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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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10 Best Company Logo Designs and Why

10 Best Company Logo Designs and Why

There are some company logo designs that you can’t help but think of when you think about what a good logo should look like. Weather it be their creative simplicity or complex cleverness, some logos will stand out in your mind forever. If you are needing a logo for your company or are wanting a logo update you can look to these logos for inspiration. We will discuss 10 of the best company logo designs and what makes them so iconic.

1. Apple

Apple Company Logo Design

The Apple logo has come to be known as one of the most recognizable logos. One thing that makes the Apple logo is iconic is how simple it is. Rob Janoff designed the Apple logo in 1977 keeping in mind that apples have been a symbol of knowledge for a long time. (20 Best Logos [Classic and New] (zarla.com)) He also added the bite mark for proportion so you immediately know that it’s an apple. The bite can also represent a “byte” which is a play on words referring to what the company does with technology.

2. Nike

Nike Company Logo Design

The Nike logo is another simple but highly effective logo. It was designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971 and the “swoosh” represents the wings of the goddess of Victory, Nike. However, now the “swoosh” makes people think of a fast moving object which correlates with the athleticism that Nike promotes.

3. Starbucks

Starbucks Company Logo Design

The Starbucks logo makes you automatically think of coffee, as Starbucks is the worlds largest coffee chain. You may be wondering what the two-tailed mermaid on the logo means or where it came from. Well, the mermaid is actually a siren. A siren is a creature from Greek Mythology that lured sailors in, causing them to crash their ships. Starbucks wants to lure you in to buy their coffee.

4. McDonald’s

McDonald's Company Logo Design

The McDonald’s “Golden Arches” are internationally recognized as there are more than 38,000 locations in operation around the world. The McDonald’s logo is simple, yet the yellow and red colors are eye catching and make a lasting impression. McDonald’s logo is a good example showing that good use of color in your branding can invoke a certain emotion. Red and yellow when used together, are shown to make people feel hungry, according to color-meanings.com. (7 Colors That Will Make You Hungry or Lose Your Appetite – Color Meanings (color-meanings.com)

5. Amazon

Amazon Company Logo Design

The Amazon Logo is a great design because of the double meaning that the arrow portrays. Sometimes called “The Smiley Arrow,” Amazon’s icon points from A to Z which shows that their company specializes in everything from A to Z. The arrow also forms a smiley face showing the company’s commitment to making customers smile.

6. Target

Target Company Logo Design

The Target “Bullseye” is another highly simplistic yet recognizable logo. The “target” icon portrays power and that if you shop at Target, no matter what you are looking for, you will hit the bullseye. The Target logo stands out because of it’s simple round design that is symmetrical. Like the McDonald’s logo, Target also takes advantage of the color red. However in this case, red was chosen as it is a bold color that makes an impression.

7. Under Armour

Under Armour Company Logo Design

Under Armour’s logo makes the list because of it’s clever incorporation of both the U and the A. The two letters are merged seamlessly to create one symbol. Compared to some of the other logos in this list, Under Armour is a relatively new company, being introduced in 1996. Since Under Armour is an athletic brand, their logo needed to look “beefy” and provoke a feeling of strength, which it does.

8. Microsoft

Microsoft Company Logo Design

Microsoft’s logo was created to represent technology being a “window into the world.” The Microsoft logo has come along way since the company first began as Traft-O-Data in 1972. The name changed to Microsoft in 1975, bringing with it a new logo. However, Microsoft’s first logo, while it was great at the time, did not well capture the brand.

Old Microsoft Logo

In 2012 the company re-branded and went with the current version of the logo.

9. FedEx

Fedex Company Logo Design

One thing you may have never noticed about the FedEx logo is the arrow in it. You may be thinking, “what arrow?” However, if you look closely you will see an arrow made from the negative space between the E and the X. This little subtle detail may go undetected by some, but once you see it, you can never un-see it. FedEx’s first logo however, does not contain the hidden arrow. This is because their first couple logos used a different font where the shapes of the letters do not form an apparent arrow.

Old Fedex logo

The current logo was designed in 1994 by Lindon Leader.

