Category: Strategy

2021 Influencer Marketing: Start with Stakes

2021 Influencer Marketing: Start with Stakes

As a marketer, you have many tools in your kit, and using influencers is definitely one of them. First, there’s the question of whether you should use influencers. And if it seems you should, then the focus shifts to how to use them effectively.

How you use them depends on the stakes the buyer faces — if the decision carries high stakes or low, the messaging from the influencer should be very different.

Where to start (even before thinking about using influencers)?

Always begin with the customer-buying journey. That will help prioritize what your target customer needs in order to keep moving, whether they’re at the awareness, consideration or evaluation/buying stage.

What is influencer marketing?

Let’s get a common definition. Essentially, an influencer is a person who can help move that customer through the stages of the journey. (Note: An influencer program can be executed through social channels, but it’s not the same as a social media strategy.)

Should I use influencers?

Whether you need to use influencers depends on where your customers are in their buying process and if a voice from outside your organization would help them move to the next stage of their journey. This could mean using a “macro” influencer to gain awareness at the top of the funnel or using “micro” influencers and experts to give a customer confidence in the evaluation stage.

Is there a difference between B2B and B2C influencer marketing?

While there are some practical differences between the two buying journeys, the use of influencers in B2B and B2C actually doesn’t differ. What they have in common: The importance of understanding whether your product or service represents high stakes or low stakes to the buyer.

Let’s go through what this means:

Low stakes:

  • B2B: There are many examples of low-risk stakes to the B2B buyer (e.g., to your job security, at a financial price point). Think about commodity items like office supplies and catering. If one decision isn’t successful, there’s another choice at the ready. Can influencers sway the buyer? Maybe, if they bring an option top of mind or alert us to something new.
  • B2C: We make low-stake decisions every day. We try a new brand extension of our favorite seltzer water or stream a pay-for movie. If the decision doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. Can influencers sway the buyer? I know I’ve been tempted to try a new protein bar that an influencer talks about on Instagram.

High stakes

When you’re offering a more high-stakes purchase — there’s a financial or reputational impact — you’ll probably want to consider using influencers more heavily in the consideration and evaluation stages. Your customers — both B2B and B2C — are doing research, gathering opinions, references and proof points all before they engage with you. They likely will gather their information from trusted sources: subject-matter experts, like-sized businesses and tight circles (micro influencers).

  • B2B: Let’s take a common experience over the last year: communications during remote working. The decision makers at your companies either were previously prepared or had to scramble to figure out a comprehensive communication system that incorporated phone, email, instant messaging and video. Not every solution is high priced but the cost of getting it wrong can be huge. Can influencers sway the buyer? Sure, they can be tapped for opinions, case studies or references. According to research, more than 70% of B2B buyers fully define their needs before engaging with a company. They’re gathering data and forming opinions without talking to you directly — but they can be listening to influencers.
  • B2C: Is buying or leasing a new car a big deal for you? It is for most people. And like B2B, most people now want to do so without talking to a car salesman. In 1991, Saturn made news by letting customers shop how they wanted and having salespeople stand back. And 30 years later, according to Think Like Google, car shoppers have numerous alternatives to dealerships with at-home test drives, review videos, digital showrooms, online configurators and VR test drives. Can influencers sway the buyer? Yes. There’s a good chance you’ll find them in the videos and digital showrooms providing a more personal, expert opinion.

As a marketer, you need to make sure you’re using influencers for the right reasons and that how you’re using them matches the stakes the buyer faces. An influencer’s opinion can be a powerful voice — at every stage of the journey.

What Content Marketers Can Learn From Banana Bread

What Content Marketers Can Learn From Banana Bread

For a delicious reminder that content can foster community, look no further than banana bread. The cake-like loaf spiked in popularity and topped the list of most searched recipes last March according to Google Trends as people found ways to cope with early COVID-19 life. 

Baking, after all, is calming, creative and yields results that are good enough to eat. But baking can—and did when lockdowns began—lead to content creation. Social media platforms became virtual display cases where home bakers proudly revealed their takes on banana bread. So many personal variances—who knew?

Content marketers can take a lesson from this media star. Make sure any content created is:

  • Accessible (easy to do, or take action on)
  • Satisfying (don’t you want more?)
  • Surprising (was that a walnut in there?)
  • Personal (make it your own) and, most essentially,
  • Shareable (yes, another slice, please!)

February 23 is National Banana Bread Day, a moment set aside to appreciate this baked good. As we approach a year of lockdowns and recognize that we’ve made it this far, we’re treating ourselves to a loaf (actually, three of them).

Below are some recipes of which we’re fond, and we’d love to see yours—the more creative the better! Ping us at imprint@imprintcontent.com or on LinkedIn.

Recipe #1: The Minimalist, by Imprint Senior Analyst Will Thomas

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs slightly beaten. Mash bananas and add dry ingredients. Grease pan and dust with flour.
  2. Bake at 325°F one hour in loaf pan, or 50 minutes in tube pan.

