Category: News

09 Sep 2015

What make a brand successful?

Branding is a way to distinguish your product or service from the rest of market and create a perceived value in the mind of potential customers. For example, in the car world, the Mercedes brand creates different expectations than the Kia brand. However, branding is also important for small businesses that want to stand out in the market, and the keys to successful branding include knowing your target customers and making all your decisions with a focus on what’s important to them.

Define your customers

The first key to successful branding is to define the types of customers you want to attract. Moms with toddlers or women without children? Men who like drag racing or those who prefer quiet afternoons in nature? Health-conscious individuals or those who don’t know a carrot from a turnip? Make a list of all the types of customers you want your business to attract. Volvo built its brand on attracting people concerned with auto safety.

Study Your Customers

Find out what is important to the customers you want to attract. If you already have some customers, you can survey them. Otherwise, look at demographic information and other studies done that provide information about your target customers. Once you know what’s important to your target customers, choose the three or four outcomes that are the most important to your ideal customer.

Be Consistent with Your Brand Position

Using the three or four outcomes you defined, create a brand position that describes what your business does and for whom, the unique value your business offers and how this value is different from the competition, and the benefits the customer gets from your product or service. Also, decide on the one most important thing that your business always promises to deliver to customers. Consistently make all your decisions based on this brand promise and your brand position.

Create the Elements of Your Brand

Create a brand personality — traits you want your business known for — and, if you have an established business, a brand story that shows how your business’ history adds value and credibility to the brand. Also, create the physical elements that make up the brand, including your logo, business tagline, colors, fonts, imagery and other physical elements used in marketing and presenting your brand. These physical brand associations should reflect your brand promise and all your brand traits, and also support your brand position.

Market Your Brand

According to Dan Coughin, president of the Coughlin Co., “The key to branding is reminding the customer of what you want them to remember about your brand,” and he says every contact (including marketing efforts) you have with current or potential customers must reinforce your brand.

09 Sep 2015

Why Real Estate Investment is Great for Moms

I’m a mom of 3 and I’ve been a real estate investor for 11 years now.  I started with duplexes and single family home flips and my husband and I are now moving to bigger properties.  I have found real estate investment to be great for my family’s finances and lifestyle.

It’s a wonderful business for women, especially moms, but there are relatively few women in this space.  

I’m always striving to improve my skills and knowledge, so I attend a lot of real estate conferences and seminars.  When I’m in these conferences, I’m always surprised at how few women are there (often it’s less than 10%).  

It’s surprising because real estate is a particularly great investment opportunity for women – especially moms.

Here are 4 reasons why I think real estate investing is particularly great for moms:

 

  1. Cash flow –   Provided you invest well, your real estate investments should provide cash flow from day 1.

In other words, after you deduct expenses from the income from your tenants, your have profits that you get to keep.  It’s a GREAT way to make money, and it’s mostly passive income (i.e., you don’t have to work for it – the money just comes to you).

 

  1. Life-style Friendly Business – remember that part about receiving cash flow that’s mostly passive?  That means that while you are making money your time is freed up for you to spend more time with your family, travel, etc.

Since we are all about helping moms find more time for themselves, we love this.

 

  1. Appreciation – Property values aren’t always rising, but over the long term all real estate values tend to rise or appreciate. This means that in addition to the cash flow, your net worth is also increasing as the value of your properties increase.  

This is helpful for you and can be a vital part of leaving a legacy for your children.

 

4.Tax Benefits – The federal government decided that they wanted to promote property ownership, so there are all sorts of tax benefits in the tax code for doing so.  

First, unlike other businesses you might own as an entrepreneur, rental cash flow is not subject to self-employment tax.  In other words, if you make $25,000 in rental income in a year or $25,000 with a side-business selling crafts on Etsy, you’ll pay less taxes on the rental income.

Another way in which you get to keep more of your cash flow is through something called depreciation.  It allows you to deduct a portion of the property value from income and pay less taxes.  In some cases, even though you’re getting income from your investment property, your property will reduce your overall tax burden (so you’re paying less taxes on all your income – not just on your income that you receive from the property).

