Friday, May 28, 2010

Color Psychology & Your Customized Promotional Items

Look at your logo & text......your website, your printed materials & promotional imprinted products. Why did you pick the colors you chose for your company image?
Colors become a facet of your brand. They set the emotional tone & play a big part in how people react to your company. Many times it's more subconscious than conscious, but nevertheless colors make an impact.

Listed below, alphabetically, are both positive & negative aspects of the most common colors:

BLACK: sophistication, formality, intelligence, sexuality, power, jeopardy, unhappiness, evil, death, mourning. (A dynamic color that runs to both extremes of the emotional spectrum--from the very positive to the extreme negative).
BLUE: masculinity, calmness, serenity, peace, tranquility, security, balance, orderliness, durability, loyalty, sadness, & aloofness. (One of the most popular colors across the board, but also the least appetizing of all colors & rarely appears naturally in food except for blueberries & some plums).
BROWN: earthiness, strength, quality, reliability, comfort, warmth, security, natural & organic, convention, sadness, depression, isolation, erosion, decay & peril. (The earthiness of this color can bring about positive & negative feelings depending on how it's depicted. It can represent life or death. Individual reactions to this color varies widely).
GREEN: nature, tranquility, soothing, restful, growth, health, cheer, wealth, good luck, fertility sexuality & jealousy. (It's the easiest on the eyes. Also it's very sexual--even M&M candy uses the green to send sexual messages. Guests waiting to appear on a TV show wait in the "green" room to relax because the color is calming).
ORANGE: energetic, excitement, electric, fun, enthusiasm, ambition, flamboyancy, edgy, aggressive, blatant & vulgar. (This sparks more controversy than any other color--people either love it or hate it. It's also one of the most unattractive colors to the eye).
PINK: femininity, love, romance, calmness & hope
PURPLE: royalty, wealth, spirituality, majestic, exotic, unity & wisdom.
RED: energetic, electric, deep, strong, dramatic, intense, emotional, excitement, warmth, comfort, love, romance, eroticism, forewarning, untamed & anger. (The most energetic of all colors & evokes more emotions than any other color. It's attention getting......screams: "here I am!").
WHITE: purity, innocence, contemporary, precision, spaciousness, cold, bland, sterile, emptiness.
YELLOW: cheerful, uplifting, sunny, nature, exiting, optimistic, energetic, frustration, & anger. (While it's depicted to be a happy color, it isn't always so. Ironically babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms & people are most likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms).

What is your initial reaction to these colors? Do you change your mind after you think about it & associate with what's familiar to you?

Using the color brown as an example, notice how one color can arouse different emotional & rational feelings. When it's used in marketing for chocolate candy, coffee, an architectural firm or a clothing store it can bring about a nurturing sense of comfort, warmth, safety, quality, durability & tradition. Yet, if it's used in marketing in the dental field, a person may feel emptiness, decay, a vast chasm, sadness, loneliness.
Think of a photo or advertisement using the very same shade of brown......a khaki swede couch seems soft, comfortable & secure. A man in a khaki army uniform brings to mind earthiness, ruggedness, rigidity & possibly a sense of danger.

This is not written in stone & as you can see there are many variables that can sway you to one color over another. After reading this, it may help you understand why you prefer certain colors to others.

Do the colors you choose represent your business the way you want to be identified?

Ronni Sherman

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Logos & Fonts As Part Of Your Branded Identity

Branding encompasses everything that has to do with your company's image. Logos, colors & fonts used are components that make up only a part of the entire branded identity but it's a very important part.
Your logo is the first impression, of not just who you are, but how reliable your company is. Logos are a representation of your entire's products, it's philosophies & it's mantra. All of that has to fit into one simple design.

Whether you are using your logo on packaging, printed material, promotional custom products or online; it is most often the first point of contact with your company's brand. If it creates an initial image that is inconsistent with your brand identity, then it starts off the branding experience by sending mixed signals. And you don't want that!

The most common & safest route to go when creating a logo is to use both images: your logo (ideogram) & your company name (logotype). Many national & international corporations use only ideograms as their logo, but if you're not one of those large, well-known entities then using just an ideogram will not bring you recognition. To be identified by the public, it's important that your company name be part of your logo.

