Branding Vs. Logos: Logos Matter, But There’s More to the Story

Branding includes logos, but a brand image is an emotional response to images, text, company decisions, and the overall customer experience.

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. 
– Jeff Bezos

When average people consider brands, they might first visualize company logos. For some business logo examples, it’s hard to think about McDonald’s without picturing the golden arches or Coca-Cola without the red-and-white text graphic on every can.

Consumers do associate logos with businesses. In that way, graphics contribute to branding. Still, from the perspective of a brand design agency, the logo and other graphics make up a small but important component of the overall brand image and not a consumer’s entire impression of a company.

What is a brand image?

Consumers don’t just identify brands with logos. Instead, they associate companies with their experiences and even the emotions those experiences might have evoked. For instance, people might remember the golden arches, but they also might associate McDonald’s with fast service and consistent products.

In some cases, they may also consider things they’ve read about company practices. As highlighted on CNN a couple of years ago, McDonald’s has made an effort to use more sustainable packaging in order to help reduce waste and protect the environment. That improvement in packaging can help improve their brand image as much as or more than the logos they print upon their cartons or wrappers.

In any case, large and successful companies do spend quite a lot on branding — and that’s not just for logos. For some examples, Website Builder collated some recent statistics about brand spending from well-known companies:

  • In 2018, Netflix dedicated $1.8 billion for branding.
  • Coca-Cola typically spends almost $4 billion each year.
  • Amazon’s branding budget for 2018 topped $10 billion.

How much do logos and graphics matter for brand images?

Even though a brand image consists of much more than logos, color schemes, and other graphical elements, people certainly do associate these visual elements with companies and products. According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, good logos can help differentiate brands, pique interest, convey information, and of course, reinforce brand recognition.

While any marketer can think of exceptions, HBR found that the most effective logos tended to convey some information about the company. Their study included over 170 test logos for startups, and mostly, descriptive logos tended to make the survey subjects express more willingness to buy from that brand. Since these companies were still developing their businesses, the logo was the only experience that the subjects had with them.

Since most people aren’t familiar with the startups yet, HBR used these big-name business logo examples to illustrate the kinds of descriptive logos that worked very well:

  • The Burger King logo clearly has the restaurant’s name sandwiched between the bottom and top of the bun.
  • Animal Planet has a stylized elephant over the network’s name.

Some people can argue that McDonald’s non-descriptive logo represents a bigger chain than Burger King’s descriptive one. Still, HBR’s research found that descriptive logos tended to influence brand perception in a favorable way. Also, the golden arches reflect the same symbol seen outside of every McDonald’s, so it’s still fairly easy to associate the logo with physical restaurants and the company in general.

As a major exception to preferring descriptive logos, their research suggested companies should avoid anything with potentially negative connotations. As an example, descriptive logos for exterminators should consider leaving out images of the pests that the business might target. They believe these kinds of images tended to evoke negative responses because people tended to associate them with bad experiences.

How can a brand design agency help develop a brand image?

Beyond logos, brands also establish and reinforce their image with ads, press releases, and business decisions that make the news. Companies might also have signs, websites, advertisements, and plenty of other uses for text and graphical design elements. Multi-channel creative work should always complement the brand image the company hopes to convey by projecting a consistent tone and voice. While a logo design agency will help create the right graphics, a brand design agency will ensure that customers view the entire picture in a positive light.

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How a Motion Graphics Company Can Bring Your Brand to Life

Learn how a motion graphics company can help your business improve brand recognition, engage a target audience, and attract more customers. 

Motion graphics refers to the synergistic application of concepts from both graphic design and animation. This kind of content gives businesses a great way to simplify concepts, enforce their brand identity, and engage audiences. Find out how working with a motion graphics company can help any business tell its story better.

Why do motion graphics work?

Most people refer to motion design as a type of animation. In today’s competitive marketing environment, people get bombarded by so much information that companies can have a tough time engaging and communicating with their audience with just text, static images, or even more traditional video.

