Get To Know Latricia Jones

The face behind accounting at TAG.

 

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We sat down with our very own, Latricia Jones to get know what makes Latricia…well, Latricia.

 

We’re so glad you’re here, Latricia! Rumor has it you’re a Davenport native?

I am! I’ve lived in Davenport since ‘91, but moved away for a few years. Now I’m back!

We’re sure happy you decided to return. What’s one thing you missed while you were gone?

The farmer’s market and being able to go down by the riverfront anytime I want! I also love that there’s always something going on. From fairs to festivals, you can always find something to do.

We agree! What is the best thing to happen to you in the past month?

I found out I got this job! I was so excited to return to Davenport. I had a matter of days to pack and move here, but was so thrilled!

We may be a little biased, but we think TAG is a pretty great place to work. Why do you like working right in the heart of Davenport?

I like to walk down to the River Center and sit and eat lunch. Because TAG is located right downtown you always get the scoop on what’s going on.

 And your favorite part about working at TAG so far?

TAG gave me the opportunity to come back home!

…and what are you most excited for?

I am looking forward to seeing how TAG will help me grow professionally. I would love to see different aspects of the company and become well-rounded.

When the clock strikes 5 o’clock, where can we find you?

Half-way down the street. I always have a million things to do and a life that needs me. I might have to run to the store, clean, mow, cook dinner for my daughter…

 You’re making me hungry! What’s on the menu for tonight?

Italian parmesan crusted pork chops, some green beans, potatoes and rice…

And for dessert?

Peach cobbler!

Have room for one more? If you could cook a meal for anyone in the world who would it be?

I’d cook for my grandmother, to say thank you. I would make her a beef wellington, because it requires a lot of love and detail – it’s not cheap either! It’s not a meal you can just throw into the oven, you really have to take your time and put effort into it. I’d throw in her favorite sides, too!

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s not really advice, but the best thing I’ve been told is “I knew you could do it, I never doubted you.” To me that was very encouraging because it reaffirmed the fact that I have cheerleaders right behind me cheering me on.

That’s such great advice. What’s one thing you’re most proud of accomplishing?

Going back to college. At the time I had to balance caring for a young daughter as a single parent and working three jobs to pay for school all while taking full-time classes. I don’t think anyone ever has an excuse not to go back to school, you can, it’s just not going to be easy.

Did you always know you wanted to get into accounting?

I have been good at math ever since I could count. My mom always told me I would do something with numbers. I’m pretty good with words too! My mom used to call me her “little dictionary.”

It sounds like you’re pretty close with your family. What’s your favorite family tradition?

Vacationing! We love to take big family vacations every couple of years.

Where’s next on the list of destinations?

We don’t have any plans right now, but I’ll go wherever they want to go. I’d really like to go to Fiji, but I’m saving for a house, so that comes first!

You’ve probably caught on by now, but here at TAG we love a good donut. So, we’re dying to know, are you a donut person?

I do like donuts! My favorite are glazed and cake!

 

We are so thrilled to welcome Latricia to the TAG family and know she will be such a great addition to our accounting team. Keep your eye peeled for more TAG employee highlights to come and while you’re waiting, check out our website to learn more about the talented individuals that make up TAG!

4 Basic Things Your Brand Needs to Excel at Digital

The fall season is the perfect time to embrace your inner basic. “Do you want whip cream with that pumpkin spice latte?” You bet your sweet Aunt Sally I do! Even when it comes to your digital strategy, think basic.

At TAG, when we talk about a digital strategy, we’re not simply talking about your website. It’s all of your digital components and how those components work together to deliver results.

Those components include social media, websites, analytics, digital ads, AdWords, etc. -  you get the picture. It’s a lot to think about and monitor, so start slow. Below is what the TAG team believes are the four basic elements your brand needs to master.

1 | Mobile Responsive Website

A mobile responsive website means that your website will be just as clear and easy to navigate on a computer, as it is on a smart phone or tablet. Mobile responsive sites aim to minimize resizing, panning and scrolling so that your consumer can have a seamless interaction with your site and its content.

According to Adobe, nearly 8 out of 10 consumers would stop engaging with a piece of content if it’s not displaying well on their device. And, with roughly 60% of all internet access attributed to mobile traffic (which will continue to grow), can your brand afford to not be mobile responsive?

Think of your own habits. We’re all busy and when you’re looking for information fast, you don’t want to find yourself accessing a website on your phone and constantly having to zoom in to look at the text. It’s a hassle, and consumers and clients alike will find themselves seeking a mobile experience elsewhere.

