart. We ask lots of questions to learn as much as we can about the company culture, core values, the way you do business, etc. We find out what you want your visual identity to convey to your target markets, then use this message to think of adjectives or phrases that describe the feelings the brand will communicate. This helps build theme and style ideas.
Get to know IRONCLAD graphic designer Sarah Roberts. Odd cottage cheese/jello concoctions and phone choices aside, she believes in doing more of what makes you awesome.
Imagine sitting in a grand hall with a capacity of more than 500 people surrounded by manufacturers, editors, ad reps and agencies. We all wait anxiously to hear from industry professionals and absorb the wealth of knowledge as they share the latest industry trends. Tradeshow season is approaching quicker than we think and getting people to your booth can be overwhelming without the added pressure of 2014 CONEXPO-CON/AGG.
Back in May, my colleague Laura and I headed out to Chicago to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers conference and got the scoop on CONEXPO-CON/AGG with a run down of what to expect for the 2014 show. A variety of speakers and panelists spent the day giving their advice and insight on the different tools and strategies to make for a successful show.
It can make your head spin trying to tackle a tradeshow of this size, or any tradeshow for that matter. Fear not. With a little strategy, preparation and a dash of creativity, you can and will make the best out of your tradeshow season. Here are a few tips to help you along the way. (more…)
With every new and exciting electronic gadget that comes along, our culture seems to be shifting away from pen and paper to be in front of a screen. We use them at work, in our vehicles and for social interaction. We even bring these gadgets into our bedrooms at night to quickly glance through our emails or watch one more cute puppy video before we turn out our bedroom lamp. But even in a digital world, there is still something to be said about receiving a tangible piece of direct mail.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a designer and with that comes my love of paper. It’s the excitement of a brand new swatch book, the feel of the grain, the smell of the ink when samples come fresh off the press. Although not everyone shares my sometimes-exaggerated appreciation of paper, I found a few people who do. I recently (more…)
I love the freedom of advertising. How many careers actually encourage their employees to catch up on their creativity, catchy puns and Facebook posting ideas? Not many. It is a bonus knowing that these activities help businesses reach out to their audiences in a meaningful way, ultimately helping them become successful, sought-after businesses.
However, my curiosity and possible career routes had both grown over the years, so I needed a final shove to become fully dedicated to this field.
I looked to my role model, my mother, to help me decide which career path to take. This woman not only brought me into the world, she is someone who has seen and supported me through it all. You see, my mother is the “how does she do it?” kind of awesome. And you’ll come to see why I have these bragging rights. (more…)
Never have there been more options for designing a website, from the $5.99/month services to open-source, blog-like platforms to fully custom-programmed behemoths. You can get great results regardless of which direction you go, so a little research is required to see what meets your immediate and future needs. You may run into developers that call WordPress and similar sites little more than glorified blogs. But while many of them began life as blog platforms, they have since grown into more complete CMS solutions.
The site you are on was built using WordPress. Having said that, don’t for get about the open-source option if you are looking to have a website built.
As for me, and for IRONCLAD, we have found open-source platforms are the way to go. We can offer a robust set of features tailored to any budget. The best part is you are not tied down to a proprietary CMS system. A custom-programmed site can have great CMS capabilities, but if you end your relationship with the company that built it, the company will export static pages and you lose ALL ability to edit – unless you go into the code. Open-source is different. You have a framework that any developer can edit so you can take the site wherever you want while maintaining all of its CMS capabilities.
Plugins are available to accomplish virtually any task from stocks and weather to making your site a secure online shopping cart. There is also an abundance of themes out there that cost from nothing on up. Need mobile capabilities? No need to build a second site (more…)
Back in high school, coaches, parents and teachers had a common expectation of my peers and me: “Don’t sandbag.” In other words, don’t slack off, cheat, or rely on the person next to you to do your job or hide your lack of effort.
Then I moved to Fargo, a.k.a. Floodville.
Now, “sandbagging” has an entirely new meaning, and, actually, it’s the complete opposite. In the literal sense, sandbagging requires trust and dependency on everyone nearby. You could say ‘round these parts, the phrase “don’t sandbag” has been wiped out along with our ever-expanding riverbanks and hundreds of homes.
If you’re unfamiliar with sandbagging, first of all, feel lucky, and secondly, let me clue you in to what goes on:
First, a flood prediction is made and announced. After a good amount of grumbling and groaning, professionals haul in sand by the truckload to places with unique, catchy names like “Sandbag Central”. Volunteers of all ages step forward in herds to fill bags, seal them correctly and efficiently stack them onto pallets, which are then loaded onto other trucks. Finally, hundreds of people meet near the sides of area rivers and drainage ditches, form seemingly endless lines, and begin passing each and every bag to the end of the line where it gets added to the stack of bags that will grow to prevent water from leaking through. Ufda.
It sounds like a total disaster, but quite honestly, when everyone fills a niche and does his or her job, it’s a smooth operation and the ideal model for team effort. And, frankly, only a team can make it work.
As our community gears up to make another gargantuan mound of sandbags this year, I’ve taken time to reflect on how amazing the process really is. Not so much the fact that we have to sandbag every year, but rather that a group of people can collaborate to devise and implement a plan almost flawlessly by working together toward a common goal.
The process is comparable to formulating a marketing plan. Similar to (more…)
The ultimate goal of any marketing piece should be to create a vision of a solution in the mind of your prospect that points him or her to your product or service. I say ultimate because the sales process often can be long and complicated, with multiple contacts, marketing pieces and negotiations required to close the deal. Well-written case studies can go a long way in moving the process along.
Here at IRONCLAD we do two kinds of case studies. There are longer narrative case studies, what we call job stories, that feature one of our client’s customers using our client’s equipment or machinery to solve a problem, meet a challenge, improve efficiency, boost profits, etc. These generally appear in trade publications. Then there’s the shorter case study that gets down to the nitty-gritty in a hurry. These are one-page to one-and-a-half page pieces that can be referenced online or used as sales sheets in the field.
Your company might benefit from one or the other or both. Either way, here’s (more…)
Last week the United States buried two sailors who manned one of the most famous ironclads in our country’s history, the USS Monitor.
On March 9, 1862, the Monitor engaged the confederate ironclad, the CSS Virginia (formerly the CSS Merrimac), in Hampton Roads off of the coast of Virginia. Neither vessel could claim a victory in that first clash of ironclads, but as multiple sources put it, the battle marked “a turning point in military history” and that “a new era of naval warfare had dawned.”
All of the Monitor’s 16 crew members perished when it sank in fierce seas off of the coast of North Carolina about eight months later. In 2002, the remains of two of those sailors were recovered when part of the ship was raised. And last week they were finally, appropriately, buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
While IRONCLAD wasn’t named after the ironclads, (more…)