How Small Businesses can benefit from Digital Marketing Campaigns?

Every business starts with smaller capacity at the start, it is the people and the perfect policies which make the business grow and help spread at huge scale. There is no doubt that we’re currently living in the modern era of technology, where with the change of technology on daily basis and innovations, it is no difficulty for anyone promote their activity in the global market or to engage with the mass audience. All you need is to remain up to date with the market/audience requirement and plan your strategy in a manner that will get a maximum response with minimum time and cost.

With the change in business methods and techniques and with the rise of e-commerce as well as digital business, one can easily set-up its own small business from their room and expand it through the means of digital marketing. Digital marketing campaigns benefit businesses of all sizes by giving growth and access to the mass market. And as far as small businesses are concerned, it is a better approach than T.V or print advertising as it interacts with truly personalized marketing and that too with an affordable price.
The main advantage of the digital media campaign is that you can easily promote your product by targeting the specific audience that can be reached in a cost-effective and measurable way. For example, if your product is specifically designed for adults or kids, you can easily restrict your marketing to adult or kids only using through the digital media campaign. As of today, all the companies regardless of its growth, and size are in the race of digital marketing campaigns. It can be estimated by that even the marketing of the world largest soft drink selling company Coca-Cola is incomplete without digital media campaign. So here’s how digital marketing can help you grow your business.

Promote through social media

No one can deny the fact that social media has a huge part in our lives, either for communication or interacting with social circle. So with the huge rise in social media users, there is be no better place than social media to market your products, because one of the main goals of your marketing is to target maximum audience and for that, you need huge numbers of people which can be easily available on social media.

Moreover, sponsoring your post through major social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will also be trustworthy. You can schedule your brand promotion to any specific country, any age group or any region of the world and the social sites will let your post-show to the audience. There are many companies who are running their marketing campaign on support from the sponsored content.
As there are several ways to promote your content through social media, one of the best way among it is to hire a content creator to sponsor your business campaign or giveaway any social media celebrity to monetize it. For an instance, if any content creator gets more than 10 million views in a week on his/her content, then he or she must be suitable for your campaign because this will let your business interacts directly with the audience in the form of personalized marketing.

Online Advertisement

Small businesses have very little resources and capitalization. Gone are the days when the online advertisement was only affordable to mega business and companies or an International Organizations. The digital marketing revolution levels the online playing field by providing small businesses the chance to compete against big boys to attract their share of the targeted audience.
With digital marketing campaigns, small businesses now have the opportunity and a platform to perform sales and marketing products that were previously available only to large organizations. Now without a call center, and an office space you can interact effectively with multiple customers, even customers from out of your town or any other part of the world.

Hire a social media consultant

You can’t become an engineer without enrolling in the high school or university. The same implies for your business, you must need a social media specialist which will consult you about your marketing strategies. After hiring a qualified consultant to be able to assist you in growth of your business and engaging audience through digital media campaign, you should then focus on measuring the milestones regularly which definitely indicates that you need to have goals before you start implementing the digital marketing techniques.

Fact about Digital Marketing Campaign:

You can’t become an engineer without enrolling in the high school or university. The same implies for your business, you must need a social media specialist which will consult you about your marketing strategies. After hiring a qualified consultant to be able to assist you in the growth of your business and engaging audience through the digital media campaign, you should then focus on measuring the milestones regularly which definitely indicates that you need to have goals before you start implementing the digital marketing techniques.

Why your marketing strategy needs the right logo and what makes it right?

Is there any business in the world which do not require marketing? Well, marketing is very essential for any kind of business because a business without marketing is like Human being without a brain. From Facebook to Google, Samsung to Nike, no matter how much goodwill of their product they’ve been established in the market, the fact of the matter is they still require marketing to make the most out of their products. But marketing does not consist of a single word, it usually falls into several subcategories, some makes it through advertisements, promotions or others etc. Yet there is another thing which is supposed to be the backbone of any business or marketing strategy and we can’t take it for granted. And that’s your right business logo.
Your logo is arguably the most important tool in all your advertising toolbox. Because it reflects your brand’s goodwill and gives your company an identity that represents your mission and your policy like what certain thing you want to achieve through it or want to happen? If it’s well executed, then it will get you to accomplish your goals. But on the contrary side, your poor logo design can and will repel customer and fail to convey your brand message to your potential customers. Let’s suppose, consider the logo of Coca-Cola (largest soft-drink manufacturer) and try to replace it with a single letter “C”, would it be more effective? Would it be able to convey the message? The answer is a big No because it fails to tell the customer at the first sight that what they’re offering. So let it be remembered, it’s not some random mark.
Before we proceed further, let’s clarify: your logo isn’t your brand, in fact, it represents your brand much like your clothes represents your personality. And definitely, no sane person can choose fair dress up and stretched clothes for themselves. But your clothing definitely instantiates upon the requirement, you choose to put formal clothing to represent who you are. Obviously, they aren’t you, but they give others idea that you’re going participate in some corporate meeting or any other event etc. likewise, the same implies for your logo. Through font, color and mark design, it conveys your company’s personality.
Developing your logo, should take some time and thought, after all, you just need the right logo as it is the strategic endeavor that will be the anchor to all of your future advertising. Here the question arises what makes our logo right? To make your logo right, you should keep a good eye on these following rules.

