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Employing Smarter Graphics for Smarter Content Marketing

by Kenneth Rudich

(Editor’s Note:  The text below is the script that we wrote for this video.  It may provide you with some insight on how a written script gets converted into a visually-oriented content delivery mechanism.  It’s also worth noting that the video itself is another example of our signature process for creating a Stylized PowerPoint-to-Video.  You can learn more about our Stylized PowerPoint-to-Video process here.)

Shortly after launching the MSM blog, we decided to stop using generic stock photos to go with our written posts.

Instead, we wanted to create unique and original graphics that our readers wouldn’t find anywhere else, unless someone borrowed one of ours unbeknownst to us.

But more than that, we wanted the graphics to really complement the content in the post.  Whether to add still more information or just serve as a visual enhancement, the idea was to have both the text and the graphics beautifully wedded together.

So as we embarked on this path, we began fashioning a fresh new graphic for each and every post.  And now we’d like to show you a few examples.

As we proceed, bear in mind that the graphics we’re about to show are built in either layers, or piece by piece.  Each piece in this one, for instance, represents some type of a cost, if not financial in nature than in time consumption.  To finish it off, we added a blue filter overlay and the words “hidden costs.”

The final product then accompanied a blog post titled, “6 hidden costs of small business internet marketing.”

Of course, some graphics are easier to create than others.  Here we have a caterpillar that metamorphoses into a butterfly.  As you can tell from the text, this post discusses a marketing concept known as transformative value.  See the connection?

Speaking of value, we’ve developed a visual we call a generic value chain for marketing.  Much of what we do derives from this concept.

For example, this graphic comes from a post titled, “The Breadth and Scope of Brand Name Development.”  The point made in the article is that a brand must be well-managed across the entire value chain if it is to succeed at producing a positive customer experience.

This graphic is part of a series that discusses how the University of Phoenix discovered a market niche opportunity before opening its doors in 1976.  The niche is represented by the red bands at the bottom.  Back then, these two student groups were frequently underserved by traditional colleges and universities.

Another recent post was titled, “Insights for Tapping Growth in African American Buying Power.”  The Nielsen Company estimates that African American buying power will be nearly $1 trillion annually, and it is projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015.  Can you see how the design of this graphic captures that idea?

Shortly after that post we published another about how the black TV universe is on the verge of growing larger with the addition of four new African-American-focused networks.  It was titled, “Tapping Growth in African American Buying Power Made Easier.”  As you might have guessed, it’s a target marketing opportunity.

This graphic is probably about the closest we’ve yet come to creating an infographic.  We call it the big picture perspective.  For instance, here’s our value chain.  Above that we have the inputs that go into creating value across the value chain.  Then there’s the outputs.  These either bring in customers or help to reduce the cost of doing business.  And finally, the outcomes.  These are the ultimate aim of every business.  If you read the blog post, it’ll walk you through the content of this graphic in far more detail than we have time for now.

Brand management is another area of interest to us.  Especially the importance of carefully building a brand image and protecting it.

We’ve lately seen some bigger brand names struggle with this.  For instance, the media got ahold of a video showing a mouse cavorting through a plastic bag of hamburger buns at a Philadelphia McDonalds.  We later booked the mouse for a photo shoot.  He’s kind of a photogenic little fellow, don’t you think?

Best Buy has been having a particularly rough time.  This post was titled, “A Big Brand Tumbles from Bluster to Fluster.”  We chose the appearance of a broken brand image after observing numerous customer complaints scattered across the internet since Christmas of 2011.

Then the CEO had to walk away due to unseemly conduct.  This came shortly after he had announced the retail giant would undergo a massive restructuring while under his direction.  This post was titled, “Best Buy Brand at Brink of Titanic Twist.”  This is an example of layering several different photographic pieces into one picture.

Next, the chairman and founder resigned from the board after a 36 year run as the company’s director.  This post carried the title, “Best Buy Brand Ever So Close to Drawing Last Gasp.”  I don’t know if you can see it but the tombstone reads: “To the unknown defenders of Best Buy.”  As for us, we want to wish both of them the best of luck.

At the MSM blog, we also run a feature called the social good campaign.  This post was about the concept of sustainability.  It’s the intersection where our social, economic and environmental responsibilities meet.  Clearly, we have some serious issues to address on all three fronts.  BTW, have you ever before seen a traffic light with three green lamps?

And who doesn’t know about Penn States’ recent troubles?  This post was a commentary about the tension that often exists between academia and athletics at major universities like Penn State.  As a rule, the academic side likes to believe that education is the more important of the two.  BTW, this graphic was the product of re-purposing three different photos.  There was a baseball player photo, a student photo, and, believe it or not, the hand with the diploma came from yet another photo.  Now that’s an example of transformative value.

And finally, this probably is the most sophisticated graphic we’ve yet produced.  Maybe in a future video we’ll show you how it was constructed.  It was quite an enterprise, but also fun to do.  Meanwhile, if you don’t know what phishing is or how to protect yourself from it, you simply owe it to yourself to get up to speed before it’s too late.

So there you have it: our philosophy for using graphics, and a few examples from our own image collection.

If you’d like to learn more about making smarter graphics for smarter content marketing, feel free to contact us.  You can find our contact information on our website.
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