Social Media Trends 2021: Live Audio and Clubhouse Marketing

Podcasts have exploded in popularity. In turn, almost every content marketing agency has explored the power of this audio-only format to engage audiences. As a next step, imagine combining an audio podcast with the conversational ability of a traditional social site, like Twitter. Enter: Clubhouse, the social media wunderkind that everyone is either talking about or copying.

That’s how a Clubhouse marketing agency might describe this new and increasingly visible social app. Find out how Clubhouse works, some ways to use it for marketing, and what the future of interactive audio might offer.

How Does Clubhouse Work?

Clubhouse app users can choose from a selection of rooms to enter. Some examples of influencers who run Clubhouse rooms include philanthropists, entertainers, venture capitalists, and perhaps unsurprisingly, digital marketers. Entering the room automatically turns on audio, and visitors can “raise their hands” to ask for the moderator’s permission to speak.

Clubhouse’s exclusivity partly explains its mystique. While anybody can download the app, potential users must register a username and wait for an invitation to activate it. This controlled growth limits the app’s current user base; however, it also gives users a chance to gain access to even the most popular influencers.

According to Digiday, a few million people use Clubhouse at least once each week. That may pale when compared to the billions of logins to Facebook each day. At the same time, Clubhouse’s enjoys a very concentrated population of influencers, which offers businesses a fantastic way to make connections.

How to Benefit From Clubhouse Advertising and Marketing

Right now, Clubhouse does not offer any program for paid social advertising. It’s based upon networking and content marketing. On the other hand, businesses and individuals do have an opportunity to earn money from the app. Just a few examples include paid room memberships, sponsorships, and of course, marketing brands.

Of course, businesses could advertise their rooms on other platforms; however, since not everybody has a Clubhouse invitation, targeting can present a challenge. Instead, consider these examples of best practices for getting established on Clubhouse:

  • Organically develop an engaged community: Start by developing a profile that can motivate the right users to follow it. Engage in relevant conversations for visibility. Marketers new to Clubhouse may want to begin by networking with influencers who complement their own message. Compare this to getting established on any other social site by gaining the attention of influencers and their audiences.
  • Consider creating a room to solicit feedback: Whether it’s a new business idea or an established part of daily operations, try creating a room to ask for feedback. Very often, other entrepreneurs will stop by to offer opinions, and this provides a great networking opportunity for everybody involved. Also, don’t overlook the chance to provide feedback to others to gain attention.
  • Use Clubhouse to make company announcements: Connect an audience even more with a brand by using the site as a way to release your own audio press releases and bulletins. Clubhouse can work particularly well as a place to announce upcoming launches and even to ask for pre-launch feedback.

Instead of just using Clubhouse as a platform to network and promote new products or services, also consider it a potential source of finance connections. Since it’s grown quite popular with venture capitalist, Clubhouse can provide the perfect place to gain an investor’s notice. Even if all investors won’t offer to write checks, most will provide feedback that can help improve pitches and products.

Finally, is waiting for an invitation presenting an obstacle to getting started with Clubhouse? Putting out a call for one on LinkedIn or Twitter can yield positive results.

Forecasting the Future for Clubhouse

If nothing else, Clubhouse has already introduced a new digital media in the form of a social network based upon interactive audio. It combines some of the best features of social sites and podcasts. As an example, it’s interactive, and unlike with live video, nobody needs to fix their hair.

On the other hand, larger social networks have already begun to respond with their own versions. As an example, Twitter’s beta testing Audio Spaces. They want to give users a place to gather for live, spoken conversations. Also, Twitter already has some features that Clubhouse lacks, including transcriptions, reactions, and a report feature.

While Clubhouse’s premise appears promising, they may fade into obscurity or remain a niche platform if established social networks can deliver a similar environment with important upgrades.

Current Alternatives to Clubhouse

Since Clubhouse still has limited membership, not all brands will not find their target audience there. Others may feel the platform just doesn’t conform to their marketing style. Sadly, some entrepreneurs might even still be waiting for their invite.