Right fit

Remember your logo is the most overlook part of your brand and something which describes your brand at first glance. So your logo must differentiate a brand within a category in that each tends to have its unique design, distinctive color, and type of treatment. So if you have a business, you have competitors. And if you have competitors, you need one right logo whose fundamental task will be getting consumers to think of your company first.
Generally speaking, the logo isn’t a random mark but the most important, and such a vibrant part of any brand. So as smaller the business would be, harder and stronger will be your logo. Harder and stronger means choosing the right fonts and color combinations for your logo design. For example, if your brand targeting audience is senior persons, then you should use serif fonts because seniors might prefer a more traditional way of it. So as young people who, tend to get attracted towards modern sans serif fonts.
The same goes for the colors you choose for your design. From a marketing design perspective, blue color evokes trust. With too much yellow you might make people anxious. In fact, there’s a whole science behind the emotions of color, and you can use this information to design a logo that makes the consumer feel really good about your product or company ever before they’ve interacted with you.

Emotional Attachment

Your logo is one of the reasons behind the emotional attachment of your brand/product with your consumer. Considering the recent statistics from marketing and entrepreneurship: 93 % of purchasing judgments are made on visual perceptions, whereas, 7 % of consumer say color is the reason they buy a product. These facts are comprising of an evidence why you need a logo that is professionally designed to elicit a favorable reaction from consumers. And if you get succeed to engage your consumer through your logo, then they will be more likely to remember your business. And if they remember your business, then there are high chances they will buy from you. The fact of the matter is, your logo is your first impression – so makes it right in the first chance because you don’t get a chance to make another one.

Future of outbound marketing in 2018

Outbound marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing and considered as one of the oldest ways to market your product. In case if you don’t know what does outbound marketing stands for? Then for your concern, the word outbound marketing stands for the way of marketing that perform externally or outbound. Outbound marketing refers to any kind of marketing that conveys its message out to an audience. Outbound marketing consists of more traditional forms of marketing and advertising such as TV commercials, radio ads, print media ads, tradeshows, and bill boards etc. however it is yet the less profitable way of marketing as compared to inbound marketing and ironically organizations spend as much 90% of their marketing budgets on outbound marketing.

As we are living in the year 2018, it is a fact that for the past years, the inbound marketing has dominated in the market a lot. The organizations have shown a keen interest in investing in their marking budget through inbound marketing. A huge rise has witnessed in the recent years for search engine marketing that considered as inbound marketing. It goes without saying that outbound marketing has been on a downfall, however it is not all finished yet. Still, companies are hugely investing in print, sign boards, and TV commercials, and how much this is effective in terms of improving their sales is a different debate. But looking at the current downfall of outbound marketing, one can easily put a question mark on its future. Does outbound marketing exist in future? Will it remain the source of sending the marketing message to the audience or improving the sales of an organization? These are the questions that can be raised in anyone’s mind looking to market its products.

The current big thing in the tech industry is Artificial Intelligence, the one whole industry is talking about and about which the tech giants are taking step towards it. The Artificial Intelligence is bound to shake things up in the online marketing sphere as well. As I mentioned before, in the past decade the outbound marketing lagged behind as back then, there are now slim chances that outbound marketing will bounce back in 2018 or later in a big quantity. With artificial intelligence, businesses can have a more powerful outbound campaign than ever before. Here’s how:

Accurate Data Prediction

The worst thing about outbound marketing efforts was that it was based entirely on assumptions so that no data and figures can be calculated to evaluate the results. So due to artificial intelligence, we can predict more accurately as when a certain person has a higher chance of becoming an audience and then converting than otherwise. Moreover, it can tell us multiple things that we didn’t know previously, like a person’s level where he or she could be in a better position to buy a certain package for its organization.

The Data importance

Outbound marketing succeeds when it reaches the appropriate audience and targets the right customer, and that starts with great data, whom you are trying to convince, what message do you want to send, and when you are saying it. With high-quality lead data, one can easily predict that in future, the companies will benefit from the outbound quality even more through the better quality of data.

A better knowledge of business

Big data analysis makes you understand your target market better as compared to the previous manner in which we imagined possible outcomes, which can definitely lead us towards making outbound marketing a more effective strategy than inbound efforts.

Summary

As we entered in the year 2018, we look forward to outbound marketing getting better day by day and becoming an even more powerful tool for sales and marketing teams to acquire new customers, upholding the new technologies to make it possible. Therefore, it is safe to say that outbound marketing is going anywhere at least as its looking, so our marketing strategies will definitely be relying on it. So, outbound market is definitely the thing which we will look forward in the future.

Mobile wallet and their impact in 2018

Money is the great thing around which the whole world revolves. And quite probably it is the only thing, the whole world is an acquisition for, from a small employer to the C.E.O of a huge company, all they exist because their respective designations are the source of money. So to cope with the challenges related to the money such as to handle a large amount of cash, to save it at a secured place, or to send it from one place to another, the system of banks were introduced. The concept of modern banking was formally introduced in the 17th century, since then the banking systems have formally become the source of keeping the money, history of transactions, deposit etc.

