Portfolio- Emroy Creative Group Blog Post #3

Here’s how to make your business appear more attractive to potential clients (with very little effort.)

 

There’s an old Irish proverb that says you can “Put Silk on a Goat and it is still a Goat”. While this may be true in many cases, when it comes to branding, a lot can be gained by making your goat look like a million dollars, rather than letting it roam the fields, freestyle. In this metaphor the goat is your business’s letterhead and envelopes.

We’ve discussed recently how effective the mere-exposure effect can be in your marketing efforts: so it should be of no surprise that we’ll be talking about it again in the focus of Letterheads and Envelopes today. 

Letterheads are a fantastic way to reinforce your brand identity.

Imagine that you’ve been asked to provide some quotes for a new business contract. Nothing fancy, just some basic quoting and some associated documentation to express why your business is best fit for the job. Typically these types documents will contain some sort of business branding in the form of a letterhead. How professional and effective this letterhead is, will heavily influence how the reader perceives your business.

As the famous (fictional) Lawyer Harvey Spectre once said, “First impressions last. If you start behind the eight ball, you’ll never get in front”. This is true for virtually every aspect of life, but especially in business.

A 2006 study done by the University of Carleton found people decide how appealing imagery is after seeing it for only 50 milliseconds. Further to this, first impressions matter – once they have formed an opinion, they tend to stick with it.

We know from further studies that how visually appealing we perceive something, plays a major part in how much we like that thing. In the case of your business, if a client (literally) likes what they see on paper, they’re more likely to like your business as well.

Reinforcing Brand Credibility.

Every company has wants to tell its customers what it is that they represent. Your letterhead therefore needs to reinforce your brand message. There would be little value in a childcare centre having a rigid, monochrome look; just as it would make next to no sense for a mechanic to have a book-like design.

Not only does your company letterhead show who you are to identify your brand; it should also be used for all official documentation. It reinforces your brand’s authority and gives the remainder of the letter credibility. Additionally,  consistent branding helps build up a base from which you can develop brand familiarity with the Mere- Exposure Effect. (Repetition, repetition, repetition).

Envelopes

If a well-designed letterhead is the dress on your goat, then a matching envelope is the ribbon around its neck. On almost every occasion, an envelope is the first piece of material that a client will tangibly receive from you. They are unavoidably the first thing that about your business that people take notice of.

As such, choosing the right type of envelope and It’s design are important considerations that many people neglect. That’s not to say your envelopes necessarily need to be a carbon copy of your letterhead, though that is an entirely acceptable route to take; instead, you should have some fun with the design, and create an envelope that demands to be opened and paid attention. (Which we’re more than happy to help you develop)

Much like letterheads, a well-designed envelope can greatly assist in developing a familiar brand identity among your clientele: which in turn builds trust, and stronger business relations.

Portfolio- Emroy Creative Group Blog Post #2

Let me show you how to get your brand on your client’s desk (spoiler: with notepads)

Think about soft drinks for a moment. Chances are the first thing that came to mind was Coca-Cola. Now think about why they’re often so prominent in your mind. The answer, is repetition. Coca-Cola, like many brands, employ repetition in their branding to enhance and retain consumer awareness. You can replicate this (with a much smaller budget) by using notepads.

This is known as the mere-exposure effect; Often prefer things because they are familiar with them, seeing them as more truthful and accurate.

In fact, because you’re regularly exposed to Coca-Cola’s marketing material, familiarity builds which leads to an increase in brand loyalty.

Therefore when your clients are routinely exposed to your corporate branding (i.e. when they go to jot something down on a notepad), you too, can to capitalise on that same concept and remain relevant in their minds, for longer.

rowers on cooks river notepadsGive clients something they can take home and hold onto.

Notepads are a super handy tool that allow you to keep your business in the minds of potential clients well after a meeting has ended or a trade show has wrapped up.

Furthermore, due to the nature of their use, branded notepads have an extended consumption period; meaning that they will remain in the possession of clients long after other promotional materials have been lost and discarded.

