Hidden Meanings Behind Famous Logos

  • Many company logos include subtle references to their origins and history.
  • Clever logos use hidden symbolism and emotional colors to define the brand.
  • Some logos have kept the same symbolism throughout many iterations.

Ever wondered how your favorite companies got their logos? Clever logo designers spend days or even months on the design. The best logos stick out in people’s memories, yet communicate the personality of the company and what it offers its customers. Sometimes, there are hidden symbols that express a brand’s history and values. Let’s take a look at eight memorable logos with secret messages.

Toblerone

We all associate Switzerland with its glorious mountains, so it makes sense that Toberlone’s logo features a mountain. This famous treat is made in Switzerland. Moreover, Toberlone is made in Bern, whose coat of arms features a bear. If you look closely at the mountain in the Toblerone logo, you can see the outline of a bear.

Cisco

This telecom company features a simple wordmark with nine vertical lines of varying lengths above it. At first glance, the lines seem to represent radio waves, energy levels, or some other symbol of the technology that the company offers. However, the founders say that the lines mirror the structure of the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, where they registered the company.

FedEx

The FedEx logo features a bold font with contrasting colors to indicate its standout service. However, there’s hidden symbolism in the type: the FedEx font is run together so that an arrow appears between the “E” and the “X.” This symbolizes the speed and efficiency of FedEx’s service.

Pinterest

This social media platform allows users to “pin” images as though they’re building a digital bulletin board or pinboard. The unique shape of the “P” in the logo is modeled after a pushpin, in keeping with the pinboard metaphor.

Amazon

The curved arrow beneath the wordmark extends from the A to the Z, indicating the large range of products Amazon sells. It also resembles a smile to express the happiness that its customers experience.

Baskin Robbins

Ice cream is fun, and Baskin Robbin’s colorful logo celebrates that. However, there’s also a bit of company history in the logo. The ice cream shop was originally called 31 Flavors, and if you look closely at the “BR” in the logo, you can see that the pink portion of the letters makes up the numerals “31.”

LG Electronics

LG’s logo features a shiny red button with a winking face. If you look closely, you can see that the shape of the face is actually a “G,” and the nose is an “L.” The overall composition of the logo resembles a power button, symbolizing the types of products that LG makes.

Goodwill

Goodwill rebranded a few years ago, and its new logo expresses the career development opportunities that the organization provides. The logo includes half of a smiling face that resembles a “g.” The face logo also appears in the “Goodwill” wordmark.

Wrapping Up

Logos have a big impact on our lives. When we look at them, we immediately recall our experience with a company and the values they represent. Logos that don’t align with a brand’s personality just aren’t as effective! That’s why this “hidden” symbolism is so important: it’s not actually hidden. It’s communicating to us that we should support the brand. And once you see the secret message, it’s hard to un-see it!

Ways To Be A Successful Business Leader in Our Day and Age

  • True leaders are able to inspire others toward action rather than resorting to demands.
  • Leadership stems from a strong mindset and clear vision, not a job title or other artificial characteristics.
  • Being humble, authentic, and compassionate are the ingredients of a great business leader.

For as long as people have been around, leaders have emerged to guide others through projects and inspire them toward action. Countless books, plays, and films have explored the concept of leadership and what it entails. But how does one become a leader? Is it innate or learned? And during these troubled times, what does it mean to be a leader? “Leader” isn’t synonymous with any job title, and it’s not something that naturally happens as you move up in your career.

Being a true leader comes down to your mindset. As the saying goes, you don’t need a title to be a leader. You do, however, need the right attitude and philosophy.

Clarify your vision

Think of your leadership as a journey. Without a roadmap, how can you expect to show others the way? The first step to building your leadership role is to build a strong vision. These are tough times, economically and otherwise, but you shouldn’t confuse vision with prediction. Successful businesses survive because their leader’s vision carries them through — even if the landscape changes.

