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This Valentine’s Month, we’re talking romance and relationships. Let’s begin by tackling an age-old question: can you work at the same company with your significant other? Is it possible to maintain both romantic and professional relationships with your lover-slash-colleague? To find out, Jeremiah Capacillo spoke with Brevo graphic designers Carissa Lucasia and Tim Leachon, aka the agency’s resident creative power couple.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Jeremiah: Hey guys! Okay, let’s start with the basics—how did the two of you meet and fall in love?

Tim: Carissa and I were actually both batchmates and coursemates at the College of Saint Benilde, we were both then taking up Multimedia Arts.

Carissa: We weren’t close for the first few years. We just knew each other from mutual friends and classes.

T: Later on, I followed Carissa on Twitter and we started chatting online.

C: A few pizza dates later and, well, here we are.

J: Carissa, you’ve been working as a graphic designer for Brevo since 2018. Tim, you joined the team as a designer in 2020. Did the two of you have any anxieties or worries about working together?

T: Nope, no anxieties for me so far. We’re used to working with each other since college, and we bring out the best in each other. I think if anything changed, [it’s] all in a positive way.

C: I’m gonna be honest, yes I was a bit anxious. I know myself, and I know that I’m a different person when I'm in a relationship, versus when I’m at work as a creative. I was also a bit worried that our personal life might overlap with my professional life, and I might not be able to handle it well. I was also thinking, what if there was a conflict of interest? Because Tim's my boyfriend, and suddenly he joined our agency. Will there be bias, or something? So we try to keep things as professional as possible now.

J: Did you guys put any boundaries in place to clearly delineate your work life and love life? Like just to make sure that there's no overlap? 

C: I told Tim before he started to minimize the PDA in our work group chat. [laughs] I know some people don't like that, and personally I also don't like PDA that much. So when we do PDA, we make it a point to keep it between ourselves.

J: So, how has your relationship changed ever since you both started working together?

T: I got to see a new side of Carissa. It’s nice to see her hard at work at an office setting, so my respect for her as a creative really grew.

C: For me, the time we spend together each day has increased significantly. I like it because for example, I no longer have to check up on Tim to see if he’s eaten lunch, stuff like that. I also love seeing the ways Tim grows, like in terms of skills and time management, etc.

J: Okay! So next question: has working together made you see your SO in a new light?

C: For me, yes. I saw how much more creative Tim could be, and I saw how easily he gets along with people. Before we worked together, I didn’t really see how he worked with his former officemates. But even back then, he already got along really well with the Brevo team. So when he joined our agency, I fully saw just how well he can get along with new people.

J: Tim, how about you?

T: Well, I saw how different Carissa’s work environment was from where I used to work, and it made me appreciate how much hard work goes into producing actual design studio work. She inspired me to work even harder, seeing that she works way better than...

C: [laughs] Than who?

T: No I mean….as compared to my previous work environment, which was super chill.

C: Ahhh, okay.

T: So comparing that to how hard Carissa has to work daily, it inspired me to be more creative and work even harder.

J: Have you guys learned anything from each other since you started working together?

C: Hmm, what have I learned from Tim? [laughs] I guess I learned some technical stuff from him. At his previous job, he used to work on animation and video editing. So now, when I work on animation, I ask him for help. He helps me with exporting stuff, hotkeys, and other technical things.

J: So, time for the million-dollar question: do you think you can work in the same office as your SO? 

T: Yes.

C: Yeees.

T: Big yes.

C: As long as you both set clear boundaries, and you’re both okay with working together.

J: Do you have any advice for couples who find themselves with the opportunity to work together in the same office? 

T: Just don't mix up personal issues and work. It really affects your work process, and most likely you’ll end up not being able to focus on your tasks.

C: Very true. I'm not really the best at giving advice, but I agree with Tim—you really have to be able to separate your personal issues from your professional life. Like, you don't always have to be all work work work, or all love love love. There has to be a balance between the two. Also, enjoy the time that you have together!

Every December, a few days before Christmas Day, my creative agency Brevo ceases all operations for a two-to-three week period during the holidays. For the past three years, this is what we’ve always done each year, and what we will continue to do moving forward.

There are a few factors that led me to this decision. One, agency life is very hectic and fast-paced. Especially for creative people—I think they need to be able to step back and breathe every now and then. On a personal level, it allows them to spend quality time with family and friends over the break. 

I honestly just think it makes for healthier and more productive employees. A lot of people want to skip the holidays, and I just don't think that's a good thing. A break lets them recharge and come back with a fresh outlook for the next year. 

This isn’t easy, considering that the Christmas period is usually the busiest time of the year. When you work in an agency, and especially when you work with FMCG clients, the holidays are a crucial sales period. And they require an agency to be constantly churning out content, especially during a period where consumers are more likely to shop more.

When I was in the US, I had a meeting with a client today who told me: "We'll probably get two days off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then we're back to work." And the same thing happened to me in the UK—me and my co-employees would bargain with each other as we arranged our holiday working schedule.

For Brevo, I didn't want to have that type of environment. I considered all factors, and saw that the positives far outweighed the negatives. Personally, I think it has even made our agency more productive. And just being able to press that off switch for the holidays has done wonders in recharging one's creativity.

It isn't a common practice, and less so for the advertising industry. Still, I looked at it from a human perspective. It's always good to take time off, and letting employees know this is incredibly important. Our yearly shutdown shows my employees that the company is human, and that we encourage them to spend quality time with their loved ones. In turn, they hopefully develop a loyalty to Brevo and our culture, and how we operate. No matter how busy we get, we make it a point to not compromise our holiday break.

I remember bringing it up with one of our clients in our first year working together, and they were admittedly very surprised. But what was encouraging for me was by the second year, they started asking me when our Christmas break will take place so they can plan around it. I knew then that I had made the right decision. 

We make it a point to reassure our clients that whatever needs to be done will be done before we go, and we have a plan for when we come back, and that it's like they won't miss a beat with us. And once they saw that, the clients all came on board. Now, we let our clients know the date of our shutdown beforehand, and thankfully everyone understands and respects it.

To date, Brevo hasn't missed a deadline due to our year-end shutdown. I credit that to much planning, especially from the accounts team. We plot our last day a couple of months ahead, and we start to plan accordingly in terms of projects and what we need to discuss with clients ahead of time. We plan out deadlines, and decide on what can be postponed to next year. Thankfully, our clients have always understood that. We haven't had any pushback from their end.

We're also selective when it comes to taking on projects during the holidays. If there's a particular project that will compromise our agency shutdown, we just wouldn't take it on. The long-term benefits to team morale and mental health far outweigh the short-term financial success. If you don't draw a line in the sand somewhere, then that line will always be moved. And that's something I always like to stand by.

Honestly, I would say to all CEOs out there: treat your team as you would want to be treated yourself. If you're that type of CEO that is constantly working, you need to understand that not everybody might be driven by the same things that you are, and you need to consider  how your employees can benefit from time with their families.

At Brevo, I can just say that the results have spoken for themselves. We've had success in terms of year-on-year growth, with a minimum growth of 100 percent year-on-year in terms of revenue since we started. Since year 1, we've observed our Christmas break religiously, and our clients and employees have reacted positively to it—and more importantly, our bottomline has grown at least double every year.

For me, the proof is in the pudding, and I think a holiday break is something all companies should be taking on. And let’s not limit it to the holiday season, a healthy work-life balance is very important to the success of a business. I would say the results have been great for us, and I think they would for other companies, too.

website design ideas

Finding the right website design ideas to deploy is an essential part of succeeding in today’s digital marketplace. 

Though we are taught not to judge a book by its cover, your customers will still judge your business by the first impression they get from your website. This is why putting time into thoroughly researching website design ideas is so important. 

It takes an average visitor only 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your website

If their experience is bad, they leave. For those who stay past the 50 milliseconds, 38% will ultimately exit if the content or layout is unattractive.

Website visitors only want to interact with a website that is attractive, user-friendly, fast, and informative.

This is partially why selecting the right website design ideas that appeal to today’s online consumers can be so challenging. 

Many companies fail at first attempts. Perhaps you have spent endless hours staring at a blank canvas or whiteboards. Or perhaps you’ve worked with designers that just don’t get your brand identity. 

