Imagine that your company has just hired a new salesman. This guy never gets sick, never takes a day off, never goes on vacation. He is quite the social butterfly–wearing your company’s logo everywhere he goes and recommending your brand to everyone he meets. Sounds like the perfect salesman, right?

From posters and displays to dasher boards at ice arenas, signs are your 24/7 sales force. They communicate the best of your company to the public, promote your brand and aid in customer recall. But like any salesman, your signs need a little guidance to ensure maximum effectiveness. Here are a few tips for reducing clutter and ensuring a clear and effective message:

Business Signage

Business SignageThe signage at your business identifies your location, provides information your clients need (e.g. hours open) and sets a welcoming tone. It should not overwhelm or confuse potential customers with superfluous details. A pleasingly simple and elegant design shows a respect for your clients that they will appreciate and remember.

Ice Arena Dasher Boards

With ice arena dasher boards, simplicity is the best strategy. A simple tagline, a good logo and (at most) a website will be enough to brand your business with confidence. Signage: Dasher board As fans attend hockey games throughout the year, they will notice your dasher and associate your business with their team. Your dasher’s presence endears them to your company and can be the difference maker between you and your competition.

Posters and Displays

Signage: Posters and displaysPosters and display art typically require a little more creative juice than dashers, but the message must still be simple and clean to have an impact. While posters and displays allow for more text and photos than dashers, your designer must keep your message focused with attractive graphics and large, easy-to-read typography.

Resist the temptation to pack in as much information as possible, as this will overwhelm your audience and dilute your message. Even the wildest designs will have the biggest impact with a focused idea, consistency, balance and clarity.

At their best, signs are direct, simple and impactful. While they can brand your company to the public like no other medium, they require a disciplined approach and an understanding of your audience and their environment. With an uncluttered design, a powerful message and a great location, your team of signage salesmen will persuade new and repeat customers time and time again.

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Check out this cool Channel 12 feature story starring our very own Marilyn Bina. Marilyn loves her job here at Prime and has no plans to retire anytime soon!

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5 Tips to Brand Your Business, Prime Advertising & DesignWe’ve all heard how important it is to “brand” your business. But what does that even mean? And how important is it really? I like to think of it like this: We as individuals “brand” ourselves and we’re naturally drawn to others that do it well. These people tend to have a strong sense of self. You know what I’m talking about–that guy you see on the street with the handlebar mustache and the funky bow-tie. Immediately, I think he’s one cool dude. Why? It’s not the actual mustache (how does he eat with that thing anyway?). It’s his strong sense of self that I’m drawn to. It’s the “I’d-sit-down-and-have-a-beer-with-that-person” factor.

That’s what you want for your business. You want people to be drawn to your brand so they do business with you. Sounds pretty great, right? Follow these five tips and your business will be just as awesome as Mr. Handlebar Mustache Guy.

1.  Define Your Business. If you don’t, no one else will.

What is your mission? What makes your products/services different? What do your customers already think of your company? What do you want them to think about you? What do your customers want from you? When you feel you’ve explored this enough, move on to #2.

2.  Get a Killer Logo. Love it. Live it. Get a tattoo of it (Just kidding, that last part is optional).

If Mr. Handlebar Mustache Guy didn’t have the handlebar I probably would have walked right by without noticing him. The same goes for a company without a great logo–they can go unnoticed. Find a great designer and share #1 with them. It will be the best thing you can do to ignite your own passion and your employees’ passion for your business. A visual representation of who you are and what you stand for is powerful.

3.  Implement.

This step is where some businesses fall off. Self-discovery and creative processes are engaging and interesting. Implementation, on the other hand, can be tedious but is equally important. Every aspect of your business should reflect your brand. Every piece of communication should accurately show your brand. Does your auto-signature reflect your brand? Is your logo sized properly on all mobile devices? How are your phones being answered? What are your salespeople wearing to client meetings?

4.  Be consistent.

Make the implementation of your brand a habit. Communicate your expectations with your employees. Get them on board. If your logo should be a certain size and in the upper right hand corner of all proposals, make sure to set that expectation and follow through with it. It’s helpful to create a “spec sheet” and templates for everyone within your organization to use.

5.  Be true.

It’s easier than you would think to “muddy” your brand. You are busy. Details can get missed. New influences come in to play. Stay true. Communicate and follow through with who you are and what you stand for.

These five steps will put you on the right path to a strong brand. And next time you see Mr. Handlebar Mustache Guy buy him a microbrew of his choice.

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With the recent launch of their snazzy website, IGO Legacy Hotel Group is quickly becoming a rising star in the hotel industry. IGO Legacy Hotel Group’s new and improved website is bright, easy to navigate and features responsive design. This allows each page to resize and reformat for computers, tablets and phones of any screen size.

Another way IGO Legacy Hotel Group stands out from the crowd is through eye-catching promotional products. IGO Legacy Hotel Group creatively incorporates their fun orange logo into fashionable everyday items, including watches, pedometers, mouse pads, pens and stationery. Doesn’t that watch look gorgeous?

