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Recently, a few colleagues in the marketing research industry have sent me documents, decks, and general thought pieces to review. Putting content aside, each article is unique in character, but what is common to each is a static framework, or context, to communicate thoughts.

Each framework is similar by seeking to convey  a certain meaning that augments or leverages associated meaning to text. This is accomplished by employing visual cues and heuristics such as headings, indentation, and grammatical symbols throughout the document. It’s much different than writing a standard cohesive paragraph; it’s lexical “pimping.”

Unfortunately, despite some compelling ideas and insights, many documents nevertheless are all over the place in the methods used to frame and accentuate thoughts; rarely does the context of these documents leverage the ideas written.

Truth be told, most of these documents are written in Power Point, which has plenty of detractors, and I will avoid such comment here. A few are constructed in Prezi, “this year’s model” a rarely well adapted and over-stylized, yet extremely linear presentational software. Software, regardless of origin, however, is not the culprit. Rather, it’s that we’re not following a few simple rules.

What are The Rules? Well, let me share them with you:

Fonts
All fonts are not created equal
Choose a font that feels right
Try to use one font throughout
Don’t be afraid to to bold, sparingly

Color
Color is an art and a science, so know color theory
PowerPoint is good with color

Images
Use images deliberately
Full-bleeds create breaks
Watch your resolution
Clip art is not your friend, nor are stock photos

Page Layout
Present one idea per page
Don’t be afraid of white space
Bullets are for lists
People can read sentences
Use transition slides as bridges, not breaks

Infographics
Find inspiration in today’s news, don’t be afraid to reinterpret
Storytelling, not statistics
Avoid data for data’s sake
The appendix has a purpose

Advertisements

Twitter can be a lot of things to a lot of different people. One way I use it is to get articles delivered to me from RSS feeds I might not absolutely have to read every day (I’ve got Google Reader for that). One cool service I’ve recently discovered is Paper.li. Paper.li lets you create a virtual Twitter newspaper, collecting the content from an account, a hashtag, or list. The site compiles the information that floats by all day and presents it in a format that is readable and might call attention to some of the stuff you missed throughout the day.

I’ve created a version from the W5 twitter feed and it’s an easy way to browse all the stuff I miss during the day.

The people at ViralBlog.com talk about ‘7 solid social media marketing trends’, and it’s quite interesting. For example, according to them, things like Facebook Pages will take a brand nowhere. At the same time, an upcoming trend involves hiring specialized social media content managers that can push your game further and create content and interesting ways to infiltrate the social media scene.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter (and others) can help brands integrate with their users, customers, etc., on a continual basis. It gives them the opportunity to combine websites and related audio/video content to their brands, connecting users to each other as well as to the brands. In return they’ll share your interests with their networks. It sounds logical and obvious, and it is.

Another idea brought up in the article is a push for more online stores on social networks (something that makes a lot of sense to me).  If people know exactly what they want and can get it online, they will. It saves them time and money.

I also believe that a brand (digital or not) must follow the social media scene in order to survive. If you’re not always engaging with your audience online through interesting and compelling stories, the risk will be that your competitor does. The social media geeks seem to get it while many brands don’t. What do you think? Read the full article, here.