Category: Integrated Marketing Communication Tips

Don’t let your HUE control your image: 5 great examples of mixing up color with great content.

Living in a world filled with color, it’s important to make your brand stand out.  Color has a way of changing our energy. The brighter the hue, the more energy we have.  The darker the hue, the more somber we become.

Associating color schemes with a product has a way of helping us determine our perception of the brand image. Marketers are tasked with figuring out what makes consumers get excited over a shade of lipstick, time spent in a freshly painted room, a new clothing line that’s runway ready, and many other competing brands looking to stand out.

Imagine breaking through a long journey of product development, go to production, land a deal with a major retailer, and ultimately your first sales hit your books. Days later a similar product line has a launch almost identical but the colors are all the rage. What’s next? Viciously fight for rack space? Or just improve on the next round?

In an Entrepreneur article titled,  The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding by Gregory Ciotti, he gives a comprehensive look at the role color plays in marketing. The ultimate goal is to determine the impact color has on customer engagement. The overall premise is that color is a feeling. Focusing on color should be more about what the product represents.

Mr. Ciotti says, It’s the feeling, mood, and image that your brand creates that play a role in persuasion. Be sure to recognize that colors only come into play when they can be used to match a brand’s desired personality (i.e., the use of white to communicate Apple’s love of clean, simple design).

The article speaks extensively to color perceptions. Great article but I personally believe we can get a bit too excited over color schemes and forget to mix it up with better content. 

Here are 5 great examples to consider when working your color scheme:

Check these out:

  1. Headspace Consumers recognize this health and meditation brand by the ORANGE dot but their following is based on awesome content.
  2. Blue Apron Consumers associate the BLUE apron with this super awesome recipe and ingredient service. According to Greg Fitzgerald, Blue Apron’s Director of Acquisition Marketing, the company spent its first few years explaining how the service worked. Now that it has more brand recognition, it’s turned to more in-depth storytelling.
  3. Sun Life Financial uses the brightness of the sun in their name and colors on the website. When talking about money it’s a great idea to connect to a bright future. This insurance giant knows how to turn content into a loyal following and find new followers.
  4. Red Bull You can’t deny RED Bull has the color red locked down for brand image. They successfully connected great content with a brand image that attracts athletes, busy professionals, college students, people taking long journeys, and anyone else ready to fly. Content is king in Red Bull’s story: The Story

My favorite:

  1. “Be Your Beautiful Self.”  Dove has an image of pure and clean. My heart melts whenever I see Dove’s advertisements and commercials . If brand was a human, I’d want to be Dove’s products merely because it represents clean and authentic storytelling told by women we see walking sidewalks every day. These women carry the rainbow in their heart.

I hold this quote from Dove’s website close to my heart:

Beauty is not defined by shape, size or color – it’s feeling like the best version of yourself. Authentic. Unique. Real. Which is why we’ve made sure our site reflects that. Every image you see here features women cast from real life. A real life version of beauty.

Go improve your content, color will follow!

Go to Caramel Lattes and Stilettos to read the pairing to this article!


3 Easy Ways to get the attention of consumers ignoring your ads on Social Media

Contrary to popular belief, lots of research has proven that consumers are ignoring ads on their social media pages.  In an article, When Brands Try Too Hard on Social Media Pages, (2015) by Forbes Contributor, Blake Morgan, she references a Forrester research that states, “Brands are using social media more than ever, and users are ignoring them more than ever.” Last year,  posts from brands created interactions with 4.2% of a brand’s followers. This year, that fell to 2.2%. On Pinterest, interactions fell from 0.1% to 0.04%. Consumers are developing what used to be called “banner blindness.” Social Media is the primary go to spot for brands to hangout on the borders of consumers’ screens. In 2017, interaction with these ads continue to drop. It’s time to engage instead of bombarding folks with ads.

Here are 3 alternative ways to find and engage consumers:

  1. Collaborate with coffee and tea houses; trendy restaurants, museums and popular entertainment venues.
  • Offer bundle deals for using a product or service.
  • Connect to an important cause.
  • Give real life experiences. Believe it or not, people like touchy/feely experiences. Don’t worry, they’ll share it.
  • The Art of Institute of Chicago just had huge success allowing people to experience the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition. They collaborated with Airbnb.

Check it out here: Chicago Art Institute and Airbnb

  1. Smart Phones
  • Don’t just text a bazillion coupons and deals. I always assume a better one will come the next day if I don’t click on my fresh coupon. Just saying!
  • Introduce super cool mobile Apps that interact with your product and/or service.
  1. Good old fashion billboards always warm my heart
  • Street marketing is by far the most organic way to reach an audience.
    • If you never seen a billboard advertisement, chances are you’ve never been in public or perhaps not born.
    • Yeah, people are obsessed with their gadgets. True!  But don’t snooze on some of the super dope and creative billboards hugging the expressway, on bus stops, on train platforms, and anywhere there’s public transportation and foot traffic.