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IGO Legacy Hotel Group caters to corporate travelers, tour groups, family vacationers and anyone else in need of a good night’s rest. With 12 locations around major cities in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, every IGO Legacy Hotel Group hotel is equipped with convenient perks and benefits. These include:

  • Complimentary High-Speed WiFi
  • Free Hot, Home-Style Breakfast
  • Indoor Pool & Whirlpool
  • Fitness Center
  • Plenty of Free Parking
  • Pre-Registration w/ Key Packets ready
  • Customizable Reservations
  • Volume Pricing
  • Large Meeting Rooms

In addition to these amenities, each IGO Legacy Hotel Group hotel is located near fun attractions for the whole family, including shopping malls, sports centers, museums, wineries, raceways, amusement parks, zoos and more!

IGO Legacy Hotel Group’s happy, confident employees are the sign of a company that truly cares. With a focus on personal and professional growth, development and education, IGO Legacy Hotel Group works hard to invest into every single member of their team. Learn more about positions available on the careers page.

Prime is proud to call IGO Legacy Hotel Group one of our clients and we are excited to keep working with them in the future. From responsive websites to stylish watches and even more creative promotional products, Prime is here to help your company stand out in every way!

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After a very strong finish to 2015, we enter 2016 full of anticipation. To kick things off, we’ve assembled our top predictions for the New Year.2016 predictions

  1. Industry statistics suggest smartphones and tablets account for over 60% of all online traffic, making the significance of search, content and responsive web even greater in 2016.
  1. The importance of custom and direct mail print products will continue to evolve in meaningful ways.
  1. Just when we think we made it through one of the mildest winters on record, we’ll get buried by a massive snowstorm.
  1. As more companies understand the importance of social media and web analytics, “ready, fire, aim” will be replaced with “ready, aim, fire.”
  1. The use of images and video will continue to increase from the existing staggering numbers. Taking YouTube as an example: there are 1 billion YouTube users and 4 billion YouTube video views per day, yet only 9% of small businesses use YouTube.
  1. I may have put more revolutions on the wheel of my branded pizza cutter last year than on the tires of my SUV, and in 2016, quality promotional items that are useful in daily life will continue to be intelligent marketing tools.
  1. We will experience further recognition that all websites are not created equally, responsive is pretty much a requirement and that design is only one ingredient in the important recipe for a successful website.
  1. Tank the office dog will add a mid-afternoon nap to his already scheduled afternoon nap.
  1. Less will be more. Distilled marketing messages will be simpler and cleaner.
  1. As business gets more competitive, the successful people will continue to be generous. This idea comes from a blog post on Addicted 2 Success about a best-selling book, The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea. In the book the authors share five “laws” for achieving success in business:
  • Value: Your worth, professionally speaking, is determined by how much more you give in value than what you take in payment.
  • Compensation: How much you get paid is a result of how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
  • Influence: Your influence grows as you place other people’s needs first.
  • Authenticity: It’s difficult to provide great value if you have no passion for your work. Successful people are genuinely excited about what they do, get excited about what they do, or they find something else to do. They don’t fake it.
  • Receptivity: If you don’t know how to comfortably receive from others, you don’t understand how to give value effectively.

And there you have it, our top 10 predictions for the year. Best wishes for a healthy and successful 2016!

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When the marketing industry looks back at 2015, it will be viewed as another innovative and exciting year. And for those of us here at Prime Advertising & Design, we couldn’t agree more. Web and search technologies reached new heights, custom print opportunities continued to evolve and photography and videography experienced record use. As 2015 winds down, we take a quick look back on the trends and times that helped define 2015 both within our own office as well as across the marketing industry.

Settling In

2015 was Prime’s first full year in our new office and we couldn’t be happier with the larger space which has allowed for necessary expansion. As our staff has grown, so too has the space for offices and work stations.  A new conference room dedicated to promotional items is a favorite meeting space for clients who can size their clothing, select color schemes for office items and maybe even give that branded Frisbee a toss! Our in-house video and photography area has also expanded, and from the front to the back door, 2015 proved to be the year we used nearly every inch of space in our new home.

The Year of Search, Were You Lost or Found?

Dubbed Mobilegeddon, one of the first major announcements of 2015 came in April when Google created a great deal of buzz and consternation by releasing a new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. This change means that websites with responsive design are favored in Google’s mobile search results, which heightened the awareness and needs of businesses to take their website into the new frontier.

Super Social

With more than 1 billion people on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, implementing social media into a marketing plan is a must for businesses of all sizes. We found 2015 to be a year when many businesses stepped up their effort to not just have a social presence, but to invest in it with regular content-rich updates. We enjoyed a successful year of our own in the social media realm. We published our Prime blog on a weekly basis, which attracted a nice audience by providing insightful, entertaining and engaging content.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Our staff at Prime is dedicated to helping our clients improve and grow their businesses and we take that responsibility very seriously. We also love to unwind as a group and, throughout the year, gathered for a variety of activities ranging from barbecues to bowling. A recent favorite was our build-your-own omelette breakfast courtesy of The Lookout Catering. We also enjoyed participating in community events which included handing out candy during the Maple Grove Days parade!

