Go Media is so honored to have had the pleasure to work with Rock Medical, the premier Orthopedic Consulting Team here in Northeast Ohio, on their logo and website design.
Over the past 16 years Rock Medical has served it’s mission while building from a company of one to over 35 sales and support consultants. While Rock Medical has grown, they had out grown their brand image. Rock Medical came to Cleveland web development and branding firm Go Media to overhaul their brand, marketing materials and website. It was our great pleasure working with their president Tom Ramsay on crafting a contemporary brand that properly reflected their technological sophistication and “surgeon first” company culture.
Because of Rock Medical’s reputation & established recognition in the industry we needed to be sensitive in our approach to their brand transition. With the original knee logo mark carrying so much of that equity, a transition logo was created to help ease into the future plans for dropping the knee altogether.
Go Media used our Designer Sites platform to build Rock Medical an intuitive, beautiful and easily managed website. Running on WordPress, Rock Medical’s website utilizes Go Media’s proprietary Page Builder editor – featuring a front end drag and drop interface giving the Rock Medical staff total control over the layout and content of their website. Of course, all Go Media websites are built full screen, responsive and optimized for search engines. The result is a powerful tool to help drive Rock Medical into the future.
Learn more about the full project here:
How to Know It Is Time for a New Logo
One question we get all the time here at Go Media is: “How do I know it’s time for a new logo?” Today, our President, William Beachy, is addressing this complicated issue.
Here are some points to consider should you be wondering if it’s time for a new logo:
What is your current brand equity?
Whether you realize it or not, your customers know you by your current look, so whether you do a brand refresh or redesign, you need to consider what are the implications are / how your customers are going to react to this change. If you have a sterling reputation and everyone loves you, your customers may not react well to any drastic change. If you decide you want to move forward with a new look, you may want to consider that this brand refresh be a small step in an evolution of your overall appearance. This will ensure you don’t lose that recognition factor.
Starbucks has done a great job of this – they’ve been slowly tweaking over a very long period of time – so much so, that the changes are almost difficult to recognize. If you have a bad reputation, the rebrand could be a good thing. For example, airlines that have had major tragedies have completely rebranded to change their look and reputations. Sporting teams with long histories of losing have rebranded themselves, built new stadiums and hoped that that will usher in a decades of winning. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
What will the impact be?
Consider that changing your branding may impact a lot of your sales collateral, your website. It’s going to take a lot of work (and money) to replace these items. If you’re ready and your brand needs this update, however, you do not need to make the investment up-front. For example, you can update your website first, then worry about your brochures later down the line.
What number of modifications are you looking to make?
There are many components that make up a brand – the mark (what people call the logo), the logo type (the name of the company), the color scheme, and all the collateral elements around that. Sometimes, the mark, the logotype and the color scheme look great and it’s just the collateral elements that looks dated. When you update the collateral, everything suddenly looks much better. Sometimes, however, everything does need an update. It just depends on the quality of the branding work.
How will your staff react?
Ask yourself how the family, ownership and staff will react to a refresh/re-brand. Many times, there will be intense backlash within the company itself in regards to a re-brand. If the branding was created by the company’s grandfather on the back of a napkin, there is often a lot of history and heart there. So if you move forward, you really need to explain to your crew why the re-branding needs to take place and keep them engaged in the process. Other times, a re-brand could bring a big moral boost to the company. Either way, keep your employees engaged and you’ll be much better off.
Now that you’ve considered those points, here are some quick do’s and don’ts when considering a new logo.
Do consider a new logo if if no longer reflects your company’s persona.
If your business has been in business for a long time, and your type treatment/mark no longer feels modern or beautiful, that is a great opportunity to do a brand refresh.
Do consider a new logo if if the branding is just bad: Ugly, overcomplicated, not easily recognized from a distance, etc.
If the brand clearly needs to be rebuilt, we will do the work. In these cases, we often mine design elements from the company’s history. These often help us bring bring their past to the present. In this case, we educate the company about how to introduce the new brand to the company’s customers/clients to ensure there is a smooth transition.
Do NOT consider a new logo if your branding is simply boring you.
If you want to do a refresh/rebrand only because you’re you’re sick of staring at it everyday, resist the urge. Keep in mind that your customers aren’t looking at it as often as you are. They might only see it every three months, six months, every year. Brand consistency is very important. So, just being bored with your brand isn’t a good reason to change it up.
We hope this information helped you to know when it’s time to contact Go Media, the Cleveland logo design firm you know and trust, to help you create the new logo and branding you’ve been jonesing for.
Watch our Facebook Live on this topic:
How to Build a Brand
What is your brand? Who is your brand? And why should we care? Developing a brand is more than just your logo. A brand represents everything you are as a company. Everything that you say and do shows your prospective customer who you are. It’s your “dress,” the way you talk, your slogan, your signage, your messaging, how clean your offices are, company uniforms, your collateral materials and so much more.
To build a strong brand presence, it’s important that you ask yourself three very important questions –
What is my positioning statement? (Where is my space in all of this clutter? What does my company offer that no one else does? Why are we special?)
What is my messaging platform? (Why should anyone care? What’s in it for my customers?)
What’s my brand persona? (Who is my target customer? Who is my company?)
Close your eyes for a minute. If you had to talk about your company as a real person. Who would you see? Try to imagine your company as a movie star. Is your company Brad Pitt or Morgan Freeman? Someone young and hip? Old and stodgy? Middle aged and reliable? What about your customer? How do they communicate? How does your target customer like his coffee? You should live and breathe your brand persona so much that that answers to questions about your brand should roll off of your tongue. “Duh!” You should be telling me, “We’re an almond latte kind of company!” Or maybe you’re a tea company, or a pop company. We can’t answer that for you–only you can. This is the first question of many you should ask yourself about your brand persona.
Once you figured out your brand personality, it’s time to start working on the visual components of your brand. When creating your brand, it’s important to take its various components into consideration: logotype (the word), mark (commonly referred to as a ‘logo’,) and color scheme.
