Tips for Maintaining a Strong Visual Brand

Tips for Maintaining a Strong Visual Brand

Creating a solid visual brand helps tie together all of your visual content across all marketing channels. Using imagery to draw in viewers is an incredibly effective way for brands to get noticed, and it’s a skill that should be practiced for best results. You’ll find that following a particular visual style, maintaining consistency, and creating specific content for particular marketing platforms are just a few ways that your visual marketing goals can be met.

1. Tailor content on your social platforms.

If you use various social media platforms, it’s important to tailor the visual content to the audience that would be viewing on that particular platform. This means that you should stop using the same visual and message across all platforms! Consider the audiences for websites like Tumblr, Twitter, or YouTube and what would be a more engaging message for them. Keep in mind that while making small changes to your social messages can be helpful for multiple platforms, it’s important that the overall message remains the same.

2. Use consistent visual formatting.

Across these platforms, it’s important to keep the visuals consistent. It goes hand-in-hand with branding, you want there to be a cohesive design or visual style so that it’s recognizable. Your first instinct may be to stick with a similar color scheme, but there are plenty of ways to be consistent visually without limiting yourself to a particular color palette.

Illustrations that demonstrate a particular drawing style, web pages that follow a similar grid layout, or even using unique fonts are a few other ways that you can be visually consistent. The key to this is to keep the same style format so that it becomes more recognizable. Your visual style is what sets you apart, so stray away from changing things up too often. Once you’ve found your right style, it’s important not to make too many noticeable changes. Visual consistency is something that all brands should practice for better recognition by consumers.

3. Be detail-oriented.

Branching off of the last point, it’s important to pay attention to any small details that can make or break your visual consistency. This can be something as small as a font or font size change, or a layout with imagery where the kerning is a little off. They may seem small, but progressive, even minuscule, changes over time can throw of the consistency of your marketing visuals. Sometimes, it’s best to keep a side-by-side grid of all of your marketing visuals to make sure that they fit well with one another. Having a branding guide or a brand checklist can be helpful to ensure each new piece created remains consistent.

4. Use your logo.

Try to incorporate the company logo into your visual content, and be consistent about it, but remember not to let it overpower your message. For example, keep it in a noticeable location near the bottom of an image, or set the stage for brand recognition by placing it at the beginning of a web page or infographic. This is important for generating brand awareness and recognition. The more your logo is included in your visual content, the more readers will be able to associate your brand with the message.

If you’re producing visual content, keep in mind what it can do to help with branding; consider your consistency, your platforms and be sure to tie in the company logo. However small, these changes can help create a more well put-together brand and make it more recognizable to consumers. Set yourself apart and help build a brand with these visual marketing tips!

5 Advertising Mistakes You May Not Realize You’re Making

5 Advertising Mistakes You May Not Realize You’re Making

Great advertising can be phenomenal for a business’s success. Companies can crank out excellent ads with excellent results, but they can just as likely create some not-so-awesome ones due to unlikely advertising blunders. Everyone makes mistakes once in a while, but wasted money on failed advertising executions is a mistake nobody wants to make.

Double check that you aren’t committing any of these advertising mistakes!

You’re not measuring your results.

In most cases, you’ll do your research before advertising executions are made, but don’t forget to do the research once the executions have been played out. Measuring the results of your marketing ensures that what you’re doing is achieving your marketing goals. Administer surveys to gather information about the consumer or talk to customers directly. Analyze brand awareness by surveying the target market. Compare sales before and after advertising and marketing efforts. Has there been an increase in customer buys? Store visits?

Additionally, check analytics for social media and see how the activity compares to the stats of previous activity. Keep track of your progress and failures so that you can grow from them, your results will prevent you from continuing any advertising mistakes.

You’re not being patient.

Advertising shouldn’t be about instant gratification, because it likely won’t satisfy your marketing goals right away. Great advertising takes a bit of time to build up to become the most effective. Not every person who sees your ad is going to drop everything and rush to buy the advertised product, but exposing the ad to the consumer often enough can help them remember to do so in the future. Allow some time for the ad to resonate before you become discouraged. Once you feel that the time is right, measure the ad’s effectiveness.

You’re targeting too many consumers.

You may feel like you’re better off marketing to more than one market. Or, you may want to target everyone. However, failing to establish a target audience can misdirect your marketing executions and lead to little or no results simply because the message doesn’t apply to everyone.