DOWNLOAD RECIPE FOR ‘THE MINIMALIST’

Recipe #2: The Upper (and Nutty) Crust, by Imprint Editorial Director Dan Davenport

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lavishly butter a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
  2. Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar. Mix well. Add the eggs and mashed bananas and blend thoroughly.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Combine the milk and lemon juice, which will curdle a bit. Slowly and alternately fold in the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend well after each addition. Stir in the nuts.
  4. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread springs back when lightly touched in the center.

DOWNLOAD RECIPE FOR ‘THE UPPER (AND NUTTY) CRUST’

Recipe #3: The Chocolatier, by Imprint Director Molly Malinowski

  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (from 2 medium ripe bananas)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven at 350°F degrees, with a rack in the center. Grease an 8 1/2 -by-4 ½ by 2 ½ inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper that fits exactly. Grease the paper.
  2. Beat the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thoroughly mixed. Add the bananas and beat well.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer set on low, beat in the flour mixture. Do not overmix. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and eliminate any flour pockets.
  4. Bake in the center of the oven for 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Cut into thick slices for serving.

DOWNLOAD RECIPE FOR ‘THE CHOCOLATIER’

2021’s Top Content Marketing Priority: Unlocking.

2021’s Top Content Marketing Priority: Unlocking.

It’s time to unlock.

With the new year comes new agendas, and content marketers should keep one thought front of mind: 2021 is all about “unlocking.”

It’s finally possible to envision the global health pandemic coming under control, and the eagerness for the coming months to show a way out of a crisis that turned lives upside down—and locked them down—for nearly a year is palpable. As a new landscape emerges, content marketers need to prepare for people being “unlocked.” (Managing Partner Andy Seibert predicted that on a Content Marketing list, here.) Audiences will be craving personalization, humanization and a heightened appreciation for the fact that every minute matters. And while on some level we should continue to expect the unexpected, and to embrace the unknown, those cravings will likely mean content consumers will be:

Seeking out experiences—in person.

If there’s one thing we are certain of, it’s that “unlocked” individuals will gravitate to richly human experiences. On their to-do lists: Live performances, in-person conferences, dining out, club activities, hugs, and travel, to name a few. In a recent travel industry consumer survey, 70% of respondents said they plan to take a holiday in 2021 and 45% of them have already made plans or are starting to do that.

Taking mobile devices with them.

This is your last chance to be mobile-first. In this unfettered, go-go-go (very near) future, mobile technology looms extra-large. Which isn’t surprising. As we know, COVID-19 simply accelerated impending digitalization. McKinsey research showed that consumer and business digital adoption “vaulted five years forward” last year in a span of just eight weeks. For consumers, there is an expectation of seamless online and in-store experiences. For businesses, what were once local markets are now global.

So what does all this mean for content marketers?

Be purposeful with the content you create.

Audiences are officially out of patience for content that can’t be seamlessly consumed on their phones. Mobile-ization means complex infographics and long-winded articles take a backseat. In the driver’s seat is audience-first thinking, and that means

  • Words (no jargon)
  • Tone (we know you)
  • Length (concise and engaging)

are top priorities. Quality, not quantity, has never been more imperative. The same goes for accuracy. If you’re not fact-checking, you must start. If you are, double down.

A premium on truth from brands and businesses coincides with increasing concerns of clients and prospects about a company’s long-term impact on the world. An ongoing sense of social purpose remains paramount to staying relevant. Walking the walk isn’t a one-off but a continuing focus—not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it pays dividends.

Strike a personal chord with your content.

The months ahead will bring added significance about how people will feel content and how it will enable them to get busy and do something, which is what being “unlocked” is all about. Content energizes the senses when we see (video and animation), hear (podcasts or videos in the background as we multitask) and touch (interactive content requiring swipes and taps). Engaging the senses enhances personalization.

Gaming, an industry up by 40% in terms of time people spend playing compared to pre-lockdown, may offer lessons to content marketers about boosting engagement. Similarly, augmented reality can provide exponential returns on getting and grabbing an audience’s attention (see Warby Parker’s virtual glasses try-on and L’Oreal’s virtual makeup try-on for examples of effective use).

The potential impact of cleverness, innovation, or whatever you call what it takes to stand out in a crowd, can’t be overestimated. Take podcasts, whose future has been augured as a mixed bag. On one hand, the space is flooded; getting a listener to consume the entire episode, start to finish, is a daunting challenge. On the other, the value of a candid human voice, opposed to a scripted and vetted one, holds great appeal. If you have something valuable and unique to say that aligns with your audience, and the right people hear it, that can be a boon.

We are not sure exactly where people will head when unlocked in 2021, since each person will have their own journey. What we do know is that their mobile devices will be with them, they have formed new habits and have new, higher expectations. And we know content is the reason they’ll take you along.

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.

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