Humble yourself

People with authority may point and shout orders, but true leaders inspire action by demonstrating their willingness to get their hands dirty. If you’re tucked away in your office as other people do the hard work, that’s not very inspiring. A leader is someone who can share their wisdom because they’ve been there, rather than someone who doesn’t “walk the talk.”

Show compassion

The best leaders throughout history have been able to inspire others because they connect with them on a deep level. To do so, one needs to have empathy for those they are leading. And with empathy comes compassion. When your employee or team member makes a mistake, how you respond is the difference between a supervisor who judges them and a leader who empowers them to do better.

Be authentic and honest

You’re only human, and you make mistakes as well. It can feel scary to be vulnerable if you’re in a leadership position, but it’s important to own your missteps. By doing so, you show others that you’re not burdened by pride. You’ll also instill trust in those you lead. Honesty and authenticity go hand in hand, and your team is more likely to be open to change if they see that you yourself can change.

Share your mission

Any marketer will tell you that the “why,” the story, permeates all their efforts. Why should anyone care? What is the story that we’re telling? That’s true for leaders as well. Have you taken the time to communicate your mission to your team? Be open about what makes you tick. That’s the key to inspiring others to follow in your footsteps.

Show appreciation

One of the most common complaints in the modern workplace is about micromanagement. The last thing you want is for your team to feel like they can’t do anything right. That means that if you have any perfectionist tendencies, you need to let them go. Your team can sense that. The flip side of this attitude shift is to express your appreciation whenever possible. Show your team that you value them and their work. They’ll be much more likely to put in extra effort to put your vision into action.

Wrapping Up

Being a leader is much more than having authority or issuing orders. It’s a role that you assume on a team when others need guidance. True leaders clarify and express their vision to inspire others on a shared mission. There’s no need to overexplain or judge your team because they’re already empowered and motivated to work with you. Building yourself up as a leader comes down to your mindset, not your job title. With a great attitude and strong philosophy, you can be a true business leader.

Graphic Design: Its History and Where It’s At Now

  • Graphic design began its evolution with the dawn of printing, when typefaces were created to share mass-printed material.
  • Graphic designers use visual language cues to represent more than what words alone can say.
  • In the digital age, design is crucial to communication between brands and their audiences.

Since we specialize in graphic design, we found it fitting to feature a blog about our chosen field, its history, and where it is at now. Graphic design has always been intricately tied to the era in which it’s produced. Since the origin of the printing press, it’s played a key role in how we communicate. The art of graphic design is somewhat hard to define, as it entails everything from the design of memorable logos to lush, immersive book covers.

Indeed, it wasn’t until 1922 that book designer William Addison Dwiggins coined the term. What’s clear is that graphic designers are deeply connected to technological trends. Moreover, they typically design to express a brand rather than for their own creative expression. Graphic design, then, is a specific form of visual language. Let’s look at how this language has evolved over the centuries.

The Origins of Graphic Design

Graphic design essentially began with the creation of typefaces, which were used in printing presses to mass-produce written content. One of the earliest typefaces was Trajan, and it’s actually still used by today’s graphic designers. The printing industry also invented logos; printing companies used pictographic representations to label the documents they produced. In time, graphic design encompassed complex combinations of pictures and typography, as well as logos and word marks.

Notable Graphic Design Styles Throughout History

Art nouveau

Emerging after the Industrial Revolution, Art Nouveau features organic flourishes, elegant shapes, and ornate typography. Today, it has a bit of a vintage look but can still be seen in designs such as the General Electric logo.

Art Deco

The style we associate with the Roaring Twenties and the Prohibition Era is called Art Deco. It features geometric elements, high color contrast, bold typography, and gold flourishes. Designers use this distinctive style in throwback designers.

Modernism

During the 1950s, graphic designers made a deliberate departure from past styles. The modernist style features thick, smooth lines, bold colors, and open designs. It can still be seen in logos such as AirBnB and NASA.

