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Case Study: Extending Premium Menswear into the Digital World

September 4th, 2015

vassihome-sm

Location: Toronto, Canada

Industry: Fashion

Website: www.vassi.ca

Vassi is a high end menswear brand based in Toronto, Ontario. The growing business has built its stellar reputation through word of mouth and by attracting local clientele in the business community.

Despite having well-established retail location, VASSI did not have a web presence. They turned to Sparktank Creative to translate the tactile, premium experience of shopping at the VASSI boutique into the digital world.

 

Goals and Creative Solutions

Before diving into the project, we conducted a Discovery Session with the VASSI team to learn as much as possible about their customer base and business needs. Sparktank’s Discovery sessions are typically filled with illuminating brainstorms and new ideas that get everyone excited about the project. Using a detailed questionnaire, we dig deep to really understand our clients’ businesses and come up with strategic solutions to help them succeed.

Together we identified four goals for the VASSI website:

  1. Communicate their high end sophistication.
  2. Expand their reach beyond their local following.
  3. Showcase their clothing line.
  4. Build long term relationships with customers.

 

Goal #1: Communicate High End Sophistication

VASSI excels in giving customers a premium experience in their retail store and through their physical products. They wanted a website which mirrored the brand’s sophistication and emphasized their customized, personal shopping experience.

On the homepage we showcased a high end video that conveys a sense of sophistication, prestige and sex appeal. We also incorporated imagery and a sleek design to appeal to VASSI’s discerning business clientele.

collections

 

Goal #2: Expand VASSI’s Reach

Superior service and products helped VASSI expand rapidly in downtown Toronto. Their next business goal was to reach new clients outside their local market.

With a new website, VASSI will be able to promote their brand to clients through advertising, search engine optimization, and other online marketing channels. The site also highlights their membership program which encourages repeat customers and rewards brand loyalty with exclusive discounts and other benefits.

 

Goal #3: Showcase Clothing Lines

Naturally, VASSI wanted to showcase their clothing lines on the new website. We created a photo gallery which highlights the variety, craftsmanship, and attention to detail in every product. VASSI can easily update their collections with the simple WordPress onlin

e system we used for this project.

details-sm

 

Goal #4: Build Relationships with Customers

In addition to attracting new clients, the VASSI website is a starting point for building a relationship with customers.

We set up a newsletter template and website newsletter signup box so VASSI could easily send out news and special promotions. Regular communication with existing and potential clients will help turn visitors into paying customers. It can also increase brand loyalty and foster long-term client relationships.

signup

 

Keeping Your Eye on the Goal

A custom website must be crafted to meet the needs of the client. We built the site not only to look good, but to make a statement. The finished product exudes the luxury and quality on which VASSI built their reputation. And as an extension of their brand, the VASSI website will reach more clients and enhance their brand’s visibility.

Next up? An e-commerce website focused on VASSI’s popular line of ties.

“We’re thrilled with the new website. Sparktank worked closely with us to identify our business needs and came up with great solutions to expand our brand. They were very easy to communicate with and went above and beyond to listen to our needs. We’re confident the new website will help us grow our business.”
— Andre Vassi, CEO, VASSI

 

 Ready to get started on your project? Get in touch >

 

Tell Your Story with Web Videos

May 7th, 2014

One of my favourite marketing tools to implement for our clients is our web video packages. Web videos are a fantastic way to put a human face to a business and help differentiate them from the competition. Your typical website will use text and photography to present a company’s products or services. While this type of content is needed, video can offer a more personal look at their story, people and unique offerings. In addition, a well done video is simply more entertaining and easier to watch than static content. According to the Kelsey Group, “Customers are 4x more likely to click on a video than any other web content”.

Video is also a great social media tool. In addition to placing your video on your website, it can be used on your Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn channels or simply inserted into the signature of your email.

Here are a few of the ingredients that make a successful corporate video:

1- Be Human.
This come back to the point of putting a personal voice and face to your video. We are all a little jaded by overly commercial style sales pitches. Just tell your story- honestly and simply. People will relate to this much more.

2- Talk about Benefits instead of Features.
This is true of any marketing efforts. Clients often want to talk about all the technical details and unique features of their product or service. It’s a common occurrence as we are all a little too enmeshed in what we do and tend to look at our offerings from the perspective of an industry insider. However, it’s important to put yourself in your client’s shoes and describe what benefits your business will offer. Things like making our life easier, saving time, increasing revenue and improving your life are what hits more of an emotional chord with your audience.

3- Keep it Short.
Everyone’s time is limited and we’ve become accustomed to instant, on demand information. Keeping your videos to 3 minutes or less will give you more that enough time to get your information across without losing your viewer’s interest. Set the scene, tell your story and end with a strong call to action to encourage your audience to reach out and take the next steps.

 

graphic_BuswithVid_r4.psd

 

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At Sparktank, we offer 3 main video packages:

  • Video Testimonials
  • Product Videos
  • Video Ads

Our videos’ streamlined system and affordable pricing has been a big hit with our clients.

MORE ON OUR VIDEO PACKAGES >

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Does my business need a mobile website?
NO! It needs a responsive website.

