Defining Brand Identity with Design

Building a brand is a huge task in and of itself but being able to communicate your brand identity across multiple mediums can enhance the overall experience for the user. Graphics applied to a physical space allow a company to communicate their brand without having to say a word to customers or clients.

Environmental graphics can play a huge role in your brand. Your lobby space is a high foot traffic area, and you must consider visitors perception of your business. Imagery can be instrumental in the telling of your brand story through colors and engaging content.

TAG has helped define and redesign several projects for clients including refreshing and integrating a company’s brand identity though environmental graphics and identity design.

TAG

TAG experienced flooding in our lobby area, which resulted in the physical space needing to be redone. The team turned tragedy into triumph and completely redesigned and redefined the space. The goal of redesigning the lobby space was to create an area that is welcoming and comfortable to guests, but also to illustrate TAG’s brand design and identity. Graphically the piece showcases a timeline of TAG’s history to our clients but expresses our brand identity through a high trafficked area. The graphic features a mosaic of words and images that fit together like a puzzle, many of which carry meaning and are symbolic moments in TAG’s history. The space is extremely unique and has become a great conversation starter as clients and visitors want to learn more!TAG Lobby

Two Rivers Financial Group

When TAG originally designed Two Rivers Financial Group’s brand identity, it started with understanding the business and history as well as where they wanted their future to go. This led TAG to creating a brand that features hand-painted watercolor graphics which we developed in-house. The watercolor was meant to be a friendly visual approach tying directly to the reference of the water in the name. Simultaneously, we developed the positioning statement for the bank division “My Neighborhood. My Bank.” This was used to emphasize the local approach taken by Two Rivers in how they conduct their business and treat their valued customers. We crafted their annual report covering 2018, to feature both the brand look of watercolor graphics, and the local, community-involved focus of the report. TAG’s VP of Design Services Brian Buckles hand-painted the watercolor landscape scenes of key communities that Two Rivers Financial Group serves, resulting in a well-received and brilliantly designed annual report.

MtPleasant_DowntownDM_Principal  Burlington_Bridge

NewLondon_DowntownIC_CapitalMeadiapolis_Downtown

 

L&W Bedding

Another client, L&W Bedding required a brand refresh which offered a unique challenge to the TAG team. L&W Bedding makes high-quality mattresses which are all made locally right here in the Quad Cities. The owner of L&W Bedding, John Wheatley, is such a part of his business that you often can find him sitting behind a sewing machine, stitching together the next mattress. Their existing brand identity did not communicate the hand-crafted and high-quality approach to mattress making that they offer. TAG’s approach was to redesign their logo, creating a graphic with a stitched look that is as unique as the business, but also redesigning the store’s interior and exterior signs to reflect the uniqueness of the business. The signage was created to help guide customers into and through the store, attention-grabbing floor graphics and delivery vehicle wraps. TAG’s recommendations were well received, and the in-store experience became a whole new environment. All the elements came together, forming a cohesive visual language and brand identity that consumers were able to retain with ease.

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Everyone’s brand is unique and can be translated through a variety of mediums. Your brand is your business, the essence of who and what you stand for. It is important that you communicate that effectively to your customers. To efficiently utilize and voice your brand, you must communicate it through multiple facets of media. Design can be an effective tool in giving your office an inviting look into your company’s brand identity. Let TAG help you redefine your brand and show people who you really are. Contact us here to get started.

International TAG Team

Many TAG clients are local, or U.S. based. But, did you know we work with international companies as well? TAG clients and services reach all over the globe, making us worldwide! This requires us to be extremely forward-thinking and compliant to assure we represent our clients effectively. So not only are we worried about compliance state-side but also abroad!

International Clients TAG currently works with:

Sandstrom Coating Technologies develops and manufactures quality coatings for customers all over the world. Sandstrom needed a contemporary website with improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The TAG team updated Sandstrom’s brand as seen on their website, to reflect its status in the industry and convey expertise to global customers.

Sivyer Steel Castings produces high quality steel casting products for use in the global construction, energy, military, mining and transportation industries. While the company implemented a plan to restructure in early 2018, the TAG team helped Sivyer launch their turnaround with key strategies focused on reinvigorating their brand. This involved redesigning their website and enhancing social media deployment to include video as well as public relation strategies to better communicate with a work market how Sivyer can meet the needs of the industry.

