Rebrand, Reuse, Recycle: Why Your Business Needs to Change

Whoever said that in order to foster a strong relationship with your audience your brand must never change, didn’t understand the advantages of brand evolvement.

There are numerous reasons as to why revamping a brand is beneficial. For starters, colors, and fonts that were once upon a time popular go out of style and eventually look outdated. This is unappealing to the audience and makes the company look out of touch.

Following that point, though change is good, your brand must always reflect your values and products or services you offer. An example of a company that knocked it out of the park with their rebrand is Tender Greens. As a restaurant whose brand identity is heavily associated with sustainability and homegrown cuisine, their original logo did convey that their food was organic and healthy but it wasn’t an accurate representation of their menu that went further than just salads. (Not to mention that artificial lettuce illustration and non-organic handwritten font.)

Old Tender Greens Logo

For instance, you can order a grilled steak with kale and mashed potatoes at the Irvine restaurant! Their new logo now incorporates a modern, bold font with the “g” evoking a pan and plate, implying how their food is prepared. Pentagram, the agency responsible for their new logo explains how the “g” design is expressed: “The treatment of the ‘g’ helps shift the focus away from the name as a whole and puts the emphasis on the food, where it should be”.

Their logo not only reflects their company standards for locally sourced dishes but also incorporates their brand name in a clever way.

Tip: If you’re too intimidated to take the leap for a complete brand refresh, then start off with launching a campaign to test your limits. By doing something different with a temporary campaign, you can play with designs and find what works for you and your brand along the way.

Tender Green’s logo demonstrates that it’s okay to be playful with your brand. In fact, you have no choice but to think outside the box when consumers are floundered with advertisements left and right. Embrace change and keep pushing your brand forward!

In Praise of Old-Fashioned Media Relations

By Ali Cox

In the age of self-promotion, self-publishing, and self-everything, it’s rare to announce a new endeavor through the press. Over the course of my career, though, there have been a few special times when I’ve had the privilege of doing so.

I believe in journalism and public relations. I have a traditional PR background. In my younger days, I worked for the agencies Ketchum and Emanate and was part of the $21.5 million Series A announcement for the now-defunct Aereo TV.

But those experiences were 10 years ago — a lifetime when it comes to PR. Journalism has changed in that time, and PR has evolved tremendously, too. My employees might think I’m rambling about the good ol’ days here, but I’m not. I’m a marketer, and I love telling stories through many mediums.

One of those stories is that of First & Main. It’s a new restaurant in downtown Turlock, and it’s been a wonderful brand development project for AC&C. Our detailed project management has included social media content, a logo, a menu, signage design, and — of course — PR. In this case, we went the traditional route in addition to announcing the new restaurant via social media.

This project has reminded me of how much excellent journalism matters. I worked with Marijke Rowland from the Modesto Bee directly, as well as with reporters from the Turlock Journal. There is a time and place for professional journalism and PR practitioners to work hand in hand, and this restaurant is a stellar example of how the relationship can unfold beneficially. It’s been a pleasure to work with these news outlets and to serve as collaborators.

Of course, we’ll continue our work with First & Main on social media. That’s what savvy marketers do these days. But we’re grateful for the boost that traditional media has given this deserving restaurant, which promises to be a bedrock of downtown Turlock for years to come.

Learn more about First & Main through the Modesto Bee article and Turlock Journal article. Follow First & Main on Instagram @firstandmainturlock.

Why Gen Z is Your New Main Target

We’re all used to hearing about millennials and their stereotypes, but what about the up-and-coming Gen Z?

Generation Z (often abbreviated as Gen Z) is the demographic cohort that follows the millennial generation. Those who were born between 1995 and 2010 are typically referred to as Gen Z.

Fun fact: Gen Z is the largest generation yet with 61 million individuals in the United States ranging from ages 7 to 22 years, according to Bloomberg reports. In fact, they’re estimated to have a spending power of $143 billion each year.

Besides their spending power, there are three other major traits that set this generation apart: 1) Gen Z is the first to be considered “social media natives” who have only known iPhones, 2) they have always had access to the Internet and 3) they love video.

Gen Z is also considered to be curious, crave authenticity, and “want to be part of the solution and make a difference” as explained by Caitlin Mullen, author of “How Brands are Working to Capture Gen Z Dollars”. 

So why does this matter to us marketers?

