Shop Talk

Creativity During COVID-19

Corin Knowles Article

Working as a CREATIVE during COVID-19

How can nothing and practically everything change so much since November 2019? We have a few reflections we’d like to share from the past few months on how we’ve been working as a Creative Team and as a Marketing Agency.

  1. Brainstorming remotely

    This is not our first rodeo, working from home is what we do…but we miss each other. There’s something about getting a small group of creative minds together to really get some ideas flowing.
    How we’re adjusting: Bring the coffee, bring the energy and use video conferencing. Good things will come from just seeing someone’s face.

  2. Being creative when there are more distractions (dogs/kids/spouses)

    The BARK Firm has been working remotely since it began a decade ago. We know how to do it, and we pretty much NAIL it. But when you add in changes to kid/daycare schedules and your spouse trying to work in the same space as you, things get complicated.
    How we’re adjusting: Blocking out stretches of time whenever and wherever to let the creative juices flow, and keep flowing. Sometimes taking a walk can help clear your headspace and good ideas come.

  3. Being Positive

    Creativity in a doom and gloom world starts with attitude. It’s hard to kickstart creativity when you are upset, worried, confused, scared, or anxious.
    How we’re adjusting: You have to sit down and get in a positive mental space for it to get going. Do something in the morning that makes you happy, hug your family, hug your dog, and maybe put reading the news off for a few hours

 

Adapting the WORK WE DO to the current climate

We’ve had to adapt our creative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and we plan to make similar alterations as the crisis continues to unfold.

What we’ve done:

Guidelines to social distancing, mass gatherings, public spaces, business closures, mask-wearing, and more are changing and evolving. Communicating that on behalf of our clients has to be communicated quickly–sometimes within hours. We’ve been creatively thinking of ways to craft and rework messaging, and being flexible and available to put the message out fast. We’ve had to rely heavily on all our digital platforms to do this effectively.

We’ve had to adjust and sometimes scrap entire campaign materials to adjust to the current climate:

  • Provide essential and useful information.
  • Acknowledge we are in a different time, display empathy, and focus more on how to be helpful rather than pricing and selling.
  • Avoid certain lifestyle imagery. (Large gatherings, spring break, etc.)

Hitting the Pause Button. 

It felt as though the entire world hit pause when Coronavirus erupted this winter, and it was a weird feeling for all of us. When work slowed or halted for some, we saw people channeling their creative energy into all sorts of things; hobbies like gardening or cooking, getting more active outside and exploring nature, or learning a new language keeping their minds and bodies engaged.

One thing we know is that it’s difficult for any creative mind to simply stop creating things… and we’re thankful we’ve been able to keep our creative energy flowing here at the BARK Firm.

What Does Your Digital Storefront Say About Your Small Business?  

Alec Kirby Article

In such a chaotic time, operating your small business may seem almost impossible. With so many physical spaces either shutdown or under regulation, it can make doing business in-person difficult. This is especially true for small businesses that have a storefront where customers regularly engage to conduct transactions. Though this can cause headaches for many, it also presents a unique opportunity for many small businesses to start doing business online. All this begs the questions: What do your customers think about your business when they visit your digital storefront? Is your small business website optimized for discoverability? Is the content organized in such a way that it can be easily maneuvered by humans and machines alike? Does it clearly represent your business and give people ample opportunity to engage with your business? These are just some of the questions that will need to be answered if you plan on doing viable business online.

Though times are hectic, it has never been better to take another look at your website and ask yourself the aforementioned questions. The cherry on top is the fact that search engines — the most common way people find and discover businesses online — take all this into account when ranking and organizing your website.

As search engines get smarter about the organization and discoverability of the internet, it isn’t just important to have a website that is easy to maneuver but also organized in such a way that it can be easily indexed and found. Because search engines live on relevancy to the online user, what experience is your digital storefront giving your customer?

For years, optimizing your site for search engines meant keywords and overall speed. Now, the story is quite a bit different. Search engines can identify what kind of experience users are having on your site regardless of keywords and speed. Google can even recognize and index your site content without specific keywords or phrases being mentioned.

