Building your Brand

Building your Brand

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What is branding?

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Why does branding matter?

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What are the elements of branding?

When you hear the word, “brand,” what comes to mind? The name of a company? A logo? Many business owners spend very little time creating a meaningful brand and instead jump right into marketing and sales after naming their business and designing a logo. Unfortunately, most of these owners discover that they have a difficult time connecting with the actual market that could benefit the most from their products or services. Skimming through the branding process leads to inconsistencies within your brand, which makes it difficult for your target market to recognize you.

What is branding?

We’re not talking about cattle here, but we are talking about truly owning everything in your business, from the fonts you choose to the products or services you sell. ALL of it matters. Branding is essentially creating consistent, purposeful messages to connect you with your target market and to build a lasting impression within your industry. Every detail of imagery, every word you use, and everything you stand for—it all contributes to the strength of your brand.  

Why does branding matter?

Think of some of the most popular brands out there—Nike, Ford, Target, Hallmark, Amazon, just for starters. Now think of some of the unknown competition…you can’t! They’re unknown for a reason. That’s why branding matters. Companies with strong, consistent branding will build brand recognition with their target audiences. You want to be like these companies. You want to be known.

What are the elements of branding?

While much goes into branding, there are a few elements that absolutely must be incorporated into your branding strategy:

  1. Voice and tone
    Yes, this is a 2-for-1 special. All of your copy (your mission statement, company description, taglines, text on your website, or anything written by your company), both internal and external, needs to have a consistent voice. It should tell your audience who you are and who you’re not. Ask yourself, “whose voice do I hear when I think of my company as a person?” Maybe it’s Morgan Freeman or your Uncle Fred. Ideally, every bit of copy your company produces will sound as though written by the same person—and the right person. Your tone should attract the audience your brand is meant to serve. When creating your tone, determine how you want your brand to make people feel and what you want them to think of when they hear your company’s name.  
  2. Logo
    Your logo is essentially a visual symbol to represent your company. It can include images, copy, or both. It should match your voice and tone and convey the emotion of your choosing. Eventually, when a person hears the name of your company, this symbol will come to mind, so it’s important to already have a clear purpose behind your business (including voice and tone). Some logos that we like are Amazon and Tour de France. They have great symbols and messages hidden behind them! 
  3. Fonts
    While it’s fun to play around with fonts to convey specific emotions for each message, it’s more important that all of your materials, both print and digital, be consistent. Consistency helps people form connections and retrieve memories, even memories about companies they’ve encountered. Just as with a logo, the fonts you choose should add to the purpose of your business and the emotions you are trying to elicit from your target audience.
  4. Colors
    Again—consistency and emotions can’t be stressed enough. Our design experts understand how colors work together to convey specific emotions, and we’re happy to help you choose the best combinations for your company. 
  5. Styleguide
    Your brand styleguide is literally a document that outlines your company’s voice and tone, logo, fonts, colors, and anything else you choose to add. This document can be shared with your entire team and should be referenced and followed for every marketing effort. If you outsource your marketing (like maybe to Root & Roam), be sure to share your styleguide. This is how you achieve consistency and, ultimately, brand recognition. 

 

If you’re interested in making lasting connections sooner rather than later, let our experts here at Root & Roam walk you through a structured process of building your brand from the ground up. Already have a business but need help rebranding? We’ve got you covered, too. Contact us today, and let’s get your brand on. 

The History of Marketing

The History of Marketing

The history of marketing – Marketing is defined as the action of promoting and selling products or services. For as long as there has been something to trade, barter, or sell, there has also been marketing. From the first example of branded materials to the invention of the printing press to modern technology, let’s take a trip through time and discover the history of marketing.

The_history_of_marketing, The history of marketing goes back thousands of years. In this image, we explore the history of marketing from 1450 (the first appearance of printed advertising) to the more recent boom of social media in the early 2000s-2010s. This timeline of marketing history takes you through the major events that made the industry what it is today.

Looking Forward

As we step into the new year, marketing looks a bit different than it did 200 years ago. Cutting-edge technology and business practices, coupled with new consumer habits, require brands to step up with new marketing techniques in 2022. Forbes magazine predicts that this year consumers will be more inclined to purchase a brand than a product. Buyers want to do business with brands that share their values. Forbes also predicts that consumers will prefer to be taught, rather than sold on the ethics of a business. They understand that company X may have the best customer service around, but they are looking for companies to educate them on their biggest questions.