- The logotype is a distinct font that represents your company. It should be meaningful to your brand. Bold, curious, flirty, simple–fonts speak visually to your prospective consumer and should be an extension of your brand persona.
- The mark, or the symbol, supplements the logotype. If your brand is edgy, be edgy! If your brand is laced up, be more formal. However, always remember that your mark should (not too be too cheesey) help you make your mark on all things visual. It should work well in black and white, not just in color. Additionally, you should be able to use this mark on any design work–print or online. Think about how it will be displayed on social media, on eblasts, on brochures, on t-shirts, or on uniforms… just to name a few visual outlets.
- The color scheme. It should use one or two primary colors, one accent color, or colors of differing value. Creating a strong brand color scheme will facilitate your brand’s flexibility across print and online, and it will also help make your brand visually appealing.
Once you figured out your brand personality, it’s time to start working on the visual components of your brand. This begins with your logo.
Putting in the resources to craft up a quality logo cannot be underrated. Also, we’re going to get on our soapbox right now and tell you that for the love of all that is good in this world, please don’t think that once you have created a logo, you are done. So many brands focus on just this one part of their visual identity. While the logo is vital to a brand’s identity, it isn’t the only visual piece of the puzzle that helps set you apart from your competitors. Your logo, my friend, is just the beginning of your visual brand identity.
Let’s say, for example, you want to create a brochure so that you can tell the world how amazing your company is. Where should your logo appear on the brochure? What kind of header will you use? What kind of typeface will follow? What size font do you plan to use? What kind of photography or imagery will be included? What’s your white space/copy ratio? What kind of voice are you using in the copy? Does the piece feel simple or intricate, casual or fussy? You see, it’s not as easy as you might think to release a brochure. Just like your logo, this brochure should exemplify who you are as a brand–it’s an extension of who you are. Your customers should immediately see and feel the synergy between your logo, your chosen imagery, your words, and YOU. This thought process holds true for every single piece of collateral that you release…no matter how big or how small.
It seems daunting to live up to your brand persona in each and every piece you release. That’s probably why, time and time again, we see a brand that looks and feels different on various pieces of collateral. Maybe you’re using different designers or firms or heck!, maybe an in-house designer is adding his or her flair to your logo, or whatever piece you’re currently creating. Creating a Brand Standards Guide can help keep things consistent. On the Brand Standards Guide, include an example of the mark and logotype. Include fonts. Include colors in RGB, CMYK and Pantone. Include best practices such as uses and spacing. And finally, include example designs. Sometimes, we even see sample copy on a Brand Standards Guide. A solid Brand Standards Guide helps ensure that no matter who is helping push your brand, you’re all pushing the same brand–not spin offs of one another
In no way are we saying that each piece has to look identical. We’re a creative firm–we’d never tell you to go for visual boredom, or ask you to turn into a boring machine spitting out identical pieces, one after the other. Instead, we’re saying that visual consistency is vital to your brand. By following these tips, your customers will create a stronger connection with your brand that they can trust. Trust = repeat business, which, at the end of the day, is what we all want.
Questions? Get in touch! We’d love to help you no matter what stage of the brand process you are in. We can’t get enough!
Influencer Marketing: Growing Your Brand
The era of micro-influencers is here. With the proven efficiency of the influencer campaigns in reaching the highest possible engagement numbers, no wonder that every day you see more and more people in your Instagram feed posting the pictures with more or less tangible involvement of various products.
It’s in the human nature to share the knowledge, as well as to seek advice. The marketers who satisfied both cravings by bringing influencer marketing to life were geniuses. The most exciting part, though, is when marketing geniuses collaborate with the gifted artists and top talents. That’s when a love child of advertising and art is born.
How brands co-create their content with influencers
When inquiring the influencers with a brief, the brand marketers usually opt for one of the three options.
- Brand generated content
- Co-created content
- Influencer generated content
First is the most restricted option, and last is the most flexible (yet, marketers still check it before publication to avoid the risks).
As for the co-created approach, this content usually follows loose brand guidelines, but other than that influencer is free to interpret the product in a way that he or she finds most suitable for their feed, valuable for their followers, and natural for their creative self-expression.
How to pick the right influencer for your product
When you’re looking for the influencers to start your content co-creation process, apply this checklist. It’ll help you to pick the ones who will not only represent your brand but also add the unexpected zing that your audience will love. Your perfect co-creating influencer:
- Has an audience you’d love to gain exposure to
- Has a tone of content that syncs with yours
- Creates content you like
- Creates content that your audience would like
- Good at content format you struggle with (like video or stories)
- Strong on a social platform you’d like to get a better grip of
By choosing the right people and giving them wide-open, inspiring, clear guidelines, you might very well end up with the spectacular materials that you could never imagine for your brand. Below are several examples when the co-creating collabs between the products and influencers went incredibly right.
Velwe (93K followers) x Maven Watches
Minimalist influencer from Ukraine Velwe is quite picky about the lifestyle brands to feature in his feed. Sleek Maven watches caught his attention.
“I saw their watches, I loved the stylistics. After assessing the brand positioning I fetched some references and reached out telling that I have an idea with two girls. The brand was really eager to collaborate right away”, – says the influencer.
The collab resulted in deeply intimate, subtle and touching monochrome portrait series. Just one Instagram post brought young Hong Kong brand recognition and engagement from thousands of European minimalism lovers.
Chef Jacques LaMerde (143K followers) x Sonic Drive-in
To drive attention to their new smoothies during the Coachella event, Sonic Drive-in collaborated with the chef influencer Jacques LaMerde known for his exquisite presentation skills. The bright visuals were the eye-catcher of the campaign, enhanced with a geo-targeted delivery option and freebies-for-hashtag incentive. The campaign generated over 26K likes and increased the number of Sonic account followers from 118K to 129K – quite a neat leap for one month.
