Author: Imprint Team

7 Content Marketing New Year’s Resolutions to Make for 2021

7 Content Marketing New Year’s Resolutions to Make for 2021

Did you know humans have been making new year’s resolutions for literally thousands of years? We all know that assessing strategies — what’s working, what’s not, what needs to change — is an ongoing effort, but a big-picture perspective has merits as a road map.

A glance in the rearview mirror is a good first step in planning for what lies ahead. The last year was a challenging and, against tall odds, energizing year. As a team, we banded together while being apart. We left a mark. That’s what Imprint is all about. 

How will we improve our content marketing in 2021? And how can you? We’ve got ideas ranging from new platforms (TikTok), the increasing scarcity of time (tick tock) and the nonstop need for authenticity. 

Here are 7 content resolutions to make for 2021: 

KEEP ON ALWAYS KEEPING IT REAL

Andy Seibert, Managing Partner

Content makes an impact on an audiences’ senses of hearing, seeing, and feeling. When it’s authentic, content taps into those senses in a positive way, whether it be audio, video or interactive content they can play with. In 2021, I’m resolving to continue to make sure all of our content is authentic as it can possibly be. For some clients, that means no jargon. For others it comes through as a true commitment to matching the voice and tone of their brand and showing their purpose. 

TAP INTO THE POWER OF NEW PLATFORMS

Meg Staknis, Managing Director

Most of my clients are enterprise clients in conservative sectors. They don’t tend to be the early adopters—for good reason—of many emerging technologies. My content marketing resolution is to incorporate more emerging platforms into the marketing mix. I’d like to thoughtfully push the envelope next year and get a couple of them to try some new approaches to reach different audiences. A TikTok video? A cleverly embedded message in the right video game? Powerful storytelling opportunities are out there, and that has me excited for 2021. 

FOCUS ON THE AUDIENCE, AND NEVER BLINK

Kimberly Papa Amadeo, Editorial Director

Audiences are increasingly segmented, so being in tune with them is more important and essential than ever. Being relentlessly focused on audiences is my resolution for 2021. Whenever I create content, I’m always asking: Who’s going to watch or read this? What are their needs? What are the actions we want them to make? It’s always about them. Keeping a sharp focus fixed on your audience can make your content work harder.

TREAT TIME LIKE A PRECIOUS COMMODITY

Colter Hettich, Managing Editor

The past year we’ve proven to ourselves just how much we’re capable of, even under severe time constraints. In 2021, I’m resolving to not forget the lessons that we learned this year. Among them: being uber intentional about internal and client meeting agendas and frequency, consolidating review and feedback where it makes sense, and keeping eyes wide open to the goal and the smartest way to get there. In short, treating time like the priceless resource that it is.

CHART CHANGING TRENDS & EXPECTATIONS

Duncan Milne, Managing Director

My resolution is to keep a clear focus on our clients’ audiences around content, and consequently, the way in which we develop content—both creatively and strategically. There are ways to stand out by leveraging new formats to deliver a message in surprising and creative ways. For example, Joe Biden’s use of Fortnite to engage a new generation of voters and the collaborative approach of Charli XCX as she developed her lockdown album How I’m Feeling Now. Moreover, we can become more passionate, more committed and more human in the way we talk about the most esoteric content. Our audiences are always looking for conversations. We need to make sure we deliver.

STAY IN THE GAME

Ashley Brenner, Creative Director

People are on their screens more and more, so I’m resolving to keep the education content engaging and “gamified;” keep in mind that audiences learn in all types of ways; engage with content in ways they enjoy, and have some fun! Let’s continue to simplify content experiences so they feel more intuitive and something that audiences want to return to again and again. 

DELIVER ON PROMISES

Dan Davenport, Editorial Director

I resolve in 2021 to truly mean it when I use the word “authentic” — that is, create content that actually gives readers what it purports to give them. Calling something authentic isn’t enough. The content must legitimately help, and the test will be: Does it provide concrete solutions to real problems? Or even just easy instructions on how to buy something? Does it offer actual inspiration? Particularly coming out of a year that has rocked everyone’s confidence, our clients and their audiences are going to crave ideas and inspiration they can believe in and act on.