In any case, it’s always prudent to explore some other alternative social networking platforms:

  • Discord: People probably mostly associate Discord with chat servers; however, it also offers video and audio chat capabilities. That means a business could turn a Discord audio channel into something very similar to a Clubhouse room.
  • Riffr: This platform lets users upload short podcast recordings, so that part isn’t live. However, Riffr also has social networking features, so both listeners and content producers can follow and interact with each other.
  • Traditional podcasts: At first, people might think of podcasts as more like one-way broadcasts. At the same time, it’s possible to receive voice, text, or video calls from the audience or guests, so in that way, they can be interactive.
  • Webinar: A webinar functions something like a podcast with the addition of video. Also similar, it first seems like a one-way medium. At the same time, it’s possible to accept chats and calls from participants, so a webinar can provide an interactive experience.

Is Clubhouse Marketing Worth Pursuing?

Clubhouse offers businesses a chance to interact with a relatively small but influential group. Some examples of Clubhouse participants include Oprah, Elon Musk, and Chris Rock. Less well known, but possibly just as important, venture capitalists hang out on Clubhouse to monitor trends and sometimes, find new ventures to fund.

If networking with powerful influencers, business funders, and other ambitious peers can offer benefits, good content marketers should find plenty of fertile ground to network and spread their message.

At the same time, Clubhouse has only existed for a couple of years and lacks the established brand, features, and membership of either the largest social sites or the most competitive alternatives. While investing effort into Clubhouse may offer opportunities, it’s also probably prudent to explore similar opportunities offered by other platforms.

Logo Designers in 2021: Make Logos Flat But Not Forgettable

To engage the notoriously short attention span of internet users, even older brands have recently introduced modern, streamlined versions of earlier logos. Flat logo design refers to the popular trend of using two-dimensional, two-color branding images that don’t contain realistic images, shading, and other enhancements. They’re meant to appeal to contemporary consumers and easily transfer to various media, packaging, and products.

Certainly, many new or established brands can benefit from cleaner and more practical graphics. On the other hand, it’s easy to find examples of companies taking minimalism too far. This results in colors and graphics that closely resemble other products or brands or fail to reinforce the company’s image in other ways.

Find out more about the benefits of flat logo designs and hopefully, how to avoid some common pitfalls.

Why have brands turn to flat logo design?

apple logo design journey from intricate to flat logo design

The image in this section compares Apple’s original logo with the current one. Actually, there’s a lot to like about Apple’s original logo. It tells an entire story about Isaac Newton getting hit on the head by an apple and noticing gravity. It probably strikes most contemporary people as nostalgic and almost like something to expect on a craft beer or wine label.

That image probably represented the budding startup well at the time. In those days, Apple may have told their branding agency that they wanted the logo to send a message that they had better ideas, genius designers, and high standards of craftsmanship. No doubt, the original logo communicated a lot of information. It’s also obviously the opposite of a flat design.

These days, Apple wants to portray a somewhat different image to an evolving marketplace. Even though the original graphic tells a story, it contains so many details and graphical enhancements that it looks even more old-fashioned than it even is. Today, Apple strives to position themselves as the cutting-edge tech company for smart and savvy customers. Since they’ve established their brand so well by this time, they don’t need to use their logo to tell so much of their story.

Besides, Apple can now enjoy the benefits of a minimalist design that they can easily use as a package label, product logo, or cell phone icon. Most of all, few people remember that old, nostalgic Apple label, but almost everybody recognizes their current brand image. This design change worked, though it’s fair to say that the old one looks sort of cool.

Do contemporary, flat logo designs always work well?

Creative Bloq nailed the problem with today’s minimalist logo design trend. In theory, flat designs should reduce cognitive load by displaying a simple image to represent a brand. However, so many of these new graphics rely on similar shapes and color schemes that it might actually take more mental effort than ever before to tell them apart. In that way, they can actually increase cognitive load.

New vs. Old Product Logo Comparisons

Image

For instance, look at the comparison of Google’s previous icons on the top row and the current versions on the bottom row. As just one example, it’s fair to argue that the top mail icon more clearly tells typical Gmail users that this image offers a portal to their email inbox than the stylized “M” below it.

Plenty of users say the same thing about the document and video image comparisons. In fact, the images on the bottom row tend to look so much alike that it takes more thought to tell them apart than it did before. For a company that prides itself on its focus on usability, the icon redesign doesn’t appear to achieve its set goal. It’s so stylized that it fails to communicate well.

Brand Logo Comparisons

Download Monzo Logo in SVG Vector or PNG File Format - Logo.wine

Possibly even worse than giving users minor problems with distinguishing between products from the same company, some brands have begun to mimic each other so closely that they’ve grown way too hard to distinguish.