Let’s look at 10 website design ideas that will get the creative juices flowing and help you better develop a stunning website your customers will love -- websites that get visitors far past the 50 milliseconds hurdle.

Inside of getting granular with our assessment of website design ideas, we’ve chosen to take a bird’s eye view of design, breaking down websites by their design types. 

Here is a quick snapshot of the website design ideas we will cover: 

  1. Panoramic hero banners
  2. Massive product images
  3. Background videos
  4. Walkthrough videos
  5. Parallax scrolling effects
  6. Color changes
  7. Animations
  8. Minimalism
  9. Typography
  10. One-page design

Below, we’ve put together a manager’s guide on how to execute these projects. 

Alternatively, you can jump ahead to the list of website design ideas here. 

Setting the stage: Some preliminary thoughts on generating website design ideas

While there are acceptable practices that websites should follow, every website is unique. An online business property should expose originality for the business behind it and the target audience that will use it.

Good website designers understand that what works for a restaurant company will not work for a financial advisory firm. 

Before diving into the following pool of website design ideas, it's important for us to note here that no project important as website design creation should be developed in a silo away from your marketing, sales, product development and advertising strategies. 

These departments will all ultimately work in unison with your online property.

Defining business goals and objectives

You should begin by identifying your business goals and objectives. What are your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals?

A clear grasp of your business goals and objectives will help inform KPIs for your website. These KPIs will in turn drive the website design process. 

However, the website goals of an e-commerce business are different from those of a news outlet. Similarly, the website goals of a financial advisor are different from those of a restaurant.

At Brevo, we recommend that business goals follow the SMART approach -- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound -- to translate accurately to your website KPIs.

Every website must have KPIs for measuring success. What does success look like for your business? More subscribers to your mailing list? More orders? Increase in downloads? Increased traffic? More onboarding sessions?

A website designed to maximize traffic (as the primary goal) will look different from a website designed to maximize downloads or onboarding sessions.

Therefore, before exploring our website design ideas, define your website’s goals, objectives, and the KPIs you will use to measure success.   

Defining your target audience and buyer persona

A website directed at young college students will be different from the one directed towards young professionals in the financial industry. What the former considers as attractive may repel the other. 

We already said that a website should be attractive and user-friendly, but attractive and friendly to whom? The ‘whom’ makes all the difference. 

Without a good grasp of your target audience you may be acting against those you should attract. 

One of the earliest steps in the website design process is to clearly define your target audience. 

Here, we need to consider demographics, psychographics, behavioral patterns, geographic and sociographic factors. 

Once you have a handle on your target audience, create your buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. 

For example, suppose you target professionals in the finance industry (target audience). In this case, a buyer persona can be: Lucy, 34, female, reads Bloomberg first thing in the morning, works 70 hours in a week, finds it hard to spend time with her kids, etc.

The buyer persona gives flesh and blood to your target audience. Identify your personas’ pain points and define how your product or service solves their problem. 

You need to keep this buyer persona in mind when exploring website design ideas. 

How will this or that element appeal to Lucy? Will Lucy find this or that element useful? Those are the kind of questions that must be in your mind. 

Understanding your buyer’s journey

The buyer’s journey defines the step your buyer persona will take to become a loyal customer. The standard buyer’s journey moves from awareness to consideration to decision. 

At the awareness stage, the potential buyer becomes aware of your brand. 

The consideration stage is where the potential buyer evaluates your product and service offerings and compares your brand to competitors. 

At the decision stage, the potential buyer has chosen your brand. He is ready to become a paying customer.

There is a buyer’s journey for every buyer persona. 

What path will Lucy take to purchase your home cleaning service, for example? Where will the awareness take place? When is she looking for home cleaning solutions on Google? Does she find them through a recommendation from a friend? A Facebook ad? 

An essential part of your buyer’s journey is identifying when and where your buyer persona will land on your website. 

Will it be at the awareness stage, consideration stage, or decision stage? Where will this buyer persona land on your website? Your homepage, pathway page, or information page? 

You must design your website with your buyer’s journey in mind. 

Create a site structure

The first impact of your buyer’s journey is the site structure.

The site structure details the architecture of your website - how everything is linked to everything else.

Every website begins with a homepage. The rest of the structure depends on your buyer’s journey.

Start by creating your site structure on a whiteboard or in a notebook. Once you create a good site structure, choosing the best website design ideas will become easier.

Create an SEO plan

Before you start creating the website’s individual pages, ensure you have an SEO strategy that will guide the whole process. A solid SEO plan will include on-page and off-page/technical SEO. 

As you define your site structure, start identifying the SEO tips you would implement at every level of your site structure -- from the homepage to product pages to blog posts. 

10 actionable website design ideas

Now that we have reviewed how to execute a website project, let’s start by examining 10 actionable website design ideas that will help you create stunning websites that best fit your target audience and buyer personas. 

1. Panoramic Hero Banners

First on our list of website design ideas is the use of panoramic hero banners. 

These days, there is a noticeable uptick in the popularity of hero banners on websites’ homepages. 

Hero banners are big and bold, creating a visual impact that attracts website users. They also have clear calls to action that are useful for website visitors at the decision stage.

Good hero banners combined with great copywriting can turn your homepage into a direct customer acquisition tool. They help a brand communicate its unique selling proposition (USP) at the very forefront of the website -- the homepage. 

Here is an example of a good hero banner from Apple. There is a large image of the iPhone 12 Pro and a link to learn more about the phone, as well as another link to the store. 

When you get on this website, you instantly know what it is all about -- the iPhone 12 Pro text is large enough for anyone to see. 

It has enough text to communicate some features of the phone, but not too much to weaken the simplicity and appeal.

The homepage of Google Chrome is another good example. 

The bold text face and logo quickly identifies the brand behind the website. The CTA (call to action) is simple and straightforward, with a visual hierarchy that shows its importance.

Adding an image that shows Google Chrome at work is a great marketing idea that other SaaS companies can easily adopt.

2. Massive product images

If you sell a product that is at the heart of your brand, your website should reflect this emphasis. 

The days of using small product images with a large chunk of text are over. 

This is because website creators have discovered that images can create a more significant emotional impact than a block of text. 

Research by Brain Rules shows that when a relevant image accompanies a piece of text, people retain 65% of the information. They only remember 10% when there is no image.

On the ETQ-Amsterdam homepage, there is a massive product image that is instantly appealing. 

ETQ is a footwear e-commerce store. The image of the footwear dominates the page, putting the focus on the brand’s product. There are even more footwear images below and only a minimal amount of text.

Because of the nature of the business, ETQ uses an image carousel rather than a hero banner. From image to image, there are massive pictures that put the product at the center of the brand.

3. Background videos

Videos on a landing page increase conversions by 80% or more and boost the chances of a page 1 ranking by 53%. 

The average clickthrough-rate (CTR) for websites with videos (4.8%) is higher than those without videos (2.9%). 

As a result, many website creators now use videos as the background of a website’s homepage. Background videos are visually appealing and engaging. They are also difficult to ignore.

If done well, background videos can increase the time a visitor spends on your website.

For example, art studio Nowness uses a documentary as a background video on its website. It also happens to be an excellent showcase of the kind of art production work they do.

Using six-minute videos like this will quickly capture the attention of your visitors. 

After spending six minutes on the website, the chances of them further browsing the website will only increase.

4. Walkthrough videos

Next are walkthrough videos. These are instructional videos that explain how to use a product or service. 

Because videos are engaging and interactive, website designers use walkthrough videos to accompany the text on their websites. 

Showing someone how to do something is better than telling them how. 

Or, in popular parlance, “show don’t tell.”

Overflow is a SaaS product for creating interactive user flow diagrams to tell a story. 

There is a walkthrough video on Overflow’s homepage that shows visitors how the software works and what they can accomplish with it. 

Grammarly also uses a walkthrough video to show how their editing software works in real-time.

Including walkthrough videos can help you increase engagement with website visitors and possibly boost conversion rates. 

The logic is simple: We buy what we understand.

5. Parallax scrolling effects

Parallax scrolling is a technique where different elements of a website move at different speeds. 

