Understanding AI and Its Impact on Your Business

Understanding AI and Its Impact on Your Business

As technology continues to advance, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly prevalent in the business world. From automating tasks to improving customer experiences, AI has the potential to revolutionise the way we do business. However, with this new technology comes challenges and concerns about its integration into existing business models. In this article, we will explore the benefits of implementing AI in your business operations, as well as the challenges you may face when integrating it into your current model. We will also provide tips for preparing your business for the future with AI technology. So whether you’re a small business owner or a CEO of a large corporation, read on to learn how AI can impact your business and how you can prepare for its implementation.

Understanding AI and Its Impact on Your Business
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term that has been thrown around a lot in recent years, but what does it actually mean for your business? Simply put, AI refers to the ability of machines to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence. This can include anything from speech recognition and image analysis to decision-making and problem-solving.

The impact of AI on your business will depend largely on the industry you operate in and the specific tasks you need to perform. However, one thing is certain: AI has the potential to revolutionise the way we work. By automating repetitive or time-consuming tasks, businesses can free up their employees to focus on more complex and creative work. This not only increases productivity but also leads to greater job satisfaction among employees.

Another key benefit of AI is its ability to process vast amounts of data quickly and accurately. This means that businesses can make more informed decisions based on real-time insights, rather than relying on gut instinct or guesswork. For example, an e-commerce business could use AI algorithms to analyse customer behaviour and recommend personalised products or services based on their browsing history.

Of course, there are also challenges associated with integrating AI into your business model. One major concern is the potential loss of jobs as machines take over tasks previously performed by humans. It’s important for businesses to consider how they can reskill their workforce and create new roles that complement rather than compete with AI technology. Additionally, there are ethical considerations around issues such as data privacy and bias in algorithmic decision-making that must be addressed.

Preparing Your Business for the Future with AI Technology
As AI technology continues to advance, it is important for businesses to prepare themselves for the future. This means understanding how AI can benefit their operations and identifying areas where it can be implemented. It also means being aware of the challenges that come with integrating AI into a business model.

One way to prepare your business for the future with AI technology is by investing in employee training. As AI becomes more prevalent in the workplace, employees will need to learn new skills and adapt to new technologies. By providing training programs, businesses can ensure that their employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to work alongside AI systems.

Another important step in preparing your business for the future with AI technology is by conducting a thorough analysis of your current operations. This includes identifying areas where AI can be implemented to improve efficiency and reduce costs. By taking a proactive approach, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in an increasingly digital world.

Finally, it is important for businesses to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in AI technology. This means keeping an eye on industry trends and attending conferences or workshops related to AI. By staying informed, businesses can make informed decisions about how best to integrate AI into their operations and stay ahead of competitors who may be slower to adopt new technologies.

The Benefits of Implementing AI in Your Business Operations
Implementing AI in your business operations can bring numerous benefits that can help you stay ahead of the competition. One of the most significant advantages is increased efficiency and productivity. With AI, you can automate repetitive tasks, freeing up time for your employees to focus on more complex and creative work. This not only improves their job satisfaction but also leads to better results for your business.

Another benefit of implementing AI is improved accuracy and precision. Machines are less prone to errors than humans, which means that AI-powered systems can provide more accurate data analysis and predictions. This can help you make better-informed decisions based on reliable information, leading to better outcomes for your business.

AI can also help you enhance customer experience by providing personalised recommendations and support. By analysing customer data, AI-powered systems can identify patterns and preferences, allowing you to tailor your products or services to meet their specific needs. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also increases loyalty and retention rates.

Finally, implementing AI in your business operations can help you reduce costs in the long run. While there may be initial investment costs associated with adopting new technology, the benefits of increased efficiency, accuracy, and productivity will ultimately lead to cost savings over time. Additionally, by automating certain tasks, you may be able to reduce labour costs or reallocate resources towards other areas of your business.

The Challenges of Integrating AI into Your Business Model
Integrating AI into your business model can be a challenging task. One of the biggest challenges is the cost associated with implementing AI technology. The initial investment required to integrate AI into your business operations can be significant, and it may take some time before you see a return on your investment.

Another challenge is finding the right talent to manage and operate AI systems. Skilled professionals who understand how to work with AI technology are in high demand, and it can be difficult to find individuals with the necessary expertise to integrate AI into your business model.