Today, when we are living in 2018, the technology has a great impact on our lives. Things in our surrounding are constantly changing and so as our requirements. As we become destitute of smartphones, our lives are totally relying on it. Now everything is just one touch away from your smartphone. Following the needs of instant payments, shopping from worldwide, payment confirmations, sending payments, all in one solution of mobile payments were introduced.
The successful assessment of mobile payments can be estimated from that the world-renowned coffee chain Starbucks 24% transaction are of mobile payments. Furthermore, there are mobile wallets revealed by the top tech companies in the world such as Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay. All of these apps tend to provide alternative digital payment solutions and convert into a cashless society. So let’s discover the impacts of mobile wallets in 2018 and so on…

Mobile wallets on the rise

Mobile wallets are a versatile and secure way to act as a consolidated platform to deal with your financial services at your fingertips anytime without having the need to go to a physical bank. Although, these payments are often subject to banking regulations, yet banks have an aversion toward too many mobile wallets startups for the fear of becoming physical banking obsolete.
Traditional bankers would be happy if the customers stick to plastic money, but from a customer’s perspective, why carry an ATM or credit card when direct transfer can be done from a mobile? Customers obviously don’t like a lofty wallet with plastic money (credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards) to make a payment. So how about making mobile payments wherever they go? This is where mobile wallets make their great entrance. Unlike leather wallets, mobile wallets promise the flexibility and the power as a consolidated platform for making payments.

Pay with your phone

We’re just about to enter in the days, where we no longer need to dig into our pocket to withdraw currency notes, coins, bills, or even our credit or ATM card. Now our smartphone will be enough to deal with all these kind of problems. You can now pay through at any restaurant through your smartphone or any other place without taking tension of your transaction details, history and balance. And obviously, you can also use many services regarding the web stores and even some apps have in-app payment options which make easy to send payment from one to another.

As mentioned before, the mobile wallets by the tech companies, there are some services that do not even require to install a separate application: with Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, in-store payments are built into the wallet and person to person payments happen inside the application. Like Facebook payments don’t require another application, you do everything inside the messenger application.

Potential for mobile wallets?

There is no doubt about the fact that the potential for mobile payments is huge and it normally lies under the hands of the millennials. In fact, according to a survey, it is reported that 8 out of 10 millennia’s shop and pay their bills online via mobile phone. As we see this trend continue, we can hope for more advancements in both, offline and online mobile app payments opting digital payment technology.

The Future?

The future of mobile wallets seems to be very promising. The financial ease and with the revolution in the banking world, the mobile wallets are definitely going to rule the financial markets. It seems from the mobile wallets startups that are coming a day after another, that the idea of mobile wallets somehow becomes successful. In an increasing tech-savvy era, we can expect to see a majority of payments moving towards cashless transactions.

Mobile Payment Apps: Why Are They So Successful

As a mobile app developer, a lot comes into mind while designing your application. Some of the features and functionalities one incorporates in their app greatly influences how successful one’s app usage and uptake will be. Experience is the best teacher, so it has been said, and so today we are going to take a look at one of the fastest growing niche in the mobile app industry, mobile payment apps and see what tricks one can learn from this sub market to add value to their mobile business idea.

With the rise of digital age, and high end encryption mechanisms, banking, payment and insurance services have not been left behind. Leveraging on technology to ensure easy and fast, safe and secure, personalized and borderless money transfer at the tip of your fingertips. Though a relatively new sub market, it has definitely received positive reactions from the clients. What makes it more interesting as will be seen in the graphs below, mobile payment apps usage is very high across all age groups, and as a mobile app developer, target age group is key factor in determining the success of usage and uptake of your mobile business idea.

In 2016, 40% of the US mobile phone users engaged in mobile payments through different apps. By 2020, it is estimated that 90% will be active users of mobile payment apps, hence continuous growth is what we can expect from this sector. Some of the market leaders in mobile payment apps include:- PayPal, Level up, Apple pay, Google wallet, Venmo, Shell + Jaguar in-car app, PayPal slack bot.

What makes Mobile payment apps so successful?
We are going to take a close look at some of these mobile payment apps and see what features most have in common, and their unique factors that have made them so appealing to clients. Hopefully from the few insights we will get, they will greatly improve your next mobile app development project.

1) The convenience factor
Mobile payment apps all have one thing in common, they bring a certain degree of convenience in the services they offer, money transfer and payments. A very huge part of the population own smartphones hence by using mobile payment apps, the service providers have brought the services closer to the people. Making it more secure for the clients to carry out transactions, instead of the alternative of carrying cash or debit and credit cards which for a long time have had issues with encryption flaws. These payment apps save time as most of the transactions are instant, and reflect on the recipients accounts almost immediately, regardless of how far they. All these at the tip of fingertips of the user. This type of convenience is one of the major factors that has made mobile payment apps so popular.

What convenience do you hope to bring to your prospected clients way of doing things that they currently are not able to access? This should be one of the main questions you ask yourself as a mobile app developer. One is allowed to think outside the box. An example is Shell+ Jaguar in-car payment app, which allows Jaguar automobile users to pay for fuel in filling stations at the tap of a button. The team is also looking into integrating parking fees payment as also part of the package, enhancing convenience to the end user.

Depending on your target market, the answer to this question may be what sets you apart from the rest of your competitors and makes your product and services a darling to the consumers.

2) Seamless User-interface design
It is one thing to have an app with high popularity among the masses, and another thing to have an app with high usage, and if you want both, to be able to attract and have a high retention rate, a seamless user-interface design is mandatory.

If you take a look at the mobile payment apps, their user interface is designed in such a way that it is very attractive, easy to follow through and very simple. Ease of carrying out transactions ensure high usability of app such as PayPal and Google pay. Depending on the target market and intended use of your app, one should try as much as possible to ensure that the user interface is attractive and simple, but even in the simplicity, the purpose/ service offered by the app should not be compromised.

3) Rewarding systems
Building a lasting relationship with your target clients is very key, as this is what will determine how successful your enterprise will be. One of the methods of building customer loyalty to one’s brand is rewarding them with loyalty points every time they transact using your service/product. The more they accumulate the points, the stronger the customers loyalty gets, and higher the chances for the customer to stick around.

