Recently, I saw a reference to National Blogger’s Day being October 27th. While I have never celebrated such an event (or frankly even heard about that one), I’m always interested in another excuse to have a good time . . . so I decided to look into the matter further.
I understand that we can now find 570 million blogs on the Internet with over 30 million of those in the United States. (See the First Site Guide article Blogging Statistics 2021: Ultimate List with 47 Facts and Stats by Ogi Djuraskovic that was last updated on August 26th, 2021.) Therefore, a National Blogger’s Day certainly seemed somewhat between possible and likely!
According to one of the keepers of such information (i.e., WhatNationalDayIsIt? (whatnationaldayisit.com)), their algorithm did pick up October 27th. However, the most recent reference was almost five years ago, and you’d be more likely to have heard of the event in Indonesia.
So . . . why bother asking the question or writing this article?
With about 7 million blog posts per day (see Blogging Statistics 2021: Ultimate List with 47 Facts and Stats), perhaps the bloggers of the world deserve a little bit of extra attention and should unite in adopting this date themselves to enhance the general recognition and raise the profile of the many bloggers sharing information and providing a valuable public service – often without much (or any) personal financial gain.
What Is a Blog?
According to Merriam-Webster, a blog is defined as:
“1 computers: a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer
also: the contents of such a site
2 a regular feature appearing as part of an online publication that typically relates to a particular topic and consists of articles and personal commentary by one or more authors”
Blogs may take the shape of successful journalism such as the Huffington Post or range from personal diaries to business columns posted on corporate web sites to:
- Humanize the people and products of a company.
- Communicate a desired message directly to the public.
- Improve the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of a company’s web site.
- Provide customer service tips.
- Further develop and promote a corporate brand!
Regardless of the type of blog, the time, effort, and resources expended to communicate a message to an intended audience are considerable, and such commitment does deserve recognition (even those bloggers who may be motivated by less than completely pure and altruistic intentions).
What Can Be Done to Get October 27th Properly Recognized?
Well . . .
If all the bloggers in the U.S. chose to adopt this holiday as their own, that would be a pretty good start of 30 million people – 570 million upon recruiting fellow bloggers worldwide. If each of these bloggers then communicated their desire to celebrate to their audience, the total acceptance increases exponentially . . . and would demonstrate the power and credibility of blogging today!
(Sound far-fetched? Then read: Finally! Here’s How Cyber Monday Even Became a Thing.)
Clearly, such a process takes time measured in years, not days. That said, a famous Lao Tzu quote says “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” so . . .
- Post a blog article acknowledging October 27th as a day you choose to celebrate.
- Send a press release to your own audience and perhaps the local media.
- Buy a cake.
- Have a drink.
- Toss a little confetti.
- If you’re a company, stage an event.
- Report on the results from the prior year – year after year during your annual celebration.
- Keep providing quality content to your readers.
If enough bloggers were to take such steps, perhaps October 27th might one day become a recognized “thing” like cyber Monday. If not and the suggestion fails to capture the public’s imagination and attention, we’ve at least given ourselves a platform for increasing awareness about the ground swell growth of activity and increasing importance of that discipline called blogging.
Note: In doing some research for this article, I came across the following: What is a Blog? – Definition, Information, Articles, Tools (marketingterms.com), which I have decided to pass along as some interesting extra reading, which can – perhaps – be saved until October 27th to add a little additional insight to your reflections on that day.
For many, the process of developing just the right logo is an excruciatingly long, careful, and utterly exhausting process ultimately rewarded by achieving a final product that was done well and communicates the correct sentiment. As a result, you are understandably and justifiably annoyed when you send the design out . . . only to find that some third party has made changes that butchered your hard work.
Sometimes, this result can occur because the available space to display the logo does not match the shape . . . so they “help” by disproportionately stretching, cramming, and squeezing the graphic to fit. A similar circumstance can happen with color.
