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What’s the Difference Between a Brand and Branding?

Title Image What's the Difference Between a Brand and Branding

By Kim Dickerson

Ghostwritten by Wendy Scheuring

Last year, we wrote a blog on branding and its importance to your business. Today’s blog offers a reboot on branding. Your logo is vital to your branding. So is your company name. So is your mission and your vision which we discussed in our latest blog.

Throughout your entire life, you have probably seen thousands of logos. Hundreds upon thousands of them. You probably also recognize the ones you prize, cherish, or even don’t like so much. You might also recognize brands from your childhood. Branding your business is not all about advertising. It’s also about creating a strong impression upon the beholder that can last a lifetime.

So, before we delve more into branding, let’s take a consumer’s point of view by defining what a brand is.

Brands are names.

When you hear the name of a popular brand, you know exactly what it is. There is absolutely no question. In fact, many of us have favorite go-to brands just because. When it comes to athletic shoes and apparel, think of Nike or Reebok; when it comes to coffee, think of Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts; or when it comes to fashion think of Gloria Vanderbilt or Tommy Hilfiger. How about home décor, such as Martha Stewart?

Brands are represented by logos, too.

Did you know that the word “logos” means “word”in the Greek language? Think about that for a moment. Your logo is actually a word which represents you.Some of companies I mentioned earlier are names of the people who started them. This is rare and the result of an amazing advertising campaign carried out over a period of decades to associate the name with the brand. This can happen not only with names but also with the company logo. Eventually, the name fades away and consumers recognize the brand only through the logo. McDonalds has the yellow double arches. Nike has the black swoosh. Starbucks has the green goddess. They just changed what she looked like over the years.

Brands mean something to consumers.

You may like certain brands because they resonate with you. They stand for something. Maybe they make their goods in the good ole U.S.A. Maybe they care about the environment. Maybe they use organic materials in their products. Maybe you just like how the product looks and feels. Maybe you feel rich or luxurious wearing or using them. Certain brands appeal to certain people or certain groups of people for one reason or another.

Now, let’s talk about the word “branding.” Branding is, in effect, advertising. That’s where we come in. So, here’s our first piece of advice.

Your company name is part of your branding

First of all, you need to know that your company name is part of your branding. Some new business owners may want to name their company after themselves. After all, Martha Stewart did it. So did Tony Robbins. So did Vidal Sassoon, etc. etc. etc. Yet even today, the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, did not name his companies after himself. Think Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and PayPal. The names of these businesses show what the company does, with the exception of Tesla, which was so named after the famous and well-known inventor, futurist, and engineer, Nikola Tesla. Because most people are familiar with Tesla, the name says it all about the electric car brand. If they weren’t familiar with Tesla, they certainly are now. Musk brought Tesla back to life.

Now, if you have already named your business after yourself, that’s okay, too. Over time, your name may actually become synonymous with your product of service due to a great logo, vision, and mission. You can still brand around your name and we can show you how. Or, you may be thinking of rebranding. We can help with that, too. Companies rebrand all the time and for the right reasons. Maybe it is time for you to rebrand, too.

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T-Shirt Design Basics and Creation

two women wearing Viera Social Media company shirts

Think about how many people you see around town or around your workplace wearing a graphic T-Shirt on a daily basis. You probably see quite a few. However, how much have you actually thought about what goes into the making of a custom T-shirt design?

Maybe you needed shirts made for a school, church, or sports event and went through the process of finding a place to get them made. Depending on how many shirts you needed, you may have looked into finding a local business that makes shirts. You may have gone online and ordered from Custom Ink or Spread Shirt. Either way, you probably found that creating a custom T-shirt design was more confusing than you had thought.

