How to Use the Psychology of Color for Your Brand’s Personality

psychology of color

Quick…. Think of your favorite brands from your childhood. What do you remember about them? How did they make you feel?

We probably don’t spend too much time thinking about why we find certain things more visually appealing than others. But the truth is that those feelings actually have deeper roots than we think.

Color is a critical part of all of our experience.  We become instantly attracted to or repulsed by the combinations of colors we experience, simply by walking into a room, reading a menu, or looking at a brochure. And yes, this absolutely extends to the decisions we make when we are deciding on making a purchase, both big or small.

What’s up with Color?

From logos to landing pages, to print media or full websites, color is something that creates a visceral reaction in humans. We can’t help it! Colors create an emotive response from each of us, whether based in culture, past experience, or personal preference. There is no way that we are not affected by color, even from our earliest ages.

No small feat for something that technically, doesn’t actually exist. Color is essentially based in perception, and businesses know this. The way we experience brands are rooted in those perceptions, but even knowing that doesn’t stop the way that we feel when we derive a common meaning from each of those colors.

Let’s take a look at some popular brands and how they use color to shape our decision-making experiences.

Red

         

Meaning: Excitement, Passion, Strength, Energy, Violence

In branding: In some of our most popular brands, we tend to associate the color red with energy, excitement, strength, and passion. Coca Cola uses this perception to their advantage, as they take the top spot as a reliable industry leader in refreshing beverages. Target is adept at using this in its logo to inspire confidence in their customer base that yes, you can find exactly what you need within their doors.

Example: Coca Cola, Target

Blue
          

Meaning: Trust, Loyalty, Dependability, Friendliness, Calm, Tranquility

In branding: Ah, trusty blue. Few colors are as popular in branding, because blue and its many hues are able to communicate so many different but important messages to consumers. Nothing shows this better than Facebook’s logo. At its essence, Facebook is essentially a space to connect with friends, and nothing conveys this more efficiently than through the use of the color blue. Even Blue Apron is in on the action, as there are few things more relaxing than the comfort of a good meal at home.

Example: Facebook, AT&T, Blue Apron

Yellow

     

Meaning: Energy, Positivity, Happiness, Extraversion

In branding: Yellow can be a tricky color to brand with, because it can create such distinct reactions in people. At its core though, yellow tends to represent energy and positivity. IKEA utilizes this effectively by featuring the color prominently in its logo. What could be more exciting than the possibility of a creative new beginning for your living space?

Example: Denny’s, IKEA, Post-It

Green

Meaning: Freshness, Energy, Vitality, Health, Nature

In branding: We can often find green where we need to express some vitality or freshness, which makes it a really popular color for brands that want to associate their products with health or nature. Whole Foods is a great example of this, and its name has become synonymous with fresh, healthful products.

Example: Starbucks, Whole Foods, TicTac, Sprite

Orange

Meaning: Excitement, Warmth, Confidence, Friendliness, Optimism

In branding: Well, hello there Orange. Often associated with friendliness, extraversion, and excitement, it’s no wonder brands use orange to inspire optimism in their customers. Check out how Tinder uses the color in its super simple logo to inspire people to use their dating platform. Get out there!

Example: Home Depot, Nickelodeon, Tinder

Purple

        

Meaning: Wisdom, Royalty, Spirituality, Honor

In branding: There’s something about purple that inspires a sense of respect. Depending on its warmth and hue, brands often use purple to evoke feelings of authority with their customers. We often tend to associate the color with a sense of wisdom and royalty. Is it any coincidence then, that Hallmark uses a crown in its logo? We think not.

Example: Hallmark, BBC

Black

         

Meaning: Elite, Exclusivity, Sophistication

In branding: There’s a timelessness to the color black that we’ve come to rely on. Often exclusive, sophisticated, and always impactful, businesses have come to rely on the color to communicate the message of sophistication. Think about how Uber uses black all through its branding, from its logo, to it’s “elite” “black car” upgrades; this message is an intentional one.

Example:  Uber, Louis Vuitton, Apple

Pink

       

Meaning: Romance, Innocence, Femininity, Innovation

In branding: Depending on its shade, the color pink can communicate so many things. When it’s soft, its more obvious qualities of romance and femininity are highlighted, and brands like Victoria’s Secret know this and use this to appeal to its clientele. When it’s used at a deeper shade, like magenta, you’ve got a sense of fun and innovation behind it. Think Lyft’s pink mustache campaign, which serves to communicate the direct opposite of older brother and chief competitor, Uber.

