A logoless company is a faceless man.

“A logoless company is a faceless man.” This is my absolute favorite quote on the subject of branding and logo design by David Airey, from his book  Logo Design Love .  (Purchase this book  if you are a graphic desiner!)  As a marketing professional I always feel drawn to a well designed logo, brand identity or graphic design piece that  has the ability to”speak to me” and literally stop me in my tracks. No, really. It annoys and sometimes alarms my friends and family (especially when I’m driving and staring down a great billboard, or sign graphic.)

Do you own a business without a logo, or without a well designed logo?  Are you proud of the face of your company? You should be. Like it or not just as we tend to judge one another by personal appearance, we judge companies by their personal appearance. Oftentimes I am handed a business card, look at the logo design, and decide immediately if I would like to conduct business with you. Am I a design snob? Maybe. But let me tell you that people associate your business worthiness with your brand identity. So, what are the qualifying characteristics of a good design? There are many. Here are just two qualities that I admire (and are proven to be effective). These are the ones make me stop in my tracks.

 It Tells Your Story. “What exactly is it that you do?” Many times a great logo answers this question. No words necessary. Just great graphics. Katie Morgan senior designer at 300millions, designed this logo for The Guild of Food Writers. I just love the use of negative space showing a spoon inside a pen nib. Take away the copy. You are still left with a great design that tells a story. The-Food-Writers-Guild-logo-designed-by-300millionsThe Design Is Simple  (but not boring.) Stay focused on one strength. Not two. Not three. Just one. What is the one thing that you want others to identify with your brand? I know it is very tempting to want to emphasize the countless wonders of your products and services, but stay focused. What adjective would others use to describe your company? Chose your design and logo color accordingly. Use a focus group if you have to, but pick your strongest asset(s) and start from there.  An excellent example of this is Cisco’s new logo and the colors they chose for their re-branding. Cisco is not an acronim.  It is an abbreviation of “San Fransico.”

 

cisco.logo

 

 

The name “Cisco” was derived from pride in the city name,  which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in its early years. The logo is intended to depict the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. The blue color depicts prosperity, excellence and calmness, while the red color represents determination and business responsibility. It is said by John Morgridge, the 34th employee and the company’s first president that the creators of the company thought of this name while making their way to Sacramento for registration of the company. As they laid their eyes upon the Golden Gate Bridge structured in the sunlight, they decided the name of the company there and then.

Put on your best face. Hire a designer or create your own. Just don’t be the faceless man.

-Audrey Gotto

   

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How Social Media Helps SEO Rankings

Social media sites play a key role in local business’ visibility in search results. When a potential or current client Googles your business, (and believe me they will before deciding to do business with you) ideally, your business website should appear first, followed by social sites. The more proactive your social media strategy, the higher likelihood your pages will attract followers- and in turn, appear within search. Give it a try. Google your name or company name. Does your website appear first? Where do your social sites appear and in what order? I tried this with my company name – Fina Promos My website appears first followed by Fina Promos Google Plus Page, Fina Promos Facebook Page, Fina Promos LinkedIn Page, Fina Promos Pinterest,  My You Tube Page and finally my blog.

What can you (or you social media marketing partner) do to help your local (organic) SEO rankings? In two words- Engage Regularly!  Here are 5 action steps you can take to regularly engage with your online audience:

  • Develop a strong social media strategy  that includes engagement and follower goals like the one in this inforgraphic from Social Media Online Classes

 

SOCIAL-MEDIA-STRATEGY-Fina-Promos

  • Post updates on your new products or services offered. Can you feature a “product of the day, week, or month”  and highlight the benefits?
  • Create promotions or giveaways that require engagement from your audience. Everyone loves a chance to win a promotional product, branded gift or premium. Gift cards also make great promotions since they are easy to distribute and less bulky than larger gifts.  Give away a chance to win your product or service for free if this is possible
  • Highlight stories of relevence to your customers. Who is your target audience and what are their concerns? Posting about things happening in your city or town  puts you on the map with local rankings!
  • Engage on social media by responding to those reaching out to you via your social sites with questions or feedback on their orders.

I hope these few tips help  you see good results with your visibility online.

All my best,

Audrey Gotto-Fina Promos

 

 

5 Ways to Optimize Your Business Listings

Twitter Tips, Social Media Marketing

Achieving effective local search engine optimization for your business is like striking gold. In my last blogpost,  I suggested that we begin with properly optimiizing information that appears on your business website. Read article  Today, we will discuss an issue often overlooked by small business owners-How your business appears on websites and business listings.