2 | Social Media

Curious as to another digital tactic where most traffic comes from mobile? Ding, ding, ding! Social media. If you’re a brand, it’s imperative for you to have a focused social strategy. This doesn’t just mean throwing up pictures to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day (although, we do have a tactic for using National Days…), it means being in touch with your audience and knowing what kind of content they’re  looking for on your social media accounts.

Advertising on social media platforms has blown up over the past couple of years, and it will only continue to grow. Create a goal and then create a social media ad campaign that will deliver those results. For example: If you want people to visit your website, create a Facebook Ad campaign that will send traffic to your site. Or, if you’re wanting some exposure for your brand and your audience is relatively young, consider creating a Snapchat filter for a local event you’re sponsoring or that aligns with your brand.

3 | SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

When a potential customer is searching for your product or services online, what would they type into the search bar? Write them down, and then incorporate those words throughout your website because that’s how search engines pull results.

For example, when I type in “home improvement store davenport,” Lowe’s Home Improvement in Davenport is one of the first things to appear. Why? For one, they have home improvement in their name (genius) and it’s also sprinkled throughout their website. If you go to their Company Information page, their description says, “…Lowe’s has been Improving Home Improvement.”

So, if you’re currently dependent upon organic search traffic but aren’t getting the results you want, it’s time to do a word overhaul on your website.

4 | Analytics

Once your website is mobile responsive, your social media tactics and campaigns are running and your search engine optimization is as optimized as it gets, the next step is reviewing the analytics.

If you have a website, make sure it’s set up with a basic Google Analytics tracking code. That way, you’ll be able to see who’s visiting your site, when they’re visiting your site, how long they’re staying, what pages are most viewed, etc. in order to see what’s working with your audience and what’s not.

Social Media sites also have analytics in order for you to see which posts or ads are performing the best. Facebook to Snapchat and everything in between will offer you metrics such as impressions, reach, engagements, click through rates, etc. so that you can see the results, analyze them and then put your money where it makes most sense.

Whether you need help with the basics or if you’re looking to take your digital strategy to new heights, contact the TAG team of social media, web and analytic experts to help you reach your goals.

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Bring Your Social Media Customer Service to Life

Bring Your Social Media Customer Service to Life

A strong social presence allows you to communicate with your customers and build lasting relationships with core target markets and niches. A study by Bain & Company suggests that when companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers, on average, end up spending 20 to 40 percent more with the company. With all the potential social media has tooffer your business, you need to make sure that your social media customer service is top-notch. Here are a few tips to help bring your online customer service experience to life.

Ditch the ScriptDitch the Script While automation is great in most aspects of life, when it comes to responding to customers on social media, you want your responses to be personalized and personable. Responding with personalized messages is time consuming, but we promise that your customers will appreciate your attention to detail and embrace your customer-first focus.

Really listen Talking and responding to customers via social media opens the door to new avenues of truly understanding their needs, wants and concerns. It’s important to stay up-to-date with what consumers are saying about your business on a daily basis, and take into consideration their comments. If consumer comments are consistently negative, think about ways your business could utilize their comments to better your customer experience. If comments are positive, give yourself a pat on the back, and then respond thanking them for their support. Anything you can do to show your audience that you’re listening is great!  

Be speedy When it comes to responding to customers on social media, speed matters. In fact, 32 percent of social media users expect a response with 30 minutes, and 42 percent expect a response within 60 minutes.Bottom line, make every effort you can to respond to your customers as quickly as you can.

Take things offline OfflineNot every issue can be resolved via social media. Sometimes,responses require sensitive customer information and need to be taken offline, or transferred to another channel, like email or phone. But just remember to do this in a way that will not annoy the customer. One study revealed that 37 percent of respondents mentioned that “getting passed around” from agent to agent, or department to department, is a major source of frustration. When taking things offline, do so in a friendly manor, kindly asking your customer to call a specific number or to email your business to further discuss their concerns.   By delivering a great customer experience via social media, you can build longer and stronger relationships, and create more loyal customers. The social media team at TAG understands the importance of a timely social media customer service strategy, and will work with you to ensure that your customers are happy and being heard. Contact us today to learn more!

Web Development Buzzwords: Do You Know What We’re Talking About?

Web Development Buzzwords: Do You Know What We’re Talking About?

Developing a website can be intimidating. Sometimes, it can even seem like web developers are speaking a different language! With the help of our web development experts, we’ve put together a list of 10 development and design terms to help you navigate the world of the web.

Responsive
If a website is responsive, it looks good and functions properly on every device from your desktop, to your phone and anything in between. More and more people are turning to mobile devices to do their Facebook stalking or Googling, so a responsive design is key to having a successful website. For more information on why your website should be responsive, check out this blog post!