Your marketing actions should be done with the target in mind, even something as simple as a Tweet or a Facebook post can make marketing more efficient. An established target audience helps give your advertising more structure and makes executions consistent because they’re reaching the same market, not all markets. Look at current consumers and company products/services when trying to find a target. There are likely similar markets that can benefit from what the business has to offer. Find them so you can hit a bullseye with advertising.

You’re all business…all the time.

Business updates, new products and sales are a few great things that businesses can talk about on social media. However, sometimes you need to remind customers that it’s a business run by people. Celebrate the accomplishments of employees, share fun stories that have happened during the day, be personal. This helps establish brand loyalty and trust between the customer and the business. However, be sure not to go too far in the other direction. While it’s fun to do something silly or personal to show the company’s sense of humor once in a while, don’t lose sight of your marketing objectives. Make sure that you maintain a balance between business and fun.

You’re creating too many individual ads.

While individual advertisements can be effective, you are more likely to see more results when campaigning. Chances are, you have more to say than can be accomplished in a single advertisement. Advertising campaigns work from one big idea, and they allow you to say more, reach more and target through different advertising platforms. Build upon each advertisement as you go, and be sure that they’re consistent with your message.

Keep these ideas in mind if you feel like your advertising is falling short of your goals. Be consistent by campaigning, don’t be afraid to be personal and be patient. Don’t be discouraged by mistakes or shortcomings, learning from mistakes is one of the best ways that advertising strategies can grow and become something more outstanding.

Big Advertising Ideas for a Small Budget

Big Advertising Ideas for a Small Budget

When advertising on a budget, seeing successful multi-million-dollar advertising campaigns can be a bit discouraging. Not all businesses can afford television commercials, radio, or billboard ads. Smaller businesses often rely on free advertising methods, like social media, to project their promotional messages. Even if you’re advertising on a small budget, or even no budget at all, that doesn’t mean that your advertising effectiveness has to be small, too!

Never underestimate word of mouth.

Don’t neglect the power of word of mouth advertising. Word of mouth is spread by brand ambassadors after they’ve had a good experience, or brand detractors if they’ve had a bad one. Positive word of mouth (WOM) advertising can occur by simply going above and beyond for consumers, giving them a reason to talk or encouraging them to tell a friend about the business. Offering “refer a friend” deals can help with this. The more friends that are referred, the more word spreads about the company.

WOM is especially important because there is more trust in this type of advertising. Which are you the most likely to put your faith in, a television commercial about a great new restaurant in town, or a family member recommending you this great new restaurant in town? Word of mouth is more trustworthy than other traditional ads, but that doesn’t always refer to face-to-face chit-chat with friends or family. Whether it’s on social media, forums or comments on a website, a lot of word-of-mouth occurs online. In fact, this WOM marketing has been claimed to be the most important form of marketing and advertising. Utilize the convenience of social media to generate buzz. Understand what exactly your customers like about you, find something unique about the business that you can talk about and keep the customer engaged online. Your ambassadors will do the rest.

Participate within the community.

Getting involved with the people that reside within the business’s community is a great opportunity to get exposure. Fun runs, golf tournaments, or any other well-publicized community event is perfect for a business to get involved and get the company name out there. You can additionally volunteer your services or products for particular events. Not only does volunteering give you a positive image, but it also gives you necessary exposure.

If you choose to sponsor and event, you can bring free samples, informational brochures, and business cards that can generate brand recognition and raise awareness about the business. For some sponsorships, your company name and/or logo will be put on display or on advertisements for the event itself. There are plenty of opportunities to spread the word. Talking about and sharing events that your company participates in on social media can show others that you’re more than just a business, you’re a part of their community.

Don’t be afraid to campaign.

Creating an advertisement is one thing, but campaigns? You might be thinking that advertising campaigns equals big spending, but that’s not the case. Campaigning doesn’t have to mean shoveling out a ton of money. Figuring out the perfect hashtag, tagline, or big idea for a social media campaign can lead to great success for a business who doesn’t have much budget for advertising. Once you’ve chosen a big idea to campaign, be sure to incorporate it in all of your social media posts. Repetition in a campaign is important. The best part about social media campaigns is that it’s easy to use even if you don’t have much time for it. Outlets like Facebook allow you to schedule posts ahead of time so that you can be on time even when you’re busy. Try using Hootsuite if you operate several social media outlets. Hootsuite lets you schedule and post on all social platforms simultaneously, and is an excellent tool for campaigning.

