Wildfire branding of Kaleideum comes to life in the new museum space.

Winston-Salem branding agency Wildfire created the original Kaleideum brand, now expressed in the new museum building.

Feb. 19, 2024 – WINSTON-SALEM, NC– The reimagined Kaleideum, an innovative, dynamic experiential learning museum located in downtown Winston-Salem celebrated its Grand Opening Saturday, February 17 with a captivating array of hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, educational programs and new branding by Wildfire.

The name Kaleideum combines the words “kaleidoscope” and “museum.” And, the Kaleidium logo incorporates bold, playful colors to reinforce that this meeting of the minds of two local institutions was and still is on the cutting edge of child learning and engagement. The fun, expressive name and moving colors of the mark capture the wonder that exists in every room.

Branding agency Wildfire behind new Kaleideum brand

Kaleideum was formed when two pillars of education merged in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, known as the “City of Arts and Innovation,” in July of 2016. The Children’s Museum, focused on elements of play for learning, joined forces with SciWorks, an organization that utilized hands on experimentation and interaction for learning.

“We were asked to find a way to unite the institutions with new branding—including a new name, logo design, and visual identity with brand guidelines,” says Brad Bennett, Wildfire Co-Founder and Chief Firestarter. “It was the perfect assignment for our creative team. And now to see the brand we created physically come to life is beyond our wildest dreams.”

The branding was quickly embraced by the community. After the reveal, the county approved a $17MM investment for a new facility in downtown Winston-Salem that has experienced an economic boom due to arts, restaurants, and local businesses resulting from the city’s years-long redevelopment efforts.

Wildfire led the initial rebranding in 2016 and now in 2024 as Kaleideum recently opened this new state-of the-art, learning-exploration-imagination, reimagined, space, Wildfire sees its rebrand come to life in every aspect of the building from the exterior fractiles to the donor wall to the colors used throughout the space. Kaleideum is a must see, you can’t really imagine space.

2024 Marketing Trends: What’s in and what’s out?

2024 Marketing Trends

We are a marketing agency, of course we are going to predict marketing trends for 2024!

If you happen to be reading this post-January, that first sentence embodies one of those social media trends that caught on swiftly in December 2023. It lingered a tad too long, and will finally get the corporate seal of approval in February.

On a more earnest note, we’ve tapped into the insights of our strategy, creative, social media, and interactive experts to envision the landscape of 2024. From the realms of “cookie-less” advertising and data privacy to the principles of accessible design and cross-functional collaboration, our teams look forward to a year marked by innovation!

2024 Strategy Trends

Strategy: adapting to the changing data privacy landscape

With Google phasing out third-party cookies, advertisers’ ability to target users based on their past behavior (retargeting) will be entirely at the user’s discretion. Will people willingly allow platforms and advertisers to track them across websites and devices? It remains to be seen. We’re not ruling out the fact that users will demand more personalization once they see irrelevant ads in their feeds. And that requires… well… third-party tracking. In 2024, we’ll focus less on stalking the perfect behavioral target. Our content should speak to the values that motivate them!

2024 Creative

Creative: Clarity and inclusivity reign this year

Design in 2024 is all about sharp, user-centered strategies. Clarity reigns with named layers, sleek visuals through limited color palettes, and the smart use of white space. Inclusivity takes the forefront, ensuring designs cater to diverse audiences. On the flip side, designers are pushing back when it comes to brand assets in the form of a flat jpeg, requests to ‘make the logo bigger’ or the vague statement ‘just make it pop’. It’s time for more refined and contemporary approaches. And yes, we know… Comic Sans and Papyrus are plebeian. No need to make those cliche jokes anymore!

Social Media Trends

Social: Brevity, Authenticity, and Interaction

In 2024, the landscape of social media has undergone notable shifts. Short-form content has emerged as a dominant force, capturing users’ attention with concise and engaging messages. Niche and interest-based content has also seen a surge, as platforms focus less on friends and followers and more on content preferences, and paid social content that seamlessly integrates with organic content is on the rise. The traditional Instagram Square format is on the decline, giving way to more diverse and dynamic content layouts. The social media landscape in 2024 features a preference for brevity, authenticity, and interactive content.

Digital Interactive 2024

Interactive: It’s time for a digital makeover party

Web design and interactivity in 2024 is like a digital makeover party with some old pals leaving and hip newcomers strutting in. It’s all about putting mobile-first design in the VIP section, because, let’s face it, small screens are the new red carpet. Usability testing is the cool kid at the party, ensuring websites aren’t the awkward guests who can’t find the dance floor. And collaboration between designers and developers? It’s the ultimate power couple. On the other hand, text-heavy websites are so last season – nobody has time for that novel-length homepage. Twitter is taking a bit of a backseat, maybe getting some beauty sleep before its next big comeback. As for Google Analytics 3 (and possibly GA4 too), well, it’s the end of an era; cue the dramatic exit music. And Wix? It’s the ex that’s being replaced by sleeker, more sophisticated options – because, let’s be real, it’s time for an upgrade.

If these concepts are new and daunting to you, Wildfire has got you covered! Reach out to us and we can help you enter 2024 with relevance and style!

Wildfire’s Annual Pyropalooza benefits H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem

Pyropalooza team beginning the day

Dec. 8, 2023 – WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Each year since 2019, Wildfire has devoted an entire day to consulting and creating content for a local nonprofit organization in an annual event we’ve dubbed Pyropalooza. This year, Wildfire’s annual Pyropalooza nonprofit du jour was H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem, an organization dedicated to bringing healthy food and health education to local children and families in Winston-Salem, NC.

The Goal

Ultimately, H.O.P.E. seeks to get people involved, attracting both donors and volunteers. People have so many worthwhile nonprofit organizations to choose from, so setting H.O.P.E. apart and capturing attention was imperative when it came to asking for support.

A Wildfire Team collaborated with remote members for Pyropalooza

The Ask

When we asked H.O.P.E. what would make the most difference for them, they asked for print materials, a social media strategy and graphics, and an email newsletter template. Our Pyropalooza Committee took this information and worked on the following deliverables:

Immersion Session & Master Brief

We spent about an hour with the executive director, Scott Best, asking questions, getting to know the ins and outs of H.O.P.E., and getting our team excited for a day of giving back.

Website Enhancements:

Website audit report
SEO audit of the website & social media compatibility
Accessibility and site security improvements

Brand and Communication Strategy

Ensurement of brand consistency
Social Media Playbook
Donor Acquisition and Retention Communication Plan
CRM Strategy for volunteers and donors

Creative & Design Work

Poster designs for schools and community centers
Event leave behind (trifold, bookmark or other format)
Appeal/donor planned giving letter template
Newsletter Assets
General Newsletter/Email Template
Event Newsletter/Email Template

Pyropalooza's Interactive Team works on website projects

It was a pleasure to learn more about HOPE and their impact on the community, and in turn contribute with my agency skills. Creating content that is easy to understand and stands out helps to engage more people in the mission. It’s rewarding to know that our work is making a difference.

Christine Zimmerman, Senior Graphic Designer

The Creative Work

We created a series of both physical and digital creative assets for the H.O.P.E. team to use moving forward. This includes stickers, coloring pages for local restaurants, tote bags, grocery list magnet pads, social media templates/headers, and an email newsletter template.

Click to enlarge

Our Takeaway

Working with H.O.P.E, was a reminder that although it doesn’t always feel like it, food insecurity is in our backyards. We encourage you to donate your spare time or money to H.O.P.E. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2022, 44.2 million people lived in food-insecure households. 7.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in which children, along with adults, were food insecure, and 783,000 children (1.1 percent of the Nation’s children) lived in households in which one or more children experienced very low food security.

