Back in the days when record album art was engaging and exciting, I always checked to see who designed the covers, very often the name that I saw was John Berg. I think what struck me most was his use of type and space. Each cover was basically an elegant billboard for the artist.
So this is a tribute to him. He designed over 5,000 record covers at Columbia Records. He died last October and it’s safe to say everyone knows his work even if they don’t know who did it.
He said he didn’t have a personal style because his projects were so different, but his taste showed everywhere, from the chocolate bar on the front of “Chicago X”, to the incredible use of a light sans serif on “Born to Run”’s black and white cover, his use of a back-lit grainy photograph of Dylan and the famous poster by Milton Glaser In Bob Dylan’s Greatest hits. He did covers for everyone from Sly and the Family Stone to Barbra Streisand to George Szell.
Columbia tried to hire R. Crumb for the cover of Cheap Thrills, but as Crumb put it “I don’t want Columbia’s filthy lucre.” So Janis Joplin commissioned it from him and brought it directly to Berg in his office – no changes allowed. At that point, it was Crumb’s only “commercial” project.
Springsteen wanted to use a standard artist’s photo for Born to Run, but the photographer, Eric Meola, had also shot a couple of informal shots of Bruce and Clarence Clemons. Berg immediately saw the strong relationship between the two and the potential for a gatefold cover, and the rest is design history.
Berg wasn’t above a little revenge. Columbia was posthumously re-issuing a recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony by George Szell. Szell was apparently difficult during a previous project and called Berg a “flaxen-haired [unprintable]”. So Berg picked a photo with Szell’s hand blocking his face, although he also said it could be interpreted as “Five”.
I don’t think so.
See more of his work John Berg Covers. Which is your favorite?
Do you always have to search online for correct image sizes for cover photos, logos and other images on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the other social networks? Do your cover images get covered up by your profile picture? And what about sizing those thumbnails??
Here’s an up-to-date guide for image sizes, photo placement, and more to help you. Click on the image to see the full size, printable image- but be prepared for a lot of scrolling.
Facebook Image Sizes
• Cover photo: 815 px wide by 315 px tall
• Profile image: 180 px wide by 180 px tall
• Highlighted image: 1200 px wide by 717 px tall
• Shared image: 1200 px wide by 630 px tall
• Shared link thumbnail image: 1200 px wide by 627 px tall
LinkedIn Image Sizes
• Background image: 1500 px wide by 425 px tall
• Profile image: 400 px wide by 400 px tall
• Career cover photo: 974 px wide by 330 px tall
• Banner image: 646 px wide by 220 px tall (minimum)
• Standard logo: 400 px wide by 400 pixels tall (maximum)
Pinterest Image Sizes
• Profile image: 165 px wide by 165 px tall
• Board display: 22 px wide by 150 px tall
• Pin sizes: 236 px wide
Instagram Image Sizes
• Profile image: 110 px wide by 110 px tall
• Photo size: 1080 px wide by 1080 px tall
• Photo thumbnails: 161 px wide by 161 px tall
Twitter Image Sizes
• Header photo: 1500 px wide by 500 px tall
• Profile image: 400 px wide by 400 px tall
• In-stream photo: 440 px wide by 220 px tall
YouTube Image Sizes
• Video uploads: 1280 px wide by 760 px tall
• Channel cover photo: 2560 px wide by 1440 px tall
Tumblr Image Sizes
• Profile image: 128 px wide by 128 px tall
• Image post: 500 px wide by 750 px tall
Google+ Image Sizes
• Profile image: 250 px wide by 250 px tall
• Cover image: 1080 px wide by 608 px tall
• Shared image (on home stream): 497 px wide by 373 px tall
• Shared image (on feed or your page): 150 px wide by 150 px tall
Dog biscuits have been around a long, long time. Ads appeared for biscuits intended for sporting dogs as early as 1792 but generally sources cite Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Patented Dog Cakes as the first dog biscuits manufactured on a large-scale commercial basis.
The story goes that in about 1860, Ohio electrician and lightning rod salesman James Spratt developed his version of the dog biscuit after he saw dogs on the Liverpool docks eating what’s called hardtack. Hardtack (aka “molar breakers”) was a kind of biscuit that sailors ate when perishable foods weren’t available. Spratt’s doggie version, which contained wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot and meat, was patented in England in 1861.
Spratt’s first consumers were indeed sporting dogs belonging to “English country gentlemen.”