Example: Victoria’s Secret, Dunkin’ Donuts, Lyft

Brown

Meaning: Earth, Nature,  Reliability, Dirtiness

In branding: Brown is another color that can be so effective when used well and can go so wrong when used ineffectively. It often serves to communicate a connection with nature and a sense of reliability. Brands like Cotton and UPS know this and use the color to craft a message around reliability with their brands.

Example: UPS, Hershey, Cotton

Color and Your Brand

It’s almost impossible to dive into the meanings of all colors, just like it is almost impossible to detail each person’s experience with those colors. But what’s crucial to know is that color is indeed important, and it absolutely has an effect on our deepest and earliest emotional responses. These feelings, of course, affect our buying choices, and even the way we elect to engage with our favorite brands. For marketers, it’s critical that we are taking this unique psychology into consideration when building out brand personalities.

If you aren’t sure how to get started making sure your brand’s personality is well communicated, don’t worry! We can help you with that, and more. Hit us up!

25 Excellent Optimization Tips From SEO Specialists

SEO optimization tips

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something we’d classify as “gruelingly worth it.”

As part of such a dynamic, constantly shifting area of online marketing, it’s one specialty that takes life-long learning, and consistent education and testing in order to truly master. Even then, the strategy differs greatly from industry to industry, and business to business. While there are some set SEO best practices that should always be addressed, optimizing for search is a practice that’s never truly over.

If you’ve ever felt downtrodden from your SEO efforts, you’re not alone (far from it!). If you’re looking for some inspiration, motivation, or a fresh new tactic to try out for your own search engine activities, look no further than these tips and tricks from SEO experts around the world.

1. “SEO is much more than just rankings and traffic, it’s a complete marketing process from bringing in the right visitors to converting them into brand advocates. You can’t just pick one part of the process and expect your business to shine.”
— Moosa Hemani, SETalks.com

2. “Spend more time on promoting your content. I have the rule to devote more time marketing our content than writing it to get the most value out of each piece. Promote your content on social media both organically & paid.”
— Adam Rowles, Inbound Marketing

3. “Never underestimate the SEO power of refreshing and republishing your historically popular posts. Gently rewriting, or adding in more information or variety to the existing content is a solid strategy for bringing more high-quality traffic in via organic search.”
— Ariel Phipps, Oliver + Sons Digital Marketing

4. “Your competitors are your best friends in helping you boost up your site traffic.”
— Iftekhar Ahmed, IftiSEO.com

5. “Do competitor research in regards to links to see what kind of things your competitors are doing that are actually attracting links (as opposed to building their own links).”
— Marie Haynes, Marie Haynes Consulting

6. “Only a user-centered strategy is future-oriented. That is exactly what search engines want: Get the user the best search results. If it is useless for the user, it is useless for the business. Instead of trying to be smarter than the algorithm, focus even more on creating awesome and useful content for your customers.”
— Nina Baumann, Linkspiel.de

7. “The beauty of SEO is that, instead of pushing a marketing message onto folks who don’t want to hear what you have to say, you can reverse-engineer the process to discover exactly what people are looking for, create the right content for it, and appear before them at exactly the moment they are looking for it. It’s pull vs. push.”
— Cyrus Shepard, Fazillion Media

8. “Search engine marketing and search engine optimization are critically important to online businesses. You can spend every penny you have on a website, but it will all be for nothing if nobody knows your site is there.”
— Marc Ostrofsky, Author of Get Rich Click

9. It’s much easier to grow your business by getting more traffic than by playing with your conversion rate.
— Balazs Szilagyi

10. “To make search engines fall in love with your website, try to please your audience first, because search engines are also trying to do the same.”
— Shubhanshi Aggarwal, GrowWithWeb.com

11. “The reality is SEO can benefit from PR best practices and PR can benefit from SEO best practices.”
— Dave Lloyd, previously Adobe

12. “Search marketing, and most Internet marketing, in fact, can be very threatening because there are no rules. There’s no safe haven. To do it right, you need to be willing to be wrong. But search marketing done right is all about being wrong. Experimentation is the only way.”
— Mike Moran, Mike Moran Group