8thdamon (156K followers) x Huawei
8thdamon specializes in stunning Photoshop creations. His space-themed intricate stylistics became a perfect background for the new Huawei smartphones promotion. Definitely a step forward from the unpacking videos and flat lay still-lifes.
Zach King (21.7mln followers) x Target
For their Easter promotion in 2017, Target ordered several promo posts from two influencers. The famous Digital Magician Zach King joined popular NYC instamom Naomi Davis aka @taza (who is an always-on brand ambassador for Target). Not only the collab brought this lovely video to life but also resulted in mindblowing 953,000 likes & 5,000 comments on Zach’s video and 11,000 likes & 88 comments on Taza’s two posts.
Laetitia Modine (95K followers) x Issey Miyake
An influencer campaign launched by Issey Miyake aimed to recruit Millennials who share brand’s approach to design. As the key opinion leaders were mobilized, the brand asked them to get inspired by Issey Miyake’s key attributes of nature, minimalism, and architecture. Laetitia Modine, an Italian photographer, did the perfect job producing a visual that could work as a print ad for the brand right away.
Thismintymoment (164K followers) x Issey Miyake
Minh Ty, engaged in the same campaign, came up with even more stunning photo edit, taking the product to larger-than-life dimension. Together with the previous example, this case study illustrates how one brand can get a whole variety of treatments from different artists, while still keeping in-line with the essential brand attributes.
Designbyaikonik (91,9K followers) x Nespresso
Flatlay guru Designbyaikonik created this shot for the Nespresso brand. Nailing a different angle from what is usually done for the beverages, Nespresso tapped into areas less discovered – in this case, the flatlay stylistics – to broaden their audience and attract new customers. Best comment: “You make coffee look sexy!”
Studio DIY (382K followers) x Chevrolet
Chevrolet focuses on mommy bloggers as the perfect representatives of their biggest target audience. Smart move, considering that this type of influencers has the greatest engagement rates and trust levels from their readers. Moreover, a creative mommy Kelly Mindell behind the Studio DIY account brought Chevy some extra value by staging a shot so vibrant it could be used for a billboard ad right away.
Studio DIY (382K followers) x FreixenetUSA
Chevrolet wasn’t the only one noticing Kelly’s talent. Her another collaboration with FreixenetUSA is crazy, funny, and fizzy – just like the drink itself. Be cautious, though. Influencers able to tweak their personality to fit different brands as good as Kelly does are a rare find. Here’s an advice: check out the chosen influencer’s feed carefully to see if their previous collabs make a good company for your product.
Matthew Crawford (335K followers) x Netflix
Netflix developed a mix-n-match campaign for their show “Santa Clara Diet”. Next to the billboards with celebrity Drew Barrymore, healthy lifestyle influencers were disrupting social media with controversial shots featuring blood and human body parts. This shot by Matthew Crawford was a particularly great contribution, fetching over 25K likes. No wonder the campaign brought the show follower growth of 34% in first four weeks.
Life_mirroring (7K followers) x Sudio
You know a good product placement when you don’t see it. The only thing that gave away the commercial background of this shot by was the fact that it was featured on the Sudio page. Lesson learned – don’t stop influencers from experimenting with your product application – it can bring an emotional jackpot!
Walids (46K followers) x Starbucks
Starbucks had been leveraging on user-generated content for forever now. No wonder they switched to influencer-generated content as soon as it was on the market. Brand’s usual feed is made of photos of the warm and friendly atmosphere inside their cafes. Collaborations like this one, in turn, let Starbucks represent their more sophisticated, design-centered side.
Macenzo (426K followers) x Hamburg ElbPhilarmonie
Who says influencers are for beauty products only? A brand new concert hall in Hamburg organized an international instameet for the architecture photographers before its opening. One of them, Macenzo (first-time comer to Hamburg) grabbed just the right fresh emotion of the new ElbPhilarmonie on this balanced geometrical cityscape shot.
Ricardo Cavolo (158K followers) x Alexander McQueen
When amazing mural artist Ricardo Cavolo published collaboration with the Alexander McQueen on his Instagram, the most popular comment was “Where can I find this?” What’s interesting is that his audience can hardly afford McQueen garments. But a custom scarf was exactly the product to get artist’s followers hooked, and not scared off.
Marylou Faure (48K followers) x ASOS
So whenever your brand is using the services from a designer, director or a photographer, make sure to leverage this partnership through a social media collaboration. Here you can see how ASOS got a perfect shout-out. A designer worked on a t-shirt design for them, and it happened so that she had 48 thousand followers needing to wear a t-shirt every day. Straightforward? Yes. Efficient? You bet.
Like no prophet is acceptable in his own country, no company message can impact purchase decision as massively as the words from someone other than the brand. Instead of spending money on making one-sided communication materials, it’s much more impactful to co-create with influencers and offer the whole variety of views to your audience.
Pick the influencers with highest quality content and give them a freedom to create. Unleash your brand’s potential. You’ll be impressed.
My Top Three with Jon Phenom
Jon Phenom, apparel designer and brand director for BLVD Supply, has been advising entrepreneurs on how to create and grow their fashion and clothing lines for over ten years. You can find him doling out advice on YouTube, where he has over 425 free videos for designers looking to grow their clothing lines and launch their businesses into the stratosphere.
Jon’s many passions include brand consultation, design and production work, public speaking, and providing online courses to help other designers launch their clothing lines. His Clothing Brand Academy will be launching soon, so stay tuned to learn how to create an original garment design and learn how to successfully launch your own apparel line.
You can find Jon on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, as well as on his Official Site. Make sure to subscribe to his Official YouTube channel now for all of that free knowledge Jon has blessed us with. It’s truly extraordinary stuff.
