Wacky Wednesdays at the Ant Farm

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Ants start the day with a brief meeting that we call “huddle.” Our employees are split into groups of three or four and a different group leads huddle each week. Each huddle begins with announcements and ends with an activity. The theme of the activity varies depending on the day of the week. Wednesdays, in particular, are always of the wacky variety.

Wacky Wednesday activities can range everywhere from a few rounds of hangman or Pictionary to an afternoon ice cream social to beat the heat in mid-July. And when big events are approaching, Wednesdays get even wackier—evidenced by our Superbowl “tailgate,” complete with a mini-cornhole tournament and our March Madness mini-basketball shootout.

From group coffee runs to the café next door to participating in chair yoga sessions or watching a compilation of funny YouTube videos, the possibilities for Wacky Wednesday are endless. All wackiness aside, huddle is a great way to get our employees engaged and excited for the day ahead.

Ant Q&A: Dell Chambers

Dell_Chambers

Dell Chambers
Senior Art Director

How long have you worked at AcrobatAnt?
Six wonderful years.

How would you describe your job?
Challenging, interesting and ever-evolving. I take input from clients and come up with a compelling and clean design to achieve their goals. It’s kind of like a puzzle, figuring out what goes where, and it’s very rewarding to see the final picture come together.

What projects and activities do you pursue outside of agency work?
Painting is something I thoroughly enjoy, along with trying new foods and health/fitness. Some employees have actually hired me to do their weekly lunches; they call it the Dell Plan.

What’s your favorite artistic medium? Why?
Acrylic paints. They dry quickly and I can blend them well. I started my illustration work early on with colored pencils (which have no drying time) and I feel like they were a great base for my knowledge of color blending. It carried into my use of acrylic paint almost seamlessly.

What do you wish every client knew about design?
When there is some space around elements and they are allowed to breathe, a layout can convey a message more succinctly and powerfully. This is the ultimate goal I have for everything I design.

Share a cool experience you’ve had recently.
I did a West Coast tour in June to celebrate my 7th wedding anniversary. We flew to San Diego, CA, drove to Sedona, AZ, then to the Grand Canyon. On the 7th and 8th day of the trip, we stayed in Las Vegas. The experience was great for the senses. We ate amazing food and also got to enjoy breathtakingly beautiful scenery. It was an amazing trip!

Some of Dell’s Paintings are below… great job, Dell! 

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Adaptive Content

Adaptive website design“Adaptive content” picked up steam as a buzzword a couple years ago. It’s one of those phrases that’s a little vague and hard-to-define, but once you pin it down, the concept is important to consider.

Content specialist Noz Urbina defines adaptive content as “a content strategy technique designed to support meaningful, personalized interactions across all channels. It is content that is conceived, planned and developed around the customers: their context, their mood, their goals.”

Basically, it’s personalization—but adaptive content must go far beyond just slapping a customer’s name on an email or letter. It has the specific aim of making brand experiences interactive.

Urbina provides a great example of adaptive content’s potential in an article for the Content Marketing Institute. He attended a wine-tasting event where the winery provided tablets which allowed attendees to view products on their website. Cool, right?

Right, but Urbina said the winery could have also:

  • Allowed check-ins by social media
  • Displayed a personalized welcome screen on the tablet
  • Used the tablet to suggest wine lists and pairings, such as cheeses
  • Adapted the micro-copy and tone of the website based on the user’s visit

Most importantly, he said, they should have allowed tasters to select wine on the website and then had it ready to purchase at the register when they left. In neglecting to do so, they missed an incredible opportunity for increased sales and a streamlined, interactive experience. Thinking above and beyond like this is one of the core tenets of adaptive content.

Using adaptive content is a complex endeavor and can be a challenge. Many companies simply don’t have the technology and the scope of content to fully implement an adaptive content-based business model. Here are just some of the factors that can affect the content you choose to create:

  • Device (operating system, mobile, tablet, desktop, screen resolution)
  • Context (time, location, velocity, humidity, temperature)
  • Person (age, gender, stage of life, language, relationships)

Additionally, Urbina warns, it’s easy to accidentally take “personalized” into the realm of “creepy.” However, he maintains that the benefits of adaptive content outweigh the costs:

