How We Make Remote Work Work

We’ve been working in a fully remote or hybrid remote environment here at Good & Gold since day one (#humblebrag), so we’ve learned a thing or two over the years. First, the truth is that “working from home” looks different for everyone, so not all these tips and tricks will work for every team or every worker. But we’ve embraced a few key best practices that we think can make a difference for any business that is planning to make remote work work for the long-haul.

Organize Your Slack Workspace

A chat platform is a no-brainer for remote work. But if your Slack workspace is a loosely organized free-for-all of chatter, then it’s more of a liability than a benefit. To help control the unnecessary noise and distractions, we recommend keeping the following in mind:

Segment your channels. You might benefit from more channels than you think! Rather than one “general” channel, segment by department or project or whatever makes sense for your company. This also makes it easier to go back and find previous conversations and helps reduce unnecessary noise.

Set a status. Most chat platforms allow you to set a status to notify others if you’re available or away from your computer. It’s easy to tell at a glance if someone is available or at lunch or out sick.

Embrace the fun! In the absence of water cooler hangs and coffee chats, Slack can also be a great place for non-work related banter and building camaraderie. We have a variety of “fun” channels, which team members can easily mute if they are too distracting. A few of our favorites we think you should try: 

  1. Now Listening: share the latest album from your fave artist or that one deep house song that’s really helping you get through the work day.
  2. Now Reading: gush about the latest book you loved or an article you think everyone should read.
  3. Show Me Your Pets: a heavy favorite where the G&G team posts gratuitous, adorable photos of their dogs, cats, and even a plant or two.

Check your integrations. In this day and age, most platforms integrate with other platforms pretty seamlessly. In our case for example, we integrate Slack with our project management software, Asana, to get real-time notifications when tasks are completed or team members need help.

Be clear about what it’s for—and what it’s not for. Having clear guidelines around how communication channels should be used is key. It’s easier said than done! For example, you might decide that urgent issues should be resolved on Slack because they get too easily lost. Instead you might decide that any urgent issues that need to be addressed immediately should be communicated via email, or on a video call. Set up guidelines that work best for your company, just make sure those expectations are clear.

Create Workflow Conventions

In a similar vein to your chat platform, a trusty project management system is a must for remote work, but consistent guidelines are essential. To make sure your chosen platform operates like the well-honed tool it should be, create a set of conventions or guidelines for how your company uses your project management software that anyone on your team can reference. 

Here at G&G, we live and die by Asana, and our “Asana Conventions” include everything from a detailed breakdown of task settings, how to use custom fields, expectations around due dates and timelines, and much more. We then make sure team members can ask questions or provide feedback if any of our conventions aren’t working so we can stay flexible. These conventions also serve as a great training tool for onboarding new employees!

Use Briefs!

Having a templated system for submitting requests and creative briefs can be a giant time-saver in a remote workplace. We leverage Asana’s forms feature for everything from creative briefs for paid media campaigns to website bug reports to detailed analytics requests. 

Providing team members with a pre-made form makes it easy for them to request what they need while ensuring that project managers gather the information they need to keep the work moving forward. If you have an automated way to do this (via a project management software or something similar), all the better. But even if you can’t automate it, having easy-to-use templates and a clear system for submissions is a great place to start.

Define an Approach to Solving Problems

The systems above are great when your team has a clear idea of what needs to happen. But what if you don’t? What if a question, request, or idea requires more ideation and out-of-the-box thinking? For those situations, we created a standard framework for problem-solving that helps get us started on the right path. We call this “Solution Architecture,” and it can be used for solving all kinds of problems—essentially, it ensures that we have a clear, shared understanding goals, and that the right people are designing the right solutions for the right problems. 

This could look a variety of different ways depending on your team and business, but our approach pulls from three existing frameworks:

  • Objectives & Key Results (OKRs): A goal-setting framework used by Google (and others) that's designed to create both alignment and engagement around measurable goals. 
  • Jobs To Be Done (JTBD): An approach for defining, categorizing, capturing, and organizing customers' needs—without making assumptions.
  • Agile: An iterative approach to project management and software development wherein defined sets of work are completed within a specific timeframe. This way, the answers to the first set of questions then informs the answers to the next set of questions.

We may not know the solution to every problem, but with our Solution Architecture framework, we always know where to start!