Though speed has a part to play, the overall user experience on your site is more heavily weighted in the balance. According to Google, “Great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply; in contrast, a bad page experience could stand in the way of a person being able to find the valuable information on a page.”

Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. The BARK Firm was founded on finding creative solutions to small businesses’ digital marketing problems. Contact us to get a no-pressure, free brand evaluation today!

Communication In (Or Not In) Crisis

Sarah Carper Article

By Sarah Carper, BARK Social Media Manager + Designer

I’ll never forget my first experience with crisis community management as a marketer.

Fresh out of college, I woke up on a Saturday morning away for the weekend with friends to my social media notifications full of a growing number of red pings for a Facebook page I managed at the time.

Apparently, none the wiser to me or anyone else involved in the public-facing presence of the organization that wasn’t physically there, an incident had occurred at an event they were hosting the night before that made a lot of attendees understandably upset. When they tried to get answers, they were left unanswered for a number of hours, growing angrier and angrier as they were feeling ignored.

I dove in and started responding to the best of my ability, forwarding questions I couldn’t answer to the owners of the organization.

While I got crickets from the leadership, I was getting roars from our followers.

I learned more than a few things from this experience which, thankfully, occurred while I was still in the earliest stages of learning marketing best practices and in the earliest stages of businesses using Facebook as a marketing tool. Fast forward through immediately developing a personal plan for things like this JUST IN CASE, gaining a lot more experience, and serving as a community manager for consumer brands like Pyrex and Corelle, where reviews and brand affinity can make or break your sales, and I was lucky enough to learn skills and successful strategies for communication in crisis to avoid ever again being woken up by social media pings and a wave of panic.

The BARK Firm is committed to helping put our clients’ best branding and marketing feet forward, including in times of crisis like COVID-19 and whatever other PR crises’ you can think of. As an agency, we have our own structure of internal hierarchy that allows us to best handle situations for our clients, and we encourage them to work with us closely to keep things flowing seamlessly.

We think it’s important for every organization, small business or corporation to have a plan, and due to recent events we wanted to share a simple list of tips that can help brands stay cool, calm, collected, and customer-oriented in (or not in) times of crisis.

1. BE TRANSPARENT
When scandal or situations strike, oftentimes it is human nature to hole up, zip up, and keep things under wraps until it all blows over. Here’s the thing: people already know something has happened or is happening, and they want answers. To the point that you can protect your company’s operational integrity while still sharing as much information as you can, it is imperative to be honest and transparent with customers to retain trust and relatability–as well as with internal team members (see the crickets comment above). Think about it, if someone upset you then lied to you about it or ran circles around giving you answers, how would you feel? That’s exactly how your customers and followers will feel. Brand transparency = brand affinity.

2. BE OPTIMISTIC
Helen Keller once said “Optimism is the force that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Rather than emphasizing negativity in situations, keep spirits high, and be a brand that brings your followers good news with a level of optimism in all of your communications. People want to be reassured, and crisis gives you as a company an opportunity to go above and beyond to provide that for them.

3. BE RESPONSIVE (AND DON’T BE AFRAID OF BEING TOO RESPONSIVE)
While this relates to transparency, it takes it to the next level by emphasizing the importance of interacting with your audience directly. This can be done especially well using social media and customer service, where customers count on being able to interact with their favorite companies directly. It’s a gift we’ve been given in modern times, whereas businesses in the past had to rely on print, radio and tv media alone for one-sided announcements. Take advantage of the opportunity to directly answer any questions and address any rumors directly in the comments.

4. BE EMPATHETIC TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
People are people, and they have real human feelings that are affected by the events around them and the way they personally react to news and interactions. Put yourself in their shoes when you read any comments, reviews, or otherwise, and respond as you would a friend, or a way that you’d like to be responded to if you were them. It’s true that some people enjoy stirring up reactions on social media and other channels, but putting forth the effort to resolve a situation and understand another’s perspective at least shows others you care.

