Kate, Author at Randall Branding Agency

Randall Branding Agency

Here’s what we’re up to.

The Benefit of the Hard Refresh

You may have noticed that when you return to a website you’ve visited before, it loads a bit speedier than it did on your first visit.  This little boost is thanks to the power of caching. Caching makes commonly used websites load faster and use less bandwidth, but there are a few instances in which it can all lead to some pretty screwy behavior.  What is caching anyways?  Well, to answer that question, first you must understand what happens when you visit a website in your browser.

When you visit a URL, your browser sends a request to the server hosting that page and asks it to send you all the files associated with the URL you are visiting.  For modern websites, this frequently includes a lot of different files.  These files include (but aren’t limited to) the page itself, any images displayed on the page, at least one (and sometimes many) stylesheet and any number of javascript files.  As your browser downloads all these files from the server, some of them are saved onto an area of your computer’s hard drive called a “cache.”  The next time you visit that website, your computer will first look in its cache for a recent copy of the files the server is trying to send it.  If it finds some, it will load those directly from the hard drive, which is way faster than downloading a fresh copy of them from the server.

Unfortunately, when a site is being developed, the contents of these files are changing rapidly, and the cached files may no longer be the most up to date versions.  This can lead to pages displaying as outdated versions, or sometimes looking broken if old, cached files are loaded alongside other files fresh from the server.  To solve this problem, you can do a “hard refresh” (sometimes called a “force reload”).  A hard refresh forces the browser to load all fresh copies of the files from a specific page regardless of what it has in its cache.  If you’re viewing a webpage that is under development and things don’t look right, try a hard refresh first!

The steps to do a hard refresh vary depending on the browser and operating system you are using, but below are the keyboard shortcuts for the most common ones.

Chrome:

Windows: Hold down Ctrl and press F5

Mac: Hold down ⌘ Cmd and ⇧ Shift key and then press R

Mozilla Firefox:

Windows: Hold down Ctrl and ⇧ Shift and then press R

Mac: Hold down ⌘ Cmd and ⇧ Shift and then press R

Internet Explorer:

Hold the Ctrl key and press the F5 key

Safari:

To empty the cache, you need to turn on the Develop menu. Got to Safari > Preferences…, click the Advanced tab, and check Show Develop menu in menu bar.

Hold down alt and ⌘ Cmd, and then press E to empty the cache.

Hold the ⌘ Cmd key, and press R to refresh the page.

Before you go, download our PDF document outlining how to hard refresh!

Six Things: Carsen

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One of the best things about working at Randall Branding is building relationships with great people. We love it when our clients share their world with us. And in the interest of returning the favor, we’ll be sharing parts of our weird and wonderful world with you here.


Six things you may not know about Carsen Young, our Front-End Web Developer.

 

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1. I have a first-degree black belt in Japanese Jiu-jitsu. That’s the hand-to-hand martial art that was developed by the ancient samurai. I started studying it shortly after I graduated from college and earned my black belt nine long years later.

2. In two minutes or less, I can (usually) solve a Rubik’s Cube. My personal record is 57.8 seconds but it usually takes me between 90 and 120 seconds. When I’m stuck on a problem, I find a few good solves of the cube can be enough of a distraction to let me come back to the problem with fresh eyes.

3. I’m a backyard beekeeper! I had some friends who kept bees and I thought it was neat, and such an important thing for the environment. I do have a full bee suit but I only wear it if I’m doing something particularly invasive. Most of the time I’m out there with them in shorts and a t-shirt with just a veil to protect my face, just in case, and I’ve never been stung while inspecting a hive. There’s a lot of fear and lack of knowledge out there about honey bees, but they are not nearly as scary as people think, they serve an integral role in our food supply, and honey fresh from the hive is absolutely amazing.

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4. For several years, I volunteered with Hollins Rescue Squad in Roanoke County.  By the time I left, I was the First Lieutenant of the rescue squad. I also was a certified instructor in CPR as well as basic first aid, though I’ve let those certifications lapse.  Although I don’t run on an ambulance these days, I’m still a certified EMT in the state of Virginia through the year 2020.