INVITE AUDIENCES TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE

Ken Williams, Managing Director

Interactive content encourages audiences to lean into the content—to interact with it versus simply viewing it. It allows the reader to control the experience and to navigate the content that is of most interest. It also gives the content sponsor many more opportunities to measure the experience. I plan to be more resolute in having clients understand and consider it to clients in 2021. 

Star Awards: Retirement Winners Speak!

Star Awards: Retirement Winners Speak!

For over 20 years the IMEA Star Awards have honored the best of the best communications in the investment managing industry. The Star Awards were presented last month in 30 separate categories across three major classes of communications: investor, advisor and retirement.

We spoke with three winners in the retirement category for an inside look at what goes into a retirement campaign to make it special and bright enough to catch a Star.

As a longtime sponsor of the IMEA Star Awards, Imprint congratulates all of the talented, hard-working winners.

“I’ve seen so many fantastic examples of retirement communications over the years—meaningful campaigns, thoughtful insights—and the winners really focus on their customers and what those customers need,” said Imprint Managing Partner Andy Seibert in the run-up to the awards celebration. “This year, when there’s so many things going on in the world and here at home, marketers have really stepped it up and sharpened their skills.”

“There’s one aspect of the Stars which I really love, and that’s that the judges are your peers,” Seibert added. “So when you win a Star Award it’s getting the applause of your contemporaries, which is really special.”

Here’s what three winners in the retirement category had to say:

CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS WINNER:

Lincoln Financial — CARES Act Participant Campaign

Project goal: The objective of the CARES Act participant campaign was to create targeted, concise communications for plan participants that made it easy for them to understand the CARES Act provisions, and to clearly explain how to take action. A secondary objective was to provide these materials quickly, and to minimize administrative tasks and questions from participants that would otherwise be directed to the plan sponsor.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: Our biggest challenge was creating CARES Act education pieces as quickly as possible and distributing them in a tailored, scalable way. Our solution was a series of print pieces, each focused on a different CARES Act provision or set of provisions. The pieces were offered in participant education “packages” tailored to the specific CARES Act provisions chosen by our clients. This allowed us to create and make the pieces available in a nimble, scalable way.

Winning ingredient: The winning ingredient in our campaign was the ability to quickly create a streamlined suite of electronic and print pieces that made it easy for participants to understand the options available to them and gave step-by-step instructions for taking action.

Check out the work: https://thestarawards.com/2020-star-awards-winners/2020-retirement-crisis-communications/

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP / WHITEPAPERS WINNER:

Principal — Super Savers

Project goal: Our goals were to unpack the key motivations and drivers of super savers so that we can better understand how to inspire and encourage long-term thinking and positive savings behaviors across our customer population. Plus, identify new opportunities for them to save and invest. We also wanted to determine ways super savers prioritize savings and financial independence.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: Defining a super saver was our biggest challenge when conducting our survey. We wanted to make sure our surveys included participants across all income brackets. As a team, we identified plan participants who either save 90% or more of the IRS max, or defer 15% or more of their salary to their employer-sponsored retirement plans. Adding the deferral amount of 15% helped open the survey up to more participants within the lower income brackets.

Winning ingredient: The winning ingredient to our thought leadership about super savers includes highlighting things plan sponsors can do to help their participants save more. For plan sponsors, we seek to help them with their fiduciary responsibilities and provide insights into plan trends. We use the research to create materials, such as the white paper, to show how plan sponsors can use plan design, additional savings opportunities, and education to help create more retirement super savers.

INTEGRATED CAMPAIGN WINNER:

Charles Schwab — Biagnostics® for Defined Contribution

Project goal: To build awareness and credibility for Schwab Asset Management through an impactful value-add educational program on behavioral finance for our plan advisor, plan sponsor and plan participant audiences.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: We originally planned to leverage existing materials from our behavioral finance program for advisors. Once we began, we realized since the defined contribution audience needs were unique, it wouldn’t be quite so simple. We had a steady cadence of communication with sales and channel strategy to learn more about the role and challenges of plan advisors, sponsors and participants. Getting valuable feedback from them throughout the process enabled us to create relevant and effective content for each group.

