Branding is a very important part of creating a successful business. Your brand is the magnet that draws consumers to your product or service. With the right branding, you can gain customer loyalty and repeat customers. Think of brands like Nike, whenever you see their iconic swoosh you know exactly what company it is and what they are about. To create a successful brand, follow these five rules.
Rule #1 – Understand the value of designing your brand identity
You need to make it a priority to take money and invest it into your brand right away. Sometimes your brand can be more important than the product itself, so make sure you spend the time and money to develop a logo and reputation.
Rule #2 – Know yourself
You need to know exactly what your company is about. Start with the company’s identity, who are you and what are you? After you have a clear understanding of what you want your company to represent, you can begin branding it that way.
If you understand the spirit of your company and its value to potential customers, you can create a better brand. You can put your company in a good place by branding it correctly before a single product even comes off the production line.
Rule #4 – Choose your design partner carefully
All too often small entrepreneurs do not get the attention they need. When creating your brand, make sure you work with a company that cares about you and the business. Chemistry between you and the design company is important. It is your company and it should be represented the way you want it to be.
Rule #5 – Stay true to yourself
Brands will evolve over time. Even large companies like Apple have changed quite a bit, but those changes are planned and have been nurtured over the decades. If you want to create a long-lasting brand you must be able to adapt. You need to be able to fine-tune your brand with the changes in culture, society, and customer taste while still keeping your company’s beliefs intact.
Corporations spend big bucks to brand themselves. One of the biggest parts of creating a brand is the logo. Not only do you want your logo to be clever and eye-catching, you want it to recognizable. A logo that is too complex risks being glanced over without communicating the brand’s message. Because of this, many big corporations tend to use simplistic logos and subliminal marketing tactics.
You have probably seen the following logos before, but have you ever noticed the subtle marketing tactics the companies are using to subliminally get their message into your head?
FedEx – You probably see the FedEx logo everywhere. If you look closely, they hid an arrow in the negative space between the E and the X, subliminally inspiring thoughts of efficiency and forward motion.
Baskin Robbins – The Baskin Robbins logo very cleverly uses the company’s initials to advertise how many ice cream flavors they have. (31)
Amazon – Possibly one of the cleverest logos is owned by the online superstore Amazon. An arrow points from a to z in their name, subconsciously saying that all things are available on their website. The arrow also doubles as a satisfied smile with a dimple.
Milwaukee Brewers – At first glance you probably won’t notice the second meaning from this major league baseball team’s logo. The throwback logo not only looks like a mitt with a baseball in it, the two things make up a lower case m and b.
Tour de France – Lastly, a more abstract logo. The logo for the world’s most famous bike race contains a well-integrated biker.
The winners of the first ever Brand X Experience design challenge were announced this week. Three undergraduate students from North Carolina State University took first place with their “Unleash Your Athlete” campaign.
The winning team consisted of Elizabeth Meyers, Miranda Melton, and Shelby Aranyi. The three girls beat out more than 60 other teams from across the country. The number one ranked experience marketing agency, George P. Johnson, challenged students from all over the U.S. to create a mock experiential marketing campaign for Under Armour during their sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia. Under Armour’s head of events provided “immersion training” to all teams on the UA brand, and designers from George P. Johnson’s creative team served as mentors.
The three girls’ “Unleash Your Athlete” concept aimed to inspire elementary and high school aged children to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. They planned an “Ice House” in high traffic areas at the event, where people could get the Under Armour experience. Their concept also included special mobile applications, gamification, and social media engagements to build on the experience.
A team from Ferris State University took second place, and a team from Suffolk University was awarded third place. The top three teams were awarded cash prizes and coverage in Event Marketing Magazine. The top team will be traveling to the Event Marketing Summit for an awards ceremony on May 7th in front of 1,000 marketers.
Branded content is getting a lot of attention online, but publishers have shied away from using similar strategies in print. You will see sponsored content before videos online and for sports halftime shows all the time. ESPN: The Magazine has decided to be a frontier on taking this effective marketing strategy into the print world.
Starting with the magazine’s 15th anniversary issue, ESPN will run an editorial sidebar that says “Cold Hard Facts presented by Coors Light” at the top. The ESPN edit team will have full control over the sidebars, but MillerCoors will get to see the content ahead of time. The branding effort between the magazine and beer company is set to run until the end of the year.
You may recognize this segment from ESPN’s television channel. A decade ago, ESPN partnered with MillerCoors to create sponsored Sportscenter segments called “Cold Hard Facts”, where an ESPN anchor would ask a sports analyst a “six-pack” of questions.
The magazine’s editor in chief Chad Millman said that the Coors partnership is a more transparent alternative to the practices by other magazines. “There’s plenty of ways in which magazines are playing hide-and-seek with readers”, he said. The creative graphic design and fun nature of the sidebars should be a hit with ESPN: The Magazine readers.