The logo for a UK bank called Monzo has a stylized M, and sometimes they use only the M without the bank name below it. Refer back up to Google’s new email icon to see how similar the graphics would look as app icons on a smartphone or labels on a box. They’re different, but they would still be easy to mistake for each other because of the closely matched font style and colors.

Examples of Successful Logo Redesigns

Burger King logo evolution

Some clever logo designers have introduced graphic redesigns that both creative agencies and customers appreciate. As examples, consider the good choices made by Burger King and Adobe.

Burger King’s New Logo

As one winning example, look at Burger King’s redesign. Notice that the current logo on the right side of the image actually looks more like an earlier graphic than the more stylized version that immediately proceeded it.

For one thing, Burger King reverted away from the stylized and perhaps unclear image of a hamburger bun. For another, they removed the blue crescent to simplify their color scheme and reduce the amount of details. According to Lisa Smith, a creative director at Burger King’s logo design agency, they wanted to pay homage to the company’s history but produce a more refined version of it.

Perhaps less obvious, they also hoped that taking away the blue crescent would help symbolize the brand’s removal of artificial colors and ingredients from their recipes. Either way, the new logo should not confuse anybody who wants to find a burger from the established fast food chain, and nobody would think Burger King looks like McDonald’s.

Adobe’s Logo Redesign

Adobe logo redesign

Adobe also removed one color in their transition from an old to a new logo. According to the Adobe Blog, the company wanted to make their new design more functional across a range of different surfaces and product types.

Besides their brand logo, they also introduced new product logos with stylized images of two- and three-letter mnemonics to help customers easily find the products they want. As an example, Ps stands for Adobe Photoshop, and PsC stands for Adobe Photoshop Camera.

With a focus on usability and attention to choosing colors for accessibility, they made graphical changes that not only should enhance their brand but also improve functionality.

How an Experienced Branding Agency Approaches Logo Design

For logo design or even redesign, it takes more than just a typical graphic design agency. It takes a good branding agency that’s willing to understand the company’s audience, message, and even its history. While prudent designers will pay attention to trends, they never want to produce work that’s so trendy that it mimics other players or loses its purpose in the process.

With that in mind, business logo designers should always adhere to these best practices:

  • Conduct brand discovery and market research first: As in the case of Burger King and to some degree, even Apple, the best logos can look very contemporary without sacrificing a nod to the past. Also, invest in enough research to ensure the audience will respond well to the new logos. It’s better to hear this kind of criticism from a focus group than to see it on Twitter.
  • Note current trends without blindly following them: Changing a logo carries some risk, especially for a business that already has significant brand and logo recognition. Flat and minimalist designs offer plenty of benefits; however, don’t sacrifice functionality and uniqueness.
  • Avoid out-of-the-box typography and color pallettes: Very often, even simple typography customization can help avoid accidental similarities between one brand and another. For instance, choosing either different colors or another font could have kept the Monzo logo from looking quite so much like Gmail’s.
  • Shy away from image clichés: Sure, the new Apple logo looks a lot like the old graphics for Apple Records, but thankfully, most Apple buyers probably aren’t old enough to remember the old Beatles label. Anyway, Apple got away with it, but using common shapes, like globes, light bulbs, or apples, risks confusion and can even appear stale. If it’s necessary to use a common or generic shape, try to customize it in a unique way.
  • Avoid making logos too abstract: In Google’s effort to simplify icons, they took away the instant recognition of what the images represented.
  • Strive for simplicity: Complex logos may present problems when displayed on different devices or surfaces. That’s also why sticking with two colors makes logo designs more practical for a variety of applications. Using just one or two colors can also open up the possibility of reproducing it in monochrome if the need arises, say for stationary or business cards.
  • Develop responsive logos: Logos shown as icons for apps, emblems on products and packaging, and advertisements on TV or computers will need to scale to various sizes. If it’s not possible to design one responsive logo, consider creating variations for different applications.
  • Develop brand guidelines: Finally, businesses should protect the investment they make in developing and promoting their brands by publishing guidelines that specify how to use the logo. Some guideline considerations might include permitted and prohibited uses, fonts, colors, and padding.

Developing a Logo that will Last for Generations

Businesses invest a lot in creating a brand identity, and a logo represents a visual cue or reminder of that. While brands may have good reasons to develop new logos or redevelop old ones, no business wants to do that very often. Nobody can say for sure if today’s graphics will look dated in 20 or 30 years; however, it’s helpful to look back on logos from the past to see how well they stood the test of time.