December 12th, 2013

The days of accessing the web from just a desktop or laptop are long behind us. With the advent of mobile devices like smart phones and tablets that feature fully capable web browsers, albeit on smaller screens, website owners need to seriously think about how their sites perform on them. The problem is that people are browsing the web on these devices more so than ever before. Whether commuting, at a coffee-house, or even lounging around at home, the chances are that today most people are accessing your website via their mobile devices a good proportion of the time.

Ye Olde Cell Phone

Back before smart phones were fully web-capable, there were “mobile websites”. The idea behind them was to offer an alternative version of the site for people with tiny little screens, next to no bandwidth, and a complete inability to view anything complex at all. This approach was necessary and the assumption that the user’s device was unable to handle anything else was well founded.

Today, the world of mobile web browsing has changed significantly. Data plans are measured in the gigabytes, our devices have high pixel density color screens,  mobile processor chips exist that can play YouTube videos without breaking a sweat. Most importantly, in a world with pocket-sized smart phones, 10-inch tablets, 7 -inch tablets, etc – you can no longer make any assumptions about  how your site will display in all of these and potentially many more formats.

In fact, we can safely say that we can’t make any assumptions about anything. So your user is browsing the web on his tablet… what makes you think he doesn’t have the bandwidth to display your cheerful photo gallery when he’s browsing over a WiFi network? So your user is reading up on your company with her smart phone, what makes you think she needs a reduced-content no-nonsense summary of your site when she’s sitting in a café enjoying a long lunch and have all the time in the world?

Unless you have a very specific understanding of your mobile viewer base and how they expect to interact with your website, assume only this: They are as willing, ready and able to enjoy your site as you originally intended.

A Responsive Website

Responsive design is to provide continuity between different viewing contexts, remaining completely agnostic to the type of device used and the size of the screen it has. What this means is that the same website has to respond to the environment it finds itself being loaded in, adapting itself to the screen with fluid layouts and with a lack of rigidity in the positioning of its elements.

By not downgrading the experience of your mobile visitors you’re able to deliver them the same quality of information and the same ease of purchase as you would any desktop visitor.

The Boston Globe: An example of a large responsive website project done right

website-responsive-boston-globe

Regardless of the size of the browser window, almost identical content is shown – just in a different way. Those elements that are less important and get in the way of efficient use on a small screen are moved out of the way. It’s important to note that these are not separate sites, they’re the same site with the same content, created only once by the author, responding to the capabilities of the device in use.

The importance of the mobile web user

As of the third quarter of 2011, industry surveys said 7% of all web browsing took place on mobile devices, up 2% from the start of 2011. Mobile usage in general is on the rise, in the same period 25% of mobile users expected to use their device to browse the web at least once in any given day.

Optimizing your site for the mobile user can only boost engagement. According to figures from surveys carried out this year in 2012, online retailers found they could increase engagement of customers by up to 85% and increase sales by 51% just by optimizing their sites for mobile users.

If you don’t think your business can afford to ignore such a large portion of its customer base, contact us today to discuss the most efficient way to get your website onto your clients’ mobile devices.

– Stuart

My new favourite Business Tool

November 17th, 2013

We recently started working with a new online program called “Bidsketch” for proposal writing. Much of the work we do is very customized and each client’s needs are different. As a result, proposal writing tended to be a lengthy process that I always felt could be better streamlined somehow. Being a bit of a project management software geek, I thought I’d start looking around to see what online tools were available. I came across Bidsketch and have been using it now for several months.

I have to say that my desire to streamline has been more than accomplished. The software saves a library of services you create with your own descriptions and pricing so that you can select the items you want and insert them into a very professional looking template. Bidsketch also gives you some sample text to use for things like introductory paragraphs. I’ve found these to be useful – though I’ve definitely altered them quite a bit to suit my own company’s messaging. Once the proposal is completed, you can email the client a link to the online version of the proposal (kind of like a mini website with your proposal all laid out) or save it as a pdf. The client can make comments or simply provide an electronic signature to confirm approval. All the proposals are archived in your own personal account.

There are instances when Bidsketch’s templates pose some limitations. Text formatting is less flexible than working in, for example, Microsoft Word. Also the software has not yet been configured to adequately provide hourly or per item rates but I’ve been told they are working on that.

All in all, the response from clients to the proposals has been really positive. In fact one client was so impressed, they’ve started using an online proposal writing tool for their business.

-Juliette

Digital vs Offset Printing for Graphic Design Projects

August 13th, 2012

When it comes time to go to print on projects we’ve designed for clients, a lot of questions arise around paper, quantities, colour and of course price. One aspect of the printing process that I find myself reviewing with clients quite a bit is the choice between printing digitally vs printing offset. The Printing House has put together a great little article summarizing these two methods. Enjoy!

 

http://blog.tph.ca/index.php/2012/05/22/digitalvsoffset/?utm_campaign=digital-offset-email&utm_source=email&utm_medium=email

 

QR Codes

February 5th, 2012

What is a QR Code?

