Behind the Scenes of “A Rudkin Christmas Story”

Do you love our new “A Rudkin Christmas Story” Facebook cover and posts?
We are pretty obsessed with it ourselves and have been excited to use the frozen flagpole scene from the movie, A Christmas Story as our Christmas theme inspiration for quite a while!

Do you wonder how something so awesome was created?
Well, here is a run down of how we built this amazing graphic.

First, we came up with a theme. A Christmas Story is a group favorite and we always loved the idea of someone in our office getting their tongue stuck to a frozen pole… so the theme was a no brainer.

Second, since we live in the Texas Hill Country, a frozen pole isn’t exactly easy to come by, so we created our own. We found a nice stock background image of a school to fit our theme and we layered on a frozen flagpole. Boom! We have our setting.

Next, we needed the crew! But shooting everyone in the Rudkin gang at the same time is never an easy task since we are all over Texas and we are all busy little bees! Our solution to this is to photograph each person individually… this is actually one of my favorite parts of the project. Shooting each person individually so they can fit into one overall theme is quite humorous!

You can see each of our individual shots on the image below. Can you imagine what we look like to a passer-by? Posing in awkward positions, making strange faces and wearing all of our winter garb on a balmy 75-degree day? HA! Amusing to say the least!

RP_Individual

You may notice that Meg and Monica’s photos have different backgrounds, this is because they were not at the Rudkin office at the time of the photo shoot, so their husbands graciously stepped in and worked their photography magic to capture their wives’ best-panicked face.

Once we had everyone’s individual photos shot, we needed to clip the bodies out of their individual backgrounds allowing us to compile them all into one photo. This process is very detailed and quite interesting – so interesting we are working on a step-by-step process to share with you in our next post!

Finally, each person’s clipped out image is compiled on top of the background setting image we previously created, slowly the overall image you see here is built! Putting us all together in one image is similar to assembling a puzzle; you add one layer at a time until the overall image layout is just perfect!

As a final touch, we added an overall tinting layer to the graphic in order to make it appear like we are in a snowy, frozen region and better work with our theme of A Christmas Story.

RP_Final

What do you think of the end result? Pretty cool Christmas card, eh?

Rudkin’s talented graphic artists are ready to help you make your creative campaign a reality! As you can see, nothing is out of the realm of possibilities! Call us today for a quote on your next project!

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Marketing Collateral 101

By Meg Guillory Burke

Our daily lives are saturated with advertisements and marketing messages. Practically everywhere you look someone is trying to capture your attention and sell you on the idea that what they have to offer is the best of the best. Estimates now show the average American sees over 3,000 of these messages every day, talk about overload! As a business in today’s market you are probably wondering how you are supposed to stand out in this crowded marketplace long enough to earn your potential customer’s hard earned dollar… well, it all starts with your marketing collateral!

What the heck is marketing collateral anyway?

Basically, marketing collateral is any Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 4.53.15 PMprinted element used to promote and sell your ideas, goods and services. Smaller businesses may have basic marketing collateral such as business cards, letterhead, envelopes and perhaps a brochure or a flyer; while larger businesses may have sales kits, catalogs, mail-outs, data sheets, charts and graphs, specialty products and more.

Whether your business is small or large, your marketing collateral is used to visually communicate who you are and what you do, to your target consumer. Your marketing collateral acts as part of your sales team and represent you to the public, so make them as good as your finances allow.

How do you create effective marketing collateral?

Set a goal.   Initially you must decide what each of your collateral pieces will be used for. Your business cards provide pertinent contact information and may be used in initial meetings with potential customers. A brochure may provide a brief overview of your company’s benefits and capabilities; while flyers or direct mailers could be used to promote a special event or sale. Letterhead and envelopes support brand identity and may be used for follow up communication or invoicing. Sales kits provide a more detailed insight into your business and/or services and can work as a secondary form of communication to keep your business top-of-mind and recognizable.

Develop a theme. Each element of your marketing collateral must work to convey
your company image and collectively. Implementing a consistent theme throughout creates brand recognition or an awareness of your business’ existence and availability. People buy from who they know; generally the more recognized brands achieve the most sales.

Consider your audience.  Most businesses have a specific target. A simple way to Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 4.53.47 PMdetermine your target consumer is to ask yourself who, what, when, where, why and how questions.

