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LONDON—The Olympics may be the ultimate sporting event for millions of athletes around the world, but for corporate sponsors even the success of the recent Games in London pales in comparison to the continuing dominance of soccer.

Adidas AG, ADS.XE +1.91% the world’s No. 2 sports apparel maker after U.S. giantNike Inc., NKE -2.58% was the sole sportswear partner of the London Olympic Games in a deal worth £100 million ($162.2 million), dressing officials and 80,000 volunteers and kitting out 3,000 athletes. The tie-up saw Adidas’s U.K. Olympic merchandise sales more than triple compared with the 2008 Games in Beijing, helping boost first-half sales in the U.K. by 24%.

But the German company admits the financial returns from its commercial association with the Olympics aren’t nearly as high as from soccer. It plows money into the sport’s two biggest international tournaments, the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup and UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) European Championship. Consumer powerhouses like McDonald’s Corp., MCD +0.14% CanonInc. 7751.TO +3.57% and Continental AG CON.XE +3.70% joined Adidas in paying large sums for sponsorship of this summer’s European Championship, which broadcast their logos to billions of viewers across the globe as well as stadium fans.

"A soccer event has clearly a positive effect on sales because you can sell millions of the match ball. Fans also buy the jersey of the team," said Adidas’s chief corporate communication officer, Jan Runau, also noting the company sold seven million "Tango 12" balls and one million Germany replica shirts before and during Euro 2012. Adidas forecasts record global sales of more than €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) from soccer in 2012, 23% higher than in 2008, when the last European Championship was held.

"[For] the Olympics, the immediate sales impact is not so huge because most of the sports are not so commercially driven. Nobody honestly buys a jersey of a marathon runner just because he has won a gold medal."

The International Olympic Committee generated an average of $85 million to $90 million of revenue per corporate partner in the 2009-2012 cycle, before additional sponsorship money raised by London organizers to stage the event, according to data from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group. That compares with $351 million for a single deal signed between FIFA and Adidas in 2005 to cover the period to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The contract for Adidas, which along with Coca-Cola Co. KO -0.60% andSony Corp. 6758.TO +3.47% is one of FIFA’s six main partners, includes supplying match balls and referee kits for every FIFA event.

In addition to the top tier sponsorship, each World Cup attracts further funding, including from eight global sponsors, taking Deloitte’s projected marketing revenue for FIFA between 2010 and 2014 to more than $1.2 billion. Alongside club soccer sponsorship, revenues could grow further.

There are clear differences in the breadth and value of sponsorship across the Olympics versus soccer. While a roster of more than 50 sponsors were linked to the Games, which affords no perimeter advertising, FIFA’s funding relies on a much narrower selection of around 20 companies.

"The top properties, clubs, events and tournaments [have commercial] values [that] are really holding up and increasing at a greater rate," said Deloitte analyst Austin Houlihan.

Companies hope increased exposure will help deepen brand recognition and improve shopper loyalty, thereby boosting profits in the long term. But the impact on the sports apparel sector in the wake of the credit crisis, hit by pinched spending in debt-laden Western markets and amid new concerns over the pace of economic growth in key emerging countries like China, has cemented the importance of sponsorship deals.

"As belts tighten in austerity-hit Western Europe, there is evidence that the middle ground of consumer goods is getting squeezed, by economy branding on the one side and affordable luxury on the other. A big chunk of the [sportswear makers’] portfolios sit within this middle ground," said Rob Walker of Euromonitor International.

A successfully branded international sports event can create a spike in sales and make all the difference to results. For the two most visible sports brands, Nike and Adidas, the commercial stakes are high as they look for spurts to offset potentially lackluster European sales, said Mr. Walker.

But strategies differ. While Adidas sponsors events, Nike concentrates on team contracts and individual endorsements with soccer players like Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. “If we get the product right for [athletes], the visibility and sales uplift will come,” said Charlie Brooks, Nike’s senior communications director.

The UEFA Champions League—club soccer’s top competition—is central to Dutch brewer Heineken NV's HEIA.AE -1.86% marketing ambitions. The company has sponsored the event since 1994, starting by promoting local brand Amstel, which was succeeded in 2005 by its flagship lager. Heineken says the competition, which prioritizes television advertising slots from commercial broadcasters for only six main corporate sponsors, gives unique levels of penetration.

