Blog - Page 3 of 24 - Rock, Paper, Scissors

Posted 07 Nov 2016

Branding Case Study: Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia

We first came to know the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia (CFNEG) when Randy Redner assumed the role of Executive Director in 2015. We have known Randy for quite some time, having worked with him over the years with various organizations he has been a part of. When Randy first came to the CFNEG, he discovered a few branding and identity challenges that needed to be addressed and, like all nonprofit leaders, knew he had to use his resources wisely while working toward a solution.

To get started, Randy started looking at what the CFNEG had in place. “For our first step we started taking inventory of what we had – a physical inventory of printed materials and of the community to see what they did and didn’t know about us, including our board and fund holders as well as people we thought should know about us,” Randy said. The feedback from the community inventory was consistent throughout in that no one had a clear idea of the goals and mission of the CFNEG. From there, Randy decided to take a step back and start looking at potential solutions to help improve the identity of the CFNEG.

The next steps included the beginning of a collaboration between the CFNEG and Rock Paper Scissors to look at what they did have available and start working on the messaging to ensure that it clearly communicated the purpose and mission of the foundation in a way that appealed to both donors and nonprofits. Of the process, Randy said, “We said ‘Okay, let’s take a stab at what this looks like, sounds like, and feels like.’ I tried using different language and words in my presentations to see what did and didn’t stick. We washed and tested this a few times and eventually came back and started building our marketing materials and created a strategy for marketing and communicating ourselves.”

During that process, we carefully looked over the CFNEG’s marketing materials. The existing brochure seemed to blend into the crowd with a mix of blue and gray tones, so we knew that we needed to work in a color to make it pop a bit more while also working with the messaging to make the concept of what the foundation does as simple as possible. “The blues and greys created a quiet and somber feeling, and after interacting with the team at CFNEG and seeing all of the projects they are working on, this was a huge disconnect. This organization is so full of life, energy, and wanting to build a better world, they needed a brand that reflected that,” said Amanda Sutt, CEO and Creative Director of RPS.

The result was the Charitable Giving Account mailer. We maintained some of the blue tones from the original color scheme and added a persimmon accent to the mix to make it a more eye-catching piece and more reflective of the character of the organization. We started with this color to add energy and excitement, but we did not want something as aggressive and dominant as a true red. We have since added more colors to the brand, but this was our first exploration to get the audience comfortable with this brand refresh and to see what kind of feedback we got.

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Next, we moved on to a trifold brochure where we implemented more brand elements, as well as the new messaging. We made the main blue more vibrant and added even more accents than in the previous piece. The more visible brand shift came as we added building block-like shapes to the piece, which gave us the opportunity to add images that would connect with donors and nonprofits alike, as well as the keywords that represent the goals of the CFNEG – give, connect, impact. We changed the colors of the logo ever so slightly. The tagline, “Connecting People who Care with Causes that Matter” remained the same.

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Michelle Drehoff, lead designer for the project, said “The building block shapes are a representation of how various types of elements are able to fit together to create a solid foundation upon which the Community Foundation can build on to impact the community in a greater way. As the elements are combined they create something larger than the the individual parts alone. The Community Foundation is like the master architect that is able to place the pieces together for maximum impact.”

Our next project was to create a magazine piece for the CFNEG to be used as the first annual Giving Report. The giving report highlights specific stories from different donors and nonprofits that have found beneficial connections through the CFNEG. For this piece, we chose a design that played off of the angular shapes found in the trifold brochure to enhance the visual appeal and continued using the vibrant blue and persimmon colors to keep a sense of cohesiveness.

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While all of this was in the works, Randy worked with the CFNEG’s board of directors to develop a new vision statement, revise the mission statement, and build a marketing plan. “It’s the crawl, walk, run,” Randy explained. “Rock Paper Scissors helped us work through the madness and figure out where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.”

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As the CFNEG started using the new marketing pieces and messaging, Randy feels they’ve seen a good response, with increased web hits, better reports from Google Analytics, and their Facebook likes have doubled.

“We’re still building our way out. We’re adding a new client about every three weeks. It’s amazing since we were so stagnant a year ago. We’re just getting started with more to go,” Randy shared enthusiastically.

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Two of our goals for our work with the CFNEG were to be wise with our client’s resources, as well as help Randy in his goal of creating a brand that would appeal to the traditional market of donors, as well as the next generation of philanthropists, and nonprofits of all kinds. We don’t do everything for the foundation, but worked together to select strategic pieces that allows us to move the brand over time while remaining within the CFNEG’s budget and make every dollar count. In this case, we added new elements along the way and later refined the plan as we learned more about the current audience and the target audience groups the foundation wanted to reach.

We love working with the CFNEG to help reshape and grow their branding and have enjoyed the continued partnership with them. We look forward to many more years of collaboration and growth through this partnership.