As a branding firm in Florida, Bigeye has helped established branding and designed innovative logos for dozens of growing and established organizations. Take a look at the online portfolio to find a graphic design agency that builds brands.

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Experiential Marketing in 2021: Growing Customer Connections

Adapting experiential marketing to coronavirus and digital competition through in-person, design, or virtual events to grow brands and markets. 

Sometimes called engagement or event marketing, experiential marketing offers an almost unrivaled chance to help meet such diverse marketing goals as increasing brand recognition, sales, and customer loyalty. It works by enhancing connections between brands and customers in a personal way, though it can accomplish this in a variety of ways.

For a couple of examples of experiential marketing’s effectiveness, Finance Online published research that demonstrated:

  • 70 percent of people turn into repeat customers after attending experiential marketing events.
  • An incredible 85 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to buy after participating in experiences and events.

By its very definition, an experiential marketing strategy will seek to encourage and even invite consumers to participate with the brand to share experiences and even evolution.

Traditionally, an experiential marketing agency might have suggested such common activities as grocery store food tastings, fashion shows, and conventions. Of course, the pandemic changed consumer behavior abruptly. YouGov, a well-known polling agency, found that only 16 percent of Americans said they’re very likely to attend a brand’s online event within the next year. With younger adults, that figure increased to 24 percent, but it’s still a minority.

Experiential marketing in the age of Covid-19

Of course, even before the global pandemic, marketers explored both digital events and other kinds of experiences that did not require face-to-face, indoor contact.

As the possible spark for an idea for a non-digital event that doesn’t require in-person contact with brand representatives, YouGov also found 44 percent of people said they’d prefer outdoor experiences. By conducting experiences outside, brands can still enjoy in-person connections while offering social distancing and plenty of natural ventilation.

With warm weather on the horizon, brands might attract more guests to in-person special events if they could hold them outside.  Besides planning their own events, farmer’s markets, fairs, and even parades could offer great opportunities.

Of course, there’s always room for a bus stop decorated to look like a Barbie dollhouse room, as shown in the photo. For at least the time it takes for the bus to arrive, Mattel can employ affordable, low-tech immersive branding and at least for Barbie fans, make the wait seem shorter.

Image result for barbie bus stop

Recent examples of successful experiential marketing

Netflix took over Little Italy

To promote its recent movie, “The Irishman,” Netflix took over New York’s Little Italy district. They recreated the flavor and mythology of 1970s Manhattan with “Jimmy Hoffa is Missing” posters, secret passwords that would entitle visitors to free stuff at local businesses, and plenty of costumed actors. They even set up phone booths.

To pull off this experience, Netflix partnered with several local businesses. That had to generate some good will as it also gave delis, barbershops, pizza shops, and liquor stores a chance to enjoy some additional traffic from the promotion. According to Event Marketer, the promotion gave away over 36,000 items during the two-day event.

Image result for newspaper where is hoffa netflix

Pepsi sponsored a virtual concert to support front-line health workers

A good branding agency should advise clients that experiential marketing doesn’t always need to include direct experience with a product.  As an example, Pepsi couldn’t send a soda to all the 20 million people who logged in to watch the “One World All Together” virtual concert in April 2020.

The online event featured such well-known entertainers as Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, and Friends From Sesame Street. In that way, it not only had the power to attract a global audience, it also appealed to people from various generation.

While Pepsi couldn’t sell sodas, they could market their brand. Most important, according to Marketing Dive, Pepsi could showcase other facets of their famous name in a welcome way. The company used its vast marketing experience, event-organizing expertise, and a sizable cash donation to support a worthy cause that’s important to almost everybody in the world. In this case, experiencing Pepsi meant experiencing their ability to support a huge effort and support worthy causes.

At this time many marketers struggled to figure out how to reach a large audience during the first months of the pandemic. Pepsi marketing VP, Todd Kaplan, said they wanted a way to connect with people over their shared love for music and desire to take action to fight the coronavirus. Even without having a chance to personally hand out beverages, Pepsi lived up to their “That’s what I like” slogan in another way.

Image result for pepsi one world together at home

The role of experiential marketing in markets dominated by Amazon

In 2019, Amazon grew so large that it took the crown as the largest retailer in the world. As consumers turned even more to online shopping during the coronavirus, the giant retailer enjoyed an even larger share of the market, taking business from such well-known competitors as eBay, Walmart, and Target.