There are 3 main ways of creating a custom shirt. All three ways are very different, so keep them in mind when designing your next custom T-Shirt.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a way of printing shirts where each color is laid down separately. They are printed in a specific order to get the desired design. Six to nine colors is typically the maximum amount of colors you can print at any local print shop. However, the more colors you are printing, the more it will cost. The reason screen printing can get pricey is because of how much work goes into it. As shown in the diagram below, screen printing is a multi-step process that starts with a silk screen.

screen print diagram, T-shirt Design
https://blogs.alphagraphics.com/blog/nashville-tennessee-us731/2018/07/31/how-it-works-screen-printing-and-the-history-behind-it/

Screen Print Process

A designer will take your design file and open it in an editing software, such as illustrator. They will then limit the number of colors in it. The design will be printed, each color will print on a separate sheet, and one at a time each color sheet will be sealed against a screen. Each screen is then exposed to light which burns the printout image onto it. You then wash out the screen to reveal the image burned into it. Once you have your finished screens, add the correct ink color to the corresponding screen. Then squeegee the ink from each screen onto the shirt. After you dry the ink, the final product should have the same design on it that the designer printed.

The fewer colors the better

Screen printing is your best bet if you are looking to print a design with few colors, such as a simple logo. If a large quantity of shirts is needed for events, such as races, school plays, or church events, consider using only one or two ink colors.

When ordering from a company with automatic screen print machines, large quantities of single ink colored shirts are typically more economical than ordering a small quantity of 6 plus ink colored shirts. This is because of how much easier it is to print a single color on a shirt versus even two ink colors and up. The difficulty in printing more than one color is getting the colors to line up to create the desired T-shirt design. Not to mention, the more colors you print, the longer each shirt takes. If you are printing a design with nine colors, it will take roughly the same amount of time to print nine shirts with one ink color as one shirt with nine ink colors.

Screen printing takes a lot of time to set up no matter how many colors you get. Because of that, most larger screen print shops won’t print less than a dozen shirts.

Direct to Garment Printing

Direct to Garment printing, also known as, DTG printing, is the process of using a modified ink jet printer to print on apparel. Instead of printing a design on paper, it’s printed on a shirt. Unlike screen printing, Direct to Garment printing can print as many colors as you want. This method is best is you are wanting to print an actual picture. However, because of the cost of ink, direct to garment printing can get expensive. DTG printing is much easier to set up than screen printing. It is best to consider direct to garment printing when needing a dozen, or less, shirts.

Some shops that print direct to garment may only allow you to print on a white shirt. This is because the ink will show up better and last longer.

Direct to Garment Printing, T-Shirt Design
https://www.onehourtees.com/blog/whats-dtg-printing-and-how-does-it-work/

Sublimated Printing

When looking to get shirts printed, sublimated printing is probably the least common method you will find. Sublimated printing is when you print sublimation ink from a printer onto sublimation transfer paper. After printing your design, you press in onto a blank shirt using a heat press. Sublimated printing can be quite costly. The ink is expensive and the multi-step process makes printing large numbers of shirts not very economical. If you are only printing a few shirts sublimation is a great option. However, like previously mentioned, it can be harder to find somewhere to do sublimated printing.

Sublimation printing, T-Shirt Design
https://www.coastalbusiness.com/blog/sublimation/heat-transfer-paper-vs-sublimation.html

Fully Sublimated Shirts

Instead of printing a design on just one part of the shirt, you can also use sublimation inks to print on the entire shirt. You may have seen this method used on sports apparel and other graphic t-shirts. Fully sublimated shirts start essentially the same way as regular sublimation. However, the designs will be printed in the shape of the shirt, pressed onto blank fabric, cut and sewed together. This method, of course, is the most expensive. That is why typically these types of shirts will only be mass produced.

fully sublimated T-shirt design
https://www.dasflow.com/blog/what-is-sublimation-printing

Consider Quantity and Cost for your T-Shirt Design

At the end of the day, deciding how and where you would like your shirts printed, comes down to two factors- quantity and cost.