5. STICK TO YOUR BRAND
Anyone who has experienced crisis communication is familiar with how every piece starts moving a lot more quickly, all at once. This can create the temptation to throw up information as quickly as possible, no matter how it looks, no matter what it says. While it’s important to be transparent, be optimistic, be responsive, and be empathetic as explained above, it is also equally important to live your brand and stay consistent in your identity. This further establishes your professionalism and dependability, showing a sense of collected stability to anyone who feels emotionally tied to your brand. So, for our sake and yours, leave the early 2000’s memes and all caps captions in the past where they belong and keep your messaging, color schemes, and other brand elements consistent. You’ll thank us, and so will your audiences.

If marketing through recent events was a bit too much for you to handle, or you want some assistance with these five tips and other areas of your marketing, we’d love to help. Visit us online at thebarkfirm.com or contact us today to learn more about our services.

Now is the Time to Optimize

Dustin Neal Article
OPTIMIZE
op·ti·mize
/ˈäptəˌmīz/
verb
  1. make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource).
We don’t need to tell you things have changed. Right now businesses need to take a proactive approach to move forward in an effort to come out stronger on the other side. What we see is an opportunity for businesses to optimize. As marketers, it is our job to help our clients in many aspects of their business. We effectively communicate brand messages and engage their audiences. We promote products and services and most importantly we share the stories behind what makes them great. But, what do you do when the COVID-19 outbreak has affected all aspects of our lives, including marketing?
We optimize.
So what does that mean? It means right now businesses can focus some time internally on much-needed areas of their business that get forgotten about in the day to day hustle. It means you can take this time to be proactive and work on your business and your marketing to come out of this stronger. There are plenty of online articles on how to position yourself to market through COVID-19 but what we are talking about today is some things you can do right now, internally, to enhance your business.

1. CLEAN UP (DIGITALLY) 

  1. Update your digital records. Collect all your email addresses and create a newly updated email list of your customers.
  2. Update the information on your website.
  3. Update all your social media accounts and give them all a fresh once over.
  4. Do your digital filing and organize your computers. If your desktop has over 20 icons on it then start there.
2. REFINE PROCESS
  1. Examine a piece of your business that isn’t functioning as smoothly as it should and fix it.
  2. Ask your team members what kinks do they have and work together to find solutions.
  3. Get team feedback on what other skills they can bring to the table you might not know about.
  4. Evaluate the way you communicate internally and see if there are better solutions out there.
3. GO BACK TO YOUR WHY
  1. Chaotic times require calm leaders. Don’t become reactionary and act out of fear.
  2. Remember why you got into business. Reconnect with that passion.
  3. Your business IS ESSENTIAL. No matter what it is you do. It is essential to the people you employ, their families, the people you serve, and the community as a whole.
  4. Revisit your marketing message. Now is a great time to make sure your marketing message is still accurate and on point. As people change through this you may need to work with your marketing to make sure that the message adapts appropriately as necessary.
Tackling these items while you have time now will position your brand to come out of this stronger. Optimize. Start now.
Contact us if you need some help optimizing your marketing.

Say Something Real

Sommer Grogan Article

Story Matters. Especially Right Now…

In the midst of the absolute chaos our entire world is trying to wade through right now, the last thing anyone wants to see, read, or engage with is empty content. 

This post is literally a public service announcement of sorts from our team to yours. We believe (with every fragment that creates the backbone of our company) that STORY is POWER. 

In a time when almost everything feels uncertain, there are very few guarantees, and everyone is trying to find their place in society’s current state of affairs, remembering your WHY and your PURPOSE is more important than ever.

What is it that you actually care about? How are you being intentional as a company? What is the message you really want to put out right now? How would you say it? And WHY should people care?

There are many of us who have probably had our purpose shaken a bit in the last several weeks, and perhaps your WHY is on unsteady ground right now.  That’s OK. Us too! That just means purpose can shift. It can adapt and change with circumstance, but it should always reflect back to who you are as a company, a business owner, an employer, a team member, an individual. 