Data privacy and security concerns are also a major challenge when integrating AI into your business model. As businesses collect more data, there is an increased risk of data breaches and cyber attacks. It’s important for businesses to have strong security measures in place to protect their data and ensure that customer information remains confidential.

Finally, there may be resistance from employees who fear that their jobs will be replaced by machines. It’s important for businesses to communicate clearly with their employees about how AI will be used within the organisation and how it will impact their roles. By involving employees in the process of integrating AI into the business model, they may feel more comfortable with the changes taking place.

HOW TO: Automatically add FREE GIFT to WooCommerce cart

Product ID - WooCommerce

On my own digital art store, I wanted to add a free set of postcards for every purchase over £20.

There’s different ways I could set this up, via a plugin or manually, using a coupon or simply run it automatically.
Plugins cost and of course, need maintaining etc, adding a coupon was OK, but then the customer has to do some manual work.
I wanted to make the journey simple and automatic.

I found the easiest way to achieve this was to create the FREE product and then use a function to automatically add said product to the cart.

Here’s how to achieve this using WooCommerce or ClassicCommerce:

PLEASE NOTE: ALWAYS BACK-UP EVERYTHING BEFORE TESTING AND USE A DEVELOPMENT SERVER, NEVER A LIVE SITE

First create your FREE product:
Create a FREE product - WooCommerce

Make sure you set ‘Catalog visibility: Hidden‘ otherwise the product will be listed in your shop as normal.
Also, check ‘Sold individually’ otherwise anyone can claim as many as they want!

Free product sold individually - WooCommerce

Once the product is set up, take a note of the product ID – this can be found in the edit page URL:
Product ID - WooCommerce

Next, add this code to your theme functions.php:

// Add free gifted product for specific cart subtotal
add_action( 'woocommerce_before_calculate_totals', 'check_free_gifted_product' );
function check_free_gifted_product( $cart ) {
if ( is_admin() && ! defined( 'DOING_AJAX' ) )
return;

// Settings
$free_product_id = 1189; // CHANGE THIS TO YOUR PRODUCT ID
$targeted_subtotal = 20; // CHANGE THIS TO THE REQUIRED LOWEST CART TOTAL

$cart_subtotal = 0; // Initializing

// Loop through cart items (first loop)
foreach ( $cart->get_cart() as $cart_item_key => $cart_item ){
// When free product is is cart
if ( $free_product_id == $cart_item['product_id'] ) {
$free_key = $cart_item_key;
$free_qty = $cart_item['quantity'];
$cart_item['data']->set_price(0); // Optionally set the price to zero
} else {
$cart_subtotal += $cart_item['line_total'] + $cart_item['line_tax'];
}
}

// If subtotal match and free product is not already in cart, add it
if ( ! isset($free_key) && $cart_subtotal >= $targeted_subtotal ) {
$cart->add_to_cart( $free_product_id );
}
// If subtotal doesn't match and free product is already in cart, remove it
elseif ( isset($free_key) && $cart_subtotal < $targeted_subtotal ) { $cart->remove_cart_item( $free_key );
}
// Keep free product quantity to 1.
elseif ( isset($free_qty) && $free_qty > 1 ) {
$cart->set_quantity( $free_key, 1 );
}
}

// Display free gifted product price to zero on minicart
add_filter( 'woocommerce_cart_item_price', 'change_minicart_free_gifted_item_price', 10, 3 );
function change_minicart_free_gifted_item_price( $price_html, $cart_item, $cart_item_key ) {
$free_product_id = 1189; // CHANGE THIS TO YOUR PRODUCT ID

if( $cart_item['product_id'] == $free_product_id ) {
return wc_price( 0 );
}
return $price_html;
}

Finally test the code by adding something to your cart ensuring the minimum cart total is reached and watch the FREE product get added automatically.

FREE product added to cart - WooCommerce

If you’re looking to set yourself up with an ecommerce store or just need help and advise on maximising your online presence get in touch today.

Ecommerce near me

Ecommerce near me

One nice little earner when it comes to Google searches is the ‘near me‘ search for local businesses.