Every moment and penny counts and contributes to the fight against food insecurity.

It was an honor to partner with HOPE and to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause. I loved getting to be a small part of this local org’s intentionality to bless our neighbors in tangible, community building, life-giving ways. I was deeply impacted by our time sitting with Scott to hear about both the need and the opportunity of serving our neighbors, as well as the exciting vision for the growth of HOPE in both reach and sustainability.

Luke Morales, Digital Strategist

Who will be chosen for Wildfire’s annual Pyropalooza in 2024? Stay tuned on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the announcement of applications next fall.

Written by:

Sarah Stork
Social Media Coordinator

Sparks of Wisdom from Marketing Agency Interns

Marketing Agency Interns Lunch

Unlocking the door to a successful career in the fast-paced world of marketing takes more than just a degree—it requires a blend of creativity, strategy, and adaptability that can only be honed through hands-on experience. As the sun sets on another exhilarating summer, we’ve had the privilege of tapping into the vibrant minds of Wildfire’s marketing agency interns. These interns have brought fresh perspectives to our work, and have emerged as trailblazers with wisdom to share. In this post, we’ve gathered advice from our intern cohort, offering insights and lessons from their time navigating the world of modern marketing. So, future interns, buckle up as we dive into the trove of insights these exceptional individuals have to offer!

Intern Tony Ward

Tony Ward – Strategy Intern

2023 Graduate
Virginia Commonwealth University

I would advise anyone starting an internship to be the most absorbent sponge they can. I mean this in two ways. First and foremost, be prepared to soak up as much knowledge as you can. Don’t restrict yourself to working with only one department – learn from anyone and everyone. Talking to everyone will help you learn about different aspects of the business from different viewpoints. Second, give of yourself and be of assistance to everyone. Don’t just be a fly on the wall or a body in a room; you want to be a team player. They chose you for your unique perspective, so use your voice and help out with whatever is needed.

Intern H'Chiem Siu

H’Chiem Siu – Account Management Intern

Graduate Student
Wake Forest University School of Business

I advise anyone beginning a new internship to remain curious and open-minded. When unsure of something, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or advice because this is one of the best ways you’ll learn. Also, be proactive and take the initiative to look for opportunities to learn and grow within the company.

Intern Richard Wang

Richard Wang – Strategy Intern

Graduate Student
University of Notre Dame – Mendoza College of Business

For me, starting an internship means connecting the classroom with the industry. I would always reflect on school projects I’ve done and see how a similar project in an internship differs. A marketing plan in school may focus more on demonstrating creativity and concepts. However, the ones I worked on during the internship require a lot more data to prove the feasibility. Marketing is not about assumptions, but is based on facts and research. Also, relationships matter.

Intern Sarah Stork

Sarah Stork – Social Media Intern

2023 Graduate
Virginia Commonwealth University

I would encourage anyone who is starting a new internship to speak up in meetings. Whether you have an idea or a question, need more tasks, or want to crack a joke, speak up! People want to get to know your personality, and if you never talk how can they get to know you? At the start of this internship, I felt like a pest when I asked a question–or twelve–but I learned that is exactly what I was there for, to learn! No one expects you to know everything, they just expect you to show up and try your best. As Taylor Swift once advised Selena Gomez, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” So, ask those burning questions, make those jokes, and if all else fails remind yourself that you’re there for a reason.

Editor’s Note: Sarah is now the Social Media Coordinator at Wildfire!

Intern Claire Brady

Claire Brady – Account Management Intern

Class of 2024
University of North Carolina at Wilmington

One thing I would tell someone starting a new internship is it gives you a great opportunity to work with extremely smart and talented people. Definitely take the opportunity to learn as much as possible because these are the people that can help you grow your skills tremendously. If you take the opportunity to learn from others, you’ll naturally work harder and enjoy what you are doing. Do not be afraid to ask questions, be yourself, and enjoy the experience!

A heartfelt thanks to our interns for their dedication in the office and for generously sharing their experiences with their peers. To all present and future interns, we wish you the very best in your upcoming endeavors. This marks only the beginning of your exciting journey!

Wildfire typically has several internships available each summer. Follow us on LinkedIn and keep an eye on our careers page for opportunities.

Written by:

Sarah Stork
Social Media Coordinator

Winston-Salem marketing firm Wildfire wins assignment for Senior Services Intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness

Artist rendering of Intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness

May 14, 2023 – WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Wildfire, an independent full-service Winston-Salem marketing firm, has been awarded the opportunity to develop the brand identity and communications campaign for Senior Services newly announced Intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness. The Center, in keeping with Senior Services mission to help older adults remain at home and live with dignity, is a collaborative effort between Senior Services, and 20 additional local organizations. Wildfire won the account based on their experience, ability to create successful marketing campaigns, and understanding of the local nonprofit community. The account was awarded in March of 2023 with marketing services to continue through the Center’s projected opening in November 2023.

Wildfire was established by Brad Bennett and Mike Grice who shared a vision of combining big agency talent and expertise with the agility of a boutique. The company offers a full range of marketing communications services to clients in the Southeast and nationwide. In recent years, the company has expanded to include an office in Richmond, Virginia. Last year, the agency celebrated two decades of igniting creative ideas for brands and lowering clients’ blood pressure. Services include strategic brand planning and audience insights, creative development and design, communication planning and execution, website design and builds, digital marketing, and more. Brad Bennett, Wildfire Co-Founder and Chief Firestarter commented, “We are very excited to build the brand and communications strategy for this state-of-the-art Center that will serve as a national model to help seniors age with dignity, respect, and with community support.”

Senior Services has developed a national model for the delivery of services to seniors by creating this state-of-the-art, one of a kind center, the “Intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness” currently under construction. The 62,500 square foot Center is expected to be complete in mid-September. Lee Covington, Senior Services President and CEO said, “We look forward to the entire community participating in and learning more about the Center, and are excited to be working with Wildfire on this important communication effort.”

Wildfire wins at the Richmond Show

Wildfire Richmond team at the Richmond Show

May 9, 2023 – RICHMOND, VA – The Wildfire Richmond location was sparked when a team member relocated there in 2015. Since then, several talented people have joined our thriving office there. Because we always love a fire pun, we’ve nicknamed the office “Campfire,” and they are indeed “on fire” creatively!

The Campfire team recently attended the illustrious Richmond Show, hosted by the Advertising Club of Richmond, and brought home four awards. There were more than 210 submissions from more than 30 agencies, nonprofits, professionals and students. Needless to say, we are beaming with pride.

“The Richmond Show is a unique opportunity to view and celebrate the best creative work in our region. It’s fantastic to get dressed up, meet the incredible talent behind the work, and raise our glasses to the best our city has to offer,” said Traci Naff, Creative Director at Wildfire.

GOLD: Red Hat Level Up League for App Development

Game App for Red Hat: Level Up League

Wildfire concepted and created an interactive, web-based game for Red Hat where users pilot a hero to Level Up to the open hybrid cloud. Play the game.

Creative Director: Traci Naff
Art director: Riley Hill
Design: Jude Buffum
Developer: Will Blanton

SILVER: Lowes Foods Concert Posters for Promotional Design/Advertising

Poster Design: Lowe's Foods Pick & Prep
Poster Design: Lowe's Foods Stronger Together
Poster Design: Lowe's Foods SausageWorks

Wildfire created Lowes Foods Sub-Brand specific posters to fit within their corporate annual meeting theme “In Concert.” Check out some of our additional work for Lowe’s Foods SausageWorks.