The Use of Graphic Design in Marketing

Graphic design used to revolve around illustration and typography, dating back to the ads in corantos (newspapers of the early 17th century). As printing techniques improved, we began to see print marketing emerge in the form of chromolithographs, which were often used to reproduce advertisements. With advancements in printing technology, ads evolved into a complex communication style, especially in the text-heavy ads that appeared in periodicals of the 1940s and 50s.

In time, typographic elements began to give way to image-forward designs. Now, graphic design can communicate a brand’s long history, cultural assets, and core values with a single logo. We’ve always been a highly visual species, but graphic designers have helped us refine our visual communication style.

The Importance of Graphic Design

Graphic design is crucial to marketing efforts. Designers create the visual presence that helps brands connect with their audiences. Everything from emails to social media needs custom, branded design. Each piece must be carefully cued into its intended platform and audience. Now that marketing has expanded into the digital sphere, there is high demand for graphic designers, crossing all forms of media.

Wrapping Up

We’ve come a long way since the dawn of printing. Now, we thrive in the age of the image, where decades of visual communication and technological advances have led us to a shared visual language. The core principles of graphic design reflect years of tradition and culture. Good design taps into our psychology to cross boundaries and forge deep connections. That makes graphic designers essential architects of our shared experience.

A Quick Guide to Design Thinking

  • Because Design thinking is human-centric, it can adapt the creative process to the needs of the user.
  • Design Thinking entails five stages that prioritize innovation and adaptability.
  • Taking a user-friendly perspective helps your project or process break out of a rut and better serve your audience.

“Design Thinking” has become a bit of a buzzword in marketing circles, but it remains a mysterious, vaguely philosophical concept. We know that it’s responsible for everything from improved UX to successful startups, but what is it? How can we put it into action to meet our own goals? Design Thinking crosses boundaries to provide a framework for both thought and action. While there are several variations of the concept, all revolve around the idea that the user comes first.

Let’s look at Design Thinking in more detail and see how it impacts our efforts.

What is Design Thinking?

The core of Design Thinking is that you must prioritize the user when addressing a problem. Often, we become entrenched in our way of thinking, to the point that we can only envision solutions within established structures. If you’re working within an outdated business model or design paradigm, that presents a hurdle to your success. And often, these “solutions” require external resources or unnatural user behavior to work. Design Thinking means that your project or process keeps the user in mind. With Design Thinking, when you “think outside the box,” you’re thinking about complex problems from a human-centric perspective.

That’s what designers do, which is how this concept got its name. However, anyone can put Design Thinking into action.

What are the Stages of Design Thinking?

Design Thinking stemmed from the ideas of Nobel Prize laureate Herbert Simon in his 1969 book The Sciences of the Artificial. However, it was Stanford’s Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) that developed the five-stage model that most people use today.

  • Empathize. The key to successfully implementing Design Thinking is to think about something in terms of the problems it presents. This human-centered approach entails empathy, in which you abandon your preconceptions and think about your project from the user’s perspective. In other words, to find user-friendly solutions to your problem, you must put yourself in others’ shows.
  • Define. In the Define stage, you translate the perspective you gained in Stage 1 into a framework for your problem. This might involve rewriting or reconceptualizing the problem from a human perspective. It’s crucial in this stage to stop basing your process on your desired business results and start thinking about what you can do for your audience.
  • Ideate.This is where innovation comes in. With your human-centric perspective, you can start to develop solutions that stem from the user’s needs rather than your own. Ideation is the process of brainstorming, body storming, and reverse engineering as many ideas as possible to solve your problem.
  • Prototype. Product designers will create prototypes to evaluate their work, but in Design Thinking, anyone can prototype their solution. This might include a workup of a new process, a trial run of a service, or any other mockup of your user-centered solution.
  • Test. The testing stage naturally follows from the creation of the prototype. A big part of Design Thinking is to be agile and iterative, rather than following a rigid process. Testing evaluates the prototype’s efficacy while incorporating user feedback to make the best possible solution. That’s what makes this final stage so powerful.

How Can I Put Design Thinking Into Action?