Use Focus/Blocked Time

There are so many tools that are great for getting work done in a remote world, but they can also lead to being constantly available and “at work.” You can’t shut your office door in an online environment! Sometimes, you have to fake it. We’ve embraced “blocked time” as a means of getting work done amidst the distractions of remote work technology. 

Plan in advance: put blocked time on your calendar to hold yourself accountable and to let team members know that you won’t be available. Then shut it down. Turn off your notifications, silence your phone, and close out your inbox to ensure you have uninterrupted focus time to get work done. Most importantly, it works for Good & Gold because we’ve created a culture of respect around blocked time. We all benefit from uninterrupted time to dig deep into solving a difficult problem or power through a long task list. Enjoy that sweet, sweet productive silence!

We merge our dedication to innovative strategies and curiosity-driven design to foster growth and elevate brands.

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Elevating Entrepreneurs: A Branding Journey with Cream & Coffee

In the world of branding, every project tells a story—a narrative creative from collaboration, creativity, and a shared vision for the future. At Good & Gold, we've had the privilege of embarking on such journeys with remarkable entrepreneurs like Amanda Hughes, the visionary behind The Ice Cream Stand and Cream & Coffee.

In the summer of 2023, Amanda, the owner of The Ice Cream Stand nestled in Downtown Syracuse, approached us with a desire to breathe new life into her beloved ice cream shop. Collaboratively, we embarked on a mission to create a vibrant brand identity that captured the essence of her woman-owned ice cream shop. 

From brainstorming sessions to design mockups, together we crafted a lively brand identity that perfectly complemented the spirit of her shop—a colorful celebration of homemade delights and community connection.

Fast forward to early 2024,  Amanda approached us again with a new vision taking shape. Enter Cream & Coffee, the Ice Cream Stand's cool, homemade little sister—a fusion parlor nestled by the lake in Skaneateles, NY. With Amanda's business plan in hand, we embarked on a new mission, this time helping  build a brand from the ground up.

Drawing inspiration from the rustic charm and historic allure of Skaneateles, we set out to create a brand identity that felt warm and inviting. Handmade touches, warm neutral tones, and a touch of nostalgia of the historic lake town formed the cornerstone of Cream & Coffee's brand identity.

The result of this branding journey is two unique brand identities, each hand crafted to honor the personality and individuality of the shops they represent. Our experience with The Ice Cream Stand and Cream & Coffee has been a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and a shared passion for capturing the vision and essence of a small brand.

At Good & Gold, we take pride in contributing to the journey of turning entrepreneurs' and small businesses' dreams into reality. To learn more about the journey of branding & logo design, sign up for our monthly newsletter to get access to our latest eBook - Introduction to Logo Design & Brand Development.

Pedal to Success: Navigating Digital Marketing Trends in the Bicycle Industry

Welcome, fellow cycling enthusiasts! Let's take a spin through the scenic greenways of digital marketing trends.. As technology continues to evolve, so does the way we connect with riders, promote our brands, and enhance the overall cycling experience. In this article we’ll take a deep dive into the latest trends that are transforming the cycling experience and propelling the industry forward.

Personalized Customer Experiences: In the age of information overload, cyclists expect tailored interactions that speak directly to their interests and preferences. Brands like Canyon are leading the charge by harnessing the power of data to create personalized experiences across various touchpoints. By analyzing consumer behavior and preferences, these brands can deliver targeted social media ads, customized email campaigns, and tailored product recommendations, ensuring that each rider feels understood and valued. This personalization not only enhances the overall customer experience but also fosters brand loyalty and drives repeat purchases.

Immersive Content: In a world where attention spans are dwindling, captivating content is king. The bicycle industry is embracing immersive experiences through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to engage consumers like never before. Imagine being able to virtually test ride a new mountain bike or explore the scenic routes of a cycling destination from the comfort of your home. These immersive experiences not only provide an exciting way for cyclists to interact with brands but also help potential customers make more informed purchasing decisions. By offering immersive content that allows cyclists to experience products and destinations firsthand, brands can create memorable and impactful brand experiences that resonate with their audience.

Social Commerce: Social media platforms have evolved beyond just a place to connect with friends – they have become powerful platforms for driving sales and generating revenue. With the rise of social commerce, brands in the bicycle industry are tapping into platforms like Instagram and Facebook to showcase their products and facilitate seamless transactions.  This integration into social commerce is a crucial component of their omnichannel strategy. From shoppable posts to influencer collaborations, social commerce is redefining the way cyclists discover and purchase gear. Additionally, social commerce enables brands to tap into the power of user-generated content, leveraging the influence of loyal customers and brand advocates to amplify their reach and influence within the cycling community.