In addition, custom notepads also ensure that your clients have ready access to your contact details over life of the notepad.

Learn more about how you can optimise your trade show experience by reading our blog post here.

Notepads are economical.

As far as promotional items go, notepads are among the most cost effective. This means that you can dedicate a more of your marketing budget to other components (Business cards, flyers, website, etc.) without sacrificing your conversion rates.

They’re good for productivity.

A strong corporate identity can significantly alter an employee’s perceptions of the workplace, helping to align their goals to those of the business itself.

Branded notepads, or specialised company writing pads can reinforce your business’s values and goals in the minds of your employees. This can aid in productivity and motivation that will help to see your business thrive.

Furthermore, it’s much easier to jot down notes from an important client over the phone with a ready to go notepad.

Notepads are versatile.

Finally, if there’s a specific size or type of notepad you’re after, chances are it exists. For some businesses, a ‘shopping list’ style notepad may be what’s most appropriate for their customers. For others, mini notepads or custom- shaped notepads are in order.

Whatever product or service it is that your business offers, there’s an appropriate notepad we can supply to match.

Portfolio- Emroy Creative Group Blog Post #1

Super simple (and low cost) ways to encourage repeat business by showing your customers you care

It should be of no surprise to learn that clients are more inclined to work with a business that they feel cares about them. So much so that according to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Therefore, it is in your companies best interest to maintain a positive relationship with all of your clients, because they are your business’ most important asset!

Here’s a few small tips that your business can action straightaway to create long-lasting client relationships.

Holiday cards

There’s nothing like receiving a thoughtful card during the holiday season to make sure your client knows they are important to your business. A card saying ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Happy Easter’, ‘Happy New Year’, ‘Happy Lunar (Chinese) New Year’ or any other holiday that has significance to your client will go a long way. Holiday cards will reassure your client that they haven’t been forgotten in addition to making them feel special and acknowledged. Such cards also help keep your services fresh in their mind during what are often very busy periods for businesses.

Birthday cards

As you get older birthdays become less celebrated and so a card from your business will be a welcomed surprise. Keep track of your clients’ birthdays in your business calendar, and be sure to send out a card at the start of the month to each client due to celebrate a birthday that month. Clients rarely expect businesses to celebrate their birthdays – this gesture will show your business cares and help it stand out in your client’s mind.

Congratulations

Show your clients that you’re proud and supportive of them by sending your congratulations when they hit significant achievements. Your clients’ achievements and milestones deserve to be celebrated, and your business’s acknowledgement of this will show how invested you are in this relationship. An easy way to keep track of these is simply to follow their Facebook page- at the very least they’ll appreciate the extra ‘like’!

With compliments slips

With any official correspondence, it’s always a warm gesture to include a small handwritten note and a with compliments slip is perfect for that. Remember to keep your message brief; there’s no need to write an essay. Even a simple ‘thank you’ will speak volumes to your clients’ and show that you are grateful for their business.

Greeting cards and ‘with compliments’ slips are great for businesses on a budget. You can pre-print these in bulk and ahead of time to save money, making them a great low-cost option to strengthen valuable relationships.  When designing a ‘with compliments’ slip, don’t forget to leave room for a handwritten message. The brain responds more positively to the written word far greater than that which is computer generated.

SCIENCE TIME WITH THRANDUIL.

SCIENCE TIME WITH THRANDUIL.

“WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS?!?”

First off- DO NOT TRY ANY OF THIS STUFF AT HOME, YOURSELF.
The chemicals I was “Playing with” today are all incredibly toxic and it is absolutely imperative that a great deal of care is taken when using them. If you do decide to use any of these types of chemicals, ensure that it is in a well- ventilated area and that you are properly covered up (Nitrate Gloves, Safety Goggles & A Gas mask, Long sleeves + Pants, etc). Don’t be an idiot. Look after yourself. You can’t go to that convention if you’re dead.