  • According to a Google Smartphone User study, 88 percent of users who look for local information on their smartphones take action within a day—mobile users are action-oriented, making the platform ideal for conversions.
  • According to McKinley, adaptive content converts three to 10 times more viewers than average.
  • And according to a survey of 17,000 people (Gen X, Y and Z) by Time Inc.:
    • 90 percent like the idea of custom content
    • 89 percent see it as an effective way to break through the clutter of brands online
    • 92 percent think brands have expertise on certain topics
    • Two out of three consumers trust custom content more than traditional advertising

While adaptive content may not be feasible for everyone, it’s never a bad idea to consider how you can personalize your customer’s experience. Check out these sites for suggestions on how to get started:

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/02/adaptive-content-customers/

http://www.intelligentcontentconference.com/5-ws-adaptive-content/

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Make Direct Mail Cool Again

Even in the digital age, it’s not a bad idea to get back to our roots with a direct mail campaign. Direct mail provides an opportunity for visual and tactile creativity that no digital advertising can provide, since a mailer is a physical item that people can interact with.One of the main goals of direct mail is to make the recipient interact with the mailer for more than just a few seconds. That said, your direct mail must not only look cool, but have a strategic goal behind it—like any other advertising venture, it’s unwise to get wrapped up in the creative side of things without crafting a plan for maximum ROI.

One of the main goals of direct mail is to make the recipient interact with the mailer for more than just a few seconds. That said, your direct mail must not only look cool, but have a strategic goal behind it—like any other advertising venture, it’s unwise to get wrapped up in the creative side of things without crafting a plan for maximum ROI.

Here are some examples of direct mailers that checked all of the boxes for cool, creative and effective.

Zimbabwean Direct Mail Image

After the Zimbabwean newspaper was forced into exile and hit with a 55 percent luxury import duty, it became inaccessible for Zimbabweans. TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris raised awareness of the issue with an eloquent symbol—the Z $ trillion note, made worthless as a result of hyperinflation but still perfectly useful as an eye-catching direct mailer. The resulting campaign is a clever, resourceful and poignant example of “the medium is the message.”

The Natural History Museum needed to produce a cost-effective direct mail piece that would raise awareness of the talks at the Darwin Centre. The eraser, produced as direct mail by Hat-Trick Design, provides a tangible visual that literally places the issue of extinction in the recipient’s hands.

CEO Lights Mailer Candle

To encourage corporate CEOs to shut down all the lights in their buildings for a single hour, WWF sent these candle mailers to their offices. As the yellow candle is removed from the office-shaped box, the “windows” go dark. The visual message is brilliantly simple and well-executed. Corporate support reportedly increased by 260 percent following the release of this mailer.

Gibson Direct Mail Sample

Griffiths, Gibson and Ramsay Productions created a working record player out of cardboard to promote their sound production services to various agencies. The mailer ships flat, holds the record and folds into place in one step. At first glance, this mailer seems like a lot of effort for little return, but it was apparently so impactful that the agencies who received it called GGRP to ask for extras to bring home to their kids.

Planet Kids Direct Mail Sample

Happy Creative Services created an invite for Planet Kids to announce their Annual Day celebrations. The invite folds into a whimsical hand puppet and was given to parents through their students. This is a great example of a direct mailer that’s cost effective, but still engaging and interactive.

Great Copy Mailer

While this mailer for Sprig isn’t particularly interactive, it offers an example of great copy. The visual is clear and inviting, while the centerpiece is a focused statement which sums up the service in just one sentence: “Simple, organic, ready-to-eat meals in just 15 minutes.” Recipients will understand the company’s features and core values in a matter of seconds—and when it comes to direct mail, a few seconds can make a big difference.

Not to toot our own horn, but here’s a few examples of AcrobatAnt direct mailers that also hit the mark. Send us an email or give us a call to learn more about our direct mail expertise.

Sonic Franchise Direct Mail

Parallon Trade Show Direct Mail

Sheridan Healthcare Direct Mail

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Thank you to our sources who found some excellent examples:
https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-direct-mail-award-winning-work/

12 Brilliant Direct Marketing Pieces You Have to See

6 Effective Direct Mail Campaign Examples That Work by Hot Tech Startups

10 Creative Direct Mail Examples

Ant Q&A: Donna Keffer

Donna_Keffer_Fun

Donna Keffer
Account Manager

How would you describe your job?
Relationship Builder. My job is to make sure my clients are happy and help them look good by reaching their goals. I try to know as much as possible about them and their business as possible. I manage Mountain States Hospital System and St. Luke’s Health System, which both do things very differently. It is challenging and fun to find ways to manage those unique relationships and keep both clients happy—both with me and the work that we create on their behalf.