Since Gen Z’s values are different than previous generations, their purchasing decisions are based more on personal principles and whether companies’ missions, goals, and values align with their own. “77 percent told Inmar Research they respond to advertisements that show people in real-life situations,” Mullen said.   

You should also take note that this generation’s go-to social media apps are Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.

So what does that mean for us as content marketers who target Gen Z?

Since Gen Z has such a huge amount of power over our revenue stream and they consume information in a new way, our messaging has to cater to their interests and the mediums we use to advertise that message has to run through those outlets they spend the most time on. In other words, if we don’t revolutionize our advertising strategies to keep up with the new generation, we won’t see much of an ROI.

It is also important to keep in mind how this generation is making buying decisions when strategizing your next campaign. Tailor your messaging so that your service or product is conveyed as a relevant and positive addition to their life while keeping the authenticity alive.

Being progressive with your marketing tactics in order to reach (and convert!) Gen Z will help your clients stay ahead of the curve. #GenZ2020

Thumb vs Ad: Battling the New “Skip” Button with Millennials

As our world becomes more technologically advanced, advertising becomes more & more prevalent in our everyday lives. From a business perspective, understanding how to optimize the maximum bang for your business’s buck is essential for creating eye-catching advertising that converts and doesn’t fall prey to the thumb scroll.

Here are 3 steps to take when crafting a campaign that’s tailored to millennials:

Step 1: Be Authentic!

Think about how you navigate Facebook or Instagram. You scroll through your feed that’s filled with pictures and status updates from family and friends. If you saw an obvious advertisement come across your screen, you’d probably just keep exercising your thumb, but the best ads camouflage themselves authentically into your feed.

In order for a company to stop your thumb, their ad must not scream “I’m an ad!!”. It has to be creative enough to blend in with the newsfeed for someone to be captivated and grab their attention. It should look like something they normally see in their feed.

Step 2: Accessibility Do’s & Don’ts

Once you’ve earned the attention of the user, the ad has to be easily accessible for the user to remain interested.

DO:

  • Highlight the best parts of the product
  • Include a brief call-to-action
  • Keep the user wanting/looking for more information

DON’T:

  • Reveal too much about the offer
  • Add too many external links
  • Overwhelm your users

Step 3: Sell a Feeling, Not a Product

Remember that emotions drive our behavior and users associate how you make them feel with your brand, just like they do in their everyday lives with strangers. You’re more likely to ignite them to take action with an ad when appealing to the emotional part of their brain. For example, read the captions below and take note on how they make you feel.

Salesy Example:

New smoothie flavor is here, but only for a limited time. Come buy it!

Emotional Example:

Sip on this new smoothie flavor after soaking in the sun. You deserve it.

See? No one is convinced to buy something from a tin man, but they may be a little bit more inclined if you’re able to make them feel like they should buy it.

Follow these steps the next time you’re brainstorming an attention-grabbing ad and you’ll be on your way to creating a cult, rather than just a customer.

The Upside of Not Having A Clue About Ag

By Marvin Hooker, Account & Analytics Director

In this industry, you’ll find that most agencies have an area of expertise or a niche that they tend to cater to. At AC&C, we are definitely the Agriculture experts. This may seem like you have to have an ag background, come from an ag family, or know a lot about ag to join our agency…Fun fact – that’s not necessarily true! My name is Marvin and I am the Account and Analytics Director.

In my case, you could say I was raised on the asphalt and not on the soil or in an orchard, or vineyard…or any other name you can think of for an ag property. I grew up in a military household moving around from city to city. Moving made me curious and want to learn about each new city we ended up in.  This gave me some leverage when feeling out of place because I would ask a lot of questions. After all, having the curiosity and eagerness to learn are qualities we look for when hiring and they’re qualities that will lead to success in the long run.

Not having a clue about ag really piqued my interest to understand the industry, learn where our food came from, and get to know the people that grow it.

Not having a clue also inspired me to ask my boss a million questions about the industry. I wanted to know everything, and everything was new to me.

I wanted to know all of it. Anytime I got “car time” on the way to a meeting with the boss lady, Ali, I used to ask, “What kind of tree is that? What vegetables are growing there? How come there is so much water in that orchard?” Now I drive around town and catch myself saying things like, “Oh, those are almond trees…walnuts coming up on the left! I’m not sure what crop that is, but I’m going to find out. Look at those tomatoes growing!” I worked hard on educating myself about the industry so I would be confident when speaking with clients, and most importantly, understand their stories so we could tell it correctly.