Crane Merchandising Systems is a leading global manufacturer of innovative solutions for vending machines, cashless systems, software and wireless communications. As a pioneer and market leader in vending, Crane has sought out new ways to enhance how consumers interact with their machines. TAG is engaged in assisting with launching new product brands utilizing strong design and messaging deployed on the web, print media and trade shows. All efforts are geared toward new customer lead development and current customer retention.

Sears Seating supplies superior seating solutions with over five generations of experience. Sears has expanded greatly over the years, establishing Sears Europe in the United Kingdom, signing a manufacturing partnership in India, expanding business in Brazil and even opening an office in Japan. The TAG team designed and launched a website that is adaptable in North America and Europe to help customers navigate their new site to easily receive the highest quality products.

TAG represents clients domestically as well as internationally, all over the globe. No matter the client if they are an Iowa native or a business owner in the United Kingdom, we offer the same services and steadfast dedication to creating and designing the very best. Our website compliance assures that your content will be accessible to all user no matter what country they reside in. For more information regarding our work please visit our website!

GDPR Compliance and Regulations

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is expected to set a new standard for consumer rights regarding their data, but companies will be challenged as they put systems and processes in place to comply.GDPR

The European Parliament adopted the GDPR in 2016, replacing an outdated protection directive from 1995. It carries provisions that require businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states. The GDPR also regulates the exportation of personal data outside the EU. The provisions are consistent across all 28 EU member states, which means that companies have just one standard to meet within the EU. However, that standard is quite high and will require most companies to make a large investment to meet and to administer.

But can they enforce the GDPR in the United States? The answer is yes, as proven by Privacy Shield that passed in 2016, the United States government is fully prepared to cooperate in the enforcement of privacy laws enacted by the EU.

“Any business that collects even anonymous information from EU residents will be subject to GDPR compliance and, in the event of noncompliance, hefty fines”

Compliance will cause some concerns and new expectations of security teams. For example, the GDPR takes a wide view of what constitutes personal identification information. Companies will need the same level of protection for things like an individual’s IP address or cookie data as they do for a name, address and Social Security number.

The two primary GDPR concerns for US companies include:

Cookie Law (consent) – Majority of websites use cookies which are extremely small files, downloaded to your device when you visit a website. Many commercial sites use them including banks, online publishers, blogs or e-commerce serving the purpose of counting the number of visitors and their behavior. We’ve all seen the phrase “by using this website, you accept cookies” or a variation of the statement. It informs the user, but does it give them an alternative? The GDPR looks to change this in the future giving users an informed choice.

Data Permission (protection) – This includes how you manage email opt-ins or people who request to receive promotional material from you. People need to express consent in a ‘freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous’ way, which is reinforced by a ‘clear affirmative action’.

For EU based companies, you have even more concerns:

  • Timely Breach Notification – If a security breach occurs, you have 72 hours to report the data breach.
  • Right to Data Access – If users request existing data profile, you must be able to provide them with a fully detailed and free electronic copy of the data you collected.
  • Right to Be Forgotten – Your customers have the right to request that you totally erase their personal data.
  • Data Portability – This gives users rights to their data. They must be able to obtain their data from you and reuse that same data in different environments outside of your company.
  • Privacy by Design – This section of GDPR requires companies to design their systems with the proper security protocols in place from the start.
  • Potential Data Protection Officers – In some cases, your company may need to appoint a data protection officer (DPO).

The GDPR defines several roles that are responsible for ensuring compliance: data controller, data processor and the data protection officer (DPO). The data controller defines how personal data is processed and the purposes for which it is processed. The controller is also responsible for making sure that outside contractors comply.Though the task seems daunting, compliance is extremely important and necessary when moving your company forward.

For more information on how TAG can help your company become compliant, or to request a compliance please visit our website for more information.

