Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

When putting together an important document or proposal, a business card or brochure it is essential to know what colors to add and which ones to stay away from. In order to do that you must know what the colors mean in the business world.

For starters let me just say it is not as simple as black and white, as there are many colors to think about. We have, red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, brown, gray, beige, pink, turquoise, gold and of course, black and white.

Red is a color of blood, a color of life. For a business red can be used for excitement or attention.

Blue is a color of comfortable and relaxation. A business can use blue to portray loyalty and confidence.

Yellow is a color of brightness and purity. Companies can use yellow to bestow warmth and awareness.

Green is a color of nature and health. Companies can use green to represent immortality and dedication.

Purple is a color of magic and mystery. To a business man purple represents their company as wise and sovereigns.

Orange is the color of power and healing. A company would use orange to display youthfulness and liveliness to your customers.

Brown is the color of Mother-Earth, the color of reliability. Your business would use brown to represent wholesomeness and earthiness.

Gray is a conservative and neutral color. For companies gray is often used in IT logos, but not recommended to indecisive personalities.

Beige is the color of calm and neutral. Businesses could use beige coupled with other colors, it is a mix of warm brown and the cool white.

Pink is the sweet side of red, a softer color. In a business you could use pink to convey playfulness and tenderness.

Turquoise is the color sweet feminine and lively sophistication. A company may use turquoise to create a feminine appeal or an old-fashioned 50s retro feel.

Gold is the color of riches and extravagance. A company will want to use gold to produce a richness and warmth.

Black and White are opposites, working great together. Black refers to power and credibility, while white symbolizes peace and prosperity. For a business black and white together produce power and precision, elegance and fairness all in one.

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Everyone is walking around with mobile phones now, Smartphone’s, Iphones, Androids, Ipad’, Blackberry’s. We all have them, from our young children in middle school to our grandparents.  According to Experian, 87% of Americans have mobile phones and the Human Factors International (HFI) found that 43% of them use their browser to access the internet on their phone. So what would make us think it isn’t important to have a mobile website?

Why Most Sites Don’t Work Well on Mobile Devices
Most desktop websites don’t work the same on your mobile phone! For one, your phone has a much smaller screen, also, the speed of your mobile website is going to be much slower than with a desktop website. That being said, no two people are the same, so why would we think mobile and desktop users would be the same?

Google Analytics Doesn’t Lie
If you want to find out just how many of your customers are looking at your website via mobile phone you can look at your Google Analytics. What you are going to want to do is to compare the amount of visits your website has had in total compared to visits from mobile users only. It would be best to compare the number of visits over a month through a year for the best comparison. If say you had a total of 46,820 visits through the whole month and 4,670 of those were of mobile phone users then that is 10%. 10% of the visits your companies website was viewed via a mobile phone. You have to ask yourself at that time, is 10% good enough to build a separate website solely for mobile users? One not to consider, when comparing your numbers, the number might actually be higher than the 10% shown, Google Analytics is in Java Script, if your mobile phone doesn’t support Java Script then the visits may not have been recorded in the mobile section of the Analytics.

Solutions
It seems clear to me that most company websites should have a separate mobile website. According to the Nielson Net Ratings the average Internet session lasts for 56 minutes, the average mobile session is less than five minutes. The mobile user needs to be able to get to what they need and quickly. Which typically can’t happen using a desktop website on there mobile phone. The mobile phone user is not just ‘surfing around’, he is looking for something in particular, he knows what he wants and wants to find it! 68% of mobile users said if they knew a business had a mobile website they would visit that instead of the desktop website on their phone, according to (HFI)

Less Is More, Copy Is King
When developing your mobile website remember two things when creating the content, ‘less is more’ and ‘copy is king’. Breakdown all your copy into easy digestible segments. There is no reason to go crazy building a mobile website. Focus on the three most important reasons to visit your mobile website. Ease of use is critical, if the user has a hard time finding the simplest of things -take your phone number or a map- they are more likely to leave.

Ready Yet?
Smartphone’s are only going to get smarter, with time comes technology. If you decide to create your mobile site today you will be capturing all the traffic that visits your site. Is it a necessity at this point? That depends on your traffic level and business model. Still confused? Contact Chris at 1-Stop Design Shop today and find out if your business would benefit from a mobile site, or better yet a phone app!
781-938-3866  http://www.1stopdesign.com/

Ipad Accessories!