“Above the Fold”
If you’re a newspaper reader, you might be familiar with this term already, and it’s pretty easy to understand. When something is “above the fold” it is displayed on your screen without having to scroll. This section is where important pieces of content should be located so that they can’t be missed by website visitors.

Back-End and Front-End
You’ll hear developers refer to the back-end and the front-end of websites. The back-end is the part of the website that visitors do not see, and the front is the part visible to visitors—it’s that simple!

Hosting
A web hosting service is a type of internet service that enables websites to be accessible online, making it available to the public. There are different types of hosting available.

Domain
A domain is the name that the website is branded as. Domains are purchased and can be a combination of letters, numbers and hyphens. For example www.tagteam.agency is a URL, but the domain is tagteam.agency.

Placeholders
In website design, developers and designers often use stock images, video or text while they wait for the content that will actually live on the website. These are referred to as placeholders, and are only used for a limited time until they can be replaced.

Parallax scrolling
Parallax scrolling is a fairly mainstream technique in web design and development.  This refers to the method of moving the background images lower than the foreground images, thereby creating an illusion of depth. Checkout some great examples of parallax scrolling, and get inspired!

Sitemap
Planning out your website’s content can be a difficult task, but it is crucial to its overall success. In order to plan out your content, you’ll need a sitemap. Similarly to your home’s blueprint, a sitemap will help you to plan out the organization of your website.

Wireframe
Like the sitemap, wireframes are done in the early stage of designing. They aren’t very detailed drawings, and are only used to organize content and structures of pages before designing them graphically.

SSL
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layers. It’s a networking protocol used for managing server authentication, client authentication and encrypted communication between servers. SSL keeps sensitive information, like credit card numbers, secure. Without an SSL, data is sent from browsers to web servers in plain text leaving that information vulnerable. Before entering your credit card information, take a look at the URL and make sure it has “https” at the beginning to make sure your information will be secure.

Database
A database is a structured set of data stored in a computer that is organized so that it can be managed, accessed and update easily.

You don’t need to be a web developer to understand some of these web development buzzwords! If your company is ready for a new website, give the experts at TAG a shout!

The Eight Rules of Branding

The Eight Rules of Branding

A brand is an emotional connection that is built through an experiential relationship. Think of a ladder, at the lowest rung your brand exists as a utilitarian commodity. As you climb, the peak is when your brand is linked to an emotional experience.

The goal of our eight rules of branding is to identify how your brand relates to these rules or concepts and where there are gaps. If you’re looking to rebrand or reposition your brand in the market, this is a great place to start!

Rule One: A successful brand is a single idea or concept that stands for something inside the customer’s mind.

We want to boil down your brand into a singular idea or concept. This should be more than just what your products and services are. How do you do business? How do you work with your customers? Work to whittle down your services or products into a single idea that you can own.

Rule Two: Branding consistently conveys your values. They reinforce your commitment to your product and company.

When we get to rule two, a SWOT analysis can help determine your values. Your internal strengths can play a large role in your brand’s values. How do you approach business?

Rule Three: Consumers accept brands that are narrow in scope.

We’ve all been to a restaurant that has hundreds of menu items and ranges from Mexican cuisine to Italian and everything in between. And that begs us to ask the question, “what are you?” You can’t be all things to all people. Narrowing the scope of your audience will enable you to be more successful in the long run.

Rule Four: Successful brands evoke a feeling of leadership.

In rule four, we go back to the brand’s strengths, as well. Position yourself in your market or brand category as a leader by conveying your strengths and how they make you different! For instance, if your company is using technology in a unique way in a category that traditionally doesn’t use technology, position yourself as a leader by demonstrating your expertise!

Rule Five: Communication builds brands.

Communication is vital to building your brand. Create a communication strategy, plotting and identifying when and how to communicate with your consumers. Identify your key messaging and use them in your communication tactics.

Take McDonalds’ for example. Their key message is “I’m lovin’ it.” What’s your core message?

Rule Six: Brand leaders promote and build a category.

For rule six, we’re going to go back to what we learned in rule one. A brand leader should promote the concept of their brand and distinguish themselves in the market place.

What brand comes to mind when you think of organic food? The majority of people will say Whole Foods. In the category of organic foods, Whole Foods is a brand category leader. What word can you own, and become the leader in that market?

Rule Seven: Building a powerful brand requires building a powerful perception of quality.

Just like we break down your brand into a single word and concept, we need to break down the term quality for it to best fit your brand. What does the word quality mean to your brand?

