Succeeding in today’s business landscape requires businesses to have a clearly defined business image and a recognizable brand. If you feel like your brand is starting to look dull or as though your business is not attracting as much attention as before, then you are probably right and it is time to think about rebranding your company. Here are some signs your brand might be in need of a little TLC.
1. Logo Appearance
Is your logo unhip and out of date? Over the years it’s not uncommon for a logo to lose its original luster and begin to look boring and outdated. Design trends are always changing and what looked nice ten years ago will most likely be in desperate need of a face lift today. This is an important reason to consider when contemplating whether your business should rebrand or not because often times your logo is the first impression a person has of your brand and you want it to be memorable.
2. Outdated Website and Business Cards
There should never be embarrassment or any insecurity when someone from your company hands out their business card or refers someone to your website. The business landscape of today is vastly more different than it has ever been before and has changed dramatically over the past few years. This means that even websites which were created only 5 years ago may be outdated already. Business cards and your company’s website are crucial factors to consider when deciding whether to rebrand or not is important because these are an extension of your company’s brand image which is crucial in today’s marketplace.
3. Diminished Advertising Effectiveness
This one should be self-apparent, but if your company is having trouble reaching your target audience through advertising and other means then you should strongly consider rebranding. This will require your company to do in-depth research on your target audience and try new marketing techniques but this is all apart of reigniting your company’s business spirit.
4. You Have Outgrown Your Brand
If you are one of the businesses who started in a garage and are now in a high-rise downtown, then congratulations — but your brand probably does not match your status now. Since the foundation of your company, most likely there have been changes. Your business has field-tested through the years and your logo and brand should evolve in harmony with your company so that your company has a coherent image. This sign signals that you will have a lot more work to do than just altering a logo but it also means your business has the legs to keep growing.
It is important to keep your brand fresh and looking up to date. If your business falls into any of these categories, it may be time to consider a rebrand. If you are ready to get started but just don’t know where to start, contact us today to learn more about our branding services.
Looking to expand your brand’s social media? Instagram is a great place to start! Here are six tips on Instagram marketing to help you maximize your company’s effectiveness on Instagram.
1. Showcase Your Personality
People are curious as to who is behind their favorite brands. Openness and transparency allow consumers to feel connected to the brands they admire. To be effective at showcasing what makes your brand unique, posting relatable content is ideal. Content that shows your company’s zeal and personality is key for success.
2. Let Your Audience Create Content
Businesses must always be attentive to their customers needs and in today’s marketplace consumers want their voice to be heard. This has led to many companies allowing their audience do some of the work for them by reposting some of their pictures.
GoPro has used this approach quite extensively and now gives its followers a chance to post weekly in their #FeaturedPhotographer posts. This inclusive social media approach makes the brand much more accessible. By creating a lifestyle image rather than a product showcase GoPro has positioned itself to continue to gain more popularity and visibility.
Incorporating this approach into your social media marketing platform will instantly show that your company values consumer input. However, when deciding what content to use from followers it is vital that the content you post is relevant to the message you want to convey.
3. Product Teasers
The main goal of social media marketing or any marketing for that matter is not just to get followers, it is to generate more sales. One effective method to create a buzz around your page is to tease your followers with teasers of upcoming products to instill an air of excitement and anticipation. It is important these teasers don’t seem to pushy or come off as advertisements. The photo should be unique and engaging, a discount code can be put in the post to prime your followers to buy.
4. Sponsored Ads
As wonderful as wholesome, grassroots social media marketing is sometimes you have to pay your way to succeed. Purchasing sponsored ads on Instagram allows your content to be seen by many people who otherwise would not. Sponsored Instagram posts show up on your target audience’s main page as they are scrolling as if they already follow you. If you have an eye-catching photo then it may be a great way to gain followers and make sales. Instagram offers endless opportunities for companies to maximize their visibility while generating sales. Sponsored ads can capture new potential customers, and allow them to buy instantly through a “call-to-action’’ button which brings Instagramers directly to your homepage.
5. Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are another avenue you can travel down to ensure you are using Instagram to the fullest. Instagram stories appear are a compilation of photos and videos that are presented in a slideshow which only last 24 hours. These stories can be a quietly powerful marketing tool for your brand because it can give consumers an inside look to your brand. Giving your audience a quick snapshot of something such as life inside the office, a behind the scenes look at the production process, or even just a funny video showing off your company’s relatability.