After Spratt died in 1880, the company went public, developed the first dog food line formulated for a given life stage, and went down in advertising history as the first company to put up a billboard in London.
The company’s US operations began in 1870, first in New York City and then Newark, NJ. No stranger to marketing, Spratt’s bought the cover of the first American Kennel Club Journal in 1889 and branched out into other pet products, including “palatial” kennels, collars and other accessories, treatments for canine ills, and various information booklets. Spratt’s US operations were acquired by General Mills during the 1950s. In the UK, Spratt’s was acquired by a company called Spillers, which in turn was acquired by Nestle in 1998.
Spending on pet food in the US today? Almost $23 billion in 2014. Worldwide? An estimated $74.8 billion by 2017.
Feeding Your Pet Right
Spratt’s was the world’s first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits.
The History of Pet Food
Pet Industry Market Size And Ownership
Global Pet Food Sales To Approach $75 Billion By 2017
Want to Make Your Own Dog Biscuits?
You’re in Charge of Social Media “Effectiveness”
Social media tools aren’t “effective” by default. It’s up to marketers to optimize social media and other marketing tools and to define “effective” so that results are meaningful, trackable and can be compared. You can apply the SMART goals system to help define your social marketing effectiveness goals.
You can make the most of Twitter and other marketing tools by researching how your company’s target audiences use those tools and understanding how various tools should fit into your overall marketing plan. Intuitive, possibly. Easy-to-do, not necessarily – especially since the “most effective” B2B content marketers employ an average of 7 social platforms.
As with any social media tool, you need to ask yourself and your team “why should we use that particular platform?”
Does it really matter how many people in the general population are tweeting and how many zillions of tweets there are in the universe? No – what matters is whether or not your targets are tweeting, reading tweets, and taking action based on tweets. Are your customers and prospects using Twitter? Are competitors, industry influencers and other key people you want to follow tweeting? If not, should Twitter be high on your list of marketing tools?
you’d find helpful if your were the customer?
Understand “Twitterese.” Become familiar with what Twitter terms such as Retweet, Favorite, Hashtag, and Mention mean and how to use them.
@username: Also known as a Twitter handle. Must be unique and contain fewer than 15 characters. It’s used to identify you on Twitter for replies and mentions.
Hashtag: A hashtag is any word or phrase immediately preceded by the # symbol. When you click on a hashtag, you’ll see other tweets containing the same keyword or topic.
Follow: A follow is the result of someone following your Twitter account. You can see how many follows (or followers) you have from your Twitter profile.
Following: Subscribing to a Twitter account is called “following.” To start following, click the Follow button next to the user name or on their profile page to see their tweets as soon as they post something new. Anyone on Twitter can follow or unfollow anyone else at any time, with the exception of blocked accounts. See “block.”
Follow count: This count reflects how many people you follow and how many follow you; these numbers are found on your Twitter profile.
Follower: A follower is another Twitter user who has followed you to receive your tweets in their Home stream.
Mention: Mentioning other users in your tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a “mention.” Also refers to tweets in which your @username was included.
Messages: Use Messages to have private conversations with people you follow who also follow you. Messages have a 140-character limit and can contain text, hashtags, links, photos and video.
Promoted Tweets: Promoted Tweets are tweets that are paid for by our advertisers. These appear in your Home timeline, at the top of search results on Twitter and elsewhere on the platform, and are clearly marked as “Promoted.”
Pinned Tweets: You can pin a tweet to the top of your profile page, to keep something important to you above the flow of time-ordered tweets.
Reply: A response to another user’s tweet that begins with the @username of the person you’re replying to is known as a reply. Reply by clicking the “reply” button next to the tweet you’d like to respond to.
Retweet: A Tweet that you forward to your followers is known as a Retweet. Often used to pass along news or other valuable discoveries on Twitter, retweets always retain original attribution.
Retweeting: The act of sharing another user’s tweet to all of your followers by clicking on the Retweet button.
Check out Puppets Who Know Stuff about Marketing for an entertaining take on Twitter.
Twitter for Business Basics
10 Social Media Statistics for the the B2B Marketer
B2B Social Media + Marketing Stats for 2014
83 Exceptional Social Media and Marketing Statistics for 2014
What Not to Do On Twitter
Your website disappears – it’s kind of like discovering your car’s been stolen from the parking lot. Something you rely on is gone without warning.
Recently we’ve helped new clients straighten out website issues they didn’t know they had until there was a problem.
You try to move your site to another Internet Service Provider but you find you don’t hold the URL (i.e., aren’t the domain registrant).
