The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

Recapping the Sweet Summer of 2016

by Chelsea Cepicky

6 December, 2016

The Arland Group’s National Honey Board team had an exciting summer full of sweet events, bees, honey and great attendees! Our team set out with a goal to help spread the education, benefits and uses of honey to a variety of groups. Below is a list of events that took place and what we did!

1.     Honey Baking Summit – June 6-8, Providence, RI

For our Honey Baking Summit, we invited 18 of the countries top bakers to Providence where we taught them technical information about honey; led them in a formal tasting with American Honey Tasting Society founder, Marina Marchese; and had Chef’s Melina Kelson and Richard Miscovich lead the group in baking demonstrations.

Attendees also had the chance to get up close and personal with the bees at Fruit Hill Apiaries, an apiary in rural Providence. Attendees went home with the skills and knowledge to incorporate honey into their bakery foods, various varietals of honey they could use to add depth to their products.

2.     Honey Baking All-Stars – June 27-20, Chicago, IL

The Honey Baking All-Stars Summit was similar to the Honey Baking Summit, except this time we invited 11 of our previous attendees from past years and had them bring their own honey formulas.

When bakers arrived in Chicago, they learned more in-depth information about honey and baked their best made with honey products. We also filmed them talking about why they love honey and use it in their products.

On the final day, we took a field trip to Sweet Beginnings, LLC., an urban apiary located in Chicago, where the bees feed on a variety of wildflowers and city plants. It was really interesting to see how bees can thrive in an urban environment. The bakers really enjoyed the opportunity to see where one of their favorite ingredients comes from.

3.     Honey Beer Summit – August 29-31, St. Louis, MO

We had 23 of the country’s best craft brewers in St. Louis for an unforgettable learning experience. Brewers attended technical sessions led by the National Honey Board, Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery and beer researcher, Hugo Patino. Attendees then toured a variety of local breweries including Urban Chestnut, Perennial Artisan Ales and Earthbound.

On the final day of the summit, the brewers toured an urban apiary in St. Louis, and had Jane Sueme, owner of Isabee’s Beekeeping Supplies, teach them about bees and demonstrate the process of extracting honey.

4.     Honey Editor Summit – September 22-25, Chicago, IL

For our final event of the year, the National Honey Board invited 11 magazine editors to Chicago to attend a summit based on honey products and trends. During this event, magazine editors learned how honey is made, participated in a variety of tastings and learned about products containing honey in a variety of food and beverage categories.

Attendees also had an opportunity to tour Eli’s Cheesecake. The entire group was excited to try some of their delicious cheesecakes, including the Honey Mediterranean Cheesecake.

Overall, the summer was valuable for both the attendees of our events and our team. It was a summer full of learning experiences, delicious treats, bees and new trends. We really enjoyed the variety of adventures and can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017.

Facebook’s New Optimized Ad Options

by Joshlyn Polk

20 April, 2015

In an effort to give more companies the competitive edge, Facebook has announced plans to incorporate new product ads–a potentially lucrative new ad unit poised to benefit brands as they seek to reach large audiences on the biggest social media platform.

In the past, a solitary ad in a campaign would be delivered to the audience at large. Brands will now be able to run multiple ads in the same campaign with different targeting and maximize the performance of their efforts! Instead of a one-size fits all approach, companies have an increased chance of upselling products or appealing to consumers for which the original ad may not have been relevant. This translates to big opportunities for added revenue and is also friendly to the media-buying budget.

Large-scale advertising on Facebook has been difficult to master for small to mid-sized businesses but with the introduction of this new ad option, more brands will be able to take advantage of the endless potential of this new promotion practice.

Click here for more information »

Newest Content Marketing Expert Makes His Mark

by Kyle Gunning

7 February, 2014

I specialize in social media and content marketing and I come to The Arland Group with a background in anthropology, sociology and psychology. If you were thinking that means I’ll be mentally analyzing people and things going on around me, you’d be right. As creepy as that sounds, it’s what I think makes me effective at my job. It’s called applied anthropology. I try to take the theories of anthropology and the other social sciences and use them to understand and solve practical problems. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Erving Goffman and Ilana Gershon are where I pull most of my ideas and theories.

When Facebook and Twitter emerged, the term we used for them was “social network.” This was by no accident. Social networks are a topic explored extensively by anthropologists since the 1800s. Every user on Facebook, Twitter and the like are actors in this play or structure in society. Whether we want to admit it or not, our actions in this structure are quite predictable. We have less control over these interactions than you may expect. From trending topics to social advertising to “trolls” sending hateful comments: it’s all something that anthropology can help understand, predict and hopefully solve. That’s what I’m here to do and I’m very excited to be the newest member of the TAG team.