I also remember being out on a video shoot in the middle of an almond orchard and asking our client about something on one of the almond trees. He said, “No one has ever asked me that question before.” It goes to show that even if you don’t have a clue about the topic at hand, don’t be afraid to ask all the questions!

By now I’ve been on more than three dozen shoots, ranging from interviews in an orchard, flying a drone over planting machines, harvesting tomatoes, going to Oregon to film cattle, and interviewing ag accountants in a bean field.

These days, I could talk about ag all day long, but I’ll save that for another blog post because the moral of this one is that you shouldn’t be afraid to try to join our team because you don’t have an ag background. Better yet, don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams at any agency because you feel like you don’t know enough about something. Shoot your shot and prove your worth. I did, and I’ve grown to love an industry that provides so much to our nation and meet so many genuine people who make it happen.

A Balancing Act: Ali Cox on Ag Marketing & the Olympics to Digital Rage Podcast

Our CEO, Ali Cox, was recently featured on the podcast, Digital Rage, a show that covers topics concerning marketing and technology, hosted by Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer. On the podcast, Ali reminisced upon her experience as an Olympian and shared her insights on the Ag Marketing industry.

In 2004, Ali competed in the Olympics as a rower, in Athens, Greece, after making the women’s eight rowing boat.

“The Olympics were very hard, obviously. Training is typically six and a half days a week. It requires an extraordinary amount of teamwork, but then, also, a lot of independent grit and just confidence in yourself… ,” mentions Ali.

“It was an amazing team experience, and really has positioned me well for my career,” said Cox. As founder and CEO of Ali Cox & Company Marketing (AC&C), Ali mentions that her pivotal life experience has, in turn, translated to her position as CEO.

“How I run our business and our agency is with a team-first perspective. Most of our team members touch all of our work and work very collaboratively. We are there to support each other, and I think that really was cemented from rowing the Olympics,” says Ali.

Located in the heartland of California agriculture, AC&C serves a diverse group of farmers and growers in the area and provides them with the tools to keep their business thriving. We develop innovative marketing strategies for our clients, assist with grower relations through email marketing, and provide a full videography team to create compelling storytelling.

As a fifth-generation farmer, Ali chose to focus primarily on Ag marketing because she saw an opportunity and necessity to give cultivators a platform to share their experiences in the industry.

“We want growers to feel comfortable telling their stories. By nature, farmers are very gritty, confident, quiet, and hardworking,” explains Ali.

“It’s not first nature for them to go and tell their stories to the world. We work to help growers tell stories that are very authentic, based on whomever their audience is and understanding, right now, that audience is global.”

With the ever-changing technology in today’s world, AC&C also supports their clients with adapting to each new innovative tech that rolls out in the ag industry as well as the marketing industry. From smartphones to electronic moisture sensors, to privately owned weather stations, Ali knows the immense amount of modernization that is taking place in farming operations.

“California ag, in particular, is innovating very rapidly. While yes, we require a lot of resources to do our jobs, we, unapologetically, are moving, adopting, and adapting,” says Ali.

One case study that makes Ali proud is the Monte Vista Farming Company project.

“The CEO [Jonathan Hoff] is very innovative. He’s a younger CEO and steadfast advocate of ag and the California almond industry.”

Ali recalls a risk Hoff took when developing a new website with AC&C for his company. “I am so proud of that website…It really was Jonathan, the CEO, saying ‘Let’s just go for it, let’s do something different’”.

The risk paid off – Ali mentions that the Monte Vista Farming Company has developed strong relationships with partners because of their transparent and traceable process in the plant we took the same approach with their video and website strategy.

Ali credits Monte Vista Farming’s growth to their willingness to take a chance and be original. “Now, they’re so successful and growing their tonnage, and have deep relationships with their growers and customers.”

This courage to take strategic risks and mission to deliver authentic marketing campaigns has kind of become the secret sauce of our agency. Bon appétit!

Digital Rage issues new podcasts every week, highlighting the newest topics concerning marketing and technology. To listen to the full episode, click HERE.

