There is Only One You

In today’s world, with the inundation of content and information as consumers, we have stopped paying attention to the ads that scroll by on a social media feed or follow us around as we visit websites. Brands have a difficult challenge of grabbing their audiences’ attention and retaining it for longer than a millisecond. In this fast-paced landscape, where rational decisions take a backseat to emotions, crafting a relatable and distinctive brand personality becomes crucial in cutting through the noise and resonating.


It is a well-known and hard truth that consumer decisions are rarely, if ever, purely rational. Emotions steer our purchasing decisions and the way in which individuals perceive and emotionally connect with a brand influences their purchasing behaviors. Beyond the transactional aspect of commerce, a brand holds the potential to embody certain feelings and values, serving as a conduit for emotional resonance.


At the heart of this endeavor is the creation of a brand personality that is not only relatable but also distinctive. The brand personality acts as a catalyst, eliciting the desired emotions within the audience. It is the instrument through which perceptions are molded, and behaviors are influenced. In essence, it is the narrative thread that weaves the brand into the fabric of consumers’ lives, rendering it more than just a product or service but a key aspect of their identity.


From a strategic perspective, a well-defined brand personality functions as a pillar for content creators. It provides a clear roadmap, delineating the brand’s voice, style, and messaging objectives. This guidance streamlines content creation, ensuring that every piece consistently echoes the brand’s essence, reinforcing the emotional connection with the audience.


Disney, is relentless in delivering a consistent personality.  It’s brand personality is rooted in enchantment, storytelling, and nostalgia. This isn’t a mere marketing façade but a profound strategy. It is the very essence through which Disney captures the hearts and minds of its guests, building a loyalty that transcends generations.


However, it is important to recognize that crafting a brand personality is not a sprint but a long-term investment. Success hinges upon thorough research and an understanding of the target audience. When executed properly, it should be a pillar of the strategy for sustained brand growth, allowing the business an opportunity to adapt and evolve while preserving it’s core identity.


In the milieu of digital media, a brand strategy that includes a well crafted personality as one of it’s pillars will provide a roadmap for content creators ensuring emotional connections are made with the target audience.

a shining diamond in the rough

Why develop a Brand Voice?

At A8ency and Modern8, we perceive brand voice as the amplifier of your brand’s identity. In the dynamic landscape of content creation, your brand’s voice is an indispensable element that distinguishes you from the competition. Despite its significance, the brand voice often remains overshadowed in the strategic considerations of branding and marketing.

So why should brands spend the time, money, and resources to create one?


The Overlooked Essence of Brand Voice

While visual aesthetics play a vital role in branding, the brand voice is the subtle force that gives life to your identity. Developing and consistently employing a well-defined brand voice ensures that your messaging resonates deeply with your audience, establishing trust and fostering a lasting bond.


Elevating Perspective and Connection

A brand voice serves as a lens through which your brand’s personality is projected. It adds layers of depth to your marketing content, allowing it to shine and leave a lasting imprint. Every interaction with your audience should create resonance, memorability, and emotion which ultimately will drive the performance of the brand.


The Unseen Goal: Relatability and Memorability

Beyond captivating visuals, your brand’s voice is a conduit for cultivating relatability and memorability. By infusing your voice with distinct qualities, you create a relatable narrative that goes beyond the visual appeal. The ultimate objective is to make your brand a part of your audience’s story.


Brand Advocacy Through Voice Connection

When your audience connects authentically with your brand’s voice, they become ambassadors.  They proudly sport your logo, echo your taglines, and organically market your offerings and grow your audience. 


Internal Cohesion and Streamlined Communication

Beyond its external impact, a meticulously defined brand voice serves as a valuable internal compass. It streamlines content creation and guarantees consistency in every communication—be it within your organization or directed towards external stakeholders. It fosters a sense of unity that transcends boundaries.


A Symbiotic Fusion of Voice and Product

In the words of Lisa Gansky, “A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.” Your brand’s voice infuses meaning into your product offerings, transforming them into cherished souvenirs of your identity. When the voice resonates, your product becomes an embodiment of your brand’s essence.


In a world inundated with information, a well-crafted brand voice serves as your beacon— drawing your audience toward your unique identity. By strategically weaving your voice through every piece of content and communication, you create an indelible mark that lingers in the minds and hearts of those you seek to engage. Use the power of brand voice as a transformative tool that elevates your visuals, fosters connection, and resonates with the essence of who you are and your audience.