Why Adobe Libraries is a Key Feature for Designers

Why Adobe Libraries is a Key Feature for Designers

Why Adobe Libraries is a Key Feature for Designers Designers often need to maintain consistency across different projects and brands, using the same graphics, colors, fonts and vector graphics. But, before Adobe Libraries came along, there was no easy way to store all of these elements in one convenient place. The library feature allows designers to easily create templates that can be accessed from anywhere within the Adobe Creative Cloud and used in any of the applications it supports. In this article, we’ll examine the benefits of using Adobe Libraries and why it’s so important for graphic designers of all levels who use the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools.

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What are Libraries

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How Do They Work

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What Can I Put Into a Library

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How Do I Use a Library?

What Are libraries?

Adobe Libraries is a panel within your Creative Cloud account where you can store your design elements. These may be graphics, colors, fonts or vector graphics and images. When you add content to a library, it becomes available across all of your Adobe products that support Libraries and to anyone who has access. So when I create an element in Adobe InDesign, you can then access that object in Illustrator or Photoshop because they share my Creative Cloud libraries.

How Do They Work?

Adobe libraries are a great way to organize all of your assets, whether they are in Adobe products or not. The library links the element and allows you to access it from the Cloud quickly. This gives you access to them faster and easier with less effort, while helping you and your team stay organized. You can organize by any folder structure or by automatic groups that typically group by colors, vector graphics, images, character styles.

What Can I Put Into an Adobe library?

The good news is that you can put almost anything into an Adobe library. The bad news is, well, there isn’t any bad news!

How Do I Use a Library?

You can simply drag an asset into the library panel from whatever program you are working in. Once you save an element into your library, it will automatically sync with Creative Cloud, allowing access anywhere there is internet connection. Using Adobe Libraries simplifies brand consistency by keeping artwork items consistent from one project to another.

Adobe Libraries is an awesome tool for our team. We are still learning our favorite perks from this Adobe tool.

Below are the top 5 reasons I love to use Adobe Libraries.

1. Togetherness—Keeping all our brand assets together has always been a challenge. Having one library that our whole team can access is key. Having one place to store and use universal graphics is super handy. Whether we’re working on an email, project brief or website, it’s all right there in one place. No more hunting through emails and files to find that brand asset you need. With Adobe Libraries, you can search by type of file or artwork (vector graphics, colors and fonts) across your library. That means everyone always has access to all assets they may need while designing and creating projects. In addition to giving us a place to store and use our brand assets, it gives us guidance when we’re designing new pieces of work. We use Adobe Libraries as inspiration during concepting phases of projects.

2. Web, Print, and More—The constant growth of channels and tools keeps our head spinning. Adobe Libraries can access any of the Adobe programs, so we can easily utilize any output needed. Combining all of these platforms gives us a library that is limitless with opportunities and options to create beautiful art pieces! Also, it organizes our projects, making them easier to find—a designer’s dream! Efficiency at its finest.

3. Logo changes—You can make universal changes, and if linked correctly, the change will apply anywhere you use the library element. If you use the library element by dragging it into the document you are working on, an icon appears in the top left letting you know it is linked.  If you have a change to make on the linked graphic or image, you can double click on the library element, make your change in its native environment, then save.  That change is then made anywhere that graphic was linked.

4. Color consistency—Sometimes a color will change in the branding, and we never know where the new color originated.  Having a library of colors across all Adobe apps allows all users to apply color with confidence.

To save a color in your library, follow these steps: 

          • Click on + at top left of window. 
          • Click on New Color Swatch. 
          • Fill in name (optional) and hex value. 
          • You can also add RGB or CMYK values. 
          • Confirm & click Add.

5. Organization—Adobe Libraries makes it easy to rename artwork and organize it in a visual way. I love how it will create groups for you, including Colors, Typography, Vector Graphics, and Images, so you can quickly identify what you need.

You can create an Abode library and organize your most used elements in a way that makes sense to you. You can customize colors, fonts, images and graphics using your library icons, so they’re easy to locate when working on projects. Since everything is linked, changes to one element will be updated across all documents where it appears, ensuring consistency of style throughout your work. Organizing elements visually in libraries also helps reduce errors by helping you find what you need faster and allowing more room for creativity. If everything looks good visually, then it will look good design-wise too. Adobe Libraries also helps manage large amounts of content—especially color swatches.

    Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Libraries are robust tools. We at Root & Roam are constantly using Adobe to improve our collaboration and teamwork. We find these tools help us become more efficient and consistent. Below are a couple of links that we find interesting from Adobe. 

     

    https://www.adobe.com/content/dam/acom/en/products/creativecloud/business/enterprise/pdfs/productivity-gains-of-using-creative-cloud-libraries.pdf

     

    https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/libraries.html

    Choosing a Graphic Designer

    Choosing a Graphic Designer

    Choosing a Graphic Designer Quality graphic design is a vital element of your business. A quality graphic designer can help your company’s visibility, sophistication, efficiency, and desirability over the competition. It is essential to stand out effectively with your products and services in the marketplace, so it is essential to choose a quality graphic designer who can meet your needs.

    5 factors to consider when choosing a graphic designer

    1. Skills

    It is important that the graphic designer is on top of the latest design, marketing, and Web trends. Knowledge is power, and a quality graphic designer will be able to apply their knowledge to help your company succeed. Another element in their skill set should be efficiency in the latest design software. The more efficient and knowledgeable they are in these programs, the more confident you can be, knowing they are using the best software to create great designs.

    2. Experience

    No matter if you are choosing a freelancer or design firm, industry experience is also important. A reputable graphic designer will always be up to speed on the latest strategies and best practices. A quality graphic designer or firm should be able to present their work experience to you. This can come in the form of a presentation of their portfolio or customer testimonials.

    3. Portfolio

    A strong portfolio can give you an idea of the designer’s sense of style, capabilities, and whether they are a good fit for the projects you need. Look for work that shows freshness, creativity, and attention to detail.

    4. References

    If a designer is able to provide you with references or testimonials from clients they have worked with successfully, this is a good indicator of a positive attitude and dedication to presenting quality, professional design to your business.

    5. Personality/Professionalism

    A quality graphic designer will take pride in the relationships they form with a client. They should be responsive, knowledgeable, and active listeners. You should get a good sense that they are on your team, consistent, and are understandable to your company’s vision.

    Not all designers are created equal. With these five factors, choosing a quality graphic designer can be a long, but worthwhile, process. Adding a quality graphic designer to your design and marketing efforts will not only improve your brand identity but will also help you stand out against the competition.

      Selling on Shopify: How To Set Up An ECommerce Store

      Selling on Shopify: How To Set Up An ECommerce Store

      Selling on Shopify As the world is ever-changing, more and more people are doing their shopping online. From basic necessities to clothing and groceries, just about everything is available for purchase through the World Wide Web. Perhaps you have a brick and mortar store or you’re just getting started and seek only to sell online, but you just don’t know where to start. There are numerous ecommerce-specific platforms available, but the ecommerce experts here at Root & Roam agree that Shopify is the gold standard. 

      Shopify is a full featured, robust platform that handles the most nitty gritty of online selling. They have made it simple to process payments, create shipping labels, and design the actual look and feel of your website all in one place. Shopify has even built in various high-powered and highly effective ecommerce marketing tools. Gone are the days of confusing, clunky, hard-coded ecommerce websites. So, just how do you set up a Shopify store? Read on for our expert guide.

      TABLE OF CONTENTS

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      Selling on Shopify

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      How to set up a Shopify store

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      Utilize ecommerce marketing

      HOW TO SET UP A SHOPIFY STORE

      First things first—Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, and, once your trial period has expired, Shopify offers three tiers ranging in price from $29 to $299 per month. All of these plans will get the job done. However, the higher tiers give you access to more features like advanced reporting and deeper discounts on shipping. Advanced reporting in Shopify allows you access to reports such as a live view of your website, customer statistics, information on how your customers find your website, and more. Once you have selected the plan that best fits your needs, the setup process begins and consists of the following steps:

      Choose a Shopify Theme.

      Shopify offers several free themes, as well as third party paid themes in their Shopify theme store. The free themes are definitely enough to get you started. However, if you want more styling options and features, you’ll want to browse through the paid themes. Shopify’s themes are all mobile-friendly, and you won’t have to worry about configuring for mobile devices. Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can start customizing it and plugging in your content as you see fit. Don’t forget to develop your navigation, customize your checkout pages, and add legal pages like a privacy policy and terms of use.

      Create Your Products.