Check out these awesome billboards: Creative Billboards Around the World

When consumers vanish from social media, do not be discouraged. People are still paying attention to what matters to them. Connecting is not exclusive to social media.  Connecting is a relationship joined by links established from many means of communication.


Now, go out there and be great!!!

Feel free to read my pairing of this article on Caramel Lattes and Stilettos Blog



Everybody loves MUSIC!  Right? – Here are 5 quick tips to get folks excited about your event

Share! Share!  Share!

Twitter – quick videos and messaging with awesome hashtags

Instagram – super shiny photos that speak without words

Facebook- If you’re alive, you know what to do


Google Images

Know your audience

Talk to your followers – find out more about them

Design your deliverables around where they are throughout the day

nonprofit photo

Give a sneak peek of what to expect

Post clips of previous events

Post artist interviews or just jiving around (make it fun and engaging!)

Google Images

Shout out the venue

Let your audience know more about the venue that will host the event

Give details about the accommodations


Open dialogue after your event

Invite supporters to share about their experience

Respond to all comments; positive and negative

Show you care by listening

See you at the next event!  Let’s have fun!!


Trending- Making memories with Snapchat and Facebook

Snapchat introduces memories. Users can show off their super cool memories with fun graphics.

Check out the following video on how it works:

Snapchat memories


Tip:  Snapchat memories is an opportunity for marketers to share memories and cross promote brand stories.


Facebook users are going live. When I sign into my Facebook account my friends and family are posting their adventures on vacation, at weddings and all things entertaining as it go down. These live videos are super fun and in real-time. When your watching a live video, you have the option to click or tap subscribe to get notified when that person starts another live broadcast.

Check out how this super cool way to take your friends, family and followers on your journey works:

Facebook live


Tip:  Facebook live is an opportunity for marketers to increase social mentions by connecting live with fans, followers, and friends in real-time to show what’s going on with products and services.


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Lights, Camera, Action- 3 tips to bring out the magic in your next film campaign

Going to the movies is fun. Escaping to the movie theater has always been one of my favorite things to do. In my opinion, life would be boring without witnessing the work of producers, directors, writers, actors, and actresses.

In a March 2007 Ted Talk, J.J. Abrams; a well-known producer and writer, spoke about what inspires him when writing and producing. He says, “There’s an amazing sense of opportunity out there. And when I think of the filmmakers who exist out there now who would have been silenced, you know—who have been silenced in the past—it’s very exciting thing.”

In his talk, J.J. Abrams premise is based on a mystery magic box. He bought the box from a magic store decades ago and never opened it.  The box cost $15 with $50 worth of magic in it.

The magic box represents Mr. Abram beloved grandfather, infinite possibility, hope, and potential. Mystery, as it relates to fiction, is a genre involving something mysterious such as death or a crime to be solved. Each character plays a credible role in making the story move along and keeps the audience engaged. J.J. Abrams says that mystery is more important than knowledge and that it’s a catalyst for imagination. He goes on to say that, “I realize that [that] blank page is a magic box, you know? It needs to be filled with something fantastic.” Overall, he’s suggesting that stories are mystery boxes.

J.J. Abrams is the best at mastering excitement around his work. He has an excellent way of reinforcing brand loyalty by giving followers teasers by revealing the names of characters and presenting teaser trailers. Mr. Abrams is revealing some of the mystery to get a reaction and get people engaging. The trailer for Star Wars broke a record number of 88 million views within 24 hours.

I wholeheartedly believe there’s magic in every story regardless of the genre. As quoted above, there’s always a sense of opportunity. Having the talent to tell a story on a grander scale is attainable provided that there’s some magic in characters and words. Character building is an art form in writers, rather on a larger or smaller scale. What makes the difference is having the ability to carry the story forward in a way that makes the audience excited and want more.

Watch the J.J. Abrams’ Ted Talk here: 

J.J. Abrams Ted Talk

Drawing inspiration from J.J. Abrams, I’d like to offer the following 3 marketing tips:

  1. Create an immersive experience by combining social media with storytelling.
  2. Create audience participation by giving them a say in storyline outcomes.
  3. Give selective releases of information about the characters and story.


[Source: The Art of Immersion:  How the digital generation is remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the way we tell stories, Chapter 7, The Hive and the Mystery Box, Frank Rose]


Kinky Curly- 4 tips to appeal to Kinky Curly girls in a heavily saturated market

Growing up kinky curly made me who I am today. I’m ok with being different. I’m never at a loss for words. I’m accepting of my unique features. My appearance directs my personal goals, a deeper sense of nature, and self-love.

