dtrio Archives - d.trio marketing group

Double black diamonds, anyone?

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Some people think I’m crazy because when I go on vacation, I don’t relax. I go. Hard. For instance, I like to go to the top of the mountain, feel the sun on my face, ski the double black diamonds and fall into bed exhausted at night (ok, maybe after a little wine too).

So what do double black diamonds have to do with business? A change of venue, change of pace and mindset in the great outdoors makes me more productive and creative in the long run. It releases the brain to think more broadly and makes me feel a sense of well-being. Here’s additional reading about the benefits of exercising outdoors.

My brain works hard at my job, but like most of you in business, I sit a lot. Not something I do well naturally, so when I feel a little burned out from thinking and sitting the best antidote to that is moving. And being in nature. Go to top of the mountain and your problems seem surmountable, or run or bike on the beach and look at the ocean – commune with nature, you’ll see.

It feels good to get outside and push yourself in different ways than you do in business, and test your limits. Even if you’re not that athletic, you can take a long walk or get on a bike and explore some new terrain. The fresh air and change will do you good, your ideas will flourish and you’ll sleep better than you ever have. I guarantee it.

Real time marketing makes for a pleasant surprise.

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Patrick Bettenburg is currently working with d.trio as an Account Executive.

A radio commercial I heard recently is a great example of how marketing in the moment, done well, can be very memorable. I had just read the ADWEEK article Real-Time Rules that highlights several national successes of this marketing trend, and here I was listening to a fun example of it right here in Minnesota.

The radio campaign promotes the Ely tourism group. Now there’s really nothing new about fall travel in Minnesota; it’s the second largest season for tourism. But the ads break through the clutter and make a connection. They created a timely importance with a fake, breaking-news style that gave some urgency to the moment in a humorous way. An effective example of marketing in the moment, which many brands are still learning to do.

Real Time Marketing, or RTM, is about tying your message to the most current realities of your audience in a timely manner in order to create relevance. The closer your content relates to what’s on your audiences’ mind the easier it is for them to connect with your message. It’s that stuff that content creators dream of. Everyone remembers the Oreo ad about dippin’ in the dark that ran after the Superbowl blackout.

The ADWEEK article by Tim Nudd does a great job of reviewing several RTM examples, as well as laying out the risks of not getting it right. These days many brands are cranking out content just to get some attention and some are facing unintended negative consequences.

The successful RTM campaigns are skillfully done and surprisingly well planned. They seem to be born in the moment but are actually well crafted to connect with the brand and appear to be freshly created. To really ‘market in the moment’ today you need to have a well-stocked content creation tool chest of brand messages and creative ideas in order to be ready when the right moments come. That way you will be prepared to respond to the completely unexpected, such as the Superbowl blackout.

Is your brand ready for the next opportunity to market in the moment?

We’re Designed to Crave the Unexpected

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Patrick Bettenburg is currently working with d.trio as an Account Executive.

This month our word is Surprise and with Halloween around the corner, tricks, treats, and surprises are top of mind.  A recent blog reminded me of the value that the element of surprise is as a marketing strategy. Titled Why Surprise and Delight Marketing Really Works, it cites some serious research that proves the potential of this often overlooked marketing strategy.

Having always been fascinated by how the power of branding works in the human brain, this post affirmed to me that some of the best marketing is built on neuropsychology. This was proven in a study at Emory University and Baylor University that was published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Scientists studied the MRIs of subjects who were reacting to sequences of pleasurable stimuli. When the sequence was predictable, the level of enjoyment visible in the brain was less than when the sequence was unpredictable. The subjects whose stimulus was unpredictable registered the greatest pleasure in the brain, resulting in a stronger connection from the experience.

The HBR quoted Dr. Read Montague, professor of neuroscience at Baylor, stating that the results show that people are “designed to crave the unexpected”. People’s brains respond more when surprised, making it a very powerful tool for marketing. The surprise becomes a new stimulus that encourages learning and interest, and can make customers more receptive to new things, like upgrades and new products or services. And, that surprise can actually make a stronger connection in the brain with your brand.