  • Who is your end user?
  • What do they do?
  • When would they seek your services or products?
  • Where do they live?
  • Why should they choose your business?
  • How can you reach them?

Answering these questions help you understand your audience’s demographics and psychographics, or what drives them to buy.

Determine your message.  Once you have determined who you are selling to, you must be able to inform them about what you are selling and then motivate them to make the purchase from you and not your competition.

It is imperative that your information and facts are accurate and truthful. Use proper grammar and check spelling and punctuation, something as simple as a misspelled word can reflect poorly on your company’s image. Include a call to action or incentive for your audience, such as a discount or special reward, as a way to track the return on your collateral investment. You can even generate a sense of trust by including past client testimonials or listing any performance recognitions your products or services may have received.

Remember to keep the message simple. Your marketing materials have a matter of seconds to capture someone’s attention, so make sure the benefits of doing business with your company can be comprehended quickly without causing any confusion.

Implement strong creative.  Are your marketing materials attractive and engaging? Do they persuade the potential buyer to inquire further? The look and feel of your materials greatly affects whether or not you make the sale, so every detail matters.Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 4.54.36 PM

There are countless ways to visually communicate your message and achieve a one of a kind look. For example, on a brochure, flyer or sales kit, use graphic elements, charts or graphs to make facts such as your capabilities, costs and/or business location stand out. Use photography or images to suggest reality in your customer’s mind. Then, add captions to help convey necessary details.

A unique shape or size can make your brochure stick out in a stack of hundreds. A catchy or humorous slogan could make your business memorable.

Even the paper stock you print your materials on can set it apart from your competition. Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creativity, just be sure these creative aspects compliment your overall message and are consistent.

Don’t forget to include your logo on everything! Continually use the same color selections and font styles on all your materials. An inconsistent look can confuse your customer and negate your brand’s identity.

Seek help.  Not everyone is creative and witty; don’t let this defeat the effectiveness of your collateral! There is no shame in seeking help. Hiring a third party, such as an advertising agency, who offers solutions for copywriting, editing, creative development and market research can greatly improve your chances of creating successful marketing collateral.

You are now equipped with all the necessary knowledge to create outstanding, eye-catching, unique marketing collateral elements! Just remember, businesses are a dime a dozen, but with proper research and a savvy strategy, your business can stand out from the crowd!

How to Plan an Out-of-State National Event for 5,000 Attendees

CUFI

One of our most exciting accounts we work on is Christians United for Israel (CUFI). CUFI is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over 1.6 million members, 1.1 million Facebook fans and conducts over 40 pro-Israel events a month.

CUFI has two main missions. To educate America’s Christians about the biblical and moral imperatives to support Israel. And to activate America’s Christians to speak out on Israel’s behalf to their churches and communities, as well as to their leaders in Congress.

For the past nine years, starting in January, we begin the long preparation for this three-day event that takes place every July in Washington DC.  The thousands of attendees who arrive and participate in this event are probably not even aware of the six months of planning and work that happened prior to their arrival.

Under direction of the CUFI national office and their incredible staff, we join forces to put together this massive event. The list of needs to put on an event of this magnitude is endless. In January, we start with website banners, microsites, postcards, invitations, ads, brochures, registration forms – all the paperwork that is needed and associated with kicking off a large event such as this. Next, we move into actual tangible needs for the events – registration information, folders, media kits, notepads, magazines, programs, pens, tote bags, lanyards, badge-holders, itineraries, maps, vacation information, signage and banners, magnets, informational flyers… the list goes on-and-on.

This July 20-22, 5000 attendees begin to arrive from around the world traveling to Washington to learn about the Biblical, moral and historical reasons for standing with the Jewish people.

The event is held each year at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. This year’s line-up of speakers includes the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who will be addressing conference attendees live, via satellite. Members of congress, including Congresswoman Michele Bachman, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Tim Scott, Senator Lindsey Graham and many others who will brief audiences on legislation affecting Israel and the Middle East. In addition to elected officials, a host of Middle East experts and Biblical scholars will also address Summit attendees such as Charles Krauthammer, Malcom Hoenlein, Bill Kristol, Dennis Prager and Pastor John Hagee.

In 2011, CUFI introduced The Battle For The Future:  Israel on Campus exhibit, which is basically a traveling museum; for the past three years, the exhibit has grown to include over 200 elements including interactive signs, booth graphics and tents. This year, we expanded the exhibit with a few new signage elements and we updated information and design on about 20 existing pieces! The amount of work, organization and care that goes into this part of CUFI’s Annual Summit, is just mind-boggling!

