Last week, Instagram announced an update where the user can now take short videos that disappear after 24 hours, much like Snapchat. You can send them directly to a user or to everyone that follows you. While some users were excited about this new feature, many were confused by the new row of users at the top of their screen. It will be interesting to see how it effects Snapchats users and downloads, and how many brands start using the instagram feature to promote them. 

With the release of this new feature creates new opportunities to promote your athletes, organization and ticket offers. Take users behind the scenes of your facilities, get them ready for game day, etc. If you have interns, this is a great avenue for them to take over and come up with ideas and videos. Since your audience is already built in, because you already have instagram followers, this is a way to reach them with even more content. 

I do not follow a ton of brands on instagram, but I have noticed that the ones I do follow (Wilton, Food Network) have already started producing videos to further promote their brand, all while providing some fun cooking and decorating tips! 

You can even use it as a special promo for ticket sales. Provide a code in the video to offer a special instagram ticket price. Or use it as a countdown to the fall sports season. Focus on the olympic sports, getting your fans excited for something other then football. 

Another instagram tip: check your hashtag. If your team or department has a hashtag they plan on using this season, check to see how popular it is by searching it in the app. I recently went to a wedding and when I clicked on the hashtag to see other pictures after the wedding, it brought up photos of models that maybe weren’t the most appropriate. The hashtag wasn’t anything crazy, but a modeling agency also uses it to tag their photos. Make sure that whatever hashtag you are using is appropriate, no matter who clicks on it! 

Most everyone is on social media, so make sure you are taking advantage of the way it can reach your fans! 

Your brand is the story. Your logo is the cover of the book. That's how I would best describe the brand/logo relationship.

And unfortunately as often as we're told not to judge a book by its cover, that's exactly what we do because that's all we can do. What else do we have to judge it on, and who wants to read the book if the cover isn't enticing in some way?

We recently worked with the Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball on their logo rebrand. It was more than just a visual rebrand, they also decided to consolidate their name into USA Softball. They are the National Governing Body of Softball after all, so it made sense to make the name change on the heels of an Olympic year and with the buzz of softball being reinstated into the 2020 Olympic games (which was just finalized yesterday!).

Let's take a look at the new USA Softball and I'll also share some key points during the rebranding process.

Pre-Planning

Before it goes beyond your walls, there are things that need to be discussed internally by those closest to your brand. If you're scrapping your current logo and starting over, a lot of questions need to be answered to ensure you stay on track and in line with your company's core values. There's no doubt your brand has gained equity over time (probably more than you realize), so you need to be willing to give some of this up to start fresh. Here are some questions and thoughts to consider:

• Rebrand or refresh?

Sometimes a total overhaul isn't needed, but you should assess whether making changes to your current logo will suffice or if it's time to start new. Consider how much brand equity you have, what your current mark represents to your customers and raving fans, and whether slight modifications to your existing logo can get you through the next 10 years.

• Why are we doing it?

If you can't figure out why you're wanting to refresh or rebrand, it's probably not the right time. Your reasoning could be based on some event that has you moving a slightly different direction, or you're wanting to use a rebrand as a jumpstart to offer something different or enter a new market. Or perhaps your current logo/brand is stale and you want to rejuvenate your fanbase and customers by creating something new and exciting. Whatever the reason, make sure you know why you're doing it, because you will have to explain it at some point.

• Get buy-in early

Everyone doesn't have to be on board for a rebrand, but your key stakeholders and decision makers should be. Not only do you need buy-in from them early, you also need to know how involved they want to be and get any input on the direction in the beginning stages. Nothing will frustrate you more than developing a new brand that doesn't make it past the head guy's office.

The Rebrand

Deciding to do a rebrand is tough, but actually getting to a logo that everyone can live with is the real challenge. Here are some points to consider during the logo creation stage:

• Tell your story

As I mentioned, your brand is the story. And although your logo won't tell the full story of your brand, you should be able to easily explain how your logo is a good representation of your brand and your overall company culture. Remember, this is all people will judge you by until they get to know the full story.

• Get input early

It's important to get any preconceived ideas out on the table before starting on those first sketches. Get examples from others about what they like and why they like it. Just keep in mind any ideas should be easily tied to your brand.

• KISS

Keep it simple, stupid. This is easier said than done, but the best logos are the simple ones. Don't add things to the mix to accommodate everyone. Strip away what you can without removing the essence of your brand.

• Don't stray too far

After you've nailed down the primary logo, you'll likely want to create variations of this logo for other applications. Try not to stray too far with secondary and tertiary logo marks, and know when and how to effectively use them. You don't want to cause confusion about your brand by releasing 18 versions of your new logo.

 

 

The Unveil

• Celebrate it!

Soft rollouts are for wimps. You just created a new logo, now show the world! You've got to take that logo by the horns and ride it where it takes you.

• Timing is everything

Choose your timing. Consider what's going on in your industry and what events you have coming up within your own company that will naturally get more exposure. And if there's nothing noteworthy going on around you, use your logo unveil to stir up some excitement.

• You won't please everyone

There will inevitably be people that don't like your logo. Know that going into a rebrand. You'll hear more about the negatives than the positives, which is why it's important that you've considered all the things mentioned previously. This is your creation and careful consideration was given at every step, so don't take every uneducated and flippant comment to heart. If you can justify why you're doing what you're doing, you'll eventually get buy-in from those that matter.

Old Hat just recently completed video shoots for The University of Illinois' football and men's basketball teams. We were very excited to once again head out to Champaign and work with the Illini marketing staff and their respective student-athletes on a unique video concept. 

When we started talking with Illinois about these shoots we wanted to find a way to show their student-athletes and the familiar concepts of a football and men's basketball shoot in a different way. We settled on stop-motion as the method of telling our story. 

A stop-motion video is simply a series of still photographs played back at the speed of video which is typically 24 frames per second. That means for every second of video we show on-screen we shot 24 photographs to make that moment come alive. 

Let's get to a few of the technical challenges with this video. It was shot with a Canon 7D Mark II, which shoots stills at a maximum frame rate of 10 fps. Obviously this isn't quite up to the speed of 24 fps of shooting video, so you get a unique staccato, strobe-y feel to the video. The 7D is great because it's basically the poor man's sports shooter.  Just as many frames for way less than their flagship cameras. 

 

In the photo above you can see the 7D Mark II sitting atop a Glidecam 4000 on a steadicam arm. One of the things we wanted to do on these shoots was to really move the camera around like we would a video camera, even though we were shooting stills. Shooting with a steadicam allowed us to achieve that look. 

Here's a reverse angle of a slightly different setup. You can see that two strobes are on stands and the larger octabank is being handheld by light-holder extraordinaire Brad Wurthman, who also happens to be in charge of marketing at Illinois. In several other setups and throughout the day we had a person holding each individual light stand to facilitate movement of the camera and all of the lights simultaneously. 

We shot with Profoto B1 strobes. The B1's are battery powered and gave us the ability to move around quickly without having to worry about extension cords and finding power. We could go anywhere and continue to light our subjects. User replaceable batteries meant we could have backups charged and ready to go whenever we were running low. All in all we shot over 8,000 photographs between football and men's basketball, which is a lot of flashes. 

Stay tuned for the football video to make its debut in the coming weeks!

 

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