Do people love your social media account?

I started my first blog in 2008 after I shifted to India. It was a personal blog about me in India, and people loved it. The stories were more like observations. And, honestly speaking, it didn’t have any unique value as I didn’t add anything special to it – just India and me, that’s it.

Two years after, I decided to replace my Indian blog with a food blog about Indian food and travelling. My idea was simple; I thought people need something from me, and so, here I’m, with the story about Indian spices and some recipes. The idea allowed to accommodate all my passions; I love to cook, to photograph and I wanted to know more about Indian spices. I’ve created a super-cool logo, applied a beautiful theme and added some posts, expecting more love from my readers. But hear the feedback I got, “Sorry, but when I’ve read you before, it was all about you, it was honest and real, and now I feel I am reading some corporate blog and waiting till it starts selling me something.”

That was a terrible feeling. I so consciously calculated the value, that I’ve just lost myself. And it’s a common problem with many blogs or social media accounts. We try to be something more and take examples from the huge corporations or big websites. By doing it, we underestimate the authentic power of our self. The social media account of the small business or entrepreneur, it’s a journey for a reader when they decide whether they like to work with this biz or not. If you are honest with yourself and do what you love, the Social Media account or blog will have more readers, than one created without a heart.

So the first thing I did to fix the situation, I’ve changed my logo to my best picture and named all my accounts related to that blog “Eve from Spice & Food”. I’ve gotten an immediate response; people started messaging me because even though they would love to discuss my topic before, they also wanted to talk to a human. I got more followers and more traffic to my blog.

So, here is the tip.

About a year ago, I experimented with my personal Twitter account. (I like Twitter — it responds fast to such experiments). I choose four themes which I’m interested in. Those were art, photography, branding, and business. I was already subscribed to many relevant pages on Facebook, so it was not difficult to grasp the information. I also subscribed to many museums and galleries to add more to the art section (Well, I spent six years of my life in art school and then another six in Art Academy and 90% of my friends share some art news on a daily basis). So, I start posting about what I read or I wanted to read later. I started sharing only news valuable to me, without even thinking if somebody else is interested.

As a result, I got followers who are genuinely interested in these four themes. They were interesting enough to be followed back. I earned more trust and got a real crowd around my account (fewer fake ones).

I practically understood that being myself is better than pretending to be helpful. That focus on particular themes gives relevant followers. That regular posting on twitter, (I did post about six to eight times per day) works better than lesser activity (for other social media platforms, figures might be different). And more importantly, you do not need to search some exclusive content for it, you are already reading it every day, just share it more often. After all, the key is honesty, if you will drop a few comments on the chosen topics, it will only add a character to your account, and just a few thoughts here and there.

Do you agree with me? If yes comment below, if not share your opinion in the comments as well.

Cheers 🙂

Make your Freebie Rock

Last week I did a little research on freebies, even created some for some super talented coaches. And here are a few thoughts which came to my mind.

Freebie represents your brand more than anything. It’s usually the most downloaded piece of content. If you have an online business and especially info business, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a freebie. And if you are already thinking how to create or re-design your old giveaway material, check these tips.

How to name the page where you locate your free products?

Many people ask about it. They don’t want to use the word free not to underestimate their services, but they still need to have some free stuff to build their mailing list. Here’s the thing to know. People love gifts; they are free, fun and somehow useful, and they give pleasant emotions. The word “gift” is a great substitute for the word “freebie.”

Make it personal.

Most of the people love the personalised stuff. They put their pics on the mugs and t-shirts, they like to see their name in e-mailers, etc. Who doesn’t? So when you create a name for your page with gifts (sometimes it’s your landing page, but it’s not necessary), think about minimal personalisation. Call it “Your Gifts” or “Gifts for you” or similar. It sounds simple but does make a big difference.

Be Consistent

For most of the people, “consistency” is a rule which they don’t know how to follow. So let’s have a quick look at how “consistency” works for your brand. When your free content is following colours, fonts, and the tone of the voice of your brand, it prepares people to a particular experience. Let say you have a sophisticated brand for successful ladies entrepreneurs, the words “ladies” and “successful” would predict our freebie look and feel. When they buy your program, or read your blog they know what to expect and that make them feel safe and happy. Consistency shares the confidence and as a result the trust.

So remember, a freebie is not just a random piece of content to add subscribers. It’s your manager, your PR agency, your visiting card. So make it look and feel like your brand and let it be magnetic and result-driven stuff. Your future buyers will eventually say thank you for this.

How to find inspiration for design when you need it?

I want to inspire you with this post. Many years ago, one incredibly talented designer (a lawyer by training) gave me good advice. It was my first job, I had just finished twelve-year training in art and design, but I didn’t have enough practice and confidence yet.

One day, I was feeling frustrated with the project. We had to accomplish an interactive CD. Our boss approved the design and flew to New York for some branding conference. The client didn’t like the idea and we had to create something new on our own. So, Constantine (my super talented colleague, I mentioned before) said, you need to observe all professional designers from these three magazines. Just watch. You can spend hours watching the same magazine if you seek inspiration. And believe me, you will find a solution. And in one or two years, your design will become better, or maybe even better than the ones mentioned by these magazines.

Here are three magazines he suggested. This trio is an immortal classic. The collections of such magazines are cherished and carefully preserved in most of the leading agencies in the world. And with the internet in your pocket, you can be inspired anytime, anywhere.