The most common use of parallax scrolling is when the background image moves at a slower speed than the foreground when you are scrolling through a website. 

Parallax scrolling adds depth and movement to the visitor’s experience, creating more engagement and immersion. 

The Great Agency, a branding and marketing agency, uses parallax scrolling on its website. 

The first screenshot is above the fold. 

But as you scroll downwards, the foreground begins to give way to the background.

6. Color changes

Color changes are another way to transition from one part of a website to the other. 

As the visitor moves around your site, the color changes. 

This color change adds to the attractiveness of the site. 

Nick Jones is an interface prototyper and designer. And Narrow Design is Nick Jone’s portfolio website. 

Nick does a great job using color change transitions as visitors move from one section to another in his site.

7. Animations

In truth, these days animation should always be present on a website design ideas list. 

From our experience, animations greatly help improve the dynamism of a website.

For example, Your Plan, Your Planet is a sustainability program sponsored and organized by Google. 

On the homepage of this website, there are hover animations, CSS3, and storytelling animations. 

All of these elements greatly add value to the user experience by creating a more dynamic introduction to your brand. 

Species in Pieces is designed for the protection of endangered species. 

Here, the site uses transition animations and micro animations to deliver a unique and dynamic experience for users.

Animations like this are so effective because they send signals to the brain that a function has been applied.

They also add visual cues that aid the browsing/reading experience.

8. Minimalism

Minimalism is a growing trend in website design. A minimalist web design seeks to simplify the user interface by removing all superfluous elements. 

When ideally executed, minimalism removes clutter on the website to improve the user experience.

A minimalist website is easy to navigate and SEO-friendly. They also load faster and hardly break down.

Movie Mark is a digital growth marketing agency that designs and implements marketing strategies for clients. 

Their website uses a minimalist approach that allows the company to better focus on their core USPs.

Evoulve, a company that turns emerging technologies into marketable products, is an excellent example of minimalist website design.

Overall, such minimalist websites are easy for website visitors to use and recall.

9. Typography

Typography combines elements like font, color, size, and layout to increase clarity and visual appeal of a site. 

The typography of a website can also convey certain messages and elicit certain emotions better than other website designs. 

Ultimately, this is an excellent way to create visual hierarchy and improve users’ experience.

The website of Pittori Di Cinema, a cinema painting company is an excellent example of large typography. 

The large typography makes the homepage eye-catching and places the focus on the content. The use of large typefaces makes the content attention-grabbing and dramatic.

Visage, a graphics design SaaS platform, uses typography to highlight important content and create a visual hierarchy on its website. 

There is a deliberate attempt to improve the users’ experience from alignment to font type and size. 

10. One-page design

One-page websites are becoming more trendy. 

Designers love one-page websites because they are mobile-friendly and load faster. 

In addition to hassle-free surfing, it’s also easy to tell a brand story through a one-page website.

Viesus is an image enhancement software that uses a one-page website to communicate its brand story. 

Just take a look at how clear they can communicate their brand values in just one scroll.

Use these website design ideas for your business

It’s now time to create a concept from one of these website design ideas that will work best for your business. 

Brevo is a creative marketing agency that helps businesses and organizations create stunning websites that produce results. 

Contact us to discuss which website design ideas will work best for you. 

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

social media management for hotels

For some types of businesses, being on social media is as essential as having a website

Hotels are definitely part of this group. But like all marketing activities, social media management for hotels requires planning, execution and constant revision.

In this article, we're going to break down the process of creating an effective social media strategy into easy-to-follow steps that you can apply regardless of the platforms you’re using, whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or Pinterest.

There are two distinct phases: planning and execution.

Let’s jump in to learn more about how to build social media management for hotels. 

Planning out social media management for hotels

There are three preliminary steps within a well-planned social media strategy for the hotel industry. 

1. (Re)define audience and experience

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many operators to redefine the type of guests they want to attract. 

In a scenario where international tourism may decrease by up to 80% in 2020, many hotels will have had to rely on domestic travellers to survive.

As a result, a different type of guest may be looking for a different type of experience. 

All these changes will have an impact on your brand voice and the social media content you’re going to publish, so it’s important to define them before moving forward.

2. Define clear long-term objectives

Although the ultimate reason why you are on social media is to increase your revenue, your long-term goals are also to reinforce your brand message and to stay top of mind with those who can’t or won’t travel at the moment.

Plant the seeds now and manage to keep them engaged. Your hotel will then likely be the first one they’ll think about when they start travelling again.

3. Build a crack social media team

Social media management for hotels can be a fast-paced activity: posting and engaging consistently with your followers is key. 

If you stop frequently -- usually because you’ve run out of ideas or you can’t find the right picture -- your business will look inconsistent and disorganized, with the added risk of losing engagement and followers.

Having a well-organized social media team will help make execution seamless. 

If you’re running a small hotel operation, the idea of ‘building a social media team’ may sound pretentious. But this can simply mean being clear about who is doing what, whether it’s a team of one or a team of 10. 

When building your team, there are two main task areas. 

One is management. Social media managers should have a good knowledge of the hotel's brand voice and values. They are usually responsible for the editorial supervision and for taking the last decision about what can be published or not. They also set goals and benchmarks, measure results, and reply to requests or comments.

The other area is the content creation process, which consists of: 

As you work on these three preliminary steps, it’s important that you create a written document with your findings and be ready to revise it at least once every quarter. 

This will serve as a compass as you move forward and execute your social media management for hotels strategy.

Executing a documented social media strategy 

1. Adopt a plan-ahead mindset

In the previous section we mentioned what many consider the single most important piece of a documented social media strategy: the editorial calendar. 

Although you will occasionally post about unexpected relevant travel-related events as they happen, for the most part you should schedule your updates at least two or three weeks in advance.

If you diligently keep an editorial calendar -- which can be documented on a simple spreadsheet -- you will never run out of ideas and can also have an overview of the type of updates you publish. 

This allows the social media manager to keep oversight and ensure a good balance between different topics, moods and types of posts.

A well-documented editorial calendar should also have a column where we can specify what picture goes with each post. 

Ask any experienced social media manager, and they will tell you that consistently finding high-quality relevant pictures is one of the hardest things in social media management for hotels. 

And, like all difficult things, it tends to be skipped and procrastinated until the last minute.

Finally, don’t forget to update the calendar with the posts you effectively published. 

If anything, this is the step all social media managers need to work towards. 

2. Show off what you got

Once you have a calendar template, it’s time to brainstorm ideas to fill it. The goal here is to show off all the things that your hotel can offer to your guests.

Some of them will be obvious: rooms, stunning views, a central location, special offers, facilities such as a dining room, bar, spa, and gym.

All these are low-hanging fruits, which means your competitors are also posting about them on their social media channels. 

If you want to be different, you will have to dig deeper and be more creative. Here is a short list of less obvious topics to add to your publishing calendar.   

Your local community: Your social media channels are an excellent place to talk about local events and to show commitment to your local community. This will be even more relevant if you’re mainly targeting guests from the same region rather than from abroad.

Safety measures: Now more than ever, your guests expect cleaning and sanitation in your hotel to be first-class. Hanging a ‘Clean and Safe’ certification at the door surely helps, but posting pictures that show how you’re taking the health and safety of your staff and guests seriously, is even better. When it comes to safety, transparency and a lot of details are always appreciated.

Covid-19 policies: Another important aspect of social media management for hotels during the current health emergency is to inform guests about your safety policy regarding protective masks, dining and room service. Ideally, you will have a resource page on your website that you update regularly and publish regular posts on social media with a link to it.

Life at the hotel: Cleaning and sanitation are a specific example of ‘Behind-the-scenes’ content, which tends to be quite engaging. There’s definitely more to explore in this category. By getting your staff onboard, you could show snapshots of a typical day at the reservation desks or in the kitchen, or how room service is organized.

