Using Color to Position Your Brand

Branding and Marketing professionals know that it’s important to understand color when selecting the right package, logo or to position for your brand.

You’ll want to know the feelings and meanings of colors when you are marketing your product, developing a logo to represent your brand or creating your website. There are so many color choices and they all communicate emotions. It’s important to know those feelings when choosing something that is a representation of your brand.

Looking at the competitors’ choices is one place to begin, but when selecting colors for your brand, whether it is for a website with call to action buttons or golf shirts for your trade show or the accent colors on your product, you must know the connotation and denotation of the colors.

Even when selecting the color pallet for your business office, you’ll want to consider the emotional connection of the color that your potential customers might feel, particularly in the areas where decisions will be made.

Some people scoff at hearing about the principles of decorating and color, but it shouldn’t be ignored if you’re having your customers in the space and/or if you have employees working there that you want to keep happy and motivated.

Often small business owners feel that holding a market research study is way too expensive. Just asking your spouse or other family members if “they like it” isn’t enough. In this case, learning more about colors and their meanings before you start directing and choosing only makes sense.

I recently read a short article about color where I learned a few more meanings of colors that I hadn’t known before.

This article outlines the color meanings and symbolism of colors. It talks about the positives and negatives of each of the main colors. Even though I’ve been reading/writing about color meanings since 1981, I learned a few things from this article and it inspired this post.

When I think about being strategic about decorating, I can’t help but think about Feng Shui, the Chinese system of harmonizing with the environment, which includes not only color but object placement.

Evaluating a Logo with Your Graphic Designer

Are you working on your logo with your graphic designer? It doesn’t have to be a frustrating process.logo with your graphic designer

Many thoughts go into a logo treatment. Sometimes developing a logo may seem so simple, but once you start thinking about it, developing a logo drives a lot of other decisions.

10 Considerations for Developing a Logo with Your Graphic Designer

  1. Colors – I’ve written many articles about colors and their meaning. Selecting a logo color palette sets up the colors for the branding.
  2. Typeface – Bold? Italic? Cursive? San Serif?  Selecting the type says a lot about a brand.
  3. Icon – the Nike swoosh, the Target circles, the Nationwide rectangle. Sometimes just seeing the icon is enough. What does your company’s icon say about your business?
  4. Reversing (what will it look like against white? Against another color?)
  5. Easy to read – It’s important that people can read it quickly and easily. Your logo represents your company and you want to communicate
  6. In Print – on letterhead, envelopes and business cards
  7. Website – Do the lines of type hold up on the website? The colors often drive the colors of the website as well.
  8. Trucks & Clothing – Will your logo work as a billboard for your business on the side of a van or the shirt of your employee?
  9. Signage – How will your logo look from the road or on the street?
  10. Social Media shapes – in a circle (like Twitter) or a Square like LinkedIn. Does your logo have to be vertical or horizontal?

While you don’t want to get caught up in analysis, these are a few of the things you may want to consider when you’re working on your logo with your graphic designer.

We have helped many of our clients refresh their logos or develop brand new logos for a new product or service they want to offer.

What’s the Difference Between Branding and Marketing?

In talking with a business owner the other day, the question came up: “What’s the difference between branding and marketing?”

In my opinion the two concepts are intertwined and dependent on each other.

Branding and marketing are very connected. If you would like some services and help with marketing then you can use useful companies such as saas marketing. It’s difficult to market a brand that doesn’t fulfill the positioning. And to brand a company with supporting the branding with marketing provides no action.

Positioning can be thought of as the brand promise. It’s the expectation of fulfillment by the target market. Does the company/product meet expectations?

Marketing can be many things, but tactics are usually the most pervasive part of marketing. Communication. Promotion. Advertising. Public Relations.What is the difference between Branding and Marketing

Difference between Branding and Marketing

Here are some ways to look at the differences:

  • Branding gives the positioning. Marketing provides the efforts.
  • Branding is the foundation and should precede any marketing efforts.
  • Brand is how people perceive and feel about your company/product. Marketing is focused on identifying, educating, attracting and persuading.

Brand promise. Marketing tactics.

I think that these two short phrases really oversimplifies it! However if someone is just getting started with their marketing program, keeping it simple can help!

It’s easy to get carried away with explanations, detail and examples… going too deep down the whole Marketing/Branding rabbit hole can make a business owners eyes gloss over. Especially when they are just wondering, so how does this help me improve sales? If you want some more perspective on how to anchor your brand and marketing together with your SEO campaign try a top-ranked Los Angeles SEO company. They are the experts!

Can you quickly down your company’s brand promise and list your top 5 marketing tactics?

Developing a Logo for Your Business

ebay logosThere is a lot to consider when developing a logo for your business. What is the purpose of a logo?

Thinking it through before getting someone to start designing is one of the keys to developing a logo that works for your business.

Most companies use a logo as symbol for a brand. It usually has the company name together with an icon and the company colors. Sometimes it is just type, or just initials. Often the type is a unique typeface, artwork that is solely the companies own.

Sometimes the icon dominates the logo. Depending on the amount of marketing dollars put behind a logo, it may become a strong symbol for the company. If it is not used consistently, the impact is weakened.

