A Brand is not what you think it is, it’s what others say about your business that makes your Brand.

We will create the marketing to make it happen.

Another Definition of Brand

The promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.  But that is oversimplifying Brand by a long shot.

 TrendStrategics has been creating brands and reinforcing brands for over 30 years by our parent company Promotionals Inc.  We started doing business in 1987 as primarily a sign shop that specialized in vacuum formed signage.  We produced raised letter signage and sold them door to door in about a 60 mile radius of Topeka and quickly embraced screen printing and then cut vinyl graphics.  Didn’t take long to start including promotional products to the mix and never looked back.  We have been providing promotional products to all sizes of businesses nationwide for over 30 years and it has been an exciting ride.  We have sold our products in all 50 states, plus District of Columbia (Washington DC) and numerous foreign Countries.  Our work has made the covers of several magazines and our photographs have been used all over the world.

We built our first website in 1993

Embracing the the internet in 1993, we built our first web site.  The tools weren’t near as user friendly as they are today, but we persevered and in a few months we had built our first web site.  After a few more months of doing some internal coding (now called SEO), our site was placing the first 9 out of 11 pages for numerous key word searches.  And that was organic searches, way before Google figured out they could charge for Adwords!

Forward to the 21st century, we have built numerous websites and still place well within the Google platform.

As you probably know, it is fairly important for most businesses to have a web presence today.  And, your website needs to look well, load quickly and be relevant to your market.  These 3 elements are critical for today’s web.

It all starts with a Domain Name

If you were fortunate to buy a domain name that is exactly the same as your company name, congratulations.  But like most, you either needed to get creative in finding a domain name or if you are just starting a business, you can reverse engineer the process and buy a domain name first and then develop your brand around the new name.  In other words, you can name your new business to coincide with the domain name you have chosen.

We have used this reverse engineering process numerous times and have always been pleased with the results.

Then comes a company Logo or Logotype

After you have established your company name, you should have an identifying mark that your new business will be recognized by.  Not at first, but the more you promote your business in various advertising methods, the more your logo will be seen, the more it will become known.  Look at Chevrolet, they don’t even need their name inside their logomark anymore because everyone has seen their “Bowtie” logo developed by Billy Durant (co-founder of Chevrolet).  Of course that type of notoriety takes decades, but you get the idea.  The more you reproduce your logo, the more eyes see it, the more known it becomes, the more known it becomes, the more accepted it becomes until your brand is a family name.  This is really not that difficult to achieve in your local market, but if you expand to cover the USA or the world, the more effort will be required.

Why use Taglines?

So branding starts with your business name, then you add a logo, then perhaps a tagline.  A tagline is generally a short phrase that enforces or brings to point what you do or what your about.  An example would be like “BillyBobs Ties” – tagline “Tie One On”.  Short, cute, catchy.

What Color is best for a logo?

Lots of people choose colors for their logo that they happen to like, but are inappropriate or just flat wrong for the type of business they have.  There are lots of studies about color and a quick search will yield you way more information than you care to digest.  But there are color rules and principles and they are valid and should be heeded.  Of course you can be bull headed and ignore all the rules, but you will be playing with less than 52 cards.

A quick and basic color psychology is as follows.  Blue = Trust, Red = Love, Black = Power, Green = Soothing, Yellow = Happy, Orange = Health, Pink = Tenderness, Purple = Royal.  Before you start arguing with me on this, note that there are numerous meanings and uses for each color and the above is just a few examples.  Stephan Sikorski offers another interpretation of colors shown below.

If you are in the restaurant business, take a look at some of the national chains.  Wendy’s, McDonalds, Arbys, Hardees, Burger King, Sonic, In-N-Out, Pizza Hut, El Pollo Loco, Checkers, Popeyes, Johnny Rockets, Denny’s, DQ, Chili’s, KFC, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr. and on and on.  What do you see in these logos?  Red and Yellow.  So if you building a brand around food, you will surely want to incorporate those two colors into your logo.

How many Colors should my logo be?

Years ago, before internet (yes, can you imagine) printing was done on either a letterpress or later an offset press.  Each color had to have it’s own setup to be printed.  So more than one color was pricey back then.  Today, you have full color control on your desktop.  Most commercial printers use Digital presses that have color on the fly.  It truly is amazing.  Yes, I used to set foundry type, one letter at a time!  So I have grown up with the evolution of printing technology and it sure is wonderful.

Printed Colors are Cheap!

However, just because color is cheap, there still are processes that you will be charged based on how many colors need to be reproduced.  Screen Printing is one of those processes that require a screen to be made for each color to be printed.  This takes the setup cost higher with each color and the cost per each unit will also go up because each color needs to be laid down in a separate process.  There are digital screen printing machines available today, but they are still quite costly and as such the shops that have them have to charge a premium because of the initial outlay, maintenance and high ink costs.  Still, if you only need a small number of garments (t-shirts), and you like color, this may be the right way to go.  If you want a thousand shirts, then it is likely that conventional screen printing will be your most cost effective solution.  Like anything else, each job needs to be evaluated and weighed for best process.  We have printed thousands and thousands of shirts and trade show bags and a host of other promotional products right here in house.