For marketers this means that if we create campaigns that are not expected, but rather more of a pleasant surprise, we can build a stronger relationship with the customers. This is a golden ticket for loyalty marketing. Instead of ringing the same old chimes, try to create a connection that is unexpected.

We are seeing a lot of this trend in social media. Going viral is the new ‘word of mouth’ advertising, something that is surprising or unexpected gets repeated or retweeted. So surprise your customers in a delightful way and see how it might engage their brains or more importantly, their loyalty.

Revisiting “Principles of Improv”

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About a year ago, I wrote a blog on the principles of improv and how they fit into my professional life. Revisiting this blog for our September “Improvise” month, it’s amazing how much these ideas still ring true.  So much of what makes a strong account manager is how well you can read others and adapt to the situation at hand. Some of the best improv I’ve seen wasn’t funny at all; it was just really believable and sucked me into the story. If you can do the same in a client presentation, you’re golden.

How do you think improvisation helps you in your work?


d.trio featured work: Japs-Olson Company

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Tasked with creating new sales material for Japs Olson printing company, d.trio jumped at the opportunity. We wanted to create something that balanced the strength and history of the company that also showcased their leading edge technology. We started with a campaign theme, “Print. Mail. Innovate.” We added a rich deep blue color to the campaign palate, and eliminated some of the more vibrant colors from the JO palette to create something upscale and full of rich tones. The components created include: an equipment list, a folder with pockets, a brochure and an outer wrap to hold samples and other collateral.


Following the Crowd to Innovation?

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“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”
— Elbert Hubbard

Given the current pace of innovation, this statement certainly rings true. The amazing thing is that it’s from the late 18th century! Clearly everything is relative, but it can’t be argued that the very nature of the innovation process is changing dramatically.

Technology and social networking have given rise to new pathways to “new”. “Crowdsourcing” and “crowdfunding” are spurring new products and features, new companies and even solutions to global health challenges. As author Stefan Lundegaard puts it, “Companies have a different perspective on innovation where sharing is the new norm.” Open collaboration is more often now seen as a viable route to success.

Fast-growing sites like Quirky (fostering new product inventions), Kickstarter (generating funding for creative projects) and Indiegogo (the leading international crowdfunding platform) are fueling innovation at a dizzying rate. Kickstarter alone has funded over 80,000 projects totaling in excess of $40 million dollars. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is crowdsourcing worldwide health solutions from plumbing-free toilets to next-generation condoms.

How about some examples you say? Check out http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/62504-eight-brands-that-crowdsourced-marketing-and-product-ideas

Following the crowd has traditionally been thought of as the antithesis of innovation. I guess it’s time we rethink the meaning of the phrase. Don’t look now, something new is gaining on you.

Celebrate the Power of Positivity

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At first, I heard it. The footsteps of a co-worker buzzing by me at the pace of an Olympic-style racewalker, steam almost visibly pouring out their ears. Then I made eye contact and saw the frazzled look in their eyes. At that moment, I could relate – I knew a project was not going in their favor. There are the days I wish I had a “do-over” button.

Keeping a positive outlook at work is important, especially during busy times.  Research shows that employees with a positive mind-set have improved performance, productivity, creativity and engagement*.

I follow @LIVEpositivity on Twitter and Dailypositivequotes.com on Facebook to give me perspective. Just a few minutes each day reading these tweets and posts can make me laugh and inspire me, as well as remind me that my glass is half full.

As d.trio concludes the July word of the month, “Celebrate,” I challenge you to become a positive influence for yourself and your office.  Find simple things to celebrate and bring a little more positivity into your life. And then share your positivity with others. It’s contagious and can influence and change for the better.

Where will you find inspiration to make you smile tomorrow?


-Tina Ilstrup is a senior account executive at d.trio marketing group

Humble Minnesota?

