Posts

Your logo is a visual representation of your business. It not only conveys the name of your business but connects people to your brand, ideally in a powerful way. Your logo should garner attention, separate you from your competition, and communicate to your audience what your brand and message are. Some logos are so iconic, they need no text at all and are almost universally recognized. The Nike swoosh is instantly recognizable, and the logo is immediately associated with elevated athletic footwear. So what does your logo say about your business?

About 65% of the population is most responsive to visual memory. The most successful brands have logos that evoke an emotion through visualization. Your logo should combine several key elements to connect your business to your customers.  Message, audience, color, and graphics all meld together in your logo to communicate your brand to the world.

Your message is the foundation for your logo and what it says about your business. Is your company traditional or cutting edge? Whimsical or somber? Font, graphics, and your color palette will help convey the message and tone. A funeral home and a toy store have very different messages that should be reflected in all the elements of the logo. Your logo should tell the story of your brand. A good logo will be clear, memorable and give an indication of what your company or product is about.

Logos for High-End Brands Often Use Monograms

Your next consideration should be your target audience. A logo for a motorcycle company should look quite different from that of a lipstick company. Your logo should reflect the aesthetics of your intended audience and help to create an emotional response from them as well. Consumers can so strongly identify with a brand and logo, it becomes a part of their personal brand. The iconic monogrammed initials CC of Chanel or LV of Louis Vuitton have been adopted by celebrities to convey a sense of prestige and exclusivity.

 

Logo Colors Evoke Certain Feelings

Color choice should embody both your message and your audience. In Joe Hallock’s work “Colour Assignment” his data shows preferences to certain colors based on gender. Different colors are associated with different attributes, and some of the world’s largest companies have capitalized on those associations. Nearly one-third of companies use red in their logos; which is a color of high energy and passion. Both social media companies and credit cards like American Express and Visa use blue in their logos, which indicates trust and stability.  Psychologically, yellow is considered the happiest color in the spectrum and McDonald’s and Ikea use the color as a memory stimulant.

 

Confusing Logos Detract From Your Message

The graphics part of your logo can be one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle. Clean, simple designs are best and they should be distinct, timeless, and easy to reproduce in various sizes. Your graphic should connect to your brand message with imagery, shape or style. The graphics in your logo are the visual representation of your brand message. Logos convey a sense of security, trust, and build rapport with your customers. Confusing or unclear graphics detract from your message, and they can leave consumers guessing about your company.

The human brain processes shapes and colors more easily than words, so the right combination of graphics and colors will make your brand more memorable. The visual library in our minds associate emotions with fonts, shapes, and colors. A logo can create an immediate impression of the brand based on those emotional associations. By creating a logo that conveys your message to your target audience through a combination of meaningful colors and graphics; you can elevate your brand, improve memorability, and establish trust between your customers and your business. Is your logo saying what you want about your business?

To learn more about color impacts, you may also want to read our blog on “The Importance of Colors to Your Brand“.

Artificial Intelligence has been on the rise in the technology sector for years, and until recently was a very specialized tool that only the most advanced companies and researchers were using. Now, AI has managed to integrate its way into a more everyday application geared at making our lives, ability to work, and the capacity to analyze information far more efficient. One of the platforms that AI has taken to like a duck to water is the website experience. To better understand how AI can be used to enhance your website experience, we take a look at its two-fold impact; the customer experience is enhanced, and the company’s ability to use analytics to the fullest is pushed beyond the previously established boundaries.

The Customer Experience

So much of whether the company makes money or not through the website is determined by the customer experience. One of the largest catalysts that AI has provided to enhance this factor is voice- and visual-search based queries. In a study performed by Gartner, it is predicted that by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual- and voice-search will increase their digital commerce revenue by 30 percent. A major retailer that has already taken advantage of AI and its ability to enhance the customer experience is Amazon. It has been reported that customers actually prefer searching for items directly on Amazon.com as opposed to doing a Google search. While using the Amazon App from a smart device you can easily dictate your search into the information field. If you take a critical look at the website, many of the options given to you are represented by an image or graphic. Not only is this new way of searching convenient for the average customer, but it also gives customers with disabilities the opportunity to be more independent!

But search features aren’t the only way that speech interaction is improving the customer experience, Chatbots also make a customized experience more attainable. These AI channels are becoming so advanced that it is rapidly resembling the interaction with a real human consultant. It is even theorized that these Chatbots will eventually be able to read our emotional reactions to products and situations! Imagine walking or driving up to a coffee shop and having a chat pop up on your phone letting you know what your last order was, and asking if you would like to not only order it again but also if it can charge the same mode of payment you used previously as well. You could have ordered, purchased, and picked up your drink without ever having to stand in line.