Hot combs, relaxers, lye, dye, and hair grease were kinky curly girls’ product angels. At times, my curls refused to conform to the madness. They just wanted to be left alone.  If my curls had feelings, they would mourn the times of being robbed of resting comfortably and free from harm.

Kinky curls left stranded and free to twirl, curl, and shrink to half the length makes life unassuming and easy. My kinky curls naturally adjust to the climate. My curls let me know when it’s time to add moisture on those cold and dry days. When it’s steamy and hot, my curls sparkle and shine under the sun.

After years of straightening with heat and chemicals, my curls were finally at wits end with product assaults. My kinky curls succumbed to years of torture. My scalp scarred and refused to repair itself. My wallet became so intertwined with products, my hair essentially destroyed my budget.

My condo was decorated with baskets and bins full of hair products from corner to corner. I eventually lost track of my spending. I tried everything to make my curls better. I wanted to stretch my curls.  I wanted my curls to bounce and fly in the wind. I wanted to have the option to straighten my curls on special occasions. I was so lost in being everything my curls weren’t meant to be, I sort of lost my identity.

The last time I went to the beauty supply store, I stood in an aisle of products specifically designed for kinky curly girls. I became overwhelmed with emotions. I stormed out and then went to the nearest barber shop. Men turned, stared and waited for a young boy to appear. Unless, I birth a son at that moment, it was impossible.  I sat in the first willing barber’s chair and said shave it off.

I started repeating the mantra, I am not my hair on a daily basis. I read endless articles about women with Alopecia. I tried to find some common themes within conversations about damaged scalps. I researched natural ways to heal and bring life back to my scalp. As time went by, I started to love my peach fuzz on my scalp. I’m ok now. Beauty shines from head to toe.

Here are two word clouds from popular kinky curly twitter handles.  Check it out:

FullSizeRender (2)

FullSizeRender (1)

Based on common words, marketers should know 4 simple steps to market to kinky curly girls.

Here they are:

  1. Find communities of curly girls having conversations on social media.
  2. Design campaigns around giveaways and contests.
  3. Listen and share stories about product experiences.
  4. Promote and front load content with love and appreciation for natural beauty.


Making Nonprofits Shine: Infusing great stories in your next social media campaign

Having a persistent and strong desire to bring awareness to your favorite charity is a great feeling. Telling friends to show up for events to support clothing and food drives, collecting donations for a run/walk to provide much-needed funds for research, and volunteering hours to fight for what matters most in communities brings positive outcomes to nonprofit organizations. After events, what’s next?

I recently started studying what makes some charities shine and others fail to perform. In today’s super chatty social media space, it seems impossible to not reach goals when creating campaigns for charitable causes. Challenging the next best charity event to perform at optimum speed has become more of a “wait” and “see” game.

If the right people with that “it” factor spread the word, your campaign will last a little longer. But don’t get too excited.  Even the super cool and popular people can lose traction getting the word out about important events to raise awareness. The answer to what’s next is to tell impactful stories about your charity. Building strong brand stories around your charity purpose will not only build trust but also gain access to a diverse audience of supporters.

Leaning solely on “shouting out” and sharing announcements about events on social media doesn’t work when campaign strategies are not designed to reach the right audience. What works effectively is creating and tailoring brand stories and moving images dedicated to stirring emotions and tailoring authentic messages. Most importantly, reaching out for support should connect what matters to potential donors and others willing to get involved.

I found a phenomenal story in a McKinsey Quarterly article titled, The Power of Storytelling: What nonprofits can teach the private sector about social media

The article references a case study from the Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith: The Dragonfly

The excerpt discusses the great work of Scott Harrison. Mr. Harrison was a successful fashion promoter that excelled at bringing models and hedge-funds kings together, and selling $500 bottles of Vodka. Mr. Harrison sported nice jewelry, clothes, cars; everything young men dream of. After years of having everything, Mr. Harrison’s passion for the rich life fizzled. He wanted to make a difference. He walked away from everything to start a nonprofit to bring awareness to diseases and medical problems related to inadequate access to clean water.

Watch and listen to Scott Harrison’s amazing story here: Charity Water

Harrison’s organization gained incredible success because of the following design principles of engagement:

“Tell a story”

  • Viewers fell in love with his cause because he evoked themes of “redemption,” “change,” and “hope” by discussing why and how he started his charity in media interviews and YouTube videos.

“Empathize with your audience”

  •  Harrison promoted compelling stories.

 “Emphasize Authenticity”

  •  Commitment to transparency by sharing results of donor’s generosity.

