Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Simple Guide to Creating a Killer Logo

We are surrounded by logos. Think about everything you come in contact with and it most likely contains, or at some point came in a packaging with, a logo. They are everywhere. The average
american sees about 16,000 advertisements, logos, and labels in day.
Why are logos so important? Because they are the first association that a consumer has with the brand's perceived value, when you close your eyes and think of McDonald's what do you see? Golden arches? All your branding efforts are going to boil down and be associated with your logo, a logoless company is a faceless man. The logo is usually the very first thing that entrepreneurs create when they give birth to a new concept or company, and it tends to endure throughout the enterprise's life-cycle. Anyone can design a logo, but not everyone can design the right logo. Therefore, it is very important to know the basic rules to creating a killer logo that will stand the test of time.

1. Keep it Simple
The simplest solution is often the most effective. Simple logos meet most of the requirements of iconic design. Simplicity helps a design be more versatile. Adopting a minimalist approach enables your logo to be used across a wide range of media, such as business cards, billboards, pin badges, or even a website favicon.  Simplicity makes your design easier to recognize, so it stands a greater chance of achieving a timeless, eduring quality. Simplicity also aids in memorability, our brains recognize a single detail with more ease.

2. Make it Relevant
Your design must be relevant to the industry, your client, and the audience to which you are catering to. For example, as much as you might want to use a witty design that makes everyone smile, that's hardly appropriate for a the local crematorium. On the same token, just because you might need a logo for a stereotypical dull financial markets doesn't mean it can't be dynamic and full of meaning. The best way to find the sweet spot is to do research and gain insights that will help you understand your target consumer and how to click with them.

3. Incorporate Tradition
When it comes to logos, it is best to leave trends to the fashion industry. Trends come and go like the wind, and the last thing you want to do is invest a significant amount of time and money in a design that will become dated quickly. Longevity is key, and a logo should last for the duration of the business it represents. It might get refined after some time to add a little freshness, but the underlying idea should remain intact (unless the brand undergoes a complete repositioning, which we will cover in another article).

4. Aim for Distinction 
A distinctive logo is one that can be easily separated from the competition. It has a unique quality or style that accurately portrays your client's business perspective. But how do you create a logo that's unique? The best strategy is to focus initially on a design that's recognizable - so recognizable, in fact, that just its shape or outline gives it away. Shape should be the primary focus, color although important,  is secondary.

5. Commit to Memory
Quite often, one quick glance is all the time you get to make an impression. You want your viewers's experience to be such that what you've designed is remembered the instant they see it next time.

6. Think Small
As much as you might want to see your work plastered across billboards, don't forget your design may also need to accommodate smaller, yet necessary applications, such as zipper pulls and clothing labels. In creating something versatile, simplicity is key. A solid logo should ideally work at a minimum size of around one inch, without loss of detail.

7. Focus on One Thing
Iconic designs that stand apart from the crowd have just one feature to help with differentiation. That's it. Just one. Not two, three, or four. You want to leave your consumer with just one thing to remember about your design.

By sticking to the rules of logo design, you stand a greater chance of delivering timeless and enduring logos that impress and excite. But you can always do more and rules are made to be broken.

Excerpts from: Logo Design Love - David Airey

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tips: Use Instagram to Click with Consumers

Instagram has become one of the best tools for e-commerce. According to a new report from eMarketer,  Instagram's shift from a solely social media channel to a driver of e-commerce has created a lot of pent-up demand. "The rollout of new features over the next several months means that by the end of 2015, Instagram will have a host of new ad products for advertisers large and small," said Debra Aho Williamshon, eMarketer principal analyst.
But in order to earn new business, marketers first need to earn engagement. Many marketers new to the cannel don't use it wisely by posting old prepackaged content, or by trying to fill their feeds with user-generated content. The key to earn engagement is to create great content, to see how socially savvy brands are getting creative with Instagram content, The Wall Street Journal shared their inspired social media marketing strategies.

1. Be The First To Use New Features
Social media platforms are constantly adding innovative features and tools, yet some marketers are afraid to try them before they have been "tested". Being the first has its advantages, take for instance Airbnb, one of the first brands to use Instagram's carousel feature. Through a brilliant campaign that allowed users to book a listing directly from its Instagram feed, Airbnb was able to create great impact. Many brands have followed suit by creating similar content with great success.

2. Engage Consumers Through Crowdsourcing
Opening up a brand's Instagram feed to consumers is a great idea to connect with them since a brand's feeds should reflect consumers' interests by featuring their content submissions. Lenovo used this approach with its #ihackedlife campaign. They opened up Instagram and carefully curated its video submissions to ensure that they where aligned with the brand image. When they posted the user videos, they increased engagement and connected with their consumers through this campaign.

4. A Little Planning Goes a Long Way
While Instagram content may seem spontaneous, the wisest marketers plan ahead for their Instagram feeds. A great example is Bacardi Limon, they created a pool party video for TV to promote its "Turn Up Your Summer" #Limonade program. The campaign was well planned and additional content for other platforms, especially Instagram, was collected. The made-for-Instagram videos where posted on their feed, which increased engagement with the brand.