10. Levi’s

Levi's Company Logo Design

The Levi’s logo actually has an interesting history. The company was started at the time of the goldrush in the 19th century by Levi Strauss. He started the company so that he could make a pair of pants that miners could wear. He ended up inventing denim and the company exploded in popularity. Their first logo shows two horses pulling a pair of jeans on either sides. This is to depict that the jeans are built strong and are durable. The logo was also supposed to make it easy for both literate and illiterate, as well as non-English speakers to understand the brand. Their first logo is actually still used today as a patch sewn onto every pair of jeans. (Levi’s Logo Design – History, Meaning and Evolution | Turbologo)

Levi's patch

Their current logo is a much more simple version with only the word “Levi’s” on a red background. The current logo features a red “batwing” design based off of the stitch used on the back pocket of their most popular jean, the 501.

Levi's 501

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different elements that go into making a good logo. All of the company logo designs we’ve looked at in this article have something about them that helps them stand out as a good logo. One thing you may have noticed is that all of these logos are relatively simple. A simple logo with a unique element is sure to stay in people’s mind as it gets the point across quickly and effectively.

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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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Logo Design- Best Practices & Things to Keep in Mind

Viera Social Media Logo

A logo is probably the most important part of your company’s branding as it literally says who you are. A good logo design should be a simple embodiment of your company. It should also be easily recognizable.

In this blog we will look at best practices that you, the business owner, can follow to help the process go as smooth as possible when working with a graphic designer.

We will discuss how to find the right graphic designer for you, how to communicate what you want, revision etiquette, and cost saving compromises.

Finding the right logo designer

There are several things to keep in mind if you are just starting the process of finding a graphic designer for your logo design.

Budget

The first thing to keep in mind is your budget. Once you have determined what your budget will be, then you can begin the search for a graphic designer to bring your logo vision to life. Knowing your budget when searching for a graphic designer will help you choose someone who is in your price point. Knowing how much certain graphic designers charge and what you are looking to spend will prove useful in avoiding future miscommunications when it comes to your invoice.

Location

The second thing to keep in mind is that there are many places you can find a graphic designer. With a quick search on the internet, you will find that there are plenty of options for finding a graphic designer. You can check out freelance sites such as Fiverr and Upwork, or search for a local graphic designer in your area. Be sure to also keep in mind that a local designer may be able to meet with you in person and go over your ideas. This is always helpful when making sure your thoughts and ideas are communicated accurately, which will help the design process go smoother.

Keep in mind that a local designer may be able to meet with you in person and go over your ideas.

Compatibility

The third thing to keep in mind is compatibility. When choosing the right graphic designer for you, you will want to look at samples of their previous work, if provided. Make sure that the designs they have done in the past are along the lines of what you are looking for when it comes to your own logo. Every graphic designer has a different art style. Most designers will adapt their art style to fit what their client is looking for. However, some designers have a very specific style and will always stick to that even if it means upsetting the client.

Cost saving strategies to keep in mind

There are a couple things to keep in mind when dreaming about your perfect logo.

Colors

The number of colors in your logo doesn’t matter for most things you would use it for digitally. However, if you are ever going to want your logo screen printed, or embroidered on shirts, keep in mind, the more colors, the most cost.

Details

Logos with a lot of detail are also difficult and expensive to screen print and embroider. Also, keep in mind, if you will be ordering business cards with your future logo, you may not like the way your logo looks when shrunk down to fit
on a standard sized business card. It may be hard for potential customers to read your business’ name.

Communicating your logo design ideas

Once you have chosen the right graphic designer for your logo design, it’s time to reach out and let them know what you are looking for and agree on a price.

Have an idea in mind

Keep in mind that having an idea of what you want, even just a vague idea, will help the design process go so much smoother. When envisioning your dream logo keep in mind some of the elements that make a logo design successful. A good logo should be: simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate.

Provide examples if possible

A couple things you could do to help the designer have a clearer picture in their head of what you are looking for. One thing you can do is to provide the designer with a hand drawn sketch of what you envision your logo looking like. If you are not able to do that, show images of other logos you have seen and like. This will go a long way in helping the designer create your dream logo, faster.