One of the most successful stories so far in terms of rewarding loyalty points through mobile payment apps will have to be Starbucks. Starbucks, the Seattle- based coffee giant, through its app, has been able to integrate mobile payment as well as a rewarding system in the same platform. What makes their system unique, is that the user does not enroll, but rather the system automatically signs up the user to the rewarding system once they create an account. Automatic enrollment is very under-utilized, as most apps require the user to prompt the enrollment procedure, while some of the customers may not be really aware of how to go about this, hence both the customer and you, as the service provider loose out.

Therefore, as you look to roll out a new mobile app project, evaluate the viability of having an automated customer loyalty rewarding system and ensure that the clients are fully aware of the advantages that will come with this feature.

4) Cross-platform integration
Most mobile payment apps are also accessible via desktop apps, hence enhancing cross platform integration. PayPal for example has a very appealing and stable desktop app while its mobile app is also very convenient and easy to use. The seamless integration across multiple platforms ensures user friendliness and some sort of variety for the clients and this should be the target of each and every app developer where applicable. Ensure that you offer as much inclusivity as possible, as some users may prefer to use their desktop computers more that the mobile app. Ensure that the services offered across the multiple platforms co-relate and that regardless of which platform is used, the user needs are met.

Also with the dawn of Artificial Intelligence, you can decide and go a step further, and use the power of AI, and build bots integrated into your app to enhance usability and simplicity. An example of a successful mobile payment app that employs a bot in its use is PayPal SlackBot, which one can easily send a command with the name of the recipient and the amount to be transferred and the bot processes the transaction and generates a report for you. With AI and BI(Business Intelligence), mobile app developers can enhance the user experience of their clients and offer tailor-made services based on their needs, wants, likes and offer personalized experience to the user. This will set your app apart from the rest of the competition.

11 Steps to Consider Before Starting a Software Project

Not with standing the fact that every person plans for important tasks in a different way, the same is not true with a huge and complicated software project. A software project which is a set of elements responding to various inputs to produce a pre-defined outcome is a combination of a plethora of human and automated factors.

And to manage and plan for a software project, certain tried-and-tested methodologies can be employed by software project managers to ensure that the final deliverable meets the ultimate goal of stakeholders and clients. These methodologies help you break down the mammoth project into smaller tasks, while sticking to timelines and quality specifications.

Hence, it is important for every project manager to consider the following eleven steps to ultimately churn out an error-free and completely satisfying software project to your esteemed customer.

1. Focus on the Complexities of Your Project At Hand
You will agree with the fact that organizing a project is the most important responsibility of a project manager. Requiring him to possess an eye-for-detail about each and every task that should be completed on time, he should be able to churn out huge projects with a number of complexities through the use of human and technical supports.

Nothing should come to him as a surprise when he primarily focuses all his efforts into enlisting the numerous complexities the entire project can pose at various stages of development. Team management skills coupled with knowledge about software can help him address the concerns of managing a project so as to deliver it on time within the scope of financial and technical requirements.

2. Set Aside Preparation and Planning Time
After identifying the complexities of your software project, you as a project manager should set aside time to prepare and plan. Attempting to prepare for the project is an intelligent move to begin with, even before the project starts. The Project Manager who is at the helm of affairs should constantly interact with his stakeholders, informing them about the roles and responsibilities of every person involved in the project. Planning involves chalking out the budgetary requirements along with coming up with the specifications about human resources.

Along with planning and preparing for the software project, you as a project manager should specify clear internal guidelines about what is expected from every team with a provision to track the progress of the project. If need arises, the plan should be able to accommodate adjustments so that you can deliver the project to the utmost satisfaction of your stakeholders.

3. Measure the Scope of the Project
The next step is to gauge the scope of your project. Gaining insights from the efforts you have put in during the project prepping phase, you should be able to identify the main aim of the project. What would you be achieving and delivering to your client once the project is completed? This is an important question that will set the stage for introspecting, enabling you to chalk out a clear cut project plan.

Here that you should bring flexibility to your project. There can arise many instances when a certain client demands more than what he initially asked for during the requirement gathering stage. If you have a flexible plan in hand, you will not be pushed to the wall with new functionalities demanded by your client just before the final release of your project.

4. Make a List of Deliverables
The next step after measuring the scope of your project is to enlist all the deliverables. Making a list of deliverables is a clever move that will ensure all your team members stay in sync. They will not only be in tandem with each other but also in terms of the bigger picture; the successful rollout of your software project through the combined efforts of each and every team member.

5. Identify Elements that Promise You A Successful Project
A successful project is measured in terms of multiple factors. Termed as Key Performance Indicators, it is on the basis of these factors that you can be adjudged an excellent or a good project manager.

While for some, success spells in the form of cost reduction, there are others who rate your caliber on the grounds of the time taken to deliver a huge project. The ultimate quality of the project is another factor that demonstrates your mettle when you will be able to release a flawless application to your clientele. Hence it is important that you identify any such factor that can become your success mantra.

6. Steer Clear by Identifying Significant Risk Factors
As a project manager managing a huge project, it is important for you to anticipate all the significant risk factors. Preempting and enlisting all the factors that can go wrong during the course of project execution, you with an eye on the future can play safe. Limiting all the pain points, you will be able to address these issues through a sense of preparedness. This way, you can resolve any issue with a level head coming from the confidence of being in total control of your project.