Creative Director: Mike Grice
Designers: Elaine Borgmeier, Traci Naff, Bryan Flynn
Client: Lowes Foods

SILVER: HydroX Website

HydroX Website - Desktop
HydroX Website - Mobile

The HydroX website communicates the company’s confidence, professionalism, and trusted reputation within the hydro excavation industry. See the website in action.

Creative Officer: Mike Grice
Designer: Riley Hill
Developer: Eli Baker

BRONZE: CardCon for Promotional Design/Advertising

Wildfire created a first-ever immersive brand experience for United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), the makers of Bicycle Playing Cards. See the story behind the creation and execution of CardCon 2022.

Creative Officer: Mike Grice
Creative Director: Traci Naff
Designers: Riley Hill, Christine Zimmerman
Client: United States Playing Card Company

We are incredibly proud of those involved in these award-winning projects, as well as the work we do every day for our clients. Browse our case study gallery to see more of our work, and contact us if we can help you in any way.

Social Media Strategy: Creating A Playbook For Success

It’s opening night, and your theater company is ready to take the stage. The hum of the audience chatting as they take their seats mirrors the nervous excitement of the ensemble. As the curtain opens and the actors start reciting their lines, they quickly realize they had been reading from different scripts. 

The resulting cacophony is a mix between Shakespear’s Othello, Phantom of the Opera, and The Play That Goes Wrong. The audience leaves the theater in utter confusion, not sure of what they just heard. 

In actuality, this theater company would never take the stage without reading from the same script and rehearsing their performance. Your company shouldn’t either.

Many businesses take the stage of social media without scripting and rehearsing their performance. Before you step on that social stage, a social media strategy can be the difference between a collection of seemingly unrelated posts, and presenting a compelling brand story that weaves seamlessly through all of your content. 

What is included in a social media strategy? 

At Wildfire, we call our social media strategy a social media playbook. Much like a sports team uses a playbook to dictate how the players should operate, our playbook includes guideposts that set consistent vision, strategy, and tactics across channels. It should define your goals, audience, brand voice, channel and content strategy, and more. Our clients have greatly improved their social media performance with a strategy playbook, content development, and execution. No two playbooks are identical, because each company and audience is unique. But there are a few guiding principles that always apply.

How a social media playbook benefits your business 

1. Align your social media strategy to your brand’s values and business goals

We’ve all seen the results of brands trying to increase engagement without considering business goals. Of course cute cat videos are going to generate tons of likes and shares! But what is the end result for your brand? Unless your company sells cat products, you won’t build an audience who cares about you or wants to learn about your product or service. 

Social media strategy should flow out of shared vision, values, and goals – not the other way around.

2. Create consistency of voice and visual aesthetics across channels.

Stylistically, a social media feed is a little bit like a patchwork quilt. Each block is unique in itself, however it has to fit into the broader pattern, color, and style of the entire work. Together, each part contributes to the beauty of the whole picture. If each team member is using a different style, your quilt might be a mix of shabby chic and New England traditional.  

With a clearly defined voice and aesthetic, your audience will quickly recognize and relate to your brand in the crowded social media environment.

3. Identify and understand your audience, their motivations, and behavior on each platform.

Who are we conversing with? The answer to this question informs what you share, how you share it, and how often. Make sure everyone on your team understands this, and your content will more successfully reach your business goals.

Fulfilling the expectations of YOUR unique audience leads to more meaningful engagement for both the brand and social media community.

4. Outline a content strategy and tactics for creating, sourcing, and/or obtaining that content.

An effective content strategy will engage your target audience, addressing their wants and needs, motivating them to go further with your brand. Once you decide what topics your social media will feature, you should clearly map out who will collect, create, and publish the content you need.

A popular management adage goes something like this: “When it’s everyone’s job, it’s no one’s job.” The same applies to social media content – get specific on roles and responsibilities.

5. Set community management guidelines and a critical and crisis communications plan

Building a community doesn’t happen by accident, and social media is a two-way street. How will you go about attracting new followers and cultivating those relationships? Additionally, how will you respond when people don’t engage the way you thought they would or should?

Set a plan for how to respond to your advocates as well as those with genuine complaints – and the dreaded trolls. If every social media contributor knows the plan, there is less opportunity for a misstep.

Social Media Strategy: In 2022, Wildfire helped our clients achieve record improvements. Overall impressions increased by 185%. Overall engagement increased by 101%. Link Clicks increased by 195% for Facebook and Instagram.

How to use your social media playbook

Train employees.

Present the playbook as training for those who are managing social media. Also, share with every person in the organization so everyone can begin to think about contributing content – through the process set out in your social media playbook, of course.

Educate executives.

We’ve all been asked the question. “How is social media affecting our bottom line?” Many times there are tangible connections between social media and sales, but sometimes the impact can’t be tracked directly with UTM codes and analytics. Since your playbook aligns with your business goals, show them how social media fits into your marketing stack as an important and valuable contribution.

Use it. Evaluate it. Evolve it.

Now that you have this playbook to guide strategy and execution, don’t just put it in a drawer and turn on the autopilot. Periodically review and evaluate your efforts to make sure they are staying true to your strategy. Likewise, review your playbook and adjust and change as needed. If a particular strategy isn’t getting results, try something else! And lastly, make sure to update your playbook as the world of social media evolves.

Taking the next step

If you know you need a social media strategy and you’re not sure how to go about it, Wildfire can help. We’re proud to have helped many businesses set their course for success through strategy, content development, and implementation. Contact us for a complimentary social media consultation.

Written by:

Sarah Stork
Social Media Coordinator

Sarah Pinnix
Media Supervisor

Creating CardCon: An Immersive Brand Experience with Bicycle Cards

Cardcon Website Hero Design

We always enjoy the opportunity to solve marketing challenges cross-discipline. As part of an ambitious new effort in support of the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), the makers of Bicycle Cards, we took on the challenge of creating a first-ever immersive brand experience. The project involved tapping into the expertise of our strategy, creative, interactive, event and account management teams.

The Ember: a New Kind of Playing Card Experience

CardCon began with a desire to create a space dedicated to engaging and creating a community of playing card enthusiasts. So much more than just a marketing experience, this project was an opportunity to celebrate through wonder-filled possibilities and experiences. Over many months of work – and fun – the first ever CardCon was born. Our team understood how unique this project was, and the creative freedom and challenges that came along with the endeavor! Planning, executing, and designing this one-of-a-kind event was a great opportunity. We were ready to put all our cards on the table.

Gathering Kindling: Embracing the Playing Card Community

Playing Nertz at CardCon
Chris Orbit Brown plays with CardCon attendees

To kick off the project, the Wildfire team immersed ourselves in the playing card landscape. Our team first sought to understand the audience by becoming consumers of card-centric content. We spent time reading articles and watching videos, tutorials, and streaming channels. We learned about playing card games, making cards, performing magic and cardistry, and even slicing through vegetables with playing card projectiles! 

Even more, we learned about the diverse group of people who love all aspects of playing cards. There is no way to accurately describe the energy within the playing card community unless you’ve witnessed it yourself. 

Adding Fuel: Ideas that Spark Activation

Rick Smith Jr throws playing cards at Chris Ramsay
Richard Turner performs at CardCon

Armed with knowledge and inspiration, we set out to support USPCC in creating a new global event unlike any other. One that would showcase the variety, depth, and passion of performers, enthusiasts, and community members to showcase this vibrant industry full of awe-inspiring art and performances that spark a sense of wonder. 

Explore a World of Wonder. This phrase, inspired by our own discovery journey, would lead our minds throughout the development of the entire event. The idea moved us from concept development, to project management, entertainment bookings, web design, environmental & graphic design, marketing, and activation

The inaugural event represented a first impression we had to get right. Through rounds of concepts for event names, creative assets, venues, and event activations, the vision for the CardCon emerged. 