Like it or not, this time in history is part of our story. And oftentimes,  it is the hard, tumultuous periods we walk through that refine us, stretch us, push us to the point of near breaking…and then, a shift happens. We find new strength. We find new hope. We are somehow BETTER than we were before. And with these shifts as an organization and as people, the tone of our story changes with us! Our messaging has upgraded as well. It is grounded in something different and speaks from a place that is wiser and more experienced-just like us.

We are simply here to encourage our community of business minded people to remember the power of story. Remember that we all have influence. Remember to pause and say something real in your emails, social platforms, messaging and communications to all your people. Remember your WHY, ground yourself in your purpose and values as a company, talk about it internally, and share it with others!

_______________

Speaking of sharing with others… we’ve started a communal mission with #wearewychallenge for EVERYONE in Wyoming (business owners, employees, moms, dads, friends, family…you get the gist) to share how they are staying positive, creating impact, making social distancing (kind of) fun, and serving others!

It is in the beginning stages, so if you feel like joining the movement and spreading some joy and inspiration, share something encouraging, fun, or Wyoming-inspired on social and use #wearewychallenge. Tag a friend or two to spread the word and encourage them to do the same. Let’s show the world how Wyoming pulls together, even when we’re apart. 

Cheers To A Decade! BARK Brand Refresh

Sommer Grogan Article

Why Now?
Because after 10 years of being The BARK Firm (YES! It really has been 10 years), it’s time for a refresh that reflects the “US” we are now. So, who are we now, exactly?

First, we are a team that is humbled and thankful to have made it a decade! And, incredibly grateful for the vast and varied clients that have made that possible over an entire 10 years.

Then, we are the team that continues to “Brand Wyoming” with cutting edge design, calculated strategy, proven campaigns with real results and the story-telling messaging that “nails it” whenever possible.

Self-reflection is key in personal growth and business is no different. As we embark on our 10-year anniversary, it’s an amazing opportunity to refine our own brand, our own strategy, and our own purpose!  Our new logo is bolder, more sophisticated, and more refined, just like US!

What’s Changed?
A lot. But, in a nut-shell… our wheels are oiled, our processes are better than ever, and the impact we create for our clients is ever-increasing.

Big change can’t happen without great people. BARK has grown from a team of 3 to a solid team of 9 leading into 2020. And with a solid team, comes solid work!

We are most excited about the level of creativity, quality, and customer care we can accommodate as this fantastic team of 9; each bringing their own unique talents, earned skill sets, and incredible strengths to the collective BARK table.

What Hasn’t Changed?
Our commitment to being the leading creative firm in our neck of the woods, our commitment to continued self-reflection and a willingness to “pivot” whenever the project or client needs require it, and our commitment to do ALL those things while maintaining a healthy work/life balance for our team.

Cheers to a decade, and hopefully several more decades to come!
From All of US at The BARK Firm

Digital Strategy In Small Business Matters

Sommer Grogan Article

The buzzword “digital marketing” has evolved quite a bit in recent years. Though there may be some confusion around the term & how it is applied to small businesses, the fact remains that it is not going away & is growing year-over-year.

The number of users who now have access to the internet is growing exponentially. In the U.S., 87.27% of people already have access to the internet. That is about 293 million individuals! And more than half of these online users are accessing information via a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

The power of digital marketing comes from the low barrier to entry & the attribution models that give advertisers the ability to better determine what is working for their business.

Consider this, 84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time, in up to six different categories. And in nearly one-quarter of shopping occasions, shoppers say they turn to their smartphone first.

By leveraging big data, any small business can tap into advertising inventory that has a similar reach to traditional marketing (such as television); along with performance that can usually outperform traditional marketing when leveraged correctly.

The question that remains is, “how do I add a strong digital marketing strategy to my small business?”