Showcase all customer-facing departments: Getting the hotel personnel involved in your social media activity will create even more opportunities for interesting content. For example, they could use their expertise to give useful advice to followers stuck at home. We suggest creating posts or videos where:  

Pay attention to pictures and copy: ‘Content is king’ also applies to social media content, which is mainly made up of pictures and text. Here are some basic best practices to follow in order to post high-quality content: 

Engage with followers: Social media management for hotels should create conversations, not one-way broadcasts. Engagement is the soul of social media and should be your goal in every piece of content. Be creative, use interesting pictures, questions, suggestions, and calls to action. And try to respond to every post that merits answering. 

Deal with reviews: Every business has a love/hate relationship with online reviews. They love them when they’re positive, hate them when they’re negative, and hate them even more when they seem exaggerated or unfair. 

The main rule: Always do your best to respond to comments made on social media. Research from Harvard Business Review actually shows that hotels get more and better reviews when they do that.

Here’s a quick list of some tried and tested dos and don’ts for dealing with reviews on social media:

Measure results: One thing that separates brands that are on social media 'because you have to' from those with a clear objective is that the latter periodically look at key performance indicators (KPI), measure results and revise their strategy accordingly.

Simply put, KPIs are the signs telling you what in your social media strategy is working and what is not. These could be:

Measuring results is an important step, but make sure you keep it simple. Social media metrics are a huge topic and it's all too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of KPIs.

Hiring the right team to build social media management for hotels

If planning and executing a social media strategy for your hotel seems too daunting, why not leave it to the experts? 

With Brevo, you can have a team of social media professionals take care of the whole social media management for hotels process, from developing editorial calendars to providing creative ideas and knowledge of photo banks.

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

Have you been resisting the urge to leave home and head to a cafe and catch up with your friends? If so, kudos for helping flatten the curve! Of course, steering clear of restaurants and pubs may be the wise choice, but it can also affect your social life. What other socially distant option do we have to see our friends but the dreaded Zoom call?

Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to spice up our con-call catch-ups without triggering workplace Zoom PTSD. Below, we list down a few activities to make video-call night with friends something to look forward to!

Teleparty

Missing weekend movie marathons with the gang? Or maybe you all just want to rewatch Game of Thrones together to remember what the point was? Here’s something to tide you over: Teleparty is a free Google Chrome extension that allows you to stream shows and films in sync with your friends. Available for Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO, it even comes with a little group chat box so you can all comment on the plot in real time.

Check out Netflix Party here.

Among Us

Following in the footsteps of Monopoly (aka the ultimate friendship wrecker), Among Us is essentially a game based on deceit: the better you are at lying, the more likely you are to win. Set in a spaceship setting, the goal is to return back home to Earth with your space crew alive. The twist? There’s an alien imposter aboard your ship determined to kill off the crew—and it’s up to you and your friends to find out who among you is the traitor.

Check out Among Us here.

Skribbl

If Pictionary is your friend group’s go-to for game night, you might just enjoy an online game of Skribbl. Unleash your inner Picasso as you attempt to doodle a variety of words and concepts, and have your friends guess what you’re drawing. The person with the most correct guesses wins! Sounds like a piece of cake? Think again: have you ever wondered how to draw the word “forgiveness?”

Check out Skribbl here.

JeopardyLabs

If you’ve been looking for a fun twist to your humdrum group trivia night, and/or have been wanting to channel your inner Alex Trebek, here’s your chance! JeopardyLabs gives you free access to a wide database of over two million Jeopardy games, with topics ranging from history, pop culture, to world capitals. The best part? You can even create your own personalized Jeopardy game—perfect for when you want to test your buddies on how well they remember your group’s inside jokes.

Check out JeopardyLabs here.

Drink Talk Learn

An ingenious twist to your typical drinking game: a drunk PowerPoint party. Created by four engineering students from the University of Waterloo, Drink Talk Learn’s rules are simple: Create and present a three-minute PowerPoint presentation about, well, anything. If you go over the time limit, you have to finish your drink and resume your lecture. The viral game is more than an excuse to break out the alcohol—it’s also a great way to learn new things and share your passions. And let’s face it, we might as well put those months of Zoom presentation skills to use, right?

Learn more about Drink Talk Learn here.

Despite the pandemic, your friendships can still stay strong. With these online games, enjoy quality time with your buds the fun-filled (and most importantly, socially-distant) way!

Who knew that the silver screen can sub in for your trusted career counselor? Long a favorite trope of Hollywood, office-based comedies are not only hilarious and entertaining—if you pay close enough attention, you’ll find that they’re filled with incredibly insightful lessons about surviving and thriving in the workplace.

Below, we list down a few of our favorite office movies and the career truths we’ve learned from them. Let us know your favorite picks in the comments!

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Synopsis: Fresh out of university, the young and naive Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) enters the fast-paced world of fashion magazines as an assistant to the high-powered Runway editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). As she learns how to meet Miranda’s increasingly demanding standards, Andy is forced to confront just how far she’s willing to go  and what she’s willing to sacrifice to climb the career ladder.

Takeaway: You are not your job.

Underneath the chic costumes and the hilariously bitchy quips, The Devil Wears Prada is at its core a film about work-life balance. In a world where we tend to get carried away in the hustle of the rat race, sometimes it’s good to remind yourself of your personal values and the things that truly matter. Remember: your job doesn’t define your worth.

Morning Glory (2010)

Synopsis: Aspiring television producer Becky (Rachel McAdams) finally gets her big break as the head producer of DayBreak, a struggling morning talk show. Armed with guts and a fresh perspective, she soon breathes new life into the show with millennial-forward talking points and out-of-the-box viral segments.

Takeaway: Think outside the box.

Don’t be afraid to bring new ideas to the table! To achieve true success, sometimes you have to work beyond the limits of how things are done and explore how it can be done. Feeling stuck in a career slump? Try approaching your workload from a totally different point-of-view.

Working Girl (1988)

Synopsis: When ambitious secretary Tess (Melanie Griffith) finds out that her boss Katherine (Sigourney Weaver) has been stealing her ingenious business ideas, she decides to take matters into her own hands. With a new business-ready makeover, she sets out to impersonate the out-of-town Katherine and land a merger that could fast-track her career.

Takeaway: Take initiative.

You know what they say: a rolling stone gathers no moss. It won’t bode well for anyone to just sit back and wait for success to come to your feet—instead, actively find ways to achieve your career goals. Of course, breaking into your boss’ apartment and helping yourself to her closet of designer clothes is totally illegal, but you get our drift.

Horrible Bosses (2011)

Synopsis: Fed up with the constant stream of abuse they’re forced to put up with, financial executive Nick (Jason Bateman), dental assistant Dale (Charlie Day), and account manager Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) hire a hitman to assassinate their bosses. Hilarious hijinks ensue.

Takeaway: Find a strong support system.

We’re obviously not suggesting you attempt to murder your misbehaving boss—felonies are always an absolute no-no. But when the going gets tough, it helps to have a few friends in the office to commiserate with. Surround yourself with positive-minded coworkers who support and uplift you. They’ll come in handy the next time you flunk a presentation or miss a deadline.

The Intern (2015)

Synopsis: Feeling bored and restless during retirement, 70-year-old Ben (Robert de Niro) applies as a “senior” intern to Jules (Anne Hathaway), the 30-year-old CEO of a fast-growing e-commerce company. The two soon forge a strong friendship, bonding over how they both find themselves in unexpected positions of success career-wise.

Takeaway: Don’t limit yourself.

Think you’re too young to establish your own company, or too inexperienced to land your dream job? Think again. Remember: you’re only as good as you believe you are. Start taking more chances and open yourself to opportunities you never would have considered for yourself. Sometimes, the best career boost you can get is to start believing in yourself.

branded content video production Brevo

For businesses that want to rise above the internet’s clutter, branded content video production is a necessity.

The growing use of ad blockers testifies to the frustration the average consumer has with online ads. People are simply fed up of being overwhelmed by unending sales pitches. Instead, customers demand content that engages, informs, entertains, and educates. 

The brands they follow have an opportunity to provide just this by building their own content. 

Today, a stunning 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content every week. 

As companies continue to invest in more and more diversified types of content, branded content video production has proven to help boost brand performance more than any other format. 

Of all the content types in the content marketing toolbox (text, images, infographics, videos, etc.), branded content videos have the greatest demand and the best performance. 