There’s a good chance you were working with a web developer or designer who registered the URL for you, but listed himself or herself as domain registrant. Even though the business is yours, if you are not the registrant, you don’t hold the URL for your own web site. Ugh!
Usually, if the person who registered the site is ethical, you can resolve the issue fairly easily. The developer will go into the account, change the registrant name to yours, and with a few emails back and forth among you, the domain registrar, and the former domain registrant (the person who had been listed), the situation is resolved. Once you have the change made, it’s a good idea to change the password to the account so you have exclusive access. If you have a designer or developer working with you, you can give that person access as an admin contact or technical adviser contact. You maintain your status as domain name registrant of the account.
You can go HERE to see if you are the owner of your URL. If the Registrant Name and Organization isn’t you, contact your developer, designer, or whoever the listed registrant is and go through the change process.
If you have to go further and you can’t get the registrant to come clean, there are legal steps you can follow to settle a dispute. For more information on legal recourse and other aspects of domain-related issues, click HERE. This site also provides other information.
Someone calls you to say “I can’t get on your website. A message comes up that says domain expired.” What do you do?
This means that your domain, or URL or website address (www.yourbusiness.com), has expired. You probably paid for 3 or 5 or 10 years. Someone got an email from the entity with which you registered the domain, but it wasn’t you, or you received it and didn’t respond. This can be easy to fix, unless your domain is a highly desirable name that someone else might want. But be aware, there’s a time period that you have to wait before the domain becomes available again. Once it expires, if someone requested that domain in the past, they may receive a notification when it becomes available so they can purchase it if you don’t renew.
Remember- if you’re not the Domain Registrant (see above), you won’t be able to renew, so our suggestion is to make sure you own the domain immediately and if you don’t, fix it!
You want to update your website, so you need the original files that were used to create the site, but the developer or designer is MIA.
The question of who owns files is cloudy unless you clarify it from the start. It’s a good idea to specify right at the get-go who owns what. That way, you’ll have all of the original files if you want them, and your designer/developer is aware of what his or her obligations are.
It’s a good idea to back up your site to a cloud site such as Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive or Box. If you have a site developed in WordPress, there are plugins that do automated backups. For HTML sites, ask your developer to set up a backup system.
Even if there’s no backup, you can access the files that are on your server by logging in to the server via FTP. Then you (or your developer) can download whatever is on the server. If your site is database driven, such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, be sure to back up the database also. BUT – and this goes back to the beginning of this post- you have to make sure that you have access to the account, know the passwords, and are the domain registrant!
There’s a good chance that the original artwork (hi-res image files, content documents, original animation files, etc.) won’t be on the server, but at least you’ll have the web images and HTML files for your site. If you don’t have the original files and you want the same images and your developer/designer has flown south and set up shop on a beach somewhere doing t-shirts instead of web sites, you’ll probably have to recreate image files, etc. if you want to have the same images on your site.
The good news is that all of the above hassles are avoidable: make sure your domain name(s) and hosting account are all in your name and you have access to them, and come to a solid agreement with your developer/designer as to who owns all of your source files. Everyone will sleep easier at night.
Some resources for you:
A Few Definitions
Domain Name: A unique name that identifies an internet resource such as a website. It is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control on the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name.
URL: Uniform Resource Locator, which means it is a uniform (same throughout the world) way to locate a resource (file or document) on the Internet. It indicates the location of a web page. So each page of your website can be found via its URL. A domain is the whole site, a URL is an individual page.
Domain registration: The process of registering a domain name, to use in URLs to identify particular Web pages. The person or business that registers domain name is called the domain name registrant.
Administrative contact: The individual who is authorized by the registrant to interact with the domain name registrar.
Billing contact: The individual who is authorized by the registrant to interact with the domain name registrar to answer questions about the domain name registration and registrant.
Nature abhors a vacuum, the saying goes, and when you take a look at many communication pieces, whether print or electronic, you’d think that there are a lot of designers and programmers, not to mention clients, that feel the same way. Less is definitely not more, the more the merrier.
White space (or negative space) is the “open area” in your design. It can be white, a color, or even black, but it’s just as important to design as positive space (the area taken up by your ravishing images and wonderful content).
There are numerous samples of the use of positive and negative space that show the importance of both. In the famous image of the vase made up of two silhouettes, the “white space” and the “black space” are totally equal and important. Which one is positive and which one is negative? In the Yin-Yang symbol there are also both equal areas of positive and negative with circles in each to show that they are an integrated whole.
