Articles by Month: May 2016
The impact of color on your company
Color is one of the simplest, most primitive forms of communication on earth. It’s also one of the most effective and yet, our Cleveland branding experts know, it’s one of the most commonly-overlooked.
Think about it: In nature, color can very clearly warn of danger. Imagine the bright red of a poisonous berry or the stark yellow-and-black of a stinging wasp. We are inherently evolved to associate vivid colors with powerful emotions. From a very young age, we are drawn to color. We know that color can convey messages, inspire emotions and add brilliance to otherwise ordinary things.
It only makes sense, then, that Cleveland branding experts would use color to their advantage – especially when research has proven that color psychology can effectively evoke action. Consider that research according to Colorcom.com found that:
- Color increases branding recognition by 80 percent;
- Color advertisements are 42 percent more likely to be read than the same images in black-and-white;
- Color can improve readership by 49 percent and reading comprehension by 73 percent.
In a 2006 study called, “Impact of Color in Marketing,” Canadian researchers concluded 90 percent of impulse judgments made about products were solely based on color.
Colors influence how customers view the branding “personality” of a company.
So color definitely matters. But wielding it effectively can be a different story. We have to be very mindful of both our audience and the context. That’s because color can mean something totally different from one person to the next, depending on:
For example, some people see yellow as bright and cheerful. Others associate it with crappy fast-food.
And let’s say you settle on a general color. Your chromatic quest is far from over. For example, let’s say you choose red. Great. Now which of the hundreds of shades are you going choose? Ruby or Rust? Rose or Lava?
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Sensory Studies found that more important than the actual color you choose is the appropriateness in relation to the product. So for example, a company that specializes in selling all-natural, organic products, may want to shy away from a bright fuchsia or neon yellow because they feel inauthentic and artificial.
When it comes to branding, psychologists writing for the Journal of Marketing Research have concluded most brand personalities can be broken down in to one of the following:
Although brands could be some combination of these, generally most fall primarily into one of these categories. Once you identify the traits with which your firm generally aligns, our branding experts can begin to examine the color scheme. For example, purple may align with “sophisticated” while red could pair well with “excitement.”
Colors have a lot of stereotypical associations (i.e., Yellow is cheerful, blue is calm, etc.), but what almost every major study on this subject concludes is that you can’t rely on that. You have to determine which colors support your brand identity and personality.
For example, some might automatically think, “Brown means rugged.” Sure, it could be associated with the earth, the outdoors, etc. But if you’re a chocolate company, brown could also be associated with sophistication. If you’re hyping a Thanksgiving sale, brown could be associated with a warm, sincere, inviting feeling. If you’re in the coffee business, brown (or rather, “mocha”) could be used to sell excitement. It’s all going to depend on the context and your target audience.
Determining your branding mood or feeling is essential in choosing the right color. We can help.
Have you guys seen the trailer for Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Film?
We’ve been watching it on repeat since it premiered, even more giddily since learning Stefan is speaking at this year’s best creative conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, this August!
Enjoy this trailer and make sure to purchase your tickets to see Stefan (with or without bunny suit – your guess) on the Ohio Theatre stage this summer. Smiles guaranteed.
Event: Weapons of Mass Creation Fest produced by Go Media
Dates: August 5, 6, 7, 2016
Location: Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH
Ticket and all information available now
Those who study literature have heard the line, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But those who study branding know the real question is: Would the rose still sell?
Branding truth: Monikers matter.
The name of a company is either going to highlight all its best features – or cast a pall.
Some small businesses see naming the firm sort of as an afterthought. But a good name is part of what makes a business memorable.
One of the first things our Cleveland branding agency focuses on with new clients is the core of their identity. We want to know who they are, who others think they are and who they want to be. That starts with the company name.
It’s an element that will touch every aspect of the firm – from your signage to your business cards to your website to the company culture.
Whether you’re starting brand new or are in the market for a swap, our branding experts are here to help.
So what’s the best way to choose a business name? The reality is, there is so much room to be creative – which can be exhilarating, but also overwhelming. Developing a strong branding strategy can make it easier.
Be Relevant, Be Catchy
The most important thing to consider is: Who are you? It’s imperative to seek a name that is going to fit the company’s identity and personality.
The name has to stand out. You want it to be something people will remember. Bear in mind some of the most successful newer companies have quirky names like, “Twitter,” and “Lyft.” But still, it has to match who you are.
- What images does the name evoke?
