4 Tips to Build a Logo That Will Leave an Impression

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There are varying opinions as to what determines a successful logo design. Some believe all logos should be simple and iconic like Apple, McDonald’s and FedEx – where intricacies are kept to a minimum in order to achieve a bold and timeless look. Others prefer typographic logos that highlight the company’s name such as Google, or illustrative logos that tell a story about the business like Starbucks. Regardless of aesthetic preferences most can agree, the core function of a logo is to stimulate brand awareness and maximize marketing potential.

These 4 tips will help create a logo with a lasting impact

1. Invest
First, determine the budget you’re working with. Investing in a logo is one of the most important first steps of brand development. Prices can range from $200 to upwards of $200,000. Factors that impact the price such as project requirements, timeline and agency experience. Like any design element, logos are not a commodity. The value of a memorable trademark cannot be calculated by how many hours it takes to create it. While emerging contest and freelance bidding websites like 99designs and Designhill may seem attractive to new business owners, a logo design with an inexpensive price tag may have repercussions. By using these sites you are at risk of engaging with inexperienced artists, receiving little or no communication and even plagiarism. Be sure to choose a designer who will work closely with you and encourage useful feedback.

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2. Detailed brief
Developing an effective design brief is critical in ensuring a successful outcome. A brief is a document outlining business objectives and corresponding design strategies. It gets the creative juices flowing and helps the designer think strategically about design solutions. Design briefs can take on various forms but should always include a summary of the project, project goals, target audience, project specifications and timeline.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of color
When thinking about a logo for your business, it is important to take into account the way people interpret color. The use of color can bring multiple layers of meaning, from primitive responses based on millions of years of evolved instinct to associations we make based on personal experiences. Psychologists have studied how people are affected by color and found there is a strong correlation between color and emotional response, therefore it is closely tied to how a brand is understood. For example, restaurants like Pizza Hut, KFC and Tim Horton’s use red in their logos to stimulate hunger. Black, white, silver and gold are often used in the logos of luxury brands like Prada and Michael Kors to enhance the feeling of sophistication.

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Piccolo is a strong example of incorporating color into branding. As a children’s design company, the bright texture appeals to our visual senses encouraging creativity. Brighter hues stimulate feelings of energy and evoke a strong response or reaction.

4. Give useful feedback
Your designer may actually present a logo that is close to what you’re looking for, but there are often revisions needed. It’s up to you to communicate your needs and provide the designer with specific feedback that is useful. Instead of saying, “I don’t like any of them,” try to articulate what you’d like to see more of and have some examples of what you do like. Offer clear direction without taking over. If you have found a designer that you feel understands your needs, you can be confident he or she will present you with quality work.

Five Tips for Building your Personal Brand Online

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In an era where owned media channels are just as valuable as traditional, building your personal brand has never been more valuable. However, just as Apple or Nike have carefully and consistently built their public image over decades, carving out your personal brand requires establishing a clear vision for your unique voice, image and value proposition to the audience you’re trying to curate. It is essential to have an understanding of these points before you start sharing ‘you’ in a massively cluttered space – the Internet.

Here are 5 ways to give you a jump-start on building your personal brand:

Brix-Media-Co-Personal Branding1. Identify what sets you apart. The Internet has infinite space and plenty of personal brands, so how are you going to stand out? This is Marketing 101. You’ve got a killer product – it’s you. But how are you going to sell it? Start by defining your character and know what your unique selling points are. Never say things in the usual way and win the customers (followers) attention with content; visuals, words and phrases that are new, surprising, and different. The objective of personal branding is to build a relationship with a customer or follower who is excited and confident in what you are offering.

2. Leverage your credentials. What is your personal brand offering and how is it adding value to the lives of your potential followers or customers? It’s important to clearly identify the product or service your personal brand specializes in – something that can be backed up. If you have the skills, you should show them but only at the right times and through the right channels. Leverage your niche and showcase what makes you special in a way that encourages customers and followers to engage and share. Produce content that adds value to the lives of your customers and keeps your personal brand “on brand.”  

3. Agonize over consistency. Be on brand for yourself. It’s easy to share anything and everything but it can easily come across as forced or insincere – and nobody likes that. What you put out should be consistent and relevant with what you have identified yourself to be. Ask yourself – is this what my brand is about and does it makes sense for my audience?

Visuals– The digital world is dominated by visuals. It’s also important that you’re consistent in how you visually represent your brand. I.e. using the same colour palette, fonts and filters. If you’re clear on your message you will build a consistent brand experience for your fans and followers. Fashion blogger and influencer Mary Seng of Happily Grey is a perfect example of this. True to her name, her colour palette throughout all her social media channels is mostly grey, white and black.

