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Branding: choosing your name, color, and logo

Getting a business off of the ground can be a tremendous challenge, but branding is much more complicated than slapping up a sign with your name on it.

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Above: one example of a raw, unlaunched brand from a student at the Vancouver Film School.

Branding: Who are you?

When you close your eyes, what do you envision your company to express? Is it power and assertiveness, traditional and business oriented, or is it hip and modern, new age, or futuristic? By really seeing this, it will at least start a good conversation with a designer that you can build on. Come up with adjectives, read the thesaurus, and study some adverbs. They will all come in handy for both branding, deciding on a name, and defining your companies mission and vision statements.

Deciding on a name:

Something easy like your name? Depending on the name, it really might not be a great option. I can think of plenty of names where it really wouldn’t do a company any justice! And really, unless you already have a name that is recognized, being independent can be enough of a challenge as it is!

Something simple and straight forward? For example, in my line of work, you’ll see Dream Home Realty, My Home Realty, USA Realty, etc., all of which are acceptable, but again, how are you truly going to build an amazing brand with such an obvious name?

Something completely unassuming that says nothing about real estate? Careful here. While there are some AMAZING companies that have been created in all industries using this format, you have to NAIL this branding thing!

Some that come to mind: Apple (computers), Windows (computers), Zillow (real estate), Trulia (real estate), Amazon (e-retailer), Zappos (e-retailer), all of these companies had the true vision of a brand as well as leadership to overcome any weird name hurdle. I can easily remember people asking what a “zillow” was! You will not only be fighting to just simply get people to remember your industry but then after they are still trying to decipher your name, you then have a few seconds left before the stare goes completely blank, as to the type of company you have and why they should work with you!

Something niche? Again, eek! Don’t pin yourself to a niche unless you know that said niche is going to provide you with enough income and sales to justify only working that niche! Condo Only Realty, Any Neighborhood/City in America Realty or Foreclosure R Us Realty.

Picking colors:

What are you trying to evoke? Study up on color and how it influences the mood. Red ignites passion and portrays power. Blue is calming, yellow cheerful and green fresh and invigorating.

Figure out what you want people to “feel” when they see your signs, your cards and your marketing collateral. Surely, this will tie into both your name and logo design.

The hardest thing to start with any name, color or logo is going to be how to stand out. Will someone remember your sign because the house was for sale for so long or because there was something about a sign that really stood out, made them take note and actually wrote down your number to remember to call you because you connected to them?

What brands do you relate to in any industry? Look outside of the one you are in. There are thousands of companies that have built brands that people loved, and ask yourself why they are beloved. Study them and analyze even more how you are going to create the company of all companies.

Don’t try to please everyone, though. You will end up diluting your brand, alienating your sought after audience, and looking confused.

Amanda Lopez is a real estate broker and founder of Style House Realty in Baltimore, Md. She has worked in the real estate industry for over 6 years and prior to that studied advertising, branding and web design. Refusing to believe the real estate industry had to be bland and boring in design and appeal to everyone, she set out to bring some style and technology into the mix. Amanda can most likely be found with coffee that got cold, great shoes, her mind in the sky and her evernote app open.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Roger Noujeim

    August 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    The branding subject definitely hits home with me. Great article. If I may build on your piece, and hopefully you agree, one thing that one may also consider in developing a brand name is to also look at the brand’s value proposition and/or concept and aim to reflect those in the name. Think ‘Tide’ or ‘Huggies’. Can you figure what each of these names reflects? I bet you can. How about Pert Plus or Head & Shoulders?
     
    The key though is to acknowledge and realize that coming up with such a great name is not easy. It requires a lot of work and sometimes lots of money too, to develop and vet. But it is well worth it.

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Business Marketing

Pay employees for their time, not only their work

(MARKETING) Yes, you still must pay employees for their time even if they aren’t able to complete their work due to restrictions. Time = Money.

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pay employees for their time

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of insightful questions about things like our healthcare system, worldwide containment procedures, and about a billion other things that all deserve well-thought answers.

Unfortunately, it has also led to some of the dumbest questions of all time.

One such question comes courtesy of Comstock Mag, with the inquiry asking whether or not employees who show up on time can be deducted an hour’s pay if the manager shows up an hour later.

From a legal standpoint, Comstock Mag points out that employees participating in such activities are “engaged to wait”, meaning that – while they aren’t necessarily “working” – they are still on the clock and waiting for work to appear; in this case, the aforementioned “work” comes in the form of the manager or supervisor showing up.

In short: if the reason your employees aren’t working is that the precursor to completing the work for which you pay them is inaccessible, you still have to pay them for their time.

Morally, of course, the answer is much simpler: pay your employees for their time, especially if the reason they are unable to complete work is because you (or a subordinate) didn’t make it to work at the right time.

Certainly, you might be able to justify sending all of your employees home early if you run into something like a technology snag or a hiccup in the processes which make it possible for them to do their jobs – that would mean your employees were no longer engaged to wait, thus removing your legal obligation to continue paying them.

Then again, the moral question of whether or not cutting your employees’ hours comes into play here. It’s understandable that funds would be tight for the time being, but docking employees an hour of their work here or there due to problems that no one can control may cause them to resent you down the line when you need their support in return.

The real problem with this question is that, despite most people knowing that the answer should always be “pay them”, the sheer number of people working from home in the wake of worldwide closures and social distancing could muddy the water in terms of what constitutes the difference between being engaged to wait and simply burning time.

For example, an employee who is waiting for a meeting to start still fits the bill of “engaged to wait” even if the meeting software takes an extra half hour to kick in (or, worse yet, the meeting never happens), and docking them pay for timecard issues or other extenuating factors that keep them from their work is similarly disingenuous – and illegal.

There are a lot of unknowns these days, but basic human decency should never be up for debate – especially now.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(MARKETING) With winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.

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Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor

(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos

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African American woman working on Canva Video Editor Desktop in office setting.

Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.

The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.

Caucasian man holding iPhone showing Canva video editor on mobile.

What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:

Collaborate in real-time

Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.

Video timeline editing and in-app recording

Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.

Library of assets

The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.

Animate with ease

Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.

Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.

“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.

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