Why Brands are Scared to be Social

by Emily Pirraglia

4 April, 2013

Social media is here to stay.

This statement has been touted for more than five years, yet some brands still insist on maintaining silence in the social media realm. Although being social is easy, achieving success in social media requires a better understanding of the platform.

It gives power to the people
Social media is scary because it takes away control. Many companies are afraid to join social networking sites and expose their brand to the uncontrolled opinions of the masses. Yet the real issue is not the lack of control—it’s the quality of the conversation. On its own, negative feedback is not a bad thing. Only when it’s consistently ignored, deleted or handled horribly does it become a problem for a brand. By focusing on fan engagement, businesses will slowly gain loyal followers while setting the tone for their social media platforms.

It’s not about you
Pretend you’re attending a networking event and someone walks in, pulls out a megaphone, and begins a soliloquy about how awesome they are. Do you sit back and listen as they drone on about their value as a person? Or, do you ignore them and continue your conversation? Some businesses enter social media sites with the same megaphone and goal to broadcast their brand. They don’t realize that a successful social media presence isn’t about them—it’s about their audience.

It’s not about selling
People on social networking sites don’t want to be advertised to—they want to be informed, entertained and helped. They want to feel connected to a brand, not just know about it. Understanding and embracing this reality is the first step to achieving a successful social experience across all social media sites.

It’s still changing
Social networks are young. In fact, if the major ones were people, Facebook would be multiplying fractions, Twitter would be learning words with multiple syllables and Google+ would be taking its first unsteady steps. And, like miniature humans, social networks will continue to grow. Don’t let their changes keep you from joining. By staying silent in the realm of social, you miss out influencing millions of potential fans, followers and free agents.

Taking Notes from NPR’s Andy Carvin

by Emily Pirraglia

26 March, 2013

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend St. Louis Public Radio’s event featuring Andy Carvin, NPR’s Senior Strategist. Carvin develops NPR’s social media strategy, and is best known for using Twitter to report news and information surrounding uprisings during the Arab Spring.

As a “news DJ,” Carvin’s discussion focused primarily on news distribution through Twitter. However, the conversation covered topics relevant to all “content DJs”: social media managers. Carvin’s insights on Twitter were recorded by tweets using the hashtag #acarvinstl—an appropriate method, given the topic.

St. Louis, NPR, Emily Black, TwitterMany businesses approach Twitter as a popularity contest determined by how many followers they receive. Measuring this metric is important to an organization’s success, but the numbers do not wholly define the engagement of your Twitter community. Engaging people online is about building relationships by listening and responding. Focusing on followers as individuals rather than numbers will produce far greater results for your brand than trying to grow your follower count at any cost.

Being Human on twitter, STL NPR, #acarvinstl, Andy CarvinSome business twitter accounts remind me of the man behind the curtain in “The Wizard of Oz.” You can follow them and read their tweets, but the entire time you have no idea who they really are because their content lacks a clear brand voice. No matter who you are or why you’re tweeting, it’s important to be authentic. No one wants to feel like they’re trying to have a conversation with a RSS feed.

NPR, St. Louis, Andy Carvin, Distant WitnessFor brands, Twitter offers total exposure to your audience. Social media managers have the opportunity to share news, ask for feedback and connect with customers in real-time. The downside to this constant stream of information is that maintaining relevancy becomes difficult for brands that promote a limited message. Keep your tweets engaging for your followers by linking to sources connected to your content, sharing images that give insights into your company and following hashtags related to your work. Constantly adapt and grow, and remember to always ask the right questions about your brand.

social media, media literacy, tweet, Emily Black, NPR, St. Louis, Andy CarvinTwitter is an incredible network of users sharing all types of information—some truthful, others not so much. As a social media manager, it is your responsibility to sort the authentic tweets from the false ones. Remember to always go to the source, learn any differing information and RT with caution.

 

 

 

Writers’ Unblock: How to Keep Writing Fresh

by Alyssa Stahr

19 March, 2013

Vintage typewriter, writing quote

The Arland Group has ramped up its writing efforts lately, with more blog posts, content marketing writing and long-form copy than ever before. With numerous clients and so many demands for content, how do you keep writing fresh, unique and informative?

It’s a tough market, and whether you are acting as a consultant, writing for social media, providing marketing copy or writing long-form digital copy, one great thing is for certain—everyone has a voice. So, what’s the best way to convey it through the written word?