7. Work Around SMART Objectives
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. Setting business objectives in line with SMART specifications will be helpful for you to reach plenty of successful milestones during the course of delivering your project.

A milestone can be the successful completion of a crucial section of your project. Enlisting all such milestones beforehand can help you manage different teams better.
Every person who is informed about his role in the project will be able to look at the milestones and tune them with the SMART objectives. Motivating the team members to complete their ordained tasks, it is through these SMART objectives that you as a project manager can ensure a seamless progression of your project.

8. Pick and Choose Your Team Mates
It is your responsibility as a project manager to choose a team that works in unison with the overall objective of your project. It is hence your prerogative to identify and name all your team mates who will eventually become a part of your project management team. Next in line is to clearly specify their roles and responsibilities in detail so as to avoid a communication gap between what was supposed to be done and what is pending on account of a team member not being informed of his exact role in the project.

9. Span of Control To Be Clearly Spelled Out
It is important that you have a well-defined reporting structure in place, where you will clearly define the scope of work of every team member. Who reports to whom should be clearly specified so as to have a tight control over the final deliverable. Team this with reporting policies that can be implemented on a monthly, weekly or daily basis. This way, you will be able to exercise better control over the project through the timely appraisal of every team member’s performance.

10. Resource Allocation
As described earlier, a software project is the end result of employing human, software and hardware resources. It is through a combination of all these resources that you will be able to bring in a balance between availability and requirement.

Enlisting all the resources that can be put to use, your diligence as a project manager will come to the fore when you proactively employ a resource that is currently available to offset the delay caused by another resource which is absent at the moment. This way, you will be able to keep a check on the most important job that needs to be completed, using the resource that is available, to its maximum.

11. A Final Plan to Set the Stage
After taking into consideration all the above mentioned steps, the final step is to act in accordance to a baseline. This can be your guiding light till such time your project is completed, allowing you to focus on blind spots that arise with the “what if” analysis.

A last minute shock can be just around the corner when a certain team member fails to deliver. It is then that you with the help of “what if” detailing can bring in a new employee to replace the earlier one without hampering the progress of the project. Tagged as a damage-control mechanism, a baseline is helpful to churn out a project on time.

6 Ways You Are Messing Up Your Icon Design

While there is an easy way to stop miscommunication with bad icons , there are also ways you can mess up your icon design.

Before cracking your knuckles and getting down on Illustrator, you have to remember that there are principles that should be followed with respect to icon design.

Though, more often than not, it’s easier to approach the design process by knowing what’s NOT working rather than what’s working.

To know what to take away than to put in is even more effective.

So we’re going to list down the 6 ways you are messing up your icon design:

1. You’re Not Considering The Icon As Part Of A Set

While you may only be designing an icon for one, it is vital that you picture your icon as part of a set.

Why?

Let’s take it from Yegor Gilyov of Turbo Milk: “If you need to draw several icons, you need to think over images for the whole set of icons before proceeding with illustrating activities.”

When you make an icon and then later on decide to make an icon set, it will be harder to work again from the top and revisions will take longer than it should. Worse, you can’t even redesign because the icon is already being used or have been approved and you are required to produce more that looks like it.

2. You’re Not Thinking About Your Users
As mentioned in our other article , you must consider your audience when designing your icon.

If it’s for a small company then it must be catered to the users who are going to be exposed to it. It must not be complicated nor too simple or it might have different meanings.

For international usage, icons need to pay respect for cultural considerations. Different symbols project different representations and you do not want your message to get lost in translation.

A perfect example of this is the mailbox, while there are mailboxes around the world, it is much more preferable to use the envelope as an icon for mail since it is universally accepted.

3. You’re Cluttering Your Icons With Too Much Elements
As we mentioned, icons must be simple in a way that is easily understood.

But if you put too much in something that can be displayed so little, you may end up cluttering the very symbol of your brand. And that’s not good.

Users will have a hard time on seeing your icon (particularly older generations) and they will also have a hard time understanding what it represents.

So for example, you want to create an icon that supports the printing action, you don’t need to have an icon that requires 3 elements in them. You just need one: a printer.

The reason for this is that you don’t take away the focus of your users from your primary message. You only signal one.

This makes it clear and bold and you don’t ever have to worry if it’s recognizable when scaled too small.

4. You’re Repeating The Icon As An Unnecessary Element
If you’re creating an icon pack, then you may be tempted to re-use one icon as a complement of another.

For example, you may use the same icon for “save” and “save as”, but if you do this, you may end up confusing your users.

Make sure that when you design your icon, you go back to the purpose of the primary message.

Use the five following questions as a guideline:
• What does this icon represent?
• What is the primary message I want to convey?
• Am I using this icon uniquely to its primary message?
• What can I substitute it with so that I may use a similar look for another icon function?
• Have I repeated this icon or have I used it somewhere else before?

5. You’re Not Making Your Icons Uniform
Certain designers have a particular style when creating their icon designs such as flat or 3D, and as much as it is a pattern, it is also their signature.

See, when you encounter another batch of icons a specific designer you’ve been following has made, you’ll definitely know it was theirs.

Why were you able to recognize them so?

Because they were uniform.

Same logic goes for icon packs. One icon must not be separate from the rest.

You have to decide what style and appeal you’re going for. So if you’ve created an icon set that is mostly comprised of flat UI icons, then you have to stick to that style until the end.

You can’t make a flat UI icon pack and then insert an 8-bit icon the next, or a 3D icon with a shadow after that.