With these stages in mind, how can you use Design Thinking to improve your products and services? To start, you must think about the user’s needs. What are their primary obstacles, and how can you help them overcome them? Don’t be afraid to abandon the routines and ideas that you’ve been holding dear. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes goes a long way toward your ultimate success.

You can implement strategies such as regularly obtaining feedback from customers or employees, hosting brainstorming sessions and workshops, or envisioning your products and services from an outsider’s perspective. Throughout the process, stay agile and adaptive; don’t assume that what you learn in Stage 1 is still true in Stage 5. In fact, that’s why many who use Design Thinking run the “stages” in parallel rather than sequentially. This iterative process helps you find the best solution to the problem.

Top 5 Graphic Design Trends of 2020

  • Slick, liquid textures are defining a new standard for graphic design.
  • At the same time, designers are embracing a vintage aesthetic
  •  Text-driven designs are dominant this year.

With each new year comes a new wave of design trends. However, 2020 is a special year. It’s the dawn of a new decade, and graphic designers are taking it to heart by emphasizing innovation and futurism in their designs. At the same time, many are seeking a return to our earthy roots. Here are the top five graphic design trends of 2020.

Magical Metallics

Now that we’re in the ‘20s again, designers are very into gold. They’re using ornate gold designs, glittery accents, and elegant gold type. These designs look classy and timeless, and they remind audiences of wealth and luxury, which is always a good thing. Silver and bronze are also popular design elements, appearing as inlays, borders, photographs, and typographic elements.

Funky Fonts

Who doesn’t love fonts? The right font can make or break a design. But in 2020, designers are elevating fonts to be front and center in their designs. More and more new fonts are being released every day, and typographic distortions, custom-designed letters, and text-forward designs are all very “in” right now.

Mysterious Masks

There’s nothing quite like sweeping a layer of dust to reveal a shiny, fresh image — and that’s the feeling that masking achieves digitally. Designers are layering solid colors over vibrant images, with cut-out letters or shapes revealing the beauty beneath. Masking gives a sophisticated allure to any design.

Luscious Liquids

As graphic design software has improved, so has its capacity to make hyper-real designs come to life. One 2020 trend is an indulgence in liquid dreams: designers are creating fluid, gooey designs to entice viewers. From drippy fonts to wavy masking to fluid textures, liquids are quite in vogue.

Tantalizing Textures

For years, slick surfaces and cool hues defined the modern era. Now, as many designers seek a return to a more organic style, they’re incorporating earthy textures and colors into their designs. Often, they’ll layer the textures to add depth to the design, or use them in unexpected ways to add visual interest. 2020 has seen a resurgence of vintage aesthetics and natural shades, all of which give designs an immersive, engaging look.

Wrapping Up

Graphic designers play a huge role in defining our cultural aesthetic. In 2020, we’re seeing the most diverse and engaging designs we’ve seen in decades. From slick liquid designs to earthy textures and tones to multi-layered designs to creative typography, 2020’s design trends embrace innovation and creativity like never before. Designers are working to change the world through their craft — and we’re all benefiting immensely from their contributions.

How To Stay Motivated, Productive and Creative During Isolation

  • Monotony leads to distress and distraction, so switch things up!
  • Creativity is a muscle that you need to work out — and rest.
  • Declutter your mental and physical space to keep a level head.

If you’ve been working from home for a while, you may have gotten into the swing of a new routine. Still, it can be hard to get into the right headspace when you’re disconnected from your coworkers. Isolation can sap your energy and harm your productivity.

How can you boost your motivation, check off your to-dos, and think up new ideas? It all comes down to a few simple shifts that help break your mind out of its rut and get moving again. Here are some basic strategies you can implement to help yourself stay on track, even when you’re working in isolation.

Mix up your routine

Many of us wake up, make coffee, and check our emails and social media before officially starting our work day. That routine may be comforting, but if you’ve been doing it for years — and now entirely from home — it can become a rut that drags us down. Try switching things around. Start your day with a workout or yoga session, then immediately dive into your work. Avoid email and social media until you’ve knocked out some of your time-intensive tasks. You’ll likely get more done and feel a little less stressed.