Turlock’s Ali Cox & Company Marketing Named one Of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces 2019

2019 best places to work

Ali Cox & Company Marketing is one of the highest-scoring businesses,
with standout employee engagement

TURLOCK, CA (May 16, 2019) – Local marketing firm, Ali Cox & Company Marketing, has been named one of Inc. magazine’s Best Workplaces for 2019.  To win the national award, Ali Cox & Company Marketing was singled out as one of the top 346 finalists out of 2,000 applicants for creating exceptional workplaces through vibrant cultures, deep employee engagement, and stellar benefits.

Ali Cox & Company marketing will be featured in the June 2019 Inc. magazine issue, and as part of a prominent Inc.com feature.

Each nominated company took part in an employee survey, conducted by Omaha’s Quantum Workplace, on topics including trust, management effectiveness, perks, and confidence in the future. Inc. gathered, analyzed, and audited the data. Then all the employers were ranked using a composite score of survey results. This year, 74.2 percent of surveyed employees were engaged by their work—besting last year’s 72.1 percent.

The strongest engagement scores came from companies that prioritize the most human elements of work. These companies are leading the way in employee recognition, performance management, and diversity. It’s a different playbook from a decade ago, when too many firms used the same template: free food, open work environments, and artifacts of “fun.”

“When making decisions about how we develop our company culture, it’s really quite simple. I’m looking to facilitate an atmosphere where people are encouraged to be themselves and challenge their skills in an inspired setting, with cool people and where any idea is welcome,” mentions CEO Ali Cox. “Oh, and benefits, generous holiday PTO, flex time, office yoga, off-site team-building adventures, etc. are part of equation, too.”

All companies had to have a minimum of 10 employees and be U.S.-based, privately held, and independent—that is, not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies.

While researching the finalists, Inc. and Quantum saw distinct themes:

·      99 percent provide health insurance—and some cover the cost.
·      49 percent allow employees to bring pets to work.
·      65 percent take employees to offsite retreats to relax and recharge.
·      16 percent offer paid sabbaticals to reward length of service.

“With today’s tight labor market, building a great corporate culture is more important than ever,” says Inc. magazine editor in chief James Ledbetter. “The companies on Inc.’s Best Workplaces list are setting an example that the whole country can learn from.”

About Ali Cox & Company Marketing
Offering unique marketing strategies steeped in digital literacy, the firm has been built on the founder’s twenty plus years of marketing experience to provide stellar service. Services include content generation, social media, graphic design, analytics, websites and video creation. With office headquarters in bustling downtown Turlock, we’re proud to offer our experience and enthusiasm to leading regional businesses and the agriculture sector. With a focus in agriculture, the firm has differentiated and is a go-to local resource.  Ali Cox & Company Marketing has recently rebranded to AC&C Marketing and will be opening offices in downtown Sacramento August, 2019.  For more information and portfolio of work please visit ALICOX.COM

About Inc. Media
Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Winner of Advertising Age’s “A-List” in January 2015, and a National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012, Inc. has a monthly audience reach that’s grown from two million in 2010 to more than 20 million today. For more information, visit Inc.com.

About Quantum Workplace
Quantum Workplace is an HR technology company that serves organizations through employee engagement surveys, action-planning tools, exit surveys, peer-to-peer recognition, performance evaluations, goal tracking, and leadership assessment. For more information, visit QuantumWorkplace.com.

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PRESS CONTACT:
Ali Cox  / ali@alicox.com / 917.882.4132

7 Steps to Achieving Your Never-Ending Task List

By Moonisah Ali, Account Coordinator

Sometimes our to-do lists can feel like those unnecessarily long receipts you get at Walgreens after buying a pack of gum: overwhelming and you just don’t know where to start.

Agency life (or just general work life) can throw you for a loop thanks to the variety of clients that come your way. Different projects, variating deadlines, and different tasks all at once can easily become daunting. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to make sure you strategically get through your task list!

