Category Archives: Things We Like

New England Summer Fun

A week has already passed since the first “official” day of summer finally arrived, and here at Rumbletree, we are soaking up all the summer fun we can get when we step outside of the office. Summer Fridays certainly help with scheduling all of our summer weekend plans, so we decided to share (just a few) of our favorite summer activities New England has to offer…for all ages!

Theme Parks

As a kid, the most important day of the year is Christmas (even to adults). And as much as we all love summer vacation, that all important day can seem so far away… A trip to Santa’s Village gets you fired up and thinking about the upcoming big day (with or without children). It’s also a perfect place for parents because they can remind their kids that Santa is watching…and that being on your best behavior is crucial to get presents from the big guy.


Outdoor Live Music

There is nothing better than outdoor live music during the warmer months of spring, summer, and early fall. From a big band like The Lumineers at Thompson’s Point in Portland to a local guy like Joe Young on the water at Ornell’s in Kittery. This, in combination with a warm summer breeze and a tasty cool drink in hand…life, can’t get any better.


Recreational Biking

When the temps warm up, we love to slow things down by switching out the car for the bike. One of our designers shared her favorite New England bike route around scenic Cape Ann in Massachusetts with us (it’s a secret so don’t share it with anyone). 30 miles from Gloucester to Rockport (both towns accessible by the MBTA Commuter Rail) and back may sound intimidating, but give yourself the day, take in the scenery, and make plenty of stops along the way. Walk the trails and quarry of Halibut Point State Park, explore the site of Gloucester’s first settlers at Stage Fort Park, treat yourself to a Roy Moore Lobster, and be inspired by the quirky typography of the wooden shop signs along Bearskin Neck in Rockport.


Local Breweries

Every New Englander loves a good craft beer, especially when the temperature rises. We’re lucky enough at Rumbletree to be located on the New Hampshire seacoast, packed with local breweries and only a short drive from the awesome spots Maine has to offer. Whether it’s grabbing a drink with coworkers from our closest brewery (Throwback, we love ya!), stopping downtown at the Portsmouth Brewery, or even making the trek to Portland for a brew with a view, there’s no shortage of great beers to try!


Hiking Trails & Beaches

New Hampshire’s small (but mighty) seacoast has also allowed us to enjoy both the beaches and hiking trails in Maine and Massachusetts. Laudholm Farm Trail system in Wells, Maine, is a perfect hiking spot. You can easily access this trail and hike all the way out to a secluded part of the beach. Enjoy the wildlife preserve right down the road at Rachel Carson state park, and end your day with a lobster roll from Bennett’s in Kennebunk. A poolside Pina colada (overlooking the ocean) is necessary from the Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport. This day is sure to top your summer bucket list.

Which of our favorite summer activities will you try first?
Be sure to tag @rumbletree in your summer pics!

 

Rebrand or Brand Refresh?

An example of Rumbletree’s rebrand with Bedford Village Inn.


No brand lives forever without evolution. Or rebirth. There will come a time when your brand needs an overhaul to a certain degree, whether it’s a refresh or a full rebrand. 

It’s a crucial step in moving your company forward and positioning your organization for future success. Your current brand system may be limiting or dated, carry negative connotations, or have been created to target an audience that is no longer relevant. More likely, some combination of many issues has built up over time. This is your opportunity to assess what’s working and what isn’t. To start clean, with your current goals and audience in mind, and create something that is more true to your core. It’s also kind of fun. Read on to find out which approach might make the most sense for you.

1. Your brand kinda sucks

Let’s get this one out of the way quickly. If your brand was never very meaningful, relevant or credible, you’re probably a candidate for a rebrand. Take the opportunity to explore an entirely cohesive new brand, including logo, identity, attributes, messaging and more.

Tender Greens rebrand came at a time where a fresh menu, (including more than just salads) needed to be properly conveyed to customers. Designed by Paula Scher, this new look adds to the wide-variety of the menu and creates a unique shape with the letter “g” portraying a pan and a plate.

Verdict: Rebrand

2. Your audience or products have changed

You used to be known for no-frills products at a great price, but now you’re moving upscale. Or, you named your company ‘Gary’s Ski Chalet’ long before you realized you’d sell way more skateboards than snowboards. In both cases, it’s well worth investigating a rebrand to shake off old perceptions and reach new audiences.

Coach Inc., the parent company of Coach, took on a more diverse approach to the fashion industry in 2015, with the intent of becoming a house of brands after it’s acquisition of Kate Spade New York. With this addition, the company needed a new name to signal change and leave more room for future brands to join.