So today’s big “achievement” in relation to building Thranduil was conducting experiments on the Craftiflex (Read- Australian Worbla) to see what paint- related chemicals reacted it it, to work out what I could paint it with to give it the best possible finish. I have spent enough bloody money on this costume already- I am not allowing it to be shit.

PART ONE. PAINT THINNERS.
Not nearly as toxic (Arguably) as part two. 

Anyway, so most people, when they do the Cosplays with the Worblas, (This is how you English, children) will typically use acrylics to paint their creations. But not before priming it with Gesso or Wood Glue or something else like that. The thing is, Acrylic Paint is really expensive when you think about it- especially metallics-, and I am painting a substantial amount of  armor in a single shade of metal (More or less) so, it’s going to add up. THEREFORE, and I don’t actually know if this works out better or not, but I plan on using some type of automotive paint, because that stuff is meant to give a much better finish to shiny things anyway. I’ll work out the specifics of the paint when I actually get to that stage though and write about it then.
Anyway, most paints need to be thinned in order to be used in an airbrush- Water based ones can have this done with water* (Gasp!) but oil based ones (And I guess water based ones can be done this way as well) need thinners added to them in order to you know, thin out a bit.  This was what the first test today entailed. Soaking a scrap piece of Craftiflex in thinners.

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The whitened part is the thinners, the bottom is straight resin (ignore that for now)

It didn’t go how I’d hoped it would.
The plastic was only in the thinners for about a minute, but even in that time it became somewhat sticky and slightly softer, while when it dried it had a sort of white residue coating it.
While the paint mixture that would have been applied to the armour wouldn’t have had nearly that much thinner in it, it’s still not a good sign. Oil based paints are therefore, for the time being, ruled out.

TEST TWO. FIBREGLASS + RESIN.
Playing with “Fire”. (Thermochemical reactions) 

The second chemical test was Fibreglass + Resin.
A former teacher recommended that I consider fibreglassing the outside of the bracers to boost their strength and make the paint application process easier/ better.

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Front of the Craftiflex- Resin and Fibreglass visible
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Back of the Craftiflex. Note that this was a quick thing to see how it would react, not something where it needed to be neat. 

Unlike the paint thinners, the resin mixture itself did not cause any adverse reactions to the craftiflex. Nor did anything significant occur when the fibreglass was introduced. HOWEVER. The thing about resin is that it hardens via a thermochemical reaction. And it gets really bloody hot. As in, you could quite easily burn yourself if you were dumb enough to touch it at its peak. **
Given that craftiflex/ Worbla’s working temperature is between 50-80 degrees celicius,(Don’t ask me what it is in Farenheit) that obviously poses a significant problem. While there was no visible warping on the small scrap of craftiflex that I tested it on, when covering an entire bracer, or breast plate, or otherwise, this will likely cause the entire piece to change shape significantly. Therein ruining both the craftiflex as well as the Fibreglass.
So that’s out as well.

 

Fun.
Oh well, gotta keep working on things.

*Actually don’t quote me on that, I am not a painter I make the things digitally. I basically failed Year 8 art
** The fact that I know this from experience is entirely besides the point.

 

Thranduil the scientist
Pictured- Me. (This photo took far too long for the level of humor it incites.) 

Embracing My true form as Silvan Royalty- Hair time.

Embracing My true form as Silvan Royalty- Hair time.

Okay so the wig arrived today, and oh my god that was fast. I ordered it on Thursday AND IT GOT HERE TODAY.THAT IS AMAZING. It came from bloody China and it got here in effectively less than 4 days. The bloody material took longer to get here and it was only coming from Perth! But anyway, the hair. IT IS SO SOFT. And when I put it on semi-properly it actually looks real. The only problem with it though is that it tangles so easily. According to some of the videos I watched researching wigs and wig care, this is something that happens to pretty much all synthetic wigs that go below the shoulders, but seriously it’s such a pain in the arse. I spent a good 45 minutes in a constant state of paranoia whilst untangling it because I neither wanted to pull too hard that strands were pulled out of the wig (This happened anyway but only in single strands at a time- thankfully) nor did I want to make it worse. FUN TIMES.