QR Codes are similar to barcodes used by retailers to track inventory and pricing. The difference between the two is that QR codes are scanned by cell phones and can perform a number of functions such as directing you to a specific website, email address or telephone number. The advantage of the QR code is that it quickly creates a link from your advertisement or print marketing to you – allowing the end user to get more information, contact you or take action.

How we used QR Codes with one of our clients.

We were hired to work on brochures and a trade show booth design for a software company. The brochures offered special rebates on the software for attendees of the trade show. In order to get these rebates, the potential client needed to go to a website where they could download the free trial and learn more about the product.

Without the QR code, the scenario would play out something like this: the potential client is at the company booth and is really interested in learning more. He glances at the brochure and notices there is a special offer that he could use but he needs to go to the website to get more information. He’s not at a computer and won’t have time to get to one until he’s back at the office a few days later. What happens next? Oftentimes the brochure gets lost in a pile of papers collected that day.

Instant Customer Response

But what if you could get the client to easily take action right away, from any location? This is where QR codes come into play. The potential client scans the code with their mobile phone using the camera function and instantly gets sent to a web page, or places a call to a specified telephone number. No delays – just an easy and instant call to action.

For our project, we placed the QR code right next to the special offer and pointed it to a mobile friendly (i.e. fits in your mobile device properly) website with a Youtube video and an online form. Clients were able to get to the information at the point of sale – thus cutting out any potential to lose the client’s interest.

QR codes could have many more applications by linking to other forms of content such as:

coupons

instructions

online maps

Facebook pages

mp3 downloads

They can also be printed on anything – a business card, a brochure, a bus shelter, a flyer. The possibilities are endless.

Another nice feature with QR Codes is that you can track their performance. It’s possible to view analytics such as how many people scanned your code and where they are from, giving you valuable feedback on the success of your campaign.

With more and more people using mobile phones and tablets to access information, QR codes are becoming increasingly popular. What’s interesting for publishers and advertisers is that they truly bridge the gap between the print world and the online world.

Interested in using QR codes in your print materials? Let’s discuss!

Making A Successful Sale

January 30th, 2012

The AIDCA Approach1

AIDCA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction and Action. The AIDCA approach has been used for many years by sales and marketing professionals as a process for maximizing chances of a successful sale. Use this method in your sales letters, presentations, websites and brochures for maximum success!

Attracting Attention
You need to get the attention of a customer in order to get a sale. Attention can be grabbed by a humorous ad, an introduction by a famous person, a striking design. Whatever your technique is, your aim is to be noticed. Assume that your customer is besieged with propositions and prospects. Carefully design your opening line, whether in writing, on the telephone or in person to distinguish yourself from the competition.

Developing Interest
Capitalize on Attention by turning it into Interest. This depends on understanding a client’s needs and what benefits they are interested in. You are likely to be interested in features, but the client is most interested in benefits or “what’s in it for me?”. Example, “this product will increase your business by 20 to 50 percent”. This statement will not sell the product or service on its own, it will make the client receptive to further information.

Inspiring Desire
Inspiring Desire is achieved through methods such as appealing photography, discounts, preferential payment schemes. These embellishments provide additional attraction and can often tip the scale in the decision process.

Creating Conviction
The customer must be drawn to the conclusion that they must buy from you, and you alone. In advertising terms, you must present the Unique Selling Proposition. This is the attribute that convinces the client that your product is unique or better. Comparing your product with, for example, a more expensive one encourages the Conviction that their buying decision is correct.

Inciting Action
The test of effectiveness is Action. The famous pitch “Act now while supplies last” sums up two key principles: immediacy and urgency. Another method is providing a link to “contact us” to make it easy for the client to complete the sale. You want to give the client an incentive to act now. Otherwise, the sales process may drag on.

Spectramedia can assist you with your marketing materials, using the AIDCA approach – contact us!

1- Excerpt from “Selling Successfully” by Robert Heller.

Trade Show Design Tips

January 30th, 2012

If you’ve ever attended a crowded trade show lined with exhibitors, you can appreciate the importance of having a well-designed booth that stands out from the rest. Here are a few tips to consider for your display:

  1. Size Matters. Keep in mind that attendees are viewing your booth from a distance, so using large-scale graphics and concise, minimal text is critical. Passers-by should be able to understand your messaging within seconds, and be captivated enough to want to stop. There are a number of pre-made, easily transportable signage options that can be customized with your designs.
  2. Keep it consistent. As with all your marketing materials, your designs should have a consistent, well-branded look and feel.  This is critical in developing your easily-recognized image. Factors like your logo, colour scheme and text treatment are all part of this formula.
  3. Understand your space. Knowing the dimensions, traffic flow, lighting and display space for your booth is essential in creating a successful layout. A good designer will ask the right questions to address these issues.
  4. Make a lasting impression. Make sure you prepare an effective take-away item, such as a brochure or flyer, that will trigger visitors to contact you after the show. Better yet, put yourself in control of the contact information. Use a contest or other enticement to collect contact info from booth visitors. Sending a brochure after the show creates a great opportunity to follow-up and build new relationships.