What inspires you?
Giving back. Empathy. I love opportunities to give back to my community. I want to make sure my kids look around and see the world and how blessed we are, and never think twice to stick out their hand to help someone else up. It has become so easy to say and do things and never feel or understand the repercussions of our actions. That hurts my heart. Take a second when no one is looking to go out of your way to make someone else’s day.

What projects/activities do you pursue outside of agency work?
I am married and have two very active children. When I am not working, I am usually carpooling to dance or soccer. Both of my children attend a Spanish immersion school, and my 10-year-old will spend eight weeks in Madrid this fall. We are currently spending a lot of time focused on getting her ready for that adventure.

 Why did you get into advertising?
I worked in the hospitality business as a director of sales and marketing for 15 years before I joined AcrobatAnt. After having my second child, I wanted to slow down a little. AcrobatAnt was looking for someone to manage a region of hospitals, and my hospitality marketing experience parlayed nicely to the healthcare industry as it becomes more retail oriented. It has been a relatively easy to transition this knowledge and skill set from one market to the other.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

10 Tips for Working Smarter

Productivity TipsThough Ants are notoriously hard workers, we understand that sometimes it’s hard to keep your head in the game and make the most of your work day. Increasing your productivity is a challenge, but we’re here to help. Here are 10 tips for working smarter:

  1. Write down your daily goals

Writing tasks down helps you commit them to memory, and it’s also good to have an easily accessible reference for all the work you need to do that day. Write your list down on a Post-it or something that’s clearly visible from your desk so you can glance at it whenever you need to get back on track.

  1. Limit how much time you’re spending on tasks

Research suggests that only 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. Keep your eye on the clock and actively limit the amount of time you spend on each task. The self-imposed time pressure will keep you from lingering on a single project and neglecting the others.

  1. Take breaks

Taking regular, short breaks during long tasks has been shown to help maintain productivity. In contrast, working at a long task without breaks is likely to lead to an eventual decline in productivity. Get up, stretch, walk around the office a bit! Do some jumping jacks! Then get back to work.

  1. Follow the “two-minute rule”

Entrepreneur Steve Olenski coined this phrase to describe his strategy for making the most of small windows of time. Here’s the idea: if you have a task on your radar that you know can be done in two minutes or less, you should do it immediately. It will take longer to return that task later; plus, knocking out a bunch of small tasks will streamline your workload and provide a sense of accomplishment.

  1. Get your most dreaded task out of the way

Once you take a crack at whatever awful project you’ve been avoiding, the rest of the work day will seem like a breeze. Afterward, you can focus on prioritizing and delegating your other tasks.

  1. Get fit

Carving out time during the work day to exercise may help improve productivity, according to some studies. If possible, build in times during the week to hit the gym or even just take a quick walk.

  1. Set aside time to answer messages

It’s good to make yourself available, but don’t allow incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day. If possible, turn off notifications to eliminate distractions and set aside a chunk of time specifically for checking messages and voicemails.

  1. Personalize your space

Some research shows that working in a space with aesthetically pleasing elements can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Houseplants in particular can help create a pleasant ambiance and are said to contribute to a productive environment. Decorate your desk to your liking, and at the beginning of each day take a few moments to de-clutter your workspace.

  1. Listen to music

Listening to your favorite music can help you get in the zone, and wearing headphones can subtly indicate to your coworkers that you don’t want to be disturbed. Those who get distracted easily by listening to music might want to consider Noisli instead—it’s a great app that lets you customize and mix ambient sounds to create the optimal work environment.

  1. Leave your desk for lunch

Abandoning your desk might keep you from getting some work done during your lunch hour, but it can also give you a much-needed break and help you mentally separate your work and leisure time. This is also a great opportunity to swing by a park and get some exercise and fresh air. Give yourself some time to collect your thoughts and return from your lunch re-energized and ready to roll!

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Sources: https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/15-ways-to-increase-productivity-at-work.html
http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5658-easy-productivity-tips.html
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-ways-boost-your-productivity-the-office.html

Mobile Usage Facts

Mobile Phone UsageWith smartphone use on the rise, knowing exactly how mobile users interact with websites compared to their desktop counterparts can be a huge advantage in structuring the online side of your business. Here’s a quick guide to user trends that can help you maximize your internet exposure.

