Every year since 2000, Pantone has chosen a color to reflect the current social, political, and environmental state of the world. Last year’s color was Living Coral, a reference to the ocean’s rapidly dying coral reefs. This year they’ve chosen 19-4052 Classic Blue, to evoke a sense of simplicity, tranquility, and confidence heading into this new decade.

We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on… A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

Blue in Color Theory

What does the color blue remind you of? A calm ocean? A clear sky? The corporate ladder? Although the primary color can have these connotations, it can also mean reliability, energy, and strength. The image of a sky at dusk comes to mind, a symbol of “crossing into a new era.”

Color matters. It’s an essential component of marketing and design, as it can put your audience in a specific frame of mind while they’re absorbing your content. A darker blue is said to evoke trust and authority, while lighter shades express peace and spirituality. For example, the color blue can be used for a brand wanting to label themselves as professional; or maybe as a calming choice for a meditation app.

Blue is a very versatile color and has many different meanings across cultures. Definitely do your research if it’s something you’re interested in using.

energyhill Comments on Color of the Year: Classic Blue
Calm is a meditation app that uses blue as its major brand color.

our designers’ thoughts

GLORIA, creative lead: As we enter a new decade I see why Pantone picked classic blue hue for their color of the year 2020; they are going back to the beginning, to their first color of the year 2000…”cerulean blue” a lighter and powdery shade of blue. That also represented calmness and tranquility. Personally I don’t like blues, but I understand the meaning behind why this color was chosen and also think was the right choice for this color to represent this new century!

NATALY, sr. graphic designer: My first thought was, why? That color has always felt to me representative of corporations and businesses. After I read the intentions behind choosing this color, I definitely like it a lot more. I like that it reminds me of dusk. Is it non-aggressive and easily relatable? I don’t know; I don’t really get that aspect of it. But it’s definitely calming, peaceful and deep.

LISA, jr. graphic designer: Classic Blue, the ocean and the starry blue sky color gave me a sense of peacefulness and calmness. It is more of an educational color, but thinking how this color will work throughout the year, I don’t think is too bad. Since the 2019 color represented energy, the 2020 color might give the design industry a feeling of security, calmness, and serenity.

Pantone has always preferred to take the positive view on every color they choose, no matter how daunting the reason behind it. Last year’s Living Coral was an active choice to showcase a world we all want, instead of emphasizing the bad. This year’s Classic Blue is a comforting end to the decade and a restful start to the new year.

What do you think of this year’s Pantone color? Let us know in the comments!

It’s that time of year again… Time for the presidential candidates (and their logos) to go head to head. The energyhill team discussed 10 democratic presidential candidate logos and gave them each a grade for their layout, color, and font.

Amy Klobuchar - presidential logo

Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar’s logo uses too many fonts and colors to be pleasing to the eye. The green is an unusual choice for a presidential candidate, and doesn’t evoke the patriotism that the other logos achieve. The serif font of the “Amy” looks nice and well-balanced, but clashes with the other two fonts, which individually are actually nice fonts. The designer mixed too many components together, without worrying about how everything flows.

Layout: C
Color: C
Fonts: C
Overall: C

Beto O'Rourke - presidential logo

Beto O’Rourke

Beto’s logo is in black and white, which is untraditional. This combined with the font choice makes it look modern and minimalistic (Top Gun, anyone?). However, it doesn’t feel colorful or patriotic enough, and is too bold and condensed. 

Layout: A
Color: C
Font: A
Overall: B+

Bernie Sanders presidential logo

Bernie Sanders

Bernie’s logo is the same as his 2016 logo, without the year underneath the name. The blue and red lines create a nice sense of movement (although it is reminiscent of toothpaste). The star over the I is a nice touch, the kerning is perfect and the fonts are well done.

Layout: B+
Color: B+
Font: A
Overall: A-

Joe Biden presidential logo

Joe Biden

Biden’s logo is simple, bold, and beautiful. The D working into the E to turn it into a flag is a clever touch. The fonts and spacing are on point and there is good color choice and contrast. This logo pops among the others.

Layout: A
Color: A
Font: A
Overall: A

Pete Buttigieg presidential logo

Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg’s logo is unconventional, and not in a good way. It’s similar to a college football banner because the 20’s are split, so it just looks odd. The font doesn’t work, because the P and T aren’t slanted as much as both E. Overall, it does a poor job of getting across a patriotic message.

Layout: B-
Color: C+
Font: B-
Overall: C

Cory Booker presidential logo

Cory Booker

Cory Booker’s logo is arguably the least impressive of the bunch. Because of the rectangle around the text, the logo feels too tight and boxed in. The fonts and colors are similar to the Marvel logo, and the black and blue combination bleeds horribly. On a business card, this would be very difficult to read. His logo is similar to Tim Ryan’s, though Ryan’s is slightly better because they didn’t use black.