5. Jack-o-lanterns are kinda a big deal for me. I usually start working on drawing out my pattern sometime in September. In addition to the standard Halloween scene, I’ve carved the logos for several organizations I’ve been part of for their respective Halloween events and I even carved a memorial jack-o-lantern for one of my dogs who passed away.

6. Backyard cookouts are my favorite social activity. It’s a love only slightly tempered by the fact that I will attract every single mosquito within a ten-mile radius. I actually bought my house almost exclusively because of the back deck and large semi-private backyard. Outdoor entertaining space was priority number one when I was house hunting.

If you want to know more about us, you can jump over here. If you’d like to see what we do, you can always jump over there.

Research: The Backbone of a Great Campaign

Research Beakers

When you think about a good advertising campaign, you may remember a flashy commercial, witty copy in a radio spot or even the unique graphic design in a print ad. What many don’t see is how much research went into each of those creations, from understanding who to target with the message, to where to place the message so it will best reach the audience, to how to know it’s working.

Research is so important because placing a message in the right way and with the right content is crucial to reaching a company’s target audience. Women 22-35 years old may have completely different values, goals and beliefs than women 36-50 years old. Similarly, homeowners will have different values and goals than those who own apartments or live with family. There are so many factors and values that influence a purchase or position a brand in a consumer’s mind. Understanding what those factors are, as well as how they influence consumers is integral to the creation of the advertisement.

Good research starts with understanding where a company is in the market. This includes analyzing what their competitors are doing and what the industry’s trends are. Combining that with an exceptional knowledge of the company’s service or product being offered, their company background and who they’re currently marketing to will help researchers understand where the company is in it’s industry and where it is heading. This also includes identifying the “unique selling points” (USPs) of the product or service, and developing a SWOT analysis for the company. These aspects (the company, product, industry, consumer, competitive and analysis) are primarily discovered with secondary research (research obtained from a source that initially discovered the data) and come together in what is known as the Situational Analysis. These will be used as a knowledge platform for additional questions to be asked that are more tailored to uncovering the touch points between the brand and the target consumer.

To more precisely understand what messaging a company needs to have for it’s product or service, primary research (research obtained from new studies that are completed for the specific client/ issue at hand) is performed. Usually, primary research starts with an initial survey is done that generates a large amount of quantitative data from the target consumer that is related to the industry and category of the product or service. With that data, researchers can get a better direction into what they need to discover during in-depth interviews and focus groups with target consumers to see how they feel about the market the company is in as well as to get an idea as to how the target consumer will respond to the product or service being offered. Other forms of primary research in this area of market research can include shop-a-longs, observation studies, and many more that can gain insightful qualitative data that provides the foundation for a strong, effective campaign.

Once all the data is gathered, an agency can better define who they are targeting and the target’s specific values, interests and other sociodemographic information. With this information, account planners can build a target profile for the target consumer. This includes insights into what their motivators are for purchases surrounding the industry the client’s product or service is in. Here is also where the findings from the research become in-depth insights that connect the brand and the consumer via actionable and reasonable touch points. These touch points are what the brand’s creative should “touch” on to best connect the consumer and have a message that strongly resonates.

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After this, the agency’s team has reached the last stretch of the race for an amazing campaign. With research and an extensive knowledge of the target consumer under the belt, BIG IDEA creation is born. This big idea will usually take the brand truths and match them to the truths of the consumer in a creative way across different platforms (whether it be social, out of home, experiential, print, broadcast, digital, etc.). These messages will cut through other advertising clutter, resonate with the consumer, position the brand at a top-of-mind recall for the consumer and ultimately reach the goals of the client.
At the end of the day (usually in weeks or months) if the research was done right and the time to properly analyze it was taken, there will be a campaign that is effective, exciting and talked about. Once advertisements have taken life across the different platforms being utilized, it is always important to understand how to measure the campaign’s performance. The metric data gathered on the different platforms will allow an agency to see how well the campaign is doing, make changes, if necessary, and use that information to better place messages in the future. Metrics are also a great way to show the client in a concrete manner how well their campaign is performing for the target consumer.

Research…some love it, most think it’s pretty boring. However, it is crucial to a great campaign. As long as one understands how vital research is to a campaign and it is done well, success, and the client’s happiness, isn’t far behind.