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Model: Why brand consistency is important!
Consistency = Trust and Trust = Customers. Be consistent.

4. Make Friends with the Internet. Be engaged – and not selfishly. Share and support other like-minded individuals by giving a little love to the digital community around you. Be collaborative – give without the expectation of return and you’ll be surprised what the digital world gives back. Take for example, Apple’s collaboration with Hermes. Aside from improving their image and spreading awareness with further reach, they were able to resonate with a larger audience by joining forces.

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5. Be real.  People are seeking the human side of any brand – a side that allows them to connect on a personal level. It is important to be true to yourself and your audience. You don’t have to come across as an expert in everything. Thought leaders tap into their talents, experience and passion for their business. Don’t try and be something you’re not. This allows your audience to build trust in you and your brand.

3 Ways Public Relations Agencies Are Adapting to the Changing Media Landscape

Brix Media Public Relations

2016 has already seen some significant shifts in the Canadian media landscape, a fact that has public relations agencies evaluating how to change tactics when it comes to broadcasting their messages. Here’s the state we currently exist in; within the first two weeks of 2016, Postmedia announced 90 cuts and a strategy to consolidate major newsrooms across the country. Less than one week later, Rogers Media announced 200 cuts across their platforms, or about four per cent of the total workforce. Both of these announcements are a blow to an already floundering media industry, one faced with constant dwindling revenue and readership numbers.

Cuts like these are an indicator of how much journalism is changing, and public relations with it. In fact there are three dedicated changes to public relations that most, if not all, PR agencies are moving towards:

1.  Customized content creation

There used to be a time when a pitch note and a press release was enough to secure media coverage. With limited resources at newsrooms, and overworked journalists, this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. PR professionals are becoming the creators of content, quite literally drafting story ideas for specific outlets to use. It’s a much more symbiotic relationship between journalists and PR professionals, albeit one that requires more work and creativity from the PR professional than in times past.

2.  The growing power of the influencer

With fewer journalists available, the ‘citizen journalists’ or influencers are filling the gap. These individuals hold significant interest on social media and captivate an audience that considers them more authentic. While the rules of the game are still being sorted out, PR agencies are taking a more active role in working with influencers to promote content and product placement.

3.  Giving voice to leaders

Another aspect of a sparse media landscape is the loss of expert opinions. Seasoned journalists with backgrounds in niche areas are becoming few and far between, and this leaves a void for creative opinions in various industries. The industry leaders themselves are filling that void, with more and more opportunity to land press coverage through thought leadership and well executed opinion pieces. Outlets are producing more of this type of content as it offers readers in-depth discussion from well-known industry experts (and at practically no cost to the outlet.)

For public relations professionals, the shift in the industry has been a long time coming. Most of us saw it coming, and adjusted accordingly. That’s why Brix Media became Canada’s first fully integrated PR and online influencer firm focus on social innovation when we launched last year.

Vancouver Tech PR – 4 Fashion Products That Embrace Tech

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As managing director of Brix Media Co., a Vancouver tech PR firm that specializes in both technology PR and fashion PR, I often get asked which industry I’m more drawn to. Truth is, I no longer have to choose. Like almost every other sector, fashion has embraced technology and at the cross section are some of the most innovative products that add functionality and enhance day-to-day life.

Last April, Apple Watch presented a slick-looking multi-functional design that style-conscious men and women would actually wear. The accessible price-point generated a new wave of curiosity in the future of wearables.

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From street-style mainstays to complex 3D prints and the integration of virtual reality, here are four products that exemplify what the future holds for tech-inspired fashion:

“Pretty” might not be the first adjective to describe Ringly, the latest in smart jewelry, albeit the design is beautiful. Disguised as a classic sapphire ring, when slipped on it pairs immediately with your iOS or Android device. With a recent investment of $5.1 million, Ringly’s ability to track incoming calls, messages and emails is growing in popularity.

Fit for an occasion yet to be determined, a dress debuted by Columbia designer Maria Orduz Pinto at this year’s CES was decorated with handmade fabric flowers that deflect light and 3D printed flowers and optic fibers that react to sound. Driven by a $20 billion business, the tech-luxury space aims to make clothing beautiful, functional and long lasting.

Swedish designer Ida Klamborn is breaking down the elitist culture of Fashion Week Stockholm with the introduction of a 360 virtual reality (VR) technology. “Democratic Front Row” invites fans from around the world to experience Ida’s runway show, via their mobiles, from a seat in the front row. Located next to the stage, a robot installation will capture the 360-degree view for those tuning in via VR, a view typically reserved for fashion elites and celebrities. Still not impressed? The robot will light up based on the reaction of the fans watching.

