Cobalt-60 The Cobalt Blog

Strategic Communications

Thinking Inside the Board: Using Mood Boards to Generate Ideas and Build Consensus


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Also called vision boards or inspiration boards, mood boards are tools for communicating a vision, feeling, theme, persona or mood for a design or a style in a way that can be quickly absorbed and understood by those viewing them. Mood boards can be used to confirm that all stakeholders are on the same page or get feedback if not. Join Cobalt Communications Art Director Mark Miller on an exploration of this vital design tool. Read More…

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: A Marketer’s Guide

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Even for the most experienced marketing pros, the responsibility of keeping your brand’s content flowing across the web can be daunting, even exhausting. It’s like feeding a monster that’s never satisfied. So,in this article, we turn to a familiar mantra of environmentalism — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — to explore how marketers and business professionals canget more mileage out of theircontentand do more with less. Read More…

Why We Love Expletives (or Love to Hate Them)

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Swearing in the workplace used to be a no-no — no questions asked. But as three-piece suits have been replaced by khakis and no-tuck shirts, so too have we become more casual about the occasional oath or obscenity. Research shows that swearing can play an important role in communication, though there are some who argue it has no place in civil discourse. Read More…

Thinking Like Sun Tzu: How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis

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Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, is often regarded as one of history’s greatest military strategists. According to the Chinese general, if you want to defeat your enemy, you must know them as well as you know yourself. The same is true if you’re marketing a brand — to succeed, you must know your competition. Read More…

The Lessons of Winning and Losing: A Primer for Marketing Communications

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Ali, Namath, Secretariat — we remember winners because they overcame staggering odds to reach the pinnacle of their sport. But if there’s a winner, there must be a loser. History’s winners and losers can teach us a lot about how to communicate effectively. In this article, we consider a few classic victor vs. vanquished duos to uncover important marketing lessons. Read More…

Using KPIs to Take Your Business to New Heights


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It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the terabyte-sized mountain of data that piles up every day from our business systems and processes. But the mountains of data represent a goldmine of opportunity — if you can find the right nuggets. That’s where KPIs come in. Grab your harness and pick axe and let’s start exploring the majestic wonder of KPIs. Read More…

From Wannabe to Winner: 7 Key Ingredients of Winning Organizations

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Leaders of all kinds may feel they’re working 24/7 to take their organizations to the next level. There are this year’s trends and this quarter’s results and next quarter’s forecasts to worry about. You’ve built 7 highly effective habits but may feel frustrated enough to scream those 7 dirty words or commit one of the 7 deadly sins. Let’s reverse-engineer successes of organizations that have made it to where you want to be. Read More…

Brand Positioning: How to Look Different in a Sea of Sameness

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Today, it’s easy to see brand positioning at work in some of the most recognizable brands, such as Netflix and Whole Foods. But even if you don’t have the resources of these big consumer brands, even if you’re a small B2B businesses, you can apply the principles of positioning. Read More…

Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Good


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The quest for perfection is everywhere, and it’s easy to get sucked in. But perfection can be detrimental, especially to small business owners or marketing managers who have long to-do lists and fewer productive hours to get things done. Let’s take a look at some of the consequences of an unhealthy obsession with perfection — and how we can use perfection to make us more productive. Read More…

Fear and Loathing in Marketing

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Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, or FUD, is a fear-based marketing strategy used in disciplines such as public relations, advertising and even politics. Influencers use FUD techniques to make us stop, think and change our behavior to choose their preferred option over another more questionable option. Keep reading to learn how you can leverage fear in your marketing — and when you might decide to avoid it altogether. Read More…

Selling With Science: The Good, The Bad And How Things Change

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Every time consumers shop, they face a plethora of products of all types, even for the most mundane items. At first glance, most shampoos, light bulbs or televisions may seem the same or at least very similar. So advertisers are constantly looking for ways to differentiate their products and make them stand out. Using science is one way to do that. But is the science real or is it soft, squishy and skeptical? Read More…

The Art and Science of Understanding

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At Cobalt, we take understanding seriously. But what does that really mean? What is understanding? When someone attains understanding, what have they achieved? In this post, we try to understand understanding more deeply. Read More…

Enabling Innovation “On Demand”

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Encouraging innovation in today’s business environment takes much more than a suggestion box placed in a breakroom. Leaders of forward-thinking organizations don’t wait for passive inspiration to strike. They design spaces and situations that actively propel creative thinking, helping teams to think big — and fast. Read More…

The Complexity of Simplicity

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Achieving understanding can always be “easier” on an audience ... but can’t always be “easy.” When creating infographics, you should strive to facilitate understanding, but if you oversimplify information too much or fail to give readers additional opportunities to dig deeper, then you may be falling short as a communicator. Read More…

Message Eclipsing and Leadership: How to Avoid Overshadowing Your Own Messages

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Eclipse mania may be fading (along with the white-hot images on our retinas), but the idea of an eclipse — an obscuring of light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and an observer — made me think about how this phenomenon applies to communications. Is it possible to behave in such a way or deliver messages in such a way that the audience only remembers the person sending, not the content being sent? Read More…

The Anatomy of a Great Tagline

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Call it a slogan. Call it a cutline. Call it a tagline. Whatever you call it, just don't dismiss it as a piece of throwaway marketing language. A powerful tagline can help you differentiate your business and attract new customers. Read More…

5 Reasons to Publish a Digital Annual Report — Even If You’re Not Required to Publish One

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Annual reports — glorified financial statements or robust marketing tools? (Hint: we believe in the latter.) Even though Cobalt is a private company and we don’t legally have to publish an annual report, we chose to create one (and go digital) for 2016 because it offers so many marketing opportunities. And your company could reap these benefits, too. Read More…