Tidy up your workspace

When we all first started working from home, we heard all about the importance of establishing a dedicated workspace. Now that we’ve been there a few weeks, it’s time to do a quick check: is your desk tidy and organized or a chaotic wreck? It’s easy to become a workaholic when you work from home, and that sometimes causes us to neglect our housekeeping. A clean, well-kept workspace allows us both mental and physical space for new ideas to emerge.

Get your creative juices flowing

Burnout is a real possibility for people who are working hard to stay afloat during the pandemic, especially for those who struggle to disengage from work at the end of the day. With burnout comes a decline in creativity and motivation. Ultimately, it’s important to take a break to resolve burnout, but if this isn’t an option, try a creative activity, such as a puzzle or a bit of creative writing, to recharge your creativity.

Wrapping Up

Of course, you should check in with your coworkers as often as possible. But let’s face it: you’re still working from home, alone, without the exciting buzz of your workspace. That’s why you need to invest in a little extra self-care to keep yourself balanced during periods of isolation. Plus, it’s helpful to switch up your normal routine and physical space so that you can feel fresh and energized. Devote a few minutes each day to tidy up, reflect, and just breathe. You’ll feel much more motivated to tackle the next thing.

Successful Entrepreneurs: Sam Walton

Nobody expected a country boy from rural America to surpass the CEOs of the department stores that peppered the nation. And yet, one did. Despite early supervisors’ remarks that he was not suited for retail, Sam Walton ended up not only becoming Forbes’ 1985 Wealthiest Man in America, but he also transformed retail forever.

An Entrepreneurial Spirit

As a sales trainee at a J.C. Penney’s store in Des Moines, Iowa, young Walton loved working retail but found the emphasis on quotas and bookkeeping to be a distraction from his real passion: making sales.

After serving in the military, Walton returned to retail, this time as an investor-owner. With $5,000 of his savings and a $20,000 loan from his father-in-law, Walton bought a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. Newport, Arkansas. At the time, variety stores had meager offerings for rural Americans, who had to travel to metropolitan areas to make big purchases or get discounted goods.

Walton had an idea: What if he not only charged less for his products but also expanded the stores’ offerings to include what the department stores offered? His approach worked: Walton tripled the performance of the Ben Franklin store, making it the leading store in six states by 1950.

Unfortunately, Walton’s customers weren’t the only ones to notice his success. His landlord asked to purchase Walton’s business, and when Walton refused, he refused to renew his lease.

The Move to Bentonville

Not to be defeated, Walton picked up and moved across the state to Bentonville, where he opened his own store, Walton’s 5&10. He made sure that this new enterprise was located in the town square — and had a 99-year lease. Walton immediately rose in pop- ularity because he charged significantly less than the other variety stories in town.

Throughout the 1950s, Walton took out loans and reinvested profits so that he could acquire new stores. At each location, he low- ered the products’ prices to entice customers. By 1960, ten years after relocating to Bentonville, he had 15 stores to his name. Still, Walton wasn’t seeing the profits he needed to pay back his loans. Something needed to change.

Walton had a brilliant idea: He could combine the five-and-dime approach, popular in big cities, with the variety store model. He needed bigger stores with more products — all at a discount. Going back to his roots, Walton approached the company that fran- chised Ben Franklin stores for help. They were unwilling to accept the initial cuts in profit margins that Walton admitted would be necessary to make the model work.

So, Walton took out a mortgage on his home to put his idea into action. In 1962, he opened the nation’s first big-box store: Wal- Mart, located in Rogers, Arkansas. He was 44 years old.

The Wave of Walmart

Neither the variety store franchisers nor the major department store chains foresaw what happened next. Wal-Mart exploded in pop- ularity, quickly expanding to 18 locations throughout Arkansas and Missouri in just seven years. Finally ready to pay back his debts, Walton made the company public in 1970, and the company instantly generated $5 million. Walton and his family owned 61 percent of the company, ensuring that Walton could continue to bring his retail vision to life.