"If you ask people around the world who is the sponsor of the Champions League, 52% of beer drinkers say it is Heineken," said Hans Erik Tuijt, head of sponsorship and marketing at Heineken, citing a company study. The competition’s nine-month duration, as opposed to one month every two years for international soccer tournaments, or two weeks every four years for the Olympics, gives sponsors prolonged advertising exposure to consumers globally, Mr. Tuijt said.

But as it expands across the fast-growing markets of Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, soccer is no longer just the preserve of the familiar corporate giants. In July, Russian energy giant Gazprom OAO OGZPY +4.19% signed up to be a sponsor of the Champions League until 2015, a deal which Alexey Miller, chairman of the group’s management committee, said exposes the brand to a “fundamentally new level on the global scale.”

Competition for these event sponsorships is intensifying as exposure increases world-wide and companies are now falling over themselves to enjoy a “halo effect” from affiliation to sport, said Stuart Whitwell of brand consultancy Intangible Business.

"People can relate to [sport] so easily and it is very emotionally powerful. They like the prestige of it."

Typography is one of the elements of design that some designers tend to struggle with the most, and is often the one thing that can make or break a design. With so many graphic and web designers teaching themselves how to create amazing designs, it is definitely an artform in and of itself and requires practice and patience.

Typography, more specifically the selection of typefaces and the arrangement and adjustment in using the typefaces, can cause issues for even the most experienced and educated designers, let alone be something that can cause headaches to those just beginning.

Pairing typefaces seems to be what gives designers in the digital age the most headache. With thousands and thousands of fonts available for the picking, how can you know if your font selections will work well together in your design? Let’s talk about several tips and techniques to help evaluate your font pairings.

Use at the most two (or in some cases, three) fonts

This is probably the number one thing that can improve most designs. The rule of thumb is normally to use at the most two different fonts in one design. Sometimes you can get away with three different fonts, but it is much more difficult to pull off and really depends on the use and need for three different fonts. For the sake of this article, we are going to stick with using the maximum two different fonts for a design.

If you start using more than two fonts in a design, you often start losing legibility and it starts to feel chaotic and messy. You can easily lose the rhythm and readability when the user has to constantly adjust to different fonts. With two different fonts, you can create a rhythm that queues the user into knowing what content serves what purpose and allows for them to scan the page for such content.

The idea of using two fonts only allows for you to have one “header” font and one “body” font (at least that is what I call it). You will have one that you will use primarily for headings such as titles, subtitles, callouts, and in-line headings. The other one will be used as your main body font, or the one that is used the most in a design. The “body” font is the one often in <p> tags in websites or is the bulk of the content on a printed page. Your body font should be used more than your header font.

Most common type of font pairing: Serif and Sans Serif

 What you need to know to pair fonts well

The most fool-proof method to making sure your font pairing works well is pairing a serif with a sans serif font. If you aren’t sure what the difference is, an easy way to see is if the font has serifs, or what I like to call “feet.” Above, Georgia is a serif font and Helvetica Neue is a sans-serif font. Georgia has little serifs that I have circled in blue. Looking at the similar places on Helvetica Neue, these serifs are missing, or are sans their respective serifs.

The pairing of a serif font with a sans serif font works so well because it provides enough difference between the fonts to help in distinguishing different types of content. When this combination is used, often serifs are used at the body font, because serifs on fonts help make them easier to read long blocks of text.

Don’t choose fonts that are too close in appearance

Another thing to keep in mind is how alike your fonts are to one another. You want to avoid fonts that are are so close to each other that those who are not typography experts can’t see a visible difference between the two.

 What you need to know to pair fonts well

For example, in the image above, Palatino and Times New Roman are so close together in their appearance that the untrained eye might have a hard time telling them apart. In contrast, the font pairing on the right with Palatino and Century Gothic provides enough contrast in the way the fonts look that everyone can easily say “yes, those are two different fonts.”

For those who are more familiar with typography, it is best to not pick two fonts that are in the same classification. For instance, you would not want to use two slab serif fonts together, such as Arvo and Clarendon, because both of their serifs are very similar (they are slab serifs, after all). Same goes with other types of fonts as well: you don’t want to use two very light fonts together or very dark and heavy fonts together, two very bold and heavy fonts together, or two script-type fonts together.

