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Why Branding Is Important

As an Art Director/graphic designer you automatically understand why a company’s brand is important because it is ingrained in us from day one of college. True fact, but that doesn’t mean that the company with a shudder-worthy logo understands its importance. One of my goals as a designer is to continuously educate clients about why design and marketing are two of the top things a business or company should focus on. I came across a beautifully written article on How Design written by Melissa Mazzoleni about the “4 Key Reasons Why Branding is Important,” based off a book called The Strategic Designer written by Dave Holston. I want to do my best at summing up why a company’s logo, identity, advertising and strategy are things to not just throw on the back burner.

Here we goooooo!!!

brand word cloud1. Branding not only looks cool, it gives a competitive advantage.

“Whether you’re a non-profit or a for-profit, your organization needs to compete for resources, funding and talent, and audience attention,” Mazzoleni wrote. To really gain that customer attention and “awe,” you need to stand out from your competition. If your prices, services and skill levels are very similar, what sets you apart? Your brand should mirror (when done correctly) your business’s strategic plan, customer service, tone and voice.

2. Brands provide a stable asset.

“Products might fail, companies are bought and sold, technologies change on a daily basis, but strong brands carry on through all these changes,” Mazzoleni wrote. A brand is really your company’s most stable asset. Using your brand along with strategic planning can act as a central hub for all decision making for future efforts in other areas. This stable asset will make  your company continuously recognizable. Picture some of your favorite retail products that you always buy because you trust their brand. Ask yourself, why do you trust them? Maybe you trust them because they have worked for you, you have heard about them through word of mouth, or the way they present themselves. So while other brands come and go, that one brand will surpass them.

“Consider that the Coca-Cola brand has been around for more than 120 years, while most of the world’s other valued brands have existed for just 50 years, and most corporations only last 25 years.”

3. Brands provide value.

According to Dave Holston, the author of The Strategic Designer, the value of a total organization is divided among two different areas: intangible and tangible assets. Brands fall under the intangible assets. Intangible assets increased from 17 to 80 percent in overall corporate value between 1975 and 2003. Brands account for more than ⅓ of shareholder value according to Businessweek magazine. So when all is said and done, intangible assets are the most valuable to a corporation/business and brands are the MOST valuable within the intangible assets.

On another note, brands bring trust and a “face” to your business or corporation. It is what appeals to your target audience. It brings the company’s culture alive to the consumers.

Take our agency for example (Candeo Creative). Our brand basically represents the experience and culture of our company. We are fun, bright, clean and fresh. Most people can get a glimpse of what working with us is like just by seeing our brand and marketing efforts.

candeo creative modern day mad men

4. Brands set expectations.

Last but certainly not least, a brand will set the bar for your company. The world we live in is full of promises. From airline mechanics to teachers, we are promising to do a thorough job and be successful.

“We have an unspoken contract with the people we live and work with, that they will do what they say they’ll do. We have similar agreements with companies, products and services,”Dave Holston says.

As Melissa states, we see these brand promises on a daily basis. We have an expectation of an experience when we make our selection, which has already been determined through our previous decision-making steps of “awareness, interest, desire, and satisfaction.”

As a consumer, things that influence our decision-making processes are rarely anything to do with the product or service. Our experience with the product or service is based off what experience we have had with the advertising, brand identity and the environment in which we experienced it. How does your BRAND stand out?


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Seven Women In The Film Industry To Keep An Eye Out For

As I started getting excited for the Oscars this year, I realized there aren’t many women getting awards or even nominated for categories other than “Best Actress” or “Best Actress in a Supporting Role.” I did a little research and found this very informative infographic by the New York Film Academy. Turns out since the Oscars began in 1927, Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to have won “Best Director” in 2010, a category for which only four women have been nominated ever.

According to this article on the Oscar’s Giant Gender Gap by Indie Wire, there have been 631 candidates for Best Cinematographer – yet none of them have been female.

It’s not surprising after learning that 1 in 5 workers in the film industry are women, but why is this number so small when they have so much to offer to the industry?