  • With screen printing, the more shirts you order, the more economic.
  • With Direct to Garment and Sublimated printing, fewer shirts is the way to go.
  • When you only need a few colors it is best to go with screen printing.
  • If you are needing shirts with a lot of colors, it is best to go with DTG or Sublimation.
  • If you are wanting a picture, screen printing is not an option.
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How to Market your Business Online

When did things get so complicated? Back in the good ol’ days business seemed simpler and you did not need to worry about how to market your business online. You didn’t have to worry about your ranking on Google or creating a social media presence to stay competitive. 

Staying relevant in this increasingly difficult world requires a new knowledge base and an entirely different set of strategies.  So next time you ask yourself when things had to get so complicated, know that there is a method to the madness. If done right, you will see that marketing your business online can be the most valuable thing you can do. Here are six essential online marketing tools for your small businesses in Brevard County.

1. E-mail Marketing  

A very important tool that should be utilized by all businesses is e-mail marketing. Email addresses are a guaranteed link to your customers that you can segment and target to communicate. These addresses also cannot be taken from you or closed down easily, the way a Facebook Group or an Instagram Page can be. In the online marketing world, email addresses are the gold standard.

Email marketing is a great way to attract and retain customers with authentic messages about your business, product or service. You can reach your entire email list with a click of a button, unlike social media platforms that are at the mercy of the algorythm.

There are many websites that will provide you with a platform to begin your e-mail marketing plans such as Constant Contact and Mailchimp.

2. Blogging  

Creating a blog for your business allows you to create fresh, high-quality content showcasing your thought, expertise, and leadership in your industry. This is a great way to engage more people in what you do and why it is important.  It can also provide a catalyst for email marketing, social media promotion to drive search traffic to your website.

Some examples of blog content are: 

  • How to do or create something.  
  • Answers to frequently asked questions. 
  • Your portfolio. 
  • Recaps of events or activities. 
  • Industry knowledge and updates. 

3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  

SEO is the process of optimizing the content you create so that it will be placed where you want it and it is essential to online marketing. It is responsible for ranking your website above all your competitors. It makes you more visible, increasing your traffic, conversion rate and ROI.

SEO can help you:

  • build better relationships with your audience
  • improve the customer experience
  • increase your authority
  • drive more people to your site
  • give you an edge over the competition
  • increase conversions, which means more sales, more loyal customers, and more growth for your business

4. Facebook ADs  

Facebook ad campaigns are a targeted form of advertising that allows you to reach a more specific audience on Facebook and Instagram by selecting them based on key demographics and interests. These ads are not free but when used properly, they can be very beneficial, especially when you have a strong organic reach.

How do I develop Ad Campaigns?

Developing the right types of ads can take time. The process begins by creating your first set of ads and then analyzing the analytics at the start, duration, and completion of your campaign. Analyzing and comparing your results can help tell you what type of posts receive the best responses based on your specific goals. Facebook Split Testing is your best friend when it comes to Facebook ADs and deciding what does and does not work.

5. Social Media

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most used social media platforms to date with 2.6 billion people online every month. This social media platform provides a network for socializing amongst friends, family, or businesses. People use it to share information, and stay connected.

Facebook is one of the most important platforms to use when marketing your business online because it is usually the first place people search. They will be able to read a profile of information about your business, view photos, videos, and observe your conversations and interactions with others. You are showcasing your personality and experiences to potential clients and customers in a tangible and authentic way.

Instagram

There are over 1 billion people using Instagram every month. According to a Facebook survey by being on Instagram, brands can make a positive impression on potential shoppers. People surveyed say they perceive brands on Instagram as popular (78%), creative (77%), entertaining (76%), relevant (74%) and committed to building community (72%).

Instagram has quickly become one of the most influential platforms for ideas, styles, businesses, and individuals used today. It is also a well know discovery engine for brands with over 80% of users discovering new products and businesses on the platform.

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is a valuable tool to network within your industry and build credibility by showcase your expertise. It is known as a social network for recruiting and hiring. In addition, it is a great tool for keeping up to date with industry news and learning new business strategies.