“It was truly a pleasure to work on the strategic underpinnings of this event. Figuring out how each piece of the event would flow and function together to stimulate the interest of any card enthusiast, regardless of how involved they were in the world of cards, was a challenge that we had to solve with a single event. And it was a challenge we successfully tackled from more than 2,400 miles away!”

Daniel Oberti, Junior Account Planner

Igniting the Fire: Turning Ideas into Action

Rick Smith Jr throws playing cards to slice a stalk of celery
Ekaterina performs cardistry and magic at CardCon

We discovered four unique audience segments we determined to appeal to and engage: Cardists, Magicians, Collectors & Gadget Lovers, and the ever-present Socializers, general enthusiasts and card game aficionados. With these audiences in mind we curated tailored event activations to draw in each type of attendee. 

Once the event activations were chosen, built out, and ready for execution our team worked to coordinate with stakeholders and partners to begin the logistical execution for more than 200 attendees. Our lead event manager worked in conjunction with clients, vendors, talent, and account team to make sure every part of the plan came together.

While our project management team worked on the activations, Wildfire’s creative teams developed the branding, digital, and environmental design used to promote, decorate, and enhance the event experience.

“We wanted to provide a clear, upscale introduction to the identity of Cardcon with a clean, modular kit-of-parts design that could be used in a variety of formats, with stark color contrasts focusing on a prominent red and secondary neutral black and white palette. The card suit pattern featured prominently provides continuity with the Bicycle brand and was used as a through-point across all graphics, tying everything together with the universal visual language of cards and cardistry.”

Riley Hill, Senior Graphic Designer

Wildfire’s media team crafted organic social media and paid media campaigns to introduce the world to CardCon and attract attendees. Organic and paid media efforts reached several million accounts with stellar engagement rates, bringing the event to its attendance goal. 

Fanning the Flames: On the Ground in Irvine, California

CardCon Environmental Design
CardCon 2022 Entrance Design with Bicycle Cards

Once arriving in California, people and places we had all encountered virtually hundreds of times suddenly became a tangible reality. It was time to play our hand.

Our on-site team got to work making sure every detail was executed properly, with support from Wildfire’s staff at home offices in Winston-Salem & Richmond. Procuring boxes of merchandise, building contraptions used to set two Guinness world records, filling gift bags, creating name tags, transporting talent, managing the layout of the venue – you name it and we did it, or made sure it was done! After one tussle with a ne’er-do-well cactus, we were on our way to execute what would become an experience to remember for our team, our clients, and most importantly the attendees.

A major goal of this event was not only to engage the industry’s core enthusiasts and drive brand awareness, but also to capture content in hopes of expanding the event in 2023. In the future, we can use this content to scale the event globally and leverage the Cartamundi brand portfolio. Wildfire’s media team led the content strategy, planning and capturing thousands of photographs and hours of video footage.

We asked the simple question, “What has been your favorite thing about CardCon?” We received as many different answers as people who responded. Everyone had a unique special moment they experienced in our World of Wonder. We had done our jobs to create a truly unique event appealing to all audiences with passion for playing cards.

Daniel Oberti marketing agency north carolina

Written by:

Daniel Oberti
Junior Account Planner

NFTs in Advertising

What is an NFT?

A non-fungible token, commonly known as an NFT, is a symbol of cryptocurrency stored on the blockchain (think of a publicly shared ledger) that represents a particular digital asset; essentially, you can think of it as a unique link of code that directs you to a particular file. As the code is unique and can’t be reproduced, it can be used for verification of assets such as artwork, domain names, and video game items. While NFTs may lack awareness within the general population, they open up a realm of possibilities for brands and investors alike.

Can my NFT be stolen?

…Sort of. Even if the digital asset (say, a PNG file of a dog) is stolen, its specific certificate still gives confirmation of the designated owner, similar to a deed or a title. But ownership means something entirely different in the world of NFTs. 

Owning the NFT doesn’t necessarily mean that you own the asset itself. For instance, if you were to purchase the Mona Lisa as an NFT, you don’t own the painting, but rather the “purchase receipt” that tells you where the painting is. 

The NFT market currently sails in some rough waters with threats of increasing mistrust among consumers and retailers alike. The most popular marketplaces, like OpenSea, do little to moderate the stealing and selling of other artists’ works as NFTs. 

How is an NFT made?

A majority of NFTs are minted (or created and released) using something called the “proof-of-work” method, which makes the user system solve increasingly more complex math problems in order to prevent hacking or other security breaches. Unfortunately, one huge consequence of this system is that the exorbitant amounts of electricity and resulting carbon emissions increase with each “block” on the chain. 

A study from Digiconomist found that some estimates place the annual electricity usage of Ethereum — the blockchain on which 90% of NFT transactions occur — as high as the total annual consumption of The Netherlands. 

However, some blockchain networks utilize a method called “proof-of-stake,” which uses up to 99.95% less electricity than proof-of-work. As blockchain networks hope to move towards the future of proof-of-stake, brands must recognize that the most currently prominent NFT/blockchain technology raises significant questions about sustainability and greenwashing within eco-friendly brand promises.

Do NFTs relate to the metaverse?

Yes! NFTs are considered to be the key that unlocks the metaverse and beyond. In short, if the “metaverse” exists as a virtual evolution of our current digital world and gives its users the power to share social spaces and build identities, NFTs are the resources and assets that reside within that world, whether they’re avatar hairstyles, luxury cars, or virtual land. 

Metaverse tokens act as their own in-game currency, which is used to purchase any and all assets (read: NFTs) within that game. For example, the metaverse game Decentraland uses a token called $MANA, which can be used to purchase virtual land,verified by the blockchain and handed over to you in NFTs. In this way, the metaverse experience relies on NFTs as its primary foundation for owning and operating digital assets.

Which brands are involved in NFTs?

Many brands in the B2C space are already flocking to NFTs and the metaverse in order to take advantage of the advertising opportunities that could potentially benefit their consumers. 

  • Samsung launched a metaverse experience in Decentraland called Samsung 837X, a digital version of their New York pop-up store. Players could browse NFT collections, join parties, and attend livestreams and panels that promoted brand values.
  • AB InBev used ZedRun, an Ethereum-based horse racing platform, to sponsor virtual horses and their racetrack events. The program’s users can buy and breed the horses for upwards of $150,000, with their behavior in competitions decided by a series of complex algorithms. Additionally, the brand collaboration allows for players to buy each other real-life beers, with AB InBev hoping to pair real world brand values with the possibilities of the metaverse.
  • Hyundai collaborated with the gaming platform Roblox to create Hyundai Mobility Adventure, building a virtual space that allows for playing games, driving Hyundai vehicles, and operating robotics. The company’s campaign targeted young consumers who were already familiar with exploring digital worlds like Roblox, aiming to get their audience accustomed to Hyundai’s mobility solutions and creating long-lasting relationships for their purchasing future.

Are you curious about wading into the world of NFTs but not sure how? Contact us to see how our strategy, creative, and interactive offerings can get you started on the right (virtual) foot. 

Top 3 Facts about NFTs 

  • Non-fungible tokens, more commonly referred to as NFTs, are totally unique and can’t be replicated. An NFT can be thought of as a symbol of cryptocurrency that’s stored on the blockchain (think of a digital data ledger) that corresponds to a particular asset; essentially, think of it as a distinctive link of code that directs you to a file such as an image or video. The code itself is special and can’t be reproduced, which means it can be used to verify ownership of the NFT itself. While its corresponding asset can be copied or stolen, the special certification still proves its designated owner.
  • NFTs are the key to unlocking the metaverse and beyond! The metaverse can roughly be defined as an evolution of our current digital world, giving its users the power to share social spaces and create virtual identities. Customization resources and assets in the metaverse come in the form of NFTs, whether that be avatar hairstyles, luxury cars, or virtual land; players are then able to fully “own” their personas in the metaverse through obtaining and operating these NFTs.