Lürzer’s Archive

A bit of their history from about page: “Lürzer’s Archive, the important creative resource for advertising professionals worldwide, has offered an established set of inspirational tools since 1984. Lürzer’s Archive magazine; Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best Specials; the Lürzer’s Archive website, plus our wide range of apps.”

Print

Here is how they present themselves: “Founded in 1940, Print seeks to build a dialogue about the design by detailing the intersections of art and culture. Rather than focusing on the how-to of design, the experts who write for Print cover the why—why the world of design looks the way it does, how it has evolved, and why the way it looks matters.”

HOW

They present the magazine this way: “Founded in 1985, the HOW brand began its life as a print magazine. Today, the brand still includes an award-winning design magazine but has grown to encompass a host of products and events including several design competitions, HOW U’s online design courses, design books and more. Whether you work for a design firm, for an in-house creative department or yourself, it’s our mission to serve the business, creativity and technology needs of graphic designers.”

The freedom of the mind and Inspiration are vital elements of the creative process and successful brand. Be blessed 🙂

The story of my rebranding

Dear Friends,

I want to share the news I’m really excited about. Since the inception of evesphoto.com, something at the back of my mind didn’t let me have a peaceful sleep. While I was aware that good visual communication starts with a good brand, it somehow didn’t come through clearly on my site — neither the idea nor the name. The content of the site is based on my 17+ years of experience in advertising so it works for any industry.

So, I took a bold decision and now you can throw stones at me. The site now has a new name, new branding and new “me” on the cover. I hope it excites you as much as me.

The new name is brandplusphoto.com. The logo symbol is based upon the Celtic solar symbol. It not only reminds of a ‘plus’, but it is also my old logo from my initials in the Ukrainian language. The colours are blue and golden yellow.

brand plus photo

The content of the site is categorised across four areas. The main theme is dedicated to brand and branding. How to build it and how to promote it through different communication channels.

The three other directions also follow the principle theme of a brand. A photography section will include ideas tips and tricks. And a special section for food photography and food styling.

The social media segment explains about applying your branding and new photography skills to attract more customers.

The final theme is about promotion (how to promote your business or blog using design, advertising and marketing)

While the focus of the site has shifted towards entrepreneurs across industries, I will still share a lot of live examples from and for the food industry. As the company where I work, owns a restaurant, we have our food photography studio, and a branding agency dedicated to the food industry. So I have plenty of tales to share.

Hope you will like these changes as much as I do. I would love to hear from you. Please, Comment Below 🙂

Kindest regards,
Eve

What Brand Elements You need? Logo

Most of the brand experts will tell you that brand is not a logo, and they are right. The logo and the symbol (sometimes, they are also called ‘logo group’) are vital elements of the brand, but not the brand itself. The Visual Identity of the brand isn’t based on the logo; it rather reflects the deeper aspects such as philosophy, values, etc. Yet, the logo is often a starting point where many businesses begin their way to an exceptional brand.

So, let’s talk about challenges first.
The main mistake that many newbies make is being overexcited about the fonts. Secondly, they choose on the basis personal likeliness, not by logic. Let’s say you like pink colour and a very complicated calligraphic font — that doesn’t mean your logo has to look pink in colour and a non-readable disaster. However, in many cases, it looks exactly this way. If you want to have a good logo, no matter from the designer or DIY, put attention on these few things:

  • The logo represents your brand’s values and promises (think of them before you run to a designer).
  • The logo has to be readable and recognisable.
  • When it’s printed on a pan (super small size) or when it becomes a sign on your shop/company/office (super big), it still has to look similar. You may have several logos for different occasions (a bit bigger, a bit smaller, vertical, horizontal versions). But better stick to one.
  • You must have a single colour option of the logo! And a black/white version as well.If you choose two colours for the logo, it is good, don’t go above four. (some gigantic enterprises have seven colours in a logo and if you have a couple of billion dollars to spend on ads then go for it. If not, stick to two. The Lesser the better).
  • The symbol has to be recognisable with the text and without text (if you decide to use the symbol). Otherwise, your text logo may transform into a symbol eventually (take HBO or Sony).
  • All parts of the logo have to have a printable or squeezable size. So when you re-size the logo, nothing is lost and the logo still makes sense. (If you choose fancy font with thin part or tiny text, it may be difficult to resize). Once again, avoid super complicated calligraphic fonts with gaunt parts.

Here a few world-known brands which managed to get a very recognisable identity.

Let’s start from those which use a text logo without the symbol.

What Visual Brand Elements You need? Logo

Here are some symbols which can speak without any text. By the way, most of the software identities are built and based on the icon recognition. The icon is not always a symbol from the logo group. It’s an individual element. However, sometimes the icon and symbol may look the same.

What Visual Brand Elements You need? Logo

Here some logos which we know as a group. They evolved with time, but the colour scheme makes them memorable, so people could easily recognise them even after re-branding.

What Visual Brand Elements You need? Logo

Did you notice fancy fonts from the free font sites? No? Me either. What you probably noticed that you reacted to many logos emotionally. All logos would evoke some sentimental connection if you ever bought something from these companies.

So when you create a logo with a designer or by yourself, remember this: “The logo indicates an emotional connection between the customer and your brand”. If it’s readable, easily recognisable from the first sight, and translating the brand values — your business wins a buyer’s heart. If not, well, many businesses like to think that the brand and a logo are the same things.

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. ~Edmund Hillary