Friday, June 24, 2022

Logo design with strong branding

How to create logos with the strongest brand messaging. Lifting weight..

When customers are just getting to know a brand, that brand's messaging is critical.  In addition to being aware of varying personal needs states, brands need to be aware of the broader world they (and their customers) live in. 

"Awareness (mental availability) is the best path to customer acquisition, which is, in turn, the only true path to growth."   

 – Ehrenberg-Bass Institute

If we deconstruct a brand's messaging we can then take those parts to reconstruct perhaps an even stronger brand, and objectively gain a better understanding of what brands are saying to consumers.  Similar to an autopsy of a human that uncovers the cause of death and brings knowledge that could prevent similar deaths in the future. 

When you think about it, a brand often recognized by its logo can be broken down into three major parts (1) Colors, (2) Shapes, and (3) Words.  Although there are some other factors used to fine-tune a brand such as a jingle, marketing channel, and voice.  This article will focus on the prior. 

Number One: Colors

color | ˈkələr (British colour) | noun 

1 the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations in the eye 

Let's take a look at how colors work together and how they influence your brand messaging.

The colors you choose for your brand set the tone, just as a red stop sign helps you identify the warning.  If you don't stop and there is a collision, the next color you might see is flashing red lights, and when someone dies, the color black will be commonplace at the funeral.  So, it's by association with real-life events that colors can be used to trigger human emotions.  All colors, like people, have negative and positive traits.

When you apply these colors to some of today's most popular brands (McDonald's, Starbucks, Walmart), it's clear why they use the colors they do and a better understanding of what colors you might consider for your new brand's logo.

Number Two: Shapes

shape | SHāp | noun

1 the external form or appearance characteristic of someone or something; the outline of an area or figure.

Let's take a look now at how shapes work together, and how they influence your brand messaging.

The shapes that you choose for your brand set the direction just as a straight line helps you identify a direction or a boundary.  If you cross the solid line on a two-way road and there is a collision, the next line you might see is the zigzag line that records your heartbeat/pulse, better known as PEA (pulseless electrical activity), and if the some dies, the term "flatline" will be common in the ER (emergency room), thus, before the funeral.  So, it's by association with real-life events that shapes are used to trigger human direction and outcomes.  All shapes, like people, are made up of different curves and lengths.

It's common to see an "arrow" used for companies that offer solutions for growth.  However, the hexagon is most like the single most common shape in nature, and one that most astounds mathematicians.  Most labels on fruits and vegetables are oval or circles, which many of the most iconic brands (Mercedes, Target, ABC) in the world use. The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning – notions of totality, wholeness, perfection, and the infinite. Meanwhile, a heating and air company or swimming pool business often uses wavy lines to represent air and water respectively.  

Shapes of your product are also commonplace in branding.  For example, Play-Doh uses images that represent letters made of clay, while McDonald's "Golden Arches" resemble their World Famous French Fries®.  Starbucks uses a Green mythological creature (a super mermaid) as the biggest symbol and the face of the brand, inspired by Moby Dick, which makes perfect sense for a coffee company's hometown of Seattle, a port city.  

When thinking about the shapes your brand might use, you might ask yourself where "it" comes from, and what will "it" do for consumers?  For companies that serve food, this may be pretty simple, but what shapes would a package delivery or pet supply business use?  

Although the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) which empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy predicts the rise in the volume of online orders and the consumer willingness to pay extra for fast delivery pushed the value of the Last Mile market to $31.2b in 2018, and the market is predicted to reach $61.6b by 2025.  And, the Pet Supply CPG (consumer packaged goods) are growing the fastest online, we are not at liberty to tell you which shapes you should consider for your brand without being hired as your brand consultant. 

Number 3: Words

word | wərd | noun

1 a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.

Let's take a look at how a word can influence your brand messaging

The word that you choose for your brand name can reinforce and refine the color choice and shape of your logo.  Using a short word is not only easy to spell, but it's also ideal because it tends to be very brandable and easy for consumers to remember aka catchy.  Some of the most recognized brands (IBM, Hulu, Uber, Lyft) use as few as three or four letters, while others only a single letter (Google,  Pinterest, McDonald's) to represent their brand's logo.

A backstory helps when thinking of words that represent brand names.  One huge brand examples that come to mind are Sam's Club and Wal-Mart created by Sam Walmart. 

"The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder." 

– Allen F. Morgenstern  

Over two decades ago the founder of Oevae Marketing Consultants, Gibrón Williams set out to create a logo to represent the company.  He chose "Oevae"  –  a derivative of the Yiddish word "Oy Vey" and what he calls, "the original OMG."  He first heard of this Yiddish word through a close Jewish friend.  Gibrón was a young artist, and aspiring entrepreneur looking for the best brand name that would embody the essence of his creativity. He had a strong desire for a unique and memorable brand name people would admire and one that is fun to say, a brand name that represented the creative ideas the company intended to produce for small businesses. His Jewish friend would cry out "Oy Vey" whenever Gibrón did something highly creative and unusual. So he decided to name the creative marketing company "Oevae" – a short word with only five letters.

Consider how and where your brand will be distributed or visualized by consumers.  Will your logo be on a business card, t-shirt, merchandise, packaging, banners, brochures, and billboards? The combination of message and marketing channels can drive significant synergies that can boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts for your brand.