New this year, we also handled a national media blitz with billboards, direct mail, radio, national digital and social media as well as a nation-wide public relations campaign.

Summit attendees can also visit the CUFI Store, which offers merchandise made in Israel, art from Israel as well as t-shirts, books and CDs. We play a large role in the CUFI store. We produce many of their the specialty products such as t-shirts, mouse pads, buttons, Bible covers, pins, license plate frames, picture frames, tablet and phone covers, bumper stickers – an array of products that support and make others aware of CUFI’s mission post Summit.

If you haven’t ever had a chance to attend this event, it is definitely worth it! The excitement, enthusiasm and support this event produces for the nation of Israel is truly awe-inspiring! For more information, go to cufi.org (which by the way, was also produced by yours truly, Rudkin Productions).

Please click to enlarge.

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Five Things To Do Now To Get More Traffic To Your Blog


 

BLOG

1. Add Tags & Meta Tags

Add tags to your posts. Many blog systems allow authors to add free-form tags to a post, along with (or instead of) placing the post into categories. For example, a post may display that it has been tagged with baseball and tickets. Each of those tags is usually a web link leading to an index page listing all of the posts associated with that tag. The blog may have a sidebar listing all the tags in use on that blog, with each tag leading to an index page. To reclassify a post, an author edits its list of tags. All connections between posts are automatically tracked and updated by the blog software; there is no need to relocate the page within a complex hierarchy of categories. (via)

Meta tags are HTML codes that are inserted into the header on a web page, after the title tag. In the context of search engine optimization, when people refer to meta tags, they are usually referring to the meta description tag and the meta keywords tag.

2. Name your Images

If you have clicked an image or grabbed it from a photo stock, it probably has a name such as IMG_8292 or shutterstock_34151 etc. Change the name which is relevant to your post. For example, if your blog is called FOODIE and you are writing about Easy Recipes then name your photo ‘Easy Recipe_FOODIE’ for the search engine to recognize the photo when searched by that title.

3. Open a Google Plus Page

We have already emphasized on the importance of having the Google Plus page. Click here to read that post.

4. Use Interesting Titles

Think about the articles which you have clicked up on lately. Chances are you were intrigued by its title. Your title should either be informative or creative for the potential reader to click on the link.

5. Share on Social Media

Last but not the least be sure to share it on all your Social Media. However, be sure to not post them on auto pilot. Take out a few minutes to form a creative and intriguing preview suitable for each Social Media platform. This motivates your audience/readers to follow you on more than one social media platform. Else where is the incentive if the same message is broadcasted web-wide?

Hope you found these tips helpful. If you have any other questions or require assitance with your blog call us at 830-249-1744

Until next time,

RP Team

5 Reasons Why You Should Be On Google Plus

 


Google-Plus

Google+ launched in 2011. Although its initial response was lukewarm, over the last year it has gained a lot of momentum.

It has several interesting features like video chatting also known as Hangouts, Circle Shares, Communities, to name a few. Here are the top five reasons why we believe your brand should be on Google+:

  1. Better SEOs: Google will weigh your content higher in its search engine if you connect it via Google+, a process known as Authorship. It’s relatively easy to setup and we highly recommend doing so. So, posting your blog content on the network will result in increased exposure.
  2. Video Conferencing & Live Streaming: Hangouts are a great way to get up to 10 people together virtually and free to discuss ideas and generally meet visually. This allows for a more personal experience. Also, the Hangouts On Air (HOA) feature allows for streaming video via Google+ and YouTube. HOAs have made it extremely easy for companies of all sizes to hold seminars, meetings and webinars and to broadcast podcasts with ease.
  3. No character limit: There are no character limits like 140 characters on twitter. This allows discussions to flourish and for stronger relationships to grow with your consumers/readers.
  4. Integrated Services: For example: Google Local is now integrated with Google+. Having a listing in Google search is no longer separate; instead it’s integrated into the Google+ business pages. Therefore setting up a business page can’t be ignored.
  5. Google Loves Google+: Google is completely dedicated to Google+. This means that it will continue to add features and place more emphasis on the network to influence the company’s other products.

If you are still not convinced, checkout Jeff Bulla’s reasons here!