Keeping the consumer engaged and informed through WOM and social media marketing can be a great benefit to any business, big or small. So, having a short advertising budget doesn’t mean that the effectiveness of your advertising efforts come up short as well. With social media, making a big splash in the giant social media sphere is possible for anyone, you just need to show that you’re worth talking about. Great communication is key to not just gain new customers, but brand loyal ambassadors that can help you generate positive buzz for your business.

Why Using Media Images Can Land You in Hot Water

Why Using Media Images Can Land You in Hot Water

Images and content can be found by the millions with just a quick Google search. The internet is so abundant with photos and other media content that using one may not seem like it’s that big of a deal. However, even if you don’t see a copyright on the photo, that photo still isn’t yours to take. Uploading the image to a Facebook or Twitter post can be one thing, but borrowing an image to use in a client’s work can be a whole other nightmare. You can find yourself in some deep trouble – and in a big lawsuit – if you are using media content that you don’t have the permission to use. Here’s how you can be safe.

Internet content isn’t yours for the taking.

If you didn’t personally take the photo or create the artwork – it isn’t yours. Plain and simple. Using other people’s content requires special permission or you could find yourself in a ton of trouble, especially when it comes to designs or promotional work for clients. You and the client can end up with a lawsuit, which can be a devastating blow to your reputation. It’s easy to believe that copyrighted content consists of imagery that is watermarked with the creator’s name, or embellished with a “©.” Although that’s true, it also includes any media content created by somebody else. That means that even if it’s not formally protected, it’s still under copyright by its owner once it is produced. The best way to ensure that it’s safe to use is to do your own research.

Be responsible.

Never assume that because Google told you it was free to use that it’s actually free to use. It’s your personal responsibility to make sure that you have the rights to reuse content commercially or even non-commercially, and it can sometimes come with a price. If you don’t know the copyright status, find the owner and ask them yourself. As long as you have it in writing, you may use the image once permission is given. Some helpful tools to use is TinEye or Google Images– you can upload the image or simply drop in its URL and they can help find who owns it and may even give you the licensing status.

The best way to ensure that your media decisions aren’t going to come back to bite you in the you-know-where later on is to invest in a stock image subscription. A paid subscription gives you the permission to use thousands of images and you won’t have to worry if you have permission or not.

So, before you snag on image online to post along with your next article, make sure that you have the rights to reuse it. If you’re given the permission to use it, make sure that you’re giving credit where credit is due. Be smart and safe when you reuse content and remember that even though something is on the internet, it isn’t free.

The Importance of Using Good Imagery on Social Media

The Importance of Using Good Imagery on Social Media

Humans are visual creatures and the way we interact with imagery online is no exception. Your website and social media platforms should have consistent, high-quality imagery that effectively showcase your products or services. This will help ensure that your audience is actually engaging with and absorbing your content.

Of all human communication, 93% is visual. Two-thirds of all stimuli reach the brain through the visual system and our brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text alone. Think how often you’re scrolling through your own feed and continue right past a text post, but pause at a photo, graphic, or video.

Even if you aren’t consciously aware of it, your brain will prioritize the visual content. How about when you visit a webpage and it’s just paragraph after paragraph of text? I’m betting you don’t read through all of that or stay too long. That is just another example of our short attention-spans and how a visual can help combat it.

Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagements than those without. A good visual is crucial for expressing an idea quickly and effectively getting through all the clutter that we experience everyday – online and in real life. For example, Facebook posts with images typically received more than twice as many comments as those without.

People can quickly make up their minds about a business based on their social media profiles. Make sure you don’t turn people away on the first visit. 67% of consumers consider a clear, detailed image to be more reliable and carry more weight than product information or customer ratings. Think of it this way, why just tell someone about your product or service when you can show them?

While a good visual can grab your customer’s attention, a bad one can cause them to dismiss your content completely. What’s considered bad? It really depends, but images that are blurry, pixelated, too dark, have that “stock image” feel, or are just too cheesy can really put people off.

Don’t just throw anything up for the sake of having a visual, make sure it’s good quality and relevant to your brand. Consistently using good visuals with your content can help ensure your customers are engaging with your content and not scrolling right past it. It will help your business feel more professional and legitimate in your customer’s eye.