Monthly Archives

April 2013

Refresh your mind!

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Tired? Uninspired? Having difficulty coming up with that next big idea? Here are a few activities to refresh your brain and get your noggin back to it’s old self.

1. Set aside time during the day to meditate.
An easy way to revitalize your mind is to turn it off. Step away from the computer and find complete (or semi-complete) peace for a short period of time.

2. Organize something.
Sometimes doing a mindless, auto-drive activity has a way of unleashing creative ideas. Set aside some time to do a straightforward activity like organizing your files or clearing out space in your office.

3. Find a change of scenery.
Ideas can crop up in the oddest places. When you’re stuck and can’t concentrate, try going to a new location for some much needed thinking time.

4. Doodle.
Ever notice that when you’re in the shower, that elusive idea crops up into your brain? That’s because you’re subconscious is making connections even when you’re not actively trying. That said, doodling gives you time to noodle (like that rhyme?) subconsciously and allows you to escape the pressure of coming up with an idea.

5. Brainstorm without filters.
An important part of brainstorming is not self-selecting ideas that crop up during a formal brainstorming period. Set your sights on the problem and let the ideas flow freely. Only after you’re done can you start to organize and filter ideas.


-Jordan Bainer is a senior account executive at d.trio marketing group

Fresh as the new driven snow.

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(Writer’s note: This was written last week but due to some complications not posted. Who knew it would still be appropriate today April 19th with yet another fresh round 4-12 inches of snow in Minnesota.)

It’s April 11th in Minnesota and we are in the grips of a very unfair Severe Winter Storm Warning. Most of the staff is unable to make it to the office and we are working from home looking out at some 5 or 6 inches of new fallen snow atop treacherous, ubiquitous ice.  Me, I’m trying hard to find what is good or fresh about all this.

So here goes. To our friends and colleagues who live outside of the snow belt…you may have beautiful 70 degree weather, even today. You may have sandy beaches, gentle waves and warm breezes.  You may be spared the wind chill warnings, the blizzards, the ice storms.  But you have not known the therapeutic value, the creative surge and pure joy that comes from the occasional Snow Day. It’s just like Christmas in April. Almost.

In preparation for the snow event, we took work home with us last night,  just in case we couldn’t make it in. The items we take usually consist of the things that we find hard to get to, the stuff at the bottom of our pile, the projects not driven by deadlines but those that require space and thought and time that can be elusive in the day-to-day office environment. In short, the things we put off.  It is at times like this that we are reminded that we are amongst the ‘non-essential’ workforce. We have no lives to save, no actual real fires to put out, no masses to feed, and no citizens to protect. We take our work very seriously and that’s a good thing, but it’s also good to remember that sometimes we may take things too seriously.

Tomorrow we will return to work refreshed. Working remotely we will have kept up with the essential details of all our projects and we will have also taken care of some nagging items on our to do list. We will have walked our dogs at lunchtime or finished our laundry or played in the snow with our kids. Some of us may have baked cookies and will bring them into the office to share. Just a thought.


-Maureen Dyvig is one of the founding partners of  d.trio marketing group

What’s Make a Campaign Fresh?

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We’ve all heard the adage “there are no new ideas; there are only new ways of making them felt.”  Whether it’s true or not, we all face the daily challenge of finding unique and compelling ways of getting our message, and our clients’ message, noticed.

What makes an idea or advertising campaign fresh? What distinct elements are essential to create a unique and effective campaign? Below are a few questions that we ask ourselves as a group when thinking about campaigns:

  1. Does the customer easily connect the campaign to the brand? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  If the campaign or marketing effort seems to be disjointed from the brand personality, it could cause some major confusion among prospective customers. RedBull’s Stratos is an excellent example of a brand relevant campaign: sponsorship of a high-flying event by a brand that gives you wings.
  2. Can competitors say the same thing? Connecting back to item #1, is the campaign distinct enough from competitors?  Even if competitors have similar product attributes and benefits, you have to find a way to illustrate a unique brand promise.
  3. Does the core campaign idea approach a problem or need in a unique way? It’s very easy and simple to rattle off product attributes in communications. The challenge is illustrating a solution without overtly mentioning it. Google’s Chrome campaign from 2012 illustrates the product benefits through emotional stories. As a viewer, you’re noticing the browser’s benefits without being told to.
  4. Does the customer need to make a leap to understand the core product benefits? If yes, then you may have lost whatever power you tried to wield with a flashy message. Sure, the customer has taken notice, but there won’t a clear understanding of what you’re actually selling.
  5. Does the campaign have stopping power? On the flipside, great campaigns stop people in their tracks and make them give a second thought. Clear and easily understood messages need to also be rooted in creativity.

Please remember that even if a campaign fits these criteria, there is always the chance that a campaign can royally miss the mark, ehem…Burger King.




Fresh month, fresh theme.

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As you may have gathered by now, we choose a new word for each month to focus our content around. Our monthly newsletter features, blog post, and other social media chatter relate back to that word in some way and we change out assorted graphics in our websphere to compliment (email header, web page banner, Facebook profile image). This monthly switch presents an interesting design opportunity for me and to start our new month, I thought I’d walk you through the thought process.

So, this month’s word is FRESH. We chose these words a few months ago when we came up with the idea of using a particular word to focus content. Had I been able to I would have designed the year’s worth of assets already and had them ready to deploy. However, I have actual client work to do so I usually end up putting these together as we go. Of course, the first thing that came to mind when faced with the word Fresh was something green and botanical in nature. Our brand guidelines require that the images we use to represent ourselves be striking, colorful and somewhat unexpected and I just couldn’t find a sprouting plant image that spoke to me on those levels. I turned to water next, playing with the idea of fresh, clean, sparkling, sometimes overwhelming, all encompassing. The image I settled on has movement, great color and visual interest, fits well with our color palette and accommodates having large text set over it, which is another feature of our brand images. It will also lend itself to use in multiple configurations.

We have an extensive color palette, primarily made up of what I call ‘candy’ colors, bright, vibrant, often somewhat loud. The yellow-green is one of my favorites and I decided to use it because it compliments the blue of the water and doesn’t get lost in it. Our bright cyan blue would have been another reasonable choice, but I used it last month on the Attention graphics and didn’t want to repeat it so soon.

Those are the variables that generally go into creating a graphic: visual association with the content, framing, color, flexibility, and brand ideals. Then there is client (in this case boss) buy in. Hint: it’s easier to get sign-off if they are going on vacation the next day. 🙂

See you next month!