6. Create a Cohesive Aesthetic
Creating an instagram with cohesive aesthetic is not easy and will take planning. You need to know your brand and the aesthetic you want to create for it. If you already have a website it needs to feel like the two go together. It might help before trying to create an aesthetic to create a mood board to follow as you start to add content.
When tackling a new project, you’re usually conditioned to think things will be straightforward: get project done by deadline and stay within your budget. Simple, right?
More often than not, we run into issues that both lead us to going way past our deadline and over our budget. It doesn’t have to be like this. Regardless of the size of your project, there are many ways to keep things on track.
1. Stay organized
All projects need a proper project manager – someone to maximize time, budget, and resources that’ll lead you to the finish line. Have a proper upfront meeting that can clearly establish the goals of the project – either laying out what kind of shots you want or what story you want to tell.
2. Know your scope
While successfully finishing your project is the end goal, you have to take into account all the steps it takes to get there. Each step is equally important as each step in your project depends on what came before it. Managing the scope of your project helps your stay on track
3. Proper feedback
Provide feedback that contains your input as well as a solution. Giving feedback that simply says that it’s not working for you or not what you want, makes moving forward toward your goal much harder than it should be. Providing next steps and ideas to make the project more to your liking, and reasonably so, will keep you on the right track. Adding more time to figure out what works best will ultimately cost more money.
4. Be prepared.
Have content ready to be implemented in order to finish out your project and meet your deadline. Let’s say you’re creating a brand new website. Not having content ready during the development phase of your project can easily put you behind. What good is a pretty website without the copy and photos to fill it ? Stay on track.
5. Know how to use your rounds of revisions
Make use of your rounds of revisions to either edit or improve the content already provided, not add additional content. Adding additional content which will also probably be revised only extends the project, rather than meeting your original deadline. For instance, if you decide that after x amount of revisions that you want to start over with, say, different colors and fonts, that will end up costing you more. Another example would be going into a fifth round of revisions, when your scope only included three rounds. This will not only extend the project, but will also end up costing you more.
Having a less-stressful, easy and successful project is not always a reality, but is a possibility. Document the time and steps taken throughout your project and you’ll already be one step ahead. Stay organized and revise accordingly, knowing full well how you’re project should be progressing. It’s always a learning game and will be an experience that’ll keep you on track for the next project you undertake.
Your website is your greatest asset for attaining new business. Especially in this day in age where people walk around with the internet in their pockets, constantly thinking of what businesses they can use for their needs and necessities, having a fully-functioning website puts the ball easily in your court. But not any website will do. Having a website that is outdated, or poorly designed, or isn’t responsive, works against your more now then it ever did. If this is the case for your, it’s time for a new website.
But my website is just fine! I don’t need a new one. Yes, you do.
If you’re on the fence, ask yourself these questions:
Is my website servicing my current needs?
Businesses continue to grow over time and that means you could easily be outgrowing your current website. Does it have features you need to showcase your brand new call-to-action? Does it showcase your up-to-date portfolio? Technology also grows and evolves in addition to your business, and it happens that things that were “super awesome” and “flashy” back in 2011 are just not ideal in 2016.
A new website just might be the thing you need to grow and evolve with the future.
Is there functionality I’m looking to have that my current website does not provide?
It’s 2016, if you’re website isn’t optimized for mobile aka Responsive Web Design, then you’re doing it wrong. In the last year, mobile searches have already surpassed desktop search, so if you’re website isn’t mobile-ready, you are missing out on a huge market of potential customers on the prowl for you business.
Are you selling products physical or digital? Why not sell them online with your own easy-to-manage online store? It’s easier than ever to incorporate a an e-commerce store like Woocommerce into your website. Take orders, make customize your product, manage stock — there’s an array of flexibility without the hassle of an actual store.
Have my marketing efforts changed?
As your company ages, so can your branding and marketing efforts. If you’ve changed either of these things, it’s also probably time you redesign your website too. As said previously, your website is one of (if not the most) important business assets. If your current brand isn’t lining up with your website, your audience isn’t going to connect. It’s time to update.
Why can’t I make changes and updates to my website?
There’s no excuse to not be using a content management system (CMS) to manage your website. Systems like WordPress have come a long way in making it so much easier for you to be in control of what goes in and out of your website. Long gone are the days of having to edit lines of code to make a simple text edit, or upload some new photos.
Circling back to outdated and poorly designed sites, it’s time to redevelop your site to a fully-functioning and easy to use CMS that will allow you to keep up with the times and keep your website looking fresh.