TAG Blogging Best Practice Guide

Blogging is an effective way to reinforce your brand and draw audiences to your site. Writing engaging content, using SEO optimization, can bring in a broader audience, largely increasing the number of views to your blog and overall site. Here are some of TAG’s best practices when writing a blog:

Audience- Understanding who your key audience is can assist tremendously in blogging. Writing to a specific audience will engage them and keep them on your site. Incorporate audience data tracking into your content strategy to remain relevant to what your audience is thinking. Consider your audience, try to figure out their problems, then provide the answers they are seeking. Look to industry experts for their input, including quotes and interviews. Garner information on your audience from the experts and you can effectively communicate with them.

Hooking your Audience- You need to catch the eyes of your audience. Your headings need to capture the readers interest, but also make them want to read your blog post. Answering the problem within your heading defeats the purpose of reading your article. A header should never exceed 60 characters. Give the reader a small dose with the heading then further explain in your blog. Create interest in the reader then make them read your blog to find the answer to the question you pose. Using steps or lists is another way to engage your audience.

Content- Quality over quantity. Attention spans are shorter, people need to be drawn in with vivid content. Write engaging copy and grab people’s attention. It is better to compose two well written, thought-out blogs than hastily putting out four sub-par blogs. High-quality content is useful, and by providing your audience with solutions to their problem, your brand will become a helpful resource they look to. Content also includes photos, illustrations, charts, videos and quotes—use visual content to break up text or help better translate your ideas while keeping your readers engaged. Recommended word count has varied over the years, recent trends believe longer blogs tend to receive more views. Average of 500-1000 words is a good starting point, though your main goals are answering user questions and exceeding competitors’ content.

Mediums- People typically think of blogs in the form of written blogs. Any social platform utilizes video so why can’t your blog? Utilize all the tools social media has provided and create a video to include on your blog. Short videos have become a must-have on social media sites and including them in your blogs can attract a new audience.

Consistency- Continually writing your blog will drive more people to see it and keep your usual audience engaged with it. No matter if it is one blog a week or two a month, always putting out content will drive people to your site. Make your brand accountable by producing something week in and week out so your audience expects content.

Search Engine Optimization- If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, get familiar quick, then continue learning about it because it is a constantly shifting and twisting metric. By not optimizing your blog posts you are inhibiting the reach of your audience and growth of the overall blog. Use metrics to improve future blogs, and see which strategies are working. What are the best times to post, word count, and amount of people reading your blog to the end are all questions that can be answered by metrics.

Organization- Creating an organized calendar of content for the month will significantly help your team. Posting blogs or content several times a week can often have overlap or even repeat a topic.  Having a calendar of when and what you are posting for the week or month will reduce clutter, similar posts, and keep your team organized. Always try to include current events or trending topics to keep your content fresh and in the social loop.

TAG To Open Des Moines Branch Office

47577626_2630691396948486_3214311747179511808_nDavenport, December 5…TAG CEO, Mike Vondran, announced today the Quad Cities-based marketing and advertising organization will expand to Des Moines in January 2019. “We believe the market is ready,” says Vondran. “Our ‘brand-focused’ approach to marketing, combined with our expertise in both the latest digital and more traditional tactics has earned TAG a growing base of clients. Many of these organizations want to expand to new markets and we want to help them succeed in that effort. Moreover, we believe there’s significant unmet demand in the Des Moines region for a true full-service agency, providing ‘one-stop’ brand marketing support.”

The new TAG office will be located at 100 East Grand Avenue in the East Village/Capitol Hill area of Des Moines. “This new location will serve as a ‘home base’ for TAG operations in Polk and neighboring counties,” says Vondran. “Already, TAG brand management staff is working with clients throughout central Iowa, including Clarke, Mahaska, Marion and Polk Counties.

According to Vondran, the new location will also improve the organization’s ability to meet the state government relations needs of current and prospective TAG clients. Vondran adds, “Today’s more savvy clients recognize the value of a comprehensive branding program that includes web-based social media, traditional advertising and promotions programs, and an effective ‘influencer’ strategy that includes trade associations, community organizations and federal, state and local government relations.”

In addition to its current headquarters in downtown Davenport, TAG also maintains an office in Dubuque, serving clients in that tri-state market.