Let your brand voice speak its mind

Crafting a Memorable Brand Look and Feel

Crafting a strong brand encompasses a memorable look and feel powered by thoughtful design and aesthetics, but what does this look like in reality? Here’s a closer look at the  “how” behind creating a brand that drives credibility and professionalism while building an emotional connection that resonates with your audience.


Understanding the Essence

The first and most important step in creating a compelling brand design starts with understanding your brand’s essence. Define who you are, what you stand for, and the emotions you wish to evoke in your audience. This foundation will serve as the emotional strategy, the heart, of your design decisions, ensuring that every visual element aligns harmoniously with your brand’s core identity.


Know Your Audience

A pivotal aspect of successful branding lies in creating a genuine connection with your audience. Dive deep into understanding your audience’s preferences, aesthetic inclinations, habits, and aspirations. This knowledge empowers you to curate a design that resonates with them, capturing their attention and cultivating a strong engagement.


Creating the Visual Language

When it comes to brand design, the elements you choose should support your foundation and help convey emotion to your audience.  Colors, typography, and imagery need to appeal to your audience, and their preferences, and most importantly resonate and be memorable to them. 



Beyond the logo, consistency in your brand elements helps make identifying you easy. It’s not just about a recognizable logo; it’s about a seamless visual experience across all touchpoints. Ensure that your color palette, typography, and design elements are consistent, reinforcing your brand’s identity and making it instantly recognizable.


Iteration and Refinement

Brand design is a dynamic and ever-evolving process. Regular evaluation is crucial to determine how your design supports your brand’s current and future goals. By iterating and refining your design choices, you ensure that your brand stays relevant, resonating with your audience as it grows and adapts.


Visual Storytelling

In brand design, imagery is an important storytelling tool. It has the capability to tap into the emotions of your audience, creating an unperceived connection. Use visuals that align with your brand’s narrative, enabling your audience to resonate with who you are and the story you are telling. Use it.


Gathering and Implementing Feedback

Though sometimes uncomfortable, seeking feedback from your audience is an enlightening step. These insights provide valuable guidance on whether your design aligns with your audience’s expectations and whether adjustments are needed. Feedback should serve as a litmus test, ensuring your brand design supports your aspirations and future goals. 

Crafting a brand design that truly captivates requires a blend of strategic and emotional thinking and creativity.  By understanding your brand’s essence, connecting with your audience, and creating and using consistent design elements, you can create a visual identity that shapes and transforms your brand for tomorrow ensuring future thriveability.

With Some Feeling Now Geometric 3 color illustration of a dart board and a heart at the center

That Design Feeling

How Brand Design Builds Credibility and Emotional Connections with Your Audience


In today’s competitive business, good design and a good brand is just good business. “While design was once largely thought of as a way of making products more attractive, it is now a way of thinking: a creative process driven by the desire to better understand and meet consumer needs,” says McKinsey and Company in a late 2018 study. At the heart of a strong brand lies a carefully crafted look and feel, powered by thoughtful design and aesthetics. Brand design plays a vital role in influencing the credibility and professionalism of a company through the emotional connections it creates with its audience.

A strong brand is more than just a name and a logo. 

A strong brand is an experience. The look and feel of a brand beyond its identity are what make it stand out in the sea of competitors. When your audience can easily find you, remember you, and feel a connection with your brand, they are more likely to become loyal customers. Design is the tool that enables you to create a visual identity that resonates with your target audience, leaving a lasting mark in their minds.


Consumers buy on emotion and justify with logic. 

Human decision-making is driven by emotions, and brand design has a profound impact on how people feel about a brand. When customers feel an emotional connection with your brand, they are more likely to choose your products or services. Emotions are largely controlled by design and aesthetics, making it essential to invest in creating a visual language that speaks to your audience’s feelings and desires.


Brand design conveys professionalism and credibility. 

You only have a few seconds to make an emotional connection and impression, and your marketing content is often the initial point of contact with potential customers. A well-designed brand and marketing materials convey professionalism, competence, and attention to detail. When you invest in design, your audience is more likely to associate el of quality with what you offer, building trust and credibility in your brand.

In the digital age, attention spans are shorter than ever. 