If any or all of these apply to you, it’s time for a new website.
Bright Light Media, along with GIGS, Headfirst Summer Camps, and Georgetown Events came together to throw the first annual community event, Pumpkin Rock N Roll in Kensington, MD.
Warner Circle Park was transformed into a full-blown Halloween extravaganza, filled with tons of family-friendly attractions, festival-style music performances, costume contests, and the main event: The Pumpkin Roll, a derby race of Halloween pumpkins-turned-boxcars.
And with over 2,000 attendees, the event was definitely a success!
BLM was responsible for branding the event, putting together a logo and all the marketing materials to share with the community. We put together an event website, designed posters, flyers, volunteer t-shirts, and event banners.
We couldn’t have asked for a better time, weather, or turn out. Let’s do it again next year!
As stated in our previous blog, an effective brand creates an emotional feeling or attachment, providing a better chance the everyday person will identify, use, and stay loyal to your company/brand. This is the goal. Your finalized logo is only half the battle. The other half: you need to practice an effective form of brand management.
What is brand management?
Brand management allows you to control and supervise all the tangible and intangible parts of your brand. There are concrete things like the product itself, print materials, publication relations (PR) and the not so concrete things like that emotional reaction to the actual product that we keep mentioning. Managing is a constant process of gathering all the various ways your brand is being used on all media fronts. You want to capture the attention of your niche market, you want them to buy your product, remember you, and most importantly, become a returning customer.
So how do you go about this? Here are some key points to effective brand management:
Create brand guidelines
Gather brand colors, logo, and the voice you’re going for
What is your brand’s agenda?
Use your brand in different scenes and settings
Find the ways your brand works appropriately – what works and what doesn’t
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Consistency is key
Once your logo and/or tagline have been created use it everywhere your brand appears.
The more your brand appears, the easier it is for people to have that memorable relationship with it and that’s the goal, to be memorable
Be consistent with your brand over time and across different platforms
Achieve consistency and credibility with your brand and company
Find your market and place yourself accordingly
Position your brand into similar areas for what your brand represents
Figure out what sets you apart from your competitors who are reaching out to the same market
Utilize social media and communicate and keep up with your target markets
In essence, an effective brand is only as good as its competent management. Be prepared to constantly push your brand. One successful push doesn’t equal a successful brand. Monitor your brand as the world perceives it. Press for a strong and clear message for the market you are trying to reach and make sure they have just as clear an understanding of your company as you do. Make a lasting impression.
A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company. You can’t control the process, but you can influence it. – Marty Neuimeier, The Brand Gap
A company’s brand, before anything else, is the first thing a potential client associates with a company. It is the first thing they will come in contact with and begin to make a judgement as to whether this will be the company that is suitable for their needs. In regards to brand loyalty, will your brand be the one that they come back to each time, build their lifestyle around, or create an emotional attachment to? In short, having a substantial brand is extremely important.
How much does it cost for Brand Identity?
It’s time to take the plunge toward a lasting impression. So how much should you invest? Are you rebranding? Do you even have a logo to start with? It can be a very daunting task when trying to figure out where to begin in building your brand. Like any real investment, the prices vary depending upon your needs and current standing. For companies, it can vary by the size and how well established one is as a company.
Here’s an average consensus of brand identity costs for businesses:
General Start-ups / New Businesses – $1,500 – $7,000
Small Businesses – $7,000 – $10,000
Medium to Large-sized Business – $10,000 – $200,000
The Brand Identity Process
Your brand is a serious, long-time venture and an essential business activity that you will have to put a lot of time and effort into. You want a good brand identity and to get that, one must look at it as an important investment not only financially, but also from a manner of time, just as you would the selection of your office space or any business equipment that furthers your businesses growth. Treat brand identity the same, if not better, and do your research on reputable design firms who can meet your requirements and decide just how much you want to put into the future of your brand.
The general process of brand identity:
Research – Creative brief of what the business is and what their needs are. Clarify the vision and strategy.
Brand Strategy – Identify brand strengths and weaknesses, target audience profiles, and evaluate competition.
Sketches / Concepts – Imagine all the possibilities and placements of this brand as well as visualize the future of this brand.
Mocks – From colors to typefaces, choose the right visual elements to mock and start to bringing the brand to life.
Presentation – Present your new visual identity to the organization.
Finalize – Prioritize the brand and use the elements with real content.
