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Why You Need Branded Photography For Your Business.

How much time do you spend online looking at websites, social media, shopping, searching…you name it? Probably more than you’d like to admit! But the truth is, we live in a very visual world. Much of our time is spent looking at photos and images. Whether you realize it or not, those images have an impact on the brands you follow and purchase from. You make connections (good or bad) with those brands based on the images you see.

That’s why it’s so important to have branded photography that is specific to your business. It’s an opportunity for you to convey your brand promise to your audience through images. It helps build a connection between you and your audience. Using these images consistently throughout your marketing materials increases your brand recognition. Eventually your audience will “know” your brand just by seeing the photos you use.

You’ve worked hard to create your brand image for your business. You’ve carefully designed an amazing logo with a thoughtful positioning line that clearly defines your brand promise. Be sure to carefully select photos that support all that hard work.

 

Pam Oulundsen
DARCI Creative
Project Manager & Data Analyst

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Brand Vision Board

Why it’s so important to create a brand vision board.

Certainly, you have a vision for your business – who you are, who you serve, where you want to be. But how does that translate into your brand?

Having a clear and concise vision for your brand is key, especially for a designer! I always find it to be the most helpful when our clients and team have a clear direction of what they want their brand to represent and emulate. We like to get down to the root of things and ask some key question before beginning. What colors are you drawn toward for your brand? What’s the look and feel you’re aiming for? Are you targeting a certain age group or gender? What message are you trying to convey? We take all of this information and start off our branding process with a brand vision board. Creating these boards can make you think about your ideal client and what will resonate with them and yourself.

I find it useful to peruse images, searching for keywords that are important to the brand. For instance, we have a client who was looking for help with her brand. She’s a contractor of sorts and was looking for help setting herself apart in a male-dominated industry. Although our team wanted to introduce femininity to differentiate her branding from others, we didn’t want it to be an obvious or over the top part of the design. We created imagery that revolved around interior renovations and the process, hand drawn elements with a lighter feel, and simple but bold colors. Through this process we were able to hone down a general look and feel for her, and from there begin design work on her logo and branding.

What makes this process so great is being able to check in with our clients and ourselves as a team. How do we feel about this general direction? Is this representing our client well and with intention? If all of our boxes are checked, then we move onto creating a beautiful and dynamic brand around our approved brand vision board.

By creating a brand vision board at the onset of a project gives us direction before we begin to design a logo can help create a cohesive brand image. In the end, your brand will reflect your business and your vision.

 

Riddy Hosser
Art Director
DARCI Creative

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Social Media Cheat Sheet

We hear it all the time, I don’t have time to be on Social Media. I don’t see the benefit in it for my businesses. We get it – business owners are a busy breed, and time is our biggest asset. We hear you, and we respect your value of time. But you know who does have time for Social Media? Your target market – those potential clients your business is craving!

It’s a great place to extend your brand and start meaningful dialogue with your community. We all want connection, and sometimes with a busy lifestyle and a serious time crunch, social media is the place to feel that connection. By having a business page on these channels, you can develop that relationship between your brand and the world at large.

One more thing: simply having these channels on social media helps your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in a big way. When users search for your business, your pages will appear in the results, which makes a good impression to Google and its indexing bots that run behind the scenes. Not to mention, today’s generation will expect to find you online and will trust your brand more when they do, adding a bit of credibility to your business.

So, whether you’re responding to comments, nurturing prospects, sharing fresh content, or just letting the world know what time you close shop on a Friday, Social Media is a crucial piece of online presence to have – and we would say a necessary tool for businesses operating in this digital age.

Below we have laid out a guide on all sizes social media so you can look your best on all these channels. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, size does matter so if you’re in the ratio of these sizes you should be good, these are just the optimal sizes that are guaranteed to make your pages looking fresh. And for best practice as you upload your images, always be sure to test out on mobile because some dimensions will cut off unbeknownst to the user.

Need help resizing imagery – we suggest apps like PicMonkey or pixlr.com. Still need assistance call us up, we’d be happy to discuss a social media management kit for you

Facebook

Coverphoto:
Desktop
851px x 315px

Mobile
640px x 360px

Profile Picture:
170px x 170px
crops square and round

Posts:
504px x 504px

Event Cover Photo:
1200px x 675px

Twitter

Header size:
1500px x 500px

Profile Pic:
400px x 400px

Image
1200px x 675px

YouTube

Channel Banner:
2560px x 1440px

Channel Icon
800px x 800px

Instagram

Profile Picture
180px x 180px
crops round

Picture size
1080px x 1080px

LinkedIn

Profile Banner
1584px x 396px

Profile Picture Size
400px x 400px

Company Coverphoto
1536px x 768px

Company Logo
300px x 300px

Regan Bowlen
DARCI Creative
Art Department

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A Videographer’s Guide: Getting Ready For Your Video Shoot

Video content is on the rise in marketing, and we can definitely see why. Videos are informative, entertaining and engaging. They grab your attention – and keep it there – making people stop their scroll and watch closely.