What is ‘near me‘?
Let’s presume you’re sitting at home on your phone and decide you need to find the nearest plumber.
So, you open up your browser and search for ‘plumbers near me‘.
Using Google, a lot of these searches will be ads, but, sprinkled in between will be ‘other’ plumbers also within close proximity to your current location.

Similarly, you might be visiting somewhere you’re not used to, you get a puncture and need a garage – again you can search for ‘garages near me‘. The returned result will have a local aspect ensuring you can get the problem fixed, quickly.

Your potential customers are in need of something and they want it now so where is your business on the list of local Google results?

As a premium web consultation, design and development agency, Point and Stare have worked extensively with businesses building up their online presence especially when it comes to ecommerce and selling online.
For the the main part we use WordPress as a content management system (CMS) utilising WooCommerce, and Shopify amongst other platforms for our client ecommerce stores.

If your business serves a specific locale, you need ensure you are targeting the ‘near me‘ listings.

As a business, you need to be selling online and no matter if you are selling a course, club memberships, physical items like kitchen equipment, baked goods or even sports equipment we can handle it.

If your business is not yet selling online, or if you need some help ensuring your online store features in ‘near me‘ searches, get in touch today.

Stock in the Cupboard is Dead Stock – Get it Out There!

Stock in the Cupboard is Dead Stock

You’ll sell very little of anything – no matter how good it is – if you keep it a well-hidden secret. We might be an online media agency, but this tip goes for all areas of your sales, including those offline areas, too.
If you don’t tell people what you do, and you don’t tell them often enough for them to notice, you’ll sell very little.
The sad thing is, many lost sales aren’t due to a lack of marketing touchpoints, PPC, sales techniques, or clever sales funnels-thingies. Many lost sales are due to empty shelves, a lack of till, or even the existence of a shop at all.

If you have something to sell, sell it!

A full stock cupboard of ideas equals a lacklustre bottom line
We all have wonderful ideas and business concepts. We come up with new products or services when we least expect it – did you know you can get a waterproof digital notepad for the shower as so many people have ideas whilst washing their particulars?

Anyway.

The shortage isn’t of ideas; it’s in the implementation of the ideas.
– Got a new service? Put it on your website.
– Updated your service offering? Email it out.
– Got some new-fandangled packages? Maybe tell your social media connections about it?

It might sound bleedin’ obvious, but an idea is just an idea until you put it into action and tell the world about it.

Backroom shelves still need storage space
If you sit on an idea for months, years or even forever, it’s also taking up space in your proverbial stock room. Your head, your cloud storage, your quarterly meetings, and your vision boards. It’s taking bandwidth in the online world and the real world without earning its keep.

Leaving it as an idea, or a service and product you sell when you remember, keeps it a secret and doesn’t allow it to reach its full potential. Worse still, it’s likely to be taking up valuable time and space (in your digital storage, cupboards, or grey matter) that you could free up for something else, or simply make better use (profit) of.

Created but not shared, is potential not results
You did create the product? Great! Where is it? Oh!? It’s actually in the stock room? It’s actually hidden from view? You’re not even in the analogy above, you’re living this nightmare.

Get that product into real life and get the use from it. This doesn’t even need to be a product you sell, either.
When you go networking you might take a roller banner or some product samples with you. Since live networking took a bit of a sabbatical (thanks, Covid) that banner is sitting in your car, and those product samples are gathering dust.

You still go networking online though, right? Get the banner out of your boot, pop a bookcase behind you, and share your products and your brand with a cool, real-life backdrop. Zoom backgrounds can be a bit twee, but a banner and some actual products can really make you come alive.

Whatever you have, give it some light of day to shine in.

Brand merch? Show it off
Just because you’re not at business shows every month doesn’t mean you can’t use those mugs, pens, mini banners, or team mascots either. Just like the above example, bring them into your online Zoom or Teams calls and add some 3D to your backdrop.

It really makes you look like the real deal and judging by the lack of Zoom etiquette, you’ll not need to do much to rise above the rest and stand out. Being branded and having assets makes you appear bigger than you actually are because of the associations with branded merchandise being for only larger, more successful businesses.

Side hustle? Push it forward
Maybe you have some great products that you make in your spare time? Maybe you’re creating chocolate brownies for the local market, or you like to make handmade jewellery or original art in your spare time. Set yourself up a simple website or Facebook page and sell it!

