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.

Expanding Your Nonprofit Identity: HAVlife™

Understanding your nonprofit’s brand identity is key when telling people what your organization is and its mission. Effectively marketing your non-profit and showcasing its identity gets your message out to more people, allowing for wider reach. You want to reach as many people as possible, and updating your web presence, utilizing social media and public relation events, you can start to gain a following.Havlife_Golf_Outing_Poster

TAG has assisted HAVlife™, an organization aimed at Preventing Lost Potential™ in youth ages 10 – 15, in crafting its brand identity and expressing how important the nonprofit’s mission is. TAG approached crafting an identity reflecting the nonprofit’s mission and resources it offers to students. By giving HAVlife™ a platform and web presence, it would be easier to showcase the organization and its mission.

Designing the HAVlife™ website, TAG clearly defines the HAVlife™ brand with a playful and unique user experience, while showing exactly what the mission is. Featuring videos of students pursuing their passions of artistry, athletics and music, the mission shines through. The site also includes the corresponding chapter pages of the HAVlife™ organization which include Dubuque and Johnson County. Each of these pages feature their own donation buttons and events corresponding to the area.

Havlife_MSO_PosterMarketing your nonprofit across various forms of media is also a necessity. TAG utilized digital design by creating Snapchat filters and digital media, including Facebook and Twitter, to market HAVlife™ to different audiences. Consistently posting and showing people that your organization is active in the community will expand your audience.

Presenting your nonprofit through public relations and hosting fundraisers is a great way to engage people. HAVlife™ hosts several annual fundraising events including the Martini Shake Off™ and a Golf Outing. These events have grown exponentially over the years, with the 2019 Martini Shake Off raising over $65,000 for local community organizations aimed at Preventing Lost Potential™.

If you are interested in learning now the TAG team can help market your nonprofit’s mission, contact us here.

TAG! You’re It!

Meet Anne Spoden Kiss!

Anne is our Vice President of Digital Services and recently returned from maternity leave and has not slept in months. She comes back to TAG because as Cardi B says, “I got a baby, I need some money.” We want to welcome her back with questions about her work ethic and other existential questions:

You have a baby now; did you mark it immediately to make sure people could identify it was yours?P9

I think people will definitely know she’s mine. She can’t even walk and already has a closet full of shoes, and is practicing her side-eye to give when people are saying something crazy to her. She’s got a big personality, loves to be around people and smiles when she farts. She’s a real blessing in our lives!

Working with social media, what do you find to be the most fascinating trend or impact regarding people interacting online?

Social Media has really opened the door to building relationships with people and brands who may be traditionally outside your circle of influence. People have access to influencers, celebrities, politicians, athletes, and brands in ways that never existed before. This isn’t necessarily a trend but it certainly has influenced the way that people are able to communicate, and has shaped the way brands tells stories and advertise online. People are now using social media to have meaningful conversations, inspire change and engage in new communities of people.

So, we hear you plan on starting Real Housewives of Quad Cities, will you be one of the featured housewives or do you see yourself more as the Andy Cohen of the show?

As much as I’d love to be the star of the RHOQC, my life doesn’t have enough activity or drama to make the series a success. I’m more of the puppeteer behind the mayhem (ala Andy Cohen) making casting decisions, editing for drama-filled moments, and living vicariously through women who find spending $25,000 on sunglasses is just in a day’s work. As a perk though, I’d like to be included in each season’s cast trip to somewhere exotic.tenor

 

While most people know Google or how to operate it, you are Google certified. How does that differentiate you from all of us novices?

Being Google Certified means that I possess all of the powers of the internet. I’ve spent hours in training (40+), studied and taken tests to prove that I have all the knowledge of the inner workings of Google, including Google Ads, Analytics, YouTube and more. Having Google Certified specialists at TAG is a true benefit for our clients because it means that we understand how to best utilize the plethora of advertising options through Google to create, plan, place, optimize and analyze meaningful online campaigns that drive results.

What’s the deal with you and Mr. Chris Bridges aka Ludacris?

My obsession with Luda started a LONG time ago. Ludacris “Stand Up” was the only song that I made the DJ promise to play at my wedding, and I joked with my husband that we should name our first-born Luda so their name would be Luda Kiss (get it?). But really, I just love his music and it always puts me in a good mood.

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You’re the host of Donuts and Digital which I’ve heard gets more viewers than the Tonight Show, can we expect big things from D&D in 2019?

Yes, the ratings are incredible! Now that I’m back from my maternity sabbatical, I’m excited to relaunch our series. Viewers can expect some pretty cool things heading into the new year including, new co-hosts, guest appearances, on-location shoots, viewer engagement and more, all with the same great marketing and advertising information they’ve come to expect from D&D!

We were told you own way too many shoes. What is your favorite pair, and is there a pair of shoes you wished you owned?

I mean … how many is too many? Rachel Zoe said that “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak,” so I let my shoes do the talking for me. I unfortunately just had to say goodbye to my favorite pair (RIP) because I wore them out. They were a gorgeous pair of 5-inch cobalt blue stilettos with spikes all over them. I wouldn’t say that there is a specific pair that I’d love to own, but I’m always looking for shoes that I haven’t seen anyone else wear.

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

My favorite part about working at TAG is the people. Our team, clients and partners make this business exciting each and every day. We always get to create something new and share our passion for our craft with others. When you work with, and for, great people, it makes the work so much more engaging!

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!

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! You’re It!

Meet Zach O’Connell! ZO_3

Zach recently celebrated his two-year anniversary at TAG and has been creating inventive designs and eating oatmeal every morning but today, we ask him about his creative process and other thought-provoking questions.

If you had to describe yourself using a kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?

I am a knife because of how sharp I am.

What helps you get into that creative space to design?

I am most creative when I am able to really focus on what I’m doing with a clear mind, so I will do things like go on a walk during my lunch break to help me get into that space. I also do a lot of sketching quickly, get a lot of ideas out before taking it to the computer.

You have a time machine. You can go back to any time period to have dinner and conversation with 3 people. Who are they and why?

First, I would pick Walt Disney to hear about the humble beginnings of what has become a massive company.

Second, I would pick one of my ancestors like my great great grandfather because I don’t know really anything about them and it would be interesting to learn more about where I come from.

Third, Steve Jobs, because I could hear about the early days of Apple, but more importantly, I hope he would be able to tell me about the early days of Pixar as well.

Tell me one thing about design that everyone outside of that world might not understand?

How valuable it is.  A lot of work goes into making things look good and function well, and it can have a massive impact on how we interact with the world around us.

You find yourself trapped in the board game Jumanji, do you think you survive or is it Game Over? giphy

Am I allowed to watch the movie before entering the game, so I can remember how to get out? Regardless, I’ll make it out.

What are your 3 favorite projects you have worked on at TAG? 

Three of my favorite projects I’ve worked on are: Logo and website design for Smokestack, packaging re-design for Hungry Hobo, and I still think it’s cool when I see Genesis buses driving around town with artwork I created on them.

When is your ideal bed time?

I used to be a pretty devoted 11:00 pm guy, but recently I have been getting up earlier and have transitioned to more of a 10:00 pm person (sometimes it’s more like 9:30. Teenage me would be shocked).

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

My favorite part about working at TAG is getting to be creative with a great team every day!

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.