Use these ideas for inspiration on creating Instagram content that brings consumers closer to brands.

Discover how to engage with your consumers. Contact SEED Branding Studio today at 305.987.0876 or visit

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Our Article about Marketing Strategy on StartUs Magazine


What Is Your Startup Strategy?

Published on: June 24, 2015
Every founder knows they need a startup strategy. It’s not possible to do it without one. But did you every really think about it? Here’s why you should!
Can you explain your startup strategy in a few words? It is a surprising fact that many executives cannot say what their objectives and advantages are in a simple statement. If they can’t articulate their strategy, then neither can their colleagues, investors and end consumers. Sometimes the problem is that the strategy is buried in voluminous documents presented at the early stages, but it is never implemented. This happens when entrepreneurs fail to have a simple and clear strategy statement that everyone can understand, implement and internalize.
One of the biggest problems I encounter at my firm are entrepreneurs seeking to grow through marketing and advertising, but they are not able to articulate their strategy.  There seems to be a generalized problem where entrepreneurs create strategies in silos, without having a concise strategy or a strong base to grow from.

Different Strategy Schools

One school of thought drives strategy around production and products, success is measured in terms of units moved, and organizational hopes are pinned on product pipelines. These types of organizations know what it takes to make and move stuff. The problem is, so does everybody else. Therefore, there is no strategic advantage. Another school of thought dreams a really cool brand, with a trendy product, fun taglines and splashy design. As attractive as they may seem this organizations do not really know who they are selling to, and what exactly their competitive advantage is. The result is an organization that lacks a strong foundation to grow from and fails to generate customer loyalty.

The Strategic Question Today

The strategic question that drives business today is not “What else can we make?” or “How cool can we be” but “What else can we do for our customers?” At the core of a business are the customer and the market. The center of gravity is on the needs of customers and the organization’s position relative to their purchase criteria.  The high failure rates for new ventures and products suggest that companies are continuing to invest heavily in product innovation but are unable to move customers’ purchase criteria.
The key to building a successful advantage is to shape customers criteria of purchase. When asked about the market research that went into the development of the iPad, Steve Jobs famously replied, “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.” Consumers increasingly use company-defined criteria not just to choose a brand, but to make sense of and connect with the marketplace. This does not mean that market research is not necessary, quite the opposite, market research is fundamental to finding the sweet spot where consumer needs are not being met by competitors and can be executed within the company’s capabilities. However, it is the entrepreneur’s responsibility to determine how their product or service will be positioned relative to the consumers need. For example Volvo sets the bar on safety while BMW focuses on the fun of driving, they both meet the same basic needs but are positioned differently. The purchase criteria for Volvo is safety, while BMW’s is the thrill of driving.
It is very important for entrepreneurs to make sure that their strategy is centered around consumer needs, and that they know how they will shape the purchase criteria. Then the strategy should be articulated in 35 words or less. The value of a clear strategy should not be underestimated because words do lead to action.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

3 Ways Millennials Are Changing Business

It is happening. For years people have been preparing for the time when Millennials, born between the 1980's and the early 2000's, would be mature enough to drive the markets.

The arrival of the mature Millennials has been a game-changer, however, it has not worked out exactly as predicted. Much of the attention about the rise of Millennials has focused on personality traits, such as a supposed increased narcissism. But beyond these anecdotal trends, there are some radical shifts based on actual data.

There are three major Millennial-driven changes that are essential for every business leader to understand in order to adapt to what is happening, and what is coming up in the upcoming years.

1. Different research and purchase behaviors

When it comes to research, Millennials place more emphasis on online reviews. According to a survey conducted by U.S. News & World Report, 40% of Millennials say they visit at least one review site before making a purchase.

However, Millennial research does not stop at online reviews. As reported by U.S. News 68% of Millennials say they discuss every major purchase decision with someone they trust. A recent study done by MarketingProfs on B2B buying behavior found the same results; Millennials are more likely to trust recommendations from friends and family than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers.

When it comes to purchasing, Millennials are much more digital savvy and rely much more on mobile purchases. A report by eMarketerfound that 18-34 year-olds are most likely to rely on mobile shoppin apps, mobile retails websites, and request mobile price matches.

A key finding by a survey from Accenture, found that increased digital shopping is not all about price. Millennials are loyal to their favorite brands, and base purchase decision on ease, free returns, real-time availability, etc.

2. Millennials have different priorities at work

Millennials currently comprise nearly half of the workforce and 28% of all managers and are transforming the way business is done, as reported by a study conducted by  oDesk.

The study found that there is a disconnect in what hiring managers think Millennials want, for example status and higher paying jobs, versus what Millennials really care about. Millennnials care more about the people they work with, exciting work and good mentorship and less about money than hiring managers realize.

Flexibility is another area where hiring managers should focus on. According to a PwC Survey, flexibility in hours and location are areas that rank in high importance for Millennials, 72% report having made compromises to get into work. Top compromises were around location and fewer benefits.