That leads to unnecessary confusion.

6. Overusing text in your icon design
Sure, texts can supplement your visuals, but when dealing with icons, text is not entirely necessary.

When Apple made their logo, you could tell from afar that it is Apple just by the way it looks. Same goes for Nike, McDonalds, Adidas and other big famous brands.

Some may be text-based like FedEx, but a lot of them bank on the fact that their logo or icon may be the only thing seen.

Advanced Image Optimization in Web Development

Web-quality imagery is always a balancing act between using the smallest possible file size while providing good image quality. Embedding a photo straight off your DSLR may look nice, but it will slow your website’s load to a crawl, while an over-compressed image may improve the speed of your site yet discredit the design and overall aesthetic.
For the two types of image assets we predominantly deal with – photos and icons/illustrations – we perform a mixture of image quality checks and compression techniques that work well in most case scenarios.

File Types and When to Use Them
There are three image file types we use when building websites: .jpg .png and .svg.
JPGs are best used for photos such as landscapes, scenery or people. For imagery in content, such as a blog article image, we aim for 20-70kb. Larger background photos can get up to 500kb, but 200kb is a good average.

JPGs are lossy (they recompress and degrade the image quality each time you export), and they don’t manage gradients very well. If you have a gradient in an image, sometimes you can separate the image into two cuts so that you can render the gradient in a separate background using CSS gradients instead.
PNGs are best for assets such as logos and icons because they support transparency and because logo and icons often use a more limited color palette – since PNGs achieve compression through a reduction in the number of colors.

A PNG can be lossy, but we typically use lossless, meaning every pixel is saved exactly without degrading the color palette, resulting in a higher-quality image.
SVGs have the best quality of all and are used for vector art due to their scalability. We often use them with logos, however, SVGs do create more work for the browser to render and can create sluggishness as the page loads, so the quality of your image should always be balanced against its complexity.

As an example of when we use PNGs and SVGs, compare the logos for Silver Screen Insider and Bozeman Websites. For the former, we used an SVG. For Bozeman Websites, because of the complexity introduced with CSS animation when a user scrolls down, we chose to use PNGs instead so as not to compromise browser performance.

Sometimes the best solution is a combination of both: for the logo on Techypros website, the “JT” component is a PNG, but the “Celebrating 20 Years” is an SVG in order for it to retain its quality in all viewport sizes.

Optimization Techniques

In order to get the best possible results, it is important to optimize your images. To do so, we utilize three programs: Image Optimization (for JPGs and PNGs), Image Alpha (for PNGs) and Scour (for SVGs).

Image Optimization reduces the file size of JPGs and PNGs. For large images, such as the ones we use for background panels, we cap dimensions at 1600x1200px. For content photos such as an image inserted in a blog article, we cap dimensions between 200-800px wide.
After resizing to its final resolution, the image is output in Photoshop using the best quality available. Each time we compress the image it loses some fidelity, so we prefer to rely solely on Image Optimization for compression rather than having Photoshop do a pass. Photoshop is noticeably less efficient: its “save for web” at quality 65 produces an image of equal file size but poorer fidelity than Image Optimization’s quality 85.

Retina JPGs

When targeting retina or other high-density displays, we’ve found it works best to save a single JPG at twice the resolution, but use higher compression, around 50-60 in Image Optimization, which can produce a high-quality image that looks good on both retina and standard, lower-density displays. This technique allows us to use a single asset for retina and standard displays rather than cutting and loading multiple versions and without quadrupling the size of our images.
For PNGs, we output from Photoshop using PNG 24 in their “save for web” option, then run it through Image Optimization. If it detects that the image is using fewer than 256 colors, Image Optimization will losslessly convert the image to a PNG 8, a simpler file format that can produce very light-weight files.

With Image Optimization, our final output of an image without too many complexities (minimal color, simple shapes, and resolution less than 200x200px) can range in size from 15kb down to under 1kb.
Optimizing Larger PNGs
For more complex images, if we can’t produce a file between 15kb and 50kb with Image Optimization, we use ImageAlpha. ImageAlpha is used to process PNGs from a PNG 24 (millions of colors) to a PNG 8 (256 colors maximum), changing the image from lossless to lossy, ultimately aiming for the one with the smallest number of colors.

Lossiness in this format primarily means strategic refinement of the color palette, eliminating the least-noticeable colors to produce an image that still looks great while reducing its complexity.
After exporting from ImageAlpha, we run it through Image Optimization so it can be optimized further.
When it comes to SVGs, we reduce as much complexity as possible before we export the image from Illustrator. An often tedious process due to their size, we first try to reduce the number of layers to a minimum while still accurately displaying the artwork. It is then saved as an SVG in Illustrator and optimized with a program called Scour.

We use this automator script to make it a bit easier to use in macOS, allowing you to right-click an SVG file in the Finder and optimize the SVG through the Services menu. We often use font files for vector graphics that are single-color with a program called Glyphs.

10 Mistakes Not To Make A Second Time – Re Branding Design

Are you considering brand revitalization or re-branding your product, service or business? Is your brand under-performing? Or is your brand just not hitting your target audience appropriately anymore? If you feel the need to revitalize your brand, it should not be overlooked and serious steps should be taken to re-launch your business, in this digital era. Having said that though, all brands need to adopt a new skin and synchronize their vision and mission with the changing marketing trends.
“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression” – Will Rogers

What is Re-Branding?