Speak your mind

A good graphic designer will be able to take the instructions you have given them and communicate back an initial “game plan” on how they will execute the design. If the ideas they give you are not what you had in mind, make sure to speak up and correct any miscommunication. A good designer will take your feedback and revise the plan until you are comfortable with direction they are heading in. Make sure everything is cleared up in the initial stages of design. This will, in turn, make the process go smoother in later stages of the logo design.

Mock-ups and revisions

When your logo designer sends you your first mock-up make sure you look it over carefully. Analyze it to figure out the things you like about it, and the things you don’t. It more than likely wont be exactly what you are looking for in the first mock-up you receive. That’s normal. This is where it comes in handy to be as specific as possible about what you want in the initial stages of discussion with your designer. Now that you have received your first mock-up, be as specific as possible when communicating to your designer. Be specific about the things you like and and don’t like.

Again, don’t be afraid to speak your mind. The clearer you can be the quicker your designer will be able to perfect the logo. With clear direction, it shouldn’t be long until the designer has come up with a logo just like what you had in mind.

Revision etiquette

Be sure to keep in mind the number of revisions that you and your designer agreed upon. The logo design process may take more revisions than you initially had hoped. If this happens, you can ask your designer their protocol when more revisions than quoted will be necessary. Again, this is where it saves you money to have a clear idea of what you want upfront.

When your logo designer sends you your first mock-up make sure you look it over carefully. Analyze it to figure out the things you like about it, and the things you don't. It more than likely wont be exactly what you are looking for in the first mock-up you receive. That's normal. This is where it comes in handy to be as specific as possible about what you want in the initial stages of discussion with your designer. Now that you have received your first mock-up, be as specific as possible when communicating to your designer. Be specific about the things you like and and don't like.

File types

In this section I will go over the different file types you may want to have when the logo is completed. Be sure to think about what you are planning to do with your completed logo before meeting with a designer. This way the file types you will need can be included in your logo design package upfront.

Bitmap

When talking file types, most can be categorized as either bitmap or vector. A bitmap file, such as a .jpeg or .png relies on pixel size. This means that the logo can only be enlarged so much before it starts to get fuzzy and pixelated looking. I am sure you have seen a logo online or printed that looks very pixelated. This is because the business is using a low resolution .jpeg. When made any bigger than it’s pixel size it looses quality and often times looks bad. Make sure that your logo designer provides you with a high resolution JPEG. Then it can be used on items such as small business cards to large banners.

.JPEG

You have probably heard of a JPEG file, and more than likely you will be receiving a JPEG file with whatever design package you chose. It’s the most widely accepted image format. If your logo has a colored background, a JPEG file will be perfect and can be used for most things you would use it for digitally.

.PNG

If you have a logo that is not square or rectangular A PNG file will more than likely be the file type you will use the most. Unlike a JPEG, a PNG file has a transparent background. This file type comes in handy when placing your logo over a colored background.

Vector

Unlike bitmap files, vector files can be as large or as small as you want and they will not loose their quality. Vector files do not rely on pixels so they can be scaled to any size imaginable and look just as smooth on a skyscraper as they do on a business card. As opposed to pixels, vector files are based on shapes and use mathematical equations to be infinitely scalable. Vector files are editable if opened in a vector editing software, however it is best to let your designer do the editing if future changes are needed. That being said, some designers may not give you the option to include vector files. However, as long as you have high resolution bitmap files you should have everything you will need to get your business started.

We talked about screen printing a little earlier. If you are ever wanting your logo screen printed, a vector file will more than likely be required.

Examples of Vector file types include

  • .AI
  • .EPS
  • .PDF
Graphic showing vector vs. bitmap files.

In Conclusion

The design of your logo should not be taken lightly. It is often someone’s first impression of your business as well as what will last in their mind. Follow the steps discussed in this blog and you will have a logo you are excited to show off in no time!

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A Guide to Business Cards Basics

Viera Social Media Business Card

When you hand someone a business card, you are handing them a piece of your company. Business cards should no doubt make a good impression. In a lot of cases, your business card forms someone’s initial views on your company.