As a kind of animation, motion graphics can incorporate moving or still graphics, sound, and text. Most of all, they can rapidly generate a submersive storyline, which can take on the feel of a documentary, lesson, comedy, or even a video game. They can entertain, explain, and educate — and sometimes do all three.

According to OpenGeeksLab, working with a video animation services company can provide a business with many marketing benefits:

  • Audience recall: Motion graphics make it easier to recall statistics, complex ideas, and even emotions. Studies have demonstrated that people can remember 95 percent of the information presented in a video but only about 10 percent of what they read in text.
  • Engagement: People spend more time on pages with videos than pages with only text and/or graphics. Again, motion graphics aren’t just good marketing — they’re actually good.
  • Brand enhancement: Good motion graphic design will incorporate both visual and textual elements of a company’s brand image. For instance, the content might incorporate the brand’s logo, mission, and personality.
  • Viral potential: Social media users have proven more inclined to share videos than only graphics or text. They’re also more likely to comment or hit the like button. Motion graphics give businesses a chance to expand their reach.
  • SEO value: Web pages with video and text have a greater chance to hit the first page in Google and other search engines. This can attract more organic traffic and improve brand recognition.
  • Good ROI: Animation drives traffic three times better than other kinds of content. For the benefits they can enjoy, most businesses find working with a corporate video production company cost effective.

A motion graphics company can also provide a good ROI because they’re generally open to repurposing. For instance, animation production companies may produce one longer video for a website. After that, they can also cut parts of the product into quick, 30-second promos for social media or pull out static images for infographics. This kind of content stacking can help make efficient use of marketing budgets.

Examples of good motion graphics design

As with most visual mediums, people generally have an easier time understanding high-quality work by seeing examples than by reading explanations. Look at a couple of effective motion graphics videos that can help illustrate the potential of this medium.

Anatomy of a Computer Virus: A dangerous virus threatened public services and society at large. Created for a TV show, this motion graphics video explained a very complex topic in a very digestible and interesting way. It distilled the work of a team of experts into an engaging presentation that average people can understand.

Varpet: Varpet used motion graphics to create an explainer video that also served as marketing content. In just about one minute, the good-humored motion graphics explained exactly why somebody would need the company’s mobile app, its benefits over other solutions, and the couple of simple steps required to use it.

How to find the right motion graphics company

As with any other type of content producers, good animation production companies should post examples of their video animation services. Find out if their style looks like a fit for the company culture. Just as important, make certain they want to devote the time to learn about your business, brand image, and goals. While the best motion graphics can stand on their own merits as good content, they also need to reflect your company’s mission and overall message.

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How a CPG Marketing Agency Makes Products Stand Out

Three ways the best CPG marketing agency can design packaging to reduce waste, improve brand reputation, and drive attention and sales. 

Of course, a CPG marketing agency frequently has to help promote products that people might think of as fairly interchangeable. Choosing between some jars of mayo, bottles of ketchup, or boxes of laundry detergent might not seem like a big decision for most consumers. Thus, people may tend to choose the brand they’ve always bought or maybe, what’s on sale. Find out how a good CPG advertising agency can make products stand out on the shelves, so customers will consider them anything but ordinary.

Three Ways a CPG marketing agency can differentiate products

First, it might help to work with a consumer package goods design agency. Besides having experience with developing outstanding packaging, these professionals can provide a different perspective to help come up with novel solutions that are sometimes easy to overlook by people who manage these products every day. Consider three tested suggestions that packaging professionals might offer.

1. Make packaging more useful

Making packaging more useful can provide a great way to differentiate a product from competitors. As just one example, Heinz simply flipped their bottle upside down in 2002, so it could rest on the lid instead of the base. Of course, most people find thick, rich ketchup challenging to get out of a typical bottle, especially when the container’s almost empty.

After 170 years of producing ketchup, the company — or their packaging design agency — came up with the genius idea of flipping the bottle to let gravity lend some assistance. Apparently, this change caught the eye of consumers. According to CNN Money, sales increased by six percent in a year when overall ketchup sales only rose by two percent.

