Emotion, trust, and technology.

The past six months have been a period of uncertainty and tremendous challenge for marketers, as well as the advertising agencies that support them. Yet in the midst of the tumult, opportunities have continued to emerge – an entrepreneur with a good idea is hard to restrain.

Consider the technology sector. From our perspective, technology start-ups have never slowed down. Over the past year, Creative Department has begun working with a number of emerging technology companies. We’re helping them tell their stories in compelling ways, and they’re connecting with their customers on a deeper level.

What we believe is, the value of technology is ultimately determined by its human impact.
Technology without human consequence is essentially a schematic drawing, but technology that understands its relationship to people has a head start on becoming a brand. And the real money is in brands, not schematic drawings.

The writer Darren Menabney speaks to this truth in an April 2019 issue of Fast Company:

“Many startups focus excessively on data, specs, and financials when presenting or pitching to investors, business partners, or prospective employees. Of course, those numbers matter, but data is not enough, and specs are not enough. You need to add some emotion, some relatability, some human dimension to that data. Stories will do that.”

He goes on to say:

“Storytelling is a powerful tool. It builds memory, empathy, and trust between the storyteller and the listener. It’s something that persuades far more effectively than any other form of communication, because we humans are storytelling creatures by nature. The biggest and most successful brands know this.”

You can read the rest of Darren’s thinking here:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90328836/three-stories-every-startup-needs-to-tell

The secret to connecting technology to story? Our deep knowledge of consumer behavior — knowing why people do what they do. That informs everything. Ultimately, there is a human backdrop to everything we do, from strategy to execution. Technology start-ups seem to understand the value in this perspective.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a technology start-up but no story, contact Lauren Anderson at lauren@creativedepartment.com or 513-651-2901. It’s time to show your human side.

SEO strategy: More than just keywords.

Maximize consumer engagement through better experiences.

Creative Department has a long history of providing our clients with simple solutions for a complex world, a focus which has resulted in business success for both clients and agency.

With so much emphasis on consumers’ digital experiences, we wanted to offer a few basic thoughts on Search Engine Optimization, based on nearly 15 years developing digital content. Here are a few important SEO points to keep in mind as you work to maximize your consumer engagement.

 The landscape has shifted. Over the last 3-5 years SEO has become more competitive than ever. This is due to algorithm shifts and an increase in the number of websites. Your approach to SEO just might need an evaluation and an upgrade, especially considering how quickly things change in the digital world.

Part of a larger marketing strategy.  We believe in the power of SEO. However, the Creative Department perspective is that SEO should be utilized as a component to a larger online marketing strategy. It cannot be thought of as just adding keywords to a website and a ranking for a singular term. Because if that’s your expectation, you’re probably missing some serious horsepower in your marketing drivetrain.

When promoting a website online we must think of all of the other digital channels that ladder up to a holistic digital strategy. These include, but are not limited to Paid Search, Content Marketing, Social Media, Video, Display, Remarketing, Email and Marketing Automation. Consistency in messaging – one of the amazing benefits of search optimization – will make certain these touch points work as hard as possible, all within the brand’s established guidelines.

Building better websites. At Creative Department, our take is that SEO isn’t just about building a search engine friendly website. It’s about building a website that is better for people. Websites that are engaging, easy to access, and use. (There’s that CD focus on “simple solutions” again.) Because with a focus on maximizing consumer experience, you create websites that solve problems for your clients, resulting in stronger leads and increased sales.

Three basic forms. Not all SEO is created to accomplish the same results. Here are factors to consider:

Technical SEO: Promotes health of site for search engines to index and promote the site within search rankings.

On-page SEO: Website content that aligns to users’ keyword searches for improved rankings of the website in results.

Off-page SEO: Citations, local listings, and online reviews help users discover local solutions, resulting in organic traffic and increased local rankings.

A few words about keywords. Sometimes, when adequate research isn’t available at the start of an assignment, which is often the case in the current climate of ever-tightening budgets, we use our instincts and evaluate a broad range of keyword options. That way, we don’t miss a creative solution that offers a strong consumer connection.

Writing for effective SEO. Once you’ve found your essential keywords, we recommend that you first start by including them in on-page copy to help with SEO. These should be incorporated into current pages or utilized in creating more effective new content. But that’s just the start of their impact.

Remember to use a keyword in headlines and subheads, but use them judiciously. They don’t need to be everywhere to be effective.

Ultimately, promotion is just part of the challenge. Yes, a smart SEO effort can help get the right eyes on your website, but you’re not exercising the right marketing muscle if you haven’t considered the consumer experience once they find you. Whether you’re making a simple improvement to an existing site or building one from scratch, you should have a good sense of the actions you want them to take. That’s a key component of a solid SEO strategy.