Posted 31 Oct 2016
power of color

The Power of Color in Branding and Marketing

Did you miss our recent  webinar on The Power of Color? Read on for the full recap, or check out the video at the bottom of this post!

Fall is one of our favorite times of year because it’s such a colorful season here in North Georgia. The leaves are turning to brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow and you can’t miss the colorful pumpkin patches that seem to be on every street. Drawing from the seasonal color inspiration, we want to encourage you to take a closer look at the importance of color and how it applies to your business’ branding and marketing efforts.

Now some of you may be wondering why focusing on color is such a big deal. Color is a reflection of your brand, and each color tends to be associated with certain characteristics or emotions that can trigger either positive or negative associations with your audience. With that in mind, you want to make sure you’re choosing colors that paint an accurate picture of your brand in your audience’s mind. Consider the following:

  • Blue tends to be associated with feelings of trustworthiness, dependability, and commitment.

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  • Orange is energetic and warm, but as Sensational Color shares, it is known for stirring up stronger “love it” or “hate it” responses than other colors do.

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  • Red is naturally exciting and attention grabbing, but can occasionally conjure up negative feelings, especially when related to finances (“in the red”).

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  • Green is most common color appearing in the natural world and as such is typically associated with the environment and represents freshness and growth, but is also associated with money.

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  • Yellow tends to be related to happiness and optimism.

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  • Black is often representative of authority and power, but can quickly become too overwhelming.

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Beyond the different associations one can have with a particular color, it’s important to think about the challenges certain colors may present. For example, sometimes red can either be too aggressive or appear more pink than you want it to. Yellow can be a particularly challenging color to work with because there are different versions and because of the way the human eye perceives the color. To add to the challenge, you may see one shade of yellow on one computer screen and it will look very different on another.

Many times, the challenges often come down to individual perception. For instance, men see a lesser range of colors than women do, which is due to evolution and genetics. Women have more alleles that allow them to see different wavelengths of color, thus seeing more colors.

So how do you ensure the particular sea foam green that’s the main color in your branding looks the same from your printed materials to your website and everything in between? That’s where color systems come into play. Following are three of the more common color systems.

  • CMYK, or Cyan – Magenta – Yellow – Black, is a print industry color model that uses these four colors as primary colors.

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  • RGB, or Red – Green – Blue, is an additive color system that is used in computer monitors, TVs, and in theater. This system only works in devices that employ light.

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  • Pantone Matching System, or PMS, is a commonly used color standardization system that most printers understand. This system not only offers consistency, but also allows you to use colors that can’t be mixed using CMYK.

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Now that you know a bit about each color system, you may be wondering when to choose one over the other. As a general rule of thumb, CMYK is best for full color printing and full color photography; RGB is best for web use; and PMS is best to ensure that branding colors are consistent among printed marketing collateral and other items.

We know we’ve given you a lot of information to think about, so feel free to send us any questions you have about the power of color and how it relates to your business’ branding and marketing efforts.

Posted 06 Oct 2016

We Had a Blast at the RPS 30th Birthday Bash!

The RPS 30th birthday bash was a blast! A great time was had by all as we commemorated 30 years in business with our clients, vendors, and friends. We are grateful to everyone that was able to join us and especially enjoyed hearing your memories of RPS!

Here’s a look back at our big night, as well as some thoughts from Amanda as we look to the future.

As many of you know, I was only going to work for the family business for a year after I graduated college, but eleven years later, I have had the privilege to step in and take the reigns. Thirty years may seem like a long time, but it has flown by. It is made up of moments, people, and projects that we put our heart and soul into. We live in the moment when we are creating so this is how we lose track of time, which makes taking the time to celebrate that much more important to realize how far we have come. It is like hiking a mountain; you get to the top one step at a time, and when you get to the top you can just keep on hiking, or you can look around take it all in. On Friday, September 30th, we chose to take it all in.

I was “hiking” to the summit that Friday when I was picking up balloons for the party. I was waiting for the florist to wrap up when the summit came into view for me and I realized what it means to have a family business for this long. It made me so grateful for what my mom set out to do with this business. I also realized how brave she was to do this, even though she would have never thought of it as brave. It was just what she had to do.

It takes a combination of a lot of hard work, trust, and a little luck to make it to 30, and more of the same to make it to the next 30. So today we look at our pictures from the summit to remember how far we have come and start on our next climb. Thank you all for being a part of our journey so far and we look forward to many new adventures yet to come.

Once again, thanks to everyone that came out to celebrate our 30th birthday! Here’s to the next 30 years!

Posted 30 Sep 2016

The Value of Branding

Did you miss our latest webinar on The Value of Branding? Check out our recap below, or watch the video included at the bottom of this post!