Tech-luxury with an ethical twist sounds promising although in this case it means choosing to wear a bikini that absorbs pollution. The sponge bikini, developed by a New York architecture and design studio Eray Carbaj for a wearable technology competition, is made from a material that repels water and absorbs oil. The lightweight sponge material can absorb up to 25 times its own weight.

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The integration of technology and fashion is far from evolved but fashion and design icons are encouraging the process. Von Furstenberg’s upcoming collection of handbags will be outfitted with hidden built-in chargers and Iris Apfel has teamed up with WiseWear’s Socialite collection, a line of fashionable metal jewelry that tracks fitness, receives mobile alerts and sends distress signals to emergency contacts.

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The fascination with tech-savvy fashion will continue to grow throughout 2016 as world-class events like The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Gala and Costume Institute exhibition run with themes such as “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”

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4 PR Strategies You Should Be Using Right Now

4 PR Strategies You Should Be Using Right Now

 

While 2015 may not exactly resemble the world of flying cars, remote-control dog walking and hover board parks that premiered in Back to the Future, there is no argument that wide advances in technology have dramatically shifted how we think, act and communicate. Whether you’re an early adopter of digital or an aficionado of tradition, here are four shifts in public relations and marketing your company will want to embrace now or in the future.

  1. Collaborate with influencers.

Word of mouth, press coverage and endorsements, have long relied on one effective marketing tactic: third-party credibility. No matter who your target market is, the best way to earn credibility is to have people of influence tell others why they appreciate your product or service.

Related: Why You Should Include Influential Social-Media Users in Your PR Strategy

With the rise of self-publishing platforms and social-media networks, brands can collaborate with connected individuals whose published content carries great clout amongst niche audiences. Forget press releases and prized interview slots, influencers are usually prided content creators who want to collaborate with impactful images on Instagram, well thought-out prose on Twitter or a series of compelling videos on YouTube. When an influencer’s content style, audience and aesthetic is well aligned and respected by a brand, content collaborations can become a very powerful PR and marketing tool for your company.

  1. Communicate your ‘why.’

In today’s world of watchdog technologies, brands are scrutinized with every consumer touch point. From YouTube videos that expose poor customer service to Twitter comments that belittle brands for not living up to their promise, companies can no longer mask inefficiencies. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for brands to establish and implement core values that humanize them and make them more relatable to the public.  The Millenial Consumer study published in January of 2015, showed 58 percent of Gen Y consumers expect brands to publish content online before they make a purchase and 43 percent rank authenticity as more important than the content itself. Take the time to establish the “why behind” your company and imbed it into your culture. If your purpose goes beyond profit, you are more likely to appeal to the public.

Related: Hack PR for Your Startup With These 5 Tools

  1. Create content, not ads.

Ad buying has adjusted to the digital world.  Tools like sponsored posts and native advertising, allow brands to create rich user-specific content that tells a relevant story rather than a repetitive promotion or sales pitch. The days of guaranteeing mass viewership of catchy slogans are dwindling. Consumers now have choice over what content they engage with and brands need to understand what drives them. From responsive video series to interactive social media campaigns, brands need to become clever and more customized than ever with their online content.

  1. Give traditional press exclusivity.

Commuter papers, trade journals, dailies and broadcast shows still carry third-party credibility and weight in today’s digital world.  Keep in mind these publications are dealing with more competition than ever. A mass press release, for that matter, is not likely going to gain you a coveted feature in your national newspaper or a slot on the local morning show. If you want to land earned editorial with traditional press, offer the outlet you are targeting an exclusive angle. Your brand has many layers. Find the right outlets to tell each aspect of your brand story to.

While the tools and landscape may have changed, the core of what motivates the public to appreciate a product, service or a brand has not. Brand loyalty still comes from the public relating to a brand’s culture and values and a belief that its offerings add great value.

Jennifer Maloney Adab: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

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Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Brix Media Co. Founder and CEO Jennifer Maloney Adab, who we caught up with to find out what inspired her innovative company and what advice she would share with other young professionals…

WORK

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I run Canada’s first PR and influencer marketing agency focused on social innovation.