Even more annoying is the situation in which the image is changed because that party happened to like their version better than yours! Fortunately, that last instance is somewhat rare. Most often, you will find that such changes happen as a result of handling errors because the end-user did not know the correct procedure for resizing an image to avoid problems such as disproportionate stretching or loss of resolution. Similarly, color correction errors seem to frequently occur when a palette gets changed from RGB to CMYK (or vice versa) or when the incorrect palette is used for a specific application.
So, What Can You Do?
Do you just accept the fact that your logo will get mishandled very often but philosophically hope that the good that’s done will outweigh the damage?
Do you just stop giving the logo out so the design can’t get messed up, accepting the fact that exposure will be lost even though the frequency of use ultimately determines the recognizability (and success!!) of your branding efforts.
Actually, the best solution – while far from perfect – is quite simple and involves little cost. You create an official logo download site and send that link to any party requesting artwork for a legitimate purpose.
If you read Carole’s article entitled A “Legal-Approved” Free Collection of Social Media Icons, you know that social media sites recognize the value of getting good exposure by sharing logos and have elected to provide a place to obtain a correct version.
Do other big companies do the same?
You bet! For example, McDonald’s has a “Media Assets” link on their corporate web site that provides various logos and iconography. If you are a business working with franchisees, the ability to share the right images and branding elements in an accurate and efficient way becomes especially important.
What’s Involved in Executing this Task?
In the past, Carole and I have been responsible for creating this function and found that we had the most success when supplying a fairly large number of the most commonly requested variations. For example, our logo download page would typically offer:
- 72 dpi low-res versions for on-screen use in RGB and grayscale palettes. (Typically, we’d provide fairly common dimensions that would require minimal size adjustments.)
- 300 dpi high-res versions for printing and imprinting in RGB, CMYK (the most commonly used in the category), and Grayscale color modes.
- Easily scalable, high-res encapsulated postscript (eps) files and portable document files (pdf) would often be provided to satisfy frequent requests for them by vendors.
Aside from that final category, the file types typically used for downloads were either jpg’s or png’s.
By providing these various versions with a brief explanation of the most common usages of each type, we found that the number of instances of mishandling could be significantly reduced as well as the number of requests that had to be addressed by providing files to specific specifications.
Could we have given one very large, high-res variation and counted upon the end-user to make the adjustments required for a particular situation. While theoretically possible, we had bad experiences when relying upon the skill levels of a surprising large number of vendors, and we arrived at this compromise because we had “been burnt.”
Remember, the technology for such a page need not be very sophisticated. If you can create an html page that provides a link to an image file, you can probably create your own download page. (In a separate article in the near future, we plan to provide a template that can be used by you as a guide.)
If you set up your download page to require some kind of registration, you can give yourself the ability to notify users of any changes to your logo/branding down the road and can provide immediate access to updated replacements. Since logo changes are notoriously challenging to accomplish expeditiously, this ability can reduce the amount of time needed to get your logo modifications out and circulating to the right people. Then, you’ll be less likely to find old versions still in use five years later!
As always, we welcome any thoughts or feedback, and we encourage you to comment by using the space provided below.
Our blog – Brand Building for Small Business – has now existed for two years . . . so the time seemed right to stop and perform some self-examination AND (even more importantly) ask for some feedback.
When we defined OUR brand, we determined that our focus would be providing a useful tool to smaller businesses – the kind of largely under-appreciated entrepreneurs who form such an important portion of the American business landscape. (Also – in retrospect – a group that has been hit particularly hard by the recent pandemic of 2020-21 and in need of every possible competitive advantage that can be made available.) Having worked many years for a company that targeted this same audience (a company that was – in fact – a small, underdog start-up at the time I was hired), Carole and I felt we brought some meaningful knowledge and expertise to the table. Hopefully (two years later), you – our audience – agrees.
In establishing our brand, we also decided that we wanted to have a DYI (Do-It-Yourself) focus – believing that many small business owners would of necessity be taking on the challenges of building their own brands. Consequently, we have tried to offer a blend of the conceptual framework needed to build a successful brand as well as practical tips and instruction. Specifically, we offer thoughts on:
- Identifying your audience
- Establishing (and communicating) the philosophy that guides your development of products and services
- Embodying a strong customer service orientation
- Creating mission and vision statements to serve as a reminder of your brand and your short- and long-term goals as an organization
- Building the visual elements of your brand (such as your logo, letterhead, envelopes, business cards, etc.)
