Is Blogging Good For Business?

is blogging good for business

Photo courtesy of Neonbrand.

It’s my turn to write a blog and as I am brainstorming about what to write, I thought about how beneficial blogs are to business and how they should be an integral part of an online marketing strategy. Is blogging good for business? You betcha! Whether you’re a small or large business, blogging is important, and here are four reasons why! Continue reading…

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The Marketing Dream Team

older man wearing a lakers jersey, holding a basketball

Epic Grandpa photo courtesy of Andre Hunter.

What takes 8 research sessions, 18 site visits, and 6 clicks in a span of 17 days?  According to Google Research, that is the path a consumer takes to make a hotel booking.  Keep in mind that 55% of website users spend less than 15 seconds on a website.  So how do you make a memorable impact? How do you become a “marketing dream team?” Continue reading…

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Tourism Marketing: How Archetypes Can Help Create Authenticity

group of lake tahoe tourists toasting in a restaurant

Tell a Story to Create a Connection in Tourism Marketing

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away they all lived happily ever after.

As human beings, we crave stories because we’re brought-up on them. They’re how we communicate with one another. So, it’s only natural that we want to connect with a place, an idea, or a brand through a story. And, an essential element of a story is a strong cast of characters based on commonly understood archetypes: “The Hero,” “The Caregiver,” “The Lover,” “The Rebel.” Continue reading…

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What is Rebranding? Well, Let Us Tell You about Ours

begin rebranding

Rebranding is all about making changes. And when it comes to change, it’s all about rolling up your sleeves and getting started. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Macinnes)

What is Rebranding and Why Did We Do It?

Did you know Smith + Jones has been around for more than 30 years? That’s certainly something we’re very proud of, especially in an area where businesses come and go as easily as the snow melts—and in an in an industry that changes faster than your last Instagram photo. Continue reading…

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Humor in Advertising: Does Your Audience Get It?

funny horse face

Very funny horse face photo courtesy of Ivan Shi.

According to the USA Today “Ad Meter,” of the 15 most popular 2016 Super Bowl commercials, 13 were funny. Does this mean they worked? Well, that depends on how you define “worked.”

According to artist and writer Craig Damrauer, “Advertising = Hey you + buy something.” Funny ads, like Hyundai’s “First Date” or Doritos “No Dogs Allowed,” definitely get our attention. In today’s social world, they also get the attention of our friends: 900,000 shares of the Doritos commercial on game day alone. Continue reading…

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The Internet Effect on Logo Design

woman holding krispy kreme box

Awesome photo of this Krispy Kreme box is courtesy of The Creative Exchange.

Another major company just redesigned its logo: MasterCard. Although different from its predecessor, its difference is subtle and doesn’t stray too far from the brand mark that is so recognizable. Continue reading…

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Honest Advertising: Is it an Oxymoron?

creepy scary mask face - honesty in advertising

Scary mask face photo courtesy of Samuel Zeller

The other day we were playing around with taglines for a client. One tagline we considered was ”honest to goodness marketing.” The Creative Director laughed and said, “No one thinks advertising is honest or good”. Hmmm…that got me thinking. Is “honest advertising” an antiquated idea that’s now a laughable oxymoron? Continue reading…

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Strategy: Does Your Brand Need a Makeover?

Should your brand get a makeover?

This is one of those “that depends” questions.

Before we get to the answer, let’s talk about what a brand is and what a good brand does. We can hone in on the definition of “brand” with three more questions:

  1. Is your logo your brand? Not exactly. But it does play an important role in your visual identity.
  1. So, what is your brand? Visually, it’s a combination of style (bold or subtle, simple or complex), fonts, colors, and positioning of your graphic and text. These elements are consistent in multiple environments.
  1. And what does your brand do? Not only does it communicate what your business is about and who your customers are, but it also sets your business apart from the competition. The best brands convey a personality and evoke a positive emotional reaction.

Take Coca-Cola® for example.

Coca-Cola logo sml

This brand is recognized around the world. It’s fun. It flows. It’s bold. It’s intimately tied to the experience of drinking a coke. But the brand hasn’t always been the same. Take a look at what they tried from 1890 to 1891 (The company was founded in 1886.)


Fun, yes. But what does it say about how it feels to drink a coke? Of course, when the drink was named, and in 1890, extracts of the coca leaf (cocaine), along with the kola nut (spelled with a ‘C” because it would “look nice”) were the formula’s two “medicinal” ingredients viagra cheap buy.

Since Coca-Cola’s script branding reappeared 125 years ago, it hasn’t changed much. Does this mean your brand should never change? Not necessarily. As renowned branding expert, Marty Neumeier, said in his book, The Brand Gap, “If people can change their clothes without changing their character, why can’t brands?”

Of course they can, but should they? Here are some common criteria for rebranding, divided into “Now” and “Not Now” categories.

Now                                                                                                          Not Now

Your brand doesn’t match who your business really is.                  You’re tired of your brand.

You want to reach a new audience.                                                   Your competition is rebranding.

You’re committed to the process.                                                      You can’t afford the process.

“Process” is a key word. Rebranding doesn’t happen overnight. And, just as with anything that is potentially rewarding, there are risks.

Big Risk One: cost. You’ll be investing money and time.