Our agency has amped up our video services to clients of all types, creating content from short social clips to television spots. As a videographer, I’ve come to understand the importance of being prepared for our video shoots, so that the production can run smoothly and the set is stress-free. If you’re a videographer or just looking to pick up a camera and start shooting, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Have a checklist of the equipment you will need. This seems like a simple task, but it’s so important. Double-check it the day before the shoot, and the morning of the shoot as you pack your gear. With a list in hand, you will know everything will be with come shoot day, and there won’t be any need to rush back to the office or studio to remember that tripod or extra extension cable you forgot.
  • Have all your batteries charged and SD cards formatted. Another tip that seems like it would be a no brainer, but so many times people forget to charge their spare batteries or neglect to address the battery that is already in the camera. They get on set and the camera has ten minutes of battery life left. Or they forget to clear their SD cards and when they get on set, the card is either full or they can’t format it. Often, if there is something already on the card, it might be important and there’s a chance it might not have been backed up yet. Sub tip: export your raw footage on to your hard drive (and back up hard drive!) the same day you shoot – you’ll thank me later.
  • Be personable and learn how to read your on-camera subjects. No matter what kind of shoot you have, your on-screen talent needs to appear natural. For example, with an interview you will want your subject to feel comfortable. Just sitting down and jumping right into it by asking them thoughtful questions will make them feel very uncomfortable, and the camera has a way of magnifying this uneasiness. You’ll want to warm them up and have a conversation with them before starting the interview, to ultimately get a much better response.
  • Finally, have a game plan for what you are going to shoot. Say you are filming an action, sports or travel video. You always want to be thinking about your shots ahead of time before you shoot – that way when you arrive on site, you’ll have a good outline for how you plan on capturing all the footage. Are you factoring in weather or the changing angle of sunlight throughout the day? Are you planning to shoot more complicated shots after the other footage, just in case technical troubles cause any delays? Developing a storyboard is a huge help. Even if it’s only stick figures, a storyboard will let you know what shots are essential and how the visuals will flow. After you’ve completed your shot list, anything candid or spontaneous that you’re able to capture after that is a bonus.

Remember, preparation is key for a videographer. Stay tuned for another post where we discuss tips to prepare your client for their upcoming video shoot! And, if you’re looking for video services from the pros, give us a call to talk about our production services. Our team of videographers and editors will elevate your brand with a fresh, creative approach – from storyboard and coordination to execution and post-production.

Jake Provencher
DARCI Creative
Finance & Traffic Manager/Videographer

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Re-entering the workforce

Guess what, girls? I did it! I went back to work (part-time).

Guess what else? You can do it, too!

If you are like me, you have been blessed with the opportunity to stay home with your tots and take on the job of full-time mom. And while I loved (and still love) every single second of staying home with my kids, there was always a nagging itch to go back to my career… to put on real clothes and put my education and previous experience to work.

So how did I do it?

The first thing I did was to stop making excuses. You can come up with a million reasons why you shouldn’t go back to work (and believe me, I did!), but if that itch is still there (which it was), then it’s time to reevaluate. Listen, you don’t know unless you try! So, stop coming up with excuses not to work, and make a list of reasons why you should to go back to work.

The next step, which I think is one of the most important steps, is to define what you really want. Is it full-time, part-time, flexible hours, working from home, going to an office – or a combination of a few of these? Lucky for us, in today’s working environment there are a lot of options. As you get out there and network or interview, be clear on what you want. Stick to it and don’t feel bad about it. It may take a little longer to land that perfect position, but it will be worth the wait if it fits your wants and needs.

Prepare the home front. Going from full time mom to working mom doesn’t just affect you – it’s going to affect everyone in your house. I would be lying if I told you the transition is going to be easy. It’s not. It takes planning, organizing and something I’d never really done before… asking for help! You’re probably going to need help in one form or another, so start getting comfortable with the idea that you are going to have to ask for it.

Planning makes perfect. You really need to plan for how you’re going to do it all. Carpools, childcare, laundry, food shopping and the eight million appointments that are part of raising a family, to name a few. It all has to get done, so it’s best to have a plan of attack.

Know and accept that things are not going to be the same. There might be dishes left in the sink. You might have to get up in the wee hours of the morning just to fit in some fitness, and your kids might actually have to make their own lunches or do their own laundry (gasp). Once you accept that things will be different, but will still be okay (maybe even better!), then you can move forward.

Once you’ve done all this, it’s time to just go for it! Keep in mind, lots of people do it every day. They’ve figured it out and so will you! And if I’ve learned anything about re-entering the working world, it’s that all things are possible. Finding the right tribe and the support that you need will enable you to get there faster and to feel better doing it!

Pam Oulundsen
DARCI Creative
Project Manager & Data Analyst

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R is for Real

 The Case for Authenticity

photo 3If I could give you one word that sums up how to create and build a powerful Brand that works, it would be ‘authentic.’ Keeping it real is not just something you want to aim for in your romantic relationship, after all. Be real with how you communicate with your audience. Getting real about who you are as a company is the absolute first step to creating a Brand that is unique. Once you are clear about who you are and what you offer, you will have clarity about who your target audiences are. Who’s going to resonate with your Brand? Is it young, busy moms? High net worth individuals? Retired baby boomers? It makes a big difference when you truly understand your audience and you can communicate with them authentically. They will be drawn to what you’re selling when you are real.