Walton didn’t stop there. He had a revolutionary approach to his employees, which he called “associates,” and gave them a lot of in- put on how to grow the company. In time, Walton expanded his big-box model to include grocery, automotive, and gardening sec- tions (Wal-Mart SuperCenter) and then launched a wholesale club for his fellow businesses (Sam’s Club).

In 1985, when Forbes named Walton the richest man in America. He had an estimated worth of $2.8 billion. And yet Walton stayed humble, continually looking to improve the Wal-Mart brand and bring value to all Americans.

A Lasting Legacy

On March 17, 1992, President George Bush presented Walton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, citing his entrepreneurial spirit and his devotion to his workers and customers. Just a few days later, Walton, who had been suffering from bone cancer, checked into the University of Arkansas Hospital. He passed away on April 5, 1992, at the age of 74.

In just 30 years, Walton had transformed the face of retail and created a brand with an enduring legacy. While big-box stores are now commonplace, they owe a lot to Walton’s vision.

How To Stay Motivated While Working Remotely

  •  Maintaining a routine and professional environment can help you stay on task.
  • When external motivations are removed, it’s important to set up internal incentives for productivity.
  • Avoid overworking by taking breaks and setting a schedule.

As people are now working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are discovering both the joys and frustrations of re- mote work. Some are finding that they’re more productive; others, less. Some are enjoying a sense of freedom, while others desper- ately miss their office and coworkers. Either way, it can be hard to stay motivated. If you find yourself procrastinating a lot or distracted by social media, you might need a crash course in motivational science. Most people work differently — and perhaps less effectively — when they’re not used to their environment. Here’s how to boost your motivation and get things done while working remotely.

Maintain a Morning Routine

Humans are creatures of habit. While you may enjoy that extra hour of sleep now that you don’t have to commute, it may be hurting your productivity. Taking the time to rise early, brush your teeth, and get dressed helps establish a boundary between work and the rest of your life. If you simply roll out of bed and start working, you’re obliterating that boundary. Instead, try to simulate the routine you’d have if you were going into the office to work. Take the time to get ready in the morning, and take a lunch break as you normally would. Having this personal discipline helps you maintain focus, which is key for motivation.

Treat Your Home Office Like An Office

Many people are tempted to work from their couch or in their pajamas. While that may be comfortable, it’s not conducive to your motivation. Think about it: Those are things that you do to relax, and your brain and body know it. No one feels motivated to work while lounging. Instead, put on professional clothing and establish a home office. If you don’t have a separate room to use, that’s okay: Take over one end of the dining table or set up a card table, then use that as your “office.” Again, humans get accustomed to their environ- ment, so it’s much easier to stay on task if you have a dedicated workspace where you can get into that mode.

Take Breaks

Studies show that remote workers tend to work longer hours. That makes sense, because they don’t need to commute and they’re less distracted by coworkers. What those studies don’t always reveal is that remote workers also work more hours. When there are no meetings or water-cooler conversations to take you away from your desk, it’s easy to overwork. That’s why many remote workers drift into workaholism. To avoid this, take plenty of breaks. The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to keep your mind sharp and help you stay motivated. Here’s how it works: You work for 25 minutes straight, with no multi-tasking or distractions. Then, you take a 5-minute break to stretch, go for a quick walk, pet your cat, or whatever non-work thing you’d like. Science says that the human brain can’t sustain fo- cus for much longer than 25 minutes at a time. By taking a quick break to recharge, you can stay motivated to get your project done. Plus, you’re less likely to be distracted by email or social media when you know that you can check it on your 5-minute break.