One of the most famous examples of a great use of negative space is the famous “Think Small” Volkswagen ad from the 1960s. Full page newspaper ad, enormous amount of white space, great concept, massive impact.
A more contemporary use of white space is shown every time you do a Google search. There is, of course, the totally open index page, but even the search results pages have been changed to be more subtle and easy on your eye.
1. It really helps with legibility and focusing the viewer’s attention on what you want them to focus on.
A Walk Down the Aisle
Picture yourself in any aisle of a grocery store looking for a particular product. All you see are splashes of bright color, bright type and packages that look the same. Take a two foot piece of white (or black) board and put it over the products on a shelf and step back. Your eye focuses on the clean open area of the card. That’s what the effective use of positive and negative space does- it focuses the viewer’s eye where you want it to go, much like the VW ad we mentioned above.
2. It can make your project more “upscale”- think cosmetics, luxury automobiles and high end tech products
That Upscale Feeling
It’s no accident that cosmetics and other luxury brands keep clutter to a minimum. From cars to tech to fashion, the effective use of positive and negative space reinforces the brand.
The luxury car makers; Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Cadillac et al, all have open web sites using lots of white space, dramatic images and clean, open navigation to show that these are quality products.
For effective, and elegant, use of positive/negative space you can’t beat the cosmetic companies. Chanel has an image and the bottom menu on its home page, that’s it. The simplicity and elegance of the brand is carried through to the packaging and print material. Lancome is almost all white space that forces the viewer to focus on simple compelling images, Estée Lauder, the same.
It’s easy to find excuses and throw the benefits of positive/negative space out the window: we have too many products, too much technical information, we need to fill up any “blank” space with images or text.
All of the useful information on United Airlines home page gets lost in a series of brightly colored confusing boxes, showing that even the big boys sometimes don’t think about how to get the message across most effectively.
It only takes a little bit of thought to use positive/negative space effectively, and the willingness to take a bit of a design risk. The rewards are more focus on your product or message, a brand upgrade, and the happy result that you’re providing a better design experience for your viewers and customers.
You ask someone what his or her company does, or the person has approached you at a conference or tradeshow.
What you hear is something like “we’re the premiere/best/biggest/newest/oldest provider of x/y/z in the [fill in the blank] industry.” It’s like listening to someone read out a Mad Libs™. And to make things worse, you can tell he or she has delivered the same information the same way many, many times. Have you learned anything compelling about that company? Do you really want that person’s business card?
Here’s another scenario:
You’re at a networking event and have only 30-60 seconds to tell someone what’s unique and exciting about what you do and illustrate why your business is the business that can provide an opportunity or solve a problem. You don’t have that description on the tip of your tongue, so you do your best on the fly and then walk away thinking about what you should have said.
The elevator pitch was born to help focus business people on how to describe what a company does in terms that focus on the customer or client – the person who wants to know “what’s in it for me?” – and should be succinct, engaging, and call-to-action oriented.
This is all supposed to happen in the time it would take for the average elevator ride – hence the name.
Our advice for creating and delivering an elevator pitch boils down to understanding your existing customers and using that to craft a customer-centric message, conveying your enthusiasm for what you do, and putting yourself in the listener’s place. Would you find your own elevator speech compelling?
“I’m a partner in a company that helps businesses communicate effectively to the right audience with the right message using the right tools.”
“We’ve just done a social media campaign for a construction company and it worked very well for them. Have you thought about something like that?”
Even though your basic elevator pitch should be something that’s ready to use at a moment’s notice, it is important that it’s flexible enough to be adapted, so be prepared to do that. What can you leave out and still deliver an effective message if you don’t have as much time as you’d like? What can you add if you have more time? What responses should you anticipate?
If you’re going to a networking or other event where everybody is likely to have an elevator pitch, you want to stand out, so putting together several specific examples ahead of time based on what your company does and the nature of the event can help you be prepared.
An elevator pitch doesn’t have to be about getting business, and it doesn’t have to be delivered in a business setting. You can use the same system to sell an idea to you boss, inform people about an event, sell yourself when you’re job hunting, or even have a ready answer when someone on the spin bike next to you at the gym asks what you do.
For an entertaining look at elevator pitches, check out this message from The Puppets Who Know Stuff about Marketing.
⇒ Specific: Focused, clearly defined description of what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to do it.
