We teamed up once again with our clients over atDTZ and Cushman & Wakefield, for a property shoot in and around Montgomery County, Maryland. Our purpose for this shoot was to showcase 9 (nine) different property listings available to be used for various marketing materials aimed toward future tenants.
Over three days, we made stops all over the Rockville, Bethesda, and the Downtown Silver Spring area, capturing beautiful shots of each of the properties, various floors that include the lobby, tenant spaces, and aerial views from the property rooftops. In addition to this, we captured several surrounding amenities that capture the desirable features available for each properties in the heart of each city (restaurants, shopping, etc).
Below are some behind the scenes images of the shoot.
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.
UX Magazine recently posted an article titled Why Web Design is Dead, which caused quite a bit of an uproar amongst the web designer community. The article in question is a little misleading as it thrives on a headline that boldly states web design is going the way of the dodo, but then tells the reader that UX (user experience) design is what needs more attention. It’s fine to praise UX design but there simply is no reason to throw web design under the bus in the process. Web design (UI, user interface) is one thing and UX is another. They’re separate, but equally important.
“Commoditization by Templates”
“Why hire a web designer if you can achieve a fairly acceptable design for a fraction of the cost using a template?”
Sure, using templates is most likely an affordable and easier solution to get your website up and running for the world to get a gist of what your company has to offer, but there could easily be a downfall in that. First off, tons of people have that same thought and are approaching the creation of their company website with grabbing some template on WordPress and calling it a day. You’ve quickly fallen into the boat of losing your identity and no longer being unique amongst your competitors. Besides that, your templates are coming with too many extra plugins and features, including ones you just don’t need. The problem with this is even the best companies have a hard time keeping their plugins up to date, which easily leads to sites being hacked. (This is something we can’t stress enough.) Using a template is settling for something that is close enough to what you want but doesn’t perfectly fit to your needs. Having a web designer actually do their job for you fulfills everything you need, allowing you the ability to attain exactly what you need.
“Web Design Patterns are Mature”
This maturity is good for users: they will find consistency in their daily use of the web.
This point we can agree with. The consistency that web patterns have in keeping up with other web/tech innovations is enough. You can easily argue t-shirts and shoes are mature but that doesn’t mean we don’t still use them. We just choose ones that we think look great or have rad designs. Same goes for websites. It’s a designers job to make these mature web patterns look visually appealing and enticing for a company’s potential client or audience.
“Automation and Artificial Intelligence are Already Doing the Job”
When something can be successfully automated, it means that its practices and standards are established enough as not to need much human input.
Similar to the point of templates, anything mass-produced or automated doesn’t allow yourself the chance to be unique against your company’s competitors. When it comes to business, you always want to set yourself apart from the norm.
“Facebook Pages as the New Small-Business Homepage”
Today, this function has been completely overridden by Facebook pages. They are so efficient in making a business visible that they are rendering basic web pages useless.
There is no way a Facebook page can replace a functional website. Just like any social media outlet, Facebook pages in addition to an actual website are fine. You can easily reach out and communicate with your audience, but the essence of what your company represents is easily lost. There’s no visual stimulation or uniqueness that comes in presenting yourself through your website. Also, just looking for simple information on Facebook can be a hassle in itself.
More importantly, don’t forget, when it comes to Facebook, businesses have to pay for their existing audiences to actually see them: Read More at Forbes
“Mobile is Killing the Web”
How often do you visit a web site from your mobile device by directly typing the address? Only when you don’t have the app, right?
Not every company fits the bill to have an app for a smartphone but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their website is obsolete on mobile web solely on that fact. I may not always directly type a web address to get to the website I’m looking for but I google a ton of things that lead me to said websites. This point is simply not strong enough to make in slow down of web design. If the site isn’t responsive, then that’s a whole new story.
In the end, no matter the importance of UX design, web design is clearly not dead and there will always be a need for it. Web designers will continue to find innovative ways to make sites to do what they’re intended to do: sell a company’s services. If you’re in need of web design services, feel free to 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!
It’s been a crazy ride but we’re proud to announce that our latest creative project, Mixtape Massacre, was successfully funded via the Kickstarter platform.
Click image to view in larger format.
What is Mixtape Massacre?
Mixtape Massacre is a new board game with a killer blend of all the classic 80’s horror archetypes you know and love mixed with so much 1980s pop culture, you can practically hear the gum snapping and the Cyndi Lauper playing. In the classic 80’s horror genre, far too often we are asked to sympathize and identify with the vulnerable and, let’s face it, often dimwitted victim. In Mixtape Massacre, you enter the shoes of some of your favorite horror archetypes and bring the pain all while breathing in the references to 1980s music, film, and pop-culture.
Setting Up the Kickstarter
We did a lot of research before our initial launch on Kickstarter, but quickly learned that the entire campaign would be a learning process. Prior to the launch we had to create a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We also needed to figure out pricing from different manufacturers, shipping rates for places all over the world, advertising expenses, and then settling on a budget.
Also in the time leading up to the Kickstarter we prepared all the advertising images we would need for our Kickstarter page, as the images are really what is going to sell the product. We also produced an animated video as most, if not all projects with a video perform better than ones without.
Before launching we spent the month leading up to the launch doing social media posts to gain attention, followers, and people interested enough to spread the word during the campaign. Then we sent out our first press release to multiple outlets and began the Kickstarter.
The Kickstarter Campaign
There was plenty of feedback from the backers throughout the 30-day campaign, pointing out things like foreign shipping costs and availability as well as their own ideas for extra characters and gameplay mechanics. This lead us to do further research in order to make our game and product easily accessible to international audiences as well as more appealing for different types of players.
From the beginning to the end, we were able to lower shipping costs, become EU-friendly (allowing our product to be shipped from within the EU without any extra customs charges to our customers), add Australia to our international list, and much more. We took a lot, if not all, of the feedback into consideration, trying to make everything work for our backers and deliver the best product possible.
We recently teamed up with Keller Williams Capital Properties (KWCP) for a video shoot in honor of their RED Day event. RED Day, which stands for Renew, Energize, and Donate, is an annual event where the KWCP associates take a break from the office and serve worthy organizations and causes in their community.
We visited two locations for our shoot: Woodbridge, VA and Anacostia in South East Washington, DC. Our shoot consisted of interviews with four members of the KWCP team, going in depth about the importance of RED Day and what it means to the company and the communities that surround them. Along with the interviews, we shot the KWCP members at task with assigned service duties at each location. It’s always a great experience to see worthy communities being helped and RED Day was a great example of that.