Winning ingredient: Collaboration! It’s a big part of our culture at Schwab, and conversations with subject matter experts throughout the process allowed us to create a successful turnkey program that our sales team can promote now and in the future. Marketing’s strategy was to have an open dialogue across CIO, sales, channel strategy, investments, retirement plan services and marketing teams, which helped us uncover perspectives that we may not have considered otherwise.

Check out the work: www.schwabfunds.com/biagnostics-retirement

So, what’s next?

We’d love to hear from you! Did you face similar challenges in 2020? What strategies did your team develop to tackle them? What lessons from 2020 are you keeping front of mind in 2021? Email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com, mention us on Twitter @imprintcontent or ping us on LinkedIn.

To read Part I: Investor Star Awards Winners Speak! , click here.

To read Part II: Advisor Star Awards Winners Speak! , click here.

Star Awards: Advisor Winners Speak!

Star Awards: Advisor Winners Speak!

For over 20 years the IMEA Star Awards have honored the best of the best communications in the investment managing industry. The Star Awards were presented last month in 30 separate categories across three major classes of communications: investor, advisor and retirement.

We spoke with three winners in the advisor category for an inside look at what goes into an advisor campaign to make it special and bright enough to catch a Star.

As a longtime sponsor of the IMEA Star Awards, Imprint congratulates all of the talented, hard-working winners.

“I’ve seen so many fantastic examples of advisor communications over the years—meaningful campaigns, thoughtful insights—and the winners really focus on their customers and what those customers need,” said Imprint Managing Partner Andy Seibert in the run-up to the awards celebration. “This year, when there’s so many things going on in the world and here at home, marketers have really stepped it up and sharpened their skills.”

“There’s one aspect of the Stars which I really love, and that’s that the judges are your peers,” Seibert added. “So when you win a Star Award it’s getting the applause of your contemporaries, which is really special.”

Here’s what three winners in the advisor category had to say:

Crisis Communications winner:

Columbia Threadneedle — Market Volatility Advisor E-ssentials

Project goal: To effectively help financial advisors deal with the rapid and overwhelming economic impact of COVID-19. To that end, we created a hub on our website with resources covering critical needs: expert insights on markets, practical tips for advisors, and client-friendly content to share. And to make sure advisors knew about it, we launched a multi-channel promotional campaign with bold design and messaging.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: Producing a large volume of high-quality content very quickly in an environment full of uncertainty. The solution was teamwork, with everyone from Creative to Compliance focused on the same goal. We already had a skilled team in place prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, including experience working and collaborating remotely. We just turned the volume up to 11.

Winning ingredient: Understanding our clients’ needs. This allowed us to focus on delivering resources that advisors actually wanted and could really use to navigate the new environment effectively.

Check out the work: https://www.columbiathreadneedleus.com/blog/market-volatility

EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION WINNER:

MFS — Volatility Campaign

Project goal: One of MFS’s key value propositions is to create value beyond our investment offering by helping financial professionals with their key business challenges through MFS Advisor EdgeSM, one of the most comprehensive value-add programs in the industry. One example of a key business challenge that can make or break an advisor’s practices is how they prepare for and live through volatile markets.  Our goal was to offer strategies and tools to help advisor prepare their practice before and stay relevant during volatile times.

Biggest challenge and how it was solved: Our challenge was to create unique, timely content that would resonate with target audience. We solved for that be developing a consistent, integrated campaign across materials and medium that demonstrated how we can help advisors & their clients.

Winning ingredient: Well-designed, simple to use tools deployed through a variety of mediums, strong collaboration with our sales business partners in developing the content and helping to engage with our clients, & ideal timing with changes in the market environment

Check out the work: https://www.mfs.com/en-us/investment-professional/practice-management/volatility-fp-strength-time.html

INTEGRATED CAMPAIGN WINNER:

J.P. Morgan Asset Management — Other Side of Volatility

Project goal: The campaign objective is to establish and reinforce J.P. Morgan Asset Management as a leader and make the firm the first call clients and prospects make, to make sense of the volatility.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: At J.P. Morgan Asset Management we believe in providing long-term strategies with a client focused mindset. During the height of the market volatility we knew we had to help our clients find the right solutions for today and tomorrow. We know the first call clients make is to their financial advisors and we aim to be the first call financial advisors make to explore the other side of volatility. The solution was to reinforce to investors the importance of staying invested with confidence. A reminder to the financial professional community that it’s important to invest in proven strategies based on experience and not emotion.