NFTs come at the cost of environmental conservation. A majority of NFTs are created and released using something called the “proof-of-work” method, which makes its user system solve increasingly complex math problems in order to prevent hacking or other security breaches; however, each “block” exponentially generates more electricity and carbon emissions. Some studies estimate that Ethereum — the blockchain on which 90% of NFT transactions currently occur — uses as much annual energy as the annual energy expenditure of The Netherlands as a whole.

Global or local? A discussion on how best to set up your brand’s social media presence.

Aerial. People crowd motion through the pedestrian crosswalk. Top view from drone. Toned image.

When it comes to social media, the question of who to empower with social media creation and publishing, and why, is a common question among brands. Whether you are a global brand that services a variety of international markets – each with its own language – or a regional brand that has local nuances to the markets you serve, the question of how best to set up your brand’s social media presence across your platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc.) is highly relevant. Recently, we have been asked a number of questions such as this:

  • “Should we only have one brand account per platform, or should we have individual accounts per market?”
  • “Should all content be published from our headquarters, or should we allow local markets to create and publish their own content?”
  • “Who should have editorial publishing permissions on our platforms?”

One “global” account or local accounts? To answer this question, we need to dive into the following key factors:

  1. Messaging Consistency: How much do you want to control your brand message from the corporate mothership versus empowering local markets to customize messaging? In cases where brands choose to have one central account, it is generally with the aim of: a. ensuring consistency of messaging across markets (control), b. establishing the brand globally and/or c. keeping resource needs to a minimum. 
  2. Customer Need: We always recommend starting with the customer and working outward. Do customers need or expect local content for the brand? Is there a missed opportunity if local content doesn’t exist (note: this is frequently the case). Often, you will find that your customers will best relate to content that is as close to them as possible – local, relevant and personal content that shares the people, events, information and entertainment that is unique to them. 
  3. Resources: Do you have the proper dedicated resources to manage all of the accounts you are considering? At minimum, there needs to be a local community manager for each market (regionally, locally, or in-language/country-based). Beyond this, the opportunity exists to have local markets create and publish their own content.
  4. Control vs. Empowerment: To some extent, this also comes down to preference. Is your brand culture one focused on empowerment? Are you comfortable letting the local markets create and customize? Or do you work within a culture of centralized control? Ultimately, the culture of your company will most likely drive how you choose to solve this challenge. Coca-Cola and L’Oreal, for example, run local market accounts by country to handle obvious language and customer needs, as well as to improve engagement and response time.

It is important to note that, regardless of which approach you decide to take, there are significant pros and cons to each approach. 

“Master” or Global Social Media Accounts 

  • Pro: Provides more opportunity to control your brand image, content quality and publishing frequency from a single, centralized location, which is much easier than trying to manage multiple local accounts. If you want your centralized marketing team to run all your main channels, this is the approach for you. 
  • Pro: Allows you to create targeted ads from the primary brand account to target specific markets on most platforms.
  • Con: This approach removes the opportunity to connect with your followers on a personal level since they will all see the same content. This becomes a greater issue if they speak different languages or are located in different parts of the world.

Local Social Media Accounts

  • Pro: Allows marketers to reach people more effectively and personally, resulting in greater engagement with your community, driving potential business impact and conversion. The more personal feel of localized accounts can drive greater results.
  • Pro: Brands are able to provide better customer service in the customers’ own language(s) and time zone, with faster response times, improving overall brand perceptions.
  • Con: This approach requires you to staff a dedicated team of local social media managers and/or translators who you can trust in representing your brand.
  • Con: Once again, the resource requirement is a downside—local accounts require a lot of time, budget and effort to keep up. Is it worth it for you to invest in results?

An Alternative Option

  • Some brands choose to employ a hybrid model whereby the corporate brand team provides approved posts to the local/global teams on a regular publishing cadence (the more in advance, the better). This works best with evergreen posts. However, these brands also allow the local accounts to create their own, local-specific custom content. This works best if the local markets are empowered to post without having to go through lengthy approval processes so that they do not miss timely opportunities (sharing customer posts, jumping on newsworthy items, etc.).

There are also a couple of specific nuances worth noting regarding platforms:

  • Facebook allows for global companies to leverage multilingual functionality on “global pages,” if you desire. The key to doing this properly is that your company will need local community managers to run each page and adapt content properly every time that you post.
  • Despite also being part of the “Meta” brand portfolio, Instagram does not offer the same multilingual functionality as Facebook and thus may warrant creating global and individual in-market accounts, depending on your desires.

Overall, this decision can be a difficult one, and one that requires a deep understanding of your brand’s culture and internal infrastructure. If you have further questions as to how best to set up your social media presence, we are here to help. Visit https://wildfireideas.com/contact/ to ask us your questions.

About The Author: Jeff O’Sullivan is a Director of Strategy on our Wildfire team. His experience in communications planning, content marketing and social media includes working with global, national, regional and local brands such as Verizon, Samuel Adams, CVS/Pharmacy, Sprint, Lycra, Stainmaster, and CSX rail transportation. When not at Wildfire, Jeff navigates the fun challenge of raising two wonderful middle school girls and enjoys spending time with his wife and friends in Winston-Salem.

QR Codes: From Hassle to Necessity

If you are capable (or even willing) to take a moment, I ask that you try to put yourself in the mindset of your pre-pandemic self. Are you there? Now, imagine that you are sitting down at a restaurant, looking at a menu, and getting ready to order one of your favorite dishes. Next, imagine you are walking past a poster board full of flyers advertising community events, organizations, and other local happenings that might be coming up.

I can bet that nowhere during this visualization practice did your mind think to look for a QR code on the menu, table, or posters you imagined. If it did, then congrats! You, like many of us, are adapting to “pandemic brain.” “Pandemic Brain” being the full acceptance and ingrained transition of all the rules, regulations, and social norms of a pandemic-ridden society into our subconscious and applying those to pre-pandemic experiences and memories.

Regardless of whether you pictured a QR code when you started reading this article, one thing is for certain: QR codes have quickly become a key aspect of our daily lives as we have continued to live during the Covid-19 pandemic. Potentially raising some questions about their origins.

QR codes are nothing new. 

It is important to note that abroad, QR codes have been widely used in China and Japan for everything from payments to pet identification since their inception. Making their U.S. debut in the early 2010’s, these little squares, which at a glance resemble extraterrestrial text, were adopted by marketers all over the country and pumped out by almost every brand. As you well know, they did not stick around.

Many factors played into the QR code’s initial downfall , but most notably it was a combination of their appearance, their low user accessibility, and their lack of a use case. Remember that in the early 2010’s the iPhone and other smartphones as we know them today were still relatively new to the market. Consumers being bombarded with this foreign and unappealing little square, while also being required to have a smartphone in hand, was a lot to ask. On top of this, most smartphones required that you download a separate app capable of scanning the QR code. Simply put, consumers did not have a compelling reason to use them, no matter how many direct mailers, goods packaging, or stores they appeared in or on.

It was not until the iPhone’s iOS 11 update in 2017 and for android users 2018, that the QR code scanning capability became an inherent trait of the cameras installed on these phones. This is the first major shift in favor of the success of QR codes that we see in the U.S.

The need-to-know facts behind these mysterious little squares. 

1. The “QR” in QR stands for Quick Response.

2. The technology was invented in Japan by the DENSO WAVE company, part of the Toyota family of companies, that was looking for a better way to barcode parts in factories. 