ADA Website Compliance

The United States Department of Justice has determined that failing to meet the current “AA” level of WCAG 2.0 violates the equal access rights of those with disabilities or limitations. Lawsuits filed across the nation have resulted in significant verdicts and settlements, disruption in business operations and loss of goodwill. Here are a few lawsuits that have been filed:

  • Target – $6,020,000 settlement
    • National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corporation
      Nat’l Fed’n of the Blind v. Scribd Inc., 97 F. Supp. 3d 565 (D. Vt. 2015)
  • H&R Block – $100,000 settlement
    • National Federation of the Blind v. HRB Digital L.L.C.
      National Fed’n of the Blind v. HRB Digital L.L.C., 2014 WL 10319389
  • Pizza Hut – Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, Dismissal or Stay denied.
    • Robles v. Yum! Brands, Inc.
      Robles v. Yum! Brands, Inc., No. 216CV08211ODWSS, 2018 WL 566781, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 24, 2018)
  • 1-800-Flowers – Motion to dismiss denied
    • Gathers v. 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc.
      Gathers v. 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc., No. 17-CV-10273-IT, 2018 WL 839381, at *2 (D. Mass. Feb. 12, 2018)

48.9 million Americans are considered disabled. By making your website compliant, you can make your organization accessible to millions of people. WCAG 2.0 was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the highest authority in web accessibility goals and universal design. Published by W3C, the WCAG 2.0 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is a set of guidelines for making digital content accessible for all users, including those with disabilities. TAG’s developers can make your website compliant with these standards.

Did you miss our recent seminar on online compliance regulations? Watch the full seminar below!

You’ll learn: 

    • What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
    • Who does the ADA apply to?
    • Lessons from recent lawsuits
    • Benefits of a compliant website
    • How is website compliance measured?
    • The new standard: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
    • Synopsis: EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    • Synopsis: Website security

Request a compliance quote from TAG, here.

TAG! You’re It!

Meet Emily Field!

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If you had to describe yourself using three inanimate objects, what would they be?

A house plant – I’m always looking for ways to grow, both personally and professionally. Plus, in this cold Iowa weather, you won’t catch me dead outside.

A planner – Organization is my middle name, or so I think it should be.

Laffy taffy – I think laughter is the best medicine out there, next to red wine, of course. Plus, I’m a total sweet tooth!

So, Emily, we hear you have a dog by the name of Pierce. If you could dress Pierce up in any costume what would it be?

You know how everyone claims they have the best dog?! I find it hard to believe! Clearly, they haven’t met Pierce. Recently, Pierce dressed up as a Beanie Baby for Halloween! I don’t know about you, but I sure thought he looked like one handsome fella!

Pierce

TAG sends you on an airplane over the Pacific to have a meeting with a client. The plane malfunctions leaving you on a deserted island. You have one book, one movie, and one other object with you. What are they?

  • The Woman in Cabin 10. If you haven’t picked this page-turner up, do so immediately!
  • Do nine seasons of The Office count as one movie?
  • Of course, Pierce. Someone has to keep me company!

Finally, what is your favorite part about working at TAG?

The list really does go on and on. Every day I come to work I learn something new and am challenged to think in fresh, new ways for each and every one of our clients. Every member of the creative team surrounds me with constant support – they really are my own set of personal cheerleaders!

TAG Expands Service Line Offerings

TAG Expands Service Line Offerings

 

Davenport, Iowa – The region’s most comprehensive marketing and communications services provider is expanding its client offerings. TAG has established a Public Relations/Public Affairs practice within the agency. In making the announcement, TAG Chief Executive Officer, Mike Vondran says, “Focus on new, ‘break-through’ digital marketing tactics has ignited TAG’s success and client growth in recent years. But, it also has distracted many TAG clients from more traditional, ‘tried-and-true’ marketing activities. By offering a ‘one-stop-shopping’ solution, our clients will now benefit from a more coordinated and highly effective marketing program.”

According to Vondran, this new TAG specialty practice is a response to growing client recognition of the value of broader, coordinated customer outreach beyond the ‘social-sphere.’ Services provided by the new practice include general interest media and trade press relations, government affairs and advocacy, guerilla marketing and special events. “These tactics influence and strengthen brand image when employed in conjunction with additional web-based and social media marketing,” Vondran adds.

TAG’s Public Relations/Public Affairs practice is led by TAG Senior Vice President, Ken Croken, who joined the firm earlier this year. Croken served as Chief Marketing Officer at Genesis Health System. He previously led the consumer technology practice at Edelman PR Worldwide in New York City and was the corporate communications “lead” for the global government industry marketing division of IBM Corporation in Washington, D.C.