One of the most effective ways to boost local SEO is to be consistent with your business listing information. Google and other search engines LOVE consistency. When your business is not listed, or worse yet, the information listed is incomplete or inaccurate, this can negatively effect your placements in search results. Here are 5 tips to help optimize your business listings:

  1. Search local listings websites like Facebook, Yelp, GooglePlus, YP, Yellowbook and TripAdvisor to be sure your business is actually listed. If not, be sure to claim those listings, and be consistent and acurate with your business name, phone number and address. If your business is listed as located on 6th St., use 6th St consistently, NOT Sixth Street. Make changes as neccessary and delete duplicate pages.
  2. Include videos, photos, your website URL and any other key information to make your listings attractive, interactive and informative. I get reaaly annoyed seeing the unprofessional looking “blue silhoette” in place of a photo or logo. Really. COMPLETE the listing.
  3.  Categorize your business properly. This greatly aids in properly optimizing your business website. If you happen to have relevant key words in your business name that helps. For example my company sells promo products. I choose the company name Fina Promos for that reason, and the domain name of finapromos.net
  4. Work with a “listings provider” such as Moz.com to automate the process for all local sites. Usually the price for this service is reasonable and worth your small investment in dollars compared to your large investment in time to care for this manually.
  5. Does your business have more than one location? Create a seperate listing for each location on your website to boost visibility of your brand and each of your stores or offices.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

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4 Ways to Optimize Your Website

Do you own or manage a local small business? If so, you’re no doubt painfully aware of the need for strong  local SEO (search engine optimization) success.  Just like your computer is the new typewriter; Local search engine optimization is the new Yellow Pages.  If you want to be found online, you must be seen online. Your website is your most important and valuable online assest, so ensure that it is properly optimized to appear high within search results. Let’s assume you do not have thousands of dollars to spend on  SEO AdWords. Here are 4 action items to boost your local SEO.

  1. Choose a domain name that reflects your business location and business typeFor example, Joe’s Lawncare located in Pittsburgh, PA  could use the domain “joeslawncarepittsburgh.com” which says it all.                   
  2. Add key words on page titles that identify with your business, its products and services and its location.            
  3. Be sure to add your business name, phone number, address and social media links on EACH INDIVIDUAL PAGE of your website, not just your homepage.                    
  4. In your website copy, be sure to mention not only your products and services, but include as much as possible about your local area. This associates your business with the nearby vicinity. Remember, we are after LOCAL optimization here. Include if possible, what sports teams plays in your city, what section of town you’re in, what special place of interest is just around the corner. Not only will this added information improve your website copy for customers, it will also boost your search visibility as a local business. 

My next post will discuss how to utilize local business listings to boost SEO success.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

Fina Promos Website

                                                                                               

The Impact of The ” Joe-Cool Factor” On Your Brand Image

As a kid, I loved the Peanuts characters created by Charles M. Schulz. In particular, my favorite cartoon character was Snoopy. He was the original cool and trendy dude. Joe Cool was my hero. His trademark round sunglasses and “Joe Cool” turtleneck sweater (imprinted with his name, no less!) continues to be a timeless fashion statement. With his little buddy Woodstock following in tow, he projected the silent (Literally, silent. He was a character that did not speak) message that if you were to be seen with him, you must project your own trendy coolness.

What does Snoopy teach us about building our brand image? – That it’s hard to overstate the power of cool! When a product has that cool factor, you appreciate it, tell your friends about it and want to associate yourself with it. Whether that comes from a killer feature, a unique design, or a striking aesthetic, branded products that wow the recipient will give your business a trendy brand image.

So, How can your business and brand be more like Joe Cool? How do you wow your audience? One easy way is to incorporate the latest retail product trends into your marketing programs and company events. When choosing premium customer or employee gifts, promotional items, or even apparel branded with your logo, pick (appropriate) branded products that say “trendy’ like a Bluetooth Activity Band. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of an already hot trend.. 

Fina Promos Bluetooth Activity Band

Wearable technology is huge right now in the consumer market. I was meeting with a client last week who was wearing one of these and I have to admit that I felt a bit left out of the cool factor. After all, I am in the branding business. I SHOULD have the latest trendy tech products items, right?! My point is to put the latest consumer trends to work for you and your marketing brand.  Whatever promotional item you decide to align your brand with, be sure it is associated with quality, popularity, and a positive emotion.

Visit our promotional products catalog pages for the latest trends in branded products or tap on image for more products that project the “Joe Cool” factor!

See 12 More Trending Promotional Product Ideas!

13 product ideas of what’s cool and trending right now.

2 Ways For Your Brand To Score Big On Game Day

Align your brand with game day to create community awareness.

Align your brand with game day to create community awareness. Click on image for ideas.