"Marketing accounts for 10%-35% of a brand’s equity (visibility, such as seeing a product on the shelf or signage on a storefront and regular product usage)." 
– Nielsen   

Oevae logo designs use graphic messaging techniques to influence consumer perceptions with a broad reach because brand-building efforts are a lever to drive future sales.  Given the prevalence of choice and access, staying top-of-mind with consumers could be the difference-maker when a sale is at stake. This increased pressure on non-marketing sources of equity elevates the importance of marketing in preserving a brand’s health.  For more information or to get your brand design from oevae marketing consultants, visit oevae.com

Make a brand difference.™

Friday, June 3, 2022

Identifying and avoiding spam email and phishing scams


Approximately 10,746 days 
ago (1992) while working at Ticketmaster (an American ticket sales and distribution company / Live Nation Entertainment) as a call center supervisor and trainer I was first introduced to "email" – back then the email was nothing like it is today.  

In 1992 we used a basic monitor that looked more like small portable TV with a black screen and green text that was always left-justified to send an email.  Email messages would be sent using a line or two of code with your message, press enter, then wait for the cursor to start blinking whenever a message was received.  That was the basis of high-tech.  No cute little notification bell or fancy "you've got mail" in the '90s and absolutely nothing to fear. 

Fast forward to 2022 – one email can take over your computer, access your private documents, download malware, and lock you out of your computer among other unbeknown threats.  That's one bad step for man, one giant malware for mankind if you ask me.

"Email spam senders, or spammers, regularly alter their methods and messages to trick potential victims into downloading malware, sharing data, or sending money."  – Rahul Awati, Taina Teravainen, techtarget.com

Over the years email has helped advance the speed of business communications and helped others keep in touch with family without the need for a mailman or the "Forever Stamp" (always represents the current price of a one (1) ounce First-Class Mail postage) first promoted by the USPS (United States Postal Service) on April 12, 2007.

As not only an entrepreneur but one that helps other entrepreneurs market their businesses, I've seen hundreds of thousands of emails in my day.  Everything from promotional emails, email marketing, auto-reply, and drip campaigns, to Constant Contact, MailChimp, Keap, GMAIL, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, EarthLink, and beyond.  In nearly 30 years I've managed to avoid most email phishing scams and spam messages to a fault. 

Identifying and avoiding email phishing scams

I've found that always looking at the "reply email address" of the email you received is your most efficient line of defense.  No, I don't trust spam blockers because hackers can be pretty tricky when it comes to navigating around well-known fences.  

In fig. 1 screenshot is phishing of an actual email said to be from Godaddy, yet the reply email address says has a typo and reading "Godady.com" which can easily be overlooked.


Other times you can identify email marauder by looking at the letters after the “dot” – as in “dot com” – to represent the Top Level Domain (TLD) such as Germany '.de', Australia '.au', Russia '.ru' which as you can see are all foreign.  Best practice would be "don't click on links" within emails that are not people or organizations, people, and companies you trust. But, I'll be honest, this can even be tricky.  

In fig. 2 screenshot is a screenshot of an email that is supposed to be from Apple, but the reply email address is "@t-online.de" – phishing for my Apple ID.


Don't open suspicious emails

Marking spam as spam when an unsolicited email makes an appearance in your inbox, never just delete it. Spam refers specifically to unsolicited bulk email (UBE). Unsolicited is the key word there. For example, You provide your email address to a company in order to download a business plan template. The company then begins emailing you updates about new products or related content. While the emails about new products or related content may be unwanted, they're not spam. Why? Technically speaking, You solicited them by giving the company your email address, which very well might sell your email address to another company. If this second company starts sending you emails, that's spam. Why? The emails from the second company are both unsolicited and unwanted because you never gave your email address to that second company.

Spam emails are almost always commercial and driven by a financial motive. These hackers try to promote and sell questionable goods, make false claims and deceive You into believing something that's not true.  Don't be bamboozled by the use of the logo.  

In Fig. 3 screenshot is a phishing email using an outdated version of the Godaddy logo.



Popular spam subjects often include: 
pharmaceuticals, adult content, financial services, online degrees, work-from-home jobs, online gambling, cryptocurrencies

The difference between spam and phishing

The primary difference between spam and phishing is that, although they both may be big nuisances:

• Phishing is actively aiming to steal login credentials and other sensitive data. 

• Spam is a tactic for hawking goods and services by sending unsolicited emails to bulk lists.

Don't forward emails to your friends or website designer

Forwarding your suspected emails to your friends or website designer will only spread the mayhem.  I've found that one of the best courses of action is to notify the "proposed" company of the spam by forwarding them the emails.  Example Godaddy spam should be sent to spam@godaddy.com and phishing email to phishing@godaddy.com, PayPal uses spoof@paypal.com, Square uses spoof@squareup.com, American Express uses spoof@americanexpress.com, Apple uses reportphishing@apple.com, and the United States Postal Services uses spam@uspis.gov.  

If you got a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org 

Over half of all global email traffic is spam

According to Cisco Systems, some 320 billion spam emails are sent every day, and 94% of malware is delivered via this medium.  Search by IP, domain, or network owner for real-time threat data.  Spam is always annoying, sometimes amusing, and often dangerous. According to Google, its Gmail service blocks more than 100 million phishing emails every single day.

You might also think for veterans like me who have had the same email company and email address for more than 20 years, and maybe it's a bit late to start using aliases, but think again. It's never too late to start dealing more effectively with the problem of email spam and phishing. 

Make a brand difference.™