Commenting on the announcement, Croken says, “While the marketing and sales landscape has changed dramatically over the past 25 years, one key principle has not. Comprehensive and relentless brand management is critical to consumer preference and business success. New trends and shifting circumstances only underscore the imperative of a ‘go-to-market’ strategy that employs all effective tactics, not just the most recent.”



TAG, established in 1990, began with a firm foundation in broadcast production and media. Since then we’ve evolved to meet the needs of our clients and build their brands.
TAG provides web design and development, social media marketing, video production, SEO, public relations, public affairs and much more. We invest in the stories and success of our clients and meet every challenge with creative thinking and enthusiasm. For more information visit www.tagteam.agency.

Summertime in Dubuque

Hey, guys—guess what? It’s finally summertime! If you’re looking for some ideas of things to do in Dubuque on a fine summer day, I’ve got you covered.

We're On A Boat

River
One of my favorite summer activities is being on the water. Whether boating, kayaking or canoeing, being outside on the Mississippi River is always a day well spent—just don’t forget your sunscreen! Can’t swim and prefer to stay on land? No problem—enjoy the water from one of the many waterside establishments in the area! My personal favorite, with a view that just can’t be beat, is The View Restaurant and Bar on the marina at Mud Lake just north of town—breathtaking!

You can rent kayaks, stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) and canoes from Fever River Outfitters and even take SUP lessons from Big River SUP. Renting boats is easy, too! Just visit American Lady Cruises—they rent pontoons and charter ships for dinner cruises! Looking to buy? Visit Hawkeye Boat Sales and you’ll be cruising the Mississippi in no time.

Music

The summer is alive with the sound of music in Dubuque! My friends and I take advantage of all of the live music opportunities throughout the summer—especially when they are outdoors and on the weekends! Dubuque Main Street and the Dubuque Jaycees put on Dubuque … and All That Jazz!—a monthly concert series on Friday nights with local bands at Town Clock Plaza. Summerfest Dubuque follows suit with live music at the Town Clock Plaza for all to enjoy, with an added bonus—it’s a fundraiser for the Dubuque Area Labor Management Council.

Farmer’s Market

What’s better than eating healthy? Eating fresh, healthy foods that support local businesses and growers! Spend a Saturday morning supporting local vendors at the Dubuque Farmers’ Market—a market that extends more than three city blocks on Iowa Street. I’ll share some of my favorite finds with you:

  • Freddie’s Popcorn (need I say more?)
  • Anything from The Food Store! You MUST try the eggrolls!
  • Fresh produce (tomatoes are my personal favorite)
  • Hand-made mittens—that’s right, the Farmer’s Market stays open through the end of October

Local Businesses

Paradise Distilling Co—Locally owned and operated, Dubuque’s very own distilled rum is a treat, like having the tropics in our own backyard!

L. May Eatery—Who doesn’t love a brick oven pizza and a glass of vino on the Main Street sidewalk? Feeling fruity? Check out the sangria! L. May is a must in town!

Dubuque Marina & Yardarm—This is a great place to visit by land or water, day or night! They offer a courtesy dock for boaters, a great deck to enjoy the sun during the day and a menu for lunch and dinner. Raining? No problem—a spacious covered bar and indoor seating keep the good times rolling because at night, the Yardarm hosts rockin’ bands!

 

These are just a few of my favorite (summer) things! If there’s something that you love about summertime in Dubuque that I’ve left off my list, share it with us in the comments!

Marry content and execution for truly impactful video marketing

The importance of production value can’t be overlooked when creating a successful video marketing strategy. It matters both what you say and how you say it, which we refer to as content and execution.

Content: what do you want to tell your audience?

The first part of producing an effective video is creating great content. At TAG, we often collaborate with our entire creative team to get the best ideas on the table and develop content that is well-crafted, direct and concise.

Execution: how do you want to deliver that message?

The other part of high production value is the execution of your message delivery. How you deliver your content is a huge part of your video’s effectiveness. For instance, emotional messaging enhances your message and overall brand.

 

Find out more about production value and TAG’s video skills on our website. For high quality content and execution, TAG… we’re it!