Can you smell autumn in the air? The evenings are becoming just a bit cooler. The trees are slowly changing color. Time to pull out the fuzzy winter sweaters, plan your fall day hike with the fam, and brew some fresh apple cider with cinnamon. And then there is the fall sports! As a self proclaimed sports diva, I must admit to getting a rush just hearing the words “fantasy football” and the Monday Night Football jingle,Are you ready for some football?” (I know you’re singing the jingle in your head right now.)

How can your company brand participate in the spirit of the fall sports scene? Primarily in two ways:

Associate your brand with having an amazing time. Start thinking of creative ways to get in on the team spirit in the air. Whether you focus on your city’s professional sports teams (We love our Steelers and Pirates in Pittsburgh), local colleges, or even high school sports, be sure to be an active participant in either the event planning, promoting, or volunteering associated with sporting events in your hometown region. Could you create a Game Day Photo Contest on your business Facebook account? Have “Steeler Day” at the office? Sponsor a team or fund raiser? If you are able, actually attend the event and network with other business leaders in the community. Associating your  marketing brand with  local influencers goes a long way to scoring points for your small business.

Create “Game Day” branded promotional products to get fans on their feet.  Ask yourself this       question: What is my ideal customer’s marketing persona? In other words, define your demographic     and choose sports related branded promotional items that would appeal to them. Could you give           away a game day chair as a prize or sweepstakes? Hand out those fun foam #1 hands, or foam         hats co-branded with the team logo and your company logo. Set up a booth so that potential clients     can sign up for your company newsletter in exchange for a free promotional football or baseball.

Watch our video for 13 product ideas. Click on the megaphone for mega-great ideas and give your brand the shout-out it deserves.

Regards,

Audrey Gotto

CLICK ON THE MEGAPHONE FOR MEGA-GREAT MARKETING IDEAS

CLICK ON THE MEGAPHONE FOR MEGA-GREAT MARKETING IDEAS VIDEO

3 Ways To Market Your Brand to Teens and College Students

According to the American Psychological Association, teens influence over $600 billion (with a “B”‘)  worth of spending annually. That’s a ton of crayons, folks! What is your small business doing to market to this growing group of purchasing giants? Back-To-School marketing for colleges, high schools, and even elementary grades can add significantly to your bottom line while showing goodwill as a local business.

Whether you want to reach students, teachers, professors, parents, or the community try these three tips to get your brand image out there before the bell rings in September.

  1. Follow Their Eyeballs.

Have a legit account on the social media sites that they visit. No, it’s not a waste of time. Instagram is now the most popular photo-sharing site among teens age 12-17. One million of them visited the site last July alone.

Add to that the 93% of social media–using teens who have a Facebook account (according to Pew Internet research), and the 16% who use Twitter (a figure that has doubled in recent years), and you’ve got a lot of teenage eyeballs.

But to connect with a teen target market, you must do more than simply have a presence on the sites they use. You must also pay attention to what motivates and inspires them. Pay attention to what they post and WHY they post.  Most teens (and adults) love to be associated with the latest cool gadget, piece of technology or brand fashion item that everyone else seems to be enjoying. (Remember carrying ginormous boom boxes to school?) They want to be recognized and validated for their unique contribution to the world around them. How can you help them do so? Think outside the box. Could you offer a social media contest that appeals to these needs?

2. Know where the parents hang out. 

Always, always, always try to associate your brand and logo with having a good time, being helpful, or educating the community (value). One of my favorite clients, Clearview Credit Union decided to give away a “college student laundry bag” to every parent who opened a college savings account or college loan with them. On one side of the bag, we printed the bank logo along with laundry instructions. The opposite side had the logo of the participating college. Talk about helpful, fun, and educational!! They were a huge hit.

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

3. Give them sweet promo items as a gift. 

Who doesn’t love cool FREE gifts? I still get excited when I see a great logo or graphic on a promotional product and I’ve been in the business for 25 years. (think…your favorite t-shirt, logo’d sports bag, athletic shoes, purse or pen) I continue to love my Pittsburgh Pirates logo’d baseball I received as a gift for signing up outside PNC Park for another credit card I didn’t need. I still have that Pirates baseball and yes, I still use the Mastercard.

Word of caution: Be sure your promotion has a purpose. In other words, what is it that you want the promotion to do, exactly? Perhaps you can capture email addresses to build up your newsletter readership by gifting an item in exchange for an email address. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website or add more followers to your social media sites? Use the promotional products to ensure your marketing goals are reached.

Feel free to contact me any time if you need specific suggestions for your next project. Any more ideas? Comment below in the reply section.

All my best,

Audrey Gotto