1. Network and market yourself both in person and on paper. Don’t pigeonhole yourself as a writer. Just because the social media club is meeting this week and you consider yourself “only” an investigative journalist, go anyway. You never know whom you will meet and what contacts you will make. Consider your writing portfolio a family tree of works. Having only one limb would be significantly boring.

2. Once clients are on board, you may have topics provided for you or you may be allowed to go out on your own. If this is the case, send a topic list to your client. This will help in the long run. You wouldn’t want to write a piece and not have it be what the client wanted.

3. When writing in long-form, don’t forget your outline. Just as when you wrote those awesome term papers in college, it helps to organize your thoughts in outline form. Once your thoughts are grouped, it may help to write the easiest parts of the project first. After all, the toughest part is getting started, right?

4. Don’t forget about SEO and distribution. Remember that 99.9% of what you write probably will turn out somewhere or another in digital form. Know where and how to distribute, and make your writing easily searchable.

5. Know what you do well and continue your education. Not everyone is a stellar technical writer, and some people thrive on writing human-interest pieces. Trying your best at a multitude of projects in today’s market will go a long way, and if you want to learn a new type or form of writing, just try it. Writing constantly evolves, just as you will. Love what you do, and expand your horizons.

 

 

Facebook Gets a Facelift

by Emily Pirraglia

7 March, 2013

Facebook’s updated news feed combines the intimate nature of Instagram and clean design of Google+ to create a user experience focused on visuals, personal curation and consistency. Check out how their redesign will impact your Facebook experience:

Lots of Visuals: The redesign focuses on visual storytelling by enlarging photos, albums and videos in the news feed. Content about individuals and pages now include a section of their cover photo and timeline, and shared articles display a bigger image, longer summary and the publisher’s logo.

Choice of Feeds: Tired of reading romantic updates from high school acquaintances? The news feed features additional filters that give users more control over the type of content they see. Users can sort feeds chronologically, create feeds exclusively for the pages they follow and curate their homepage to include updates from the publications, artists and public figures they care about.

It’s still unclear what impact the design will have on a page’s exposure in the news feed; however, the changes will allow all page updates to be featured on the pages-only feed.

Consistency Across Platforms: By increasing the size of pictures and videos in the news feed, Facebook focuses on improving the mobile usability of the site. The new Facebook app for phones and tablets also embraces a streamlined, clean design, and will closely match the Web version of Facebook.

Facebook plans to introduce the changes to its website today, and will implement the redesign for its mobile apps in the coming weeks.

2012: The Year of Visual Marketing and Mobile Technology

by Keith Seiz

20 December, 2012

This year was the biggest year ever for social media marketing. No matter how social or what kind of social you wanted to be, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and more, had you covered in 2012.

According to this story by the Content Marketing Institute, roughly nine out of 10 businesses now use social media to drive their message. This is a good idea considering we are such a technologically bound society. We seem to always be plugged in and looking for smarter, harder working instruments. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions have taken over our world. In this world, digital photo sharing and online shopping emerged in 2012.

Read more about 2012 content marketing trends here.

Stepping Into a New Role

by Kathy Black

27 March, 2012

I am proud to be the newest member of the Arland team. What started out as a message on Facebook to an old high school friend, has proven to be an exciting new role to fill. As I stepped into the St. Louis office three months ago, I had no idea exactly what I was walking into but I knew that I was up to the challenge.

For the past 15 years of my life, I have been a mother. That role started for me at the very young age of 19. Maybe not the proudest moment in my life, being a teenage mom, but definitely one of the most fulfilling roles that I get to continue to experience on a daily basis. A major part of my adult life consisted of being a stay-at-home mom to 3 of the most wonderful kids any parent could ask for. Some may think that a stay-at-home mom has it made, nothing to really do and nowhere to have to be on a daily basis. It may seem like heaven to most, but being a stay-at-home mom is an endless job.  It’s definitely a role that is never filled, never ends and doesn’t just remain in the confines of an eight-hour workday. There are no hour lunches, paid vacations or sick days, however the benefits that come with the role, while often times go unnoticed by others, include many moments that can never be replaced. To the mom that fills that role those moments are priceless.

I have filled several different roles in my life, all of them expecting certain things from me. I have been an aide at my local library and a Paraprofessional at the High School in my community. I am currently a cheerleading coach and have gone from stay-at-home mom to working mom. Some roles I have filled successfully, others not so much.  But, all of the positions that I have filled have led me to The Arland Group.  I have not filled a single job position previously that could have prepared me for the one that I hold now. However, having managed a household, schedules of 3 busy kids, navigated the halls of a high school and at times managed 40 plus cheerleaders by myself has prepared me to think on my feet and to be ready for anything.