Layout: D
Color: C
Font: C
Overall: C-

Julian Castro presidential logo

Julián Castro

The colors are wonderful, but the JULIAN might be a little too bold compared to the weight of the border. The accent mark through the border is a nice touch and adds dimension to the layout. The “Castro” feels like it’s sort of jammed in, and the logo would have had better spacing and composition without it. This logo is still pretty great, and needs very minor edits.

Layout: A
Color: A
Font: B+
Overall: A

Kamala Harris presidential logo

Kamala Harris

Purple and orange are a strange choice for a presidential candidate. There is no hierarchy in this design, since “for the people” is in a brighter color than “Kamala Harris,” but “Kamala Harris” is first. The stacked look doesn’t work, and is similar to the branding of Morgan and Morgan (a Tampa Bay local attorney’s office). There is some potential to work with the white space, but it serves no purpose in this design.

Layout: C
Color: C
Font: A
Overall: B-

Elizabeth Warren 2020 logo

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren’s logo is simple, sharp, and straight to the point. The font is beautiful, but the color is up for debate. It looks great when it’s knocked out to white and laid over another color, but it can look sort of boring in the simple navy blue. The kerning is great, although the underline extends a bit too far out from the N. Overall, this design is fairly strong and would look great on a business card.

Layout: A-
Color: A-
Font: A
Overall: A

Andrew Yang 2020

Andrew Yang

There are a lot of different things at play with Andrew Yang’s logo. First of all, the flag over the Y doesn’t really work because the letter can easily be confused for another letter like T or L. Scaled down, this logo would be very difficult to read. There is a sense of movement with the slanted text, but the type should have been uppercase to make the “Yang” stand out more than the 2020. They could have worked wonders with such a short name, but unfortunately this logo doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Layout: B-
Color: A
Font: A
Overall: A-

It all started with a Tweet. Suddenly the battle that nobody saw coming was in full swing, and out of nowhere, people were lining up at Popeye’s left and right. This whirlwind has left everyone wondering: how exactly did Popeye’s go from a nondescript fast food joint to a suitable rival for Chick-Fil-A? As usual, the answer is simple: social media.

15 Minutes of Fame

Similar to Dunkin Donuts and IHOP changing their names, Popeye’s chose the viral marketing stunt route. Surprisingly, the debate began with a tweet by Chick-Fil-A, which was quickly and hilariously followed up by a response from Popeye’s marketing executive. This set off a conversation that would go on for weeks. The post was retweeted 87.7K times and received 325K likes. Evidently, Popeye’s came out with the win, with $65 million in marketing revenue in less than a month.

Brand Personalities

Brands are no longer just companies selling to us. They’ve adopted online personas and can interact with consumers in a way that’s kind of eerie; one voice becomes the spokesperson for an entire franchise made up of millions of people. It’s easy for people to get involved in online conversations with brands, especially fast food joints like Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Jimmy John’s. They talk the way we talk. They take on approachable, comical, and sarcastic tones that can easily be converted into memes or other reshareable images. 

The best thing for brands like Chick-Fil-A and Popeye’s, in this interesting time of social media popularity contests, is to say something unexpected online so that they become the topic of conversation. Obviously, it worked for Popeye’s.

The Importance of Online Engagement

Some companies undervalue the importance of social media engagement. But the effect it can have on a business is huge, if you do it correctly. Almost anything can be brought into the spotlight, with the right voice and brand personality. Here’s how you can improve your online presence in 3 ways:

1. Be Consistent

It’s important to know what people are talking about so you can engage with them in a way that they can relate to. One of the ways to do this is be consistent. Strike up online conversations with small, medium, and large accounts on a daily basis. Post often, go live, and use all the tools of the app to engage.

2. Weigh in on Popular Topics

Sometimes brands can get out of hand with the things they say online, and this can lead to trouble. Be honest, but not too honest. You want your followers to get the sense that you’re being transparent without revealing too much. Maybe it’s not relevant for your company to join in on the chicken sandwich wars, but there is something else out there that your brand can have a say in.

3. Create Brand Personas

Brand personas are a great way to visualize the types of consumers interested in your product. Come up with three or four “types” of people that might buy your product. List their values, personality type, lifestyle, philosophies, fears, goals, etc. This helps you adjust your voice and content to target the right audience.