How do you ensure your logo is used consistently? Through the use of a branding style guide. Sometimes they are as simple as a few pages, outlining colors, typeface, vertical, horizontal and black & white versions. Sometimes a brand style guide may be almost a book, offering every example of background treatment, what NOT to do and providing the amount of white space between any other elements on the page, website and package.

In my experience, a short style guide is very helpful, but only companies that are licensing their product and having many many graphic designers and others using their logo need to go into a huge amount of detail. And often the people using the style guide are visual communicators, so having visual examples is often more helpful than lots and lots of paragraphs of copy that sometimes is open to interpretation.

To get started with developing a logo, it is helpful to provide direction to the designer that helps them to understand how you want to portray your brand. Make a list of words. Gathering samples of logos that you like and don’t like also helps. Especially if you can articulate what you like and don’t like about your samples. In marketing agency terms, this is know as a creative brief. It sets the tone and manner, provides examples of how the logo will be used and offers direction to the creative professionals who will be developing your company’s symbol.

Some find it helpful to talk about feelings – what customers, employees and users of the product/service are likely to feel or how you want them to feel. You’ll definitely want to focus on your target market, but logos also are important for others who are part of your business: employees, your vendors, and investors.

It’s easy to get carried away and find that you’re actually trying to recreate something else that you’ve seen and liked. Don’t end up with a logo that looks like your competitors! While imitation can be viewed as a compliment, being confused with your competitors is not.

I find it is important to provide plenty of input to the designer and talk about colors as well.

If the company will be using the logo predominately on company vans, work shirts and baseball caps, the font and size of lettering with icons needs to be thick enough to read from a driving distance or walking distance.

If most of the interactions with the company logo will be on a mobile phone via a website or an app held at a distance closer than arms length, then a different direction may make sense.

While you hope to develop a logo that will work “forever” for your brand, obviously times change, style and technology affects the logos. You’ll want to consider a refresh to your company logo if/when it becomes dated.

If you wait too long to refresh your brand and logo, it may be a total “redo” instead of just a minor update.

Where do you go to get a new logo?

Many people go to inexpensive websites like Fiverr, Logotournament or 99designs. This can be helpful in that they are cheap, but difficult if you’ve never given direction or developed a logo before.

Rather than go immediately to one of the cheap websites and hire a nameless, faceless designer, I’d recommend spend more time developing a creative brief. You can get some help with creating creative briefs with a content collection tool similar to what Content Snare provide. Having several samples of creative briefs here, here and here can also help. Read through these examples and then put together your own brief, before approaching a graphic designer or going to a design website. You can also use a designer to consider other things such as creating invoices for your clients when doing business so they come across more professional, if you’d like to learn more I recommend you visit blog.fluidui.com for more information on using a designer for your start up business as well as access to free invoice templates.

It’s kind of like making an investment in a stock portfolio for your retirement by buying direct from an investment website, without using a investment broker with experience. However, if you are looking for a broker, you may want to check out this JAFX review. You may do just fine and be ready to brag about how much money you saved and earned, but then again, you may find that a little bit of knowledge can be a problem and want to be redoing your logo within a few months.

Sometimes working directly with a designer is the best thing, other times, you will fair better by going through someone who is great at giving creative direction.

If you find yourself saying something like “just…” or “I’ll know it when I see it” – then you are not the right person to give creative direction.

More detail is actually more helpful in getting initial direction. Having the parameters before you start makes it much more likely that a graphic designer will create something you’re looking for, than direction that says, “why don’t you be creative and I’ll pick the one I like the best.” Later when faced with a wide variety of styles, you find yourself combining different elements to mush together a logo.

Again, not the best way to go about designing your company’s symbol.

Having a well defined creative brief makes it much easier for YOU TOO!

Review the brief before you review the initial logos that the creative graphic designer submits. It will help you to evaluate it and will give you a guide to providing good feedback when faced with a variety of choices.

Evaluating the logo is definitely a skill as well as providing feedback to the designer. You’ll be tempted to show the samples to lots of people – your spouse, a friend, employees. Of course everyone has an opinion, but some opinions count more than others.

Good luck with your logo development. Let me know you found this helpful or if you think I forgot something along the way by leaving a comment below.

Instagram Launches a New Logo

the new instagram-logo-colorful icon 5_2016the old instagram-logo-iconInstagram announced a new logo recently. I’m wondering where all marketers will be scrambling to make the adjustments. After all, instagram has become the hottest platform for marketers which is why many businesses are trying to get a large number of instagram followers.

Is it shown on any of your printed material? (Hope not!) Do you use a list of social media icons linked to your social media accounts on your website or blog?

If so, are you using the “latest” Instagram logo? Well, better click thru your websites to make sure you’re plugin’s and social media icons are up to date!

Click here for branding information from Instagram Brand Resources.

Here’s how they announced their refreshed logo a couple of days ago. This is how they described it:

Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form. You’ll also see updated icons for our other creative apps: Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse.

We’ve made improvements to how the Instagram app looks on the inside as well. The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app.

The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.

I’ve seen a few very short videos on Imgur that make fun of the changes… I guess there are always folks that love to make fun of any changes. Here is the “official” video on an account called Instagram on Vimeo makes the change look a bit more complicated.

Instagram Launches a New Logo With Simple Icon over Rainbow Colors

And I believe that this post explains a lot of the thought process that went into the new logo.