The anniversary edition, titled Mag 15, will contain a number of anniversary related features. Besides the “Cold Hard Facts” segments, there will be a series of “Best Of” lists, including top 15 “Most Stylish Athletes” and “Best Interviews”.
Merritt Graphics is growing green because implementing green practices has been an ever growing mission and project of theirs. Merritt Graphics is proud to be an eco-conscious company that also implements sustainable energy practices.
Many people do not know that the printing industry is one of the hardest working industries when it comes to implementing sustainable energy practices. For many clients, partnering with a sustainable company like Merritt is a prerequisite for the bid process. Most clients feel at ease knowing that they are working with a company that is environmentally conscious. Merritt has a campaign called “Did You Know…?” which allows their clients to understand how the company is doing its part to continue its sustainability initiatives.
At Merritt Graphics they also use a VUTEK QS3200r large format printer that allows them to provide a completely green production process from set-up to clean up. The UV curable process that the VUTEK uses eliminates emitted VOCs and the spectrum of material now available to them surpasses their previous capabilities.
Merritt Graphics is also a part of the Recycle Plug Program. In a partnership with Azon, Merritt collects and recycles all of the end caps from each roll of paper used to print architectural drawings. Due to the high number of rolls used per month, Merritt will save over 10,000 end caps that can be reused for future manufacturing of paper rolls.
Here are some of Merritt’s other green initiatives;
• Recycling of waste paper from construction document printing, print on-demand, and big color graphics
• On-line architectural/engineering drawing and specification distribution through PlanWell
• Recycling numerous wooden pallets per week
• Scanning & Information Management division allows customers to digitally archive and distribute vital documentation across the office or across the country without the need for faxing or copying.
Researchers, scientists, historians, and authors have written books for thousands of years for reading and reference. However, for the longest time the enormous amount of information and knowledge inside of books has been largely constrained. With bound book scanning from Merritt Graphics, any book can be easily digitized, archived, and retrieved.
Benefits of Book Scanning
By having book scanned you can easily retrieve the information inside later. After the book is scanned, the contents can be found by a simple search. Instead of having to flip through the pages hoping to find what you are looking for, you can just search for it. At Merritt Graphics they can convert any book into a file that can be used by e-readers such as a Kindle, iPad, iPod, or Sony Reader. The files can also be saved as a TIFF, JPEG, or compressed PDF for easy access on a computer.
Another benefit to bound book scanning is that it is the safest and fastest way to produce high quality digital files of books in a non-destructive manner. It will preserve the information and knowledge from the text. Books will naturally age from the acid in paper and can easily be damaged. After Merritt Graphics scans your book and creates the file, the information will be protected and preserved. The book will be safely stored and will last longer than any book could.
How it Works
Merritt Graphics uses the ABTBook Scan 2400 machine to scan books. They also have trained technicians on staff to ensure that your books are scanned quickly and correctly. The ABTBook Scan 2400 uses image capture to store the text. Image blurriness and curvature at the spine is eliminated by the placement of the book and camera angle. After the images are taken they are finalized in a format of your choice. Image segmentation allows for color retention of pictures and graphics while keeping the text in black and white. All processed images result in an extra copy for subsequent processing or re-evaluations and negating the need for rescans.
The book scanning process allows for a digital book to be created and necessary metadata about the book to assure easy import and accessibility within a digital book information management system. Merritt Graphics has over 15 years of experience and can preserve your text for use many years into the future.
Many businesses are looking to reduce unnecessary costs and increase productivity. Using new scanning and document management technologies will streamline productivity. Scanning services can improve the organization of any business by making it easy to maintain and archive documents efficiently.
Without organization, a business can’t run efficiently. Record management and upkeep are not easy tasks. Having business documents scanned will have many benefits for your company.
Document Scanning Benefits
• Elimination of costly floor space that was previously consumed by filing cabinets and storage boxes.
• Dramatic reduction in duplicate files and lost documents.
• Instantaneous access to all documentation for legal work, research, training, customer interaction, and compliance.
• Consistent quality of stored electronic documents compared to paper-based originals when handled repeatedly.
• Significant productivity gains resulting from elimination of manual document searches.
• Increased efficiency
• High speed scanning and indexing for quicker implementation.
• A highly scalable solution to accommodate future growth in document numbers.
• Controlled document access by authorized personnel from multiple workstations.
• Improved customer service, reduced wait times, and more timely assessments for clients.
Paper records will be a thing of the past when your business starts using scanning services. If your business has years worth of documents, it can be impossible to locate old documents quickly. Rather than risking deterioration or loss of important information, have your documents scanned to create reliable, electronically stored files.