The Business Experience

The business experience has a symbiotic relationship with the customer experience. While the customer is interacting with the AI and having a convenient mode to get what they want; the business is using all the information that the AI is collecting from the customer, and using it to better the customer experience. This allows for an increase in profit through becoming smarter about their business and products or services. An example of this is tracking information like the most searched for terms on the website, the item or service that is selling the most units, or the converse, the item or service selling the least units. It notes what parts of the website are being interacted with the most, which can help simplify the user interface in the future. The metrics that the AI can generate are endless, as are the possibilities to use this information for positive change in the future.

Integrating AI into your webpage can take your online experience to a new level. Here at Komaya, we love keeping abreast of emerging technology and ways that it might help enhance the web presence of our client’s brands.

Original article published at Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) July 9, 2018.

Tips for a Powerful Web Presence

I recently gave a talk to a group of entrepreneurs on what it takes to have an effective web presence in today’s market. The topic generated a lot of interest, so I thought it would be helpful to share it with a broader audience. In a nutshell, I will be covering four focus areas that are vital for your web presence.

No one can deny that having an effective web presence is key to the success of today’s business. I have discovered that this requires using a holistic approach. It’s not enough to just build a website, it’s not even enough to have search engines crawl your website, it is not enough to pour money into paid advertising campaigns, and it’s not enough to just create some social media accounts. They all need to work together to promote your brand and realize your business goals.

THE PROBLEM: A couple of years back, I was in my previous company office and the Marketing Director called us all and proudly said – “We got approval to spend $120,000 for website redesign and separately another $30,000 for online advisements.” I looked at this approach and thought to myself – what a waste of money! It wasn’t a Holistic Solution, it was what I call “a Webpocalypse.”

The company thought they were not effective on the internet because the website needed a redesign, or that a few ads might turn more people into clients. They used different agencies for each initiative; this is what I call a piece-meal approach.

To me, in the web world, these are the Four Horsemen of the Webpocalypse — Website, SEO, Paid Keywords, and Social Media.  You need to tame all these horses in order to have a sophisticated web presence that goes beyond the status quo.

First Horsemen of the Webpocalypse: The Website

“Conquest” – to me, in the web arena, is your Website. You build it, you launch it, and you are ready to conquer the world. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Will your website experience stick positively in the minds of the users?
  • Do each of your pages tell a story? – Will your customers engage and be able to relate to their own emotions?
  • Is your website content optimized for search discovery?
  • What about the mobile experience? More and more people are using their mobile devices to do business.
  • Is your website running processes efficiently behind the scenes? How easy is it for your website content to be kept fresh and relevant?
  • Is it sitting on a secure platform? It is vital to protect your key web assets – your domain and your website host. Here’s an article that shows how a particular website host, WP Engine, prevents millions (yes, millions) of attacks each month for their customers. At Komaya, we ourselves recommend such host for our customers. Make sure your site is protected.

It’s not all about the website looking good, it needs to stick in the minds of the people who visit. It should have a great user experience, not just by aesthetics, but by functionality, and a feeling that they are invited.  Additionally, your website should be easy to maintain and update, empowering your marketing team to promote events, launch new campaigns, and instantly react to changing markets. If website content updates can only be done by a developer, the inherent latency can result in missed opportunities in connecting with potential clients.

Second Horseman of the Webpocalypse: SEO

“War” – to me, in the web world, is SEO, the war of search engines and the fight for your website to climb to the top of their results. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are all of your web pages ready for the current demand of today’s search engines? What sets your page apart from every other website on the internet? Why would your page climb up the SEO ladder?
  • Have you considered search engine spaces such as Google’s Knowledge Graphs?
  • What about other search channels? Is your web presence dependent upon a couple of search engines, or are you also showing up on the other platforms that people use to search for businesses?
  • By the way, are you for any reason still using Meta Keywords on your web pages? This technique is a bit dated and not effective with today’s highly sophisticated search engines.

SEO is not all about just putting the right keywords on your web pages. Yes, it is very important to consider context and industry-specific keywords when you are writing web page content, but also to understand that there are other aspects to consider, such as Knowledge Graph technology, that you have access to. Is your web page ready to show up in that Q&A type of result that you have seen on Google? Do you make use of all the real-estate that Google has given you by utilizing the Post Knowledge Graph feature when you have an upcoming event or announcement?