Take a look at Aldi for example. If you purchase a product at Aldi that is not good or not up to your standards, you can return it with no questions asked. That is their definition of quality.

Rule Eight: Sub-branding can erode the power of the core brand.

All of these rules connect and intertwine. Rule eight and rule three go hand-in-hand. Sub-branding by putting your name on everything can actually hurt your brand as a whole.

Virgin Mobile is a great example. They expanded their category to so many things that it makes us ask, “what are you?” It’s just another way of saying you can’t be all things to all people.

 

At TAG, we offer clients a Brand Workshop where we go over these eight important rules, and help to determine who you are as a brand and where you want to go. Often, we can determine a lot of this information through hearing stories about your company or brand and use those to demonstrate what your company values. Could your brand benefit from a Brand Workshop? Contact us today to learn more about how a Brand Workshop could be beneficial!

TAG Employee Highlight: Brian Buckles

TAG Employee Highlight: Brian Buckles

A creative problem solver, Brian Buckles, Director of Design Services at TAG, works with our clients to help build their brands.

Brian is a Bettendorf native and a graduate of Iowa State University.

“I always knew I wanted to do something with art. My high school art teacher here in Bettendorf was a huge factor in my career path. He was an awesome teacher and taught us at a college level. He showed me different career opportunities for artists and encouraged me to pursue graphic design at Iowa State.”

Art has been his passion since he was little—but not his only passion.

Buckles Shark“When I was little I went back and forth between wanting to be an artist and wanting to be a marine biologist because I love sharks. Shark week is one of my favorite times of year. I even have tapes from when I was a kid of recorded shark shows.”

In fact, he loves sharks so much that if he were a superhero, he would be Shark Man.

“I’m not sure what my powers would be. I could have a great sense of smell, because sharks have an awesome sense of smell. But my powers would probably be to save the sharks from over-fishing somehow.”

When he’s not working, Brian’s time revolves around his family.

“Family is the most important thing to me. I love spending time with my three kids, and I really enjoy playing and watching basketball, too. We don’t have Netflix or cable anymore, but when we did I used to binge watch shows like New Girl. ”

His attention to detail and creative eye makes him fantastic at his job. His favorite part about working at TAG is getting to work with people who are specialists in their respective fields.

“I try to use whatever God-given abilities I have to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Of course, designing to produce effective communication that ultimately leads to increased sales for our client’s is incredibly important, and I take great pride in helping them accomplish those goals. But that moment when they first see something we’ve created and their face just lights up; that little moment makes all of it worth it.”

How does Brian sustain the energy to produce such amazing works of art? He can’t live without coffee!

Learn more about Brian and his talents by visiting our website portfolio.

Expanding Our Presence in Dubuque

Expanding Our Presence in Dubuque

Kathleen HerberIn 2012, TAG was proud to open a second office in Dubuque, Iowa, filling a need in the region for a marketing and communications firm with an emphasis on strategic planning and growth.

As the Vice President Tri-State Region, Kathleen Herber and the team work to expand the reach of the TAG community through developing partnerships with local businesses. We have been partnering with firms within the Tri-State area for more than 25 years, and our expansion is a result of the local market needs that have been growing exponentially over the last few years. TAG is uniquely qualified to serve those investing in brand development and management as a full service firm. We pride ourselves on providing real continuity and genuine focus on brand and its successful integration and execution with real passion.

“Our physical growth is in direct response to the business growth we’ve seen in the last several months. The Tri-State region has really welcomed TAG with open arms and has been so very kind in terms of expanded relationships. Our mission at TAG is to become our client’s most valued business partner and we are very grateful that so many Dubuque area businesses and industries have given us that opportunity. We look forward to further growth and expansion in the months and years to come,” adds Mike Vondran, CEO of TAG.

Brand value in this digital age comes in a variety of messaging platforms, and while the marketplace is recognizing this, they rely on partners they can trust to truly capitalize on their brand equity and strategic messaging. That’s where we come in. Our mission is to be recognized as the most valued business partner by our clients. We’ve built our team based upon the ability to adapt, and move quickly and effectively in an evolutionary and responsive way.

Mike HeadshotWe’re building brands, and now with our additional space, we’re going to be able to make an even bigger impact for our clients. We’re excited to continue work in the Dubuque area with our unified commitment, uncommon energy and adventurous spirit!

As a Dubuque native, this expansion means a great deal to Vondran. “Dubuque is my home. I was raised in this community and it provided me with a very firm foundation to build upon. To come home and truly be a part of the local community once again is very rewarding. I am excited to see where we can go in partnership with this great community.”

If you’re in search of a full service agency to build your brand and work with you like no other agency will visit our website!