Why not? Mostly this will cost you nothing but time. Get those things online and at least give them the chance to sell. We’ve always been amazed at what people will buy online. Go and make the most of it.

Set the target for your side project
Got a side project you’ve been beavering away at for years? Why not set yourself a timescale or target and get it live and get it earning you some dollar? It might just surprise you, you know.

Using free social media groups, online networking, and a bit of elbow grease you can drive some interest to it and then let the internet cogs go into drive and bring home some cash.

Sure, there’s more to it than that, but even Amazon started somewhere, right!?

Switch your brain or physical storage into server space and sell the darn thing!
What’s stopping you? Not much.

Decades ago, entrepreneurs and inventors would have killed for Facebook, Instagram, and platforms like WordPress. You have the ability to be online in less than a day, promoting your business to the world for free. Again, there’s a lot more to it, but the journey of a thousand steps starts with a few clicks.

Get it out there and at least give it a chance. You’ll sell way more than you will when you leave it hidden in your store cupboard.

If you need a few more encouraging words, or would like more advice on how to get your stuff selling online, just contact me today.

V&Me

Just wanted to thank you for the fantastic job you’ve done in changing the website.
We are now literally winning new customers EVERY day since those changes were made.
Thank you very much!

I failed, and you’ll never guess what came next

I failed, and you'll never guess what came next

Life is full of ups and downs. You win some, you lose some. True success is about learning from your losses. But the simple fact is in life you do lose some of the time.

You lose the chance.

You lose the opportunity.

And sometimes even though you had both of those … you lose the pitch.

It’s easy (and forgivable) to want to sit and lick your proverbial wounds after losing a pitch, but where does that get you other than sitting miserably in the corner snapping spaghetti?
Feeling sorry for yourself isn’t the ideal outcome of an unsuccessful business deal, proposal, or pitch.

“Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Robert Kiyosaki (author of the famous book Rich Dad, Poor Dad) knows all too well that the best way to handle rejection and failure is to learn from it. Sounds tough, doesn’t it? Sure, but things that are worth doing usually are.

Learn from your mistakes
We know this might seem easier to say than do – especially when you’re in the pit of failure – but failure is essential to growth. Think back to some of your life’s failures (or flip your thinking and call them learning points) and you’ll soon see the opportunity to learn was there. You’ll probably even see some of the really great things that came out of it. You just didn’t know that would happen at the time.

Mistakes and failure can hurt, and we don’t expect you to think or feel any other way. When you make a mistake or when you miss out on that proposal or pitch, there’s nearly always a lesson to be learnt.

There are so many examples of great things that came out of failure, and although it can feel a bit ‘twee’ in this YouTube-driven world, it’s a great thing, we promise!
There are some common reasons to have lost potential business. These include:
– The prospect found a cheaper/better alternative
– The prospect didn’t have the authority to decide
– The prospect ghosted you

Let’s delve into these painful outcomes and see what we can unpick …
“Someone else was cheaper!”
Ah … price! It’s an important factor in business, for sure. But do we ever genuinely buy on price? Many would argue that we don’t buy on price, but sometimes we use it as a good excuse when we’re not convinced. If we did all buy on price, we’d all be driving around in cheap, second-hand cars. We wouldn’t all have the latest iPhones, and our TVs would be considerably smaller than they are. We don’t always choose the cheapest option.

We buy on instinct, on gut feeling, and on emotion. Price has a place in the sense that we like to get perceived VALUE, but often a failure here could simply mean that you didn’t pitch well enough or that you were pitching at an unsuitable business in the first place.

If someone wants a cheap website for example, they’re often not the right fit for us. We don’t build cheap websites because we understand how much goes into a site that converts and does the job a website is supposed to do. Websites can be complex and need a lot of planning and work. When someone doesn’t understand that, or doesn’t show any willingness to learn, we know we’re not a good fit for each other. And that’s fine. There are plenty of other people who can help them.

Learning point: Price is important, but more important is getting the right customers who are on the same page as you.

“I need to speak with my boss”
Alarm bells! This is down to two reasons (and you can learn from both!):
You’re speaking to the wrong person. You’re not speaking to the decision maker and that could indicate that your pitch is about to land even worse with the person who’s got the decision to make.

It’s a polite, “no thanks” and they’re simply stalling the inevitable.