Your logo is one of the most important parts of your company's identity since it's used to aid & promote instant public recognition. Because of this it's counterproductive to frequently redesign logos. In other words, once you display it as part of your identity, think of it as being carved in stone.
Fonts are as important to your business image as color & your logo. Many typefaces already represent certain industries, & by using them, a company who's part of that industry shows they're trustworthy & values long-standing tradition.

Three examples are:
BANK GOTHIC depicts action or sci-fi movies but works against the food or restaurant industry.
ITC AVANT GARDE is a fashion industry standard but is not appropriate for banking or financial institutions.
TRAJAN PRO is a font influenced by the style of ancient romans' chiseled writings, yet the clarity of this font also makes it work well with modern printed materials. Law firms & universities use this but it would have a negative impact on packaging for baby products.

A font, alone, can act as your logo without a design or shape if you choose a type style that stands out & represents you. You then have to use it consistently as you would an ideogram. Make sure it's part of your signature at the bottom of your emails & that you use it on all mailings, advertising & on the promotional imprinted products you give out.
Type is everywhere so be certain your choice ties in psychologically with your service or product & your goals.

Whatever you do, don't rush into picking a font & designing your logo because once it's out there for everyone to see, it tells the public who you are. It's introducing you to people you can't possibly meet in person so you need to put your best foot forward in this arena just as you would if you were to personally meet them face-to-face.
Look at other company's fonts & logos & see if you feel it accurately represents them. What does their logo tell you about their business? It may help you decide what to choose for your own & what to stay away from.

Ronni Sherman

Monday, May 17, 2010

Will The Real Definition of "Branding" Please Stand UP

A word of caution before you spend money on advertising & marketing: define your brand identity--your company's "personality". But before you can define it you have to understand it......the actual meaning of the word branding.
When entrepreneurs talk about their marketing & communications efforts, they use words "branding", "advertising", "marketing" & "logo" interchangeably. This reflects the pervasive confusion about the terms. People get the words mixed up all the time, yet they are not all one & the same.
Branding is the most misunderstood concept in all of marketing. It's not advertising, marketing or public relations. It happens BEFORE all of those. First you create the brand then you raise awareness of it through the designing & circulation of your logo with advertising & marketing.

Your product or your service is not your company's brand. Neither is your logo, your business card or the promotional imprinted products you give out. Your brand is the personality of your company; in other words, a combination of all these should reflect your brand.
Think of your brand as a toolbox containing advertising, direct mail, ads on tv & radio, market research, PR, online advertising & webinars, business cards, promotional custom products & whatever else you use to distribute your name among the public.
It's what your company stands for & is known for. Before you do anything with your business or use any of the marketing tools mentioned, you need to define your brand. If you don't, someone else will......most likely your competitors.

Steve Cicil, copywriter & branding expert in San Carlos, CA, defines a brand as a promise & branding as the act of devising that promise your company makes. "Marketing," he goes on to say, "is the strategy that differentiates your brand promise from all the other brand promises in that increasingly crowded house called your catagory."

A brand creates an image among the consumer. It says something about you is worth their attention & hopefully, their business as your loyal customer.
This doesn't happen by magic......don't think that just because you have brand identity, you'll have automatic success. Now you need to promote that message you want the public to see. Once your brand is defined, you must constantly use the necessary tools in the "toolbox" to keep your company visible among your clients & prospective customers. The image & message you want to portray should elicit both an emotional & a rational response from people & it needs to appeal to your targeted audience, not to you.

So the main thing to remember when you think of brand identity, is your marketing, logo & product are not your brand--they are vehicles to get your brand known. Your brand needs to be established before you accomplish any other kind of promotion or advertising with your business.

I hope this helps you understand the term branding & will make it easier for you to find your own brand.
Ronni Sherman

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Choosing The Right Promotional Imprinted Product

Most businesses spend a large percentage of their revenues on advertising. This is costly whether the advertising is in print, television or another medium. Even marketing on the internet is an expensive venture considering the cost of marketers & SEO companies.
Many companies, especially smaller ones, don't have the funds to promote their business this way. Due to their low budget for advertising, they find themselves at the bottom of their profession with little hope of making it to the top. This creates a vicious circle: if they don't advertise, they won't be known among the public & therefore, can't generate enough profit needed for marketing.
There are, however, ways of publicizing & marketing a company with a small budget for advertising. One is taking advantage of promotional imprinted products. They can bring you excellent results if you select the correct item for your targeted clientele & one that still gives good representation to your company.