Big Risk Two: negative results. Your customers might not like the new brand.

To minimize your risks, you’ll need a professional, collaborative team like smith + jones. They’ll help you do your research and make every part of your brand an informed, conscious decision.

Success will mean a brand that stays vibrant and connects with existing and new customers. It will sell the soul of your business, in a good way, for 10 years or more.

-Lynn Finnigan, SJ Marketing


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Do You See It?

Official Logo definition: Recognizable and distinctive graphic design, stylized name, unique symbol, or other device for identifying an organization. It is affixed, included, or printed on all advertising, buildings, communications, literature, products, stationery, and vehicles. Also called logotype.

Unofficial Logo definition: the first and longest lasting impression of your brand to a potential or existing customer. A visual vehicle by which a person relates to, believes in, identifies with and respects your product or brand.

After reading these two definitions it would be hard not to recognize the value a logo can have on your business. Much effort and expense goes into the initial design of a company logo. Some logo designers are so advanced they incorporate hidden messages into the designs. These hidden messages often reiterate the brand promise. Let’s look at a few examples:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 3.01.32 PM


FedEx is a recognizable logo worldwide but have you ever noticed the negative space between the “E” and the “x”? You notice a forward pointing arrow that according to the designer Lindon Leader “the arrow could connote forward direction, speed and precision and if it remained hidden there might be an element of surprise, that aha moment.”


Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 3.02.19 PM

Wendy’s is also a worldwide brand kamagra oral jelly price. Named after the founder’s daughter you might notice something in her collar. The letters M O M might become visible at a closer inspection. “this is something you may not notice consciously for years, but unconsciously it will leave an imprint on your brain and you will associate it with the brand,” wrote.


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Tostitos is another big brand with a hidden symbol that promotes togetherness and fun.

If you look closely and the two internal “t’s” they represent people dipping their chip into a bowl of salsa which happens to be the dot on the “i”.


These are just a few examples of the complexities associated with logo design and identity. It is not uncommon to spend 25-50 hours on a logo. SJ Marketing has been designing logos for our clients since the mid 1980’s. There are still many of our logos in use around our region that you would easily recognize. Look for those in a future blog post. In the meantime if you need help with a new logo, logo redesign or logo evaluation give our experts a call.


-Greg Long

Director of Production, SJ Marketing






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It’s a SJ Thing

It’s a size thing

You have a marketing budget that you think is decent and it deserves some big attention, right?

So you think, “Well, I will call the big agencies in the big city and see what big ideas they have.”

Seems like a good idea until you realize that the big agencies can charge big dollars to cover

their big expenses that may leave your big marketing budget not-so-big in the end. Maybe it’s

time to reconsider the marketing agency approach and take a look at a smaller agency. Besides

costs, here’s a few other reasons why:

It’s a gut thing

Smaller agencies have access to marketing stats and research, but probably not as much as the

larger agencies that pay a lot of money to be able to access the information. Does that really

make a difference to you? It depends on your business, your marketing, and your goals. In

general, small agencies become unbelievably experienced in their areas of focus, which makes

them much better on intuitive marketing. Small agencies know instinctively what works and what

does not because they are entrenched in it daily. They don’t need a pile of research to

understand if a message is going to resonate with an audience because they are intimately

familiar with the market and with what works and what doesn’t.

Most times, small agencies do the research themselves so they can see trends, take advantage

of new advertising opportunities, and understand emerging markets. When you do your own

research, it’s easier to understand the cause and effect. With greater understanding comes

greater effectiveness in application. Intuition plays a large role in successful business decisions

and marketing is included. Smaller agencies use knowledge to trust their intuition, which can be a

very successful combination.

It’s a fish thing

This is the basic big fish, small pond concept. When you have a decent sized marketing budget

and you use a small agency, you become one of their top accounts. And what do we do with our

top clients? We give them the best service possible, personalized attention, and an all-hands-on-

deck approach. That’s what you will get with a small agency.

In addition, in a small agency, account executives wear multiple hats and get involved in most

every aspect of marketing. That means the right hand always knows what the left hand is doing

and the overall knowledge of your marketing & messaging is consistent throughout your

campaigns. The chances of miscommunication from one department to the next is minimized

when your account team is personally involved in your product and/or your business.

Finally, a small agency often times considers themselves an extension of your marketing

department. In essence, they feel like they work for you, not just for the agency. Their approach

and your success becomes much more personal.

It’s a box thing

Small agencies have a very strong sense of what a dollar is worth. Every account they earn is

important to them and they work hard to ensure every dollar you spend is worth it to you. So they

can get very “out-of-the-box” creative with advertising mediums and marketing concepts that give

strong ROI. And because you are a big account to them, they spend a lot of time making sure

that they are tweaking creative and messaging to get the biggest bang for your buck. There’s no

sure thing in marketing and advertising, but when you have a dedicated team watching every

dollar you spend because, let’s face it, that dollar means a lot to a small agency, then you have a

much higher chance of success.

It’s a local thing

In general, you can find good small agencies wherever your business resides. Using a local

agency is good business for you. Why? Because an investment in your community sends a

strong message that you care about the people in your town and the health of your economy. And

the agency will work hard to make sure that a local company that is invested in them is going to

succeed, especially as it means more business to the area they live & work. It’s a win/win.

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