Re-branding is the process of giving a whole new feel to your established product or business. It is a strategy to retain your core competencies and differentiating yourself from your competitors. Your ‘brand identity’ is the rich and dynamic combination of visual, verbal and sentimental attributes that speak for who you are and what you do and precisely what activities you are engaged in. The way your branding influences your target audience and the way an individual feels and reacts towards a brand establishes a strong ‘brand perception’.
Starting from the basic asset like letter head to the way your product is packaged and marketed, websites, print material (brochures, fliers), business cards and social media presence all of it come together to build up your branding strategy and giving a holistic view to the consumer.

What is the need for re-branding?

Re-branding concepts should revolve around and do justice to your marketing goals and should be a surefire way to carve out a viable way for higher audience engagement.
• A company’s website and brand identity should connect with the customers on an emotional level and help improve brand recall. You know you need to re-brand your product or service when your consumers cannot connect your product with the firm.

• To recover from vanishing prominence, reduced ROI and deteriorating sales, it’s high time you re-visit your branding strategies and fix the loopholes. Rebranding ideas that rejuvenate your online presence gets the user entranced.

• Inconsistent patterns in the way different clients perceive your company calls for a new revamped identity that clarifies perceptions and portrays a unified message about the company’s vision and mission. If your brand message does not articulate your offer clearly enough you probably need to revitalize your branding.

• With rebranding, when developed and positioned strategically offers a way of making progress which is sustained, giving the company the upper hand to charge a premium of your choice.
• Competitor attacks also fail to cause you any harm when your brand positioning and branding is on spot.

Brand evolution is a smart marketing tool that helps your branding stay relevant with your product or service. While some pull it off quite effortlessly, others have to face criticism and re-visit their branding strategies. To make sure your next rebrand meets success; avoid these common pitfalls and notorious re-branding errors that can cost you a great deal of effort and money in the long run.
1. Re-branding without the research element

When considering re-launching your brand you need to assess why the rebrand is needed? What does your brand portray about your company? Your brand image should be in close harmony with your company motto and for that you need to carry out a thorough and comprehensive market research.
An apt example of a re-branding failure from which we can learn a lesson is one of GAP. When GAP tried to re-design its logo, it turned out to be a huge disappointment for the target market as the company image was greatly compromised by the drastic change in the logo design. Trying to stay abreast with current times is always desirable but one definite lesson to learn from the unfortunate GAP incident is thatre-branding is a serious game and there are definitely no shortcuts to it. The company’s essence should undergo a revolution rather than just the company image itself.

Customers are constantly on the driving seat and both current and potential customers should be the inspiration when formulating solutions. Their needs, wants, preferences and consumer behavior should be the basis of your branding strategy. Your customer can make or break your brand.

2. Brutally ignoring existing brand equity and goodwill

Re-branding certainly does not mean that your existing brand equity is of no importance or is useless. You need to precisely gauge whether you need a total revamp or just a slight tweaking in your branding campaign. Not taking into consideration the existing brand equity can be quite damaging to the way a brand is viewed and perceived. You do not need to go overboard and just follow the herd when a small change will do the needful. Before you undertake the highly important task of revitalizing your brand image it is important that you carry out the necessary investigation and background checks to assess the needs of the target market.

Your pre-existing customers are a combination of loyal and disloyal customers. If you do not retain the core attractiveness of the brand you might end up losing your valuable market share to your competitors.

3. The brand is a lot more than just a mere piece of logo or color combination

The logo is representative of your company image and processes. However, very often a brand is confused with its physical symbols: the logo, company name, the physical presence of a website introducing the company to the customers or the company culture for that matter. Re-doing the company symbol is not the ideal solution to alleviate your problems-it could possibly aggravate them as well.
Brands are an amalgamation of both the material and immaterial elements. Target audience, customer preference and perception, their experience to the corporeal nature of the website, the visual effect and feel to the customer service provided, retailing services and web environments and the way the company motto is communicated to the customer.

Before rebranding your company, for example changing the brand name from ‘Ciplex’ to ‘Coplex’ was a logical decision for the respective company. A lot of brainstorming went in to decide what the brand name would actually stand out and add meaning to the business. The prefix ‘co’ was purposefully added to highlight the co-creating with their clients and foster teamwork and partnership.

4. The re-brand tells a story in itself

Re-branding is not a random process but lays its foundation on a well-knit logical story that penetrates both the internal and external environment. The rebrand’s story must be practical and sketch a scenario that does justice to the prevailing situation and established brand experience and customer perception.
The biggest achievement lies in the fact that it is deeply engraved in the minds of the internal employees. When they will embrace the brand identity, they will automatically perpetuate it ahead and walk and talk brand everyday which will pass on to the target audience. The more credible the story the more effortlessly it will trickle down the hierarchy and consolidate the brand image both in the eyes of the customer and the employee. The promise that you make to the customers should be deliverable from the HR to finance department.

5. In-house branding V/s Hiring a branding consultant

Some company’s or creative agencies prefer that their in-house creative teams set to work on re-creating and developing a logo and brand name that will do justice to their company vision and mission. This makes the process fast and cost-effective. However, come to think of it developing a brand internally will be a reflection of internal plans and perceptions rather than how the target audience views your brand.
Hiring external brand consultants helps your company to add an external element into their branding. It will give you valuable insight into how your company is viewed by a third party and what your potential clients think. Hence, you should always think of outsourcing rather than making the process personal and centralized.