      Adding your products is relatively straightforward. Shopify has all of the necessary fields within their product listing sections. Be sure to complete as many fields as possible and use thorough, keyword-heavy product descriptions. Add high-resolution images that showcase different views of each product. Input pricing, skus, inventory, etc., for each product. You’ll also need to categorize each product into the appropriate “collection.” The collection a product belongs to will determine how the products are displayed on your website.

      Determine Payment Methods.

      What payment methods do you plan to accept? You’ll need to set this up in Shopify settings. Will you accept all major credit cards? What about Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, or PayPal? It is during this step that you will also need to provide your business information so that you can receive payouts.

      Configure Shipping.

      The possibilities are endless when it comes to your shipping terms. Do you plan to offer free shipping, flat rate shipping, or calculated shipping? Are you able and willing to ship internationally, or do you plan to only ship domestically? Will you use multiple carriers or stick with one tried-and-true option? It is imperative to determine your shipping structure up front and configure all options to match. If you plan to offer real-time, calculated shipping rates at checkout, you will need to shop and install a third party app from the Shopify app store.

      Don’t Forget to Collect Tax.

      Depending on the types of products you sell, where you are shipping them, and where you are physically located, you will need to configure the tax section in Shopify settings. Obviously, it is important to comply with all state and federal tax guidelines.

      Test and Retest Your Store.

      Once you have set up your Shopify store, it’s imperative that you test all aspects. Click around the front side to ensure all links are properly configured. Check to be sure your products are categorized in a way that makes sense and your product listings and individual product pages appear as you want. Add products to your cart, and walk through the checkout process, paying close attention to shipping options and the collection of taxes. Essentially, do anything and everything to try to “break” your site or the rules you’ve set in place. If everything operates as it should, you’re ready to go live!

        HOW TO UTILIZE ECOMMERCE MARKETING

        Shopify offers an assortment of ecommerce marketing tools to help you make more sales. One of the simplest ways to grow your audience is by encouraging visitors to sign up for email newsletters or SMS (text) updates, special offers, and announcements. Once you’ve gained these leads, you can build marketing campaigns to drum up site visits and increase conversions. You’ll want to use a third party service like Klaviyo, Omnisend, MailChimp, or Wishpond to create flows and push customers or potential customers through the funnel. If you choose to run SMS campaigns, be sure to meet all legal obligations in your Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy!

        Shopify Abandoned Cart Emails

        Another simple marketing tool that Shopify offers is abandoned cart emails. These emails are sent out at a specified time if a shopper places items in their cart but does not complete the checkout process. Shopify offers basic abandoned cart emails, but to really make the process more robust, it is recommended to use a third party service like Klaviyo. According to Shopify Partner Ezra Firestone, “Ecommerce customers who receive multiple abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4 times more likely to complete the purchase than those who receive only one follow up email. And customers who receive multiple abandoned cart emails have a multiple transaction rate 44 percent higher than those who didn’t.”*

        Shopify Integrations

        Shopify integrates with several other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google to boost your efforts to the next level. You can use these integrations to build ad audiences to retarget and upsell your current customers, build like audiences that would be interested in your business based on the profiles of those who are already your customers, and re-engage users who visited your website but did not complete a purchase. Use a free Shopify app like Kit to build targeted social media ads and campaigns. (Kit is free, but you will pay social media platform fees for running ads.) 

        The ecommerce marketing options are truly endless. However, anything beyond basic needs will require the use of a third party app. When you find the one that fits all your needs, the cost is well worth it!

          Shopify Best Practices

          Now that your Shopify store is up and running, and you’ve got some ecommerce marketing campaigns in place, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Don’t get too comfortable just yet, though! Successful websites and marketing campaigns are consistently monitored, weak spots identified, and adapted to be even more effective. The World Wide Web and all of its various algorithms are constantly evolving. Thus, it is important to stay up-to-date on advancements and trends and adjust accordingly. 
          If you find yourself in need of a new ecommerce site, or you’re unable to stay atop of the constantly changing environment, give the Shopify experts at Root & Roam Integrated Marketing Agency a call. We have extensive experience in both developing and designing Shopify websites, as well as running highly successful ecommerce campaigns.