Community Building: Cycling is more than just a sport – it's a lifestyle and a community. Digital marketing allows brands to foster and grow these communities online, creating spaces where cyclists can connect, share experiences, and support one another. Whether it's through dedicated social media groups, virtual events, or user-generated content campaigns, brands are finding innovative ways to engage with cyclists on a deeper level. By building meaningful relationships with their audience, brands can create advocates who not only support their products but also spread the word to others in the cycling community.

Data-Driven Insights: In the digital age, data is a cyclist's best friend. By harnessing the power of analytics, brands can gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends. From tracking website traffic to monitoring social media engagement, data-driven marketing enables brands to make informed decisions that drive results. By understanding what resonates with their audience, brands can refine their strategies and deliver more impactful campaigns that resonate with cyclists. Additionally, data-driven marketing allows brands to optimize their marketing spend and allocate resources more effectively, ensuring that every dollar spent delivers maximum return on investment. 

Sustainability Initiatives: As stewards of the environment, the bicycle industry is increasingly focused on sustainability and environmental conservation. Digital marketing provides a platform for brands to amplify their sustainability initiatives and connect with eco-conscious consumers. From promoting eco-friendly products to sharing stories of sustainability efforts, brands are leveraging digital channels to showcase their commitment to a greener future. Additionally, sustainability initiatives can serve as a point of differentiation for brands, helping them stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract environmentally conscious consumers who prioritize sustainability in their purchasing decisions.

In conclusion, the bicycle industry is riding the wave of digital innovation, embracing new technologies and strategies to connect with cyclists in meaningful ways. Whether it's through personalized experiences, immersive content, or community building initiatives, brands are leveraging digital marketing to pedal their way to success. So, gear up, embrace the trends, and let's continue to explore the world of cycling together – one pedal stroke at a time!

Design Guide for Launching a Small Brand

Starting a business isn’t just about selling products or services-it’s about building a brand that resonates with your audience. It’s an opportunity for creative expression and will ensure your business has a unique, memorable identity that will stand out in the market. A comprehensive style guide will guarantee consistency in your brand, ultimately leading to a strong brand presence and great content. To help you on your brand journey, we are sharing our 4-part process to create a brand identity that stands the test of time.

Part 1 - Getting to Know Your Brand

When creating a brand identity, the goal is to channel your brand personality and values into a clear visual style. In order to create an authentic and memorable brand, it’s important to start with some questions. What is the product/service you’re providing? What is the story and mission behind the business? Who is your target audience? Narrowing down your story, demographic, and goals will help to pinpoint the visual style that will best suit the brand. 

Part 2 - Conceptualize Your Vision & Create a Moodboard

Once you’ve defined the core values of your brand, it’s time to conceptualize. We recommend starting with a moodboard - it’s a great way to quickly generate ideas and see what aesthetic you gravitate towards. Some things to consider when looking for inspiration include:

  • Color Palette
  • Logo Inspiration
  • Photography (product & lifestyle)
  • Typography (fonts)
  • Imagery (icons, illustrations, graphics, textures)
  • Website + Social Media Examples

When all is said and done, the moodboard should align with the vibe and purpose behind your brand. 

Part 3 - Designing & Refining 

Once a general style has been established and you have your vision in mind, it’s time to bring your brand elements to life. As these are important decisions, it’s easy to get stuck on one idea - we emphasize the importance of experimentation with multiple concepts for logos, color palettes, and style guides. Aim for at least three variations of these to help you discover what feels most authentic to your brand. Once you narrow down a singular concept, continue to refine your elements until they feel complete and authentic. 

Part 4 - Brand Guidelines

As the finalization of your design elements takes shape, it’s crucial to create them into a style guide-your own brand guidelines. Your brand guidelines ensure consistency in how your brand is presented across various platforms. Remember that this should function as a rulebook for how to use your brand. Anyone you pass it off to should be able to understand how your brand should be implemented. At minimum, your brand guidelines should include:

  • Color: consider color codes for both print (CMYK) and web (RGB) materials.
  • Typography: a font pairing of a primary and secondary brand font.
  • Logos: we recommend including a primary brand logo, a secondary logo, and a brand icon. Not every logo will fit in every location across print and web, so it helps to have multiple orientations.
  • Imagery: this could include photography, illustrations, icons, patterns, and/or graphics.
  • Links to all of your brand assets, including font files, logos (png and vector format), and imagery/icons/photography.