  • Mobile user activity usually peaks during morning (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and evenings (6 p.m. to 11 p.m.), while desktop users are mostly online during working hours(9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
  • Mobile users are generally on the hunt for specific information, while time consuming activities or aimless browsing are usually reserved for the comfort of desktop computers.
  • Research has indicated that mobile users tend to scan rather than fully digest content.
  • Desktop visits last three times longer than mobile visits on average, with more pages viewed and half the bounce rate.
  • 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. 46 percent of mobile web users reported that they would be unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing in the past.
  • Mobile users rarely go idle. If a page is open, it’s usually the only active page on the device. By contrast, desktop users frequently open tabs, leave them idle and return to them multiple times.
  • Mobile users spend more than 80 percent of their browsing time on five or so apps—mostly run by Facebook and Google.
  • Users aged 18-24 are significantly more likely to spend time on their smartphones compared to users over the age of 25. They also tend to be more receptive to branded content than desktop users.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Source: https://www.appticles.com/blog/2016/03/mobile-vs-desktop-13-essential-user-behaviors/

Social Media Spotlight: Keebler

Branded Twitter accounts are a tricky business. Everything and everyone has Twitter these days, and it can be difficult for brands to get noticed amongst the sea of content and attract followers who are actually interested in seeing branded posts. Many perceive branded accounts as irrelevant, inauthentic or uninteresting.

The folks at Keebler took both these considerations into account and decided not to waste time pretending to be social media savvy. Their “Ernie Keebler” account is essentially a chronicle of the lovable old elf’s attempts to master the ins and outs of the worldwide web.

Ernie’s Twitter bio sets the tone of the page: “Was so busy baking uncommonly good cookies and crackers that I just found out about the Twitter. Now I’m working hard to get up to date. Hashtag excited!”

His tweets are sprinkled with comical misuse of internet lingo. For example, “People here say to avoid trolls. But why would I? My neighbor’s a troll, and he loves Fudge Stripes. He’s the best!”

Others feature shaky home videos of the Hollow Tree cookie factory and clumsy attempts at selfies. One post features a gif of Ernie playing Pong (a game some younger Twitter users may have never even heard of). Another asks, “Can someone put me in the picture with the Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes? I haven’t been to the Photo Shop.” It’s accompanied by a shot of the new Pumpkin Spice cookies and a hilarious, awkwardly posed photo of Ernie.

It’s a fun strategy that plays off a familiar old character, a clever interpretation of both Ernie’s status as a well-loved symbol and his physical age. People have taken notice of it on Twitter—many of Ernie’s tweets have garnered a few thousand likes and retweets—and the account has been mentioned by users on other websites like Tumblr.

There are a surprising number of customers interacting with the account. Ernie always responds with a carefully curated and lovable personality. For example, he greeted one of his new followers: “By golly @alainhanna55! I see that you started following me on the Twitter, but when I looked over my shoulder…you weren’t there!”

Twitter users—especially young people—are a little jaded by brands making shaky attempts to latch on to the latest trend. They’re much more likely to be sympathetic to the technologically inept Ernie, who seems honest and endearing.

The Ernie Keebler account plays off social media norms in a subtle way, suggesting that while Ernie may not know how social media works, the professionals at Keebler sure do. They’ve done a great job building a personality for Ernie and using their social media in a creative way that attracts Twitter users rather than alienating them.

Do you know of any branded Twitter accounts worth talking about? Tell us about your favorites in the comments.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Why Creating a Buyer Persona is Crucial

What’s a buyer persona?

Buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market data and research about your existing customers. If used to its full potential, a buyer persona can help you get right to the core of your customers’ values—attracting the most valuable leads and visitors to your business.

How can a buyer persona benefit my business?

  1. It brings your target demographic into focus.

When you go through the exercise of defining a buyer persona, you write their story. By doing so, you are uncovering their hopes, concerns, behaviors, activities and needs. When you have a full picture of your target rather than just the basic demographics, you are better able to tailor your message to those consumers and reveal unique opportunities for establishing connections.

  1. If it’s inaccurate or underdeveloped, it can alienate your target market…

“As a rheumatoid arthritis patient and as a healthcare marketer, I cringe every time I see the TV commercial for a Humira. It doesn’t connect with me and, even worse, it perpetuates the false myth that people suffering from RA can take an injection and then run off to build a playground during a rainstorm. Only 20 percent of patients achieve full remission,” said Shannon O’Connell. This is a prime example of a brand that could benefit from a more accurate buyer persona. While healthcare marketers want to communicate the message that good care will allow patients to get back to their lives and daily activities, they need to ask serious questions about patient outcomes before making that promise. Knowing your target market—and not just basing your advertising on a stereotype or caricature—can be the key to avoiding disconnects and unfulfilled brand promises like this one.