You have only a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention before they move on. Design is often the first thing people see, even if they don’t consciously realize it. It’s the visual hook that pulls them in and compels them to explore further. With well-crafted and intentional design, you will connect and maintain your audience long enough to share your message about why they should choose your product or service and not your competitors.

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful brand. 

Good design can enhance the experience of your audience and make your messages more accessible and engaging. Clear and well-structured design elements help convey complex information more effectively, creating a seamless and enjoyable user experience.


Design as a Visual Language. 

Renowned designer Saul Bass once said, “Design is thinking made visual.”

Visual elements are the entry point to how we respond to the world around us. Whether it’s a logo, a website, or a social media post, design is the language that communicates your brand’s story and values to your audience.


Investing in design is not just about aesthetics; it’s about building credibility, making emotional connections, and leaving a lasting impression on your audience. A well-designed brand and marketing content create a compelling experience that captivates your audience, fosters trust, and sets you apart in a competitive market. Let your design be the visual storyteller that speaks on behalf of your brand and sparks a meaningful relationship with your customers.

How to Create a Newsletter Strategy

In our last post, we discussed our opinions on why newsletters are low hanging marketing fruit, but how do you utilize this platform as part of a successful strategy? There are many benefits to sending newsletters including strengthening your customer relationships, creating brand loyalty, and boosting sales, but how to you create a newsletter that someone will want to open? 

Identify your Goals

The first and most important part of your newsletter strategy will be to identify your purpose and goals. 

To establish the purpose of your newsletter strategy, you may want to consider what you are hoping to gain from this form of communication with your audience. Are you hoping to build a community around your brand, or drive traffic to your website? Your purpose should provide a framework and filter for every newsletter campaign you create. 

You may have several different campaigns you want to run, and each one may have a different goal or objective. Each goal should lean into your purpose, and always indirectly aim to boost sales. But to build long term loyalty and revenue, not every newsletter should have the goal of a direct sale.

Make it Visually Appealing and Consistent 

We may be biased, but design, layout, typography, and your artwork are all important whether you realize it or not. We make quick decisions based on how something makes us feel and that is largely determined by how it looks.

Find a newsletter template (or better yet, create one) that has opportunity for imagery, a clear format for content, and has a professional look and feel. Your newsletter should be an extension of your brand so keeping the design consistent with your website and marketing assets is critical. 

Create a Hook

A subject line can make a big difference if your user decides to open your newsletter or not. Keeping the goal of your newsletter in mind, create a subject line that encourages and teases your reader to want to know more.

Your subject line should be short, and catchy, and most importantly be in your brand voice

And if you’re stuck, try A/B testing to see which subject lines get the highest responses.

Provide your Readers Value

Once you have identified your newsletter’s goal, created a visually appealing template, and written a catchy subject line, the meat of your content must be created with thoughtfulness and intention.

The content going out to your readers must be useful and relevant to your audience, and MUST provide value. Your user’s inboxes are flooded with all kinds of emails and it is up to you to create content that is compelling enough for them to open and read.

Knowing your audience and what their needs and interests are beyond just of your product and service will help to build community and loyalty around your brand. 

Keep them Coming

Regular communication with  your audience whether it be weekly, monthly, or quarterly is important to keep you top of mind when the need arises.

Your product may have long gaps in between customer purchases, or you may provide a service that may only arise for someone under unique circumstances, but with frequent reminders of the value  you offer, you may have the opportunity to build a long and trusted relationship.  

By creating a newsletter strategy and fulfilling on it regularly, you will have the opportunity to communicate directly to your audience with content that is useful, compelling, and memorable, and provide you a ROI.

Newsletter topics: Company news & updates, thought leadership, upcoming product or service teases, team spotlights, industry updates, customer success stories

Why A Newsletter Strategy is Important

From prospecting to purchase, modern technology has provided us so many opportunities to access and connect with our customers throughout the sales funnel process. Marketing, is an essential piece of the process, but often, those endeavors can be costly, with ROI’s that are not always easily measurable.

Newsletters are a simple and cost effective solution to raise interest in your brand and deliver timely marketing messages to your audience. Dollar for dollar, few marketing tactics deliver more value than newsletters. While they shouldn’t be the only piece to the strategy, they are a low hanging fruit of the mix.

So what are the advantages of newsletters beyond being cost effective?