Once all of these boxes are checked, your brand is ready to launch! Remember that you don’t have to stop here. As your business develops and evolves, so does your brand journey. There’s always room for more innovation and refinement, so keep pushing the boundaries of what your brand can achieve.

Master Your Email Subscribers' Preferences In 90 Days

Understanding and managing email subscriber preferences is key to an effective email marketing strategy. We wanted to share Good & Gold’s approach which provides a month-by-month plan to help you master subscriber preferences, ultimately leading to more engaging and successful email campaigns.

Month 1: Laying the Groundwork

Segment Your Engaged Audience

Goal: The aim is to focus on subscribers who are most actively engaged with your brand, as they will provide the most reliable data for your initial tests and analyses. Plus, adding first and last name fields to your signup and preferences forms will allow you to send more personalized emails to new subscribers.

Task: Start by analyzing your email list to identify the most engaged subscribers. For larger audiences, segment those who have interacted with your emails in the last 90 days. It's also important to update your email signup form and email preference page to include fields for subscriber’s first and last names. This will allow you to personalize your campaigns to each subscriber.

Create a Versatile Content Plan

Goal: To plan a varied approach that not only drives sales but also enables direct connection with your audience. Each type of content offers a unique opportunity to engage and understand what resonates with your subscribers.

Task: Develop a content calendar that includes a mix of sales promotions, brand stories, and important announcements. Incorporate creative approaches, like the successful Winter Horoscope campaign Good & Gold recently launched for Alfred Coffee.

Month 2: Experimentation and Analysis

A/B Testing - Initial Phase

Goal: The primary objective is to understand which specific elements of your email campaigns are driving engagement. By controlling one variable at a time, you can accurately determine the effect each has on subscriber behavior and preferences. This focused approach to A/B testing will provide you with clear, actionable insights to improve your email marketing strategy.

Task: Begin A/B testing with your email campaigns by varying one element at a time. This could include testing different email send times (AM vs. PM), experimenting with subject lines (using emojis vs. not using them), and altering the placement of your call-to-action (CTA in the header vs. after the body text).

Review and Understand Data

Goal: The objective here is to gain clear insights into what specifically resonates with your subscribers and have that inform your strategy with your next campaign. Did you find that more people opened your campaign in the evening? Consider sending future emails in that time frame. 

Task: Once you've conducted your A/B tests, it's time to dive into the data. Analyze which version of your email campaigns performed better and why.

Month 3: Refinement and Advanced Strategies

Refine Your A/B Testing Approach

Goal: To further enhance the personalization and relevance of your email campaigns. By now, you should start seeing patterns in what your audience prefers, allowing you to tailor your content more effectively.

Task: Based on your findings from Month 2, start refining your A/B testing strategy. Try changing the metrics you're measuring for each variable. For example, if you found that more people opened your email in the evening, you should consider testing to see if they actually placed more orders in the evening as well! 

Also, now that you’ve likely gathered the names of some of your new subscribers, try testing personalization in some of your campaigns.

Implementing Optimized Strategies

Goal: To establish a more targeted and effective email marketing strategy that aligns with your audience’s preferences. The aim is to increase engagement, which could lead to higher open rates, click-through rates, and ultimately, conversions.

Task: Take the most successful elements from your A/B tests and start implementing them in your regular email campaigns. This might involve changing your email send times, updating your subject line strategy, or reformatting your email layout.

Additional Considerations:

  • Feedback Mechanisms: Include surveys or feedback links in your emails to gather direct insights from your subscribers about their preferences.
  • Monitor Industry Trends: Keep an eye on emerging trends in email marketing. What works today may evolve tomorrow.
  • Ongoing Optimization: Remember that subscriber preferences can change. Keep analyzing and adjusting your strategy to stay relevant and engaging.

By following this 90-day plan, you'll be better positioned to understand and cater to your email subscribers' preferences. Not only does this lead to more successful email campaigns, but it also helps in building a stronger, more meaningful relationship with your audience.

Need assistance in mastering the realm of email marketing? We've got you covered. Connect with us today for expert guidance on your next email marketing campaign!