3. There are five types of QR codes all capable of storing different types and sizes of information. (QR Code Model 1 & Model 2, Micro QR Code, iQR Code, SQRC, Frame QR).

4. More than 90% of mobile payments in China are made on WeChat and AliPay which rely on digital wallets and QR codes.

Exponential growth of QR codes in the U.S.

QR Code Menu

At the beginning of 2020 the ability of smartphones to scan QR codes had been an in-built capability of the native camera app going on three years, with no notable change in their use in the U.S. Although that major barrier had been removed from the user experience, it was not enough to push QR codes into mainstream use. The potential value that QR codes offered to consumers was still not incentive enough because the behavior to interact with the codes was still not ingrained in the typical consumer’s mind.

This all changed in March of 2020. QR codes exploded in numbers because they pointedly and efficiently responded to real consumer needs as the virus began to tear through the States. Inherently, due to their design and accessibility (thank you iOS 11 & Android 2018) they addressed almost all of the new health concerns of retail shopping and service-oriented consumer experiences, and they did so in a low- to no-cost manner for both businesses and consumers. QR codes had now officially entered the scene in the U.S. as an industry changing standard for businesses to employ. 

Seemingly overnight, you see QR codes as menus posted on tables in restaurants, QR codes as a means for contactless payments in stores, QR codes used for checking into appointments, and the list goes on and on. I could continue to rattle off all the innovative and creative ways that QR codes have revolutionized the consumer experience in the States, but I am sure each and every person reading this article has experienced one or multiple surprising QR code uses over the past 18 months. 

The era of the QR code

QR codes have finally found their use case, and have begun the process of becoming an ingrained consumer behavior. They provide consumers with the easy and frictionless experiences they crave all the while ensuring the continued health and safety necessary in a pandemic-ridden world.

They have become so ingrained in myself and others in my circle that when confronted for the first time in well over a year with a physical menu about a week ago, we were all a little shocked. We had forgotten what it was like to handle a laminated piece of paper consisting of a jumbled mess of words, prices, and that eerily sticky feeling of someone else’s meal that seems to be the pandemic of the printed menu world.

Time will tell if these once foreign and annoying printed mess of squares and shapes are here to stay, but I can say confidently that they promote a retail and service experience fit for the 21st Century and beyond. There are many things that this pandemic has shown us as a collective, but one shift I did not anticipate is the role that QR codes have taken on as the backbone of the modern pandemic-ridden society’s retail and service economy.    

To further explore Wildfire’s case studies and other services scan here!

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Written by:

Daniel Oberti
Junior Account Planner

Wildfire and Guilford’s Marketing & Advancement Department Win Gold, Silver and Bronze CASE Awards

Wildfire’s work with Guilford College received four 2020 District III CASE Awards. Out of nearly 1,000 entries, the Guilford Edge Campaign and the Guilford Gazette each received a Gold Award; the 2018-19 Guilford College Bryan Series received a Silver Award, and the Guilford Outcomes Booklet received a Bronze Award.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)’s North American districts offer awards to recognize and celebrate outstanding programs and individuals. District awards honor everything from annual reports to websites, distinguished service to new professionals, and everything in between.

Traci Naff Featured in the Capitol Communicator’s “Up Close and Personal” Series

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Our very own Traci Naff is featured in the Capitol Communicator‘s “Up Close and Personal” series. Traci speaks of her creative design journey, her personal role models, and a hidden talent at a certain classic video game.
Get to know her.

Capitol Communicator is a Mid-Atlantic, regional resource focused on showcasing talent and great work in the communications industry and provides news, trends and education that influence creative business decisions while offering opportunities for networking, career enhancement and business exchange.

Wildfire’s work for Guilford College Wins Multiple Awards at the 34th Annual Educational Ad Awards

Wildfire client Guilford College received recognition in the 34th Annual Educational Advertising Awards with four awards, sponsored by Higher Education Marketing Report. This is the largest, oldest and most respected educational advertising awards competition in the country. More than 2,200 entries were received from more than 1,000 colleges, universities and secondary schools from all 50 states and several foreign countries.

Guilford won a Gold Award for Inside Guilford, an internal campaign newsletter and a Bronze Award for the school’s direct mail advertising. In addition, the college won two Merit Awards: one for its integrated marketing campaign that included out of home, transit displays, social media and collateral materials, and another for its billboard advertising.

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Wildfire Rebrands Raycom Media, One of the Nation’s Largest Privately-Owned Local Media Companies

Winston-Salem, NC, – Local advertising and marketing agency Wildfire has created a partnership with Raycom Media to include rebranding and establishing the company’s long-term brand positioning. The new brand was rolled out at a company-wide internal meeting on December 11th and publically at the 4th Annual Raycom Media Camellia Bowl on December 16th of 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. The Wildfire rebranding includes a variety of deliverables, including brand positioning, values, personality, proposition, promise, logo development, brand style guide and communication launch plan. The rebranding will continue to be implemented throughout 2018.

“Raycom Media is excited about the work we have done with the team at Wildfire and enjoyed the partnership to help us capture our vision,” said Lec Coble, Raycom Media VP of Marketing and Audience Development. “In this new era of multiplatform media, we felt it was time for our brand to represent that to our employees, our clients and those we hope would consider joining our team here at Raycom Media. We feel the new brand articulation helps use convey our leadership as Raycom Media has evolved into a company that provides digital solutions, community connections and content for our consumers and clients.”

Raycom is one of the nation’s largest privately-owned local media companies and owns and/or provides services for 65 TV stations and 2 radio stations in 44 markets located in 20 states. The group owns or offers coverage for stations covering 16% of U.S. television households and employs over 8,300 individuals in full and part-time positions. Raycom Media is the parent company of CNHI (community newspapers and information products; over 100 titles located in 23 states), PureCars (digital ad platform for the automotive industry), Raycom Sports (a marketing, production and events management and distribution company), Tupelo Raycom (sports and entertainment production company), RTM Productions (automotive programming production and marketing solutions company) and Broadview Media (a post-production/digital signage company). Raycom Media is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama.

Congratulations from Archive’s 200 Best Package Designs

The Cakery and Chicken Kitchen packaging for Lowes Foods, along with Farmer’s Finest package design have been selected by Archive’s international jury panel for inclusion in the next international 200 Best Package Designs annual.

Since 2004, Lürzer’s Archive has been publishing the 200 Best series, featuring a range of different volumes focusing on a variety of graphic design disciplines. Each carries only work by the best 200 creatives to have submitted to the respective volume. Titles in this series are published every two years. A jury specially convened for each volume selects from the work submitted the items they consider to be the very best. In 2010, Lürzer’s Archive added a further title – “200 Best Packaging Design” – to the product range.

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Print magazine congratulates Wildfire on being selected as a winner in the Print Regional Design Annual, with our entry for The Cakery at Lowes Foods

Print magazines Regional Design Annual competition stands apart and defines the design industry. The RDA is the industry’s most prestigious and well-respected American design competition with tens of thousands of art directors, studios and creative professionals looking to the RDA each year to find the country’s top creative talent.

Founded in 1940, Print focuses on a broad stroke of visual culture today, covering everything from publication design to interactive work, motion graphics, corporate branding, exhibitions, illustration and socially conscious design. Print is bold. Distinguished. Challenging. Experienced. Savvy. The longest-running stateside graphic design publication, it has won five National Magazine Awards—the industry’s highest honor.

Many thanks to the editors and judges that make up the Print Competition Staff for this great honor.