For these 4 reasons and more, real estate investing is great for moms.

 

09 Sep 2015

New design trends

Looking for a website refresh and don’t know where to start? Some of the trendiest elements in web design right now are fun aesthetically and pretty easy to use.

Adding a trendy feature to your current design, or new build, can help create a modern vibe that can help drive visitors to your site. And what’s particularly nice about this tri of trends is that you can use them with existing elements, color and typography palettes and branding.

Here’s what’s trending in design this month:

1. Duotone color schemes

Duotone color palettes have been around for a long time, but the recent take adds a color wash effect to a duotone gradient for a full-screen, high impact effect. It’s something that trended out in a major way with flat design, but thanks to stunning usage by Spotify duotone is back.

So what exactly is duotone?

It is the use of two colors to form a palette. In the most basic form, duotone is a complementary combination from the color wheel. In more complex uses, designers are using all kinds of color combinations and breaking the rules with pairings.

Most of the duotone effects feature a brightly-colored overlay on top of an image. The duotone effect highlights darks and lights and creates visual impact with stunning color. Spotify uses it in a great way to make standard artist photos that you’ve likely seen dozens of times look just different enough to be attention grabbing.

It’s a technique that you can use in a variety of ways. It works with almost any design concept and can be used as a full-screen element, such as many of the examples above, to create dominant art. It can also be used to create an interesting background, to accent user interface elements or to help add emphasis to a specific part of the design. Duotone works best when used for a single design element. The technique can be overpowering and should be used in moderation.

2. Spilt-screen design

Websites featuring a split-screen design are growing exponentially. The design technique features two panels of content side-by-side. Most of these concepts use a symmetrical outline so that each side of the screen has the same size and shape.

The result is a cool, dual content experience on desktop computers and (when coded properly) a great screen-by-screen experience on smaller devices, where the panels collapse and are stacked scrolling elements.

The design opportunities with the split-screen trend are limitless—half and half splits, splits with cards or grid-style elements, a subtle split and the list goes on. Each side of the design can also drive users to different types of content and help you glean valuable user analytics about the type of content that people want to see and click on.

Split-screen designs are user-friendly, work well in responsive frameworks and don’t overpower other design techniques that you might want to use.

Here are a few ways to split the screen effectively:

  • Pair color and typography when you don’t have strong visuals.
  • Focus the attention of the user with left to right movement that results in an action.
  • Use color blocking to split the screen and give your message plenty of room while increasing readability.
  • Think of a split-screen as oversized cards. Stack container elements in a mosaic or masonry style pattern to showcase different pieces of content.
  • Keep each “screen” simple. The trick to this design concept is the split screen. A minimal style can help add emphasis to the content therein.

3. Typography in a shared space

This is one of those trends you almost have to see, to understand: typography is extending into shared spaces in the design. Look at most websites and there are images and backgrounds and type. Elements are either made together, such as type on an image, or they are completely separated.

More designers are breaking out of that format and creating projects where type extends into the spaces of other elements. It’s interesting and fun to look at.

It can also be a challenge to create, because of concerns about readability.

The technique works best with simple typography, such as a medium-stroke sans serif. Text should have plenty of contrast to stand out from the background and any elements it crosses into or across. For this reason, most of the designs using this technique use white or black lettering.

Text also needs to have some size for this to work. Almost as important as color contrast, is contrast in size and space. You also have to take special care in how the text moves with different screen sizes or breakpoints so that letters do not cover areas of the image that are vital to your message.

Conclusion

While a lot of design trends come and go almost as fast as you start to recognize them, the ones that stick around often work well with other time-tested techniques. That’s what stands out the most about this trio of modern styles. Each can be worked into a layout for a touch of newness. These techniques are fairly easy to implement (and remove later) without destroying your entire aesthetic.

Try one of these techniques for a visual refresh. Think about getting out of your comfort zone a bit with bold color choices or a change just to your homepage. Or go a little more bold and try a combination of trendy techniques for a design that really stands out.

[From http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/]