Verdict: Rebrand

 

3. Your brand is dated

It may seem obvious that a dated brand needs to be killed with fire, but it’s not so cut and dry. If your branding is still relevant and functional—but just happens to look at home on the dashboard of a Delorean—you’re better off holding on to what’s working and refreshing some of the design aesthetics. Skilled designers can find a way to evolve your branding without losing its essence. As an aside, brands go out of date much faster when their look and feel relies too heavily on current design trends. Try to avoid the trap of mimicking what’s hot now, unless you’re very good at predicting the future.

Remax refreshed their brand with the idea of appealing to a younger audience in terms of where first-time home buyers would be searching for their services: digitally. Remax is a classic brand, “but it’s only classic because it’s been around for more than 40 years not because it was particularly good.” Case in point, the brand is iconic because it has been around for some time, but the look needed a bit of refreshing. Remax’s new logo appeals to all digital platforms where most of their clients interact with the brand: online, email and via their phones. This proved successful because the final product needed to look good on a smartphone and on a yard sign.

Verdict: Refresh

4. Your brand system is limited

When your brand was first being developed, you didn’t think you’d need 23 versions of your logo and a 30-page style guide. Or maybe when you launched with two employees, the MS Paint logo you created fit the bill just fine. Now your company is growing up, and your branding needs are more varied and far-reaching. You need order and a set of clearly defined rules that can be applied company-wide. 

If you are happy with your brand overall, but find the lack of rules, consistency, and a true system are dragging your branding efforts down, you may be a candidate for a brand refresh.

SXSW (South by Southwest), is a growing conference and festival in Austin, TX, that celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. Each year Foxtrot would wipe the slate clean by reimagining and creating a new look and feel for the event. Question: How do you create an established brand if the look and feel is constantly being redeveloped each year? Answer: Create a master brand. Foxtrot’s solution was effortless and systematic, allowing for a clean starting point to build off of every year to “fully unify the brand and shape the future role of digital services for the conferences and festivals.”

Verdict: Refresh

5. Your brand carries negative connotations

No company wishes to be in this position, but it does happen. If your brand is carrying baggage from past mistakes or poor performance, a rebrand can help clean the slate with consumers and reinforce a perception of positive change. Note that ‘talking the talk’ with a new brand means you also need to ‘walk the walk.’ If the negative perceptions of your company are caused by behavior that is still going on, don’t bother. 

KFC shortened their name in the early 90’s with the idea that they weren’t just “fried” anymore. While today this term has negative connotations with certain health trends being implemented by a lot of fast-food restaurants, KFC’s name change is not only smart for business, it’s smart for the design too.

Verdict: Rebrand

Now that you are a bit of an expert on the differences between a rebrand and a refresh, take some time to see if your company or business is in need of one or the other. Also, take a look at our work page to check out some of Rumbletree’s successful brand developments!

References:
Tender Greens
Tapestry
Remax
SXSW
KFC

Your School’s Website: Branding and Optimization are Key

As a school, your marketing strategy doesn’t need to be complicated or overly expensive. But making sure your website is branded and optimized properly should be on the top of your priority list. For instance, the content on your site should enable your school to appear in more general online searches. The information must be relevant to ALL people, not just those within your school community, in order to appear high in Google rankings.

THAT’S WHERE RUMBLETREE CAN HELP.

We can work with your school to help you capitalize on critical yet simple web, content and social media strategies to:

1. Alleviate front office stress by including relevant content where it’s most visible
2. Improve communication between parents and teachers

3. Increase awareness around Parent Organization initiatives
4. Improve newsletter readership or newsletter development
5. Create more successful annual fundraising campaigns
6. Increase engagement with families and community via social media and your website

Whatever your marketing goals might be, we can help you achieve them with a simple, quick marketing strategy audit.

Check out our work with other schools here

Our entire portfolio can be found on our website

Overwhelmed by where to start? We offer full-service web design for new or existing websites. Contact Molly Patrick at mpatrick@rumbletree.com today for more information on how to improve your site and stand out from your competitors.

5 Easy Ways to Improve User Experience on your Website

Visit Thirstymoosetaphouse.com to see how we implement these 5 tips!

Before you start thinking about designing (or re-designing) your website, make sure you consider your user first. Most people will only spend about 10-20 seconds* on a site, so you want to communicate your value clearly and concisely, just as you would an elevator pitch!