⇒ Measureable: How are you going to quantify your progress, for example, by setting numerical targets and assessment benchmarks?
⇒ Actionable: Break your goal into small steps. Do you have the skills and resources to carry out each step when you need to?
⇒ Realistic, aka Attainable: Is each goal in sync with your company’s overall mission, strategy, industry, and capabilities?
⇒ Time-based: Do you have a deadline for each step? Do the deadlines make sense?
The SMART goal system is to successful goal setting what “who, what, where, when, why, and how” are to reporting. It enables you to pinpoint what you want your business to achieve, set forth how to get there, and benchmark how well you’re doing.
Corporate-level SMART goals not only direct the growth of your business, they also give your staff concrete guidance and a context for planning, integrating, and implementing goals for which they’re responsible. SMART goals can be big, small, or somewhere in between – as long as they’re SMART.
Let’s say that face-to-face meetings are one of the most productive ways you generate business from new customers. Right now, these meetings are “catch as catch can.” Not so SMART.
You’d like to have more of these meetings and you’ve determined that two meetings a month should produce the volume of new business you’ve targeted.
Your SMART goal might look something like this:
We will hold and follow up on face-to-face meetings with 2 business owners or other decision-makers per month, starting in January 2015, to increase our customer base by the end 4Q2015. 33% of these meetings will result in new business. The prospects will identified via a targeted, pre-tested, quarterly social media campaign to be launched in January 2015.
SMART Goals: A tool to help you think through where your business is going and how you’ll get there – no matter what kind of business you’re in. You can also apply the SMART Goals strategy to your non-work life too! Hmm, how many fewer brownies would we need to eat to lose how many pounds in how much time – and how realistic is that?
What are your SMART Goals?
Dare I say, but nearly thirty years ago we did the branding and package design for a company called Dead Sea Works. They extract Magnesium Chloride from the Dead Sea in Israel by evaporation through a solar evaporation pond array.
So after all of this time, I walked into Home Depot and was pleased to see that the packaging and branding are still being used!
It falls into line with our belief that good design sustains over time. It will work no matter how long ago it was done.
Since I don’t have any samples and I do have a steep driveway, I bought a bag. Still a bugger to lift.
Suppose you’re out to dinner with friends, or at a business dinner, and one of the people at the table asks “Who knows a good lawyer?” As it turns out, you do. Would you have a problem giving out your lawyer’s name? Probably not.
But turn it around and ask someone to refer you, and all of a sudden it’s a major test of your business credibility and personal standing.
Asking for referrals can be tough, but it’s a great way to get new business. Why? Someone who knows your work is recommending you. That gives you an advantage when you have that first conversation.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask – You deliver a quality product or service and your client or customer will be happy to communicate that. Explain that it is important to your business and that you’d love to meet more people like them who you can help.
2. Wait until you’ve proven yourself, that way the referral will be fact based – It’s tempting to ask “Do you know anyone else I can help?” at the beginning of a project, but it’s best to wait until it’s going well or successfully launched before asking. You can do some pump priming by saying “If things go as well as I think they’re going to, can we talk about other businesses you know who can use our services?”
3. Give a referral and you’ll get a referral – The best way to give a referral: Talk to both parties. You know them both so you can make sure it’s a good fit before you introduce them. Check in with everyone involved after the introduction in case there are any questions or issues. Now you have two business people you made happy. Twice the positive karma for you and twice the potential for referrals back to you!
4. Ask your client or customer to make the initial contact – A call or email saying “Fred is going to contact you and he’s the best thing since sliced bread” will go a long way towards helping you with your initial conversation.
5. Make it easy for customers to refer you – Have your elevator pitch written out, so you can send it to someone when they’re ready to refer you. That makes it easy for the person giving the referral to concisely explain what you do. You can also offer to host a lunch or dinner meeting to facilitate the introduction in person.
6. Use your email signature effectively – Mention that you appreciate referrals as a reminder to everyone you email.
7. Puhleez follow up! – A referral is by far the best way to get new business. What a waste to let the contact sit in your email inbox or voicemail. Set up a process to follow up with referrals and put it in your calendar so you don’t forget.
8. Say thank you! – Say it to everyone involved. Be sure you follow up with your current client – a small gift wouldn’t hurt; say thank you to your prospective client even if it doesn’t work out. Positive karma is a good thing even if there’s no short term business gain.
Remember, most people are happy to help others out, especially if there’s already a good business relationship in place. Asking for (and giving) referrals is a great way to establish positive feelings all way round.