Create a Reward System

As the kids say, “Treat yo’self.” Rewards are a powerful source of motivation and a cornerstone of work psychology for decades. Our brains release dopamine when we achieve something, and we can incentivize our productivity with a dopamine boost. If you’re struggling to stay on task, decide what “office perks” you’ll give yourself. Did you meet a deadline? You can have a cup of coffee or a quick game on your phone. Try logging your daily goals in your planner or notebook and assigning a reward to each one. If you complete your tasks, you can have a cookie. This system works especially well for remote workers who may have few external incentives (e.g. a boss cruising by your desk every hour).

Stay in Touch with Coworkers

With a plethora of virtual communication tools, there’s no excuse to not talk to your coworkers. Loneliness is the number one reason that remote workers cite as a reason they miss a regular office environment. And loneliness can be highly distracting. Plus, your coworkers are a source of motivation. You get inspired by chats with them, and you get things done in preparation for your meetings with them.

Without them being physically around, these incentives fade away. Keeping in touch through tools such as Skype and Slack can help. Establish regular check-ins to help ward off loneliness and boost your inspiration. You can even use your 5-minute breaks to send a quick message to a coworker. Being social goes a long way toward being productive.

Wrapping Up

Remote work often presents a distracting, disorienting environment. By following the above tips, you can take charge of your productivity and ward off distractions. Having a structured routine and a sense of connection to your coworkers can boost your motivation. Once you strike this balance, you’ll feel much more ready to conquer your to-do list.

Successful Entrepreneurs: The Story of Steve Jobs

In the early 1970s, an enterprising teen named Steve Jobs approached Hewlett-Packard co-founder and president William Hewlett and asked him for computer parts for a school project. It was a risky move, but it worked. Impressed by his initiative, Hewlett gave Jobs the parts — and a summer internship at Hewlett-Packard. For Jobs, this would mark the beginning of his famously passionate approach to innovation.

The Early Years

At Hewlett-Packard, Jobs met a young engineer named Steve Wozniak, who was trying to build a small computer. At the time, computers occupied entire rooms. Jobs convinced Wozniak to turn his hobby into something bigger. In 1975, they set up shop in the Jobs families garage and sold their most valuable possessions to fund their new venture, which they named Apple.

Just two years later, Jobs and Wozniak released their Apple II, which garnered $2.7 million in sales. Not only had they successfully launched a multimillion company out of a garage and only a couple thousand dollars to their name, but they had launched the era of personal computing.

Ahead of Its Time

As other competitors — especially IBM — entered the market, Apple’s followup products underperformed. Apple had primarily been marketing to businesses, but Jobs wanted to make Apple products available to home users. He debuted the Apple Macintosh in 1984. This was the first personal computer to feature a graphical user interface that one could manipulate with a handheld device (a mouse). Unfortunately, at a retail price of nearly $2500, it was out of reach for many Americans. Sales declined, and shortly there- after, CEO John Sculley removed Jobs from the board of directors. Jobs resigned in 1985 and sold his stock in the company.

New Ventures

Undeterred, Jobs founded NeXT Computer Co., which he intended to market to higher ed and research institutions. Debuted in 1988, the NeXT computer featured fast processing speeds, enhanced graphics, and an optical disk drive. The price tag of $9,950 was too high, though, so NeXT failed to take off. Jobs began to focus his attention on his side project, Pixar Animation Studios, which he purchased from esteemed director George Lucas in 1986.

Pixar’s debut film was an entirely computer-animated film, Toy Story. Released by the Walt Disney Company, Toy Story not only was a box office smash, but also established a new benchmark in animation. The world knew that CGI animation was a viable way to produce animated films. Once again, Jobs had launched a new era of technology.

The Return to Apple

After Pixar went public and catapulted Jobs into stardom, the now-struggling Apple bought NeXT and reappointed Jobs to the board of directors. At the time, Apple held just five percent of the personal computer market, still unable to create a computer that could provide what the public needed at an affordable price. CEO Gilbert F. Amelio ended up stepping down, and Jobs assumed the role of interim CEO. By cooperating with Microsoft, Jobs was able to speed up Apple computers. Suddenly the Mac was not only affordable but also everything that consumers needed. Within a year, Apple had become a multi-billion-dollar company, and in an act of poetic justice, original founder Jobs was back at the helm.