After you’ve subscribed to Jon’s channel, check out this video he created exclusively for Go Media, where he gives us:
3 Tips to Approaching Your Design Work
Très Chic Salon Branding
Go Media was approached by stylist Katie Skillman, who was on a mission to turn her passion for hair education & styling into her dream business – a Cleveland local salon known as Très Chic. During the early stages of the brand development, we explored influences from French cinema, fashion, and even some understated vintage looks. At the base of it all, we knew the goal was a strong, classic and elegant identity that held up to its name Très Chic, meaning very stylish.
Throughout the branding process, we explored several potential applications for the identity. Everything from a business card and service menus, to the signage on the exterior of the building. Because of this, the Très Chic identity consists of a handful of logo variations to account for those various needs. You can find their signature TC scissor mark sprinkled across their marketing materials or featured on aprons worn by the stylists.
To see more concepts and learn more about the project:
Knowing when to increase your design budget
The graphic design of your business is intricately tied to your overall company’s image and branding strategies. The last thing you want is to use outdated logos or designs that make you look unprofessional. Let’s face it, though — design work can be expensive. You may already have a design budget and are wondering if or why you should increase it.
Designers spend untold hours creating the perfect balance for your brand. Most businesses are on a budget and working in the extra funding for design is tricky. There are a number of reasons why you should increase your graphic design budget, and things you should keep in mind as you make this important decision about where to spend your business’s cash flow.
1. Branding Matters
You might be able to hire someone off Craigslist to do a logo design, but how will it tie into your overall branding plan? You also may not know how skilled the designer is until you receive the finished project. Good design takes into account every aspect of your brand and your goals for your business. It costs more than just a one-off logo design, because that logo is going to perfectly match all the other aspects of your branding.
For an agency that creates a design focused on your branding, expect to pay between $15,000 and $50,000. Costs might be slightly lower if you hire in-house or use a smaller company or freelancer to do the work. You’ll need to increase your budget to reflect this price range, but understand that you’re paying for more than just a design. You’re also paying for branding, which ties into your marketing.
2. Hourly Rates
Whether you’re hiring a professional agency, in-house designers or contracting a freelancer, understand that these services require a lot of skill and are in high demand. The median hourly wage for graphic designers is $22.90 per hour, and one with added experience or skills will command top dollar. Plan to pay the hourly rate that will allow you to hire a designer with at least a few years of experience in the industry. In design, you often get what you pay for.
3. Don’t Underestimate Time Involved
Non-designers sometimes have a hard time estimating the time it takes to create a truly brilliant design. There is far more involved than simply throwing a logo together, for example. The designer must spend time studying the brand and getting a feel for the overall messaging and style of the business.
The graphic designer then searches for the perfect font or unique designs for the client. Other elements must be pulled in, and then the entire design will go under a microscope to see what elements need adjusted, how well the positive and negative space balances, and if colors and styles match. Allow the designer to give you a ballpark estimate instead of guessing how much time a project will take.
4. Make a Good First Impression
It takes a lot of work to get visitors to your site. From the second they land on your home page, they are evaluating everything — from how visually pleasing your site is to whether or not you seem trustworthy. In one study, it took a mere 50 milliseconds for people to decide whether they liked the look of your site.
Well-done design explains what your company is and does and leaves visitors with a positive impression. Pay for the best designer you can afford, so your first impression has power.
5. Value Your Time
Imagine that you’d like to create a design for a new website, but you have no idea how to put one together. How many hours would it take you to come up with the perfect design? You’d have to learn coding, figure out how colors work together, choose a palette and a hundred other little things. Your time is worth a lot of money. How much do you value your time? Consider this when planning your graphic design budget. An experienced designer can complete the work in a fraction of the time it would take you to learn how to use Photoshop.
6. Consistent Look
In today’s competitive marketplace, brand recognition is vital. A brand that is presented with consistency is about three to four times as likely to be seen, likely due to the number of times a consumer has to view your brand before they remember it. Spending more on your graphic designs allows you to ensure everything has a consistent look that aligns with your brand’s goals.
7. Count Design as Marketing
The typical established business sets aside about 10 percent of income toward marketing, and design should be included in that budget. New businesses may want to allot more of their income toward marketing as they work to build a base. One way to increase your graphic design budget is to look at it as part of your marketing efforts.
8. Color Matters
A professional designer understands the psychology behind color and how people come to recognize and relate to your brand on a subconscious level. Color impacts brand recognition by as much as 80 percent, with colorful logos being more memorable than ones with little personality.
If your brand doesn’t yet have a basic brand color palette, then you’ll want to work closely with a team made up of graphic designers and marketers. This will allow you to choose the color that shows your company’s personality and also speaks to your target audience.
Graphic Design Budget
It’s challenging to figure out how much you need to set aside for graphic design. Costs can vary widely by project type. Make a list of the high-priority projects you’d like completed first, so your graphic designer can focus on those. Adjust your budget as you go along and keep in mind that a designer is experienced at estimating how much time should be spent on a specific project.
I am passionate about branding and have learned a lot while helping businesses develop their brands. There is a lot more to a logo than just your company name and there are some important factors to keep in mind when branding, or rebranding, your business:
Trust a professional
Don’t go into the logo design process blindly. You should have a clearly defined idea of who your company is, where you’re going, the audience you’re serving and the vision you’re trying to convey before venturing into the logo design process. Once you’re ready, it may be tempting to go with a designer who’s the least expensive, because identities are pricey, but it’s important to hire a professional. We’ve been trained to do more than push pixels and can help you narrow down ideas, show you new options and help you maintain your brand direction.
There are 7 different types of logo marks to consider.
Discuss with your designer the option that works best for you.
1. Lettermarks (monogram logos)
2. Wordmarks (company name logos)
3. Pictorial marks (logo symbols, no words, works best for large companies)
4. Abstract logo marks (a specific non-recognizable abstract design that represents your business)
5. Mascots (think sports teams)
6. The combination mark (logo comprised of a combined wordmark or lettermark and a pictorial mark, abstract mark, or mascot)
7. The emblem (badges, seals, crests etc.)
Consider whether or not your idea can be executed.