Check your x-height for compatibility

To state it simply, the x-height of a font is the imaginary horizontal line that is at the very top of most of the lowercase letters of a font.  Not including the letters with ascenders (such as the letters d, l, t, and h) or descenders (such as the letters p, q, and g), the x-height should be the height at which the letters reach.

For font pairing, you want your fonts to play well together on a text-heavy page. Checking the x-height of the fonts you are using allows for you to balance each font out and allows for greater readability.

 What you need to know to pair fonts well

The easiest way I have found is simply overlapping the fonts in your favorite design program. You can see that I have done that above with two different font pairings. On the left I paired Georgia with Impact. This is a bad combination for many reasons but as shown in the image, their x-heights do not line up when they are put on top of each other at the exact same point size. On the right, Arvo and Helvetica Neue can work together since they are right at the same x-height when presented in the same point size.

Try increasing the contrast between fonts

You can often increase the contrast in your font pairings by finding a font that is “dark” or “heavy” on the page. In other words, find a font that appears already bold. There are many fonts available that are very heavy in appearance that will help you gain contrast in your font pairings. I often use the heavier of the two fonts as the “heading” font and the ligher of the two for “body” font, as heavier fonts are often hard to read in a body text situation.

Let’s use the image from the x-height example. Impact is a very heavy font whereas Georgia is a light font. Although we both know this is a bad pairing because of the difference in x-height, let’s pretend their x-heights are the same. Impact is very heavy on the page as it is very bold. Georgia is a airier and lighter. This provides enough contrast if you were to use Impact as your heading font and Georgia as your body font, but not visa versa, because Impact is very hard to read if having to read more than a few words in one line.

Helvetica Neue and Arvo, on the other hand, do not provide enough contrast to each other. They both have the same overall thickness in the stems and bowls of the fonts. Lining those up together would not be a good pairing because there is no visible contrast other than Helvetica Neue having no serifs.

Above all, make sure the combination can be read

While all of the above tips can help you improve your font pairings, you should always keep in mind the readability of the pairings. A quick check of this can be to simply use some Lorem Ipsum or a block of copy you are working with, lay out a sample of the typography you plan to use, and ask someone to read it (best if you have other designer friends). After they read it ask them questions like, “was it easy to see the words on the page?” “did you struggle trying to read the copy?” “could you tell the difference in the fonts?”  Answers to these questions can help you step away from your work and test it in the real world before you go live or print something that could be hard to read.

American retailers extending their reach northward may seem like an obvious move, but until recently, the Canadian market was hard to crack.

The following are some of the most common web designing mistakes that should be avoided at all costs when creating a compelling website.

1. Do not make the design complex

Do not make the design complex

One of the biggest and commonest mistakes that web designers make nowadays is of adding a lot of features in to their design without analyzing whether these features are really required or not. Always remember that adding a lot of features to make the design more complex is never a beneficial. First of all a complex design will be very hard to navigate for the user and he may get confused while viewing so many things on the website. Moreover, the complex the design is the difficult will it be for you to make changes and adjustments to the design at a later stage.

2. Do not exaggerate the use of Flash

Do not exaggerate the use of Flash

Another mistake that most web designers make often in designing their websites is the overuse of flash animation. It is understandable to use Flash when it is necessary as it can grab the attention of the viewers but as too much of anything is bad, too much of Flash is bad too. It will severely affect your website’s loading time and would make the viewers very much frustrated. Thus, always remember to use flash only when you are adding features that require flash and cannot run without it.

3. Do not use fancy fonts

Do not use fancy fonts

A mistake that is most often made by web designers is of using fancy fonts for the content of their website. While using fonts that are stylish can get the viewer’s attention for a limited period of time, if the font is not easily readable, the viewer’s attention will fade away just as quickly. Therefore, it is advisable to use fonts that are easily readable for the users and to not use such fonts that are stylish but hard to read and comprehend for the users.

4. Avoid Playing music or audio files without permission

 Avoid Playing music or audio files without permission

Web designers make the mistake of adding music or audio files in their website design that play automatically when the user logs onto the website. This can prove to be very annoying for the viewers and they might stop coming to such websites in the future. Therefore, it is best to not include self-executable audio or music files in the website’s design. However, if it is necessary for you to add such a file to the design then do remember to give the control of opening or closing the file to the user.

5. Do not hide the Links

Do not hide the Links

Another common mistake that web designers make while creating a website is to not highlight the links properly. Unless a visitor is able to easily identify the links, he would not be able to navigate the website properly. Therefore, always highlight the links so that the user does not encounter any difficulty in going around the website.