According to surveys reported on by The Motley Fool:

  • 53 percent of online shoppers began their search at Amazon by the end of 2020.
  • In contrast, about 47 percent did the same by the middle of 2020.

By these same surveys, internet customers who don’t start off with Amazon, do tend to choose one of the other well-known platforms to look for items, like Google, Walmart, Target, and eBay. Trying to get attention for smaller brands can present a challenge. 

How Walmart’s investing in experiential marketing to regain online shoppers 

At first glance, it seems like other businesses either need to compete with Amazon or compete on Amazon. Still, Walmart held the crown as the largest retailer in the world until very recently, and they don’t appear to have suddenly switched their platform to an Amazon Storefront.

Instead, they’ve invested more of their marketing dollars into experiential marketing to help build connections with their audience. As an example, they’ve started a Walmart+ membership program that looks something like Amazon Prime at first glance.

But beyond free shipping and deliveries, they’re also working with such media partners as The Food Network, HGTV, and The Drew Show. Besides having Drew Barrymore integrate a Walmart+ call to action, the celebrity will also include personal experiences with Walmart+ on the show. Walmart also plans similar engagement with HGTV.

Obviously, they hope to use this experiential marketing strategy to spotlight not just Walmart+ advantages but also how it compares favorably to an Amazon Prime membership.

Walmart wants to change its brand identity

Walmart’s also already got plenty of stores to help develop in-person relationships with people. And people don’t necessarily frequent Walmart because they think it’s the best store. They often go because it’s the one store where they can buy printer ink, a bottle of ketchup, and a pack of diapers for some reasonable price at 10 AM or 10 PM.

In other words, people know what to expect out of a local Walmart, so the company wants to do more to attract the rapidly increasing population of online shoppers to regain the market share they may have lost to Amazon

How an experiential marketing agency can help businesses grow

The exact experiential business strategy to grow a business may depend upon typical customers, the kind of company, and available resources. Either way, the nature of this marketing channel can offer brands important benefits in a competitive landscape:

  • It helps brands differentiate themselves: While retailers like Amazon provide some resources to help businesses stand out, they still provide a spot in a crowded market. When customers can see, hear, or even taste products, they’re more likely to buy them.
  • It gets attention: Creative experiential marketing, like the Netflix takeover, provide interesting stories that tend to get the attention of the press and social media influencers.
  • It creates sharable moments: Besides getting attention from influencers, regular social media users love sharable moments. When customers post about their brand experiences, they also influence their friends and family. 
  • It gives customers a chance to try a brand: Now, Pepsi couldn’t hand out cans of soda, but they could share their well-oiled event team for a worthy cause. For some televised or virtual events, sponsor take another step of offering coupons and discount codes, almost like the secret password Netflix used. By the way, the password was, “Jimmy sent me.”
  • It creates a memorable experience: A child’s likely to remember an experience like sitting at a bus stop that’s decorated like a Barbie playhouse a long time. That child will probably tell friends and of course, parents.

Experiential marketing gives people an experience with brands that can help them develop a stronger connection. This helps enhance brand recognition, sales, and loyalty. Traditional definitions of this kind of marketing usually refer to it as an in-person channel. With new technology, changing customer behavior, and some creativity, it can work effectively as a digital channel as well.

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What is Brand Positioning — And Why Every Company Needs It!

A brand positioning strategy will increase brand value by creating a positive impression of the company’s products in consumer’s minds.

Brand positioning refers to creating a good impression of your company in the minds of consumers. Done right, people should automatically associate your brand with the benefits you offer. A brand strategy agency will help their clients develop an effective brand marketing strategy to enable this positioning. In turn, this strategy will help keep your company relevant to customers and competitively distinct from competitors.

Why develop a brand marketing strategy?

Brand marketing strategy development will not just focus on creating a positive impression to attract new business; it should also maintain those distinctive qualities in the minds of current customers.

According to The Branding Journal, studies have found a direct link between willingness to buy and customer loyalty to effective brand positioning. With more customers and a higher lifetime value for each one, brand equity grows into one of the most valuable assets that the company has.

An example brand marketing strategy

An Australian wine brand called Yellow Tail offers a great example of developing a brand position statement and then supporting it with an effective strategy. When they decided to enter the American market, the company wanted to mediately distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Their marketing strategy development began with creating the position statement of establishing their brand as approachable, fun, and easy to choose.