But anyway, the wig is still super awesome and I most definitely wasn’t waiting around the house most of the day waiting for the courier to come.

Oh right also, there are absolutely ZERO tutorials on how to style ones hair like Thranduil. Just add that to the list of other poor- non-existent references for anyone who wants to cosplay as this gloriously beautiful elf. Which is great. Plenty on Legolas, and Tauriel, but absolutely zero on Thranduil. This is especially sucky for anyone (I.e, me.) who has never in their life had extremely long hair before and has no idea how to style it properly. Oh well, more learning experiences to talk about on here 🙂

Also I’ll leave you with a photo of me trying on the wig- pre-lace cutting ( Still haven’t done that- need to buy a wig cap first c: )

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The Armour Building Begins- Bracers. General Shape Completed, No pretty things though

The Armour Building Begins- Bracers. General Shape Completed, No pretty things though

Oh my god this was by far one of the most stressful things I’ve done with this cosplay thus far. I have never used Worbla (Craftiflex) before and it is goddamn expensive, so if I cocked up then it was a considerable amount of money down the drain. I took the advice of Kamui Cosplay and started with one of the more simple components of the armor- the bracers. Can I just say, yes they might be simple in comparison to other components, but they were still pants-shittingly scary to do. And on more than one occasion during their construction I’ve been overcome with fear that this entire endeavor is in fact a giant waste of time/ money, and that all my efforts up to this point have been nothing but blatant failures, and that what I am doing is total shit. YAY SELF ESTEEM AND CREATORS SHAME.

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I couldn’t find the exact image I wanted but this is still pretty relevant. Credit-

Anyway, on that insanely positive note, onwards.
As it turns out (After much internet searching and very little success), most bracers worn by cosplayers that are made from thermoplastic, don’t appear to wrap all the way around the forearm, and yet Thranduil’s do. With some kind of invisible magic I can only assume because that armor is bloody seamless. The only reference image I could attain to confirm whether Thranduil has a closed bracer or not came from a GIF (Remember kids, it’s GIF not JIF) of one of the (still in production) fight scenes that I then loaded into Photoshop and analysed frame by frame. From what I can gather, I think I’ve made it pretty accurately- I certainly hope I have.

 

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Thankyou to whichever kind soul make this GIF.

 

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Also relevant. “I don’t live in the kingdom of Jondor”

So from the original paper templates one then has to transfer those to craft foam (AKA Yoga Mats in my case because why pay $30 for 10 A4 Sheets when I can pay $12 for almost 2m2?) and then onto the Worbla (Craftiflex)

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“Why is the photo all out of focus?” IT’S A MACRO LENS D: 

 

In order to try and save material I opted to do the “Wrap Around” option for applying the Craftiflex to the the Craft foam, wherein you add an additional 3.8cm (1.5 inches)  or so around the actual shape (Like a second outline? I may or may not have forgotten to take photos of this part. You’ll see in later blog posts anyway) to be folded around the foam core.

 

So yeah, Worbla is actually a lot harder to form than I had originally anticipated. Like, once it’s all hot and wobbly it’s not too bad, but the heating up process, and making sure it’s even and nothing is still all firm, difficult. That said, I may be experiencing this to a greater degree (Ha, temperature joke) because I am using a hairdryer as opposed to a heat gun. Don’t be cheap, kids. A lot of Cosplayers (I’m looking at you, Kamui) state that Worbla/ Craftiflex is really easy to fuse together. WELL LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING. IT IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT. The number of times the seam that joins the two sides of the bracer re-opened as I was shaping it was beyond a bloody joke. And just when you think you’ve got the seam down pat, LOLNOPE IT OPENS AGAIN. Higher temperatures may aid in this fusing however you also run the risk of stretching/ flattening the craftiflex out too much, and then you’ve got an even bigger problem than a potentially ugly/ wonky seam line. So take heed.