6. Avoid using pop ups

 Avoid using pop ups

One of the mistakes that web designers make quite frequently is of using pop ups in their website designs. Pop ups can be very annoying for a viewer and therefore, must be avoided at all times.

7. Do not ask for registration

Do not ask for registration

Asking web users for registration when they visit the website is another one of the web designing mistakes that need to be avoided at all costs. Do not ask the viewers of your website to register themselves on your website before reading your content unless it is very necessary.

8. Do not subscribe the visitors for newsletters without their consent

Do not subscribe the visitors for newsletters without their consent

This is one mistake that angers the visitors a lot. No one wants to start receiving newsletters from a website unless he had asked for them. Therefore, never subscribe a visitor of your website for your newsletter without asking his permission.

Author Bio

This is a guest post by Lewis Hooker, who is an internet marketer. He is currently involved in his new venture iflexion company. You can reach him through his gtalk :LewisHookeronline[at]gmail[dot]com


Water Light Graffiti by Antonin Fourneau, created in the Digitalarti Artlab (by Digitalarti)

Toyota announced an engaging new tagline, “Let’s Go Places”, that replaces its previous “Moving Forward” tagline and reflects the company’s commitment to more exciting products and the promise that customers are invited to take part in shaping Toyota’s future.

“Let’s Go Places”evokes the forward-looking and optimistic momentum of Toyota in America. It invites consumers on a journey to see new places, discover new possibilities and dream big dreams together with Toyota. The tagline will debut nationally on December 31, 2012, as part of the campaign for the radically new Avalon, the embodiment of Toyota’s new direction.

Photo: Toyota

“Let’s Go Places” speaks to the evolution of Toyota and our commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. ”It is energetic, aspirational, inclusive and very versatile. The phrase conveys a dual meaning of physically going places and taking off on an adventure, while also expressing optimism and the promise of exciting innovation that enriches people’s lives. It allows our associates, customers, dealers, and suppliers to interpret it in ways that are most personally relevant to them.”

The new tagline is the result of extensive research and collaboration with longtime partners Saatchi & Saatchi, Dentsu America, Conill, Burrell, Intertrend, and Grieco Research.
Beginning in 2013, “Let’s Go Places” will be integrated into all of Toyota’s national and regional advertising, engagement, communications and digital across all segments.