YouTube 

Youtube can be an excellent place to communicate with your target audience by showcasing your expertise. Make an informative video for something that can educate your audience on what you do or why you are the best. You can do this with a tutorial or “how-to” video, or film a demonstration for your product that highlights all of its features and benefits.

For example, a restaurant may show a video of how to create a favorite dish, or feature a virtual tour through their restaurant so viewers can experience the atmosphere. This can make your audience feel more connected with you and be more likely to eat at your restaurant.   

6. Collaborations:

With Other Accounts

On Social Media, you can identify other well run accounts that have a similar following to your targeted followers and collaborate with them. Chances are that their followers are your followers and you can grow off each other. A collaboration should always benefit both parties involved.

For example, a photographer may want to collaborate with a wedding caterer because they are not in competition with each other and they are also targeting the same audience, brides. When followers view posts from the accounts they are following they are introduced to the accounts they partner with.

With Influencers  

Influencers can be great for collaborations too, especially influencers who blog about your industry and have the analytics to back it up. Validated influencers can be invaluable to getting the word out about your brand or business. There are two main types of influencers: micro-influencers and macro-influencers.

When marketing your business online do not analyze vanity metrics when deciding to work with an influencer such as follower counts and likes.  Instead ask for a copy of their analytics.  This will give you measurable proof of their followers demographics, Reach and Engagement.  This is how you ensure their followers are your target audience.

Micro-Influencers vs. Macro-Influencers

Micro-influencers are influencers with 1K-100K followers. Macro-influencers have a following of over 100K followers.

Micro-influencers have less of a reach than macro-influencers but a higher engagement rate and are more affordable. Micro-influencers are more trustworthy to consumers because they are more relatable than macro-influencers that have a celebrity appeal.

For example, a local school will generate more valuable engagement with a local mom blogger than a celebrity. The mom blogger is more impactful because they are apart of the community they are speaking to.

We hope that you found these six online marketing options helpful for your small business. If we can help you with any of your marketing needs please contact us below, or give us a call directly at (321) 301-7143.

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Everything a business in Brevard County needs to know to Optimize their Instagram Bio section.

Considering a majority of visitors to your Instagram profile page are new and not following you, one quick glance at your account can make or break your follower growth.  It is important to be objective and ask yourself if someone can tell what your business is about.  Then ask yourself are my services and what I uniquely have to offer communicated properly?  You want to leave your visitor thinking “Wow, where is this restaurant?”  Not “Why does everyone always post pictures of food?”

Ok, so how exactly do you do that?  Take a look at these social media tips for optimizing your Instagram Bio Section of your profile to find out!

“Two-thirds of profile visits to businesses come from people who aren’t following that business.”

Instagram Data, Nov 2017

Activate a Business Account

The main reason you need to activate a business account is it provides you with analytics or the tools you need to grow.  Without data to analyze and measure it is impossible to direct your growth. 

Business accounts also get a category option that tells Instagram [Facebook and Google] who you are and who you are targeting.   This allows your reach to go further and more importantly to reach the correct audience.   See more on optimizing your Category option below.

Make sure you have an optimized Profile picture. 

Having a profile picture that properly communicates your business name and image is key to getting noticed in the Instagram world.  Unlike Facebook, Instagram pictures are small, round and cannot be enlarged. You will need an image powerful enough to stand out among a sea of other tiny images. On top of that, a majority of consumers view social media through a mobile device instead of a desktop making your image even smaller and amplifying the issue. It is important to consider all of these factors when selecting an Instagram profile picture for your business.

You can find my complete blog post on optimizing your profile picture here.

Category

If you activated your business account then you will have a category option. The category you pick serves two purposes: to categorize yourself within Instagram and as an additional description potential followers will read. This has the potential to save you characters when you get to the next step, your “Brief Description”. 