Winning ingredient: We were swift in the development of “The Other Side of Volatility” campaign and our increased media investment against reaching the Financial professional community. The campaign was able to come to life quickly as a result of leveraging the existing on-going market correction insights which turned out to be the foundation of the campaign.

Check out the work: www.jpmorgan.com/volatility

So, what’s next?

We’d love to hear from you! Did you face similar challenges in 2020? What strategies did your team develop to tackle them? What lessons from 2020 are you keeping front of mind in 2021? Email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com, mention us on Twitter @imprintcontent or ping us on LinkedIn.

To read Part I: Investor Star Awards Winners Speak! , click here.

To read Part III: Retirement Star Awards Winners Speak! , click here.

Star Awards: Investor Winners Speak!

Star Awards: Investor Winners Speak!

For over 20 years the IMEA Star Awards have honored the best of the best communications in the investment managing industry. The Star Awards were presented last month in 30 separate categories across three major classes of communications: investor, advisor and retirement.

We spoke with three winners in the investor category for an inside look at what goes into an investor campaign to make it special and bright enough to catch a Star.

As a longtime sponsor of the IMEA Star Awards, Imprint congratulates all of the talented, hard-working winners.

“I’ve seen so many fantastic examples of investor communications over the years—meaningful campaigns, thoughtful insights—and the winners really focus on their customers and what those customers need,” said Imprint Managing Partner Andy Seibert in the run-up to the awards celebration. “This year, when there’s so many things going on in the world and here at home, marketers have really stepped it up and sharpened their skills.”

“There’s one aspect of the Stars which I really love, and that’s that the judges are your peers,” Seibert added. “So when you win a Star Award it’s getting the applause of your contemporaries, which is really special.”

Here’s what three winners in the investor category had to say:

CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS WINNER:

M&T Bank — COVID-19 Webinars Communications Support

Project goal: Our goal was to arm M&T’s clients across all our business lines with information to help them navigate business and life decisions during such a mutable time.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: We have multiple audiences with complex needs across a range of businesses—and we had a very compressed timeline. But part of the solution was internal; We began working in command centers so we could address issues from a central location. And part of the solution was external; We worked with partners like Imprint who innovated their processes, developing an enhanced service model to create and deploy original content in a radically reduced timeframe.

Winning ingredient: I like to think our clients will be the judge of our winning ingredients, but our commitment through this entire pandemic has been to remain focused on our core mission as a community bank. Hopefully the agility we showed in providing essential, relevant information when timing was key demonstrated that commitment to our customers, who are always our most important audience.

Check out the work: https://library.mtb.com/

NEWSLETTER WINNER:

T. Rowe Price — Investor Magazine

Project goal: Highlighting the innovators reshaping the world in ever-changing times and telling the stories of leaders across the life cycle of entrepreneurship. From a teenager who developed his own clothing line, to a group sending wine into space to help study the impacts of climate change, to a basketball app developer that found itself serving a greater need when the pandemic struck, our Innovation Journeys celebrate those who move us forward every day and prove that, as with Invesco QQQ, it’s best to always be on the side of innovation.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: How can we properly document an ever-changing world, as it’s changing even throughout our ideation and production process? Finding intriguing stories to tell was no problem, but making sure we were telling stories with an eye on what the world would be like in the near future was a constant challenge. We tackled the challenge by trying to project current news into future scenarios as much as possible, and focus on stories that that were fresh and yet had staying power.

Winning ingredient: The innovators! From a storytelling standpoint, they made our jobs ridiculously easy, because these are people making a real impact in our world at a time when it was/is critically needed. The source material we got to work with was just so rich, and we’re proud we got to bring these stories forward to a wider audience.