13. “A real estate agency in Wichita has no shot at ranking for the phrase “real estate;” a lawyer in Fresno has no shot at ranking for the word “lawyer.” Optimize for relevant, specific keywords that will bring targeted traffic.”
— Matt McGee, previously SearchEngineLand.com

14. “It is still important to pay attention to quality content vs. just content. Google is watching all the websites very closely and may penalize the websites with duplicate/thin/low-quality content.”
— Pratik Dholakiya, Preceptist

15. “Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about PARTNERING with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.”
— Phil Frost, Main Street ROI

16. “You can’t just ‘SEO’ your website and be done. It’s a forever moving goal post.”
— Stoney deGeyter, Pole Position Marketing

17. “Think beyond commercial keywords. The majority of search engine users start with a question. Answer those questions. Make your content marketing stand out from the ever-growing crowd. Think of SEO as a list building and lead acquisition exercise and not just sell, sell, sell.”
— Marcus Miller, Bowler Hat

18. “Optimize for what would happen IF you ranked, do not optimize to rank.”
— Will Critchlow, Distilled

19. “Create quality backlinks ONLY from reputable sources. It’s important to understand that links from low-quality directories or other such sites will only get your website penalized. The harder it is to get a backlink, the more valuable it will be. Backlinks are still the most important metric for SEO, but their quality is what makes the difference between success and failure.”
— Felix Tarcomnicu, Monitor Backlinks

20. “On-page SEO is no longer satisfied by raw keyword use. Matching keywords to searcher INTENT is critical.”
— Rand Fishkin, SparkToro (formerly of Moz)

21. “Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”
— Wendy Piersall

22. “When a site links to your blog or a post you’ve written, Google sees it as a recommendation to their readers, like a vote of confidence. Write great content that helps your audience, guest post on other blogs, feature in roundups, and you will get lots of backlinks. These will increase your ranking in Google’s searches and your domain authority.”
— Minuca Elana, MinucaElena.com

23. Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.
— Jill Whalen, High Rankings

24. “Never focus on building backlinks, focus on earning backlinks.”
— Naveen Kumar, F5TheRefresh.com

25. “Don’t invest it all in Google. You never know what’s coming down the line and, although we target traditional search engines (Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo), your users may not. Pay attention to social search, because it’s growing. Some people get their news from Facebook and Twitter. Others find out about products on Facebook or Instagram.”
— Gabriella Sannino, Level343

 

What are you doing to stay ahead of the SEO curveIs there a strategy you’re excited to test out soon?

We’d love to hear your thoughts or provide any SEO services where needed! 

This article was originally published on March 22, 2018.

SEO Tips for 2018: Here’s How to Rank Higher

SEO tips 2018

Search engine optimization is a total BEAST.

According to HubSpot, 80% of your website traffic comes from a simple search query. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important. Without proper planning, strategy, and continuous maintenance, SEO can quickly become a maddening way to spin your marketing wheels incessantly. However, with some of the right techniques in place at the right times, you can quickly climb the ladder of Google search rankings and make it in front of those qualified eyes you’re desperately seeking, meaning you’ll get more traffic, conversions, and increased revenue.

We’re always doing our due diligence to stay in-the-know where SEO tips are concerned – this time, our friends at Backlinko did not disappoint! In fact, the author stated that “these are the same tips that I’ve used to grow my site to 186,081 visitors per month.”

Impressive, no? 

So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty… here are Brian’s top SEO tips for 2018 that businesses, freelancers, and the like can take advantage of in order to better their search engine standings.

1. Use Title Tag Powerups

2. Stop “Pogosticking”, Get Higher Rankings

3. Delete Zombie Pages

4. Do An Industry Study

5. Use a “Feeler” Email

6. Optimize Content for Google Hummingbird

7. Add Text Content to Infographics, Podcasts, and Videos

8. Give Old Content New Life

9. Build Backlinks From Speaking Gigs

10. “The GSC Hack”

11. Create Linkable Content Around “Shoulder Niches”

12. Get Links From Sites That Use Your Visual Assets

13. Create Branded Keywords

14. Provide “What is X” Information For Definition Keywords

15. Replace “Published On” Dates with “Last Updated”

16. Use Google Images to Find Guest Post, Column and Interview Opportunities

17. Tap Into Google’s Underrated Keyword Research Tool

 

Keep reading on the Backlinko blog to learn more about all these amazing SEO tips for 2018 >>

And check out our own articles on mastering and understanding SEO for your website.