Your logo might look great on a billboard, but when we shrink it to a postage stamp size, is it still working? Answer some of these questions before choosing your mark:
1. Does it translate from small to large & vice versa?
2. Does it work in black and white? (Your logo MUST be able to translate to greyscale!)
3. Can it work as a PNG? (transparent background)
4. Does it convey my brand’s identity?
5. Is it balanced or is it too detailed?
Lets talk details…
It doesn’t matter if your logo is unique or intricate if nobody can tell what it is. Have you thought about adding your tagline, address or other information to your logo mark? There are times you may want to have those extras on your mark, but they should not be on your standard, every day logo. You can have these ‘companion pieces’ created as extras to compliment your logo and use them as needed.
Stop Following the Fads. Be a Trendsetter.
Fad is, in one word, short-lived. Trends have a much longer lifespan than fads. In fact, they can continue to be fashionable for years and even decades. Digging into what is now and fun is fine, but consider how will it impact your business in 1 to 2, even 5 years. What does a watercolor splotch have to do with your business? Why is there an ilustration on your mark that has nothing to do with your business? Is there a reason for the over the top flourishes at the beginning and end of your name? Your logo should mean something to you. Avoid adding things just to add them; know when you know it’s time to edit yourself.
Setting trends and setting yourself apart means you don’t have to be overly obvious with your mark. If you’re a preschool, your logo does not have to look like it was written by a child. It should convey childhood and immediately let you know it is for children. Keep in mind, it is not targeted to children, it’s targeted towards their parents. Know your audience!
Avoid simply using your business name.
Think you don’t need a logo and can get by with just typesetting your business name? Think again. This gives off an unprofessional air and doesn’t translate across all media. Your name will be written in so many different types, that it will not be instantly recognizable like it would be if your logo mark was standard across all materials.
Are you guilty of being a fad follower or are you more of a trendsetter? Help drive your client’s specific direction with these helpful logo tips. Have more to add? Let me know!
Marina Vape – Product Line Branding
Over the course of a year, we had the privilege of working with e-liquid company, Marina Vape. The name of the game for these projects was building a visual brand around different flavor concepts. Ranging from abstract fruit flavors, to graham cracker, there was no shortage of visual inspiration to pair with the creative flavors. Below you can see 3 executed products under the Marina Vape brand umbrella.
1. ALTERNATIV 2. Honey Bear 3. Gummy Squirms
For the line of ALTERNATIV flavors, we came up with a graphic abstraction of the plume of ‘smoke’ everyone thinks of when they hear the word vape. The goal was to create an eye-catching visual for the line, which would adapt via color to accommodate for the different flavor profiles. Above were the chosen iterations, where below you can see some initial visual experiments.
Honey Bear Flavor
The Project: CLEbaby branding
The team here at Go Media had an absolute blast working on the CLEbaby branding project. Please check out the work we did below and learn more about CLEbaby, Cleveland’s premier resource for birth and postpartum doula services, on their official site.
Doula: a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born. CLEbaby’s mission is simple — bring Doula services to the mainstream. Often thought of as a more “hippy” option in the child birthing department, Gina and Ashley sought to correct that misconception, and cater to young professionals and to be viewed side-by-side with other professionals in the medical community (midwife,ob/gyn). Beyond birthing, they also aim to help the Cleveland parent community with help via educational events in cool Cleveland locations (fun stuff, dinners, meeting others who are pregnant/expecting). They’re a fresh company within an industry that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet — aka, the perfect client.
Merchandise: With Cleveland’s love affair of t-shirts at an all-time-high, part of the project for CLEbaby was to explore a merchandising aspect to the brand. The hope, of course, is to round out the service’s customer experience but to also throw another hook out into the water to attract unsuspecting customers as well. With branding variations for the rest of the family (Dad, Mom, and Kid) our goal was to explore some tasteful options for the different merch elements.
Video Production Strategies: Time Saving Tips and Tricks
If you are like me, you use video as a marketing tool for your design studio. Building a video series for your brand or business is no small task. It takes someone with the technical know-how for video production and expert knowledge of the industry you are in to build an effective marketing presence through online video. Most of the time this role is given to a single person at a startup or a small team in a well-established brand. Most find it difficult to keep a weekly schedule of videos required to keep an engaged audience. But fear not budding Steven Spielberg in the making! Here are some tips to integrate into your routine to help you create content at a faster pace.
Plan your release schedule:
You wouldn’t start a business without a plan, so don’t plan your videos about your business without one either. Make a list of 100 topics you could make videos on, then break them into smaller categories. For instance, I’m a VR designer, so it would make sense to do a month of building level layouts as a series then move on to the next subject once completed. Depending on how your release schedule looks like, you may break these video subjects by either a day, week, month or quarter. I tend to release two videos on the same subject during the week and a live stream while I work on larger projects so my audience can follow along or ask questions in real time.
Live stream when you don’t have time:
Sometimes life gets in the way and you might not have had the time to prepare a video for the week. If you can’t find the 3-4 hours to make a great video, you can always live stream instead.
This way, you can keep your release schedule and have a conversation with your audience at the same time. Be sure to let your followers know ahead of time so they can tune in. Have a list of topics you want to talk about ahead of time. It’s best to have 3-4 topics you can dive into with your audience that fit within a larger theme.
Film several weeks at once:
This may be the golden tip of time-savers for producing online video content. Film as many videos as you can at once, as setting up your camera, audio equipment and lights are time-consuming. By filming several videos all at once you can save yourself the hassle of doing the setup and breakdown for each shoot. Just be sure to change your clothes between filming each video so it appears that you filmed them week-to-week instead of all at once.
Side Note: I once filmed two months worth of videos right before I went on a diet. When I had to shoot the next series there was a visible difference in my weight. I received several Twitter messages about my “unhealthy weight loss” and health concerns over losing the weight so fast. If you are planning major changes to your appearance, it might be helpful to let your community know so you don’t end up with the same issue I did.