  1. Purge. Review the week, and write down everything you know you need to do. This might make you a little anxious, but trust the process! You’ll have a clearer view of everything that’s on your plate.
  2. Learn how you work. Tailor your organizational style to you. If you are a tactile person (like me) and need a physical pen and paper to write down what you need to complete – do it! If an electronic list on your phone makes the most sense to you – use it!
  3. Where to start? Conquer the easily accomplished tasks first. Now that you’ve got your neatly organized to-do list that makes the most sense to you, it’s time to get started. Choose three tasks that you can conquer quickly and easily. Look at this as a “warm-up” to your more time-consuming tasks.
  4. Keep it simple. You might want to invest in programs that help keep you organized and that’s okay! But keeping it simple (like a pen and dedicated notebook) may be the best way to prevent multiple to-do lists in multiple places and feeling like you don’t know what’s going on.
  5. Set calendar reminders. Schedule reminders for your “hard deadline” to-dos. As much as we would all like to have a photographic memory and never forget all of the important details around us – we don’t. But we do have our phones fully equipped with a calendar app!
  6. Take breaks. If you feel like you are hitting a wall while getting through a task, take a breath, take a walk, or take a stretch! If you’re typically in an office setting and sitting 80% of the time, physical aches can become mental blocks. Getting a breath of fresh air, stretching stagnant muscles, and moving around helps increase blood flow and can get you back into your mental flow.

Taking the time to organize your to-do list and create a plan of action makes it all the easier to get through your task list. Happy accomplishing!

We’re Headed to the Ag Tech Summit Coming to Modesto on February 7th. Please Join Us!

We’re looking to get the word out to our clients about an ag tech summit, “Adapt or Die, Sowing the Seeds of an Innovative Ag Tech Ecosystem” conference, which is taking place February 7th at the MJC Ag Pavilion. 

At first glance, you might be thinking: “Why would I want to go to such a tech-y event?” we assure you that the content will be excellent for growers, ag service industry experts and people who are just genuinely curious about the future of ag.  

You don’t need to drive to San Francisco or Silicon Valley to learn more about how tech will affect the way we farm — the Summit will be bringing it all to Modesto! We’re always thrilled to be involved in events like these because we’re 100 percent focused on innovating from the field to the internet. Using tech to tell the untold stories of ag is one of our key goals; it’s the most direct way to connect consumers to the real people behind the products. 

During lunch, AC&C Founder Ali Cox will speak about the importance of content marketing in agriculture, and why millennials in ag are actually the least lazy generation when it comes to business decisions. 

Ready to secure your seat? Click here and use our special discount code to get the friends and family rate! Use code ALICOX when you check out to save 10 percent on tickets. 

Reps, grab your growers. Growers, grab a friend. And clients, call your AC&C account manager — your ticket is on us!

Same Agency, New Name. A Note From Ali

Thanks to my friend Jason Falk at TANK Industries, my first real baby — Ali Cox & Company — was born in 2007. I had just left my post at IMG as the director of sponsorship services and was on my own in New York City. 

Sure, I knew a ton of people and felt confident enough in my marketing skills, but being on my own didn’t get real until my automatic direct deposit and health benefits were cut off. A self-employed veteran, Jason took me under his wing, designed my logo, help me hone my story, printed my business cards and scooted me back to my studio apartment on his Vespa.

Those early days were exhilarating and petrifying in the same breath. I had freedom! With that came risk — and I gamed up, over and over again. In those early days, the “& Company” portion of my company name referred to the friendly army of freelancers who were my partners and collaborators. We would team up depending on client needs, refer each other’s work, and support each other.

Fast-forward about six years to 2013. I relocated to my hometown of Turlock, California to focus on agriculture marketing (my true passion and now lifelong mission). The “& Company” quickly became about more than freelance partners — it now referred to full-time team-members on the payroll. All of a sudden, we were a full on agency!

Now, after three offices, a revolving door of interns, the addition of several key team members, and a few tremendously smart hires, we’ve outgrown our name. The agency is not just about Ali Cox anymore. It’s about a team of highly motivated, creative, disciplined, collaborative, and driven people who are making a name for themselves on their own with our clients. I just happen to be at the helm.

Do I still approve all of our strategy and see each item before it goes to print or is blasted? Of course, but all of the ideas are not mine, and all of the credit shouldn’t be mine. So we’re becoming AC&C Marketing. We’ve got a fresh new logo, a fresh new mindset, and a fresh new agency persona. AND … a new website with this very blog post — our first one!

We’ll continue to focus on delivering perfect work each and every day. And we’ll continue to hold ourselves accountable for two reasons: our pride and our clients’ trust. No one person at our agency will ever be perfect, but as a team we can deliver perfect work. And we do.

I’m more confident than ever in the future. Please help me in welcoming AC&C Marketing to 2019.