Either way, you got something wrong here. It could have been the wrong contact or the wrong pitch. Something happened that they didn’t expect, and they didn’t like.

Learning point: Make sure you find out who the decision maker is and what the decision-making process is way before you pitch. What you pitch isn’t nearly as important as who you’re pitching to.

No response
Ghosted? Yuck. There’s not much worse in sales than the cold shoulder, is there? Not hearing back at all could show you a multitude of sins on your sales, but it’s likely to fall under the brackets of:
– You missed the mark
– They went with someone else and didn’t quite have the guts to tell you
– You were never in the race; they just needed some prices to benchmark
– They weren’t that bothered about what you had to offer

The circumstances changed and they’ve cast you aside
Either way, there’s a great tip here that works. Wanna hear it? Of course you do.

The ‘close the file email’
The ‘close the file email’ takes away the anxiety and pressure from your prospect. You simply say something along the lines of:
“Hey, It doesn’t seem like this project is a priority for you right now, so I’m going to close the file. Is that OK with you?”

This can often result in your prospect coming back with the real reason it’s not been replied to … or you hear nothing and you really can put this one to bed and move on. It’s better to know that the sale isn’t going to happen than holding out false hopes. Go and focus on those ones that you’re more likely to close.

Of course … if you’ve only followed up once and didn’t really try that hard then you may well have been guilty of not going after it hard enough. This isn’t about pressure sales though; this is about ensuring you’ve nudged the prospect enough and given them plenty of chances to read your email or take your call. Life’s busy for us all, after all.

Learning point: If you’ve not had a response, you might not have followed up enough or in the right way. Sometimes you’re being avoided as they don’t want to say, “No thanks”. Sometimes they just missed your email or call and one more time could be worth it. Help them realise that it’s fine to say no at any point during the process so they’re comfortable being honest with you.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison knows what true success is and it lies in the depths of failure. Next time you screw up or simply fail a little – go and search for your lesson. Life’s one big learning curve and your failed sales pitches and proposals are no different.

Top Ethical Social Media Alternatives

Mastodon

By nature, we humans are social creatures.
Back in the Palaeolithic age, we tended to stay in our close family units but over time, with the invention of the telephone, the car, the aeroplane, we had the ability to spread our wings and grow bigger social circles.

And then social media was invented.

Now, social media can be a great tool – it’s enabled people to find long lost relatives and friends, enabled some people to become very rich and, of course, as a business, has opened up masses of new marketing channels and industries.

It can also be a massive opportunity for those with nefarious thoughts to spy and pry into our everyday existance, farm masses of data and profit at our expense.

You don’t have to Facebook/ LinkedIn/ Twitter
Because of the amount of data we spew out every second of our lives these platforms know what you want and are going to do next, before you even know.
Sometimes social media algorithms ‘suggest’ what we want, where we go, and what we buy, or, in reality, what they want us to want, where they want us to go, and what they want us to buy.

There are ethical alternatives
These are platforms that have ‘don’t do evil’ enshrined into their purpose.

So, without further ado, below are 6 ethical social media alternatives.

Mastodon
Mastadon
Social networking, back in your hands
Follow friends and discover new ones among more than 4.4M people. Publish anything you want: links, pictures, text, video. All on a platform that is community-owned and ad-free.

Friendica
Friendica
A Decentralized Social Network
Keep in contact with people you care about.

JoinDiaspora
JoinDiaspora
The online social world where you are in control
Own your own data, choose your audience, be who you want to be.

Zap
Zap
An ethical alternative
Zap is simply the best social networking platform you’ve never heard of.

Scuttlebutt
Scuttlebutt
A decentralised platform
It’s time to build our own Internet.

Steemit
Steemit
A blockchain-based social media Dapp (decentralized application)
Steemit creates communities where users are rewarded for sharing their voice. It’s a new kind of attention economy.

And there you have a few alternative social media platforms so you don’t have to stick to the unethical platforms.
Naturally, if you know of any other alternative social media platforms trying to do good in the world, or, just need more help or advice, feel free to contact us anytime.

Those WordPress plugins you just don’t need

Those WordPress plugins you just don't need

When setting up your brand new WordPress website, you’ll find that you need to also install what is commonly known as plugins.
There are snippets of code that add specific functionality to your website.