2. Ensure customers know how to use the product to its best advantage

Is there something different about using a product that customers should know? Obviously, if consumers know how to make the best use of their purchase, they’re likely to return for more. As an example, Trader Joe’s sells a spice blend called, “Everything But the Elote.” Elote means corn in English, and the word suggests boiled, roasted, or steamed corn prepared in a particular way. Some people have figured out on their own that this blend can also spice up popcorn, all sorts of green vegetables, dips, French fries, and lots of other kinds of food.

If Trader Joe’s would include these tips on their packaging, they might sell even more of this popular product. Besides promoting the versatility of a product, marketers might also consider including directions to get the best results for its primary use. Not only will these suggestions help entice customers, they’ll also ensure customer satisfaction and repeat sales.

3. Consider seasonal packaging

Consumers tend to spend a bit more during certain times of the year, and a seasonally themed package can help get them to add certain kinds of products to their shopping cart.

According to Brand Experience: Packaging, shoppers tend to loosen up their pocketbooks at these times, ranked in order of how much spending increases:

  • Back-to-school, especially back-to-college
  • Winter holidays
  • Mother’s Day
  • Easter
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Father’s Day

As an example, let’s say Mom loves coffee. Loved ones may be more likely to add a bag or jar of coffee to a gift basket if it has attractive, themed packaging. Even better, add in a nice “World’s Greatest Mom” mug to provide extra value that can justify a higher price.

Touches like this can also encourage retailers to include the products in a special display that will give them more visibility. For online sales, it gives distributors a chance to tag the product with seasonal keywords.

Think about product and package size

Sometimes, companies think that offering a jumbo package for a cheaper price will encourage sales. With perishable products, this can backfire. For example, pet owners may not care to buy 30 pounds of dog food for their seven-pound Maltese. They would rather pay somewhat more for a smaller package to avoid the waste of having to dispose of stale products.

Also, some companies tend to package relatively large things in oversized packaging. Too much packaging wastes materials, generates excessive shipping charges, and may even annoy purchasers. These days, consumers have grown more concerned about the environment and frugality.  To promote the best brand image, a why a CPG advertising agency may advise their clients to right-size packages in order to save money and appeal to buyers.

Choose colors to create a quick, emotional impression

The University of California at Irvine published a fascinating paper on the ability of colors to effect human emotional responses. Nature may have coded some of this response in people’s genes, as humanity evolved to associate certain colors with their natural environment. Beyond that, people have their own specific responses to various color schemes, based upon culture or even personality.

As an example, many Americans might associate red and green with holidays. People don’t tend to react just to one color either. Instead, contrasting colors, image clarity, and even shades can make a big difference. Also, sometimes colors can even go out of style for a time. For instance, the 70s favored more earthy shades; however, brighter colors took over in the 80s.

The importance of packaging for product differentiation

Businesses invest a lot in developing their products. The right packaging can reduce costs, promote a positive brand image, and of course, increase sales. In contrast, poor packaging can waste money, hurts reputations, and turn off buyers.

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Adobe Might Lose Its Creative Software Crown

By: Rhett Withey, Bigeye Art Director

When you take a shot at the king, you better not miss.

Adobe, the king of the creative software world, has reigned over its users with the expectation that no matter what the company does, their users have to buy their product because it’s the “universal standard.” Adobe, recognizing the grip they hold on the creative world, has in recent years taken advantage of their user base by changing its business model to a steeply priced monthly subscription, continuing to release updates overrun with bugs and glitches, and rarely coming through on promised features presented at yearly trade shows. There is a challenger to the throne looming on the horizon, and its name is the iPad Pro.

The hubris of Adobe has been knowing that designers and creatives can’t just up-and-drop Photoshop or Illustrator in favor of a newer and cheaper alternative without risking a severe downturn in productivity. In the fast-paced world of advertising, designers have decades of muscle memory with hotkeys and processes ingrained in their heads. Going cold turkey and learning a completely new software would result in the loss of hundreds of hours of time on projects. Adobe knows this and expects their users to return month-after-month and year-after-year.

The iPad is Adobe’s worthy competitor.