What was the inspiration for your career route?
Human behaviour has always intrigued me. As a former journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about people and their ideas from all walks of life. I realized early on I had a passion for leveraging media to connect others to meaningful stories and life lessons. This has been the inspiration behind my PR career as well.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
One of the most memorable was organizing a press conference for Deepak Chopra to launch the world’s first Chopra Yoga Centre. Working with him affirmed that personal values and principles don’t need to be separated from business.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I’m about to embark on my most daring venture to date – being a mom, which I think will greatly alter my goals and perspective. In five years I hope I have set an example for my son that you can achieve anything you want in life. The hard, but also fun part is being true to oneself and discovering what that is.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I think it’s a great time to be young and ambitious because there are so many opportunities to connect, collaborate and communicate with like-minded people around the world. My advice would be to take the route that’s right for you over what is popular opinion. To truly become successful, you need to follow your own path.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I sit on the board for two non-profits. One is Raw Beauty Talks, which promotes the mental and physical health of girls and young women. The other is the Young Entrepreneurs Leadership Launchpad, which promotes entrepreneurial thinking in high schools.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Launching Brix Media Co. has been the biggest risk and challenge I’ve undertaken to date. It meant leaving the security of the brand I had spent three years building and trusting in my team and our collective vision to build something new. There were many hurdles in getting it off the ground, but they were all overcome through teamwork and realizing I had an amazing support system to help me on some of the hardest days.

What does the word notable mean to you?
I associate it with “worth paying attention to.” Living in an era of information overload, we increasingly rely on trusted sources to tell us what is worth our time and attention.

PLAY

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
We’re spoiled with restaurants in Vancouver so it’s hard to choose one. I recently went to AnnaLena in Kits and it’s at the top of my “must go back” list.

What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Website: Google

Song: One Man Can Change the World by  Big Sean & Kanye West.

Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
@dobbiesandlittlepawrescue – We have an Doberman who came from a shelter. This site makes me want to adopt 20 more.

What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Brazil is one of my favourite countries. All the restaurants have meals made for two people. That tells you something about the warmth of their culture. I really need to make it to Pondicherry in India. There’s an ashram I’m dying to visit there.

What gives you the greatest FOMO?
My husband travels to LA a lot for work and I always think this somehow involves pool and mojito time, which give me FOMO. He assures me this is not the case.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Frozen yogurt or gelato with chocolate, berries and coconut.

What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I wish I spent less on cell phone bills and more on travel.

And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success is being happy with the people, places and experiences you surround yourself with on a daily basis.

Six Ways to Get Good At Networking

Networking Tips from a Public Relations Pro | Jennifer Maloney, CEO of Brix Media Co.

Repost from Profit Guide 

Six Ways to get good at networking - Brix Media

Welcome to Advisory Board, a weekly department in which a panel of experts—made up of entrepreneurs and professionals—answer questions you have about how to run your business better.

This week, a reader asks:

“I keep hearing that the ability to build good relationships is one of the traits of super-successful entrepreneurs. Is networking all it’s made out to be, and how can I get good at it?”

Here’s what the experts have to say.

• • • • •

“Rather than going out and meeting a bazillion people, I think it’s more important to meet the right people and make an impression on them. Get a “hit list” of whom you want to meet and then set out to meet them. Once you make contact, trying keeping notes on that person. For instance, what is their wife’s name? What are their kids doing? What are they passionate about? I then follow up with relevant emails to keep in touch. It shows I’m interested in them, and hopefully makes me stand out the next time I see them.”
—Mandy Farmer, President and CEO, Accent Inns and Hotel Zed, Victoria

• • • • •

“People who take the time to understand your value proposition and advocate for your company contribute to third-party credibility and word of mouth, which can lead to invaluable referrals. If you are not a natural connector, identify who in your company or personal networks is. Align with these people to see what value you can add to them. Maybe they are starting a new company, or looking to build on a particular skill set or life passion. Do what you can to elevate them, and they in turn will likely take an interest in your business needs as well. Having ‘connectors’ champion both you and your company will only help you prosper.”
Jennifer Maloney Adab, founder & CEO, Brix Media Co., Vancouver

• • • • •

“It has been said the ‘networking is your net worth.’ Not only do people prefer to do business with people they know and trust, but networking also provides a valuable opportunity to learn from other business leaders. How do you get good at it? By getting out there and doing it. There are numerous networking events put on by a variety of sources, including Boards of Trade, industry associations and CEO and executive organizations. Attend these events not with the intent to directly sell your product or service, but rather to meet new people and ask questions about them and their business. You will develop important new relationships and gain great insight from your peers.”
John Wilson, founder and CEO, CEO Global Network, Toronto

• • • • •

“Spend some time with someone you admire as a master networker. I find they are more than willing to share their tips over a glass of wine. As you refine this skill, remember that building good relationships means creating a relationship that is win-win. Be willing to give as much as you get. Be authentic about helping others with their success and they will be vested in your success.”
Phoebe Fung, proprietor, Vin Room and VR Wine, Calgary

• • • • •

“Whether you make a new contact that can elevate or amplify your business, or learn from a fellow entrepreneur, these experiences are extremely valuable. Know who you are going to be meeting and research them. Ask well-informed, intelligent questions of your peers and perhaps come up with ideas of how you can work with them.”
—Christine Faulhaber, President and CEO, Faulhaber Communications, Toronto

• • • • •

“What sets you apart? In my experience networking is about hitting the sweet spots with people. Once their confidence is won, make sure you’re ready to prove every day that nobody compares to you as an individual.”
—Mandy Renehan, Founder and CEO, Freshco, Oakville, Ont.