Check out the work: https://www.invesco.com/us/qqq-etf/stories

So, what’s next?

We’d love to hear from you! Did you face similar challenges in 2020? What strategies did your team develop to tackle them? What lessons from 2020 are you keeping front of mind in 2021? Email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com, mention us on Twitter @imprintcontent or ping us on LinkedIn.

To read Part II: Advisor Star Awards Winners Speak! , click here.

To read Part III: Retirement Star Awards Winners Speak! , click here.

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

How many times have you said or heard a variation of: There is nothing like mom’s lasagna, my cousin’s mashed potatoes, or my BFF’s gooey pecan pie? 

One thing we love about special occasions is celebrating food, family, friends, and dishes that are more than tasty. They’re every bit as distinct and meaningful as the varied people around your table — or, as we discovered in 2020, around your screen. 

If you ask us, whether it’s strategizing communications or making a meal (cooking counts as creating content), blending ingredients into something that’s delicious, diverse, and thoughtful deserves a great big chef’s kiss.

Creativity and diversity are at the heart of why we cooked up “Flavors of Imprint,” a collection of Imprint staffers’ favorite recipes. Released this spring, it’s a project we are proud of and have relied on ourselves for ideas for snacks, apps, entrees, and desserts throughout 2020’s twists and turns. 

You can download a PDF of “Flavors of Imprint” here.

And here’s a little food for thought if you are reading this around the holiday season. Leftover turkey from your holiday bird would be a great substitute in the ginger turmeric chicken soup, on page 14. The pear and sweet potato casserole, on page 28, is a tempting side dish. And cheesecake, page 30, with a touch of pumpkin spice? Yes, please.  If you’d like to share one of your favorite recipes, we’ll gobble it right up. Reach out to us at imprint@imprintcontent.com or ping us on LinkedIn.

Take a Deep Breath, Relax — and Color!

Take a Deep Breath, Relax — and Color!

Ever find yourself doodling on a long phone call? Ever wondered why crayons are so beneficial to young developing minds? Well, the verdict is in — coloring works! Regardless of age, engaging your attention and motor skills in this activity can measurably reduce stress and tension.

A special project we’re really proud of this year, and one inspired by the pandemic, is “Colors of Imprint.” This free coloring book was designed to showcase creativity and diversity (two things that truly make us tick), as well as help you relax! 

The Imprint team and their families created the book by drawing on personal inspirations to get your artistic juices flowing. The varied pictures include a yogi in a warrior pose, big-city landmarks, a fanciful fish, and scenes that remind us that home is where the heart (and art) is. 

Whichever illustrations you choose to bring to life with crayons, pencils, or markers, our coloring project is fun and creative, and can reduce stress. That’s a holiday hat trick to be thankful for.

Click here to download the “Colors of Imprint” PDF. Share your creations with us at @imprintcontent, post on our Facebook page, or email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

Leaving Our Mark: Giving Back

Leaving Our Mark: Giving Back

We’re putting our money where our heart is.

As a diversity-owned business (certified by the NGLCC), we have leaned in to become part of the LGBTE community — and we are proud of our progress.

How else do we leave our mark? Supporting LGBTQ+ community members of all ages, pouring into tides that lift up the marginalized, helping promote other small businesses — these are among the founding principles of Imprint, and we are excited to tell you more about our new initiative.

Clients who complete a project with us may be asked to select one of four organizations to which we will make a contribution on their behalf. Imprint’s Managing Director Andy Seibert and his leadership team thoughtfully selected four organizations who most closely mirror what our Imprint family is passionate about.

The organizations are Black Girls Code, Start Small Think Big, Feeding America, and The Trevor Project. Please watch the video above to learn more about their respective missions.

We’re excited to hopefully leave our mark. To learn more, please reach out to us at imprint@imprintcontent.com or ping us on LinkedIn. We would love to have you join us.