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Wildfire ranks No. 2 out of the Top 25 Largest Triad Web development and design firms

Winston-Salem, NC — “The List” from The Business Journal has named Wildfire The Triad’s third largest web design and development firm. The Web Design Firms 2016 list ranked 25 area agencies by number of Web designers and total employees. Wildfire has built, hosts and helps maintain over 100 websites. In addition to website design, we offer a variety of digital marketing strategies for clients including search engine optimization/marketing, social media and blogging. Wildfire was third on last year’s list.

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Basketball Season Ticket Mailer for Wake Forest University Athletics gets featured in Communication Arts magazine and the Exhibit section on commarts.com

Founded in 1959, Communication Arts is the premier source of inspiration for graphic designers, art directors, design firms, corporate design departments, advertising agencies, interactive designers, illustrators and photographers—everyone involved in visual communication. People involved in visual communication turn to Communication Arts for ideas and inspiration more than any other creative publication. CA’s editorials, feature articles and annual competitions provide new ideas and information while promoting the highest professional standards for the field.

Updated daily, CA’s online Exhibit section is designed to provide viewers with daily inspiration through multiple free features. Their Premium Online Content, included with a paid subscription, contains galleries of Communication Arts competition winners, over 250 in-depth feature articles, a media database of over 18,000 award-winning images and videos and a profile database of over 21,000 individuals and firms with their work.

Thank you CA for featuring our teams hard work!

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The NACMA has honored Wildfire’s work for Wake Forest University Athletics with a Gold in the category of Season Ticket Sales Campaign

Initiated in 2003, the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) Best of Awards program honors outstanding achievement in marketing and promotions. Awards are presented in 13 categories, with each category divided into three groups based upon school size and conference affiliations to promote fairness. Nearly 1,000 entries were received.

Thank you NACMA for this great honor!

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Wildfire and Partners Selected as Winners in the 30th Annual Educational Advertising Awards for Work on Wake Forest University and UNC School of the Arts

The Educational Advertising Awards is the largest educational advertising awards competition in the country. This year, over 2,000 entries were received from over one-thousand colleges, universities and secondary schools from all fifty states and several foreign countries.

Wildfire was recognized by the judges with one Silver and two Merit awards granted to Wake Forest University and University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

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Carolina West Wireless and Wildfire Won Honors in the Category of Print Advertising – Carrier for the Holiday FSI from the Competitive Carriers Association

Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) was founded in 1992 by nine rural and regional wireless carriers as a carrier centric organization.  Since its founding, CCA has grown to become the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers serving all areas of the United States. Today, the licensed service area of CCA’s over 100 carrier members covers more than 95 percent of the nation.

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Wildfire Partners with Lowes Foods, and Martin Lindstrom, Ranked #1 in Global Gurus Top 30, to Redefine the Local Grocery Chain’s Shopping Experience

Lowes Foods, along with award-winning branding expert Martin Lindstrom, approached Wildfire to assist in bringing Martin’s one-of-a-kind shopping vision to life through an in-store experience unlike any other in the category. Wildfire helped concept, design and implement a variety of store-within-a-store environments, including The Chicken Kitchen, SausageWorks and The Cakery. Each of these experiencesfrom the fun and folksy one-stop chicken shop, to the wonderfully wacky SausageWorks professor, and the sweet, sugary, square-filled Cakeryhas its own distinct personality and offering, giving shoppers a more memorable and enjoyable all-around experience.

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Wildfire Wins Three Gold & Five Silver Davey Awards in the Category of Design/Print and Commercial for Lowes Foods, The Dixie Classic Fair, Nocqua Adventure Gear, Milner’s Brother’s, Farmer’s Finest and Wake Forest Athletics

David defeated the giant Goliath with a big idea and a little rock – the sort of thing small firms do each year. The annual International Davey Awards is tauted as the largest and most prestigious awards competition exclusively for the “Creative Davids” of marketing, who derive their strength from big ideas, rather than stratospheric budgets.

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The Dieline Highlights Wildfire’s Package Design for Farmer’s Finest

The Dieline, the world’s top package design website, has once again recognized Wildfire for its packaging work. The new Blue Ridge brand looked to Wildfire to create labels for mouth-watering appeal. Three gourmet burgers have been created so far – Bacon & Cheddar, Mushroom & Swiss, and Blue Cheese & Onion – and come deliciously pre-stuffed, ready for grilling!

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Wildfire and Two Other Local Businesses Partner to Introduce Flywheel Co-working Space

Wildfire has partnered with two other locally-owned businesses, Workplace Strategies and Storr Office Environments, to introduce Flywheel. Flywheel is an 11,000+ square-foot co-working space located in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter at 525@Vine and will be open 24/7 for innovative professionals to come together to work on the fly, learn and share knowledge. Opening in June, there will be flexible short and long-term membership plans, including day passes, for open and enclosed workspaces.

To learn more about Flywheel, visit www.flywheelcowork.com.

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NASDAQ Welcomes National General

Congratulations to National General – looking good in Times Square as its listing on The NASDAQ Stock Market is celebrated. Proud to have designed their logo and be their partner.

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Wildfire ranks No. 3 out of the Top 25 Largest Triad Web development and design firms

Winston-Salem, NC — “The List” from The Business Journal has named Wildfire The Triad’s third largest web design and development firm. The Web Design Firms 2014 list ranked 25 area agencies by number of Web designers and total employees. Wildfire has built, hosts and helps maintain over 100 websites. In addition to website design, we offer a variety of digital marketing strategies for clients including search engine optimization/marketing, social media and blogging. Wildfire was fourth on last year’s list.

Wildfire Expands into Recruiting Business

Winston-Salem, NC — Wildfire, a Winston-Salem-based integrated marketing communications agency, announces the expansion of their new recruiting division – WF Connections.

wildfire, recruiting agencies

The agency has six years of experience successfully placing qualified candidates with clients under the name Wildfire Marketing Contract Services. As a result of its continued growth, Wildfire now brings a new face to this division as they expand further into the search arena.

With a talented team of Connection Specialists, WF Connections activates its large and diverse network, built on more than 20 years of contact development, to deliver long-term, short-term and temporary-to-permanent placements in the fields of Graphic Design & Production, Marketing, Branding & Communications, Finance & Banking and Human Resources.

“The difference between us and traditional recruiters is in what we call the Fit Factor,” explains WF Connections Managing Director Katie Kenney. “Finding the right candidate goes beyond their qualifications on paper. We work to understand not only the position, but also the company culture, to ensure our candidates are truly poised to be a successful addition to the team.”

To determine best fit and provide a successful connection, the company uses a proprietary process that starts with client engagement and ultimately ends with onboarding the right talent. With this effective connection process, as well as its distinct emphasis on fit between individual and company, WF Connections has positioned itself as a new breed of recruiters – and is excited for clients, big and small, to experience the power of their connections.

WF Connections is located in the existing Wildfire office at 709 North Main Street in downtown Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.wfconnections.com.

GO-FER the Win: Wildfire’s Dixie Classic Fair Campaign Wins Multiple International Awards

Winston-Salem, NC – Wildfire’s work with the Dixie Classic Fair on its “GO-FER the fun” campaign has recently been awarded several Hall of Honor Communications Awards from the International Association of Fairs & Expositions (IAFE).

The IAFE holds the awards competition annually, with the purpose of improving the advertising and publicity programs of fairs throughout the world, and providing recognition of fairs with outstanding campaigns. The competition is divided into five divisions, based on fair attendance, and members of the Advertising, Promotions and Public Relations IAFE Committee, along with media and ad agency representatives, judge all of the entries across various categories. Each entry is based on several criteria, including whether it is motivational; informative; indicative of creative excellence; appropriate to activities, audience and media used; utilizing a central theme; and indicative of production excellence.