The Chicken Sandwich Wars Are Not Over Yet

Although Popeye’s has sold out of their legendary sandwich, Wendy’s has joined in on the debate. There’s no doubt that more brands will start to interact the same way with their rivals and consumers to garner attention and sales.

It’s difficult to predict exactly what will go viral on social media. If it’s not Area 51 memes, it’s chicken sandwiches. You have to really understand your audience in order to achieve the massive success that Popeye’s did, and stay one step ahead of everyone else. And although it does say something somewhat negative about our society’s values, it is a great marketing tactic for companies to try to replicate, if they have the right product.

The Kardashian-Jenner family is not known for their subtlety, but Kylie Jenner’s recent Instagram vacation managed to take over branding to a whole new level. Meant to promote her new line of skin care products called Kylie Skin, Jenner’s trip was a marketing campaign not exactly in disguise. The 21-year-old billionaire was recently criticized for a walnut facial scrub in the product line, which experts claim creates micro cuts in the skin. Even so, she successfully used the “luxury travel influencer” approach to advertise the product launch.

Pink Paradise

Jenner, who already has a massive Instagram following of 142 million, traveled with a group of friends to Turks and Caicos in a private jet emblazoned with the Kylie Skin logo. If you think that’s extra, it doesn’t end there. The logo was also on the eye masks, satin pillows, sweaters, water bottles, and make up sets in the plane. On the island, it was on everything from the floor mats and coconuts, to the cotton onesies (maybe even on the toilet paper?).

All of this begs the question: when it comes to branding, how much is too much?

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bz5rcEiHf62/
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The marketing world is evolving, and so are methods for capturing an audience’s attention. Today, most people ignore traditional marketing methods like commercials and billboards. So more and more people are spending time on social media and influencer marketing is rising steadily. As a result, brands are realizing the true potential of this marketing style and how it’s affecting consumer behavior.

What is an Influencer?

Influencer marketing has been around forever, but it became popular a decade ago through social media. The modern definition of an influencer is someone who works in a specific niche and has a strong impact on the purchase decisions of others. They’re typically hailed as “experts” in topics like health, fashion, yoga, or food.

Macro and Mega Influencers

Macro and Mega influencers include celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Justin Bieber, and Ariana Grande. Large brands use macro influencers for more visibility and awareness. In this scenario, companies have a lot of control over what is posted and said about their product.

Micro Influencers 

Micro influencers are smaller, more approachable accounts that still have a considerable number of followers. Lately, brands are reaching out to micro influencers more because they’re seem to be more authentic. Also, they have proved to have better audience engagement and a fairly high ROI.

Nano Influencers

These individuals usually have less than 1,000 followers and have strong influence within their community. They’re the most relatable of the bunch and, like micro influencers, also have a high level of engagement with their followers.

Making Brands Appear Human

Companies must relinquish some creative direction when they rely on micro and nano influencers. These individuals use their own voices and personalities to make brands appear “human.” This contributes to the honesty and relatable factors that influencer marketing is all about.

However, this industry may turn out to be more misleading than genuine. Accounts must to put #ad or #sponsored in the captions of their posts if they’re promoting certain products. If they’re not careful, influencers could lose some loyal followers that feel like they’re being excessively advertised to.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlYlu-sgeoO/

Influencer Marketing and Consumer Behavior

According to the latest Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, Millennials have different values than other generations. They prioritize experiences like travel over traditional ideas of success, are spending their money with companies that align with their values, and are untrustworthy of blatant advertising. Also, they’re very aware that celebrity endorsements are hardly, if ever, authentic. More and more businesses are investing in this industry to skyrocket their engagement and reach audiences they never would have been able to reach on their own. 

Below are some successful campaigns that benefitted from influencer marketing.

nike-ad

Nike

Nike is one of the top performing brands in the industry. In 2018, they used the Colin Kaepernick controversy to their advantage and weren’t afraid to show the less polished side of the brand. In their case, the backlash helped them stay relevant. 

Apple

Apple capitalized on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) by partnering with YouTube to create “unboxing videos,” which gave influencers that were fans of the brand access to products before they even came out. This drove a huge wave of attention to the latest product as soon as it came out.

Dunkin’ Donuts

DD launched a campaign on National Donut Day and allowed eight different users to take over their Snapchat account and post their own content. This way, they expanded their audience and gained thousands of followers that they wouldn’t have been able to reach organically on their own. 

Embracing the Shift

According to Business Insider Intelligence, influencer marketing ad spend will reach $10 billion by 2022. There’s no doubt that as this industry progresses, it will become more and more difficult to appear “authentic.” Brands have to continually rework their strategies to stand out in the crowd and work with the values of their audience.