Nine times out of ten, many established companies would rather not spend the money for a logo, let alone an entire branding package as it seems like a great brand identity is easy to attain since so many companies have great ones. This is the greatest lie one can tell themselves when trying to create a brand.
The bottom line is: clients with great brand identities invested a lot into making them great (aka you get what you pay for). The more money and time you put into a seasoned design agency, the more likely you are to attain the brand identity you’ve envisioned for your company and one that delivers results. And that’s any company’s goal, right?
Ready to spruce up your brand identity? Contact us today.
When it comes to your new website or marketing materials, choosing the right images to visually entice your potential clients can be a little difficult. Do you use stock photography? Do you have a professional photographer shoot photos for you? What if you don’t have the money to splurge on a professional photoshoot? These are just a few of the questions that can run through a clients mind when choosing the imagery that best represents your company and the services and products you offer.
Custom photography is usually the way to go and is worth it in the long run.
Custom Team Photo vs. Stock Team Photo
Custom photos positively impact websites because it shows you’ve taken the time to provide a vision of what your company has to offer in comparison to your competitors who are using common stock photos shared with so many others on the internet. Stock photos were shot with another person’s vision in mind, which means you’re now attempting to fit someone else’s vision into your puzzle. With custom photography, you’re in control of the vision and what your company’s message is trying to convey. It also allows you to use your photos whenever and wherever you like. When it comes to photos of your employees, custom wins all the way. Potential clients are able to put legitimate faces to the company instead of bland stock photos of strangers who you would never meet in your dealings with a company. It’ll always make a client feel at ease if they feel like they know you better.
Stock photos options can be great! Stick to high-quality stock images
That being said, stock photos aren’t entirely bad if used correctly. There are always pros and cons. While it can be the cheaper option in a short-term situation, you can run into some issues. Depending on what your company does, your competition could easily be checking out similar stock photos or in some cases, the same exact photo as as you. That quickly brings you into the situation of your website or materials going from completely original to ordinary and template looking. This destroys your ability to separate yourself from the crowd. There is clearly a difference between using beautiful shots of a city location and using the same familiar, generic stock personality that everyone else uses. If anything, stick to high quality stock images. Places likeistockphoto,dollarphotoclub, and Getty Images (although Getty can get costly itself) can provide very nice photos that can easily be the missing piece to enhancing your site or advertisement.
Final word: You can use both when it comes to your marketing materials and needs, but it ultimately comes down to how you use them. You just need to find the right fit and balance to keep your brand unique to you.
Instagram, the platform used every day by users to share their stories visually with images, has become a powerful force in social media. With an average of 55 million photos uploaded each day on this vast and fast-growing social network, it’s a tool that, if used correctly, can benefit brands and grow their audience.
Why should your brand use Instagram?
While it can’t be said for all social media, Instagram is a platform for everyone. Whether you’re a small business starting up in the world or a well established brand, Instagram is a visual force to be reckoned with, allowing just about anyone the option to tell (and sell) their story. Coming up with content for your feed can be challenging, especially with seeing what works and what doesn’t on the platform. But that doesn’t mean potential users shouldn’t try and keep at it. In the last couple years, mobile media has surpassed online media consumption and will continue in that direction. So take advantage!
Don’t have thousands, or in some cases, millions of followers? Don’t sweat it. Instagram users are eager to connect with brands on a personal and inspirational level, and finding the right visual vision for your brand can make all the difference. Here are three points to get your going:
Audience: Target the right demographic, using proper hashtags for your brand.
We had a blast this past weekend at Awesome Con 2015. The three-day convention, that featured everything from comics to TV Shows and everything in between, definitely lived up to it’s name! BLM had a booth, showcasing all the services we have to offer from art and clothing to our latest Kickstarter-funded board game, Mixtape Massacre(we even brought The Legend with us!). It was three full days of interacting with strangers and getting our name out there to gain some interest in what we do. One of our owners, Fred Carlini, even got to speak on the panel “How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Work” thanks to the success of our recent Kickstarter project.
It wasn’t all work and no play too. We got to check out different celebrity and show panels, as well as all of the ‘awesome’ cosplay that filled the entire Washington Convention Center. It was pretty sweet to see a woman dressed as He-Man, a family dressed like the cast Bob’s Burgers, as well as the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, all roaming around in front of your eyes. We couldn’t have asked for more from our first Awesome Con experience. It was all the awesome we could have asked for.
Check out some of our photos from the event below!