When you go to choose a category it will generate a list depending on the letters you have typed and it will change as you type each letter.  So take a minute to try a variety of words and see what your options are before picking the first option that works. I have included a video below that shows how your options generate.

I have also included a great example of an optimized category in the example portion of this blog post below.

Brief Description

You are limited to the number of characters you are allowed to use so get as creative as you can.  Explain what your business offers better than anyone else but make sure you do this in as few words, or emojis, as possible.  With the limited amount of characters that you are allowed to use, 150 characters to be exact, you need to include a description and a call to action [see more details on your call to action in the next section]

If your profile picture and feed visually show what your page is about, then use these words to communicate what they cannot.  This doesn’t mean you cannot be literal in your description but use your characters wisely. 

Call to Action

This is the call that directs the customer to act towards achieving your goal on the platform.  For example do you want them to go to a website to view amazing merchandise or to subscribe to your blog?  Maybe you want them to contact you directly with an email or phone call to schedule an appointment.  Whatever it is you are hoping to achieve customize your call to action to reflect that.

You can also use words like “Click Here” or “Contact Us Here” to specifically tell your customer what to do. 

Action Button:

When you have a business account activated on Instagram you also get the option to add an action button, making it even easier to get where you are directing them.  Making the action to make an appointment or send an email user-friendly and convenient ensures you do not miss an opportunity!

Link

This is the only place on Instagram where you can post a clickable link.  Unlike Facebook you cannot add clickable links to comments or content.  Instead, you must always direct viewers to the link in your bio to access them. 

I do not recommend them, but there are third-party apps like Linktree and Leadpages that allow you to post multiple links on one landing page.  I personally do not like to use these apps because they can be seen as spammy and can be unreliable.  Instead, I would suggest making the home page of your website your landing page for additional links so you can get the analytics and increase traffic to YOUR site.

The story your posts create on your feed.

When a potential follower is on your profile page and they look at your feed does it communicate anything? 

If you take the time to plan out your campaign and organize it properly then it will tell the story of what your business is and has to offer.  This is not a billboard but a snapshot. Other information is better communicated in stories where day to day activities are posted.  Think of daily posts as magazine covers for your story feeds

Please leave any questions you have on this topic below. I would love to put together a blog post on this to further explain how this is achieved.

Examples of optimized Instagram bio sections

A perfect example of an optimized Instagram bio is the account run by the @spacecoastfoodies. It is instantly obvious that they are the people to follow if you want to know where all the good local restaurants are on the Space Coast. The page also visually tells a story about a couple who are proud to call the Space Coast home with their fashion line that screams hometown pride.

  • Profile Picture: They have a clear picture where they pop off the white backdrop.
  • Category: “Local & Travel Website” This lets viewers and Instagram know that vacationers and people who are local to the Space Coast will benefit from the content on this page.
  • Brief Description: “Space Coast, FL” and “Showing you the BEST local eats” lets you know that they are a food blog focused on the “best” local restaurants on the Space Coast. They also list it out so it is quick and easy to read.
  • Call to Action: SHOP stands out because all letters are capitalized and this immediately lets you know they have merchandise.
  • Link: Conveniently located below the call to action is the link that makes the action accessible.

AB Testing

Now you understand what to include but you might be asking yourself how to know if you are including the best content in your bio. Just like everything else on social media you have to AB test it. This can take time and can be an ongoing process, depending on your business, but necessary.

Please leave any questions you have on this topic below. I am planning a blog post on this to further explain how AB testing is used in managing your social media accounts.

I hope you found this post helpful. Please subscribe below to be notified about future blog posts and do not be afraid to reach out if you are looking for a social media manager for your business.

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Choosing the Right Instagram Profile Picture for your Business’s Instagram Page

Instagram is an amazing platform with over a billion active users each month and with ninety percent of those users following a business’s page, this is the platform you are going to want to stand out on!  This is the best way to build relationships with new customers, with your current customers and for your customers to get to know you.