Yellow Tail supported their position in five ways:

  1. Product: People find Yellow Tail wine sweet and mellow, so even people who aren’t wine experts usually like it.
  2. Labels and logos: The simple colors, images, and text on the label make the packaging appear approachable and fun.
  3. Name: Yellow Tail represents a kangaroo tail. Consumers almost always associate kangaroos with Australia, the origin of the wine.
  4. Messaging: Yellow Tail focused on in-store ambassadors who greeted customers and offered them details, samples, and of course, bottles to buy and take home.
  5. Price: They kept prices under $10, making it easy for new customers to make an impulse purchase and loyal customers to think of Yellow Tail as an all-occasion wine.

How a brand design agency approaches brand marketing strategy development

So, how would an experienced brand design agency begin to develop a brand position for a new client? Brand marketing strategy development should include these steps:

Analyze the market, the company, and competitors

This part of the plan consists of learning what a market wants, how the company can deliver, and which companies compete for the market’s attention. Yellow Tail wanted to appeal to people who did not describe themselves as wine connoisseurs and even who might have gravitated to beer or pre-mixed drinks before because they found them more approachable and affordable. 

Craft a position statement

Brands need to develop a branding position statement that will appeal to their market and differentiate them from competitors. In contrast to fine or expensive wine, Yellow Tail wanted to present a more fun and approachable image.

Implement the strategy

Implementing the brand marketing strategy may include product design, messaging, advertising channels, package design, and even pricing.  Yellow Tail executed this through their colorful logo, cute, evocative name, and modest price. They also hoped to compete with other beverages, so they used on-site ambassadors to introduce their product to people who were already passing the beverage aisle.

Key goals of brand positioning

The key goals of a branding strategy also provide a good way to test the strategy to ensure its effectiveness:

  • Consumers need to find it relevant or else they won’t engage enough to develop a positive impression.
  • Branding also needs to differentiate the company from its competitors to offer any real advantage.
  • Finally, the company must have the ability to deliver on their promise; otherwise, they’ll lose credibility and any chance of developing brand loyalty.

If the branding strategy can meet these three objectives, it will help create that good impression that will attract and retain customers.

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Sports Team Branding That Knocks Brand Development Out of the Park

See how the best branding agencies view some examples of both great and terrible brand development work for sports teams and athletics.

A good brand design agency understands the importance of brand development for sports teams. A team’s brand provides a quick reference point for what the team and even individual athletes represent. From the home field to merchandise, this consistent brand message helps build the excitement and loyalty that teams need to develop in their fans and sometimes, even to recruit new talent and partnerships. With that in mind, explore both good and less-good examples of brand development for sports teams.

An example of great branding agency work for a sports team

Forbes highlighted the work of the Philadelphia Union soccer team and its brand marketing agency to better position itself with fans in the city. At the time this effort began, the team had formed only about eight years previously. Still, management realized they needed to reenergize their image to grow in their market. Like any other organization, they needed to position their brand in order to establish relevance in the mind of their market.

And to accomplish this, the soccer team began by researching their target market to develop a brand position statement. While Philadelphia sports have a long and established history, the city also enjoys a growing youth movement. Also, Philadelphia has long associated itself as a bastion during the Revolutionary War period. Thus, they decided upon “youth, fearless, and challenger” as the three parts of their statement.

With this in place, the team didn’t so much create their own brand as organically adopt it from the city itself. As Tim McDermott, the Chief Business Officer of the team said, they wanted their fans to define their team and not the other way around.

As the brand continues to evolve, the Philadelphia Union soccer club has even incorporated street and pop-culture art into their graphics. At the same time, they use the mantra “Join or Die,” a slogan from the Revolutionary War days. While their brand development efforts seek to embrace youth, they don’t neglect the history of their city.

Sports team brand development mistakes to avoid

Since the Union soccer team had only been around for a few years, perhaps they took less of a risk with rebranding than some other teams. Still, it’s fair to argue that they succeeded because they took the time to study their market before creating a brand position statement, graphics, and marketing messages.