Whether it’s leveraging the power of user-intent through networks such as Google Search or finding a brand’s voice amongst social media or online video advertising, digital marketing offers a unique solution to small businesses.

Even with a small budget, a business can begin to build awareness of its brand through digital marketing tactics. It doesn’t even need to be that complicated to start.

Begin with the question, Where is my target audience spending their time online?”  Then follow up with, What action or actions (like click-through, pick up the phone, etc.) do I want my target audience to take that is valuable to my business?”.

By answering these two simple questions, anyone can begin to get an idea of what digital marketing strategies may work for their business. 

Then, start with a small budget and begin testing on various platforms to see what works and what doesn’t.

If the thought of diving in is too overwhelming or you just simply don’t have the bandwidth to conquer this on your own, you don’t have to! We have digital marketing specialists who can easily assess the best strategy & tactics to getting your business found online.

If this is something you’d like to hear more about, hit us up! We’d love to chat.

Cut Your Marketing Slack

Sommer Grogan Article

As professionals, we all have to “take inventory” from time to time and evaluate the areas of our company that may need a little streamlining. We have found, that all too often, marketing is definitely one of those areas. 

Here at BARK, we define “marketing slack” as any marketing effort that absorbs time and resources but creates little to no value for your company.

For example, maybe you find yourself right smack dab in the middle of lots of marketing efforts, but you have no idea which ones are actually working. You may be asking yourself: Which efforts are producing real value for my company? Which ones are a waste of time and effort? And for heaven’s sake… how many social platforms do I have to maintain in order to have a presence that works? And Google. Seriously. Ain’t nobody got time to try and figure that out. Figure out what the SLACK IS, and cut it!

Another form of slack? How about the giant missed opportunities between when you have a good idea to make something happen, and the time it takes to revisit it 5 times and actually execute it. Ever happen to you? CUT THE SLACK.

And how about the cost of all these efforts and knowing what’s necessary and what’s not. CUT THE SLACK.

What about the marketing meetings that go nowhere? The efforts that have no tracking associated with them? All the little, seemingly insignificant decisions (that really do add up and cost you time) on whether or not to do this one thing over here, or that other thing over there to generate some business? CUT THE SLACK.

Here’s the thing. There’s no secret behind successful marketing. Just approach. And the truth is it all matters. All the stuff. Most of it has a place somewhere. And if it doesn’t, you need to know why it doesn’t fit. It’s knowing where, when, and why you need “all the stuff” that most business owners struggle with. That part is what we refer to as “strategy,” and that’s the most crucial part of any marketing effort. 

The most important ingredient to successful marketing is a CONSISTENT APPROACH. You have to market when business is good (which we usually forget to do) and you also market when things aren’t so great, and this is usually when we get real reactive, forget the vision behind what we’re doing and make the kinds of decisions that have lost perspective and aren’t sustainable for the long term. 

So, our suggestion? Take a little time to evaluate where you are at on your marketing approach. We aim to be helpful, and we like to give out some free advice that steers you in the right direction. If you need more than that, give us a call. The strategy is our strong suit, and branding is what we do best. We love helping businesses streamline their marketing efforts and finding a way to creatively tell your story is what gives us purpose. We’d love to help. 

Humor Me! Why being funny works in marketing.

Corin Knowles Article

Can you remember your favorite commercials of all time? Or maybe a billboard that made you say “HaHA! That was clever!” Well humor has been used in advertising for a long time, and it’s not changing anytime soon. 

 

We buy from people we like, and humor is the easiest and fastest way to get there. Using humor makes you more likable, approachable, and more human. According to a 1993 Journal of Marketing study that examined multinational effects of humor on advertising concluded that ‘humor is more likely to enhance recall, evaluation, and purchase intention when the humorous message coincides with ad objectives, is well-integrated with those objectives, and is viewed as appropriate for the product category. Under such circumstances, humorous advertising is more likely to secure audience attention, increase memorability, overcome sales resistance, and enhance message persuasiveness.’