6. Being limited to your own industry

Yes! You need to give tough competition to your competitor operating in the same niche, but you can always drive inspiration from various markets, that have even a tad bit of similarity. Marketing techniques is all about creativity and that can be learnt from any good marketer, irrespective of the field they are operating in.
Religiously following just your industry trends may limit your vision and hinder your growth not allowing you to explore new avenues. When rebranding, it is highly recommended that you mingle with other market leaders and gain feedback on what other industries are implementing regarding customer experience and care. Innovation and creativity from diverse areas can do wonders to your branding strategy.

7. The misconception that you are too small to re-brand

You’re never too small to re-brand. You might be e a start-up firm or an entrepreneur but that certainly does not deem you unqualified for the need to redesign your branding strategy. As markets evolve and shifts in consumer preferences take place, brands need to stay abreast of the competition and maintain the appeal and customer interest and engagement. For this very purpose, they have to plan their brand positioning so that their efforts are directed in the right direction. A firm no matter how small eventually grows into something substantial. Taking your brand to a whole new level and redefining your existence is what will differentiate you from the rest.

8. Mismanagement and culpable negligence

By-passing the basics of branding can be a major blunder as the way you add the finishing touches to your website, marketing tools and the physical environment in which you operate is of utmost importance. Brand experience is bound to reach a low ebb if all customer touch points are not kept in mind while designing your re-branding strategy.
You team should be responsible and well versed with market knowledge and project management skills. The person responsible for effectively pulling of the branding strategy should have the necessary skillset and intellect to make the project reach its destination.

Follow up is of utmost importance after implementation, as customer service increase customer engagement, satisfaction and loyalty.

9. A good idea does not necessarily come with a multi-million dollar project

Obviously an initial investment is required to accomplish any challenging task but it certainly does not mean that it cannot be accomplished economically. There’s always a less expensive alternative for every strategy which is a product of small but highly talented branding agencies, professionals and extremely talented in-house people. Sometimes highly motivated university students or basic start-ups can yield worthwhile results.

10. Inauthenticity is the largest branding mistake

You need to place yourself in your customer’s shoes and make it a point to see your brand from their perspective. Simply put, authenticity is the act of being true to who you are. Your die-hard loyal customers might also switch to another brand if you fail to deliver your promise. Never over-exaggerate what you do and make practical promises that are easier to accomplish and have an element of humanity in it. Trust me you will see how your customers place unwavering trust in your brand and will enable people to relate to your business. What’s better than being called a reliable, trustworthy company who might even deliver more than expected? Turning audiences into advocates by this strategy wouldn’t be a surprise.

Best Ways To Boost Your Child’s Creativity

Children are born with a desire to create. They are curious to know and are not bound by the limitations of work load and time management. Your child is unique, every child is unique. Each one has its own desires and inclinations in terms of creating new things. As parents we should foster this creative desire and should try to create an environment where our children can indulge themselves in their artistic pursuits. Giving that all important boost your child’s desire to be out of the box and creative is your responsibility as what you do now will definitely help the child as it goes through its life. Parents taking part in the activities of their kids increase confidence in them and makes them create a positive image of themselves in their mind. Here we take you through 3 ways where your child’s creativity can be bolstered:

There is no definite shape:

There is not a bigger dampener to a child’s creativity than telling or informing them about how something should be. This is like restricting a wild horse with a rope. For a child, there should be no limitations when building things in terms of shape and the best way to foster that attitude is to provide your child with website design building materials through which this can be possible.

Sand and clay are the best materials to start off building things. They can be put or molded into any shape possible and there is a lot of experimentation which is possible. Start off by putting a sand box or some clay in the house and build things yourself at first. Don’t force the child into it. Children don’t like someone forcing them to do so but they are great imitators with an innate sense of curiosity. When they’ll see you building things out of sand and clay and see you having fun doing it, they will definitely join you very soon. Your child will have a lot fun indulging in this brilliant activity and gain the fundamental processes of building through the modelling of structures out of these materials.

Playing with Colors:

Hey, who doesn’t love colors? Colors are the most beautiful things of the lot. Endless possibilities await your child if it gets a hang of how wonderful colors are. Painting is the start towards this activity which has the ability to transform the child into a person who believes in a bigger palate for everything.

Bring everything that initiates this love towards colors like color pencils, paints, beautiful drawings among others in the house and like all times, start off by first immersing yourself in colors like a child yourself. If it joins in the fun, ask them to use their bare hands to start coloring and painting first. Developing the feel towards the thing which is so wonderful to see is like being one step ahead. Coming together of senses to undertake something is just like magic which normally cannot be understood but the feeling is always great.

Clothes are not off the Radar:

The first thing through which we inculcate structure or tell the child that some things are out of bounds in terms of creativity are clothes. Clothes are normally not given too much attention but if they are presented as canvases onto which anything they can conceive has the possibility of becoming true, the mesmerizing effect on the child will be unexplainable.

Start off by bringing some old clothes and start cutting patterns out of them or sticking things onto them to give them a feel of making something new out of the old. When your child gets involved, start off by cutting sleeves of shirts and cutting the pant on one side up to the knee. Kids love this unusual style where their hands now protrude out naked where once there were sleeves. Stick off things onto the clothes and make them do exactly the same. Kids love their names and if you can get a name patch made for your child, it will perfectly serve as both a gift and a tool for creativity which he/she will then happily show off to his/her friends in the neighborhood or run around the house in excitement.

Your child needs your attention in everything and more so it needs you by its side to appreciate its efforts and comfort it when something doesn’t pan out as planned. Kids are very creative, I say this for the umpteenth time, but it is love and care that will make that creativity take roots and flourish.