Strengthening the Connection
Your subscribers have already shown interest in your product or service at least once, so staying in touch with them by delivering regular and useful content to their inbox will continually keep you at the top of their minds when the need (or want) arises. 

Providing Value
Most potential customers don’t want a hard sell. Hard sales are focused on the product or service, and not the customer. There will be times when this tactic is appropriate—more on that later, but this approach does not provide the opportunity for a relationship to be built on trust. Providing engaging and valuable content is the best way to connect on what the customer is actually looking. It will also keep the competition at bay, because you understand them on a deeper level. You know what your customer’s preferences and interests are, so you can address these topics without overtly asking for a sale or contribution. Again, building on that trust.

Customer Insights
Many newsletter platforms also provide an eyeful of useful information to any newsletter sender. By regularly monitoring campaign clicks, and conversion, you will gain insight on your customers’ preferences and motivations, and have the information for future marketing and business strategies.

Removing Pain Points

Relate to and take the pain away by speaking to legitimate industry pain points. Come from a place of empathy and understanding, and don’t be afraid to take a stance. Your audience wants to align with your brand because you see the world in a similar way, so talk about issues that they are facing. And to make it come full circle, you should be sure to mention and connect how your product or service’s capabilities help resolve said issues.

Upcoming Events

And lastly, to occasionally tease your customers about an upcoming release or sale will result in an immediate sale if you have done a sufficient job at consistently resonating and connecting with your audience. After all, you are a business and selling matters. But remember if you have promotions and sales regularly, your audience may never purchase at full price, and your brand may never gain long term value.

Now might be a good time to look at your current marketing strategy and determine if a newsletter tactic might be the low hanging fruit you should act on. 

Redesigning a Website

We often get asked, “how often should I redesign my website?”, and we always respond with, “as often as you can”. We are realists, and we know how hard it is do do your own work. Sometimes we have gone 3-5 years in between sites, and others only 1-2 years. Our new website fell into the latter—with a new world post pandemic, we felt like it was the right time to renew and re-evaluate to face for the future. 

We approached our own re-design just as we would a new or even existing client beginning with research and discovery. Our first step was conducting a website evaluation on our existing site—a deep dive into our content, our code and analytics to see what’s working and what needs improvement. Next, we spent time understanding who we are—where we have been over the last twenty years, and who we want to be for the future. We brainstormed, took ourselves through our own personality and positioning workshop, and WROTE, and WROTE, and WROTE. These exercises all helped us solidify our point of view, our why, and our everything clearly and with focus.

We then identified our target audience and spent quite a bit of time researching their pain points and motivations for hiring a creative agency. We also took a good look at our competitors to ensure the way we were positioning and talking about ourselves was differentiated and unique. We did ALL of this before we started the design. Because the strategy is what does informs everything—visuals, user experience, typography, colors, messaging, writing, and even the work we showcase in our portfolio.

While there will always be new website trends to keep up with, the biggest benefits to a revamp are the opportunities to get crystal clear on future goals, and align them with how you want to communicate and visually represent yourself the world and your target audience. Our modern8 goals are to let you know that we are forward thinking and that we have a process we’ve been using for over twenty years to grow brands.

We’ve got a lot of strategic and beautiful work to show for it, and because we know who we are, we are comfortable and confident we can help you too.  

It’s a Site for Sore Eyes

A face for the future

We’ve revamped our website and clarified things. Just as we believe it is important for our clients to renew their website and reevaluate who they are, we believe it for ourselves. We wanted to rebuild and re-examine how we are communicating and representing ourselves visually to the world.

Loud and clear

Hear—well, read—all about us. We’ve crystallized our point of view, our why, our everything clearly. We want you to know we’re forward thinking, and we want you to discover our process, our goals for you and our work, and more. We’re comfortable with you knowing all about who we are without even meeting us—although, we’d very much like to.

Run, don't walk

See the website for yourself and discover what could be. We’ve been here for over 20 years, so we know a little something about thriving and designing for the future.


CRO and Messaging: Science Meets Art

In recent years the topic of CRO, or conversion rate optimization, has grown in popularity and become a pillar for many businesses serious about their online marketing effectiveness and strategy. While the importance of composing proper website messaging with an authentic brand voice has been embraced since the beginning of the digital age, focus on optimizing a website through CRO is a newer addition to the mix. 