Besides documents, your business can have books or technical drawings scanned. Once the files are scanned, they are converted into microfilm, Word, Excel, HTML, or PDF documents. All of the files are stored in a confidential and secure location that can work with your existing document management system.
Increase productivity and organization within your business by using document scanning services. Retrieval of information will be quick and easy once your files are converted. Any business who deals with large amounts of paper-based information can benefit from scanning services.
Online advertising has become extremely popular over the past ten years. Companies are paying thousand, even millions a year for online advertisements. Many companies use pay-per-click advertising, but how do they know the clicks they are getting are real? A company that analyzes web traffic has found that many of the web advertising clicks are frauds.
The way pay-per-click advertising works is that every time someone clicks on your ad, you are charged a certain amount. The more clicks you get, the more you pay, but more traffic is driven to your website. The company Spider.io has come out saying that they have detected a massive botnet, a network of computers controlled by malware, is driving bogus traffic and clicks to a group of about 202 websites.
Spider.io has observed 120,000 host machines on what has been dubbed the “Chameleon” botnet. The machines are driving fake traffic to the 202 websites, resulting in a minimum of 9 billion monthly ad impressions served. The traffic appears to be human, which suggests a high level of sophistication of the botnet. The Chameleon machines click on ads at a rate consistent with the general population- about .02 percent- and even generate rollovers on 11 percent of impressions.
It is estimated that the botnet that is defrauding users is costing them about $6 million a month in clicks that don’t actually exist. Some of the companies that Spider.io is claiming are being affected by the Chameleon are American Express, BMW, Chase, Ford, Dodge, McDonald’s, Petco, and Sprint. With so much fraudulent behavior online, many companies may start returning to print advertising.
In the past 10 years, the internet has become an everyday part of peoples’ lives. With the popularity of the internet, many companies started focusing on reaching consumers through online advertising. Many people are starting to believe that, because of this, print media is dead. However, both online and print advertising play an important role in brand management and sales generation strategies. The benefits of print ads should not be forgotten.
Print media can target a narrow niche, especially if it is on the local level. Print media through leaflet delivery is still the most effective method on a local level. People will receive the advertisement and will have a tangible copy. This can be beneficial for new business announcements, specials, and coupons. It can draw in new business or secure repeat customers. This same method can work on larger target areas, also.
There is an element of credibility that comes with print media advertising. Anyone can set up a website and there are many that have bad intentions. Creating and producing a professional print campaign takes time, effort, and funding. The effort and creativity can help build a relationship with consumers and create brand recognition.
When someone goes to a website, unless they fill out a form or make a purchase, the chances of recapturing that lead are slim. Websites can be bookmarked, but that bookmark will not remind them to go back and may be lost in a huge list of other sites. An undecided buyer with a print ad might stuff it in their purse, leave it in their car, or put it on the fridge. This is a constant reminder of what you are offering and gives the consumer the ability to easily contact your business in the future. Your valuable information should be on the advertisements, so they can easily contact you whenever they want. This, in combination with newspaper ads, billboards and signage, and other print media, will provide unrivaled visibility.
Online advertising can be a powerful tool when trying to increase sales. If your service is entirely online, your best strategy may be to interrupt a prospective buyer with your offer while they are online. Alerting internet users of physical locations and smartphone apps are other effective strategies. Online brand advertising with banners and buttons may drive traffic to your site, but converting the traffic into buyers can be difficult. The competition online is heavy, so if you can’t keep the consumers’ attention right away, they can easily leave your site. Lead capturing and follow up communication through email can help convince consumers that they should buy from you.
With online advertising looking to take a stranglehold on the advertising market, print ads need to become more creative and innovative. Fanta just released its newest print ad by providing its consumers with something that online ads never can — taste.
Ever wish you could just taste a company’s product by eating its print ad instead of going to the store and possibly wasting a few dollars on something you might not like? Well now you can with Fanta’s ad for its orange-flavored drink.
The advertisement invites readers to “Just tear off a piece of this page, pop in your mouth & enjoy a Fanta by tasting this ad!” To many, this will seem like a ludicrous statement and will think Fanta is out of their minds. However, I think many people will be intrigued by this statement and, when no one is looking, just tear off a small piece of the ad and eat it. I’m sure once others see a few pieces ripped out, other people will feel more comfortable eating a piece of a page out of a magazine, too.
So is Fanta desperate or genius? Well, in a competitive world of advertising, it does payoff to be original and somewhat crazy. Fanta does say that their ad is the first “edible” version, but in fact this is not the first time a company has tried this stunt. Volkswagen tried a similar campaign with an ad for their Golf R that asked its readers to eat the picture of some asphalt. It’s creative, different, and shocking. These are three elements that make for a great print advertisement, so Fanta may just be onto something here. You never know; soon, we all might be sampling cookies, sodas, and chips by tasting their ads before you go to the grocery store!