Category Archives: Think

  • Values: Are your company’s unique? Do they differentiate your company from your competitors?

    Core values are extremely important in launching and maintaining business success.  At NextLevel Thinking, we have had the privilege of helping many clients identify and define the values that make them unique.  Core values aren’t only important to your internal culture, they should also be considered in your positioning.  How can you position your company, products and services if you haven’t identified what sets your company apart from the competition?  Core values serve as a lens through which each marketing activity, piece of collateral, and idea must be filtered.Company core values highlight what makes you unique.

    This month, we are sharing Denise Lee Yohn’s article, “Ban These 5 Words From Your Corporate Values Statement.” The article was published in the Harvard Business Review earlier this year.  We encourage each of you to read the article and take a hard look at your current company values.  Are you using the five words banned by Yohn?  We agree completely with Yohn: “Differentiation is the key driver of brand power. Your company’s core values must embody what makes your company uniquely ‘you’— what makes you stand out from others.”

    NextLevel Thinking is here to help you define what makes you uniquely “you” and position your company, products and services in the marketplace.

  • 7 Ways to Make Content Mobile Friendly

    At NLT, we spend a good bit of our time focused on how content appears on mobile devices.  Forbes published a great article written by Brian Sutter earlier this year detailing seven ways to make your content mobile friendly.  I’m sure you’ve heard the term “mobile first”, but what does it really mean and how do you get there?

    mobile first content 38639


    Sutter’s article is easy to understand and gives great tips on how to “put your mobile users’ needs first.”  Read it by clicking here.


  • 5 Fascinating Jobs That Don’t Exist – Yet

    In June, Adobe’s launched a series of articles about the future of work. Each article was interesting, but we found Nikki Majewski’s worth talking about. They “sifted through the predictions and uncovered five of what we think are the most interesting jobs set to emerge in the APAC region. Each one requires its own exciting collaboration of skills and expertise. Some are close to becoming a reality, while others will come as technology crosses new barriers.”Artificial Intelligence

    We can’t help but consider how these new positions might change the face of marketing practices, too.

    Read the full article for details on each of the futuristic jobs.

  • Revitalizing Trust in Marketing

    Trust in marketing

    Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding isn’t the only interesting news coming out of Great Britain this month.  Marketing Week published an interesting article from London-based Mention Me CEO, Andy Cockburn, highlighting the consumer decline in social media trust and avenues to grow brand trust.

    At NextLevel Thinking we wholeheartedly agree with the first suggestion:  “One of the simplest ways businesses can get started with trust marketing is to launch a referral programme. Referral is an excellent way for brands to develop their relationships with existing customers; meanwhile, new ones are introduced in a way that maximises the potential for future trust.”

    Read the full article to learn more about fostering trust in this “changing environment.”

    (Keep in mind: this article was published in the United Kingdom, so the spelling is a bit different.)


  • 5 Secrets to Use Storytelling for Brand Marketing Success


    Storytelling is central to marketing.  Susan Gunelius contributed a great article to Forbes in 2013 that is still a great read five years later.  While many of the platforms have evolved, her  “five secrets that brand storytellers understand and use to intrigue, engage, and connect emotionally with consumers” all still apply.

    Click here to discover the “Five Secrets.”

  • GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation, What Is It?

    GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has been rolled out after four years of discussion and planning. This new EU framework applies to organisations in all member-states and has implications for businesses and individuals across Europe, and beyond.


    At its core, GDPR is a new set of rules designed to give EU citizens more control over their personal data. It aims to simplify the regulatory environment for business so both citizens and businesses in the European Union can fully benefit from the digital economy.

    With an enforcement date of May 25, 2018, the GDPR is designed to unify data privacy requirements across the EU. If you market to or process the information of EU Data Subjects – which include end users, customers and employees – you need to learn how to address these key requirements.

    You can find all of the GDPR specifics by clicking here.

  • Seven Email Marketing Myths, Have You Heard of Them?

    NextLevel Thinking has been using email marketing on behalf of our clients for many years.  Why?  Consider this finding.  Email has a median ROI of 122% – over 4x higher than other marketing formats including social media, direct mail, and paid search.


    However, when we first embark on an ongoing, well thought out email campaign for a client, they are always a little skeptical due to common email marketing myths.