Repurpose your content to other platforms:
You spent all that time on making your content, why would you just let your finished product sit in one place? If you are doing great audible content you might repurpose that audio from video into a podcast. If your thing is more “on the fly” use products like restream.io to broadcast to multiple video platforms at the same time. (It also consolidates your chat into one stream from multiple sources for easy back and forth.) These methods can help you make a widespread content net to reach more potential new viewers which you can convert into new fans.
Cross-pollination helps your reach:
One of the goals of putting out videos is to build an audience you can later utilize. When you “cross-pollinate” you are essentially giving another video creator access to your audience and in return, they give you access to their audience. This is done by either making collaboration content or to guest appear on each other’s channels of influence. When you look for other channels to cross-pollinate with, it’s best to seek audiences that are similar to your own. As an example, if your content is about Flash animation, it wouldn’t make sense to cross-pollinate with a channel about interior decorating. You should take in audience size, quality and subject matter into account when you are looking into collaborations. This way, you can find channels that are similar to your own.
With these time-saving methods, you can stockpile your marketing video content faster so you can focus on things that really matter. Go forth and build that audience!
More about Eugene, a VR evangelist and visual designer immersed in pushing the boundaries of where tech and design collide. When he is not in the lab creating his next T-shirt design or VR film, he hosts the VR talk show Glitched.
Expanding Your Brand Presence: 5 Tips
Are you feeling a stagnant air in your business? Strategy planning is a key element of any business, so here are 5 simple ways to further your reach!
How to Further Your Reach
1. Invest in yourself!
Let everyone know who you are by professionally branding your business. Start with a logo and simple website. Creating a relationship with a professional designer will help you throughout your businesses lifetime, you never know when you’ll need something! It helps to have someone on standby who understands your brand and can help support your direction. Designers do a lot more than just create pretty pictures. We create marketing plans, help plan strategies, consult and more. As you grow, your advertising needs change and your designer should be there by your side to guide you. When you are professionally branded and have a user friendly, modern website, it gives your business instant legitimacy in the eyes of your customer. If you are unsure about your logo or website, lots of designers do brand consulting and can help point you in the right direction and show you where you need improvement.
2. Utilize Social Media
The best thing about Social Media is that it is FREE! The worst? You can get lost, easily. The best advice I ever heard was pick the best social media for your business and focus your time and energy on creating great content for your audience there. Do not spread yourself thin posting to countless social media accounts every day. If your biggest audience is on Facebook, utilize groups, events and business pages. Maybe you find your following is more Instagram central. Post updates, stories and go live! Pick your best social media platform and run with it. What about sponsored posts, you ask? Personally, I hardly ever sponsor posts because I know how to reach my target on social media. When I have a post performing exceptionally well, reaching thousands without much effort, I will occasionally boost those. It is already performing for me and converting it to a paid ad will only help my reach!
3. The Right Content
You picked your perfect social media platform, but now you need to post. Create relevant content for your target customer. We’re not talking click bait. Research shows valuable content builds better customer relationships and leads to positive returns for your business! Create each piece with a “Call to Action” or the intent to trigger a specific action in your customer. Pro Tip: Create your content for a few weeks and mass upload them as scheduled posts!
4. Be Engaged
The right content grabs your customer’s attention, now it’s time to engage WITH them! Your created content gets people excited and they want to learn more about you. You start getting comments and messages, engage with them and reply! Your customer base needs to think of you as someone they can count on, someone they are comfortable with. When people feel like they already ‘know’ you from connecting and engagement on social media, you’ve already built the foundation of trust in your relationship with them. Comment on posts in and outside of your social media community. I’m not talking about a sales pitch saying “I’m Sally & I do blah blah blah..”. Comment on things that ENGAGE YOU and that YOU are the expert in. Show off your knowledge, the rest will follow. Engaged networking goes a long way with expanding your reach beyond your own two walls.
5. Get Listed!
Are you listed on the big 7? What is the big 7? Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Foursquare, YP & Superpages. Maybe your business doesn’t need to be listed on all 7, but you can absolutely benefit from being listed on the others. Not only is it a FREE way to get out to your customer base, it helps populate your website and business on search engine rankings. Listed on these websites goes back to tip #1, instant business legitimacy in the eyes of your customer.
What about you? Do you know or practice any other creative ways to further your reach that should be included in this list? Let me know!
Cleveland Design Firm Go Media helps to develop Forest City Shuffleboard brand
Based on the success of their original shuffleboard business in Marblehead Ohio (the Erie Social), owners Jim and Kari looked to elaborate on their concept by venturing to the city of Cleveland. As the branding began, we quickly realized a tweaked direction based off the original concept could be fruitful, and thus we arrived at the vintage varsity aesthetic. Orienting visuals to the feel of late-century gymnasiums and sports movies helped develop the voice of the concept. To further cement the brand voice, we decided to rename what would have been Cleveland Shuffleboard, Forest City Shuffleboard — A throw-back, nickname oriented approach which was the cherry on top of their new brand.
When selling a product, the first option that may spring to mind is to become a retailer for that item. However, you also have the potential to become a brand owner — the person or group that holds intellectual property rights.
In that case, there is more control over which outlets sell the brand, how available the product is in the global marketplace and other specifics. Below, we’ll go over several things you need to do during your quest to become a brand owner instead of just a retailer.
Have Ideas for Products That Aren’t Available Elsewhere
A major factor that causes a person or company to be a brand owner rather than filling the role of a retailer is the presence of ideas for things that aren’t currently available — or knowing how to make things that are better than what people can buy now.
Maybe you love the outdoors and have been thinking about creating a water bottle that makes purification easier when people are roughing it in the middle of nowhere. You might already run a business that stocks outdoor products. However, it probably feels like carrying a selection of inferior water bottles makes your customers miss out.
In the above scenario, becoming a brand owner lets you stock your products in your store. As a result, you can spread the word about them and give current customers easy access to the merchandise.