Note: Learn more about these brand “building blocks.”
In fact, we have focused on providing concrete tips and instruction (and sometimes even templates) to assist the budding entrepreneur in being successful in creating a brand without having to break an already tight budget. Basically, we’re trying to share some of the knowledge that we acquired the hard way through trial and – all too often – error! To enable you to avoid some of our missteps, we’ve tried to help you define your brand and create the tools needed to have a unique visual identity. We have tried to emphasize and demonstrate the importance of creating an attitude toward customers that gives real life and substance to your brand and shows that you both “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.”
In addition, we have sought to help you recognize the importance of seizing every opportunity to promote your brand to the public. Toward that end, we discuss some of the many chances an entrepreneur has while still maintaining a DYI focus. For instance, we offer instruction on creating and inexpensively disseminating press releases as well as creating sales collateral, web sites, direct mail materials, ads, thank you cards, editorial calendars, and more. In particular, we have sought to impress upon you the importance of using such platforms to highlight your brand . . . while simultaneously using your branding experience to enhance the effectiveness and results of such opportunities.
About a year ago, we started supplementing our longer, more in-depth, instructional materials with some Quick Tips and Monday Motivational messages to serve as fast, easily absorbed reminders that might help keep the subject of branding at the forefront of your minds and consciousness.
While we have been gratified to watch our audience grow, we are always hoping to reach even more of you even faster . . . and are particularly appreciative when we recognize a regular, repeat reader. You’d might be surprised to know that some of you who have consistently “Liked” our content have actually become quite important to us and are even part of the way in which we measure the success of a specific article. When we have NOT seen you “Like” a post or comment upon our content in a while, we miss you and feel like we have left you down!
All that said, we do plan to keep keeping on . . . but would love to receive some more feedback about how you think we are doin’ so far . . . as well as some requests about where you would want to see us head in the future. Such interaction would be extremely helpful and would better enable us to help you even more. You can use the Comment box below to get a message to us or you are welcome to send us a private e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise to consider your input carefully.
Meanwhile, good luck with your branding efforts . . . and keep checking out AND SHARING our newest content at www.brandbuildingforsmallbusiness.com.
I recently realized the 50th Anniversary of one of my favorite albums (i.e., vinyls for those under 30) is upon us – Blue by Joni Mitchell.
While that fact has little to do with this blog, hearing the song did get me thinking that the time had come to write a piece that offered a reminder about the potential importance of color selection in building a brand . . . and also reminded me that I have spent a disproportionate amount of several decades staring at various shades of the color blue while at work!
To quote information cited by Jill Morton at the Colorcam website in an article entitled Why Color Matters:
“ 1. Research conducted by the secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo documents the following relationships between color and marketing:
92.6 percent said that they put most importance on visual factors when purchasing products. Only 5.6 percent said that the physical feel via the sense of touch was most important. Hearing and smell each drew 0.9 percent.
When asked to approximate the importance of color when buying products, 84.7 percent of the total respondents think that color accounts for more than half among the various factors important for choosing products.
Source: Secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo 2004
2. Research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.
Source: CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research
3. Research by the Henley Centre suggests 73% of purchasing decisions are now made in-store. Consequently, catching the shopper’s eye and conveying information effectively are critical to successful sales.”
Pick Wisely for Many Reasons
During my decades of working in the field of communications, over 90% of my time was spent with the corporate color of blue – most recently PMS 301/C-100 M-43 Y-0 K-18/R-0 G-109 B-168 . . . but more about those cryptic codes later. Admittedly, the exact hue and tone have changed three times, but blue has paid a particularly large role in my professional life. Frankly, my only non-blue moments came from work done for a variety of business partners, subsidiaries, or off-shoots of my main employers. When I would finally get to do green for a bank or a burgundy red for a data encryption company – the new sense of freedom was an enormous guilty pleasure!!