Videos on Facebook receive 135% more organic reach than photos. Eighty-one percent of people have bought a product or service after watching a brand’s video. And 85% of people can’t get enough of it, saying that they want to see more branded video content!

With the growing rise in the popularity of branded content videos, every business seeking greater brand equity and a sustainable pipeline of leads is now seriously dedicating more resources to this format. 

However, branded content video production is not enough; businesses need to also know how to create the right type of video content that will resonate with their target audience without being too pushy. Creating videos with overt sales pitches instantly defeats the benefits of content marketing by making branded videos appear like other online ads. 

Marketers tend to jump straight into marriage during the first date. But today’s customers cannot be rushed. 

Larry Weber, CEO of Racepoint Global, puts it succinctly: “People don’t want to be sold. What people do want is news and information about the things they care about.” 

In this guide, we’ll provide you everything you need to know about branded content video production and how it can be done in a way that wins the hearts of your customers. We’ll consider this in a comprehensive way, including the following topics: 

  1. What is a branded video?
  2. 4 business benefits of branded content video production
  3. How to plan and create branded videos
  4. Pro tips for creating branded videos
  5. How to keep creating branded videos your target audience will love

Ultimately, learning about branded content video production will provide strategic tools to:

1. What is a branded content video?

Let’s begin with a definition. 

A branded content video is a piece of marketing content sponsored, created, and shared by a brand that communicates its values without directly promoting the brand or its product.

Branded videos are a form of content marketing -- whereby a brand creates educational, interactive, and informative content that is useful and relevant to their target audience without directly selling them a product or service.

For example, when a notebook stationery company creates a video teaching people about the importance of note-taking, that’s a branded content video. When a company that sells outdoor sports gear creates a video series on the importance of an active lifestyle, that’s a branded content video.

But it’s important to note here that not all branded videos have an educational value. Indeed, some companies create branded content videos purely as for entertainment values or to touch upon societal issues. 

For example, the Lego movie created by the Lego Group is a great example of a branded content video created for entertainment purposes.  

In essence, there are three central features that define a video as branded content: 

Once any of these three elements are absent, your project no longer qualifies as branded content video production. 

Below is an example of a branded video that Brevo created for Century Properties in the Philippines: 

The video provides educational content that teaches people how to sign and authenticate a Contract to Sell. 

Importantly, notice that the video does not include any sales pitch or call to action. Instead, the Century Properties logo is the only overt brand message that was included. 

2. Four business benefits of branded content video production (and what the customer gets in return) 

Customers love branded content in part because they are tired of businesses treating them as a revenue number. 

Instead, they want to be treated as real people with real needs. They increasingly shun transactional relationships in favor of a mutually beneficial relationship with the brands they buy from. 

Why are 85% of consumers demanding to see more branded video content? The reasons are not far-fetched. Branded videos live out this mutual beneficial pact by offering customers several qualities: 

Because of the reasons above, customers love branded videos. And because customers love branded video, brands that want to succeed must invest in branded content video production. 

Successful businesses are the ones who recognize what the customers want and act accordingly. Give customers what they want - relevant, engaging, authentic, memorable, emotional, and remarkable content- and they will love your brand. 

When customers love your brand, the business results are numerous. When you produce branded videos that your target audience are asking four, here are four essential business benefits: 

branded content video production

3. How to plan and create branded videos

To create successful branded videos, it’s first and foremost important to outline a strategy that measures the results your brand wishes to achieve with the project. 

Here are some things to consider. 

Branded content video production success factors

So what does success mean for a branded content video these days?

First, a branded video is successful if it gains attention. With 400 hours of videos uploaded on YouTube every minute worldwide, getting attention is a priority. However, gaining attention is not sufficient -- you must gain the attention of your specific target audience. 

Second, a successful branded video retains the attention of your target audience. Gaining attention is one thing; keeping attention is another. You must write a check that you can cash. 

Third, a successful branded video must impress your brand -- and its values -- upon your audience. While the primary goal is education (or information or entertainment), a branded video must still be a part of your overall marketing content. 

Fourth, a branded video must prove relevant and beneficial to your audience. In other words, the audience must find value in the content. Their actual needs must align with your perception of their needs. Without that congruence, there is no success. 

Lastly, a branded video should lead to an action without a sales pitch or a call to action. The target audience must so love the content that they develop a fondness for the brand behind the video. The content must be so purely relevant that they reach out for more without any call to action moving them along. 

Now that we know what a successful branded video looks like, let’s consider how to create one. 

Step #1: Identify your goals and objectives

Every business and marketer must understand that there should be a strategy behind every action. The strategy is the engine that moves the wheel. 

This, sadly, is not always the case. 

While 94% of marketers use content marketing, only 63% have a documented strategy

According to Neil Patel, seasoned digital marketer and founder of Neil Patel Digital, “your success in content marketing has everything to do with creating a strategy and delivering on your objectives.”

Will Keenan, a Hollywood and Bollywood star, also adds: “it’s not what you upload, it’s the strategy with which you upload. Kind of an update on the Hollywood adage, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’”

The first step in creating successful branded video content is thus to design a strategy where you outline your brand’s specific goals and objectives

First, you need to specify your overall digital marketing goal. Next, define your content marketing goal. 

Only then can you create a goal for your branded video. Why is this so? Your branded video’s goal must flow out from your content marketing goal, which flows out from your digital marketing goal. Your digital marketing goal will also flow from the overall business goal. 

For example, if your goal for the new year is to increase customer retention, everything you do in your digital marketing -- including content marketing -- it must revolve around that. Similarly, your goal for the branded video must fit into that spectrum. 

If the business goal is increased awareness, the goal of your branded video is then influenced by this change.

Moving from goals to objectives

Goals are only the beginning of your strategy. You must translate your goals to objectives. 

An objective is a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goal. 

A goal focuses on the broad vision while an objective focuses on practical, specific, achievable outcomes. 

Increasing customers is a goal; growing our customer base by 10% in six months is an objective.

Once you define your goal for the branded video, you must translate that goal into an objective. If a branded video aims to contribute to the overall goal of customer retention, an objective (for the branded video) can be to increase customer loyalty by 5%. 

Nothing should begin until your goal and objective for the branded video are so clear and simple a 5-year-old will understand it.

branded content video production

Step #2: Research and define your target audience

You could create the best branded video and it would still flush down money down the drain if you target the wrong audience. 

In content marketing, targeting is everything. 

Here, the first step is to define your target market. 

A target market is a definite group(s) of people that are most likely to buy your product. A target market is also a portion of the total market you want to focus your marketing efforts on. 

Even if you think everyone in the world needs your product or service, you don’t have the time or resources to market to everyone in the world. You must choose a target market you want to focus on. 

Market Segments

Once you have a target market, divide your target market into various customer segments. A market segment is a portion of a target market with similar demographic, psychographic, and behavioral features. 

Market segmentation is necessary because not every member of your target audience is the same. Dividing them into segments will help you target people with the same characteristics.

Demographics include factors like location, gender, and occupation. A bank that targets people in Kuala Lumpur can create these market segments based on demographics: 

Psychographics include factors like personality, values, interests, lifestyles, and hobbies. The bank can have market segments for people who are often in debt, those who regularly go for vacations overseas, and people who like high-risk investments, for example. 

Behavioral factors include purchase behavior, customer loyalty, usage, among others. A bank can segment its target market into FX purchasers, high net worth individuals, and long-term savers, for example. 

For every branded content video production, you need to define the specific market segment you are targeting. Who are you producing the video for? Are they the white-collar employees who are often in debt and are long-term savers? 

Everything else you do will flow out of the market segment you are targeting. 

Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of an ideal member of your market segment. A buyer persona gives a face (so to speak) to your market segment. 

Once you define the market segment you want to target, create a buyer persona that will be on your mind throughout the production process. 

A person is easier to remember than a group. John, a secretary at HSBC bank, 45, living in Kuala Lumpur, often in debt, loves high risk and high return investments is easier to remember.

Create your buyer persona and keep it in mind as you create the branded video.  

Step #3: Determine the video type

There are two broad types (forms) of branded content video production: animation or live action. The first decision is whether you will be creating an animated video, a live action video, or a hybrid. 

An animated video uses animated characters to tell a story and deliver a message. In contrast, a live action video includes real people in real locations. 