• • • • •

MORE INSIGHTS FROM OUR ADVISORY BOARD:

 

 

Vancouver Tech PR & Fashion PR – September

Fashion trends, Vancouver Startup Week, and business growth were key topics of conversation this past month. See how some of our clients tie into these conversations.

Vancouver Fashion PR

Michelle Lane – senior designer and stylist at Clearly.ca shares her top picks for the season on Brazen Woman. For those of us subjecting our eyes to screen glare for long periods of time, blogger Jamie Leigh reviews Clearly’s protective, yet stylish Blue Reflect lenses.

Vancouver Tech PR

Vancouver Startup Week attracted tech fans between September 21 and 25th. The Vancouver Economic Commission hosted #VanStartupCity at the Imperial to support Vancouver’s local startup ecosystem. Watch Sean Elbe on Breakfast Television as he celebrates local tech and recent success stories in the adventure and tech space including ShareShed, RentMoola, and Tinkerine. StartupCity events were also featured on CKNW,  Vancouver Magazine and Business in Vancouver.

US Tech PR

At the European Cancer Congress in Vienna, OncoSec Medical announced positive results from the very first trial to combine merkel cell carcinoma with immunotherapy through its proprietary ImmunoPulse treatment.

Fin Tech PR

In the last week of September, Canadian entrepreneur Hamed Shahbazi was featured on Business News Network. As CEO of  software company TIO Networks, he discusses the company’s rapid growth strategy, how it is competing in the United States, and its thoughts on national fintech players like PayPal.

 

 

 

 

Child care & financial planning health PR Brix Media Co Vancouver

Vancouver Tech & Lifestyle PR – August

With summer adventures behind us and fall on the horizon, Brix Media’s tech and lifestyle PR clients are focused on delivering solutions for back-to-school, financial planning, and personal health.

Take a look at how some of our PR and influencer marketing clients contributed to conversations in the media this past month.

Fin Tech PR

Canadians wanting to expand their financial portfolios and curious about investing through a robo-advisor have their options explained. Read up on  WealthBar’s expertise on the Huffington Post.

Interested in more? CEO and co-founder, Tea Nicola speaks on Canada’s revamped universal childcare benefit and how it really affects you.

Lifestyle PR

Shopping for fall outfits? The Vancouver Sun lists Dish Performance Denim as THE pair of women’s jeans to shop for when playing with your fall wardrobe.

Biotech PR

Former President Jimmy Carter publicly announced his battle with cancer. Last week he elaborated on his choice of treatment: his own immune system (immunotherapy) with the support of a new drug called Keytruda. In the same arena, OncoSec Medical announced their first patient enrolled in a combination trial to test the safety and effectiveness of Immunopulse, their unique form of immunotherapy with Keytruda – the very same drug President Carter is using.

GROW Conference Whistler lego tech PR Brix Media Vancouver

Our Top 5 Takeaways from GROW Conference 2015

 

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Photo by kriskrug.com

The awe-inspiring landscape of Whistler was the perfect backdrop to this year’s GROW conference, which hosted a gathering of emerging and established tech entrepreneurs, investors, creators and executives from across North America.  Here are some of our highlights:

#1. Wearables – So Hot Right Now!

Despite the tepid reception to Google Glass, the wearable space is still searing hot — especially when it comes to sports. One of the first presentations was led by Marcus Weller, the founder and CEO of Skully, a motorcycle helmet packed with smart features including hands free calling, transparent heads up display, and a rear-view camera. This video had most attendees wishing they had their own bike to validate a helmet purchase (us included!).

Wearable Image
photo by kriskrug.com

 

But Dan Eisenhardt, CEO of Recon Instruments, a Canadian smartglasses and heads up display company that was recently acquired by Intel, was quick to share some of the challenges of achieving success in the wearables space: “if you put something on your face it has to make you look better, or at least not worse.” Eisenhardt says the ultimate goal for their product will be making it invisible. His comments allude to a likely future for  wearables, which is that they may not be wearable (in other words, hardware) at all.

. . .