Having a profile picture that properly communicates your business name and image is key to getting noticed in the Instagram world.  Unlike Facebook, Instagram pictures are small, round and cannot be enlarged. You will need an image powerful enough to stand out amongst a sea of other tiny images. On top of that, a majority of consumers view social media through a mobile device instead of a desktop making your image even smaller and amplifying the issue. It is important to consider all of these factors when selecting an Instagram profile picture for your business.

Ok, now that you know why an Instagram Profile picture is so important and you also understand its constraints let me break down for you a checklist to help you create the perfect profile picture:

  1. Choose a clean image where your logo or face is clearly visible.  I would suggest picking a portrait style picture unless you’re representing a company with many employees or the brand is already more recognizable than the person running it.  The primary focus is, “why me over my competitors?”  When the customer sees an image of your face or faces they already see your business in a friendlier and more approachable light.
  2. Make sure your background is clean and crisp allowing your logo or face to pop.  You want to pop off your background not be lost in it.
  3. Choose a square sized image not a rectangular one, to ensure your image displays the way you want it to when you upload it.  A poorly cropped image is not the first impression you want to leave when people are looking at your business. *Professional Tip: Have your image sized to 110×110 pixels to give your image the optimal quality and clarity!
  4. The use of props, when appropriate, can convey what your business is about in one image.  For example if you are a photographer and your profile picture is of you with a camera, then people will instantly know you are a photography business!
  5. Lighting is also key in any picture.  Natural light is the best source of light for good profile pictures. It will make your face glow, add depth to your eye color, and light up your background.

If you found this article helpful please share your new profile picture on your story and tag me @vierasocialmedia with the hashtag #vsmoptomizedmyprofile

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4 beneficial reasons for businesses to have a presence on social media.

By Kim Dickerson –Owner of Viera Social Media

There are more businesses on social media than ever before. These are four main reasons companies are focusing their marketing to their branding through on social media:

  1. Connecting with your audience.
  2. Building Brand Loyalty
  3. Learn about your audience (obtain unique insight on your audience)
  4. Provides a never before available, inside perspective into competitors

1. Businesses on social media are connecting with your audience.

95% of businesses worldwide use Facebook and 68% of US adults are using Facebook, with three-fourths of them logging on daily.  These platforms are the best way to connect with your customer on a consistent basis. Believe it or not, consumers are looking to platforms like Facebook to do more for them than keeping up with friends.  Half of generation Z and 42% of millennial’s says that social media is the most relevant ad channel.  More and more users are turning to social media for news and information that is specific to their likes and needs.

2. Businesses on social media are building brand loyalty.

With so many options out there it can be very overwhelming for your customer to decide what is right for them. Following an interacting with a brand they believe in helps them to make these decisions.  After messaging a brand on Facebook 66% of people feel more confident about the brand and 55% feel more personally connected to the brand.  It is no surprise that Social Media interaction is today’s top influencer in brand loyalty and will keep your customer coming back. It is important to note that 57% of people are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media and 71% are more likely to purchase from the brand after having a positive social experience.

3. You can learn about your audience.

Social Media allows you to learn about your audience.  The most common reason why consumers reach out to brands on social media is because they have a question, 57% of consumers have done this.  The second most common reason is to have an issue with a product or service resolved, 45% of consumers have done thisThrough social media you can better understand your customers needs because they’re able to provide feedback. Feedback you can use to better your business, advertising, products and services.

4. It provides a never before available, inside perspective into competitors

Another extremely useful thing that social media provides is direct insights into the competition. All of their business behavior, best practices and customers are right there for you to view, analyze and interact with.  This is a new and exciting avenue into understanding the competition that did not exist before and can only be accessed through social media. 

This only touches the surface on what social media can do for your business.  Viera Social Media can guide your business through all of it and you can focus on what your business does best!  Take a look at our packages below and reach out if you have any questions to kimdickerson@vierasocialmedia.com