What Adobe doesn’t know is that the iPad, specifically the iPad Pro, is helping knock down the gatekeeping walls that Adobe holds to the creative industry. There are a bevy of great design and illustration apps available on the iPad that replicate the experiences of Adobe products and at a much cheaper cost. Apps such as Procreate and Affinity Designer don’t require recurring payments and often cost less than a one-month subscription of an Adobe Creative Cloud license.

Of course, established designers aren’t going to ditch their desktops in favor of the iPad Pro, but there are designers who are actually preferring the iPad experience over the desktop for illustrating, designing, and photo editing. They are the ones currently sitting in the backseat of a minivan on a road-trip or on a bus heading home from school. They are in their bedroom at their parents’ house doodling on the iPad while watching TV. Children and teenagers are adopting the use of iPads at a younger age, and their parents aren’t likely diving headfirst into an expensive Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plan.

Younger generations are paving their own way.

This younger generation is currently developing their own muscle memory of tricks and processes that they will, in time, transfer to their future careers as designers and visionaries. It’s a future that Adobe doesn’t seem to see coming. Adobe needs to adapt if it plans on being around in the next ten to twenty years. They won’t have the luxury of relying on users coming back just because they are working on a familiar system.

Each subsequent release of the iPad and iPad Pro is closing the gap between what a tablet is and what a computer is. Apple has even recently released an update that allows for keyboard and mouse support on the tablet itself.

Adobe does offer iPad versions of some of its software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but those apps have been released years after initial releases of other apps such as Procreate, which itself has developed a dedicated following and has been identified as one of the “must own” apps on the iPad Pro. Also, without a Creative Cloud subscription, the Adobe offerings come up short of being their own fully realized design apps on the iPad.

If Adobe expects to continue its reign on the creative world, they are going to have to win over the hearts and minds of the younger generation through their iPads.

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What Your Retail Packaging Design Says About Your Brand

Retail packaging design sets expectations and even evokes emotions. Learn how to create a good first impression and making the unboxing experience special. 

Marketers know that consumers often will judge books by their covers. Of course, it’s not just books but the retail packaging design for almost any kind of product. Colors, shapes, and other design elements do more than make a first impression. They might even impact the customer’s psychological state. Even beyond any words on the box, you can utilize your packaging to tell shoppers a lot about your brand. That’s why many businesses go so far as to hire an experienced packaging design agency to design custom product packaging that will help them stand out among their competition.

What to consider for custom product packaging design

Direct Packaging Solutions, one packaging design agency, touched upon two ways that package design can affect the customer experience:

  • First impressions: Consumer research has found that packaging can change customer expectations for a product. As an example, MacBook has a reputation for having one of the top package designs on Amazon and other online venues. Owners mentioned how much they appreciated the way their Apple packaging displayed and protected their laptops and accessories. They enjoyed the unboxing process and liked the box so much that they didn’t want to discard it. 
  • Emotions: Several aspects of the packaging can actually evoke specific emotions. For instance, many food brands use red because it can stimulate appetite, and yellow tends to communicate happiness and competence. Even shape might matter. As an example, one beer company developed a bottle with a thicker neck and more angular shape to look more masculine and appeal to men.

Of course, you can also use your consistent style of packaging to reinforce your brand. When people think of Tiffany, they tend to visualize the blue boxes. Likewise, it’s hard to think of Coca-Cola without picturing the iconic red can.

Packaging can also communicate something about your company’s purpose. For instance today’s customers like to see recyclable or reusable packaging. Amazon should know quite a bit about packaging, and they have gone out of their way to promote their program to reduce packaging waste.

Tips for top packaging design on Amazon and other eCommerce sites

For selling online, you need to make certain that your package doesn’t just look good in person. A full-sized and thumbnail photo also has to entice clicks. For that, you need clean, clear, and uncluttered graphics and fonts. Even so, it helps to give your packaging a unique, distinctive look to attract attention.

You might even use your packaging to solve a problem and make your product more functional. For instance, what could be a better example of a common packaged good than ketchup? Heinz got a lot of press for coming up with the genius idea of giving their bottles a wide top, so they could be packaged and stored upside-down.