Quiz: What Marketers Can Learn From Teachers

Quiz: What Marketers Can Learn From Teachers

For content marketers, just like educators, connecting with audiences is a constant key challenge. How do you get and keep people’s attention, make messages stick, and inspire action? To mark National Online Learning Day on Sept. 15, we asked five teachers and marketing pros on the Imprint team for tips to boost three key items: engagement, retention, and action. The answers revealed plenty of overlap between the two fields — so in addition to smart responses, here’s an Imprint pop quiz.

As you read each tip, see if you can guess whether it’s from a teacher or a marketing pro. (Answers are at the end of your exam.)

1. “The more personal you can make the content, or a lecture, the more likely it is the audience will take action and go to the next level. If the experience becomes relatable, that will drive action. An audience needs to feel that there’s something in it that’s in some way valuable and relevant to them.” 

2. “Visuals boost retention. When you show words to an audience and three weeks later ask them to recall them, about 11% of the (audience) will remember those words. If you pair the same words with a picture, that retention ratio rises to almost 70%. It works in education and in marketing.” 

3. “Interactivity is key to engagement — initiating it and holding it. The idea and the goal is to create an experience that asks the audience to lean into it. Encouraging the audience to get involved — click on a visual, pull up a profile, explore new terms — gives the option to drill deeper into a subject.”

4. “Know your audience. If you have your audience in mind all of the time then you know what you want that audience to do — for instance, read these two stories, or download this information. Knowing who your audience is at the beginning actually enables you to get them to take action in the end.”

5. “Getting people to click on the button — it’s the call to action. Giving people a reason to participate is important when it comes to taking action. Making it simple to take action — whether it’s downloading something or pulling up a graphic — is, too. The easier and more frictionless you can make taking that action the more successful it’s going to be.” 

6. “Without confusing the pursuit of knowledge with completing activities, teachers and marketers often both use different flavors of loss aversion to their advantage. Teachers are good at this — for example, ‘You lose half a grade for every day your paper is late.’ For marketers, it more often takes the form of FOMO (fear of missing out) — for example, ‘You miss out on free money if you don’t save at least to the company match in your 401k.’”

7. “In a class there’s nothing easier for students to do than to stop paying attention. And there’s nothing easier for an audience to do than to stop reading an article. So be sure to entertain your audience. Communicate humor and a sense of passion. Humor is an effective tool to connect and stay connected, whether it’s in a class, with an article, or in a relationship.” 

8. “It helps to deliver the same essential message in more than one way — through words, a spreadsheet, charts and visuals. Repetition can be an asset for retaining information.”

9. “A passive audience can tune out. Making a lecture or an article a connected and interactive experience, like a back-and-forth conversation, keeps people engaged.” 

10) “People, especially millennials, want to know that they’re seen. The more you can communicate that you know and understand your audience, the more they’re apt to be engaged. Make the customer the hero of your marketing campaign in the same way the student has to be the hero of your class.” 

Answer Key:

  1. Marketing Pro: Andy Seibert, Imprint Managing Partner @Imprint_AndyS
  2. Teacher: Angela Lee, Professor of Practice and Faculty Director, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship Columbia Business School @angelawlee  @Columbia_Biz
  3. Marketing Pro: Ken Williams, Imprint Managing Director @Imprint_KenW
  4. Marketing Pro: Ashley Logan Brenner, Imprint Creative Director @Imprint_AshleyB
  5. Teacher: Kristen Sosulski, Clinical Associate Professor of Technology, Operations, and Statistics at NYU Stern School of Business  @sosulski @NYUStern
  6. Marketing Pro: Meg Sullivan Staknis, Imprint Managing Director
  7. Teacher: Christopher Moore, Adjunct Writing Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Baruch College @cmoorenyc @JohnJayCollege @BaruchCollege
  8. Teacher: Price Fishback, Professor of Economics at University of Arizona
  9. Teacher: Zebulon Miletsky, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History at Stony Brook University @ZebulonMiletsky @stonybrooku
  10. Teacher: Angela Lee, Professor of Practice and Faculty Director, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship Columbia Business School @angelawlee @Columbia_Biz
Photos That Maximize Content Impact

Photos That Maximize Content Impact

By Imprint Team

Photographs have superpowers when it comes to evoking emotions. A single picture can spark wonder, warm hearts, invite laughter, inspire confidence, and stir thought. In appreciation of World Photography Day on August 19, we asked our Creative Director Ashley Brenner and Art Director Craig Gartner to focus on how they make sure photos maximize the impact of content. Here’s what developed.