          Resources

          Pederson’s Natural Farms: Holiday Food Styling Guide

          Pederson’s Natural Farms: Holiday Food Styling Guide

          Holiday Food Styling – How to achieve the picture-perfect tablescape

          Holiday food styling guide. The holidays are the most festive time of the year, but they can also be the most stressful. Here are some useful food styling tips for getting that picture-perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas tablescape we all dream of creating.

          TABLE OF CONTENTS

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          Main course – tips for the perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas ham or turkey

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          Side dishes – complement your ham or turkey with color, angles, distance, and texture

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          Desserts life of the table, where the fun begins

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          Table lighting tips – setting the atmosphere

          food styling

          Main Course – Tips for the Perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas Ham or Turkey

          Let’s first talk about your main dish, the focal point of your meal. You will want this dish to be the most eye-catching part of your setup. Let’s say your main dish is a big delicious Pederson’s Natural Farms Christmas ham. There are many ways to style a holiday ham. The first is with traditional stylings of cloves placed on the outside of the ham – a great way to keep that traditional look. Another way is to baste your ham, whether you choose orange, cranberry, or just a brown sugar glaze. This gives a delicious spin on the ham. When presenting, you can place citrus halves or slices on a bed of parsley, kale, or green leaf lettuce. Also, fig halves, pomegranates, or cranberries all add beauty and color.
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          Garnishing your dishes adds color and character.
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          Using fruit halves, slices, and zest adds color and aroma to your Christmas Ham.
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          Baste your ham or turkey with glazes for added flavor and visual appeal.

          Side Dishes – Complement your Ham or Turkey with color, angles, distance, and texture.

          Next, let’s complement your main dish with some beautiful and creative side dishes. Sides are a great way to elevate your tablescape to the next level. It’s always best to have some fresh, vibrant vegetables in the mix for an added bit of color. Using white plates and dishes is visually striking and will achieve better photos because of the contrast. Use different shapes of dishes for each side to bring more dimension to the scape and give more depth and height, adding better visual appeal. An example to create contrast would be to use white serving pieces for dishes that are vibrant in color and darker serving pieces with lighter, more neutral foods. Don’t be afraid to change the distance of your shots. Zooming way out or getting extremely close up to your dishes can create some great eye-catching content. Changing angles is very important as well. Assess different angles of the dish and think about what would look best. Overhead shots (or flat lays) can be eye catching but not for everything. If you have something relatively flat like a crostini or flatbread, add visual interest by stacking a few, and prop one on the side of the stack. Take the photo very close and from the side or at a 45 degree angle. This adds height and texture and is more visually appealing. ​​There are times when extremely close photos of food work well, and, at other times, a wider shot conveys a better sense of place and atmosphere.
          ham food styling

          Desserts – Life of the table, where the fun begins

          Last but certainly not least, the final touch to your perfect holiday tablescape…dessert! This is where you can start being super fun and creative. There are so many different ways you can spruce up your desserts. Use elements you may not normally think of using (like fresh cranberries, leaves, or pinecones) by scattering them on the table. Don’t be afraid to try a variation of presentations to achieve that perfect image! Some clever things to try include:
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          Serving bite-sized portions
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          Using smaller glasses, bowls, or plates for individual servings
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          Garnishing with fruit, candies, nuts, edible flowers, etc.
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          Decorating with skewers, straws, and toothpicks
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          Using multicolored foods such as dark, white, and milk chocolate shavings, chips, or wafers for garnishing the tops and sides around your dishes
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          Sprinkle powdered sugar or cocoa powder on top
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          Shave some lemon, orange, or lime zest for aroma and color
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          Use seeds like chia, sunflower or fruit chunks like pomegranate arils and pineapple

          Table Lighting Tips – Setting the atmosphere

          One of the most important parts of getting the best photos possible is the lighting. Whether you are capturing a bright and cheerful mood or just a warm-night-by-the-fireplace atmosphere, these tips will help you achieve the perfect mood. Natural lighting is always the best as far as getting that perfect mouth-watering photo of your meal. Setting your table close to a large window or glass door typically provides enough natural light to take a dynamic photo. If you prefer a warmer look, take the shot at night with string lights in glass jars, taper candles strewn throughout the middle of the dishes, or tea lights placed around the scape by themselves or in decorative votive holders. If you are reluctant to use open flames, there are many LED flameless candle styles to choose from that will still help achieve a gorgeous glow.
          The possibilities are endless for creating the ideal holiday meal. I hope this brings some inspiration and creativity to you this special season!