This strategic thinking underpins any visual brand identity, and precedes any design work on a new brand. Amongst other things, our brand strategy process involves defining the positioning, personality, and values of the brand-to-be, and forms the yardstick against which all design and creative work should constantly be measured.
At the core of any brand identity is its name and a logotype. These two essential elements need not only reflect the identity defined in the Brand Strategy, but need to do in a fresh and original way in order to cut through the clutter of a congested and highly competitive brand ecosystem. VIEW WORK
Once the name and logo are decided on, the visual brand is further developed to include associated graphic elements, corporate colours and corporate typefaces. These elements are deployed to design essential brand collateral, both traditional and digital: email signatures, letterheads, business cards, signage, etc. All of this design work is then recorded in a CI guide, designed to ensure the consistent and professional presentation of the brand across a variety of media.
A thorough briefing process precedes any design work a new website, as we need to understand the role the site will play in the company’s overall digital marketing strategy, what kinds of content it needs to express, and the nature of the target audience. Once we understand these dynamics, we begin work on the structure of the site, often called the information architecture, and start to develop a series of wireframes that graphically depict the navigation and content of the site. Once this is approved, we start work on the graphic user interface, designing the ‘look and feel’ of the site in terms of typical page layout, header and footer design, colour schemes, navigation design and typography.
In addition to the indispensable Google Analytics tracking code, we use other traffic tracking throughout our sites in order to monitor and record specific aspects of visitor interaction. These include Hotjar heatmap tracking to record on-page interactions, Facebook’s Pixel to record traffic from Facebook pages and campaigns, and SharpSpring tracking, for our marketing automation program.
As an authorized Hetzner reseller, we offer hosting services on a dedicated server with back-up power supply, state-of-the-art malware protection, 24-hour support and regular maintenance. We also recommend a monthly maintenance and security update for all our sites, to make sure our clients’ web presence and data security is never compromised.
How a brand addresses its audience, and with what key messaging, are the big picture questions addressed in a creative strategy. This thinking needs to be distilled in the creative brief that will focus the minds of the team working on the job, and provide a yardstick for evaluating various conceptual alternatives.
Developing a concept based on the creative strategy, a concept that will give a campaign its edge, resonate with the target audience and unify its various elements, is one of the most challenging and satisfying aspects our work.
Clearly this work has to achieve three overriding objectives: (a) attract the attention of the target audience, (2) do so in a way that is true to the positioning, personality and values of the brand, and (3) convey a message that will elicit the desired response from the target audience.
How, and where, and how often, this key creative message reaches its desired target audience is where the media strategy comes in. Here we work with our strategic partners at TMI, an award-winning independent, Cape Town-based media powerhouse, whose expertise spans traditional and digital areas. This alliance allows for a fruitful interplay between creative and media strategy, often resulting in out-the-box thinking and cost-effective results.
In most cases, media buying is also done through TMI, whose discount-negotiating muscle consistently achieves outstanding value for money.
Under increasing threat from digital erosion as more and more people consume general news and specialist publications online, there is still a role for newspaper advertising in reaching large sectors of the population with high impact, and in glossy niche magazines for brand awareness.
Flyers, pamphlets, brochures, inserts, sales packs and folders: despite the digital revolution, there is no doubt that well-designed, information-rich printed material at sales launches, conferences and expos has a major role to play in eliciting enquiry and cementing sales of high-value items.
We produce display material of various kinds, leveraging that powerful last point of contact with the consumer at the retail coalface. Our work in this area includes promotional material for competitions, shelf-talkers, aisle-end displays and banners.
In some ways the most challenging of the traditional media, the billboard is the haiku of advertising. Despite – or perhaps because of – its brevity, the medium can a potent brand com channel when well positioned. Rather like Facebook ads, when you come to think about it. VIEW WORK
How does your digital presence support your primary business plan? What role should your website play in achieving the objectives of your brand and marketing strategy? Is it more about awareness, credibility, lead generation or online sales? What role does email marketing, social media and search marketing play?
Answering these questions for your particular business and brand will help us shape a strategy that can be implemented, tested, optimised and refined until it purrs like a well-fed tiger.
For many South Africans, their social medium of choice has become a parallel world-wide web – an alternate internet where they spend time sharing and consuming content, communicating with friends, relative and like-minded individuals. This is why an effective social media strategy – combining a persuasive organic presence with an efficiently targeted pay-per-click campaign – can produce an extremely cost-effective two-way communication channel with existing and potential new customers.
Our services in this area include developing and implementing a content strategy that will grow your organic reach in this increasingly important digital arena. Our approach is flexible, depending largely on the in-house content generation sources a client may have, and includes a shared software platform for scheduling, approving, posting and monitoring social content and responses.
Social media marketing covers the discipline of planning and implementing paid media campaigns in a variety of different social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. With each of these platforms having its own ad placement system, and frequently changing mechanics and algorithms, specialist knowledge is vital to achieve cost-effective results.
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo not only make it easy for people to find the information they are looking for among the billions of pages that make up the world-wide web: they also make it easy for advertisers to reach those people with highly targeted ads addressed to their specific enquiries. We offer highly accountable, highly flexible campaigns on these search engines to help advertisers reach their market in the very moment they are searching for information, predominantly through the Google AdWords platform.
Banner ads on a wide variety of third party websites, which can be targeted in a variety of ways including browser history, website activity, interests and demographics, can be served through the convenient and highly trackable Google Display Network. This also allows for ‘remarketing’: specific display ads that are displayed to individuals who have interacted with your own website, as powerful reminder and deal-closer campaigns.
Still the single most effective form of digital marketing, despite the increasing effects of inbox overload and ever-more efficient spam filters, there is little to match the combination of an accurate database of current and prospective consumers with a well-articulated email marketing creative. Recent advances in marketing automation, including website-activated emailers and dynamic content insertion have made this form of marketing extremely targeted to individual interests, as opposed to the one-size-fits-all email blast of the past.
There is little as immediate in contemporary marketing methods than reaching a potential consumer on his mobile device with an SMS or an MMS message. The immediacy of this form of marketing to an existing database is not to be underestimated, and is ideal for communicating reminders, special offers or limited stock messages to an existing database of customers.
Marketing automation is the area where, through the power of data-driven individualisation, a unique sequence of sales or brand-building messages can be generated and sent to specific individuals without the need for constant human intervention. This allows for the dissemination of sales messages in real time, as today’s consumers demand it, and for the immensely valuable aggregation of data about individual consumers for future marketing initiatives in the form of a sophisticated CRM package. At Machete, we use the SharpSpring system to accomplish these ever-more efficient marketing goals.