    Check out this article, 7 Email Marketing Myths That You Shouldn’t Believe.  These are similar questions that we have been asked over the years and this article does a good job of providing a reality check.

  • This Is So True!

    This quote is really so true.  “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

    — {Maya Angelou}

    great feeling







    Maya Angelou born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.   Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

    She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. In 1982, she was named the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” (1993) at President Bill Clinton‘s inauguration, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.

    With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of black culture. Her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide, although attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries. Angelou’s most celebrated works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics consider them to be autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family and travel.

  • These Social Media Trends Are On The Rise In 2018

    Let’s talk social media trends.  There’s no doubt social media will remain center-stage in our lives this year, but what type of content will make you shine this coming year?

    Unsurprisingly, video will remain the preferred vehicle for information. By 2020, around 80 percent of global internet traffic will be attributed to video, so it’s smart to get in right away!

    Choosing video makes sense when we look at the stats: almost 95 percent of video messages are retained by viewers, compared to only 10 percent of text content. Who wouldn’t want a piece of those social media trends?

    Source: Filmora
    When talking about social media trends, it is important to describe social media as explained Wikipedia style.  Users typically access social media services via web-based technologies on desktop, computers, and laptops, or download services that offer social media functionality to their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablet computers). When engaging with these services, users can create highly interactive platforms through which individuals, communities, and organizations can share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content or pre-made content posted online. They “introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals.”  Social media changes the way individuals and large organizations communicate. These changes are the focus of the emerging fields of technoself studies. Social media differ from paper-based media (e.g., magazines and newspapers) or traditional electronic media such as TV broadcasting in many ways, including quality, reach, frequency, interactivity, usability, immediacy, and permanence. Social media outlets operate in a dialogic transmission system (many sources to many receivers). This is in contrast to traditional media which operates under a monologic transmission model (one source to many receivers), such as a paper newspaper which is delivered to many subscribers, or a radio station which broadcasts the same programs to an entire city. Some of the most popular social media websites are Baidu Tieba, Facebook (and its associated Facebook Messenger), Google+, Myspace, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Viber, VK, WeChat, Weibo, WhatsApp, and Wikia. These social media websites have more than 100,000,000 registered users.

    In America, a 2015 survey reported that 71 percent of teenagers have a Facebook account. Over 60% of 13 to 17-year-olds have at least one profile on social media, with many spending more than two hours a day on social networking sites. According to Nielsen, Internet users continue to spend more time on social media sites than on any other type of site. At the same time, the total time spent on social media sites in the U.S. across PCs as well as on mobile devices increased by 99 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012 compared to 66 billion minutes in July 2011. For content contributors, the benefits of participating in social media have gone beyond simply social sharing to building a reputation and bringing in career opportunities and monetary income.

    Observers have noted a range of positive and negative impacts of social media use. Social media can help to improve individuals’ sense of connectedness with real or online communities, and social media can be an effective communication (or marketing) tool for corporations, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, including advocacy groups and political parties and governments. At the same time, concerns have been raised about possible links between heavy social media use and depression, and even the issues of cyberbullying, online harassment and “trolling“. Currently, about half of young adults have been cyberbullied and of those, 20 percent said that they have been cyberbullied regularly.  Another survey was carried out among 7th grade students in America, which is known as the Precaution Process Adoption Model. According to this study, 69 percent of 7th grade students claim to have experienced cyberbullying and they also said that it is worse than face to face bullying. However both the bully and the victim are negatively affected, the intensity, duration, and frequency are the three aspects that increase the negative effects on both of them.

  • TED Talk: Life Lessons from an Ad Man

    Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group,  makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value — and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.

    Life Lessons from an Ad Man

  • 9 Trends That Will Define Marketing in 2018



    MarketingDive put together a great list of trends they believe will define marketing in 2018.  It will be interesting to see how their thoughts play out over the coming year.2018 Calendar

    1. Transparency opens a ‘can of worms’

    2. Quality content becomes king

    3. One-to-one marketing at scale edges closer

    4. Voice will be big but won’t boom quite yet

    5. Influencer marketing settles down — and shrinks

    6. Breaking down blockchain expectations

    7. A make or break year for ads.txt?

    8. Consolidation accelerates with infrastructure investments

    9. Marketers think globally and locally

    Click here to read MarketingDive’s full article.

  • 7 Tips for Mastering Instagram for Business


    Are you using Instagram to grow your business?