 

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Q is for Quiet

Follow Your Own Voice.

phasdfasfoto 3So many companies vying for your attention makes the world a very noisy place. Sometimes, as marketers, we need to take a step back, get quiet and remember what we stand for. The most powerful brands are simple and really know what they stand for. Nike. Apple. Google. BMW. Disney. We all know who they are and what they mean to us. That’s the power of good branding backed up with ingenious ad campaigns and really smart integrated marketing strategy.

If you’re a business owner, or looking to expand your business, shhh. Take some time out. Think about what you stand for and write down, in five words or less, what you bring to your  customers. This will become the core of your Brand strategy and you’ll want to use it on everything you do to communicate who you are and what you offer to the world. True, it’s easier said than done. Just be quiet and trust your inner voice. It’s almost always right.

 

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P is for Perfect

Positioned for Success
rtyy

As Westerners, we spend a lot of our waking hours (and one would guess, our dreamtime too) reaching for perfection. The concept that ‘nobody’s perfect’ has been written about, sung about, filmed about … and yet we are inundated with other imagery and messages that conflict, that make us believe on some level, just maybe, perfection is attainable. And so we set out, either consciously or unconsciously, seeking and striving for the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect partner, the perfect kids, the perfect car, the perfect meal, the perfect friends, the perfect Brand Strategy, the perfect website, the perfect blog post, and on and on it goes. No wonder we’re exhausted. No wonder so many of us turn to ways of escaping all this pressure to be perfect.

We might take a lesson from ancient Japanese wisdom. Wabi-sabi is a notion which nurtures what is authentic by acknowledging three simple truths: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the objects and processes of nature. In a word, I would call it peace. An acceptance and understanding of what is. A calm acceptance that life is fluid.

How does this relate to Brand Marketing? As Marketers, we spend a lot of time defining our target audience. What makes them tick? What do they want? What I’m finding these days is that no matter who our particular audience is, they generally don’t want more pressure to be perfect. They want to be inspired, they want authenticity. These days more people are reaching toward the Japanese world view of wabi-sabi. We are looking within more. Letting go of outside influencers that contribute to our need for perfection (which by the way, does not exist). It’s just more sane, really.

Ever since I adopted my puppy, Brodie, a couple of months ago — I have really noticed a change in my perspective. I’m lighter. I’m finding joy in simple things like crisp November morning walks, writing a great headline (although I’ve always appreciated that!) and being woken up way-too-early by the happy spirit of a 5-month old puppy who can hardly wait to start another day. Brodie is helping me be more flexible, too. To see that I can have fun and still be productive. This slight shift has me looking at new ways to approach my work. To be open to the constant changes and find perfection in the fleeting moments in between the big presentations, deadlines and campaign launches. Living a balanced life knowing that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect seems like the perfect way to position yourself and your business for a rich and creative life. Like a way to position yourself for success.

I don’t entirely agree that ‘nothing is perfect.’ I do believe we experience moments of perfection; a breath-taking sunset, the smile of a loved one, laughter of a child, or creating a beautiful ad that inspires. If we can spend more time appreciating those perfect moments, knowing that nothing lasts and nothing is finished we can learn to be more present and less focused on what’s missing from our less-than-perfect lives.

Brodie

Brodie

 

 

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O is for Open

Essential Marketing for New Businesses.

ujujFew things can compare to the thrill of preparing to open a new business. It’s exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at the same time. There are so many decisions to make about the space, the displays, the prices, the merchandise, the services, the staff, the experience you want your new customers to have. The months leading up to opening a new business are likely to be remembered as some of your most exciting times ever. You find yourself leaping out of bed each morning and staying up late as you cross off and add new things to your to-do list. Good stuff.

So often, though, what is not considered is BRAND MARKETING. It’s usually not even in the budget. So many passionate entrepreneurs are dreamy in their visions of success. As they should be. But, the whole “if you build it they will come” concept doesn’t work so well in the bright light of day after you’ve officially opened your doors and are waiting for the phone to ring. The line out the door that you envisioned rarely happens on its own.

Opening a new business is like dating, in many ways. You have to understand what it is you’re offering. You have to understand who’s going to like what you offer. You want to try to look your best. You have to know what you will,  and will not, put up with. (Not all clients/customers are good for you.) And, you can’t expect great things will happen by simply being open. On the other hand, having absolute faith and knowing that miracles do happen won’t cut it either.

So what’s an excited/exhausted new business owner to do? Take a hint from our savvy clients who opened a new yoga studio about a year ago. This dynamic duo was courageous and smart. They had dreamed and they had planned. And when the right space showed up, they jumped in with all four feet. And, from the beginning, they knew they needed a strong marketing strategy. Lucky for them, they turned to us. Lucky for us, they were not afraid to invest in marketing. They already saw the value in it, and knew they had to find a way to distinguish themselves with memorable branding. To articulate a new and unique offering required a professional perspective — and together we hit it out of the park. If you’re considering, about to, or have recently opened a new business, please use the power of brand marketing to propel your vision into a profitable reality.