You have already bought yourself and your employee’s their Smartphone’s, now it’s time to think about protecting them. With the help from 1-Stop Design Shop, you can protect your ipad and promote your company logo with customized ipad accessories.

Here are a few ideas

For more click here

Professional photography tips with Thomas, who has a digital camera and a wide aperature.

Hello, my name is Thomas and I am a professional photographer because I bought a digital camera.

TIP 1 How to become a professional photographer
Buy a digital camera.

TIP 2  Tricks of the trade Have a look on the camera, somewhere, probably on the top or back or somewhere on the front or sides there will be a button or dial marked ‘A’, this does not stand for ‘Automatic’ as some amateurs think but ‘Awesome’. Leave it on this all the time.

TIP 3 Photography courses There is no need for even a basic photography course because once you buy a digital camera you will be a professional photographer like me. Not as good as me though.

TIP 4 Lighting You will need some light otherwise the photos will come out a bit too dark. Usually you can fix them in photoshop but some light to begin with is good.

TIP 5  Subject Matter Yes, it does. Dont take photos of girls leaving the high school from your car as the fine is $360.00 and a years probation.

Photo Gallery

Sunset from my rooftop.

Me on my rooftop.

View of city from my rooftop.

The plant on my rooftop.

Clouds over my rooftop.

Some people that once came to visit me on my rooftop.
Or my toes, I am unsure.

Now, you know we are kidding…RIGHT?

Our professional photography is here…1stopdesign.com

Are you wondering how to use QR codes to enhance your marketing?

Keep reading to learn some tips for implementing 5 essential steps.

Why QR codes?

QR and other two-dimensional (2D) codes can be readily integrated into your current business marketing practices to bring your online content to a mobile audience in real time.

In North America, QR and 2D codes are still a novelty. For this reason, early adopters are eagerly putting them into practice to get to market first and capitalize on the trend. As a result, some embarrassing and costly mistakes are being made.

This article will help you learn from those mistakes and develop best practices for creating a favorable user experience that serves both you and your community well.

#1: Plan your QR code campaign strategy

To create a successful QR code campaign, it is essential to understand your target audience, have clear objectives and provide useful and valuable incentives to deliver a favorable user experience.

Here are some ideas and considerations to help you get started building your strategy.

Understand Your Target Audience:

  • Does he/she need instructions about the use of QR codes?
  • Does he/she need to use a specific type of code reader?
  • Will the codes be scanned indoors or outside?

Have Clear Objectives—Here are some possibilities:

  • Grow your email list
  • Increase Likes for your Facebook page
  • Increase your blog subscribers

Provide Useful and Valuable Incentives—Here are some options:

  • Enter a contest to win
  • Deliver a discount coupon
  • Download a free eBook
  • Talk to a live agent
  • Take a virtual tour
  • Demonstrate a product or service with video
  • Download a free mp3
  • Get VIP access

Are you trying to grow your email list or get more Likes for your Facebook page? Then you should always provide an incentive, especially when using scannable codes.

As more businesses fail to deliver value with their QR code campaigns, consumers in general will become more reluctant to scan them in the future. This will make it increasingly necessary to provide clear incentives and deliver on them.

#2: Create quality codes and test them

While there are numerous 2D code formats, the two most commonly used worldwide are QR codes and Microsoft (MS) tags. Both technologies are free, so your choice of which to use will largely depend upon your audience and other market factors.

iams
A customized MS tag for IAMS pet products.

apk
A customized QR code by Patrick Donnelly of 2ergo for American Parkour.

The owners of the QR code technology have elected to allow anyone free use of it. This gives QR codes the advantage of being in mainstream use around the world, and that awareness is currently working to their advantage.

The MS tag technology is proprietary, which allows for complete control over the entire user experience of generating, reading and tracking the tags. MS tags are also easily customized. One can embed images or logos into the codes using Microsoft PowerPoint.

The widespread use of the QR technology has attracted lots of developers who want to cash in on the trend. However, when technologies are open like this, there is always the risk that generally accepted standards will not be followed. QR code generators and scanners are only as good as the developers creating them, so you have to do your due diligence.

What happens if your QR codes do not work? For one thing, your reputation and brand are tarnished—just as it would be if a visitor to your website discovered multiple broken links.

I recently discovered one particular situation where a small business used QR codes in print ads in an annual publication. After trying several scanners, I could not get any of the QR codes to register. The investment of thousands of dollars on those print ads that will be in the market for a year was a costly mistake for that merchant. The lesson from this is clear—test your codes.