Another distinction is the nature of the video. Will it be an educational, informative, or entertaining video? 

This below branded video from Shakey’s Philippines is an example of a live action, educational branded video. 

The famous Lego movie is an example of live action, entertaining video. This one from Century Properties is an example of an animated, educational branded video.

So which one should you produce? Animated or live action?

There are certain factors you should consider:

The decision goes back to your goals and objectives. Should it be educational, informative, or entertaining? Which one will help you achieve your goals and objectives? Animation? Live action? That should be the ultimate decider. 

Step #4: Develop your script and storyboard

Once you have decided on the video’s form and nature, the next step is to develop the story you want to tell through the branded video. Whether you are informing, educating, or entertaining, you must approach every video creation with a storytelling mindset. 

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell,” said Seth Godin, a former business executive at Spinnaker. 

Now it’s time to craft your story. Develop the plot, the characters, the world, the twists, and turns. 

Your brand’s goals and objectives and your buyer persona will determine the kind of story you tell. To capture and retain your target audience’s attention, you must tell a story that resonates with them. 

Bring everything you learned from the customer research stage here. Let them inform your storyline. 

Once you have developed the storyline, you need to create the video script. 

The script is the foundation of the video. The best actor cannot save a bad script.

Once you have your script, develop the storyboard. The storyboard is a graphical representation of how every scene on your video will look like. It is a breakdown of every shot/action into individual panels. 

The storyboard allows you to visualize the story you are telling. It can help you see if the structure you are using communicates your ideas clearly. It is an excellent way to organize and evaluate your thoughts before production begins.

As Han Lung, CEO of Tailored Ink, puts it, “How can you build a house without a blueprint? The answer is: you can’t. In the same way, a video without a storyboard is like a house without a foundation.”

Step #5: Produce the branded video

Once you have your story, script, and storyboard, the branded content video production process can begin. 

For animated videos, you will need to work with competent animators that can deliver quality animation, whether freelancers or an established studio. 

For live videos, you will need to work with a production team. They will help you bring your script to life, from choosing locations, finding the right cast, to the production itself.

They will also provide the right equipment including camera(s), microphones, lights, tripod, among others. You can source this yourself, of course, but in most cases it’s easier and cheaper to let the production team handle the technical requirements.

Depending on the video (length, location, complexity), you will need to cover key  personnel such as the producer, director, videographer, cameraman, lightman, makeup artist, sound engineer, etc. 

Again, a strong production team can help clearly define who is needed and work with you in a budget to allocate resources accordingly.

Step #6: Edit your branded video

Production teams normally package videos as an end-to-end solution, from pre- to post-production. You must be involved in every step of the process, providing feedback and guidance until you have the final product. 

During the video editing process, you will want to: 

The post-production process is fun; it’s where your vision becomes reality. As soon as  your video is locked down and finally rendered, you can then begin publishing. 

Step #7: Share your branded video

Once you have created your video, it is time to press the upload button. 

Where do you upload your video? 

It depends on your target audience. Part of your research is to determine where your target audience spends their time online. Are they active on Facebook or Instagram? Do they use Twitter or LinkedIn? 

Keep in mind that Youtube is the most popular video repository in the world. Whatever your industry, some of your target audience will be on Youtube. 

There are currently 2 billion Youtube users in the world. Research by CISCO estimates that by 2021, it will take an average person 5 million years to watch all the videos uploaded on Youtube in one month.

It is thus advisable that every business that wants to win with branded videos must have a Youtube channel and leverage the platform for increased visibility and awareness. 

You should also upload the video to the social media platform your audience uses and notify your email list.  

4. Pro tips for creating branded video content

As you invest in branded content video production, there are certain tips you should keep in mind. 

  1. Use an attention-grabbing intro: You only have 10 seconds to grab the attention of whoever is watching your branded video. Eighty percent of your efforts should be focused on the intro. Get it right here and your video has a better chance to succeed. Get it wrong and it will not matter if the body of the video is the best thing since sliced bread. This is especially true if your video is served as pre-roll content (a video ad that plays before a video). If your video doesn’t immediately hold people’s attention they will use the “skip video” button without hesitation

Use the power of storytelling and the best copywriting tactics to create an intro that sells your video. Start with a story, data, quote, or anecdote that generates intrigue. 

  1. Integrate your brand: Your brand’s identity and values must be evident in the video. Find creative ways to use your brand’s assets that do not distract from the message of the video. You can also use your brand logo and identify your brand as the producer at the end of the video. 
  1. No CTA: I know one of the first lessons in marketing is to always have a call to action. Well, sometimes it’s better to not have one. The quality of the information, education, and entertainment you provide are the CTAs. Put all of your efforts into these qualities. 
  1. Make a plan for those who will watch without audio: Will someone understand your video without the audio? If not, edit it. An incredible 92% of consumers watch videos without sound. Most people watch videos on their phones and in locations where they have to turn off the sound. Ensure your branded videos have good visual aids,  illustrations, and subtitles so your target audience can enjoy them without sound. 
  1. Short or long? Your audience’s choice: Though videos under two minutes have the best engagement, you don’t have to produce one-minute videos every time. Understand what works for your target audience. Of course, don’t make it longer than necessary. Let your audience’s real needs lead.  

5. Gunning for gold: How to keep creating branded video your target audience will love

Seventy-three percent of marketers believe that videos drive ROI.

Since they are so effective, many businesses tend to keep creating branded videos to build long-term relationships with their target audiences. 

Yet, with 500 hours of video content on Youtube every minute, today brands need to consistently produce quality branded videos to stay above the noise. 

But producing such quality videos requires time, dedication, skill, and experience. 

To assure consistent quality production, businesses often outsource branded video production to creative marketing agencies. A creative marketing agency can offer formulaic strategies, in-house video production talent and creative ideas that will help you deliver top-notch branded videos. 

Brevo is a creative marketing agency that has the in-house talent and experience to help you create branded videos that will grow your business and audience. 

Brevo works with companies of all sizes in different industries to create content that their target audiences love. 

We combine superb customer and market research with experienced video production teams and story creation strategies to deliver videos your audience can’t resist. 

Are you ready to enjoy the improved brand engagement, greater brand loyalty, boosted brand equity, and higher revenue that branded videos provide? Contact Brevo today to experience the power of branded videos. 

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

creative social media posts

It can be a challenging operation to constantly come up with creative social media posts to publish across multiple platforms.

But when companies commit to opening up social media accounts, they also make a tacit promise to consistently provide fresh, quality content that their online followers are looking for. Your audience is expecting to be:

Social media followers interact with your content alongside personal images of family photos and their friends’ vacations; so must your brand provide intimate access and communication to fit their feeds.

Yet, constantly producing creative content to feed the social media machine can be an overwhelming, intense and resource-draining operation.

Unfortunately, in place of proper planning and budgeting, most companies tend to just launch into the social feed without a long-term strategy. But running social media posts without a documented strategy is dangerous and can jeopardize your brand while guaranteeing weak results.

This lack of strategy is largely why over half of marketers are unable to demonstrate the impact of their social media investments, according to the Harvard Business Review.

While 97% of Fortune 500 corporates are on LinkedIn, 84% are on Facebook and 86% are on Twitter, companies still rarely assimilate their overarching business strategy with their social media platforms.

Often, this is because social media accounts are opened as an add-on or as an after-thought to the company’s main marketing strategy and not as an integral piece of it.

This is a major error. Producing engaging social media posts today requires talent, creativity and marketing resources. Social media has long become an essential part of a business’ external image and conversion mechanism.

Therefore, the effective development of creative social media posts only comes with the right mixture of marketing resources, creative human resources, and copywriting grace -- as does the rest of any company’s fundamental marketing tactics.

Here, we’ll list the top 6 formats of creative social media posts that we’ve discovered work best for building engagement while staying on-brand for our clients, which include multinational companies like Toys“R”Us and Dole Philippines, as well as top regional brands, like AirAsia.