Data collected from a survey done by Statistic Brain Research Institute, showed that 72 percent of people judge a company or person based on the quality of their business cards. The statistic also showed that 39 percent of people would choose not to do business with a company if they had a “cheap looking” business card. 72 Percent Will Judge Your Company by the Quality of Your Business Card (INFOGRAPHIC) – Small Business Trends (smallbiztrends.com)

While some would argue that business cards are pointless and outdated, this data shows that business cards are still very relevant and useful. That being said, let’s talk about what makes a good business card, and what makes a bad business card.

Business Card trends change every year. Like most things, trends come and go. What was a popular business card format or design element last year may not be popular now. Researching current business card trends before ordering your business cards is important. In order to make the best impression possible with your business card, you need to know what people consider an “impressive” business card at the time.

QR Codes are Key

One of the current trends for Business Cards right now is the use of a QR code. A QR code, if you are not familiar, is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.” With a simple scan of your phone, the desired QR code URL is open and ready to be viewed. QR codes are currently taking the world by storm and have made finding information faster and more convenient than ever.

However, it should be said, people that primarily use their computer to look things up, and not their phone, argue that QR codes are pointless. They say that they are still going to have to look up your information when they get to their computer anyways so they wont even use the QR code. However, most people primarily use their phone for calling, going online, and pretty much everything else, so a having a QR code makes finding your business’ information so much easier. This results in a higher number of people actually following through and reaching out.

Adding a QR code to your business cards is a great way to modernize your current card. Business cards with a QR code take something hand held but add the convenience of technology with a simple scan. We highly recommend adding a QR code to your business card.

Adding a QR code to your business cards is a great way to modernize your current card. Business cards with a QR code take something hand held but add the convenience of technology with a simple scan.

Your Colors Matter

Using your company’s branded colors is very important for brand recognition. Your business card should immediately relay to the recipient who you are as a company. While you will want your business card to be visually appealing, you shouldn’t neglect to use your company colors and familiar design elements. That’s not to say that you cant sprinkle in additional colors, however, don’t use so many additional colors that it confuses your customer. You want your business cards to be simple enough that all information is easily conveyed. However, you also want them to be colorful enough that they stand out. That’s where a graphic designer can help you navigate the fine lines.

One current business card trend is having alternating colored backgrounds for your business cards. This trend involves ordering the same business card but in two different colors. If your company colors are blue and grey, getting some business cards printed in blue and some in grey will add an element of uniqueness. Handing out business cards in varying colors will be sure to make an impression. It will make the recipient feel more valued than if all the business cards were all exactly the same.

Cardstock shows you care

Business cards can come in a variety of cardstock weight ranging from thin to thick. Depending on where you get them printed, the weight typically starts at 12 pt and goes up to 24 pt. A thinner business card would be 12 pt and a thicker, almost heavy, business card would be around a 24 pt weight.

While a nice looking business card is great to have, it is all for nothing if your business card is flimsy and easily damaged. A nice, thick, cardstock will make a difference when you place it in someone’s hand. Choosing a good cardstock shows that you put in a little extra money and will help your business stand out. It shows that you truly care about their business and want your business card to hold up.

However, it should be noted that there are pros and cons to a thick cardstock. One downside of a thick cardstock is that, while it will make a great first impression when you place it in someone’s hand, it may be unlikely for them to actually keep it. A thicker business card will take up more room in someone’s wallet. This may result in them deciding to toss it out.

An average paper weight for a business card would be 14 pt, or 16 pt. A 16 pt business card may be your best bet for a thicker business card. A weight of 16 pt will make a good impression, while not being too heavy.

Picture of Viera Social Media Business Cards

Additional Touches

Things like adding a raised ink element to your business cards also make them literally stand out. Raised ink makes specific parts of your business card raised above the rest. When holding the card you can feel the parts that are raised, typically the logo or other important elements. Raised ink is a great additional touch that will set you apart from the competition.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into designing the perfect business card for you or your company. Your business card is a very important piece of your branding and all these factors should be taken into consideration to create a great first and lasting impression.

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Why Your Business’ Branding is so Important.