What goes into your image selection process?

Brenner: Whether we’re shooting original pictures or using photo libraries, we consider various criteria, but always start with the intended audience. We keep in mind the tone and the specific message clients want to come through in the visual language. We also keep humanity and empathy in mind and consider what people are going through. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but there are times when an image seeks to evoke salient key words, whether it’s optimism, expertise, or innovation. 

Gartner: There’s a lot of detective work. Finding photos that precisely convey a client’s message is like mining for gold. Sometimes success comes by being literal when you search. Sometimes it takes a more imaginative or metaphoric approach. 

Has COVID-19 changed the process?

Brenner: Yes, it has added another emotional layer that we need to be conscientious and thoughtful about. It goes back to the idea of having empathy.

Can you tell when a photo is, well, picture perfect?

Brenner: The words are the brand’s voice. Words matter. Visuals matter. It’s not one or the other. When they marry up and become something interconnected with each other is when messaging becomes very clear and very impactful. For a story about small business owners working during the pandemic we ask ourselves, what does that look like? It could look like people further apart from each other and people with masks on. It could look like business owners going into their store by themselves or talking with people on the phone or by videoconferencing. It could show contactless payments. Those are the kinds of behaviors that can come across through pictures.

Gartner: If the copy can speak to key words and then the photos speak to the copy it creates one beautiful, connective stream. That’s the goal. For a story about smart financial moves to make for the future, one possible visual could show trails diverging in a forest, with one going left and one going right to suggest the need for decision-making.

Do clients help narrow choices for visuals?

Brenner: All clients want to make sure that visual imagery and tonality differentiates them, so there are definitely individual client styles. Some prefer straightforward visual approaches, while others take a less literal route. Depending on the preference, one headline, such as “How to Make the Most of your Retirement,” leads to a variety of perspectives and picture opinions. A literal choice could be a closeup of an older couple enjoying a happy moment. A metaphoric choice might suggest the life journey and show the couple walking up a hill. 

Is there one overarching mandate for visuals?

Gartner: Authenticity, above everything, is what’s essential right now. In a story about what the office of the future might look like, for instance, images showing a large cluster of people wouldn’t be appropriate, but a photo of people giving each other an elbow bump instead of shaking hands could address the current reality. Nothing should look pat, set up, or contrived. If you have a relatable photo that looks like you could have been in that picture, and it has the client brand firmly and distinctly in mind, then you’ve got your picture.

T. Rowe Price: 3 Publishing Strategies During the Pandemic

T. Rowe Price: 3 Publishing Strategies During the Pandemic

A video conversation between Imprint’s Andy Seibert and T. Rowe Price’s Gavin Daly

The current pandemic continues to demand that every company continually rethink their strategies, including planning, processes and communication—which is why we’ve made a point to explore what’s working for our clients.

For the third installment of our “Clients on Strategy” vlog series, T. Rowe Price’s Gavin Daly—Group Manager, Investment Editorial Team—sat down recently with Imprint’s Managing Partner Andy Seibert to discuss three key strategies T. Rowe Price has used to successfully pivot their investment editorial division over the last months.

T. Rowe Price’s communications divisions are particularly flourishing—while T. Rowe Price has moved thousands of employees to remote work, including their entire investment editorial division, the pace of their publishing has rapidly increased. Content that used to take 10-12 business days to publish is now getting through in 6 days or fewer.

Listen in to discover how, and more about:

  • What aspects of T. Rowe Price’s internal company culture were most helpful to build upon
  • The importance of having a plan, and communicating that plan, to your internal clients
  • How T. Rowe Price has responded to the technological disruption of the moment, building new infrastructure around video and social media.

What editorial strategies have you successfully adopted during the pandemic? Did your team have similar successes that you were able to build on? Let us know by reaching out to us on LinkedIn, or emailing us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

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