Marketing Strategies and Resources To Spike Your Sales During COVID-19

  • An inbound approach helps encourage people to trust your company and make purchases.
  • Digital tools can empower innovative marketing strategies such as virtual experiences.
  • Combining these innovations can help boost sales even during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected businesses of all sizes and types around the world.

As doors shutter and many businesses expand (or launch) their online counterparts, marketers need to find new ways to reach consumers while optimizing their operations. Is your business struggling in the face of the novel coronavirus? Let’s take a deep dive into some strategies and re- sources that can help.

Marketing Strategies for the New Normal

As more shopping and services become online-only, digital marketing is poised to become ever more important to businesses. While digital marketing is nothing new, the way that marketers go about it needs to change as they attempt to reach homebound consumers. The difference comes down to the basic approach. In traditional marketing, outbound strategies such as ads and emails attempt to convince consumers to make a purchase. Now, as people are sheltered at home and trying to minimize their spending, is not the time to push sales. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make sales. The key is to build interest in your brand through an inbound approach. Few people are willing to take risks in an already risky world, so they’re going to more suspicious of “sales-y” content that comes their way. Let customers come to you and encourage them to trust your brand. Here are a couple of ways to do this:

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Ask your audience to share their content on social media and tag you. It could be a selfie with your product or an activity that’s tangentially related to your brand. As people are bored in quarantine, they’re more likely to do this. The key to a successful UGC campaign is to invite people to participate in a virtual event. Generic requests for content won’t cut. Make the request part of a larger conversation and offer incentives for people to participate. For example, you could offer a discount code to people who participate, which encourages them to make purchases.

Virtual Experiences

Experiential marketing was just starting to take off when shelter-in-place orders swept the world. Thankfully, you can still create special events for your customers. Just do it virtually! Many businesses are offering free online classes, seminars, concerts, and other virtual events for people. This tactic is a great way to get people fired up about your brand. Use these events as a way to build interest in what you offer, then seal the deal with ticketed virtual events to create a new income stream.

Resources to Help Boost Your Business

Whether you had a robust digital presence or you’re in the process of building one, the right tools can help save you time and money. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to use automation, social media, and other digital tools to streamline your operations. It’s important to reevaluate some of your existing campaigns. For example, campaigns that focus on gatherings or real-world experiences won’t resonate. You may also need to ramp up your content to connect with people who are spending more time online. After you’ve re-envisioned your marketing strategy, draw upon the resources you need to cost-effectively put it into action.

Social Media Managers

HootSuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, and other social media managers can help you level up your content marketing. It’s easy enough to post three times per week and check the notifications once per day. But once you start posting more often, your numbers will rise — and so will your hours spent managing comments and replies. One or more of these tools can help you do this more efficiently.

Email Marketing Providers

Email marketing is the bread-and-butter of digital marketing, and MailChimp, Constant Contact, and other providers have been around for years. Even though emails are an outbound approach, it’s still important to maintain contact with your audience. What’s

neat about these tools is that they also offer landing page, social media integration, and other tools that are crucial to an inbound approach. It’s well worth your time and investment to expand your email strategy.

Livestream Platforms

Remember those virtual events we talked about? They’re often done through livestreams. The good news is that you usually don’t need expensive livestream software to do them. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all offer “live post” functionalities, and you can also do a live video via YouTube. For private events, you can use Zoom or other teleconferencing platforms. Just be sure to face your camera the right way!

Wrapping Up

Businesses are nervous about their future should look for ways to expand their marketing strategy into new digital realms. Carving out innovative virtual spaces might be the key to connecting with otherwise absent customers. However, developing a new market- ing strategy with an inbound approach is only part of the equation. Virtual communication/automation tools are essential to putting these new strategies into action and helping businesses boost their sales during the pandemic.