Protect Your Brand or Product
It’s crucial to go through strategies that protect your brand from dilution. It occurs when there are too many similar products in the marketplace, causing people to become confused about all of them and have difficulty with differentiation.
If your own name is also the brand, you can trademark it, as Oprah did. She’s one of the few people who’ve taken that step to set herself apart. After securing the trademark, it’s also necessary to keep an eye on the internet and make sure merchants aren’t using it without permission. Setting up Google alerts can help you stay more aware compared to manual monitoring alone.
If your product is unique or has characteristics other items don’t, you need to strongly consider filing for a patent. Otherwise, other brand owners could see your products and copy attributes about them.
To ensure your brand and products and properly and thoroughly protected, consult a lawyer who has experience assisting other people in your situation. That person can advise you on the best measures to take, plus tell you what to do if you notice companies or individuals infringing on your property.
Generate Curiosity About the Brand
As a brand owner, it’s necessary to adjust your business strategy and focus on stimulating interest within multiple groups. The more curiosity you cause, the higher the likelihood your efforts will lead to sales and fruitful business partners.
Retailers merely convince shoppers to buy products. As a brand owner, you not only have to do that but also network with distributors that extend the brand’s reach when necessary. Being successful in that task requires showing genuine excitement for your brand and describing why it’s worthy.
Build an Appealing Website
The internet is the first place many people will find out about your brand. Invest time and money into creating a strong web presence that reflects what you offer. Does your brand cater to busy businesspeople, or adventurous travel lovers? Regardless of specifics related to the target audience, make sure the website’s design, copy voice, images and content support the brand. Then, it’s easier to convey what makes your brand stand out and why people should care.
Set Up — and Oversee — Social Media Accounts
Having an informative and user-friendly website is a good start, but you also need to maintain active and interesting social media accounts. Take your time during the setup process and fill out all the relevant sections of a social media profile. Use the same approach to content as building your website and angle it to develop and strengthen your brand at every opportunity. Update social media regularly, too. Ongoing updates boost traffic and engagement.
Also, realize a social media page could quickly become the go-to internet destination for someone who wants to tarnish your brand or is unhappy for some reason and wants the world to know. That’s why it’s crucial to develop and uphold a plan for moderating social media pages.
If you can afford it, hire a moderation team or person to supervise social media and intervene when required. Also, decide what constitutes intolerable behavior. If people continue to break the rules after being made aware of what’s acceptable, ban them and keep track of their IP addresses.
Also, never ignore customers who are truly disgruntled about something brand-related. Instead of keeping up with a publicly viewable content string, you may find it’s more comfortable and private to ask an upset person to send you a private message or call a dedicated phone number to explain their concerns further.
Come up With a Licensing Plan
Licensing is the best way to realize the full value of brand equity because it provides new avenues for promoting, manufacturing and distributing your brand in new markets. It’s essential to prioritize obtaining license agreements as a brand owner to achieve staying power in a crowded marketplace.
There are various ways to do that. Visiting trade shows is a great initial step. They connect brand owners with companies interested in growing the collection of merchandise they offer.
Furthermore, don’t ignore cold calls and social media outreach techniques from potential licensees. Consider that some of the companies most suited to signing licensing agreements may be from other countries, meaning you’d not necessarily encounter representatives at domestic trade shows.
Also, don’t get too eager and sign agreements with any company that gets in contact. Licensees are representatives of your brand, and if they don’t stick to minimum standards when associating with it, all the hard work you’ve done as a brand owner could quickly become nearly useless.
When evaluating whether to accept a potential licensee, ask about the direction they want to take the brand. If it doesn’t align with at least most of your goals or seems in direct opposition, think carefully before finalizing a contract.
Understand What to Expect
Many aspiring brand owners fixate on all the positive aspects of the outcome. Indeed, the advantages are compelling, and the ownership and responsibility involved are quite motivating.
Having a realistic perspective is crucial. Taking steps to become a brand owner is typically more difficult and less straightforward than being a retailer. Because of those realities, you cannot anticipate quick results.
However, it’s not hard to understand why brand ownership provides such a substantial payoff to the people who do it right. Many brands become timeless segments of the pop culture landscape. Consider names like Coca-Cola, Apple and Mercedes-Benz.
As an owner of your brand, you enjoy an unprecedented amount of control over how it appears in the marketplace. Brand ownership also gives more freedom to shape what people think of the brand and perform reputation management as needed.
After reading these steps, it shouldn’t be hard to realize why many entrepreneurs see brand ownership as such as appealing concept. If you can relate, don’t get intimidated by the length and complexity of the process. Instead, persevere and recall that owning a brand could result in long-term profits and recognition within an ever-crowded consumer landscape.
How Strategic Branding Can Help your Business
One way to stand out from the competition and make a mark on the internet for your business is through strategic branding. You’ve likely noticed branding via offline platforms, which is when companies use a tagline or some other identifying tactic to keep the brand in the mind of consumers. Think about some of the billboards you pass on a typical day, for example. However, branding on the internet is an entirely different game.
With so many different choices on methods for branding online, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true ways to brand online that will benefit your business and not cost you much out of your overall marketing budget.
- Develop a Street Team
Street teams originally started out as a way for the music industry to promote artists, but has developed into a method that all types of businesses use. About 33 percent of consumers say they trust a message from a company, which isn’t great, but 90 percent of consumers trust a recommendation from someone they know, even if they just know the person in passing.
This is where your street team comes into play. You should have a database of fans who will go out and tell others about your company and products. This can include social media influencers, people who have been customers for many years and brand ambassadors who you send free products in exchange for their word-of-mouth advertising.
Red Bull utilizes a street team/brand ambassadors to get the word out about its product. The way it has implemented its strategy is to have tiers within the team all the way down to student ambassadors who will recommend the product to their friends.