 

It’s true that humorous advertisements helps you stand out. But is there a downside? So you have a winning idea, and you launch your campaign with roaring success (and laughter). Let’s talk about the aptly, though weirdly named “vampire effect”. The term was coined after a study conducted by MediaAnalyzer Software & Research, which results concluded that “titillating content was sucking attention away from what the ad was actually trying to say”. So while distracting people with hilarious one-liners might be side-splitting, your audience might not remember what you’re selling. Now for a fun recall knowledge test, can you guess which companies were represented in these famous Super Bowl commercials? Answers below.

 

  1. “Wassup”
  2. “The Talking Baby”
  3. “Where’s the Beef”
  4. “Happier than a Camel on Hump Day”

 

So how do you overcome this vampire effect? This and more things to consider when creating your campaign:

 

  • Is your product/brand present but not too present? Let’s go back to grade school, you want to raise your hand during roll call and answer a reasonable amount of questions so you get your participation points, but no one likes the kid who always is raising their hand. Don’t be that guy. Research of failed campaigns s hows that having your product or brand in there too much will drive some people away. So make sure it’s sprinkled-in, but don’t go heavy-handed with the logos and product placement.
  • Different things are funny to different people. Try going through a list of favorite funny movies with your spouse, and you’ll likely see what I mean. The target market should always be considered, and receiving feedback from focus groups can be beneficial.
  • Variety is key. You’re going to get a lot more out of any campaign if you have variety. People may respond well to your first idea, but if they see it again in a slightly different way they may like it even more. Take for example the 100’s of iterations with the gecko from Geico Insurance.
  • Size doesn’t matter. Whether you’re a big company, or a small one with a modest budget, you can get noticed. Your audience doesn’t necessarily care about how many employees you have, or how much money you spent, if you made them laugh–that’s what matters.
  • Make it relevant, or not. Though funny ads may not have anything to do with what their selling (which is the whole point of the joke in some cases) it can be helpful to make it relevant to what your selling. Say for example, Misheard Lyrics campaign for Wyoming Otolaryngology, the campaign itself is based on what people were able to hear when listening to popular songs. This ties in perfectly with the company’s mission to help people with hearing impairments. 
  • Go ahead, take a risk.  You’re going to have people who love it, others who hate it, and then a group of people that just don’t get it at all. If you are safe, your results will be average. It pays off to be a bit edgy. So go ahead, take a chance and see what happens.

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Real Advice On Social Media Strategy From The BARK Firm (And It’s Free)

Sarah Carper Article

Ahhh, the world of social media. The ever-evolving, ever-addicting, ever-confusing world of best selves, algorithms, and love-hate relationships intermixed with strategy and great content. 

It’s also an endless bank of consumers that want to know you, and your product, directly. 

There are a lot of factors to a good social strategy between all the hashtags, social contests, and paid advertising, but there is one thing that all brands can do as a baseline–and it’s free: consistency. 

Just as we all would want a good friend to be, consumers rely on their favorite brands to remain intriguing, transparent, engaging, and consistent to keep their attention. Here are a few tips to maintain a consistent brand presence on social media that will help to keep your audience hooked and growing organically:

Create High-Quality Content

No, this doesn’t mean you need to rent out a studio to shoot a trendy pic of your morning coffee. Do, however, stay away from your boss’s old flip phone and the bad office or warehouse lighting. Cell phone cameras have improved a lot over the years, and flat-lays on a modern background with soft lighting can go a long way. Plus, they can be done in the office or in your kitchen–work with what you’ve got, and create beautiful, large images that will resonate with your audience. 

Establish a Look and Feel

Speaking of that old warehouse lighting… if you must use it, then USE it. Whatever your brand’s tone, own it from the beginning with intentional styling and stick with it. The best brands on social media create an aesthetic that matches their brand, which can be done with lighting, filters, intentional personality, and even color palettes to edit your photos to match your logo, brand elements, etc. Curate a look and feel for each and every post that makes your home feed look like one gorgeous, cohesive unit–then watch the followers build.