For example actress Angelina Jolie directed Unbroken which was nominated this year for cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing. Kathryn Bigelow earned Best Director and Best Picture for The Hurt Locker in 2010. And young writer Lena Dunham has written, directed and produced her own series, Girls, on HBO. However, these are names you’ve probably heard of. If you’re interested in more work from women in the film industry, then here’s a list to get you started!

1. Sofia Coppola, director and writer

Best known for her 2003 film Lost in Translation starring Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Coppola has directed a number of films including The Virgin Suicides (1999), Marie Antoinette (2006) and Somewhere (2010). She uses pastel colors and a handheld camera for a dreamlike aesthetic to reflect the inner workings of her characters.

2. Ellen Kuras, cinematographer

Ellen Kuras is the visual mastermind behind the popular films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Blow (2001) and Be Kind Rewind (2008). I was also happy to discover she was the cinematographer for one of my favorite feel-good films, Away We Go (2009).

3. Ava DuVernay, director and producer

Ava DuVernay directed Best Picture nominated film, Selma (2014), which depicts Martin Luther King Jr.’s equal voting rights campaign via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. This is a film you want to see!

4. Reed Morano, cinematographer

One of the youngest members invited into the American Society of Cinematographers, Reed Morano has had her work regularly shown at the Sundance Film Festival for years, and recently made her theatrical debut as cinematographer for the film The Skeleton Twins (2014), which stars Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell.

5. Rachel Morrison, cinematographer

Rachel Morrison has had six films premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the last five years. Her work on Showtime’s Rikers High got her an Outstanding Cinematography Emmy Nomination. Personally, I can’t wait to see her most recent film, Cake (2014) which stars Jennifer Aniston.

6. Mandy Walker, cinematographer

Mandy Walker, member of Australian Society of Cinematographers since 1999, has made commercials for big names like Audi, Nike, Kraft and Chanel No. 5. She’s worked on several feature length films including Jane Got A Gun (2015), Tracks (2013), and Red Riding Hood (2011).

7. Diablo Cody, screenwriter

Remember Juno (2007) and Jennifer’s Body (2009)? Diablo Cody was the screenwriter for both of those. She also wrote, directed, and produced Paradise (2013), which I haven’t seen, but judging by the trailer I can imagine it has the same quirky feel with a pull-at-your-heart-strings storyline.

Looks like I’ll be staying in this weekend for a movie marathon! Can you think of any other women in the film industry to keep an eye out for?


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School’s NOT Out Forever

graduation cap tassel 2007

So, you finally graduated high school and college. What a relief to know that you will never have to read another textbook, listen to another lecture, write another essay or cite another source! While that may be true, don’t think you can remain successful without keeping your brain sharp. Yes, this may mean taking a continuing education course or join a networking group or event. Don’t view these opportunities as unpleasant as a college course. They can enhance your skills and knowledge in your field, even if you don’t think you need a refresher.

At a marketing agency like ours, it’s even more necessary to attend as many networking events and continuing education classes as possible to keep up with the ever-evolving rules of marketing and technology. Imagine if you’d learned how to type 90 words per minute in elementary school, but never had to type again. How long would it take for you to lose that skill? Probably not very long. As an adult, you’re more prone to lose your sharpness faster. The older you get, the less you’re apt to remember how to hop back on that bicycle and keep upright.

While the four years of high school and additional years of college can seem like a lifetime, they are really just a small moment of your life. Keep in mind that by the time you’ve finished paying off your student loans, your education could already be leaving you.

What are some of the simple ways you can keep your brain sharp?

Read a book. No, not a textbook; try a non-fiction book about your field. Make sure it’s been recently published and relevant to your interests. You may find yourself re-inspired to grow in your position, or you may learn new aspects of your job or company.

UnMarketing Book

Take a class. These can be online or on a technical college campus. If you’re fortunate, you may even have a boss who will offer to help pay for your education. The classes are typically for a shorter duration than a typical school semester. It’s to your advantage to try taking at least one per year. It is worth taking, even if the class doesn’t focus on your field but on your personal future instead (e.g., finances, management, etc.). Bettering yourself can also help benefit your role at the company. It shows that you are a responsible, intelligent individual who makes healthy choices for themselves and will, therefore, be viewed as a long-term investment for a healthier company.