- Content Marketing
91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing to promote to potential clients, making it one of the most popular B2B online marketing methods. You’ve probably heard that content is king, and in some ways, this still holds true.
However, you have to ensure the content speaks to your target audience and provides some value to them. Gone are days where businesses could keyword-stuff a page, drive traffic and find success. Today’s savvy business owners expect and demand value for their time.
- Make Connections
Small businesses need a convenient way to get active online and begin building that brand image. One key thing is figuring out how to connect with other small businesses, but statistics show that businesses with better listings receive as much as 347 percent more searches than those with subpar listings. A company called Manta helps with Google AdWords placement, figuring out SEO for local listings, social media timing, online reviews and preparing for mobile search traffic.
One example of a company using this platform is Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services. The company specializes as a developer of industrial sites and office buildings, so the ability to connect with other businesses is a real help.
- Social Media
Get everyone in the company versed in how to use social media to promote the business and then allow those who seem to be savvy to promote on your behalf.
Studies show that leads that are generated by employees via social media are about seven times more likely to have high conversion rates. The key is training employees on what to say and what not to say or to simply ask them to retweet and share.
- Customer Service on Social Media
Every day, there are 2.1 million negative social media posts about U.S. brands, which means people are very likely to go online and voice their complaints. Since your goal is to please your customer and show others you care about your customers, it is a smart move to hire customer service specialists to handle social media complaints. The reps simply reach out to those complaining and offer to fix the issue.
JetBlue airlines is an excellent case study of how to use social media to respond to your customers in a pleasing way. When customers complain, it immediately responds, asks for flight info and provides an update.
- Persistence Pays
A person has to see your branding approximately five to seven times before they remember it, as a rule of thumb. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, but it goes to show that you need to put your eggs in more than one basket when it comes to online marketing. Think about where your target demographic hangs out online. If most of them are on Pinterest and a specific crafting site, then that is where you’ll advertise, as well as by using AdWords with a similar keyword range.
- Mobile-Friendly Emails
The number of people using mobile devices to access emails has risen by 180 percent over a three-year period. With more and more people using their mobile devices to get online, it is a smart practice to take those emails you’ve collected and send out a message here and there. You can offer stories about your company, discounts, free shipping, customer testimonials, etc.
Groupon sends out emails several times a week that are segmented to offer specials that particular group of subscribers would be interested in. This highly targeted form of advertising has been quite effective for the site. Those emails are also mobile friendly and can be easily read on a personal computer or a smartphone.
If your company isn’t focusing on branding online yet, then you can see why it is vital that you do. You can easily expand your customer reach by doing online marketing. The key is to be smart about where you spend your marketing dollars. Even though online marketing is a fraction of the cost of traditional print advertising, you can still waste a lot of money if you don’t go into it with a very specific strategy and marketing plan.
Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest design trends and always has a cup of coffee nearby. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner
Shell, Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, Adidas. What do these four brands have in common apart from that the fact that they are behemoths in their respective industries? Distinct and instantly recognizable logos. These are just some examples from a plethora of instantly recognizable logos associated with brand names. How many times have we seen a similar image and have been instantly reminded of a famous brand?
Do you think this happens by coincidence? Absolutely not. These brands, as well as countless others, have worked diligently on the design elements to ensure a subconscious connection with their target audience. Yes, it’s true that they are huge names and have the business potential to back this up. But we can agree that some project a much deeper visual connection, and that is because they have worked consistently on the most striking feature of their brand identity, the logo.
One might argue that “the logo doesn’t make the brand, the brand makes the logo.” But there are many benefits your brand identity can achieve if you work on your logo and your visual branding.
Reasons Why You Should Focus on Your Branding and Logo Design
- Brand Identity
The business logo is the primary visual representation of your identity. Before anything, your customers and potential customers will see your logo and other aspects of your branding and even judge your brand on it subconsciously. Granted, some businesses have a distanced logo but most of the successful ones have a design which resonates deeply with the brand identity.
- The effect of color on buying decisions
Colors can garner strong feelings from the audience regarding your business and the value it adds to their lives. Similarly, using the appropriate color in your branding can influence buying decisions in a positive or negative way. The graphic below shows how different colors can prove to be major influencers for prospective buyers.
- Your Presentation Matters!
According to a research, 45% of a brand’s image can be attributed to what it says and how it says it. In this digital era, where corporations cannot hide anything from its clients, entire reputations can be made and destroyed in a single click on social media. For this very reason, it is essential that you reinforce your corporate image with a logo that projects strength and positivity. A logo is effective when it’s aligned with your brand’s vision and message.
- Brand Recognition and Color
Research also suggests that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. Suppose you see a certain color and it reminds you of a certain brand. This happens all too often. This is because successful brand logos are so deeply integrated with their brand image that the average consumer automatically makes that association.
- Poorly Crafted Logos Portray a Neglected Brand
A poorly designed logo or a fatal flaw in your design could be remembered for a long time. The initial reaction of existing and potential customers alike will not be a positive one. Consequently, every time they see this logo will reinforce the negative image. Remember, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation but only a moment to ruin it. Sometimes, even a well-established brand might be subject to humorous criticism regarding their new logos: Source: http://blowatlife.blogspot.com/2009/02/pepsi-logo-
Is There More To It Than Just Visual Upkeep?
Definitely yes. Premium design helps high-end brands stay ahead of the curve. With the popular market saturated with competitors, the industry leaders need to be seen as current and on-trend. When a brand achieves a certain stature after years of maintaining the superior quality of service; all it needs is repetition and reinforcement of its identity and perceived value to the customers. What better way to do that than with design? Therefore, the elements in your logo need to reinforce the perception that consumers already have in their mind about your brand.
To Cut a Long Story Short:
A brand’s style guidelines go a long way beyond what colors go into its website or the styling of the corporate brochure. It is a unique feature by which a brand can truly distinguish itself from the rest of the market; and what better way for a brand to do that than a cutting-edge logo which can turn out to be the very essence of its brand identity.