Here are some easy tips to have a better user experience:

Call out key services on the homepage. It’s imperative that your users have easy access to the most important information you want to get across. Even if you detail out these services elsewhere, include them right on the homepage so they are the first items users see.

Balance relevant information with engaging graphics. Adding images and graphics to written content allows your site to feel less dense, and will feel much more approachable for users. Make sure to use relevant descriptions as alt-tags for your images to help boost your search engine optimization (SEO).

Utilize infographics and visuals for quicker intake of dense information. You have a very small window to capture your audience’s attention, and even less so if you are trying to explain complex information. Make use of infographics and other related visuals to deliver the same information in a much more digestible format.

Create custom Call to Actions. Use your brand voice to reflect a more interesting CTA like “Our researchers are ready to help you grow your business, are you?”

Include more relevant information in the footer. Oftentimes footers can be forgotten from a user experience point of view, but if used correctly, it can act as a visual sitemap of your web content and as a teaching tool for new or confused users.

Overwhelmed by where to start? We offer full-service web design for new or existing websites. Contact Molly Patrick at mpatrick@rumbletree.com today for more information on how to improve your site and stand out from your competitors.

*Nielsen Norman Group nngroup.com

Rumbletree’s Favorite Super Bowl Recipes

We’re more than ready for next Sunday’s Super Bowl game! As an office full of Pats fans, we’ll all be cheering on #12 while chowing down on our favorite foods. Need some last-minute suggestions for you game day snacks? Well, look no further!

 

Stack
Super Bowl food of choice: Buffalo Chicken Dip
It’s my favorite because it’s easy to make and DELICIOUS.
Favorite team: Go Pats!

Brendan
Super Bowl food of choice: Shrimp cocktail & cream cheese dip (with salty potato chips)
It’s my favorite because the salty chips with the sweet dip are yummy and there is no cooking involved.
Favorite team: Pats

Jenna
Super Bowl food of choice: Buffalo Chicken Dip
I absolutely love buffalo chicken dip because it’s hot, cheesy, spicy and delicious on all flavor levels! For an extra taste, I’ll use Hint of Lime Tostitos chips :).
Favorite team: PATRIOTS! (I am a bandwagon fan)

Becky
Super Bowl food of choice: Guac (obvi)
Guac is the best Superbowl snack for so many reasons – its versatility, the fact that you get to eat tortilla chips with it, and because I don’t have to turn on my oven to make it!
Favorite team: The Pats! YAY TOM! (I would say the Jets but I’m a fair-weather fan.)

Charlie
Super Bowl food of choice: Sally’s Hors d’oeuvres (Tiny piping hot bubbling, golden brown, cheesy treats)
Favorite Recipe:
1 Loaf of Pepperidge Farms thin white bread.
Mayonnaise
Small onion
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Paprika

Directions:
Take a serrated knife and cut the crust off the bread slices. Then quarter the slices and place on a Teflon baking tray. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese and enough mayonnaise to hold the cheese together. Slice one small onion into thin slices and quarter. Using a fork and spoon, top each quartered bread slice with the Cheddar Cheese mixture. Place a small piece of onion on top of the cheese mixture.

Finish each with a small dash of Paprika. Place tray under over broiler for 3-4 minutes (or until golden brown and Cheese is bubbling). Plate and serve right away. (I’ve been known to crush a tray of these all by myself!)

Favorite team: Go Pats!

Amanda
SuperBowl food/drink of choice: a tasty local craft beer
Favorite Recipe:
1. Get off couch. Step 2: Walk to fridge. Step 3: Open fridge. Step 4: Select Beer. Step 5: Open Beer. Step 5.5: If no opener is readily accessible, follow these steps (ignore the name of the site, this applies to my ladies out there as well). Step 6: Enjoy.

It’s my favorite because it’s delicious, requires no plate or utensils, and I don’t need to worry about anyone double dipping their chips in my beer…well, let’s hope not.
Favorite team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (if it has to be NFL then I suppose the Cincinnati Bengals)

Kelley
Super Bowl food of choice: chicken wings
Favorite Recipe:
Google “chicken wings near me” and order

It’s my favorite because chicken wings are amazing. And they go with everything, especially football.
Favorite team: The Pats! Tom Brady actually once asked me to marry him.

Maria
Super Bowl food of choice: Buffalo Chicken Crescent Ring
It’s my favorite because it’s delicious, savory and spicy, but easier to eat than wings.
Favorite team: I don’t have one, but I say Patriots because of peer pressure.