This year, the Dixie Classic Fair competed in the IAFE’s Category 3 division, for fairs with attendance of 250,001 to 500,000. Its “GO-FER the fun” campaign featured the fun, food and competition that fairgoers look forward to each year, all brought to life by the fun-loving face of the campaign: Topher the Gopher.

With the help of both Wildfire and Topher the Gopher, the Dixie Classic Fair took home a heap of ribbons across five different categories, including:

1st place – Television & Radio Advertisement

2nd place – Outdoor Advertisement

3rd place – Magazine Ad & Web Advertisement

Wildfire marketing agency North Carolina wins award.

Wildfire’s Packaging Design of Lowes Foods Highlighted in The Dieline

Winston-Salem, NC – Wildfire has received recognition for its Lowes Foods Chicken Kitchen packaging from The Dieline, the world’s top package design website.

Chicken Kitchen is a new “store within a store” for roasted, fried or grilled chicken, flavored chicken wings, chicken salad and sides found in the deli section of Lowes Foods.

The branding is a unique, one-of-a-kind, fun and slightly folk art-inspired, meant to grab the attention of kids and parents alike. Custom die lines based upon the chicken character playfully distinguish the packaging, “breaking the frame” both physically and visually. Kids boxes were printed with several different variations of jokes and kids’ games on the side, as well as a surprise here or there if you were to take a peek under the box. Ultimately the packaging is one element supporting a unique store environment boasting ‘chicken you’d cross the road for.’ In addition to the brand mark and packaging, Wildfire also created in-store signage, Menu boards and website.

Both Wildfire and Lowes Foods are headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Wildfire marketing branding agency North Carolina.

Wildfire Heats Up AIGA Winston-Salem Studio Tour

On October 22, Triad NC AIGA hosted the Winston-Salem Studio Tour, giving local creatives an inside look at the Triad’s leading creative agencies—from graphic design and advertising, to letterpress and web development. Each studio was asked to open its doors that evening to showcase its space, work, and company culture, all within a pre-determined theme. Wildfire’s theme was—yep, you guessed it—“Fire Gone Wild”. And its presentation was nothing short of its name. From a fire-themed music playlist and spicy foods and drinks, to a fiery photobooth with the resident devil, a fire pit with s’mores, and a real-life fire spinner, Wildfire embraced all things fire and took the event by firestorm. After the event, attendees were asked to vote for the top studio tour in the following three categories: Outstanding Theme, Coolest Office Space, and Best Experience. In its namesake’s true fashion, Wildfire burned through the competition and won all three awards. (Yes, you read that correctly. All three.) …Is it just us, or did it suddenly get all hot in here?

Wildfire creative agency North Carolina.

Wildfire Recognized for Brothers Restaurant Identity Work

Winston-Salem, NC —Local marketing agency Wildfire is currently featured in the online complement to leading trade journal Communications Arts magazine, commarts.com, for their brand identity work for Brothers restaurant. Creative pieces, including the new brand mark, visual identity, menus, uniforms and website, have been spotlighted within the site’s Exhibit feature, which showcases new and innovative projects in graphic design and advertising from around the world.

The brand’s new identity is very much rooted in the balanced personalities of Brothers owners John and Buddy Milner, who originally engaged Wildfire as their agency partner in 2012 for their first restaurant venture, Milner’s American Southern.

“The big brother is quiet and serious, while the younger brother is lighthearted and quick to tell a joke,“ explains Chief Creative Officer Mike Grice, adding, “The new brand captures both personalities—it’s both raw and refined, combining natural and industrial elements to celebrate sophisticated flavors in a fun, laid-back environment.”

The restaurant’s new menu, featuring new American cuisine with a creative twist, has certainly lived up to the image as well. Brothers was voted Best New Restaurant in the 2013 Winston-Salem Journal Readers Choice Awards.

Chief Creative Officer Mike Grice led the Wildfire creative team, including Anna Jacobs, writer, and Traci Naff, lead designer. Interactive Director Chip Crutchfield and Lead Programmer Matt Rowland led the web work.

Brothers restaurant is located at 2391 Lewisville Clemmons Road in Clemmons, NC. For more information, visit https://themilnerbrothers.com

Wildfire marketing agency Winston Salem NC

Wake Forest University Football Ranked #2

Winston-Salem, N.C. —The Wake Forest University (WFU) Football Schedule Poster designed by Wildfire, a Winston-Salem-based integrated marketing communications firm, was ranked number 2 in Bleacher Report’s list of The Top 50 Team Schedule Posters.

Bleacher Report (https://bleacherreport.com) is a one of the most popular sports news websites with a growing monthly audience of more than 14 million unique users.

Every year, the site collects schedule posters from football programs around the country and ranks them based on the five categories of School Spirit, Schedule Clarity, Photo Quality, Creativity and Awesomeness.

Lead Wildfire designer Kaylan Hufham and team received a 9/10 in 4 out of 5 categories, with specific applause around the use of a reflection in a player’s visor to feature the team and mascot. “We set out to bring the Demon Deacons to life as a team, not just one player, in a creative and impactful way,” explains Hufham.

Under the ‘Awesomeness’ category, Bleacher Report featured columnist Lafe Peavler states, “Whether or not you’re a Wake Forest fan, you can’t go wrong with this poster hanging on your wall.”

This is the first piece in a yearlong, multi-sport campaign by Wildfire, agency partner to Wake Forest Athletics, that will highlight the WFU student-athlete for not only their competition in game play, but also their good nature and generosity. “It’s this dichotomous personality that makes Wake Forest student-athletes truly unique,” says Chace Hoglund, Strategic Planner at Wildfire, adding, “Wake Forest athletes are demons on the field, and deacons off it.”

Hoglund oversaw the project alongside Wake Forest Athletics Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Special Projects, Mike Odom and Wake Forest Athletics Director of Marketing, Bradley Keen.

Wildfire Wins Small Business of the Year Award at Annual Chamber Meeting

Winston-Salem – Wildfire, LLC was awarded the Truliant Small Business Award at the 127th Annual Meeting of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce held at the Benton Convention Center. The award was presented by Truliant Federal Credit Union to over 800 business leaders at the event. It is the only meeting in the community that gathers CEOs and high-level corporate executives to discuss the Chamber’s key accomplishments over the past year.

Wildfire is a marketing company that promises to grow its clients’ businesses while lowering their blood pressure and doing it with the highest quality strategic and creative products. Since its founding in 2002, the company has expanded to over 50 full-time employees and is the Triad’s third largest marketing-communications firm.

“We are beyond thrilled to receive this honorable award,” states Brad Bennett, chief executive officer. “This year, we’ve started new relationships, large and small in scope, across a diverse range of industries, and expanded existing relationships. Being recognized by the Chamber for our hard work is a great feeling.”

Wildfire represents Hanesbrands, Inc, BB&T, Lowe’s, Wake Forest Athletics, Carolina West Wireless, The Army National Guard, Dixie Classic Fair, among others. In addition, the agency is active with various community organizations including AARF and the North Carolina Triad Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

Additional finalists included a/perture cinema, Concinnity Marketing & Technology, Davenport Transportation Consulting and Pro Benefits.

Held in the North Main Hall of the Benton Convention Center, the Annual Meeting was sponsored by Cook Medical, Duke Energy and Truliant Federal Credit Union.

About the Chamber

The Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce is the leading business organization in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, representing nearly 1,800 area businesses that are committed to increased economic development in the region. The Chamber is dedicated to establishing Winston-Salem as a technology-driven economic center, and provides services to strengthen existing businesses, support entrepreneurs, and encourage small business creation. The Chamber supports public school student achievement, workforce, and higher education development.