3. Aging Millennials

The millennial generation is not static, they are aging like everyone else. Millennials are often seen as single, however  a study by FutureCast found that the older half of U.S. Millennials comprise of 10.8 million households with children.

This means that aging Milllennials may start to behave in a similar fashion as their older generational counterparts. A study by US News & World Report found that 55% of Millennials surveyed are starting to save for retirement, and an increasing number are purchasing houses.

However, there are areas where aging Millennials have values unique to their generation. For example FutureCast found that 52% of Millennial parents closely monitor their children's diet, and 64% say the environment has become a top concern now that they have kids. Also, 82% want their child to know that they don't need possessions to make them happy.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Gold Winners for 2015 Hermes Awards for Creative Excellence

SEED Branding Studio is proud to announce that we are Gold Winners in the category Packaging Design for our client Del Sur USA. Congratulations Gabriela Borja (Strategy & Creative Direction) and Eric Carr (Graphic Design)!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The New Power Latino

The US Hispanic market is on fire, as the demographic keeps growing it has become the most important consumer opportunity today. Every brand should consider connecting to latinos but not everyone knows how to. There are many misconceptions about how to segment the US Hispanic community with much talk about acculturation levels. However, the Hispanic community is very diverse within itself and it has many more layers than it would appear. Such is the case with the elusive upscale latino segment.

The often mis-targeted upscale latino segment is spending $500B annually, and contribute nearly 40 percent of the $1.5 trillion Hispanic spending power, as reported by Nielsen. The upscale latino has a very different mentality than their Hispanic counterparts. Historically, there has been large socio-economic differences in latin America, that are still deeply ingrained today. There is a very interesting essay written by Simon Bolivar, widely known as "The Liberator", and regarded as the leader of the Latin American Wars of Independence. His essay, written in 1815, explains that when Spaniards appeared in the new world, the natives considered them as a superior species, due to fear of their force and because the natives saw the Spaniards as divine messengers of sorts. The old beliefs are still somewhat present in the modern era, and can be seen through a need to acquire and defend a high standing status.  Research by Nielsen has shown that this segment is more likely to be luxury seekers, compared to upscale non-Hispanics, which would confirm the need to protect status.

Members of the upscale latino segment often enjoy a privileged lifestyle in their native countries and are seen in positions of power, they have a tendency to operate within closed inner circles. However, across all luxury segments, about 60% have strong ties to the latino culture, and 30%-40% voice a strong cultural duality (Nielsen). The research also showed that upscale latinos share similarities with upscale non-Hispanics, yet maintain their uniqueness . This finding would explain why the number one top-recalled ads in Spanish-language magazines was a straight translation of an English-language ad featuring the same (very American-looking model). The conflicting findings suggests that brands seeking to connect to the upscale latino demographic must take on a different strategy than the old tried and true, and seek to make connections with this segment in a deeper more meaningful level.

Call SEED Branding Studio for fresh strategies to connect with the Power Latino. 
o. 305.454.4106 | d. 305.987.0876 |
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Monday, April 13, 2015

6 Highly Effective Advertising Persuasion Secrets

We are constantly being bombarded with messages imploring us to change our attitudes and buy products. These persuasion attempts can range from logical arguments to graphic pictures, from peers who try to intimidate us to celebrities who try to charm us.

Persuasion involves an active attempt to change attitudes. This is of course Job #1 for many marketing communications. Today we will share some basic psychological principles that influence people to change their minds or comply with a request.

1. Reciprocity - We are more likely to give if first we receive. That's why including money in a mail survey questionnaire increases the response rate by an average of 65 percent over surveys that come without financial incentives in the envelope.

2. Scarcity - Like people, items are more attractive when they aren't available. In one study, researchers asked people to rate the quality of chocolate chip cookies. Participants who only got one cookie liked them better than did those who evaluated more of the same kind of cookie. That helps explain why we tend to value "limited-edition" items.

3. Authority - We believe an authoritative source much more readily than one that is less authoritative. That explains why the American public's opinion on an issue can shift by as much as 2 percent when the New York Times (but not the National Enquirer) runs an article about it.

4. Consistency - People try not to contradict themselves in terms of what they say and do about an issue. In one study, students at an Israeli university who solicited donations to help disabled people doubled the amount they normally collected in a neighborhood if they first asked the residents to sign a petition supporting this cause two weeks before they actually asked for the donations.

5. Liking - We agree with those we like or admire. In one study, good-looking fundraisers raised almost twice as much as other volunteers who were not as attractive.

6. Consensus - We consider what others do before we decide what to do. People are more likely to donate to a charity if they first see a list of the names of their neighbors who have already done so. To illustrate, think about how many brands claim to be "America's favorite (fill in the blank)?"

This principles are applied in most every form of sales, bear in mind that they can also be applied in many settings of everyday life. So next time you need to persuade someone you may be able to pull a new trick from your sleeve. Happy persuading!