Both CRO and messaging have their own unique value on a website. In this case, both elements complement each other, while proving a long accepted dynamic within successful marketing – that being the delicate symbiotic balance between the art and the science.


Think of messaging, or the copy on your website as the art. The words utilized must flow and have a creative spark to them that compliments any imagery displayed, while also telling a compelling story that should always be clear and concise. If crafted properly, the message should resonate with website visitors and prepare them for the next steps of the customer journey. 


It’s been said that website messaging should educate customers or clients of two imperative ‘why’s’. The first being “why you”, meaning why should they choose your product or service over that of the competitions. The second why, “why now” should persuasively outline why taking action immediately would be to their favor. 


By taking a careful, artistic approach to your website’s messaging, the end result can be a masterpiece in its own right. 


Shifting focus back to CRO, or the yin to the yang of messaging, we shall give the spotlight to the science in this equation. Conversion rate optimization, if established and maintained correctly, will use well crafted messaging as a springboard for increasing desired actions on the website. It will enable visitors to morph into interested followers, purchasers, and repeat buyers. 


By maximizing conversions while minimizing potential drop-off points along the customer journey, CRO can essentially transform the digital assets we call websites into powerful tools that create demand and can generate consistent revenue. 


Depending on what you read, the average conversion rate on a website is anywhere between 1% and 4% – which leaves plenty of room for improvement. But to capture any meaningful progress, there must be a clear understanding of how visitors interact with the website they visit. By providing visitors with more features that they enjoy utilizing, and offering the types of content that best capture their attention, a better experience can be shaped, and greater brand trust and loyalty can follow. 


By regularly reviewing data points like bounce rates, exit pages, cost per conversion, and other key metrics, CRO effectiveness can also be increased. Additionally, researching the competition may provide insights as to how other brands are capturing the interests, engagement, and purchases of potential customers and clients. 


Regardless of the balance between the art of messaging on your website and the science of proper CRO, one notion should always be embraced: a website should constantly be evolving. 

It’s likely time to inspect your website with a fresh set of eyes. Dream big, but focus on fundamentals, and always, always, keep updating for increased effectiveness with right brained artistry balanced with left brained computation.

The 4 Pillars of a Successful Website

Regardless of a business’s industry, online presence has a massive impact on its success. At the forefront of that presence should be a website that is memorable, easy to navigate, and a place that can generate leads and revenue. In our present day, the world has become a smaller place. Information is easily available and at our fingertips, and it impacts the way we receive and share information and live a quality life. Still, some businesses still don’t fully understand the importance of having a website that is modern and effective. Afterall, many customers will visit a website, sometimes dozens of times, before making purchases. 


When creating a website there are numerous key factors that will contribute to how it is perceived. At each step of the way, an effective website must capture the trust of the potential customer. The website must pass the eyeball test at each level to unlock the desired results that prove its effectiveness.


The fact is, effective websites don’t just happen. To attract and retain traffic, a website’s content, design and experience must all consistently, and simultaneously, be on point. 


Sadly, we’ve all experienced websites that leave much to be desired. 


Websites that don’t communicate a clear purpose, leaving visitors confused.


Websites that don’t have a simple, sequential user experience, but lackluster interfaces which lead to more confusion and skyrocketing bounce rates.


Or, perhaps the worst of the bunch, outdated websites that feel like they were designed and launched in preparation for Y2K.


At a8ency, we believe effective websites share 4 critical criteria: 


  1. Is it Clean? Is your website’s design aesthetically pleasing and inviting, or is lack of organization on parade? If you aren’t using contemporary designs and layouts, people may think you’re behind the times—and not worth their time or money. If it doesn’t look the part, it simply won’t perform the part.
  2. Is it Simple? Aim for less fluff and more simplicity. Whether we realize it or not, as humans we all crave a simple experience. It’s not just about the words you use. It’s not just the images. It’s how they are presented, and often how easy it is for people to find them. If your website experience wouldn’t be described as simple, it’s time to revisit the experience. 
  3. Is it Educational? Does your website communicate who you are, what you do, and what the next logical step is? Everything published should be keyword rich, while being timely, accurate, and ordered in ways that align with customer needs. Does it also inform visitors of your products or services with elevator pitch brevity?
  4. Is it Compelling? Does the site invite engagement and conversions for the business? Does it generate leads for the business? If your business needs sales to thrive as most do, your website must be compelling and be ready to capture transactions.