Are we there yet? Those four words likely conjure up the thought of a seemingly endless road trip of days past. Luckily for you, I’m not going to be talking about road travels in today’s post. No. I have a very different thought in mind, and that is the notion of ongoing optimization. When is my Content Optimized? When I speak with friends and family about our work here at TopRank, I’m often asked the question ‘when is a site optimized?’ It’s a fair question, especially considering what typically precedes it is my soap box speech on the importance of optimizing content with the customer’s wants and needs in mind. So what do I say? My answer is always the same: it’s an ongoing process. Now, that’s not to say that we aren’t constantly moving the needle towards a more optimized site, but I view ‘optimized’ as a state of absolute perfection. A moment where every page, text, image & call-to-action (CTA) perfectly align with the wants and needs of an audience. Here’s the part that can either drive you crazy or inspire you as a marketer, there are too many variables at play to ever reach such a state of perfection. I’m talking about variables like: fluctuations in keyword demand changes in user preferences search and social updates So for those of you actively involved in optimization activities who are wondering ‘are we there yet?’, I can tell you the answer is ‘no’ but you’re in for a fun ride. The Importance of Ongoing Content Optimization -Fluctuations in Keyword Demand Let’s consider the growth of content marketing as a keyword. In 2008, ‘content marketing’ was little more than a whisper. Few businesses or marketers were using the phrase online and, as the Google Trends screenshot to the right suggests, even less were searching for it. Cut to today, where the exact phrase ‘content marketing’ can be found on over 4 million web pages, including over 2 million blog posts. The growth in popularity for content marketing can teach us a valuable lesson on the importance of constantly researching and updating your keyword glossary. A term that was popular 12 months ago may no longer resonate with searchers. Alternatively, if you’re not constantly researching new keywords you may miss the next emerging phrase in your industry. Establishing and committing to a schedule for researching keywords is a critical element to ongoing optimization. The frequency in which you conduct your research may vary depending on the popularity and competitiveness of your industry. You may find that this research needs to be conducted on a monthly, semi-monthly or semi-annual basis. When you do research your keywords, begin by entering your existing glossary of keywords into tools like Google’s Keyword Tool to identify if there have been any significant changes in the search demand for your terms. Next, use tools like Ubersuggest to find additional terms that may deserve a place in your ongoing optimization strategy. -Changes in User Preference What a user may expect by entering a search term may change over time. Let’s revisit the growth of content marketing as an example of how content must evolve in conjunction with searcher’s expectations. In 2008, as the idea of content marketing (as least as it known today) was in its infancy, it would be rather assumptive for businesses to jump right into advanced content marketing tips and strategies in their content without laying out some foundational information on what constitutes content marketing. At that time in may have been more effective to supply heavier copy to help nurture visitors understanding of the term. In 2012, very few visitors who enter the query ‘content marketing’ likely need a hefty overview of the practice. Rather, users are now likely looking for stellar examples, new tips or even a list of recognized agencies that can help (cough TopRank). One way to get a glimpse now into what content users are preferring related to a particular topic is to take a look at the search results for the first two pages of Google, Bing and Yahoo!. Are you finding that videos are consistently appearing at the top of the results? Do infographics and visual heavy pages appear? This may suggest images and video are resonating with users. Mix in your own data from analytics as well in your research. What pages receive the most visits? Which are most successful in generating relevant keyword visits? Most importantly, which pages are effective at compelling visitors to act (i.e. downloads, contact requests, demos, etc.)? These pages are your top performers, so identify their common traits and use that information to flavor new content. Remember, your top performers can and will change. So leverage your analytics on an ongoing basis. -Search & Social Updates One thing is certain, there will always be a new social network. And with each update comes a new opportunities. When Google rolled out their latest foray into social, Google+, many initially scoffed at what appeared to be a network that offered similar functions and features offered by Facebook. While the actual level of engagement Google+ offers users and marketers alike can still be debated today, no one would argue that it has significantly influenced how Google+ users discover and interact with content within Google search. With each search or social update comes an opportunity to reevaluate your content. In the case of Google+, there may be an opportunity to create a compelling user experience within the social network. Through research, you can uncover if your target audience is using Google+. Dig deeper to determine which content they +1. This information can help you lay the groundwork for a solid social editorial plan. By connecting with your audience in Google+, you can not only increase your touch points but potentially influence those in their circles as well. While this post may have only scratched the surface of the importance of ongoing optimization, I hope it’s clear that while the question of ‘are we there yet?’ may inevitably surface in your road trips, it doesn’t have a place in your marketing mindset.

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Barry Moltz – Enjoy!

This is a world of talkers. Business people are constantly chatting on their cell phones, email, blogs, texting or using whatever social media tools they can find.  They are telling people who they are, what they do and what they think about a situation.  But, can anyone really understand them? In fact, is anyone really listening?  Most importantly, are they doing it in a clear way that helps others understand how their company can help?

This becomes a huge issue since the average adult attention span is 8 seconds.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_span In reality, most business people will stop listening after 5 seconds. Unless they have become interested, they are lost or on to their next thought about what they want to say.  Telling someone what a particular business does in 8 seconds or less is a talent and needs to be practiced word for word. Do not depend on any improvisational skills in order to be successful. In fact, each employee at a company needs to be taught the answers to these questions:

1. What problem does the business solve?

Customers always buy painkillers, not vitamins. This is true even during challenging times. Where to Start:Complete the following sentence, “My company helps _________ who are __________” or “Customers rely on my company because we are the best at ____________________”

2. What is the business’ voice and are they consistent with their values?

Are they communicated consistently in everything that comes out of the company? Where to Start: Ask customers to name positive and negative adjectives that best describe the business. While the feedback may be uncomfortable, it is important to ask for both.

3. Who is the business’ community? What type of customers are attracted to what the business sells? To they voice their opinion in a constructive way? Where to Start: Look at the current clients.  What is the profile that is now served? (Additionally, is this the community of customers that is important to be serving?)

Ok. I am ready to listen. You have my undivided attention for the next  8 seconds. Go!

Barry Moltz gets business owners unstuck. He is the author of 4 small business books www.barrymoltz.com/books . His latest book is Small Town Rules (www.smalltownrules.com) He hosts a weekly small business radio show.