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The great city of Minneapolis has received a great deal of kudos recently from various semi-useless, semi-pride-inducing rankings. Being a non-native Minnesotan, I’ve taken it upon myself to celebrate all the props my new home has received. Here are a few examples:


We’re in Shape

For the third year in a row, Minneapolis ranks the fittest city by the American College of Sports Medicine. Important factors in the ranking consist of preventative health behaviors, residents’ access to healthcare, rate of chronic diseases, and “community resources and policies that support physical activity.” 90 percent of Minneapolis folks have health insurance and 77 percent reported that they’ve exercised in the last month. Flex those muscles, Minneapolis!



We’re Snobby

Travel and Leisure magazine just ranked Minneapolis the fourth snobbiest city in the nation. What does that mean, you ask? It means that cities were ranked on several criteria including level of tech-savviness, number of artisanal coffeehouses, reporting eco-consciousness, prevalence of cultural offerings, intelligence of residents, and other factors of snobtudery. Put those pinkies in the air, Minneapolitans, you’ve earned it!



We Love Our Parks

Beating out San Francisco, Minneapolis has become the home of the best city park system in the nation. Why does that matter? Because inner peace comes from natural balance. Also, it means you can get your ultimate Frisbee on in more places.  The Trust for Public Land looked at how many residents can reach a park quickly by foot, median park size, the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks, per capita spending, and the number of playgrounds available per 10,000 city residents. Now, you have no reason not to get outside on a beautiful day.



Three cheers for Minneapolis!


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

5 Trends in Financial Services Design

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The economic recession that began in 2008 has changed the way that financial services companies represent their brand. In an effort to re-establish trust and confidence with their customers, providers have dramatically reduced the use of imagery and messaging depicting aspiration and conspicuous wealth.  Here are five of the main design trends.


1. Focus on Women

Since women are now frequently the primary money-makers and financial decision makers in the their households, it makes sense to focus on women.  However, the stereotypical images of shopping bags and pink items have been replaced by images featuring contemporary females shown looking empowered who balance many different roles.


2.  Surprising Shots

Financial imagery has become less literal with the use of unexpected, bold and artful images to illustrate classic concepts and help campaigns stand out. The pictures might be unusual, but they help change the perception that financial conversations have to be dull.


3. The New Wealth

People are reassessing what wealth really means to them.  The accumulation of possessions is being replaced by the idea of having new experiences. Messaging is focused around living life with meaning and appreciating the basics: security, health, relationships, and personal achievements. Images emphasize the simple things in life and reflect what we love and value – moments and people.


4. Small Business

Over the past years, there has been an increased interest in small business imagery, especially in financial services marketing. Small businesses are incredibly important to the economy as they hire the bulk of the workforce, account for a key part of production and are the source of innovation and creativity. Entrepreneurship is becoming a much admired character trait and many people aspire to own their own business one day.  Small business photography emphasizes the strong concepts of honesty, passion and determination.


5. Corporate Responsibility

As an industry, financial services lost consumer trust over recent years. According to the Edelman 2012 Trust Barometer, ‘listening to customers needs’, ‘treating employees well’, as well as ‘having ethical business practices’ are considered more important in rebuilding trust than ‘delivering consistent financial returns’. Many financial service brands are starting or supporting projects, which go beyond campaigns and are set-up for the long term to demonstrate their responsibility for local businesses, communities and the environment.



Curve by Getty Images, 2013

Read, Reflect and Relax

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Technology is amazing. It can help us make great presentations, keep us up-to-date on what is going on in the world and we can now be connected 24/7 and 365 days a year. Our phones are almost always within reach.

This brings me to the question: when do we give ourselves time to recharge? When do we wake up and smell the coffee (instead of pouring over emails)? There recently was an event held in Silicon Valley called “Digital Detox” – a no-technology summer camp for adults. There are real benefits to taking a break from tech. The summer is a great time to take that break.

A couple points:

    • Kansas State University found that taking a break from technology (and consequently work) helps you recover for the next day. So burning the midnight oil at both ends of the wick should be kept to a minimum.
    • Looking at a computer before sleeping can produce sleeping disorders. The backlit screens suppress the production of melatonin. A chemical that will help you fall asleep. The best thing to do is turn off (or ignore) all electronic devices at least one hour before you go to sleep.

What we need to look for is a healthy balance of technology, find a little time this summer to relax your brain.