At energyhill, we know how important it is to tell your story, not just your mission statement. We’ll help you discover what makes your brand unique and do the research so that you better understand your audience and their wants. Contact us to start your campaign today and experience organic growth.

Every year at Energyhill we huddle up as a team to reflect on the year that is coming to an end. 2018 was a fantastic year! We grew so much, literally and figuratively. Here’s a quick recap and marketing review on an incredible year and our expectations for 2019.

2018, the Year of Digital Content and Ads

Great SEO helps businesses rank on Google and convert searches into action. In 2018, Energyhill made Content and Ads a priority. The result… astronomical growth for our clients. On average, our clients saw growth of over 134%.

“When it comes to your business, focusing on Content and Ads is foundational,” says Dr. Ryan Lowe, CEO of Energyhill, “they are one, if not, the most important tactics in an organization’s overall strategy in driving traffic and conversions.”

And with this in mind, our focus was to increase our partners’ growth organically mainly through Content. So from the very beginning, we set a 2018 SEO plan for all our clients. We focused on the writing and structuring the content for top ranking and conversion.

Mobile Wallet: Google Pay and Apple Pay

We would be amiss to not mention mobile wallet payments. In 2018 this payment mode sustained and strengthened. Continuing to be a mobile-first world, digital device purchasing with mobile is on the rise. Google Pay and Apple Pay will continue to see increases not only in amounts spent, but, more importantly, in user penetration.

As retailers continue to start accepting mobile payments this trend will only grow. Reports foresee that in 2019 a little more than one-quarter of smartphone users in the US will make a purchase using a mobile wallet service. Is your business ready for what is coming?

Energyhill’s New Office

In 2019, Energyhill made a move to a brand new location. “While our old office served us well for 3 years and we loved the space, our new space is custom to our needs and growth,” says Dr. Ryan Lowe.

At Energyhill, we are in the process of redesigning our digital presence as well. This fresh new vision aligns with our new headquarters. Creative Marketing is what Energyhill does. Now with fresh new digs, bring on 2019.

In summation, the year is looking bright and the focus is on Creative Marketing. These are our most common 2018 growth tactics:

  • App Design and Development
  • Digital Content
  • Campaign and Ad Design
  • Website Design and Development
  • Event Design

Marketing Review for the Future

In 2018, Energyhill went multilingual as part of a campaign for a client. In order to reach a wider audience, Energyhill employed multilingual tactics that included translation and full on creation of content in Spanish. The world becomes much smaller with the more languages one speaks. And 2019 is looking very diverse already! By having the ability to provide multilingual services, Energyhill is ready to adapt to the increasing demand of creating sites and businesses that target a range of multilingual audiences.

The 2018 marketing review shed a light on what went well for Energyhill and its partners, and showed the upcoming 2019 marketing trends. With tons of plans ahead, so be sure to follow Energyhill on social. And contact us if you need help planning your creative marketing strategy for 2019 and 2020.

Here we go again, another chain that changes its name. Remember IHOP’s incredibly smart campaign earlier this year? Well, now Dunkin Donuts is changing its name to just Dunkin. Is this really a change? This change stems from the restaurant’s desire to emphasize that it will mostly be a beverage chain. Because having Donuts in their name was limiting to just that. And since their campaign “America runs on Dunkin”…we all know that can’t be solely about donuts, so Dunkin it is. But with any change comes reaction. Just like the IHOP short lived name change, consumers don’t seem to be very happy about the Dunkin Donuts rebrand.What About the Donuts Going From Dunkin Donuts to Just Dunkin

Dunkin Donuts Rebrand

Earlier this year IHOP announced that it would change its name to IHOb. A sensation that was puzzling to consumers all over the nation. Now it appears to be that the same thing is happening to Dunkin Donuts. However, this does not seem to be a marketing strategy, but the real process of the rebrand of the company. The Massachusetts native wants to be known as a coffee empire. So their efforts to rebrand began last year with a few store dropping Donuts from its name. This initiative also comes with other alterations. The restaurant will feature a new store design and digital kiosks in a streamlined made-to-order fashion. As well as new and broader variety of caffeinated drinks. Do we foresee a coffee war in the near future? Is Starbucks on Dunkin’s radar?

The Issues Ahead for the Rebrand

If only a rebrand effort was simple. Let’s forego signage, website, other digital media, as well as current campaigns, what are some efforts that need addressed during this process.

DD Perks

Since they are dropping Donuts from their name, that means that DD must become D. So your DD Card and your DD Perks, may be known as D Card and D Perks. Really? That could easily be misinterpreted. Did they think this through?

Dunkin Still Sells Donuts, Right?