Marisa
Super Bowl food of choice: Veggie Buffalo Wings
While this recipe might not be the easiest for everyone to whip up on game day, the outcome is totally worth it. It’s (somewhat) healthy, extremely delicious, and you can pair it with your favorite dipping sauce—yum!
Favorite team: The Patriots

Molly
Super Bowl food of choice: Bacon-wrapped dates with parmesan
Everywhere I go, these get gobbled up so quickly! Yes they’re good, but they’re also easy to grab and throw down the hatch :). And everyone loves bacon, right?
Favorite team: Patriots!!!!!!! Go Pats!!!

Brian
Super Bowl food of choice: Turkey meatball sliders
Step up your ball game! Easy to make and great as leftovers. It’s fun on a bun.
Favorite team: Patriots!

Jess K.
Super Bowl food of choice: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
It’s my favorite because you think they’re bad for you, but they’re not!
Favorite team: Go Pats!

How are you celebrating game day?

 

Is your 2018 Marketing Strategy Ready?

If only you could drive over to Target, pick out a website from the shelf, check out, and call it a day….

If only marketing were that simple! But its not. And you shouldn’t want it to be, either. Because your business is unique. And a unique business requires well thought out strategy and planning to ensure the train keeps running smoothly.

Organization is key. In fact, now is the perfect time to start planning for next year. Many of our clients elect to dedicate January as their “organization” time. The organization phase is key to getting out of the gates cleanly. So what does that mean? It means your marketing strategy. Make sure your strategy is in place at the beginning of the year so the remainder can be spent executing on it.

Marketing is not instant. In fact, the best campaigns take time. Take for example the travel industry in New England. Do you start your campaign upon the beginning of your busy season? Or are you thinking about the fact that most planners are booking their vacations 4-6 months before that time? Your strategy and research (aka the “organization” phase) can help you strategize things like so. Because in hindsight, you should really be top of mind and have a presence at that 4-6 month planning window – not just during the busy season when you’re already at full vacancy.

Try using a marketing checklist to make sure your business is ready for 2018:

  1. Is your marketing strategy in place?
  2. Do you have a detailed calendar, marketing when key messages and campaigns should be in full effect?
  3. What’s the current status of your website? Your website is the face of your brand. Is it responsive? Up to date with content? Have you done an SEO audit recently to help with your search rankings? Or are you still running on a platform from 1999? Don’t laugh! We’ve seen many.
  4. Your 2nd most visited place is likely to be your social media. If you’re not actively engaging with your audience – they’re going to drop you! Make sure your social strategy for 2018 has your target audience in mind. Often times, on social and beyond, we see the business promoting what THEY are interested in, rather than what their AUDIENCE is interested in. Make sure you’re talking to the person who’s actually keeping your revenue stream consistent.
  5. Stop and think about your brand identity. How old is it? Is it more than 5 years old? Is it time for a brand refresh?
  6. Target, target, target. In the digital world we now live in, everything is targeted. Make sure you’re investing your dollars wisely into areas where your audience is likely to consume the information. Having the time to research and negotiate a media buy in advance will help ensure this is happening.
  7. Lastly, have fun. Marketing is the cool stuff. It requires creativity, brainstorming and trial and error. Get your team involved. The best campaigns require the effort of everyone – your marketing agency, your business, your staff and your advocates. Figure out what makes you special, and capitalize on it.

Now let’s get planning! Only 20 days until 2018.

-Kelley

There’s a lot to be thankful for…

It’s that time of the year again. The time when we’re finishing up the year’s projects, spending time with family and friends and reflecting on what it is we’re really thankful for.

At Rumbletree, we’re truly blessed with a motivated and creative team, alongside supportive management, up-to-date technology, a cool office, even cooler clients (and projects), and of course, all of the office dogs that visit us on a daily basis. 

We took the time to kick off the upcoming holiday season with our team and asked each member what exactly it is they’re thankful for. Some will make you laugh and some may pull the heartstrings. Keep on reading below and then be sure to head over to our Instagram to share what you are thankful for in the comments.

 



“I am thankful for my friends, family, cool job, 
health, dogs, mashed potatoes and super sweet shopping deals.”

-Kelly Angulo
Director of Accounts Service



“I’m thankful to spend the holidays with family, but more importantly
TONS of dogs!”

-Becky Sullivan
Account Manager



“I am thankful that Internet Explorer is no longer a browser!”