- Does it have any unintended connotations?
- Does it sound too stuffy? Too silly?
Be Careful With Specifics
Sometimes, being specific can be a good strategy. In some cases, it’s key to quickly convey to people who you are, where you are and what you do. But you have to be cautious.
Although many companies start off hyper-local, our branding experts generally recommend avoiding incorporation of a specific geographical place in the name. The problem is it can stifle growth. Of course there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. For example, the Great Lakes Brewing Company pulls it off nicely, even on a national scale. But imagine if Fitbit was instead known as the Northern California Activity Tracker.
Similarly, names that specifically cite what the company does can cause problems later on. For example, if we had named Go Media, “Go Media Flyer Design” when we first started (because that’s mostly what we did at first), it would have been greatly limiting as to our long-term potential.
Some other things to bear in mind:
- Can you find a website domain name that will work with what you’ve chosen? Websites are a critical aspect to almost every kind of company. People have to be able to find you online. Don’t overlook how that name will play into a type-able domain.
- Avoid using puns. Again, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all. In some cases, a pun could be very effective. But be mindful that it isn’t too cutesy or overused.
- Keep it short and easy to pronounce. The longer or tougher it is to say, the harder time people will have remembering it.
- Make sure it’s descriptive enough to be “brandable.” Unless you are a huge financial institution, you generally need people to be able to figure out what you do fairly easily.
And finally, make sure it’s a name you can use – legally, that is. That means checking to make sure that not only the domain name is available, but that the trademark is too. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the best resource for this.
The most successful firms have more than just a brand identity. They offer customers a total Brand Experience.
Customers who have had a positive brand experience don’t just recognize the brand. They feel it. It’s about ensuring that customers have a good experience at each and every “touchpoint,” or point of contact with the brand.
As it turns out, this not only boosts brand loyalty, it can also help your SEO, or search engine optimization. This is the key to getting your name at the top of those search results on Google. Although some have argued that SEO and branding are two separate and competing marketing strategies, the fact is, both strategies support each other.
When you create a good brand experience for your customers, your SEO soars because:
- Customers are more likely to search for you specifically.
- Customers are more likely to type in your exact URL.
- Customers are more likely to click on your site.
- Customers are more likely to stay longer on your site.
When customers type in your company’s URL, that is called “Direct Traffic.” It’s the second-largest type of search, behind organic searches. Organic searches are those that occur because someone typed in an inquiry and found what they were looking for that way. People are more likely to talk about/ like/ share information on products or services with which they’ve had consistent and positive brand experiences.
In practice, good brand experience might work to boost SEO like this: Customers scroll through their social media accounts and spy a product mention by a friend. The first time they see it, maybe they gloss over it. But after five or six times – seeing an advertisement, hearing a friend talk about it, reading a blog about it, spotting a five-star online review – there is a higher chance that that person will remember it. (And if you’re using good SEO practices in addition to your branding, you should be targeting customers via these touchpoints.) Then when it comes time that person has a reason to buy a product like that, yours will be the name that pops into their head. The first place they – and millions of others – will start their search is Google. The search engine takes them right to it.
Google rewards those direct search hits with higher page rankings – and they are often driven by positive brand experience.
Another way that brand experience can help your SEO: The better brand experience you offer, the greater your brand reputation and the more likely you are to get those coveted “back links.” These occur when reputable and/or varied sites link back to your site as an authority or leader in your industry. The more diverse these links, the better this is for you. These links are a big factor in determining where your page ranks on a search engine. Even if people mention your brand name – but don’t directly link to it – this works in your favor too. (And forget trying to pay for these back links anymore. Google’s 2012 Penguin update heavily penalized sites that do this. The best way to get back links is with quality content and relevant search results – both of which are a part of positive brand experience for your customers.)
Consistency in brand experience across platforms can help too. Customers know what to expect, and that always helps. But beyond that, Google will look for firms that are consistently branded. While search engines don’t subjectively rank which companies are “better,” they do look for companies that have the same message across platforms (each representing a different touchpoint of the brand experience). A website that has clear, consistent branding, a meaningful message and utilizes the best SEO practices will outrank the others every time.
At Go Media, our graphic design team can help you determine the best ways to create a positive brand experience for your customers.
To learn more about how our team of Cleveland graphic designers can help your Brand Experience, call Go Media at 216.939.0000 or contact us online.
What better way to celebrate Star Wars day then with some great work by our fellow designers?