How should you go about choosing the ideal advertising specialties
& using them so they effectively work to promote your company?

1. What promotional items will fit your company or your company's image?
It is always safe to give out pens or notepads but if you want to make a bigger impact choose something that will compliment your business & is not what everyone else is giving out. For example, if you are a dentist then dental floss would be a smart choice or USB flash drives for a company dealing with computers. Luggage tags that light up when going around the baggage carousel are perfect for a travel agent. Jar openers are economical & useful & good for chiropractors, assisted living facilities & insurance companies to give out.

2. Who are you trying to target with your promotional items?
If you are going after your loyal customers or prospective clients, make sure you give out something that represents who you are. But there are times when, rather than have the product fit your business, it's more practical to have it fit the event where it's being distributed. Examples of this are golf balls or a divot tool at a golf tournament, recyclable bags at a grand opening, coloring books on safety at a children's fundraiser, biodegradable water bottles at a bike race or team games & book marks at a book fair.

3. What information do you want on your promotional product?
If these are going out to your customers then an item with a small imprint area--large enough for your name & website--will be sufficient. It's something to remind them of you & to keep your business name in front of them when they aren't using your services or product. If you want to show what your company does or advertise an event for your business, then you''ll need an item with more space for your message. Lastly, if it's a gift showing your appreciation for a client's loyalty then you might want your logo to be discreetly debossed rather than visibly silk-screened.

4. Would you like to get this promotional item?
If it's not something that appeals to you personally, how can you expect it to appeal to others? People respond best to promotional give-aways that have a value to them. Not necessarily a money value, but something that is useful to them--not something that will end up hidden & forgotten in a desk drawer or worse yet, get thrown out.

So next time you have to work out a budget for advertising & promoting your company name, there's no need to cringe at the expected cost. Promotional custom products are available in every price range to fit any budget. Rather than concentrating on the cost, think what item would work best for you......what could bring you recognition & effectively circulate your name among the public.

Let your name stand out in front of your customers at all times.
Ronni Sherman

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eco-Friendly Promotional Custom Products

Companies are now using Eco-Friendly promotional imprinted products more & more to carry their logo & name. They are actually displaying two messages when they invest in these promotions: their own about their business & another showing they care about the environment.
"Eco-Friendly" covers a huge range of products today. Almost anything you want your message on can be imprinted on environmentally safe or recyclable materials.
We all know about recyclable grocery & tote bags. Just look around you in any grocery store. But do you know that there are biodegradable plastic bags? These are available in all price ranges to fit any budget. They also have a large imprint area to broadcast your company while your customers shop.
Yet, there's so much more available besides bags......apparel, pens, notebooks with hard covers as well as all other paper products such as sticky notes & calendars. Almost all plastic promotional custom products can be requested in an environmentally-friendly plastic made from recyclable goods.
This can get confusing since products that are friendlier to our planet use terms like recycled, biodegradable, organic & non-polluting.
Below is a glossary that will help you understand how the items you are buying today will make a difference for all of our tomorrows.

1. RECYCLED: The term means that the raw material used to make the product has been used before & then processed so that it can form a new product. (Pens & plastic promotional items)

2. NON-POLLUTING: This describes the action which is intentionally taking steps to avoid making an area or substance harmful to people, animals or plants by adding harmful chemicals. (Apparel with your company name)

3. SUSTAINABLE: The raw materials to make a product has been supplied from a source that has & will be able to continue to supply over a long period of time, causing little or no damage to the environment. A good example of this are trees used to make paper come from specially planted forests that are grown & maintained solely for this use. (Paper goods advertising your company)

4. BIODEGRADABLE: These products have the ability to decay naturally & harmlessly without any negative impact on the environment. Biodegradable items help limit the amount of harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere & like a fallen leaf will disappear over time & leave no harmful residue in the soil. (Plastic bags with your company's message on them)

5. ORGANIC: These items are produced without using artificial chemicals in the growing of plants or animals for food & other products. (Food products displaying your logo)

I hope this helps to give you a better understanding of how your "going green" promotional items are manufactured & can help our planet.

Maybe next time with promotional imprinted products that are Eco-Friendly!
Ronni sherman