Content Promotion Checklist: 15 Things to Mark Off Before Going Live This Summer

content promotion checklist

Ah, beautiful summer. We’re breaking out our sunscreen and laptop protectors to soak in the sun while hustling away. Why, you ask? In the big old business world, the summer season is really the summer promotion season. While your typical summertime checklists may include items for the perfect road trip, gear for an upcoming music festival, or groceries and drinks for your next barbecue, we had a little something else in mind.

Check out our summer content promotion checklist to make sure that every content marketing campaign during the season is put live to absolute perfection, and gets you the engagement, reach, and conversions that your team desires.

1. Outline first, always.

Honestly, this is one you should already know. Defining your goals clearly and putting together actionable steps to go from concept to execution is super important to make sure your promotion goes off without a hitch. At its lowest and most basic form, you should have a step-by-step put together that outlines all the major milestones for your promotion, along with dated timelines and metric-based goals.

2. Prep your content

The types of promotion-friendly content that pull in huge SEO waves and potential, qualified new customers, can include well-crafted blog posts or articles, storytelling pieces, case studies, webinars, demo videos, viral videos, podcasts, or whatever else resonates with your audience. Just make sure that you have the right resources to commit to getting this content done to make sure it’s done well!

3. Don’t forget the visuals

Depending on your mode of promotion, take advantage of experimenting with different types of visuals to engage with different people within your audience — GIFs, video clips, stop-motion animations, illustrations, and photos are all visual media types that can be created to connect with those you’re promoting to. Have someone who has design chops to help you out here, or check out tools like Canva,

4. Optimize for search

While often times a long-tail effort, you’ll find that focusing on SEO, and even more specifically on deep linking efforts, while promoting and targeting is one of the most direct ways to reach qualified customers. Always run your targeted keywords through the Moz Keyword Explorer to make sure you’re hitting the right targets, and run your landing page through Can I Rank? to make sure your goals are attainable.

5. Double-check those discounts and tracking links

Are all of the tracking links that you need set up accurately? Test them again.

Are your coupon or discount codes live? Make sure of it.

6. Share on social

Once your content is live, the first step should be to share on your social media channels. Make sure your copy is on point for the audience that you’re trying to connect with (either broadscale or more niche, targeted segments) and that you’re writing to reach the correct audience in every way – from the grammar to the emojis.

7. Blast to your email list

Even if your goal is to acquire new users, never underestimate the power of sharing with your existing audience first – even encourage them to share if they feel like it. Send out an email to your current subscriber base, and A/B test subject line, visuals, or even main body content to test out what works best for your current crowd.

8. Set up a dedicated landing page

In the event you need to capture leads more effectively, sometimes it’s easier to set up a targeted landing page to include all the information you need to show. We love to use Unbounce to put together quick, professional looking, easy-to-tweak landing pages to direct people to from an ad, cross-promotion, or another outside source.

9. Submit to relevant sources online

List of some sources for different types of content: video, blog, white paper, case study, webinar, presentation, etc

Forums, syndication sites, link roundups, etc

10. Develop an outreach plan 

Once you’ve submitted to the sites you can and have reached out to everyone in your network currently, it may be time to put an outreach plan together to get your content into more qualified hands. This in-depth guide from Moz shows you how to set up and get started with a link building outreach plan that’ll work for you.

11. Do your outreach (and don’t forget the follow-ups)

What you’ll also find in the handy Moz guide mentioned above is a helpful tip: do your outreach perfectly and never forget to follow up with people and businesses that you’ve reached out to.

Their guide also includes some ideas for researching the right targets, getting organized, and even provides templates for outreach that have proven to work for many industries.

12. Consider paid options

Paid advertising is needed more and more often to get the right reach in terms of qualified viewers online. Use the easy tools available to you, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn ads to promote your content to targeted audiences. You can also tap into the heavy-duty powers of Adwords and Bing to really work on your display ads. No matter what route you choose, make sure those tracking links are used!

13. Rework and repurpose for other mediums

One piece of content can so easily be made into five. You can (and should, often times) turn your written content into a video post or presentation, and turn your media-based content into text, too. Having a full spread of the text and media for your content will improve SEO and engagement at the same time, with little to no efforts. We’ve tried out Lumen5 to transform our blogs into shareable videos, and use services like TranscribeMe to transcribe videos for YouTube SEO.