 “Match the media with the message”

  • Create distinctive messages for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media websites.

Here’s the Dragonfly Effect model:


Because Harrison’s story and the Dragonfly’s Effect are super awesome examples of making nonprofits shine, I will end with one of my favorite quotes:

“It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.” Dalai Lama

Donate to Charity Water


The Power of Politics in Social Media

My streaming tears felt as though they would never end. For a moment, I felt my parents presence and thought to myself they are dancing in the sky. Standing in Grant Park, my sister and I couldn’t believe what we were witnessing.

On November 5, 2008, Grant Park felt as though it was frozen in time. For a few seconds, there was dead silence across Chicago’s downtown. Then it happened in an instant; the big mega screen read “Obama Wins.”

Under the deep blue starry sky, embracing strangers were calling friends and loved ones, and taking to social media to express excitement and to confirm it’s real. People were yelling, Oh My God, Is this true! Frantically jumping, praising in different languages and faith, people snapped pictures and shared on social media.

When President Obama came out with his family, it felt as though I knew them personally. No doubt, they felt the same. The crowd felt warm, accepting and ready to embrace the unthinkable. People of all ages, races, national origin and economical backgrounds seem to forget for that moment, we are different. What was evident was that we were all equally ready for change.

Travelling the country, running in local food joints, standing in front of crowds of admirers, Candidate Obama talked of being a skinny kid with a funny name. He dreamed of one day making a difference. To this day, he talks of living in a time of extraordinary change.

Not only did the country experience social change, what it means to be a politician catapulted into a prime time event across multiple channels. The best thing that happened to the campaign was the “Right Button” to click.

Yes. Candidate Obama’s entire support system revolved around that button. The goal was to reach as many supporters and every dollar possible out their pockets to support an unimaginable political experience. The “Red Button” was much greater than any face-to-face conversation in political history.

From the moment then Senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy; I knew it was history in the making; win or lose. I voted. It was just the routine to honor the work of my parents and their generation to give us the right to vote and voice our opinion.

Tasking themselves to find the right messages and images, Mr. Obama’s staff found the perfect match to go with the red button. An image of Barack Obama’s family and a red “Learn More” button improved the campaign’s signup rate by 40.6%. The sign ups translated to 2.8 million more email subscribers, 288,000 more volunteers, and $57 million in donations. [Source: A/B Testing: The Most Powerful Way to Turn Clicks Into Customers]

Eight years later we are watching and waiting for the next rising star to take social media by storm. As President Barack Obama makes his exit from the White House, I can’t help but think about the power of a click and share. I’m predicting future generations will be voting 100% remotely and even more data to use when making choices.

Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety- 3 tips to raise awareness

health care pictureOn September 3-4, 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board attended a workshop in Washington, DC to discuss the impact marketing and communications have on consumer knowledge, skills, and behavior as it relates to food, nutrition, and healthy eating. The goal of the workshop was to address the current state of science and how to use this information to communicate health literacy, consumer knowledge and behaviors with respect to food safety, nutrition, and other health issues, explore scientific information and communicating using credible sources, and how food literacy can be strengthened by using consumer-centric strategies. The overall take home message in the workshop brief was as stated by Cynthia Baur. She said, “I think every single presentation has focused on the fact that you have to start where people are with the lived reality of their lives and then build whatever it is you want to do from there.” 

In today’s fast-paced social and digital environment, messages are thrown in the faces of consumers from every angle.  Celebrities endorse diet plans and products. Products are being marketed with claims that are positioned to appeal to targeted audiences. Friends and families are sharing testimonials and product experiences on their social websites. Marketers and advertisers are designing campaigns and brand stories around analytical and tracking tools. What’s critical in all the chaos, is finding the right balance of integration.  According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), titled, “Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012,” the research conclusion stated, that, “Overall, there have been no significant changes in obesity prevalence in youth or adults between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012. Obesity prevalence remains high and thus it is important to continue surveillance.”

I found the food literacy workshop brief incredibly insightful because it poses an important question. How do healthcare quality and patient safety experts communicate scientific information about health concerns to diverse audiences in a crowded Internet space? The short answer is, it depends. Obesity spans across race, social and economic backgrounds.

After reading the food literacy brief and researching obesity, I would like to offer the following three actions to merge healthcare quality and patient safety with integrated marketing communications:

  1. Send test messages to targeted audiences- A/B Testing
  2.  Listen and engage on social and digital media– Storytelling campaigns
  3.  Use Integrated Marketing Communication strategies- build relationships with patients across many channels to increase awareness of specific health concerns.



National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Food Literacy: How Do Communications and Marketing Impact Consumer Knowledge, Skills, and Behavior?: Workshop in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2015. doi:10.17226/21863