Maintain a Posting Schedule

Imagine having someone in your life who claimed they wanted to be your best friend calling you every day for two weeks, then dropping off the map for a month only to pick up calling you every day again like nothing ever happened. It would be hard to know when to plan on them being around, right? Or it would be annoying to not hear from them at all, then to have them open up on you like a firehouse, no? Same goes for your followers. 

Keep a cadence going, whether that’s one post a week, three posts a week, or once a day (but please, please don’t overshare with your audience by posting 4-5 times per day. There is such a thing as too much content–see firehose comment made above…) Protip: establish a calendar with which posts you’ll share on which days to keep everything in check and organized.  

Be Transparent

In a past blog post, we emphasized the importance of finding your WHY. Hold onto that throughout your social media journey, and let your brand’s personality and honest consideration of your customers shine through. If you make mistakes, own up and apologize instead of ignoring negative comments. If you earn praise from your followers, jump in and thank them for their support and stewardship. A little extra effort to build that relationship doesn’t go unnoticed–your followers are real people, after all, and your brand is also run by real people who probably can relate to them.

Never before have brands had the opportunity to directly communicate with consumers all across the spectrum, from those who are potentially interested to those who have purchased product and are now loyal ambassadors. 

Never before have they had direct, free marketing opportunities at their fingertips through word of mouth that actually results in amazing, high-quality content created by their very own clients and customers. 

But to build these quality and valuable relationships, you have to get into the hearts and minds of your followers and create a relationship-worthy brand. A great start is to establish a beautiful, friendly brand that people will love to follow and engage with, then to share it with the world in an honest, consistent, and well thought-out way.

Need some help creating a brand people will love to follow on social media? We’d be happy to show you how we’ve helped some of our clients and give you a consultation.

You’re Not An Artist; You Solve Problems

Nick Perkins Article

“If we were making a movie or a play, we’d be embarrassed to do this,” Peggy Olson complains to her boss, Don Draper in an episode of Mad Men. Peggy is a copywriter for an ad agency, and she’s hesitant to work on a campaign for a client because, in her mind, it leaves very little room for ‘artistic creativity.’

Perpetually annoyed with just about everybody, Draper doesn’t hesitate to let Peggy know, in no uncertain terms, what her job actually is.

“You’re not an artist…you solve problems.”

And therein lies some of the best advice that a client-focused, brand-forward marketing firm could ever apply to their own agency.

At The BARK Firm, we’re not (just) artists; we’re problem solvers. 

Make no mistake, our team is made up of some of the most creative people in Wyoming and beyond. We are musicians and writers and designers and painters and photographers. But, for you and your company, we don’t just want to make ‘art.’ We want to solve your marketing problems.

Companies face a myriad of challenges every week, every day, every minute. Determining those challenges, addressing them, and solving them is the most important aspect of any business, at least according to Forbes.

“We believe, to do well in the future, companies must resolve that problem solving is the key to business, then develop a robust problem-solving capability at all levels,” a Forbes article once stated.

Those problems or challenges are vast and varied. They range from personal and corporate integrity, hiring the right staff, cash flow, competition and more. Keeping the customers that you have while simultaneously gaining new ones is, arguably, the biggest challenge that businesses face.

The best way to get new customers while maintaining current ones is to have a strong marketing brand, and that’s where we come in. 

 

We’re interested in telling your story, in developing your brand and in helping you stand out amongst your competition. We do that in a variety of ways, with some simple, and some not-so-simple techniques, all of which are effective in producing real, tangible results.

If we are able to tell the story of your business in a creative way, we will be thrilled. But our main priority is not to show Wyoming and beyond that we’re the best at what we do (even though we totally are). Our priority is showing them that you are the best at what you do.

 

So our challenge to you is this: think of the brand challenges that your business is facing, and let us help you find the solutions. Hopefully, you’ve already asked yourself WHY it is you do what you do. Now ask yourself the rest.

Who is your brand marketed to?

What is your purpose?