Branding Header Image

               What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word, “brand?” Maybe a certain brand came to mind, one of your favorites, like Nike or Panera Bread. What about when you hear the word, “branding?” You probably think of things like, a logo, or company colors, maybe even a tagline or slogan. These are all part of branding and make a brand who they are. A result of good branding is that your company will stand out in people’s minds. After all, the brands you just thought of stood out in your mind, didn’t they? Now you can probably start to see how important branding is for your company. The right branding that will help you stand out and stay in people’s minds long after they leave.

Branding Sets You Apart

Things like your logo, company colors, and tagline are essential to your business. They are the “face” of your business. These are the things people first see when it comes to your company. They are also the things that people may initially think of when they think of who you are. And while your branding is so much more than these things, your logo may be the most important part of your branding.

Your Logo Says Who You Are

A logo is probably the most important part of your company’s branding as it literally says who you are. A good logo should be a simple embodiment of your company. It should also be easily recognizable. Your logo should be simple enough that the person who views it for the first time can quickly tell what your company is. For an example, if you see a logo that has an ice cream cone included you can immediately gather that the company sells ice cream. Now of course that is not always the case. Nike, for example, doesn’t follow this rule, however, it is still a simple, recognizable logo. Even if a logo is very simple, like Nike’s, it should still embody your business and who you are.

Quick Tip. A good logo should be: simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate.

Company Colors Create Unity and Recognition

 While company colors may not seem important, that is far from the truth. The colors that your company chooses are very important and should be used in conjunction with your logo to set your business apart. When you think of the colors: red and yellow, you probably think of a certain fast-food restaurant, McDonalds. Their brand’s colors play a huge part in their brand recognition. Another important thing to think about in today’s world is your social media pages and how much better a social media feed looks when the company has branded colors. The feed looks more unified and visually pleasing.

A Tagline is Your Business’ Mission Summed Up

                “The Quicker Picker Upper,” “M’m M’m! Good!” “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One” are all examples of a slogan or tagline. You probably knew what company each of the slogans was for. That’s because of how well their branding and marking departments have done with advertising. This brand recognition is different from a logo or company colors. That’s because even with your eyes closed, upon hearing these taglines you would be able to identify the company. A good tagline sums up your business’ mission statement and is a quick glimpse into what your business stands for.

Maybe a less recognizable one, depending on where you live, is Ollie’s “Good Stuff Cheap!” If you are not familiar with the store, even by reading the tagline you can gather that it is a place that sells good items at a cheap price. Even if you cannot picture their logo or company colors, their tagline still tells you a brief summary of what the company is, and what their mission is.

Your Branding goes Behind the Scenes

                Like I mentioned before, your branding goes way beyond the logo, brand colors, and tagline. Those are just the things at the face of your company, the things that the customer automatically recognizes. However, your branding is also the things that represent your business that happen behind the scenes. Your company’s culture, and values are things that incorporate a company’s brand that start internally but can be recognized by customers and clients. Company culture is the backbone of a successful business.

Adobe is a good example of a company that has a strong company culture and is easily recognizable. Adobe is one of the leading software development companies around the world, used by creatives and run by creatives. Creativity and freedom of expression are at the heart of the company, and pours into the company culture, message, and values. At the core Adobe is branded for creative people. Most graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, and videographers use Adobe, and that is because they know Adobe is a reliable company that values the same things they do.

Company culture is the backbone of a successful business.

Values are Valuable

                Your companies’ values and overall mission statement is another huge part of your companies behind-the-scenes branding. One company who’s brand is known for its values and mission is the shoe company, Toms. Toms is a company with charity and giving back at the heart of it. The company gained recognition for their one-for-one campaign, where for every pair of shoes purchased from them, they donated a pair to someone in need. While Tom’s has gravitated away from the one-for-one in 2021, giving back is still what makes them who they are, with 1/3 of their profits going to grassroots social impact campaigns. Their strong values are a huge part of their branding and show how important strong values are to making a company successful.

Branding Basics

                In summary, branding can entail your logo, company colors, tagline and slogan, as well as the behind the scenes of your business, such as company culture, and values. All these pieces working in conjunction will create a brand that is not just recognizable but memorable as well. Weather behind the scenes or in plain sight, branding makes your company what it is and shows who you are as a business. It can make the difference between a company that is easily forgotten and one that will remain in the customer or client’s head forever.  

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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