As we close the book on a great year and look forward to the first chapter of 2016, be sure to sign up for our new Prime Pulse email newsletter. This will be a short and timely collection of project updates, industry insight and, of course, some entertaining photos and videos taken along the way of our journey in 2016!

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The Prime team enjoyed a wonderful night of great food and great company at Buona Sera Italian restaurant on Thursday. After dinner, our receptionist Suzanne won the grand prize: a 40-inch smart TV! All in all, Mark & Marilyn’s annual holiday dinner was a huge success. Thanks to Addy for documenting our evening with these photos!

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Prime’s recent all-company breakfast and benefits meeting was full of egg-citement thanks to Mike from The Lookout Catering and his gourmet omelette station. Delicious food, important project updates and plenty of laughter made for a fun and productive meeting. We’d also like to thank Austin for capturing these great photos!

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When the Prime team set out to create a weekly blog at the start of 2015, there were as many questions as there were answers. Can we find enough content? Who is going to write it? Can we maintain a regular schedule? Where will we get photos and videos? Maintaining a BlogWho is going to post the blog on the website and social media channels?

These were just a few of the questions that came up as the team assembled to develop and execute the plan. But thinking back to our initial meeting, having a team and having a plan were two of the major keys to our successful 2015 blog campaign.

What else has helped us develop a blog that has generated a number of business opportunities and created a nice audience? I’d be lying if I said it didn’t require a bit of coaxing, plotting and pleading from time to time. However, there are several things we did from the very start that helped us stay the course and consistently create high-quality blog posts throughout the year.

First, we started with a plan. We established a frequency (in our case once a week) that we were able to maintain. Our plan also included an editorial calendar, which we developed during a brainstorming session. From there we invited staff to participate by selecting one of the ideas we came up with or by using one of the topics as inspiration for their own idea.

Next, we communicated the goals and objectives of the blog, as well as the ‘voice’ in which we wanted to communicate. We decided our blogs should be informational, educational, insightful and entertaining. We have a talented staff who are subject matter experts in various areas of marketing, design, web and publishing. We wanted to leave our readers with at least one powerful soundbite that they could apply to their day.

We wrote some timely and entertaining blogs to help our readers get to know us a bit better, such as how we spent the summer with family and friends. We gave some well-deserved space to our office dog, Tank, and had our staff photographer do such a great job capturing photos of our company BBQ that you could almost smell the jerk chicken on the grill.

Some of our evergreen content included tips and best practices in the areas of local search, building a great website and making an advertising decision/media buy. We also made it a priority to send along best wishes on national holidays as well as recognizing the amazing philanthropy of our clients.

As we look back on the past 12 months, it’s been a fun year of sharing stories and information relevant to our clients and how they conduct their business. We have developed a nice audience that has engaged with the blog content and followed up with us to continue the conversation.

So what are you waiting for? With the right strategy, tactics and team, you too can create and maintain a successful company blog!

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Organizing & PlanningWhat’s more exciting than opening gifts during the holidays? Opening a gift you actually want or need (like a cool piece of technology) or you can actually use (like a great watch) is extra special. While a Chia Pet or another tin of multi-flavored popcorn provides the formality of wrapping a present for someone else to unwrap, putting lots of time and effort into a gift that will give someone a huge WOW factor is much more fun.
We all understand that it’s the thought–not the gift–that counts, but how much thought really goes into giving one of those products stacked high next to the checkout counter?
If picking out exciting and meaningful gifts is a struggle for you, try repurposing the same organizing and planning tactics you use every day at work. Here are four tips that can help you throughout this process and your holiday shopping adventures.

1. Note-taking

Whether you prefer pen and paper, voice recording on your smartphone or a note-taking app like Evernote, it is important to find a solution you will use consistently. From jotting down lists to prioritizing tasks to more productive meetings, organizing your note-taking helps you achieve a more efficient workflow. It can also remind you of the great gift ideas that randomly pop into your head.

2. Emails

Does your email inbox get flooded every day with promotions, newsletters and other subscriptions? Keep your inbox manageable and prevent your most important emails from getting buried by sorting and unsubscribing. Even if you have to set aside 30-45 minutes toward organizing your inbox, it will reduce clutter and save you lots of time in the long run. Keep your holiday-related emails in a separate folder so that when it comes time to shop, you can easily reference them for gift ideas and great deals.

3. Digital Files

Do you often find yourself wasting time looking for papers? Go digital by scanning important documents and saving them in the cloud! Your documents will be more secure, much easier to find and backed up even if your computer passes away. Cloud-based tools like Google Drive and Dropbox are very affordable and offer ample storage space. This is a great way to organize your holiday receipts and track how and where you spent your hard earned dollars!

4. Coworkers

While improving organizing and planning on your computer and smartphone is important, don’t forget about the human element. Just as you work to stay on the same page with your coworkers by sending out weekly progress reports and having regular discussions, use them as resources for holiday-related discussions on what is new and exciting this holiday season!
Applying the same work-related organizing and communication skills to your holiday shopping will set you on the right track to building the perfect gift list. With any luck, you will be done in plenty of time to relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!

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