    If not, you may want to consider integrating it into your 2018 strategy.


    Instagram has over 700 million monthly active users. It’s a great platform to use your creativity and “show” vs. only tell your audience about your business.


    If you are unfamiliar or unsure if Instagram is right for your company, click here to read Sendible’s quick 7 minute Instagram tips and give us a call.

  • Working Remote: Our Perspective

    At NextLevel Thinking, we consider ourselves to be part of a virtual firm.  What exactly does that mean?  NLT does not have a brick and mortar store front, instead we operate from our homes or satellite offices.  With the technology available, we are able to conduct business from any location that has internet connectivity and cellular service.

    Working from Home

    We asked each account manager to weigh in on working remote and here are their thoughts:

    “Working remotely has been a game changer in terms of how I think about work. Before I started working remotely, I thought working from home would be isolating, and wondered how it would affect the social aspect of my job. After experiencing working remotely, I have come to find I can still actively maintain connections with my coworkers and clients through the use of various forms of technology, while also meeting in person when available.

    The flexibility provided by working remotely has allowed for greater freedom in my professional and personal life. I can schedule both work and personal appointments when it’s convenient for me, and can often bring my laptop with me to better utilize my time while I’m waiting to see a doctor, teacher, etc. I can attend networking events without creating conflict with my work commitments, and also get the added benefit of working with many talented and creative individuals across many industries from around the country. I also love that I don’t have to put my children in full time daycare, and can attend school events and functions without worrying about missing work.

    My productivity has increased, as I’m no longer bound to the distractions and interruptions of a traditional office environment, which I have found can be a great creator of unnecessary stress. It’s nice to be able to work in the relaxing space of my own home, or on a restaurant patio on a nice day and enjoy the beautiful weather. I’m not spending two or more hours a day commuting, and often use the time I would be in traffic plugging away at work. My creativity and quality of life has seen a boost, as I’m able to work from a coffee shop, library, or other public place and gain inspiration from getting out of my work comfort zone.

    Of course, working remotely is not without its challenges – I often work evenings, early mornings and holidays to accommodate my schedule – but I find that this is not a big trade off, and feel that working remotely benefits both myself, my clients and the great marketing strategy firm that I work for!”

    “Working remotely was not something that I ever thought I’d be doing, but all of that changed when my oldest daughter was born and I wanted more flexibility. While there are obviously huge benefits to working remotely for myself and my family, there are also great benefits that come to my work as well. I’m no longer limited to working with those are just in my building or in my city. It allows me to partner with the best folks no matter where they are located because you can do great work anywhere. There is also less time wasted. Sometimes when you work in an office, you are physically in the building but there are a lot of distractions in place that can take away your focus. Now, when it’s time for me to work, I put all my attention into work.”

    “After spending most of my career in an office cubicle, I love working remotely.  Who wouldn’t enjoy padding to their computer in bunny slippers to start their day?  While I could list one hundred reasons how my working remotely benefits my family, I’d rather focus on the client benefits.

    From a business perspective, my productivity has risen significantly in that I am no longer tied to a 9-5 day and I am able to avoid the distractions of being in an office.  I also avoid traffic and the lengthy commute many of my colleagues suffer through each day.  According to the US Census, the average American commute is 26 minutes.  Over the course of a year, that gives my clients access to an additional 220+ hours of availability that would be spent in a vehicle, not to mention the environmental benefits.  Recently I had the flu, but there was no need to call in sick.  My laptop simply went to bed with me and I was able to complete all the tasks on my client to do lists and get a jump on the next week.

    I believe the largest benefit to our clients is the talent of the team we have assembled.  We work with best in class individuals all over the world.  Take for instance a video producer, Steve, I have worked with on multiple projects.  He resides in South America and handles a good portion of our custom animation video needs.  We have never met in person, but often chat late at night online about project needs.  With today’s technology, it’s as if he is working in the next room not 4,000 miles away.  One of my favorite graphic designers moves often due to her husband’s profession.  Instead of spending time and resources searching for and training a new designer that can meet our needs, we have been able to retain her talent.

    From a personal perspective, working remotely has provided the opportunity to be “more present” in all aspects of my life which has led to a reduced stress level and more happiness.”

    Are you in favor of telecommuting?  Does your company support a hybrid approach of in office and work from home days?  We would love to hear your thoughts on LinkedIn.