Tag Archives: brand

Now what?

5:7:2013Parker Payroll Services has a logo, business cards, print collateral and a web site. Now what? Getting heard is what. Marketing is a science unto itself. But there are basic marketing 101 steps to take.
New School:
Web site
Linked In
Old School:
Contact former clients-not to steal, but to use a contact to possible clients. Former clients have vendors, smaller company resources, etc.
Networking groups
Small business organizations
Personal visits
And probably the most important: take the time to build relationships
If New School is completely out of your wheel house, don’t hesitate to read books to learn more, attend seminars or even hire a consultant. Often times a consultant is money well spent.


Electrons are free

11:29:2012I thought it over, changed it around, used what I had, went from here to there and Bob’s your uncle. Bob’s your uncle is a British thing and I do not know what it means other than, there you go. Below is the working first page of Parker Payroll Services. Below that is a link to the work-in-progress site. I chose a very different and not typical style. I did it because I could and because more and more often I am seeing “new” design and concepts that either I or former colleagues did years ago. At the time we did them we were shot down as being too modern because of a, “I haven’t seen that before” mentality. So I designed what I liked, what I thought was user friendly and a bit atypical. You might not like it, you might think it is bad design. It is not, it is good design. It is different, not that much, useable yet simple. As many people that love curry an equal amount of people hate it. By the way, the bottom row doesn’t work and won’t take you to another page. Click the logo to go back home.



Just because you could doesn’t mean you should …

is not just about low rider jeans and skin tight t-shirts. It extends to postings too. This is why YouTube is stupid with kitten videos. No redeeming value, just a few more minutes of your life gone F O R E V E R. Funny thing about forever, as physics goes, theoretically time is fluid. There is no reason, from a physics view, why we should not remember the future as we remember the past. And yet it is linear in a forward direction. Go figure. See? Another example of the cool getting you off point. Resist. Know your message and report it. Do not digress, stay on message, you have a point-make it. You are about your brand, your product. Unless you can find a way to cleverly insert something off topic, off your branding strategy, don’t do it. And while I began this post as a way to post this cool fireworks video I took, I’m still right. Resist, stay on message, stay within the brand. Now look at my cool fireworks video!


Designing within the brand, the sequel

I wrote about how important it is to design within the brand, now it’s time to get specific.

  1. Your brand has probably two or more typefaces, for the logo, for titles, for copy–that’s what you use when you’re designing. Not other ones, this is also a case for not using esoteric or expensive fonts.
  2. Your brand has a color scheme. One to two colors (hopefully not more) plus black and white. Use those colors. Not close to, not tints or shades unless it is part of the brand. The exception of course is if your brand is photo based.
  3. Your brand has a feel, a tone, a sentiment if you will. Stay in that. Clowns and balloons are out if you’re a funeral home. Dignity, always dignity. Lawyers do not want to be irreverent. Candy and pastry shops do not want to be somber.
  4. Layout. Does your brand have a layout that is used? Logo bottom centered? Top Left? Screened behind? (Don’t screen behind, I’m giving examples.)

By the way, when I’m saying, “Use those colors” or “That’s what you use when you’re designing.” I mean having designed, policing your designer. I admit, I advocate using professional designers, I am one after all. But truth be told, designing isn’t your skill set and is a waste of you as a resource. Do the math.

Designing within a branding

Designing within a branding is as important as using a logo correctly. Some companies have very strict rules as to how to design within the branding some are looser. Think about some commercials you see on TV. Do you know who the advertiser is before the logo comes on screen? It’s because you’re familiar with their style, i.e., branding. Here’s a sample of a small company that does big things for their community. They have a branding with looser rules nonetheless, these ads are recognizable and linked to this company.

The care and maintenance (or defense) of a brand

Last week was a sort of case study of a branding. The two strategies of FOCUS: Hope are to post the mission statement everywhere so visitors and employees never loose sight of the ultimate goals. The second are pins of the organization’s logo that are worn by every employee and handed over any time it is asked about, allowing the giver to talk about the organization. Fabulous you say, but you are branding a payroll company, or something so esoteric that even your spouse doesn’t know exactly what it is your company does. Like I said before a mission statement and a pin or logo isn’t a branding strategy. So what is? This:
1. Clarity–know what you are branding, what the mission is what goals are you aiming for. Don’t obscure it in babbling double talk.
2. Conviction–believe in the mission, the goal. If you don’t then your branding strategy is off–fix it.
3. Talking points, mission statement, goals what ever, spelled out, in print, in everyone’s hands. Posted at every turn is not a bad idea either.
4. Identity–logo, colors, typeface, and a guide of how to use them. Your look, not just your message needs to be consistent.
5. Enforcement–um, I mean persuasion. Your team must use the branding, not deviate, not interpret at least not without an okay from whomever enforces the branding.

Last words: Enforcement. Empower someone (note I said one) to be the last word on how the branding is interpreted. If that person says no to a use of the logo, type or a style outside the branding, then it’s no. Managers, VP’s can’t over rule. See my entry about being a logo cop.

Birth of a brand, brilliant and completely unintended

Once upon a time two very intelligent, dedicated people created a non-profit organization and in the process created an enduring identity. The organization is Focus: HOPE (focushope.edu) and they say what they are about far better than I.

In 1968, Father William Cunningham (1930–1997) and Eleanor Josaitis co-founded Focus: HOPE, an organization dedicated to intelligent and practical solutions to the problems of hunger, economic disparity, inadequate education, and racial divisiveness. Together, they adopted the following mission:

Recognizing the dignity and beauty of every person, we pledge intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty and injustice. And to build a metropolitan community where all people may live in freedom, harmony, trust and affection. Black and white, yellow, brown and red from Detroit and its suburbs of every economic status, national origin and religious persuasion we join in this covenant. —Adopted March 8, 1968

I highly recommend visiting their web site and learning about the organization. I could write forever and not cover the half of the good they do. But this is about their branding and how they created a brand that endures, that any branding strategist would die for. This organization created a brand when the concept of creating a brand was unheard of. They had and unpopular mission at a time when feelings ran high in possibly the most polarized city in the country. They just wanted to be remembered and get out the message no one was interested in hearing.
First the mission. Everyone knows the mission statement. The mission statement is posted every where. Inside, outside. Plaques on the walls on every floor, out side on the buildings. And my absolute favorite, the mission is printed on the cardboard that backs the scratch pads. When the last sheet is torn off, mission statement. The other brilliant piece of branding they do are pins. Pins of their logo (as soon as I get permission, I will post it) every employee is required to wear one while working. My husband still has dozens and he hasn’t worked there in several years. That isn’t where the genius is though; any time anyone wearing a pin is asked about it, the wearer gives the pin to the questioner. Automatically the giver has the opportunity to talk about the organization. It’s brilliant. When Jennifer Granholm was running for governor of Michigan, she wore a FOCUS: Hope pin on her lapel, every public appearance, debate, press conference she wore that pin. You can’t buy that.
A mission statement and a pin, that’s branding? No. What’s behind it is branding. Conviction. The Good Father and Eleanor had and have an unwavering, unshakable belief in their work. Unyielding, relentless in pursuit of a better world, the message never waviers. Now you’re thinking, “Well it’s easy to believe and be passionate about something so important.” I’ve heard passionate discourses about pastrami–no lie. You have to believe your branding, if you don’t, there’s something wrong with it. You’re not selling your branding you’re believing in your product or your service. And your task is to get your colleagues to embrace that belief with complete conviction. Because they will take the message to customers, the public and on and on. What else? Next week.