The formats we’ll cover include:

  1. Carousels
  2. 180-degree posts
  3. Static images
  4. Animated videos
  5. GIFs
  6. Instant experiences

Furthermore, it’s important to make a distinction here between creative social media types and formats. While we’ll cover various successful formats here, each of one these formats can be broken down in numerous types of social media strategies across multiple platforms. We’ll save that list for another post.

That being said, we find it is most instructive to begin reviewing the major formats before you set out designing an entire social media strategy in all its nuanced glory.

Read the following list with this in mind.

1. Carousels

You are most likely familiar with carousels (or photo slideshows) as widgets or features on webpages. They are often used to display various central themes within the same screen, and have become so popular that they are now increasingly being used with great zeal within creative social media posts.

The carousel is favored among social media experts for being a very effective sales and engagement tool -- when developed and deployed correctly.

To develop creative social media posts using a carousel, the social media team first has to create what is called a treatment, which is essentially a storyline, step-by-step guide, and overall concept.

Within the treatment, social media teams will identify and pull to the fore the core message. This usually includes USPs, Reasons to Believe and other core marketing messaging that can be pulled out in the process.

Once the treatment and core messaging are documented, only then can images be selected to fit into the carousel. 

Here, we also recommend thinking of the carousel like a book: an intro image with a catchy title and illustrative image that matches it will be most effective.

Next, we typically take one or two slides to elicit ideas by using questions or a proposition. This gets the viewer thinking about the topic before going for more direct marketing techniques.

Then, the last few slides are used to showcase the product, service, promo, etc. in a way that brings the core advertising message to the viewer without being too overbearing. In our experience, crafting a subtle but strong message this way creates a more trusting brand voice.

Finally, there is a slide for the call to action, plus any contact details. With some social media platforms, such as Facebook, here it is also a good idea to use messaging or sign ups as a call to action button, which instantly pushes the viewer into the specified action.

When all of these elements come together seamlessly, the viewer will keep swiping through the carousel, progressively coming deeper into the brand messaging and treatment that we have tailored for them, ultimately bringing them to a conversion decision.

Pro tip: You can develop an effective carousel by using the best practices of drawing board design. Develop a short table of objectives, storyline, flowchart and call to action. Ensure to include all in-slide art concepts, frame copy and other details.

Dole Pineapple: Brevo used this format in the Dole Pineapple Juice Campaign. The example we provide above shows how an effective call to action should look on creative social media posts that use carousels.

This step is critical and transforms this format from being a simple slideshow into a lead magnet. By asking readers to take action at the end, you don't leave them hanging - you invite them to respond easily and quickly through an interactive social media button!

2. 180-degree posts

This format offers a panoramic experience for your audience, bringing them into an illustrative, immersive storyline that you wish to tell within their social feed.

Although 180-degree posts may not be as in vogue as they once were when they first appeared, this format is often the best way to gamify your messaging to boost engagement among certain audiences, especially millennials.

A typical approach to gamify the 180 post is called the “treasure hunt.”

This game works by asking viewers to go back and forth across the moveable in-feed image to find items hidden within, then list them in the comments section to further encourage engagement from other participants.

To develop a gamified 180-degree post, creative social media talent must collaborate closely with the marketing objectives of the business to ensure that the game is not randomized, but rather a relatable, on-brand experience.

A visual idea is then proposed to conceptually link to the product and/or service that is being advertised, then find an interesting and engaging idea to establish a treasure hunt or other game to utilize within the panoramic image.

Pro tip: Think of Where’s Waldo. Gamification using 180-degree posts with this in mind work great.

FWD Life Philippines: For this health insurance company, Brevo created a panoramic visual of people in an apartment block.

The challenge: How many people can you see exercising in the apartment building, as opposed to people eating junk food?

This post generated 135 comments of viewers responding to the challenge. You can take a look at the image and comments here and see for yourself.

Besides being a fun, creative and engaging post, the 180-degree image was able to emphasize a core message for FWD Life Philippines: the need to stay healthy and sign up for their health insurance plan.

It was Brevo’s job to come up with the concept, pitch the idea, refine it according to the client’s taste, and then produce it. That’s just one typical way how this format of creative social media posts can be developed.

3. Statics

When we say “static”, we are often referring to a key visual -- the anchor image of a campaign of which there can be several derivatives.

Additionally, statics can also be completely stand alone ideas. 

Nevertheless, the key is to include enough relevant copy that speaks to the viewer but doesn't violate Facebook's 20% rule (more than 20% in-art copy disqualifies it from being advertised properly).

In our experience, the best statics use real images with graphic art flourishes, short, snappy copy and, if applicable, the terms of the deal (discounts, promo mechanics, important dates, etc).

Pro tip: Think of your social media post like a visual-heavy print ad. It needs to disseminate your message quickly in order to stop people from scrolling, and that can be done with an eye-popping image.

Victor Consunji Development Corporation: In the social media post above, a real estate agency wanted to launch an occasion-specific campaign. This Halloween-inspired post had to keep with the brand identity -- luxury property.

Brevo decided to create a static that showcased a proper dinner set up, evoking a classy party that played into the company’s brand DNA, only adding a jack-o-lantern in the background as an accent.

The text, “Rest in Peace,” was written purposefully to stop the scroll, making the viewer do a double take before realizing that this was a Halloween-related post. This proved to be a smart way to capture people’s attention while remaining on-brand.

To create statics, Brevo gathers lots of info from our client, crystalizes their key message and then breaks it down into bite size info which we then pair with an arresting image -- something viewers will respond to. That's how a static is born.

4. Animated videos

The animated video format provides an amazing way to educate and entice viewers. 

Like any other video production, creative social media posts that utilize animated videos need a lot of production planning.

This includes script writing, which must go through several versions until all stakeholders are aligned on the final concept.

Then, once the script is locked in, a moodboard is produced to show the type of animation that will be created, as well as a storyboard that highlights the flow of the script within the animation.

Only once all those elements align can animators begin to create the first visuals for the video.

Here, voices can also begin recording in tandem with the animation, if they are called for in the script and concept.

Pro tip: Videos average in length but the sweet spot is between 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Indeed, 30 seconds may seem really short, but that is actually a lot of time to provide numerous themes and messages.

Don’t forget that the longer a video, the more attention you require of your viewer. Keeping videos short and sweet, with enough information and zero fat, is key to a successful campaign.

AirAsia: For AirAsia RedTix, we wanted to communicate three core ideas: planning, booking, and buying a ticket to an event using RedTix, AirAsia’s events platform. The tagline we came up for this service was “Plan it. Book it. Tick it,” which clearly stated the event booking process. We wanted customers to understand that RedTix offers an end-to-end solution, from planning all the way to ticking an experience off one’s bucket list.

Visually, this made for a fairly easy narrative. We began the animated video by showing how events are typically discovered (online), planned (by calling your friends), booked (again, online, via RedTix), and experienced (at a concert, showing a marked checkbox to signal the “ticking” of an item on one’s bucket list).

We ended with a clear call to action, the tagline itself: “Plan it. Book it. Tick it.” Simple, easy to understand, and quick to use. The video became a high-impact way of reaching customers, calling them to book events and enjoy the convenient RedTix service.

5. GIFs

GIFs are used and produced in a similar fashion to animated videos. But they offer a greater emphasis on the campaign’s core idea.

This is because the average GIF image is normally only about 5 to 15 seconds, which provides a more concentrated vehicle for your message.

Here, the idea is to plant an idea in the viewer's mind, but provide only enough info so they can make a decision and act on it if they want, and fast.

This is done through a quick-to-the-point CTA.

Pro tip: Think of any GIF you’ve seen. Only a single idea can fit into this format. This can be used as an advantage for the advertiser, however. Isolate your message in a quick, quirky and repetitive manner so you’ll reinforce your brand and call to action.

Shakey’s Pizza: Prosciutto is traditionally considered high-end ham in the Philippines. But Shakey’s Pizza wanted to dispel this notion and show their audience that not only rich people eat it.

Brevo was asked to introduce Shakey’s new prosciutto pizza in a celebratory fashion. 

The GIF format proved the most effective and apt vehicle for this messaging. 

In the Shakey’s Pizza GIF, we hint at the Italian flavor of the pizza through the operatic scene while heralding a brand new food item that everyone can enjoy.