(Images of the un-decorated bracer directly below. More text after that)

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If anyone is curious about the flattened shape, after much trial and error I opted for a straight- edge pattern, as a curved one gave a shape that just didn’t look anything like Thranduil’s bracers in the film IMO. That said, others appear to have gone with that aforementioned curved shape so,  you do you.

As noted above, this is a closed bracer, which means putting it on is slightly different to simply “slapping it on” and tightening some straps. With this design I’ve found that I need to (Carefully) slide my hand/ arm in, and then put it into place. On more than one occasion one of the internal seam-lines cracked open at one of the ends, however it appears I’ve amended this by fusing an additional scrap of worbla over the top.
Hopefully whatever paint I use now, has enough “Give” in it so as to allow this minor bending of the piece whilst putting it on. I certainly hope so.

If you’re wondering about the pretty elvish designs that are meant to adorn all pieces of Thranduil’s armour, including the bracers, I’ll cover those in another blog post once I am “100%” (Ha.) happy with the shape of these.

 

 

Thranduil – The King of Wood and Stone. Fabric Shopping

Thranduil – The King of Wood and Stone. Fabric Shopping

Today consisted of heading into the CBD and going to virtually every Fabric Store I could find (Tbh I ended up going to like, 4) and searching to see if they had any fabrics that matched Thranduil’s…. Undershirt, and Skirt thing. I DON’T KNOW THE PROPER TERMS DON’T JUDGE ME D:

As you can see the route around Sydney was, haphazard to say the least (Also not entirely accurate- my phone was about to die so I turned my location services off before we made our way to Town Hall Station at the end but, you know, close enough)

SO.  MUCH. WALKING.

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                           Pictured- The clustfrack of a shopping trip “Planned” by yours truly.                  (Thin Blue line represents the route taken after Location Services were turned off)

 

Anyway, so as seen here, the material used for Thranduil’s undershirt and skirt thing is like a black, shiny leather-ish material. But also not leather? Idk, it’s a bit weird and that’s the main point.

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Pictured- Weird material.

 

It’s about as hard to source as DoS Thranduil’s Silver Brocade material is to source. Actually this seemed slightly easier.

I actually walked away with two different samples and wow they are so much softer than I was originally anticipating. Both materials have their pros and cons, but they could also be quite easily used for the piece. In my research I’ve seen a wide range of different materials and patterns used, and most (“Most” being the key word here) still work quite well. BUT. As always I want to try and make it as accurate as possible.
What do you guys think?DSC_0049

 

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I’ll be heading out again on Saturday to a different area of Sydney to see what fabrics are available- hopefully cheaper than these were (These weren’t baaaaad, but like, still about $35/m).

At the moment I am sort of leaning towards the first fabric, however there is only 2m of that available and I’m concerned that such an amount will not suffice- especially for a novice sewer. BUT WE’LL SEE. Maybe they can order it in or something for me.

It’s also important though that it flows well. In the film Thranduil’s skirt thing flows incredibly elegantly when he’s taking down Orcs in the City of Dale and while I don’t think I’ll be taking down any armies of a Dark Lord, it still needs to look good. Also because I move quickly and otherwise it’s probably going to tear or some shit.

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Why yes, all three were completely necessary. 

 

 

Material Ordered! Yay!

Material Ordered! Yay!

So I ordered the material today- All…. like, 4m2 of it. A while back whilst researching some cosplay materials (Namely Worbla) I found out about an Australian product that is literally the exact same. As in, there is no chemical or structural difference between the two products.

HOW IS THIS THE CASE?
Glad you asked. Well, Basically there is a Swiss Company called Worbla AG which created the original product- A thermoplastic which when heated up can be molded into any shape, blended together and reused, etc. It’s actually really great stuff. PROBLEM IS, because of exchange rates and the like, it is so very expensive in Australia. This is obviously a problem for all the Australasian cosplayers who want to use it. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, because as it turns out, the patent for Worbla’s finest art doesn’t  extend to Australia. So, in theory any Australian individual or business could in theory just recreate the Worbla’s Finest Art product and supply it in our market. Which is exactly what Duskraven Costumerie did. Their product is effectively half the price of Worbla in Australia and identical in specifications.