Think about the last time you went to a restaurant and were asked what you wanted to drink. You may have asked for a soda or a pop… unless you’re in Georgia, where everything is Coke. That’s an example of the power of branding. People don’t just know or recognize your logo or products; they ask for them by name. However, that’s only a small part of the value of good branding.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s recap what a brand actually is. A brand is more than a logo, tagline, and color scheme. A brand is the manifestation of a business or organization’s beliefs shown through its products and services, experiences, and interactions. It’s how the audience connects to the business or organization and what they think and feel as they experience the brand first hand.

Branding is what differentiates you from the competition. When branding is done right, it brings in loyal customers that come to you day after day, week after week, and year after year. This relationship is what allows you to charge more for your products and services than your competition. Having loyal customers and the ability to charge more for your products and services offer great value to your business and brand, but that’s only scratching the surface. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover that good branding can position you as a familiar and trustworthy brand people love doing business with.

“A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.” – Seth Godin

There are lots of articles out there about the value of your brand; you can easily do a Google search and find them. We want to look at this from a different perspective and don’t want to just focus on the monetary value of your brand. We want to look at the value of your brand as it is perceived from the people who encounter it. Today we are going to focus on the perspectives of the customer, owner, and employee

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The Customer’s Perspective: If the value is not felt at the customer level, you are in trouble because you’ll begin to lose customers and miss opportunities to reach new ones. That’s why it is extremely important to consider the customer’s perspective as you establish your brand so you can form strong relationships that will positively impact the value of your brand.

  • Consumers trust companies that have invested in their brand. This trust adds value to your brand because you don’t have to keep winning customers over once trust has been established.
  • They also trust companies that are consistent in their branding and messaging. Inconsistency can create doubt and confusion in your clients and can break down their trust in you, but the familiarity of a business with a consistent brand will keep them coming back to you over and over.
  • With only seconds to connect and grasp a customer’s attention, it’s even more important to remain consistent so you build a recognizable and familiar brand. Over time, the familiarity of your brand creates a sense of ownership in your customers, and you can’t beat that kind of loyalty when you’re building your brand.

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Consider these examples. Your brand is your company’s uniform, and a uniformed look makes you more familiar and trustworthy to your customers. For instance, bankers are usually dressed in suits and that’s what you’ve come to expect. You wouldn’t feel the same way about a banker if they showed up in their gym clothes. Similarly, McDonald’s is a welcome sign when traveling because you know the burger will taste about the same as it does at home, and the restrooms will probably be clean.

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The Owner’s Perspective: Branding offers tremendous value to business owners. There is a definite monetary value for owners, but a solid brand offers so much more to a company’s leadership. Consider the following:

  • Good branding increases the value of the company. Solid branding can also helps make the business scalable by allowing you to charge a premium for your products or services.
  • Branding also helps make business decisions easier because owners have a clear vision of who you are AND who you are not. It also gives those in leadership positions a direction in which to lead and makes saying “yes” and “no” more streamlined because you know whether or not the opportunity will add value to the brand. It also helps in terms of scalability because you have a shared vision of the brand and can grow the whole culture.
  • Good branding differentiates you from the competition as well as build brand ambassadors that help spread the word about how great you are.

Terry Crews Old Spice

Many brands have set themselves apart through celebrity endorsements, such as Old Spice with Terry Crews, American Express with Tina Fey, and countless others. Having that celebrity status helps no doubt, but when you have easy message and story to tell, people will start sharing it, and that can add exponential value to your brand because you’re not having to pay for all of your advertising.

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The Employee’s Perspective: This is probably the most overlooked aspect when people talk about the value of branding, but the employee’s perspective of the brand can be a make or break point in the success of that brand.

  • Consistent direction and messaging from leadership gives employees a focused direction in which to follow. This perspective and by-in is what will make your brand scalable.
  • Good branding also creates a sense of belonging for employees. When your employees feel that they belong, they’ll likely be happier and more motivated to provide the quality products or services your customers come to you for.
  • Another way branding adds value for employees can be found in how it helps set a new employee’s expectations of the culture of the work environment. For some companies, their branding tells new employees that this is a fun and creative place to work with a more casual environment, while the branding of other companies may set a more serious tone and approach to the work they do.

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Chick-fil-A is a great example, especially for employee direction. Like other fast food chains, they hire lots of teenagers but pay attention to the authority and support you get as a customer the next time you walk into your local Chick-fil-A compared to other companies. It’s ingrained in their brand, and their brand in regards to their staff is more than just a logo, uniform, and for some, the cow costume. It’s an attitude as well. This kind of direction definitely improves the customer experience.

To bring it all together, value in a brand is far more than the monetary standing when you start to look at the different players in the game. Branding takes all the parts between a transaction into account to create experiences that stick with people and build relationships that add incredible value to your brand, business, and the experiences that people want to talk about.