Fast Company mentioned that a 120-year-old soccer club in Italy called Juventus did not enjoy such a warm reception when they replaced their old logo with a more minimalist, modern one. At the time, fans associated the old graphics with 12 decades of championships, and the soccer club did not even respond to indigent outcries to bring the old logo back. Some critics noted that Juventus has not done well financially because they haven’t managed to grow their market, and perhaps, they should consider a better approach to brand positioning to help with that effort.

Closer to home, the L.A. Chargers also faced derision when they rebranded with a new logo. They did respond by saying they only used a temporary design. Then, they changed the color scheme. When those steps failed to reduce criticism, they simply buried the new design.

Left: Before. Right: After.

How a brand design agency can help ensure positive brand development

Of course, every team will face different circumstances when they hope to brand or rebranding their image. Teams with a longer history may face more resistance when they work to change their image. After all, longtime fans will already have the logos in mind. They may have invested in merchandise and in more than a few cases, even have tattoos of their favorite team.

At the same time, rebranding can help onboard new fans and reenergize old ones. A brand marketing agency can take some obvious lessons away from the good and bad examples above. Just as with any kind of organization, it’s important to research the market and consider the legacy of the team and even the geographic area.

During the rebranding effort, collaboration and communication with supporters should also help defuse resistance to change. The brand represents and solidifies the team image in the mind of fans. Still, as McDermott of Philadelphia Union pointed out, fans really define the team.

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Environmental Branding: Brand Design Goes Beyond Colors and Fonts

An environmental branding agency turns physical space into a positive experience for customers and employees, thus enhancing experience and connections.

Discussions about branding tend to focus upon the graphics, colors, and fonts used in packaging and advertising. After all, these contact points might create that all-important first impression — or sometimes, even the only impression. At the same time, many companies still do serve people in person, either in their store, restaurant, office, or other physical space.

An environmental branding agency ensures their clients keep or maintain their branding in the spaces where they greet their customers, employees, and investors. In fact, in-person contact with a brand gives these organizations a chance to truly make an even strong, emotional connection. Yet, businesses often overlook this kind of branding.

With that in mind, explore the importance of environmental branding and how it may exceed the capabilities of some commercial interior design firms.

What is environmental branding?

Some interior design firms offer environmental design as a service. In general, environmental design refers to improving people’s experience by making spaces more comfortable, navigable, or even exciting. According to HubSpot, this discipline can incorporate principals from architectural, landscape, graphic, and industrial design, and of course, marketing.

Thus, environmental branding serves as an important aspect of environmental design. To incorporate branding into the design, environmental graphic design firms might employ some graphical brand elements; however, to ensure a positive, overall experience, they may also choose complimentary fixtures, paint, textures, furniture, and signs.

This all serves to make the spaces more usable and functional, both from the standpoint of visitors and employees who use the space and from the perspective of marketers who want to improve their brand image.

Examples to illustrate the impact of environmental branding

It’s easiest to parse out exactly how environmental branding works by offering examples. Buchanan Design, an environmental branding agency, worked with a healthcare company called Imaging Healthcare Specialists. They also helped develop graphics for an established law firm, Higgs Fletcher & Mack.

Environmental branding agency work for healthcare

Initially, this company’s offices looked very clinical and functional, as patients might expect in a medical imaging clinic. While the original space served a purpose, it did nothing to help the organization stand out from its competitors or offer any extra value to patients.

Buchanan added wayfinder signs and graphics throughout the clinic to make it more navigable and distinctive. Most important, every office now includes its own Info Center to help promote all of the company’s brands and community outreach efforts. During the process, the environmental branding team also worked with construction and architectural teams to ensure a cohesive effort.

Environmental graphic design work for a law firm

As another example, they included an image gallery in the lobby of a law firm. As one of the biggest and oldest law firms in San Diego, the partners wanted to communicate their company culture, values, and history to clients and employees. To accomplish this, design agency installed large, colorful graphics with the pictures, names, and functions of everybody who worked for them.

Except for showing the firm’s founders separately at the end, nobody else had any special position in the display. This effort helped show off the firm in its historical context. Just as important, it introduced people to their staff and emphasized that every employee served an important function that contributed to success.

Don’t miss the chance to use physical space for environmental branding

So many companies miss the opportunity to use their own physical space to improve connections with customers and reinforce their brand identity. Perhaps they overlooked the positive impact this effort can produce or even worse, simply worked with commercial interior design firms that neglected to suggest it. Done well, environmental branding will help improve brand positioning and even more, turn a company’s spaces into places that customers and employees look forward to entering.

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