Consumers have expressed their opinion on this matter and to them, the real concern is if Dunkin will continue to sell donuts. 

DD Tweet

DD Tweet

DD Tweet

All In Strategy, Sort of

But do not despair! And believe that the chain is smarter than that. They would not NOT sell donuts and focus only on coffee. So take heart that Dunkin will keep selling their assorted variety of donuts… along with coffee, lots of coffee. Further, they mentioned that this name change will not be permanent contingent upon the success of this new brand identity. Hedging your bet much?

Loss of Strong National Brand

But this commotion in the consumers is not because they fear that the donuts will no longer be a menu item. It has more to do with nostalgia. Dunkin Donuts has been around for decades and is part of most Americans’ daily routine. So this change feels like something that we know will no longer be what we’ve always known. Did we lose you? It’s a matter of attachment and what it means to us, the consumers. We are encouraged to evolve and adapt to change. But when is it ok to not let go?

Energyhill Knows Branding

Before you decide to rebrand your business, think about what your mission is and what your services are. At Energyhill we make sure we define that from the get go. But if you ever need to rebrand your business, we know how to do that too. So don’t hesitate and contact us today and let us help your business grow.

Remember that brief time in pancake history when IHOP changed its name to IHOb? Yes, it was a change that left the entire nation puzzled and somewhat feeling betrayed. However, this new identity was all too swift, as they went back to their old roots. And now, this change got us questioning, was this a brilliant IHOP marketing stunt or just luck?IHOP Name Change - Marketing Stunt, Campaign, or Just Luck?

Return on Investment for the IHOP Campaign

IHOP received great exposure that put it on the spotlight. Otherwise, how else would they bring attention to their new menu addition – burgers? We can speculate that this IHOP campaign to put their burgers on the map worked. It got people lining outside their doors, including Food and Wine. Whatever the reason for this IHOP name change was, we sure are happy to see that the beloved International House of Pancakes would never turn their backs on pancakes – as they captioned on Instagram.

IHOP Backlinks

Getting these types of backlinks (e.g. Food & Wine) is ridiculously good for IHOP. When, if ever, would IHOP get this type of exposure? They wouldn’t. This clever IHOP marketing stunt was a success that gave the chain restaurant online prominence.

IHOP Campaign Media Coverage

With any major news comes major media coverage. And of course, this IHOP campaign was no exception. The media coverage for the IHOP name change illustrated their surprise as well as that of consumers. Fox News and NBC Right Now are some of the TV news stations that commented on this change. Sure enough people took this matter to Twitter where IHOP held a poll for users to guess the meaning of their new acronym.

Brilliant IHOP Marketing Stunt

We must admit that it was the best marketing stunt ever by a chain restaurant. Why? It’s simple. Not only did this unexpected name change shake consumers to their core, it also brought plenty of press to the chain restaurant. The fine dining magazine Food & Wine, equally as surprised as the rest of us, featured the IHOP name change in an article about the restaurant’s identity. This reflects the genius behind their marketing strategy because, again, when would IHOP get this type of exposure? It got people talking everywhere, on social media, on news channels, at work. Also, curious consumers and regulars now felt they had to go and try their burgers.

https://twitter.com/AntoniaMireles_/status/1012402427587416065

Faux Outrage?

Twitter is the platform of choice for people to take their opinions to. And surely consumers gave the world a piece of their mind, but did they take it too far? Did this new name call for a boycott?

https://twitter.com/datonedumbnigga/status/1014467463428431872

IHOP Campaign or Mere Luck

We should also consider that luck played a role in the campaign. IHOP, a stamp for pancakes, has been around for decades. What better way to make national noise than to tease a brand change, while adding new menu items and increasing foot traffic to their restaurants? But how much more creative can one get to push a campaign for a menu item? Does that mean that other chain restaurants should pull the same strategy in exchange of exposure? We dare say no, this was just a one-time thing for IHOP and we do not think it will work for other restaurants. Think cry wolf. Our digital culture is quick to realize and adapt … and even filter out future attempts. So, yes, maybe the stars aligned just right to bring the luck IHOP needed to pull this off. However, with smart campaigns, is luck even planned for?

Well done, IHOP! You kept us entertained, confused, and intrigued for a while, all to present your newest menu item and tease that you were changing your brand. At energyhill we were fascinated by this IHOP marketing stunt and think it was a smart move for the chain. As a marketing and advertising company, we understand strategies and always devise tactics to help businesses grow. Now, don’t worry, we will not use the name change card, but we will use business strategies to push your business forward. Contact us to get more information and get the conversation started.

Engage with us on social and give us your thoughts on this brilliant campaign. It was a campaign right, IHOP?