  1. …but if it’s accurate, it can help you improve your brand experience.

The process of wiping the slate clean and thinking about things from the customer’s perspective will often uncover valuable wish list items that could make all the difference in getting word-of-mouth referrals or higher ratings in online reviews.

Steps for developing a buyer persona:

  1. Research to find basic information such as gender, age range, education levels, household income and geographic areas.
  2. Survey to discover their activities, priorities, how they source information, social media usage and any other lifestyle preferences that could be relevant to your business.
  3. Define their needs and expectations as well as any struggles or issues they may have.
  4. Define how others influence their buying decisions.
  5. Survey to discover your company’s strengths and what makes you stand out from competitors.
  6. Use this information to group similar consumers together.
  7. Develop an anecdotal story about a fictitious person who represents each type of group.

Additional tips and tricks:

  • The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better!
  • You may find it helpful to search for a stock photo that fits your persona.
  • Be careful to avoid making up answers to the questions in the above steps; make sure your responses are backed up by research or customer statements. Otherwise, your buyer persona may end up being more self-serving than enlightening.
  • Once you are able to identify real customers who fit your buyer persona, you can tailor your communications to fit their needs. Be conscious of this in your business interactions.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Marketing to Generation Z

As Millennials move into adulthood, another generation is racking advertisers’ brains—one that is just as difficult to pin down.

The general consensus amongst demographers and researchers is that Generation Z (Gen Z) is composed of young people born during the late 90s and early 2000s. While Millennials witnessed the beginning of the digital age and grew up with VCR tapes and CD players, Gen Z was raised on YouTube and Twitter.

Given this inclination, one might assume that social media and other digital avenues are the key to connecting with Gen Z. That’s not necessarily the case. Much like Millennials before them, members of Gen Z are incredibly selective about their media consumption. And, surprisingly, they don’t always vibe well with digital advertising.

Advertising and branding agency Kantar Millward Brown recently conducted a study on the online marketing preferences of Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. They established online forums in the U.S., China and Germany, tested 31 ads in ten countries and interviewed a total of 24,000 participants from 39 countries.

Of all three demographics, Gen Z was the least receptive to mobile video ads—only 27 percent of respondents reacted favorably to this format. When confronted with ads they didn’t like, they began to multi-task and pay less attention.

However, this changed drastically when viewers were offered a reward—58 percent reacted favorably.

Gen Z’s are often irritated by online ads and will do their best to avoid them. 43 percent said that they prefer skippable pre-roll ads (typical of YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu) to any other form of online advertising. Additionally, these tech-savvy teens are familiar with ad blockers and they’re not afraid to use them.

Interestingly, the study found that Gen Z prefer some forms of traditional advertising due to the perceived artistic effort dedicated to producing print ads and commercials.

Gen Z also reacts well to native advertisements and celebrity endorsements—but probably not the celebrities you’re thinking of. An AdWeek study revealed that an overwhelming majority (95 percent) of Gen Z use YouTube. Today’s teens couldn’t care less what Katy Perry has to say in a CoverGirl commercial, but they pay attention when their favorite beauty YouTuber recommends a new Glossier moisturizer.

With all this in mind, how can your brand best reach this up-and-coming demographic?

Pre-roll ads are an option, but be aware that if given the opportunity to skip an ad, Gen Z will use it (on average, they’ll skip three seconds faster than Gen X).

Brands looking to catch this demographic could benefit from brand ambassador programs or partnerships with Internet celebrities. It’s a good idea to do some quick research and see not what, but who the kids are watching these days.

If you’re looking to attract Gen Z, you should keep in mind that this is a generation raised on the digital age—which means they’re a little bit jaded by it. Brands should avoid invasive ads, non-skippable mobile ads and homepage pop-ups in favor of a more organic approach: native advertising, celebrity partnerships or brand ambassadors, and carefully crafted, traditional advertising.

Don’t underestimate today’s teens. The best way to lure them is with an eye for art and a healthy respect for their uncanny ability to determine which brands are “authentic” and which ones aren’t.

 

Check out the Kantar Millward Brown study:

http://www.millwardbrown.com/adreaction/genxyz/

And click here to see AdWeek’s infographic on Gen Z’s online habits:

http://www.adweek.com/digital/infographic-50-of-gen-z-cant-live-without-youtube-and-other-stats-that-will-make-you-feel-old/

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912