So . . . How Was Blue Chosen?
The initial selection was far enough back in time that branding had yet to become a separate phenomenon and discipline. As a result, I’m inclined to think the choice was mostly a matter of good instincts or dumb luck or perhaps a bit of both on the part of my employers at that time. You see, the company was involved in insurance and financial services – an industry that now seems to disproportionately and not coincidentally favor blue as a corporate color.
Much has been written on the characteristics and impact of various colors, so I won’t reinvent that wheel but will quote from one such example while letting you know that countless others are available with the similarities far outweighing the differences in message.
At the Canva website in an article entitled Understand What Colors Mean, the following overview is provided:
“A lot of research has gone into color theory. You can definitely get lost down the rabbit hole finding the story behind each color, however, here’s a quick summary to give you an idea:
Red is associated with danger, excitement, and energy. It’s also known for being the color of love and passion.
Pink is feminine, it’s sentimental and romantic. Different shades, like hot pink, can be youthful and bold.
Orange, like it’s namesake, is fresh and full of vitality. It’s also creative, adventurous, and associated with being cost-effective.
Yellow is optimistic. It’s a color associated with being playful and happy.
Green is natural, often used to demonstrate sustainability. But it can also align with prestige and wealth.
Blue is trustworthy and reliable. It’s calming or often associated with depression.
Purple is royalty and majesty. It can be spiritual and mysterious.
Brown is down-to-earth and honest, often used for organic wholesome products.
White is pure. It conveys simplicity and innocence, often with a minimalistic feel.
Black is both sophisticated and elegant. It can be formal and luxurious, but also sorrowful.
Multicolor is united or open to anything. It’s great for capturing the spirit of diversity.
Of course, within this spectrum, there is a raft of additional colors. Different hues, such as baby blue or navy, also contribute to the color story.”
Also, I suggest you look at an article entitled The Business of Color by vistaprint, which associates specific industries with particular colors and includes a useful graphic for quick reference.
More About Color
While I have been describing color in terms of broad generalities such as “BLUE” – be aware that an almost infinite number of tones, hues, and variations exist . . . and every time you use or reference the color you have chosen for your brand, you must be sure to reproduce the exact same variation regardless of the media, which can be challenging!! Fortunately, a number of color systems (i.e., palettes) exist that allow you to successfully match exact colors AND communicate with potential vendors (like web site designers, printers, novelty manufacturers). Furthermore, becoming familiar with these industry-standard systems of identification at the time of selection can prevent some later headaches. For example, I was once involved in choosing a color, and we based our selection exclusively upon look . . . only to find that we had picked a specific tone with no 100% match under two of the most common matching systems!
Remember my earlier cryptic reference to: PMS 301/C-100 M-43 Y-0 K-18/R-0 G-109 B-168? Well, PMS refers to a color matching system produced by Pantone and universally recognized as one industry standard. CMYK is a system based on mixing Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black to produce essentially any color imaginable and is the method most commonly used by commercial printers and imprinters. Similarly, RGB is a Red-Green-Blue based system most frequently used to identify colors for onscreen use like websites, a/v presentations, etc. And yet, still other variations such as HEX exist, each with strengths and weaknesses for specific applications. Ideally, you want to select a color that produces a specific matching value under each of the most common systems. (In that instance I mentioned earlier, the fact that the color we had chosen did not have an RGB and CMYK value that represented the exact same color – a fairly rare circumstance –resulted in continual headaches that could have been easily avoided. )
As you have opportunities to use these systems in specific applications, you will begin to appreciate that color matching is as much as art as a science . . . but we’ll save further exploration of that topic for a future article.
Where Will You Use Your Corporate Color?
Everywhere. That repetition is the essence of good branding – building quick, positive, and familiar recognition.
Specifically, your chosen color will become part of your logo, web site, advertisements/ad campaigns, novelty items, store decor, product displays, clothing/uniforms etc.
Color does matter. Frankly, I can’t imagine Joni Mitchell’s classic album Blue would have lasted 50 years had another color – such as red – been chosen!