-Brendan Sands
Director of Web Development



“I am thankful for the opportunity to have loved and lost.”

-Maria Torti
Senior Visual Designer



“I am thankful to be able to be surrounded with family and friends this holiday and glad to know that we don’t have to worry about full bellies or a place to lay our heads.”

-Carrie Allison
Controller



“I am thankful for my family and friends, those with me now and those whom I’ve lost over the years.”

-Jessica Stack
Digital Web Producer



“I’m so thankful to be able to work with a group of professionals that bring their amazing talents and unbridled passion for doing great work each and every day.”

-Charlie Yeaton
Managing Partner



“I am thankful for fiends, firmly, and autocorrect.”

-Brian Beaulieu
Creative Director



“I am thankful for many things…especially
my family.”

-Jessica Kellogg
President & Partner



“I am thankful for the opportunity as a designer to be creative and work alongside some amazing people, and laugh at our neverending Portlandia jokes.”

-Jenna Freitas
Graphic Designer



“I am thankful for the cold. Die ticks, die.” 

-Amanda Jonovski
Graphic Designer



“I am thankful for HBO and the fact that allergy medications exist so that I can hang out with animals I love (which is all of them).”

-Marisa Hercules
Account Executive



“I am thankful for the opportunity to tell people what I’m thankful for.”

-Sam Cote
Junior Designer & Developer


My Perfect Summer in Three Emojis

Now that it’s officially summer, we strongly believe that life shouldn’t just be all work and no play, right? When the warm weather rolls in (for a short 3 months!) we like to spend as much time active and outdoors as we can. With the beach being only a short 5 mile drive away, you can most certainly find us there, lunch breaks included! We asked each member of our staff to describe their perfect summer using only three emojis. Check out what the Rumble team is up to this summer.

Jessica S. – Summer just makes me smile and it seems to put everyone else in a happy mood as well. I especially look forward to summer because I love spending time with my husband, friends, and all the dogs on our back deck drinking beer and grilling. I mean, who doesn’t love cheeseburgers and craft beer? 

Jenna – Trying to spend as much time as I can outside is a MUST during the summertime. When I am not coaching field hockey camps or playing pickup in Boston, you can most certainly find me catching some rays with my nose in a book at the beach!

Jessica K. – I forget how much I worship summer til’ it comes again! My perfect summer means spending time with my family. We love Rye beach, bike rides, and swimming in our pool. 

Maria – My perfect summer is pretty much a James Bond style boat party…shaken, not stirred. I like to relax surrounded by nature, removed from the outside world, in a silken robe of luxurious comfort. Perhaps floating towards a great new adventure. Deep breaths in, not a care in the world, smile on my face, and a drink in my hand. And, of course, plenty of sunscreen!

Kelley – The magic of a New England summer is why we tolerate the long winter every year! The best kind of summer is hitting up the beach or sitting by the pool and grilling out with friends and family (dogs, too!) on the deck. It’s a time to kick back and appreciate everything the seacoast has to offer.

Carrie – My perfect summer consists of laying by the pool, and trips to the beach, lake, and cottage! Warm days to enjoy being outside and a lot of family time – NO SCHOOL!

Lydia – It’s the best of both worlds living so close to the ocean and the mountains in the summer. I love that I can surf and relax on the beach one day and explore new hiking and biking trails in the mountains the next. I also love to travel and it wouldn’t be a perfect summer without an adventure to someplace new.

Becky – There’s really nothing that describes my summer better than these emojis. Whether it’s walks with my dog, finally being able to wear something…not wool, or hanging out by the water, I’m a summer lover through and through. Luckily for us at Rumbletree, we’re just a few minutes from the ocean!

Brian – Beer for the brain, shrimp for the belly. Then it’s time for deep thoughts and reflection. 

Charlie – New England is so special with its seasonal changes. But I have to say, Summer is far and away my favorite season. Being outside this time of year is so special, grabbing some rays, going barefoot and hitting the beach with family and friends is what it’s all-about for me.

Alex – I grew up at the beach spending every summer day chasing waves and rays. My daughter caught her first wave last year and I’m excited to see how many more we get to ride together! 

Marisa – A good pair of sunglasses, a yummy drink, and endless amounts of delicious fruit are a few of my favorite things that get me excited for summer. Most of my summer days will be spent out and about downtown Portsmouth on the decks or at the park, or on the beach soaking up the sun! 


Now that we’ve shared ours, what three emojis describe your perfect summer?

– Jenna