Third Horseman of the Webpocalypse: Paid Keywords and Ads

“Famine” – to me, in the web world, is the Paid Keywords and Advertisements. This is the wasted money spent on under-researched advertisements and simply, the wrong keywords. We have seen many companies and their marketing team’s frustrations and wasted resources, month-after-month, with negligible to even nil outcomes. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are you spending too much for premium keywords, or conversely, not spending on advertisements at all?
  • Have you researched the keywords that your potential customers are searching on, or did you consider the niche your company is in? Check out Google Trends to discover search trends for your products and services.
  • Are these same keywords also reflected throughout your website content and SEO optimizations?

We have seen both extremes that have brought famine to a business’s online presence. Some companies put in enormous amounts of money into extremely competitive keywords that cost very high dollars on each click. In turn, this results in them concluding that online advertisements are too competitive and not very cost-effective.

On the other side of the spectrum, some companies think they do not need online advertisements at all – the internet will just discover and come to them on their own. Yes, some extremely niche companies may have a different agenda for reaching their target audience, but unless you are like Tesla with no advertising needed to-date, you should probably include an ad strategy in your integrated marketing plan. Have you thought about why Coke, Macy’s, Lincoln, or just about any successful company advertises? We find it’s usually best to utilize both an organic search and paid advertising strategy mix for reaching your target audience.

Fourth Horseman of Webpocalypse: Social Media

“Death” – to me, in the web world, represents Social Media. Why the comparison with this horseman? We see so many entrepreneurs and companies create social media accounts, but after just a few posts go silent, deathly silent. The Pale Horse of the Apocalypse took over. We at Komaya call this as lacking the social heartbeat.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Have you contemplated having a social media audit done for your company? What is your current state? How strong or weak is your social heartbeat?
  • Does your branding and website look-and-feel carryover into your social media account profiles and imagery? The user should instantly feel comfortable and identify that they are in the right place.
  • Have you conducted any industry research on which social media channels are appropriate for your company? More so, what channels you shouldn’t even be creating accounts on?
  • What channels are your customers and competitors using? Why Facebook, why Twitter? Is there a specific reason the audience is extremely active on one versus the other?
  • Have you identified what channels the Influencers & Experts in your company’s niche are using? Do you follow and interact with them? This will not only help you figure out which social channels you should be active in, the Influencers may just happen to mention your company to their followers.

There are many other considerations such as what time of the day you should post, the days of the week that your potential customers are likely to be using that particular social media channel, etc. Are you following the “rule of fourths” when posting on social media? It used to be the rule of thirds – one-third of your posts are about your company products and services, one-third you share helpful tips, and one-third you share an industry experts’ posts. But now, the fourth rule has come into the picture – customer support. If you look around, companies like 1800flowers, Zappos, Walmart, are directly providing real-time support to their customers over social media building confidence, trust, and solving issues with minimal delay.

THE SOLUTION: As a start-up or emerging business, consider stepping into today’s internet world with a holistic web presence strategy.  Just a website or a piecemeal approach can likely slow down your business growth potential. All the aspects discussed need to work together to tame the horses and effectively market, attract, and engage your target audience.

For many successful businesses, blogging is a key aspect of their marketing strategy. It is important to your business for a variety of reasons:  It establishes you as an authority in your field, it lets your customers know about your products and services, it shows everyone who you (and your employees) are personally, and it also sets the tone for your business.  Blogging can make or break you.

With that being said, here are some blogging mistakes you might be making:

  1. Being scared to establish yourself as an authority — Blogging establishes you as an authority, and what that means is that it sets you up as an expert in your field.  A lot of folks are scared to do this because they are waiting for someone to crown or bestow a title of expert on them but, most likely, that’s not going to happen.  What makes you an authority is that you know more than at least one other person.  A real estate agent, for example, might not be the best agent in the nation, but they probably know more about what happens at a closing table than the average person. If what you write could help one person learn more about your field, then you absolutely should write it!
  2. Being overconfident and not backing up facts — The converse side to establishing yourself as an authority is proclaiming false facts. It’s totally fine to give examples of how you’ve done x, y, or z within your business or community, but remember—- what you write is accessible to everyone, forever, so make sure there’s truth in your claims.  You can’t go wrong if you write from the heart on a topic you know about.
  3. Having an inappropriate tone for your business — Blogging should be extremely casual, but the tone should fluctuate depending on what you’re talking about, your audience, and what you’re trying to do. If you’re talking about your political campaign, the rules for your employees to follow, or the legalities of filing a lawsuit, perhaps you should have a more formal tone.  However, if you’re trying to target millennials and you’d like to sell clothing— you don’t necessarily need to do a research article on cotton and rayon fibers with references.  Similarly, if your spelling and grammar are poor and you’re using slang within “ur” writing— that won’t really go far for a professional piece on the benefits of your business.
  4. Not giving enough information — Blogging is casual, but there is an extremely fine line that needs to be walked. Readers respond better to pieces that are written on a lower reading level in a casual tone. They also want to feel as if they’re in your shoes or experiencing what you’re talking about first hand. So, while you shouldn’t over-explain everything, you should also remember that most of your readers are strangers who don’t know anything about your business, and they don’t get nicknames, inside jokes, or industry terms.
  5. Not posting enough — Above all, the worst blogging mistake that you can make is not to blog! Jot down a bunch of ideas that you’d like to talk about and start writing one a week until you get on some kind of blogging routine.  Many can get intimidated by not being professional writers, but that’s not what it’s about— it’s about sharing your ideas and your business with the world.  Even if it’s 100 words here or there, it’s something, and that’s way better than having a page that hasn’t been updated since 1999.  Worst case scenario, talk to us, and we can arrange for you to hire someone to blog for you.

If you care enough about your business to be here reading this blog, you likely have a logo, and maybe even a brand color palette. It’s often a temptation as a business owner to choose colors that go with your personality, or that match your personal preference, but colors can convey so much and it’s really important that you choose the right ones to deliver your brand message.

Here are some things you may not have realized about the importance of colors to your brand:

Color really and truly makes a difference. In a study titled “The Impact of Color on Marketing,” researchers found that consumers often made quick judgments about products based on color alone, depending on the product. Up to 90% of consumers had done this at some point in their lives. That’s an unbelievable number.

Additionally, consumers have preconceived notions of what certain colors “mean”.  Here are some of the current brand colors, their meanings, and what brands use them:

Tiffany Blue

This one’s so specific and was used so well, that the shade is now named after the brand, Tiffany & Co. Shades of aqua generally indicate luxury and are geared more often to female customers.

 

Green

Green generally indicates environmentally friendly companies or products that are good for health or wealth. Companies that use green include John Deere, Subway (whose slogan is “Eat Fresh”), and Animal Planet.

 

Yellow

Yellow generally indicates value.  McDonald’s, Best Buy, and DHL are companies that have predominately yellow branding. It could also indicate youth or fun, like Ferrari and Snapchat.

 

Red

This one’s tricky.  It has a variety of meanings, but generally, companies that use red want to be seen as classic staples such as Coca-Cola, Target, and Netflix. It can also be used to portray power and emotions, like Tesla and Red Bull.

 

Pink

In the past, pink was used to convey products that would attract a female demographic, like the logos of Barbie and Victoria’s Secret.   In recent years though, the color has experienced a lot of revitalization with millennial crowds and now is used for a lot of tech-friendly companies, such as Lyft, LG, and T-Mobile.

 

Blue

Blue has long been the favorite of technology companies and the wellness industry. Depending on the shade of blue, it can convey knowledge, stability, health, and trust. If you take one look at the apps on your phone, you’ll probably have instant confirmation of this.  PayPal, AT&T, Waze, and Blue Cross all use blue.

 

Black

Black often conveys an edgier vibe.  This may be used by companies that want to break free from the norm, or by rock bands.  It’s also popularly used by a lot of fitness brands as well as by upscale restaurants. Some popular black logos are for Louis Vuitton, Apple, Adidas, and Daniel’s Broiler.

 

Orange

Orange may be the most versatile of all the colors.  Originally used to target men, it can also be used by brands that want to portray creativity and fun.  Brands that use orange are Home Depot, Harley Davidson, Fanta, Nickelodeon, and Blogger.

 

Certain color palettes have science that backs them up:

There are scientific studies that indicate that certain color combinations elicit physiological responses in the body.  Other color patterns are also extremely easy to see.  There’s a reason that most caution signs are black words on a dark yellow background.  Initially, this was done because it’s the easiest color combination for us to read, but as people began to expect that color combination for street signs and caution messages, it took on a different meaning.  You definitely don’t want to use this color combination unless it’s an urgent message or a matter of extreme importance.

Take some time to think about your brand colors and consider what image and purpose you want to portray for your business.