These best practices will maximize your success with 2D codes:

  • Test your QR codes with multiple readers and devices.
  • Use link shorteners to create clean codes.
  • Avoid using colors that do not provide sufficient contrast—a potential problem with both QR codes and customized MS tags.
  • Make your codes at least 1″ x 1″—larger is better.
  • Provide a sufficient quiet zone around the code.
  • Avoid using 2D codes on highly reflective surfaces.
  • Consider where your codes will be scanned. One unfortunate application was in the New York City subway where there is not an Internet connection.
  • Use a quality QR code generator. My favorite is Kerem Erkan.
  • Use a quality scanner or reader. Two excellent choices are Qrafter and i-nigma. Qrafter is unique in that it is both a code generator and scanner in one app.

qrafter
Qrafter is a multi-feature QR code generator and reader.

#3: Link your codes to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized sites

The most common mistake marketers make with QR codes is having them resolve to a standard web page that is not mobile-friendly. Worse yet is to have a code connect to a site with Flash video, which is not supported by the iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) that account for nearly 50% of the code readers in the world.

At a minimum, the page your code connects to should be mobile-friendly. For example, one of my codes resolves to the speaking page on my WordPress blog. A couple of taps on my iPhone enlarges it to fit nicely to my screen.

Mobile-optimized is better than mobile-friendly. According to Matthew Gallizzi of NotixTech, mobile sites are websites optimized specifically for smartphones. He suggests hosting these mobile sites on a subdomain or subdirectory of your main website, thereby giving you the SEO benefit of the traffic they bring.

Here are additional considerations when building a mobile site:

  • Build your site around the desired user experience.
  • Smaller images and solid colors load more quickly.
  • Size your links and buttons to be touch-friendly.
  • Use concise copy—sentences rather than paragraphs.
  • Use “fluid width” for horizontal and vertical orientation.
  • Test, test and test again—on iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms.

ramada
This mobile-optimized site emphasizes incentives.

mobile website examples
Three unique mobile sites featuring specific optimized content and actions.

The primary benefit of 2D codes is encouraging action. This can be accomplished by connecting to multimedia content such as video that shows a product or service in action. Other logical actions include activating a phone call or social share.

Here’s a list of the most requested features for mobile-optimized sites:

  • Tap to call links.
  • Tap to email links.
  • Tap to SMS (text).
  • Google maps integration.
  • Social sharing links.
  • Links to Yelp, Flickr and other mobile-optimized sites.
  • Links to YouTube and Vimeo (both mobile-optimized).

The cost of building a mobile-optimized site is comparable to a professionally designed and built WordPress site. If you are not ready to make that investment, there are a couple of services that allow you to create mobile sites hosted on their platforms: ShareSquare and Qraffiticodes.

#4: Track your scans with code management systems

QR codes and MS tags can presently track basic data, such as number of scans, with codes generated with bit.ly being just one example. However, if you use a QR code management system, you can gather even richer data.

The experts I interviewed for this article collectively agree that QR code management systems are in the early stages of their development cycle. According to Roger Smolski of 2d-code.co.uk, “There are new QR code management systems appearing every day, but there is not yet enough user experience of these systems for a consensus on their relative merits.”

Most of these services are free for limited used, with Delivr being one that presently offers an uncomplicated experience.

delivr
Delivr provides a variety of analytics, including scans by location and time.

According to Nick Martin of Microsoft, “MS tags have the capability to accurately determine the location of a scan and report that data in real time.” This creates a number of code management opportunities, such as delivering different content depending upon the location of the scan—directions to the store or a discount coupon for those in or near the store.

#5: Deliver value and a favorable user experience

Will QR codes gain more widespread use? When it comes to technology, or just about anything else, there will always be naysayers.

What is most relevant is that you as the marketer are the one who gives your codes value. They are just tools, and how you use the tool determines the value derived from it.

QR codes can serve a specific use for you, mostly as a lead generation tool. How are you doing your lead generation now? If you can use what is working for you now and make it better, more attractive or easier with QR codes, you are probably on the right track.

The video below shows how an ingenious use of QR codes helped a business in Korea to expand, and it all started with understanding the customers and building a QR code campaign strategy around their buying behaviors.

Ready to implement your QR Codes into your corporate collateral, website and marketing? Give us a call 781-938-3866 or email and we can get started today!

By Jeff Korhan
Published August 24, 2011