As I feel my way through filling my new role at The Arland Group, I have found that advertising is not as easy as it looks. Websites and website design take a lot of man hours, employment branding is just as important as the brand itself, writing is an art and deadlines are stressful. The Arland Group encompasses many different roles as a company and I am very happy to be filling all of the roles that are given to me.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

by The Arland Group

30 August, 2011

Let’s face it, we live in a world where success is measured in tweets per second, likes per post, and daily page views. This can seem intimidating and sometimes incredibly frustrating when orchestrating a social media campaign. I find that very often at the core of these frustrations is impatience and a lack of understanding of how to really build a successful network.

When The Arland Group launches a social media campaign, we try to really stress that social media is a slow build process that yields huge results. It’s something that needs to grow, requires a strategy and constant evaluation. Makes sense right? The concept is easy to swallow, but as I stated earlier we live in a fast paced world that craves quick results.

To put it in perspective, let me give you an example of another area where the quick results approach doesn’t work. The weight loss industry capitalizes on this concept only to leave consumers searching for another quick fix in the end. Consumers are on this cycle, even though they know weight loss is achieved by simply cutting calories and increasing activity. The problem is that lasting results take time and patience and it’s hard to have to wait for the end result.

Now, I’m not trying to say losing weight and social media are one in the same, but I am stressing that it’s often easy to focus on seeing big results too soon and lose sight of your real goal. That’s why it’s important to remember that we’re here to give you the tools for success and implement a social media plan that will, in time, allow you to reap lasting rewards!

Making Noise

by Keith Seiz

17 August, 2011

Since Jason, Jonathan and myself founded The Arland Group in 2006, we have always been hesitant to make noise. We let our work speak for itself, and more importantly, we let our clients speak for us. Their referrals have been more than enough to build our firm from a three-person shop to a successful agency with nine exceptionally smart people.

Despite tripling in head count and growing sales (and profits!) every year, we have by and large remained a silent agency. We revel internally upon the successful completion of a branding project. We celebrate exceptional design jobs not by applying for awards, but by treating ourselves and our colleagues to a Belgian ale or bottle of wine.

And that will never change. The Arland Group will always focus on promoting our clients and not ourselves. It’s what makes us happy.

But, at a recent meeting among Arlanders, the topic of  “making more noise” came up, and it led to a very interesting discussion about who we are as an agency. For so long, we shied away from this question, mainly because we thought it would create an unnecessary us vs. them slide on our sales deck. And we’re not an us vs. them type of agency.

But as Arlanders, we’re a lot more comfortable in our skin now going into six years of business. And as a result, we have decided to start making just a tad bit of noise, mainly on this blog or through our Facebook and Twitter pages (www.facebook.com/thearlandgroup and twitter.com/thearlandgroup).

We’re very proud of what we have accomplished as an agency, and although with quite a bit of hesitation, it’s something we’re going to start talking about a little more.

Why We Hired a Content Marketing Manager

by Keith Seiz

22 February, 2011

It’s been a busy start to the year for The Arland Group. In January, we launched websites for industry leaders Nationwide Insurance and PSAV. In February, we welcomed our newest employee, Megan Gattung, as content marketing manager.

In six years, our firm’s growth has only been outpaced by the services we offer. When Jason, Jonathan and I started in 2005, content marketing wasn’t on our list of services. Nor was social media or video production. We were a creative house, and we did creative things on websites and print advertising campaigns.

Content was important, but content was viewed as a piece of a creative project, not the entirety. Content was words that fit on a website or brochure. Content’s sole purpose was to make an immediate connection. There was no content strategy beyond the immediate impact that the words would create when they were read.

Not anymore. Content is major player at The Arland Group, and an area we plan on dominating for years to come. Content is now offered throughout our services, from social media to webisodes to white papers to blogging and micro-blogging. Content is words, videos, books, articles, white papers, ideas, music and any other form of expression we generate on behalf of our clients for the sole purpose of making a connection with their audience. Content is a tool we use to promote our clients to their audience. Content is just like advertising, marketing or public relations. And, it is just as effective.

With Megan on board as content marketing manager, we will be able to expand our content services to all industries we serve, including consumer. B2B and employment branding. It is our job to get our client’s messages to the intended audience in the most effective way. Our content capabilities serve as the perfect complement to our creative capacities to accomplish this goal.