Get outside. Avoid finding more reasons to sit inside and play games to keep your mind sharp. Go outside instead! Do what physical activity makes you happiest, whether it’s gardening, walking, running, dancing, etc. Stay outside as much as possible and visit a park, or take a stroll downtown and window browse. In the bitter cold of winter, you can still get plenty of exercise by joining a gym, going skiing or ice skating.

gardening

Be social. Learn from others around you. Become a social butterfly in the office (at appropriate times, of course) to understand how each department works. This will give you a better perspective of how the entire office works as a whole. It will also help you increase positive co-worker relationships and train your brain to stay astute.

handshake networking

Join a networking group. There are an endless amount of business-related networking groups to join. These are a great way to meet new people in other businesses and stay ahead of the game in the office. Just a few popular options in the area include:

How will you keep your brain sharp and advance your career?


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The Irony Of Hipster Logos Becoming Mainstream

There has already been a lot written on the interwebs about the current trend of hipster logos. Chances are if you don’t know what I’m referring to, you have seen some without realizing it. What is a hipster? Most envision a bearded 20-something with false prescription glasses, a scarf, and gauged ears sipping a cafe latte. So, what is a hipster logo? Here are a few examples.

Common traits of these hipster logos are a vintage look; crossing diagonal lines with letters, numbers or graphical elements in the gaps; flat imagery with things like antlers, anchors or mustaches; and distressed “stamp” shapes done in all black. These logos also often include ribbons or years when the brand was established, manufactured or trademarked.

There is a reason why these have become popular  over the last 5-10 years. First, they are simple and clean. Everything is well balanced and nice to look at. They also look great over the top of nature photography like mountains, forests and  sunsets.

However, a problem with these logos is that they are easily replicable and struggle to stand out from one another unless they are very clever or unique. Considering branding is all about separating yourself from your competitors, using this design style may not be the way to go .

It will be interesting to see how these logos stand the test of time. Will they show their age in the coming years, similarly to the way you can identify logos created in the 1980s and1990s, or will their simplicity and balanced structure make them timeless?

Here is a fun website that helps you make your own hipster logo. You’ve probably never heard of it. Best of luck in the Futura!


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Health And Fitness? I Have Work To Get Done!

sleeping at deskAround 2 p.m. on a work day, two words come to mind: tired and stressed. This seems to be how many people feel at this time of day. Why is that? Working 8 or 9 hours is a long day! When you are doing it week after week on top of the other responsibilities in your life, it can start to wear on you. There is no way to completely avoid it, but there are some great ways to lower the amount of stress and fatigue you are feeling.

HOW? Eat better! It sounds cliche, but your diet makes a difference! That does not mean you have to eat salads every day for lunch, but maybe skip the deep fried foods. Filling yourself with more fruits and veggies will give you energy. If you are thinking: “I’ll just drink a Monster,” think again! While energy drinks will give you immediate energy, they are very unhealthy. Did you know that the amount of caffeine and sugar in energy drinks can lead to some serious health problems? Not only that, but there is no nutritional value in these drinks. They may give you the boost you want, but those spikes and crashes can hurt you in the long run. Have you ever heard of the health risks associated with eating an apple or cucumbers? I didn’t think so.

fruit and yogurt

Not only will eating better help you feel less fatigued, but throwing in about 20-30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week will help with both fatigue and stress. Taking a brisk walk during a morning or lunch break balances neurotransmitters and other chemicals in your brain, which cause you to be more alert. It strengthens your brain and increases your learning capacity! Exercise helps you cope with stress because it boosts your brain activity and gets rid of some stress through blood flow. To put it simply, it clears your mind and re-energizes your brain so you can focus without getting bogged down.

cycle exercise

What have you learned? That health is more simple than you thought! As simple as substituting a couple of those donuts and muffins for some eggs and fruit. Starting your day on the right foot with a healthier breakfast choice. Finding a co-worker and go for a 20-minute walk on your lunch break. (This is also a great way to catch up!) You will see a significant difference in your energy levels and health, and maybe you’ll even find yourself more motivated to get ahead.

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