14. Step away and let the magic happen

Often the hardest part, once everything is out in the wild, is to let it do its thing without intervention. With a well thought out strategy and execution of the steps above, you should already be in a good place to put things on autopilot for a week or two before taking a look at how things are performing. The exception to this rule, of course, is to check in and make sure everything is at least working.

15. Gather up that data

Without the numbers, what was the whole point? Measure your success against your goals, then rinse and repeat.

 

Ready for the summer, or feeling overwhelmed? Drop your thoughts and feelings in the comments below and we’ll help you through it. 

7 Brand Voice Exercises to Keep Your Business Healthy

Brand Voice exercises

Every time your company puts something out into the world, it’s using its voice; every social media post, every video clip, every press release, every website tweak. What you do with that brand voice, and especially what its voice sounds like, is one of the biggest things you can do for the prolonged health of your brand.

Defining your brand isn’t an easy task – neither is developing the brand voice around it. Truthfully, it’s best come at from an all-hands-on-deck perspective in a lot of cases. Those who are closest to the core values and mission of the company will have a genuine interest in creating a brand voice that’s powerful, positive, and productive.

There’s a lot you can do to help identify your brand voice or take another look if things are feeling stale. Here are just some of the best exercises we’ve used and recommended over the years of consulting to develop and maximize the reach of your brand voice.

1. Build marketing personas

This should be a no-brainer, but we’re mentioning it for all of the kids in the back of the class. Before you can figure out what your brand voice should be, you have to have a foundation for understanding who you are trying to talk to – your customers. We’re talking doing the research and assigning a personality to each major audience segment; make illustrations of each one if you need to better visualize. The more you can personify each “type” of consumer that wants what you’re selling, the easier it is to develop the type of voice and messaging that resonates with them.

2. Hold a descriptor brainstorm

Hear us out, these types of brainstorms are actually really fun – think of it like a really specific improv session in your conference room. For this exercise, everyone participating should have something to write with/on, and a timer should be set to about 10-15 minutes. The object here is to come up with as many adjectives you can that accurately describe your brand. Then, everyone can compare to see where descriptors and ideas overlap.

Go through the list and stop on each word, asking yourselves questions such as:

  • Is this the most suitable word for the idea we want to convey?
  • Is there another word which better describes this idea?
  • Does our audience perceive us this way?

Set aside a solid afternoon for this activity, and make sure your whiteboard markers are all ready to go.

3. Make a list of words that should NEVER describe your brand

Somewhat complementary to the exercise above, once you identify the words that you want to be associated with your brand, you should also identify words that you don’t… and then never, ever use them. As a good rule of thumb, we like to consider using this Mad-Libs-style sentence to help weed out the bad descriptors:

[Your brand] is always ______ and [your brand] is never _______.

4. Talk about core values (again and again and again)

Not trying to beat a dead horse if identifying your core values is something that’s already been handled as a company, but going back to that conversation never hurts. If anything, talking altogether as a company or leadership team about the brand’s core values can help to figure out how your brand voice should be structured.

Beyond adjectives and descriptors like the brand voice exercises above, discussing as a team what the values are of your company is critical to defining (and refining) a voice. For each question, give your team up to 5 minutes to write down thoughts and answers. Then, have everyone share their responses and discuss them.

5. Fill in the blanks on some key questions

Having prompts during brand voice exercises is a great way to get your creative juices and strategic caps moving. Spend some time filling in the blanks on sentences such as…

  • I want my brand to make people feel _______.
  • I want people to think ” _______” when they come into contact with my brand.
  • I want to try to follow the steps of the brand voice of _______.
  • I don’t like brand voices that sound _______.
  • Interacting with customers makes me feel _______.

6. Develop tone and language

This cheat sheet from the friends at Brandfolder is also a handy way to start figuring out what you want your brand voice to be, according to personality, language, tone, and overall purpose. Here’s an example of a filled out version that defines every section in 4-5 different words, descriptors or phrases.

7. Go deep in social media

When you’re feeling stuck, another great brand voice exercise is to go straight to the source on the places where you have access to your customers – social media channels. Using social listening and social analytics tools, go and locate the people in your audience (or potential audience) on social media to monitor what and how they are engaging with things. Also, take the opportunity to find brands that you resonate with or that you want to emulate in some way on social – gathering up this list and spending some time figuring out WHY they resonate with you and your brand will make all the difference.

Do you have any brand voice exercises that you’ve tried out in the past? Let us know on Twitter, we’d love to chat!