Using a color wheel will help to determine what colors go together

Before you choose your colors, you should know the difference between Primary Colors, Secondary Colors, Tertiary Colors, Cool Colors and Warm Colors.  Yah, you thought red was red!  Tertiary colors are combinations of primary and secondary colours. There are six tertiary colors; red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.  If you are going to choose colors by yourself, then I strongly suggest getting your hands on a Staedtler Color Wheel.  Make sure it hasn’t been exposed to too much sunlight, because that will affect the printed colors on the wheel.  A color wheel will help you select two or more colors that are complimentary with each other.  There is also something called analogous colors.  Analogous colors are groups of three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, sharing a common color, with one being the dominant color, which tends to be a primary or secondary color, and a tertiary. Red, orange, and red-orange are examples

What does RGB and CMYK mean? 

Now that we have chosen our appropriate colors and made sure they work together using a color wheel, what is the next step?  Probably going back to your Logo and replacing those colors you thought looked so good together.  So then we put it all together, the logo in the right colors that represent your type of business and conveys the message you want to convey, add the tagline and print it in various sizes to see how it converts. You need to have an RGB (Red, Green,Blue) version for the web, because that is what monitors use, and you need to have CMYK versions as well, because that is what digital presses use to reproduce your colors faithfully.  CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.  With these 4 colors, all colors can be reproduced.  There are several other color models like color HEX, HSL and HSV.  The HEX values are assigned a alpha-numeric value to represent it’s color in your web site.

So if you send your digital offset printer an RGB file of your logo, chances are that they will either reject it or print it as is and have their software convert to CMYK.  But beware because massive color shifting will probably occur in the conversion and you won’t be happy.  That is another reason to hire a professional to provide accurate color files for your most important asset – your business identity.

Aside from your logo you can use graphics and illustrations to get your point across.  Make sure these are well done and don’t look elementary.  Ok, there may be a use for elementary design, but make sure it is crisp and clear.  And don’t forget all images need to be optimized for quick loading.  This includes your business name, logo and tagline.  If you use a template in your pages that utilizes the same logo (heading), then it doesn’t need to be rebuilt every time a user goes to another page on your website.  Just a side note there.

How do I Build my Brand?

After all the above is in place, you need to start reproducing your brand.  Reaching out, flooding your market with your business offering, here is where website, social marketing, printing, photography, video, tradeshows, local business gatherings and promotional products all play their part.  You may even want to incorporate local television commercials if it is relevant for your business and you can afford it.  Even radio advertising has it’s own demographic reach and in most cases is quite affordable.  Just make sure your type of business can benefit with these shotgun marketing approaches. In short, you need to use every tool you can to reach your target.

Flood the Market – Spread the Word

The more you flood the market with your Company name, logo, tagline, the more you will see your business grow.  Of course, much of these marketing efforts carry a cost, so budgetary considerations will more often than not dictate how fast and how many avenues you can pursue at any one time.  Work with a good business person to help you navigate though the various marketing methods and develop a plan of attack for your growth.

Should I use Google Ads or Facebook Advertising?

If web advertising is right for your business, than look to Google Adwords and/or Facebook Advertising.  Again, it is important to have a plan.  Part of that plan is to work with someone who knows the differences between the various types of marketing your brand.  Advertising is a science and regardless of what someone might tell you, not every effort will bring you a home run.  That is why it so crucial to use analytics to see what ads are working and how much they are truly costing you.  If you are not getting the results you expect, you may need to change up.  The awesome thing about internet marketing is that you aren’t committed to a piece of media that may have cost you thousands of dollars to produce that doesn’t work.  With digital marketing, you can change on the fly and try something completely different until you hit that thing right out of the park.  Don’t forget that even in marketing, there are innings and end games.  If that were not so, Pepsi would still be playing that famous commercial from 1970!  You get it?  Advertising is like a moving ball and today at the speed of technology and the internet.

If you built a web site in 1999, do you think it is still relevant today?

Implementation – Should I design my own logo?

You can do all these things by yourself.  You can have your Niece or Nephew do them for you, sort of give them a chance.  Unless they know the difference between Cool and Warm Colors, Complimentary Colors, Masculine or Feminine fonts, Leading, Kerning and a host of other design elements, you will probably be hurting yourself.  I have seen it many many times over the years.  Invariably they ask me what I think.  All I can say to these people is “do you like it”?  Can’t argue with love of family, just remember that those family members don’t have the knowledge or experience to move you to success.

They don’t teach this in College? What?

I remember having a conversation with a young man who just graduated from a technical college.  I asked him a basic question about typography and he said they didn’t teach it!  Really sad.  Glad to report that today he has come a long way and has gained lots of hands on knowledge.  Today, he is an asset to the company he works for.  We have been in branding, printing, graphics, web design, social marketing, promotional products, photography and marketing for many years.  Ok, many many years.  We have worked with companies across the Country, was hired to work on a gubernatorial election campaign (who was an underdog and won), worked on a presidential campaign, worked with international companies and small startups.

There is no substitute for experience!  Call to discuss your needs.