For years, customers had complained that they had to struggle to get the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle, and the new design used gravity to solve a 150-year-old problem. According to CNN, they increased sales by six percent in a year when their overall industry only rose by two percent. Businesses can profit by making their customer’s lives easier, and sometimes, packaging can help.

How to start designing outstanding packages

As with any aspect of marketing, you should understand your target market. For instance, CBD packaging might reflect health and nature, but boxes for luxury goods should communicate a sense of indulgence and style. Experienced product packaging companies can make certain your packaging reflects well on your company in both appearance and function.

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How Ben & Jerry’s Flipped the Lid on Content Marketing Strategy

Ben & Jerry’s content marketing strategy involves bold flavors and social activism to maintain a positive brand and reputation.

From their fanciful flavor names to the way that they embrace political activism, any experienced content marketing agency should understand that Ben & Jerry’s provides a good example of a successful brand that does things a little differently. For example,most agencies will usually advise conducting market research as the very first step in developing a content marketing strategy.

In contrast, Ben & Jerry’s current CEO, Matthew McCarthy said that conducting too much market research can lead to mediocrity. Find out how this beloved brand has retained its market position by delivering what customers want without trying to spend to much time upfront attempting to even predict what that is.

What’s different About Ben & Jerry’s content marketing strategy?

Instead of creating a perception of maintaining just another high-quality ice cream brand, Ben & Jerry’s continues to generate a positive brand perception by working to disrupt their market and revolutionize society.

Maintaining their reputation as a disputer

So how can the CEO of Ben and Jerry’s say that too much research, a staple of most content marketing plans, can lead to mediocrity? McCarthy told Marketing Week that he spent years working for Unilever and for much of that career, they relied upon consumers to tell them exactly what they wanted. Of course, he agrees that this kind of research still provides an incredibly useful tool.

However, he’s learned that it’s impossible to please everybody and by trying, it can lead to not actually pleasing anybody that well. If you ask a random group of people to choose their favorite ice cream, a lot of them might settle upon chocolate, vanilla, or maybe, strawberry. Instead, Ben & Jerry’s has stood out by coming up with interesting and memorable concoctions that may or may not rely upon the old standby flavors as part of the mix.

Instead, they begin by having product development teams work with their flavor gurus, also known as professional chefs. After they’ve developed new flavors, they may test them by either sending them directly to market or by inviting small groups of Ben  Jerry’s fans to try a scoop. And he believes this practice continues to help them grow and maintain a reputation as a market disrupter, even though they’re an established brand that’s been around for over four decades and has a presence in at least 35 countries.

So, when Ben & Jerry’s introduces such brands as Phish Food, Cherry Garcia, and Americone Dream, everybody wants to find out what the buzz is all about. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve associated at least some of their flavors with celebrities. They can also glide a bit on not just their own media presence but also that of the people or concepts they honor and support with their delicious pints.

How Ben & Jerry’s maintains their activist image

Ben & Jerry’s dedicated one of the most popular flavors, Americone Dream, to Stephen Colbert. Not only that, a portion of profits also goes to some of Stephen Colbert’s favorite charities. Not only should an inbound marketing agency consider this an example of genius marketing, they should also take note that the favor’s really good.

Who wouldn’t like a fudge-covered pieces of waffle cones and caramel swirls drenched in a high-quality vanilla base? Plus, each pint helps such worthy causes as the environment, veterans, and disadvantaged children. Just mentioning it here will probably move a few more pints off the shelf. Don’t forget to try the Chunky Money while you’re at it. Besides sales, the extra attention has generated plenty of positive press from news agencies, supported charities, and of course, Colbert himself.

Ben and Jerry’s recent statement on white supremacy should not have surprised anybody who has followed a company that already introduced flavors like Pecan Resist and Justice Remix’d. Not only did their statement help them solidly their serious stance as a brand with a purpose, it also helped them align with activist movements.

What’s activism got to do with ice cream?

When asked by Marketing Dive what activism has to do with ice cream, the CEO said, “Not a lot. Except we care about it, and our team cares.” Judging by the extra positive mentions that Ben & Jerry’s has received by blogs, news sites, and even activist organizations, it looks like their customers care too.

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