Do you have questions about the value of branding? Contact us or tweet us @rps123shoot and ask away! We’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

Posted 09 Sep 2016

EMyth Business Coaching Q-and-A With Amanda Sutt – Part 2

We’re back and ready to continue our discussion of EMyth business coaching with Rock Paper Scissors CEO and Creative Director Amanda Sutt, who is also a certified EMyth business coach. Read on to learn more about this great resource and learn why Amanda decided to become a coach. If you missed part 1, check it out here.

EMyth Business Coaching

What motivated you to become a certified EMyth Business Coach?
A: I was always looking for something for me. Until we started with the coaching, I hadn’t found my niche; what I really wanted to do. I joined RPS in 2005 after I graduated college and was trying to figure out what to do full-time. I had some ideas and offered to help my parents as a part-time project manager for a year so I could still pursue my love for theatrical design. My role at RPS evolved over the years, but I was helping build my mom’s dream and I had not connected with my specific calling yet.

Toward the end of our year of coaching, EMyth restructured to a consultant-based coaching staff and my mom suggested I look into it. I talked with a coach and realized that coaching was what I wanted to do. I could apply my experience at RPS and decided to go for it. The day after I signed my contract with EMyth, we received my mom’s cancer diagnosis. That was on a Friday, and mom was scheduled to have major surgery the following Tuesday. I offered to hold off a while before starting my training, but mom said “No, you need to do this for you.”

During the next three months, instead of just focusing on my new business coaching path, I took over the company and was in training simultaneously. It was hard work, but the silver lining was that it was good training to go through the EMyth content again in this new role as the company’s leader. I reshaped things in three months so that the business could fit our new reality. Looking back, if we hadn’t gone through EMyth coaching, I’m not sure the company would have survived this time of transition.

This also prompted conversations about what mom could do for the business while she was in treatment and what we could do without her to remain sustainable. The last year of her life, I was able to leave the office at 6 and have my weekends, take my mom to the doctor, and take time off to just have fun with her. Those days wouldn’t have happened without EMyth because it helped us put systems into place to help us work more efficiently. It gave me time with my mom I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

It seems that RPS and EMyth are very similar in terms of wanting to make an impact and leave things better than we found them. How do you feel RPS experienced that first hand with EMyth?
A: One of my reasons for becoming a coach was because I saw the services as a good compliment to our current client base. I was tired of creating beautiful campaigns and clients not using them or not being prepared for an influx of sales. I wanted to have more impactful conversations with clients that go deeper about their business and not just their marketing. It’s an extension of what we do. You are right that we are very similar, we have the same values about business and culture, and the end results of growing our businesses.

You’ve said this program helped you realize the importance of authenticity and honesty in conversations in the business world. Can you expand on that a little more?
A: The core of EMyth – their philosophy and mine – is that a business is a reflection of the leader. That’s the core of authenticity. EMyth helps people who are brave enough to go into business for themselves find opportunities to thrive and make ideas successful when other aspects of running the business makes them feel drained and worn down.

EMyth Business Coaching

Being a business owner is lonely. You can’t talk to your employees about finances, hiring and termination decisions, and those types of things, so who do you talk to? EMyth allows for a space for business owners have those tough conversations. As a business leader, without this kind of council, you can get yourself in trouble; you avoid things you shouldn’t avoid, make stupid mistakes, and make mountains out of molehills. EMyth coaches can help you realize yourself as a leader, your strengths and weaknesses, and when you need to get out of your own way.  It’s about empowering people.

Every business owner has the same fundamental problems. EMyth gives them someone to talk to about these problems and enables them to make things happen to and for their businesses. 

How do you think going through EMyth as a client has helped you as a coach?
A: I can support my coaching clients better because I’ve been there. I’m one of a few coaches that was actually an EMyth client before becoming a coach. I have a different sense of confidence because I know and believe it is possible. I will never be a coach and not also run a business because I want to keep up with what’s going on in the industry and what’s changing. 

If you could say one thing to someone considering EMyth’s coaching program, what would that be?
A: I think EMyth’s purpose statement says it best. “We exist to help business owners create a life and a business that they love leading.”

The whole idea behind the program is that EMyth is there for business owners who want to both enjoy life and business. One of the first things to look at is “What do you want your life to look like?” – The things you thought you would have by going into business for yourself. By having a clear picture of your life, we then start look at your business and shape it so that it serves that vision. Happy leaders lead to happy employees and customers, which leads to a better world.

Like other small businesses, we have experienced our share of hardships over the years, but through the help of EMyth we learned that we can work through any difficulty and view it as a part of our story as  something that helped us build a better business by implementing specific systems to help keep things running smoothly.

Interested in learning more about EMyth Business Coaching? Connect with Amanda for more information! You can also hear more from Amanda by listening to “From Client to Coach” from the On It by EMyth podcast series.

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