This isn’t a plug or anything for them- I’m not getting paid for this (Yet) but I figure any Australian/ New Zealand/ etc cosplayers who don’t want to fork out stupid amounts of money because exchange rates, should know that such a product exists.

Will provide updates about my experiences with it when I receive it. c:

The Reichenfine Fall.

The Reichenfine Fall.

How far they fell.

Earlier this year the Fine Brothers showed the world the perfect example of exactly what NOT to do when you’re in an influential and popular entity/ celebrity online.

Trademark.

The Fine Brothers have been on the YouTube scene since 2007, and have had success with various different content types, but but none more-so than their “React” series, where they get the so titled “Kids”, “Elders”, “”Teens”, “Adults”, and (Popular) “YouTubers” to react to stuff- usually other YouTube videos/ YouTubers. Sometimes even engaging in cruel and unnecessary torture bby making children watch Donald Trump. Personally I think they (The kids) nailed it though.

BUT, earlier this due to a string of arguably incredibly stupid decisions and comments made by the Fine Brothers, they lost well over 250,000 subscribers.

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“The Press will turn Sherlock. They always turn. And they’ll turn on you.” – Maybe the Fine Brothers should have “Reacted” to Sherlock. Might have learnt something. 

The Fine Brothers do not own the “React” genre of online video, but they are most certainly the biggest name within it, and arguably, they do it best. This hasn’t stopped them from trying to call out other creators (Big- Ellen and Buzzfeed big, to Small) and telling them to stop “Copying” them. One would think that having been in the Online Content industry for 9 years now, that they would eventually have learned/ worked out that no, they do not in fact have a monopoly on react videos. Buuuuuuut they didn’t. And then this happened.

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Yeah. They went from gaining Subscribers to losing them in the tens of thousands, in less than a week. 

And then ultimately, this. Fine

While I didn’t follow the matter particularly closely at the time, largely in part because I don’t really care about react videos- most of them are boring and just mooching off other peoples’ content (Though again, The Fine Bros probably do it the most professionally/ respectfully) but from what I can gather, much of this is because of poor communication  from the outset, as well as predispositions but people because of the Brother’s previous comments and behaviour towards such issues. (If you do want to read about it from someone far more well informed on the matter YouTuber Hank Green wrote this, and The Fine Bros released this) This seems to be a common trend in a lot of celebrities that fall into heat (But haven’t just gone and said/ done something wildly offensive- Azaelia Banks)

Poor Communication skills are why we have PR Firms and Lawyers. If you’re a massive Public figure or corporate entity and you want to make a big announcement, unless you are really savvy in this kind of stuff, it’s best to get it checked over by someone who knows what they’re doing. And maybe then this type of mess won’t happen so often.

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The Fine Bros Subscriber Count. 

YouTube Prerolls. Redefining advertising.

YouTube Prerolls. Redefining advertising.

 

The influence of online advertising on legacy media is fascinating-as more and more people move away from traditional sources of news and light- entertainment and more towards platforms such as YouTube, the balance of power and the importance/ value of advertising on that particular medium shifts as well. What started out as a big of a joke, something that wasn’t necessarily taken seriously and was severely undervalued, has now turned into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. For that matter, YouTube pre-rolls now account for X% of their total net profit. The video below discusses the effect YouTube and the online world in general had on advertising, the shift in power from advertiser to consumer, and the inherent flaws that are still plaguing online marketing to this day, as well as an example of a company/ campaign that did it right. Have fun :p
(Also lets not judge it too harshly, k?)

 

A creative that works with the medium is by far the most powerful, and Marketing agencies are slowing becoming more savvy to this new world of online advertising- it’s gong to be incredibly interesting to see where it takes us, and how it affects legacy ads, and media.