Where are you now and where do you want to be in 5 years?

When do you want to create ‘art with a purpose’ and take your company brand to the next level?

How can we help?

We want to tell your story, market your brand and make your customers feel.

The BARK Firm develops creative communication that sends a message and solves a problem and that, well, that is the art of advertising.

An Idea Alone is Not Enough

Dustin Neal Article

We may like the notion that our business, brand, product, service, or idea is so great that it can stand alone, but the truth is that none of these things can develop, grow, or be successful by themselves.

You need people. Partners, collaborators, builders, relationships, and connections. Every successful brand/business rallies behind their people. It takes designers to make your product or service come to life. It takes workers to make sure it is delivered to the market and that it lives up to its promise. It takes customers to buy it and give their feedback to you so you can further improve upon it. It takes a team of passionate people who are committed to the project to make an idea happen. No one man can execute an idea to its fullest potential solely.

Welcome to the ocean. We’re all in it. Big fish, small fish, all together in one eco-system. In an ocean where collaboration and creation co-function, who we work with and rely on can determine how far our ideas can go.

So what have we learned?
Well, being a Wyoming marketing firm, we can tell you working closely and partnering with businesses has taught us much about developing successful brands. Here’s some insight into what we know.

We know you have to clearly and simply communicate your brand’s values both in words and in vision.
Your team must define your idea, it’s values, its goals, and its story together before it sees the light of day. How does your product/service impact peoples lives? Does it enrich their lives out of necessity or is it a luxury? And why should people care? With so many options in today’s market, you must be authentic and cut through the noise about who you are, and how you fit into peoples lives. It takes more than one man to accomplish this.

We know that good design sells.
In 2005 a group called The Design Council studied 63 portfolios of companies that traded Financial Times Stock Exchange over the course of a decade. What they learned is that the companies that put their focus on great design did better than the ones that didn’t. The companies that brought on staff for design or hired that part out as a collaboration increased their team and saw direct benefits from it. It takes more than the product/service itself to push the idea.

We know you must appeal to the right market.
In some cases, you may have started a business that reaches out to a demographic that you are not. How could you possibly know anything about the Millennials when you are yourself not one? You couldn’t possibly understand their need for co-op workspaces, beanbag chairs, and an insatiable need to consume products that not only define them but make a difference in the world while also being low impact on the environment. I’m teasing of course, but seriously if your business is going to flourish you better get yourself a team of collaborators to help you develop your idea for this demographic. By enlisting the help of good people who also understand the market you want to be in and are able to further develop your idea and help you grow.

We know that the go-it-alone strategy will only produce a very narrow vision of what the initial idea could have been. Reaching out to other businesses and forming partnerships fosters growth and development for everyone involved. If ideas have the power to change us, shape our societies, and the way we live, then any idea that goes unfulfilled or unexecuted at it’s highest potential is a loss to us all.

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Ask Yourself Why

Sommer Grogan Article

Very few companies can clearly tell people WHY they do WHAT they do. And when we’re talking about WHY that doesn’t mean “for money.” That’s a result. By WHY we mean what is the PURPOSE of your company? WHY do you exist? What drives you? What is it that makes you tirelessly work for your company each and every day? You must believe in something. What is it? And WHY should anyone care?

Good questions, right? We think so. And most of that we stole like an artist from our friend, Simon. But, we believe in the WHY. And at BARK, our WHY is helping you tell the story of yours. If you’re like most companies, you know the heart behind your WHY but the words are hard to come by. It‘s hard telling your story in a clear, concise, and impactful way.

The good news is we’re pretty good at that. We love finding the great stories behind WHY our clients do what they do. And, more importantly, we love TELLING them.

If you need help crafting the words and the story behind your WHY, reach out to us. We’d love to help. But to get you started on your own reason WHY here’s some food for thought.

  • How does your company help people or make an impact?
  • How do you measure your success (aside from money)?
  • What about your business keeps you up at night?
  • And, if you could tell someone one thing that sets your company apart, what would it be?

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