6. Instant experiences

An Instant Experience (IE) is a full screen display built for mobile users which is immersive and provides a microsite-like experience.

It is among the most novel creative social media posts out there today.

For this reason, the vertical and horizontal scrolling in an IE can be complex. Yet, it provides a layered presentation of USPs, with multiple calls to action and outbound links. Think of an IE like a carousel on steroids, and produced similarly to an animated video in that it has several layers (static and/or animation) that will also need sign off and approval before production begins.

The key here is to find an overall idea that can branch into separate threads, but all come back together at the end (like a Cohen brothers film for those with short attention spans).

On social media, it is important not to oversaturate viewers with info, but to find a happy balance where the IE becomes more than a scroll through the feed, but rather an engaging visual experience.

Pro tip: Instant Experiences can seem daunting. Their apparent complexity can be difficult to explain to stakeholders. Solve this by clearly defining the narrative of each level and how it all works as a seamless whole. If you have trouble figuring it out, your company’s stakeholders will definitely not be able to follow; nail the concept fully before you present it.

Toys“R”Us Philippines: We pitched the idea of creating three price tiers for certain toys: PHP1,000, 2,000, and 3,000. We differentiated each level by color and design, making it easy for viewers to see the available levels. We also used colors to match the prices; yellow for the lowest price (accessible and fun), red for mid price (dynamic, bold) and blue for the highest priced toys (premium, thoughtful).

The tiers helped group products together and immediately gave budget-conscious customers a way to view items within their price range, rather than make them hunt through a huge mixed catalogue.

Our IE was the best performing ad in the campaign, garnering 46,843 link clicks, 38,539 landing page views and a 5.24% CTR. It’s high performance can be directly attributed to this novel format, which the target audience had never experienced before.

Moreover, the ad wasn't even boosted for engagement, yet Toys”R”Us still had over 1.2K reactions, shares and comments.

Creative social media posts for your business

Asking your team to be constantly creative can be an intense operation to manage. 

This is where hiring a professional creative marketing agency can help you generate fresh ideas that your audience is certain to appreciate.

Brevo works with companies large and small to customize creative social media posts that are built to engage while staying on-brand. Contact us today to learn how creative social media posts can stop the scroll.

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

As we enter the fifth month of quarantine restrictions, it may seem like it gets harder and harder to work from home each day. Although the idea of it all may have been appealing back in the day (imagine filing reports and attending morning huddles in your pajamas!), the honeymoon has soured and the muddled distinction between work and home life may get particularly draining. After all, how do you focus on your work duties when your TV is right there begging you to go on a Netflix marathon?

Thankfully, we here at Brevo are learning to adjust to this newfangled setup. Along the way, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to best harness and maintain focus during work hours. Check out the productivity hacks our team members use to keep their work-from-home game on point!

“My morning routine is very important to me. If I fail to wake up at 6AM and I miss my morning run and meditation, I know my day will fall apart. I also make it a point to call my teammates at the start of the week so we can write out to-do lists together. Additionally, I’ll sometimes switch up my workstation for the day. It’s nice to have a change in scenery every now and then.”

- Imran, Director

“I make it a point to meditate first thing in the morning. In these uncertain times, taking ten minutes to stay still and breathe really makes a difference in managing my anxiety. I also start the day by writing an extensive to-do list, breaking down all my big tasks into bite-sized steps. Most importantly, I have a hard-and-fast rule about never working from my bed — I just know I’ll get way too comfortable and never get anything done.”

- Jeremiah, Copywriter

“It was pretty easy for me to adjust to working from home, since all I need to do my job is fast Internet and a computer. It was harder though to separate my work life from my home life. So, when I wake up I try to create some time just for myself. I often go to our garden before clocking in to breathe and mentally prepare for the day. I’ve also designated a specific workstation outside my bedroom. I think it has helped me set clear boundaries and maintain a healthy work-life balance.”

- Trisha, Community Manager

“The biggest challenge was tuning out all unnecessary distractions, especially when all my video game consoles are right there. I’ve started to wake up a few hours earlier than usual so I can mentally prepare for the day and list down all of my tasks. I also moved my workstation to our living room, where my brothers are also busy working. I found that being surrounded by busy people simulates an office environment, which helps me focus and keeps me from getting distracted throughout the day.”

- Rafa, Account Executive

“I found it hard to focus at first because my mind is wired to feel at my most comfortable at home. One thing that always helps is coffee, so I make sure that I have it in the morning. I also started working by the window, a place that was both comfortable and conducive to my productivity. I don’t like spending a long amount of time staring at my screen, so I like being able to look out the window and let my eyes rest for a bit. Taking short breaks also helps in avoiding burnouts and regaining my focus. I try to stand up, walk around the house, or play with my dog for a bit every now and then.”

- Carissa, Graphic Designer

Admittedly, the work-from-home isn’t perfect and can cause a lot of annoying inefficiencies. (Ever been on a Zoom call with a coworker with poor signal?) But by writing thorough to-do lists, delineating specific workstations around the house, and taking time for yourself before clocking in, you can keep a high level of productivity even from the comfort of your home.

How do you improve your focus and productivity while working from home? Sound off in the comments below!

As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write. In my cringey pubescent years I filled countless journals with hastily scribbled fan fiction and angst-ridden recollections of the day. In the confusing turbulence of adolescence, there was one thing I was certain of: I loved telling stories.

This love for storytelling stuck when it came to picking a career path in university. Seduced by the sexy fast-paced world of Mad Men (then one of primetime TV’s hottest shows), I decided to enter advertising as a copywriter. I was enthralled by the way Don Draper would write a tight pitch, command a boardroom, and make a bunch of macho executives wimper with a tagline so filled with pathos and emotion — even if it was just to sell a line of disposable cameras. In my mind, I was confident that my destiny was to follow in Don’s footsteps.

That is, until I took my first university copywriting class. Now I never scored a bad grade in any of the class requirements, but I didn’t exactly excel either. When my works would merit a few appreciative nods and constructive criticism from my professor, he would shower others with heaps of praise and proclamations of their genius. Seeds of doubt began to take root in my head — maybe I was pursuing something I just wasn’t very good at?

So I settled for the next best thing. As an obnoxious stickler for organization, I decided I wanted to stay in advertising and become an accounts man. After all, I was notorious for planning over-detailed itineraries for family vacations. I convinced myself it was a perfect fit — pretty soon, as a student I landed an accounts internship at a big multinational ad agency. A year later, just two weeks after graduating I accepted a job offer as a junior accounts executive at another rising local ad agency.

Four months in, I knew something was off. On the surface, I had a great job: the office culture was warm and inviting, and my pay grade was more than sufficient for a fresh grad. Still, for some reason I found myself dreading coming into work every morning. I slowly began to realize that the accounts realm of client coordination and filing endless amounts of paperwork was maybe not for me.

Even then, there was one aspect of that job that I loved. On days before a client presentation, the team would reconvene and creatives would share their concepts with us accounts people. Watching them present incredibly ingenious ideas, I was spellbound — it was like seeing Don Draper work his magic in the flesh. More importantly, seeds of hope began to bloom inside me. Maybe, just maybe, I also had what it takes to become a creative?

A month later, I took a leap of faith and chose fulfillment over certainty. I quit my accounts job and found a gig as an editorial assistant for an online lifestyle publication. A year later, equipped with the publishing industry’s rigorous writing standards, I got a job at Brevo as a copywriter.

As cheesy as it sounds, often when it comes to major career decisions it pays to listen to your heart. Over the years I’ve learned that it is crucial to heed the call where you are needed, and where you feel needed. And hey, carpe diem — we only have one life to live, might as well do it happily!

This isn’t to say that upon getting the job of my dreams, I lived happily ever after. You know that saying that goes if you find a job you’ll love, you’ll never work a day in your life? Huge crock of rubbish. As with any other discipline, there was a steep learning curve that I worked hard to overcome. The big difference is now, when I come home after a long tiring day at work, I always feel proud of myself and each day’s little victories.

Landing the job of my dreams wasn’t a walk in the park, but it is where I feel truly fulfilled. I have no regrets. Through this journey, I learned the two most valuable lessons of my career to trust in your instincts, and to never let fear govern you.

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

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