For example, you might be using WordPress as an event management system, so you install plugins to enable ticket sales, listings etc.
If you’re looking to run a membership site, there are many plugins to help you achieve this.

How many plugins you need totally depends on what you want to do – look at WordPress as the engine to drive a content management system (CMS) and the plugins are ‘souping up’ your website giving it flared arches, spoilers and nitrous oxide.
The obvious answer to this question, though, is ZERO – the more plugins you install, the more chance these can affect your website speed and security, so, less is more, but if you want to upgrade the fuel system, you’re going to need to modify the engine a bit.

To find out what plugins you need, most people just ‘Google’ for suggestions, and end up installing the generics.
As we all know, the obvious answers are not always the best.

Here is a list of general plugins that you might see banded about and why you should go for an alternative.

When you first install WordPress you’ll see 2 plugins installed by default: Akismet and Hello Dolly.

Akismet – Spam filtering plugin.
Checks your comments and contact form submissions against a database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content.
What they don’t tell you is that it’s only effective up to a point and, of course, as it ‘phones home’ to send data to/ from the Akismet servers, it can slow your site down and sometimes gives false positives.

If you’re not running a blog then you’ll more than likely not have use of the comments system and therefore, uninstall.

Hello Dolly – Apart from sentimental values, this plugin is an absolutely pointless plugin that adds no functionality at all.

Definitely delete Hello Dolly without it having any impact on your site.

Next you’ll find the following generic recommendations and here I’ll list why they’re not to be used and any alternatives.

Jetpack – A behemoth of a plugin that covers security, marketing and performance.
The problem is, it’s huge and sends data back/ forth to the parent company.
Like Photoshop, the vast majority of users only utilise around 10% of the functions.
You need to connect it to a main wordpress.com account so it can send data back/ forth to the parent company servers and can slow your site down.

Alternative: Decide what specific functions you actually need and research individual specialist plugins.

Yoast SEO‘More nags than a pedigree stable’ … that should be their strapline.
Install this plugin and you’ll be bombarded with sales messages. It’ll take over your admin area and scare you into believing all other plugins will eat your babies.

Alternative: All In One SEO or SEO Framework – Much lighter plugins that just do the job of assisting with correct SEO code and don’t nag you like an obsessed mother.

Contact Form 7 – This is a form plugin that has had security and performance issues in the past. It’s often recommended because it’s free, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right plugin to use.

Alternative: Gravity Forms or, if you’re using Advanced Custom Fields, look at Advanced Forms Pro.

Don’t be tempted to install a raft of caching plugins – instead get a quality hosting package, optimise your website appropriately and your website would be just as fast.

The same with any plugins that give admin access to files or the database – Adminer, WP DBManager for example – as these functions should be available via your webhost and using these plugins can open up security holes.

Our usual advice when it comes to building a successful WordPress based website is to do the research and don’t just go for the obvious and, of course, get in touch if you need any other help.

Branding: “No, it’s not just a logo!”

Branding: “No, it’s not just a logo!”

There are many elements to a successful business that are also attributed to a successful website. From messaging to content, and especially the products or services you offer; getting these right before you plaster them on your website is key.
But right up there with the most important areas is the brand. And this is where so many businesses fail to see true value.

Brand is more than just a logo. Way more!

Branding is more than just design
Let’s start this consideration right at the most important part.

Branding is more than just the design. A good brand will actually lead you down a journey of tone of voice, core messaging and ideal customer persona. You’ll be introduced to words like ‘ideal avatar’ or ‘persona’. These words (and exploration activities) will steer you into explaining who you help and sell to, what they really care about, and why you do what you do.

Without fully understanding this, you’ll rarely get a brand to land and that links hand-in-hand to your offering, too.

Once you know who you help, how you do it, and what’s really ‘in it’ for your customers, you’ll then be able to match up your business to their needs … and that’s where a strong brand comes in really handy.

A brand (when done well) will be the magnetic force between buyer and seller because the business – the brand – has put in the groundwork to fully understand them and then translated that into a cool brand that they love.

Colour me, blue?
Of course, once you have the messaging right, you can then move onto visual design.

There’s so much psychology involved with colour. Certain colours can represent trust or authority, while other colours can signify ideas around being playful or fresh. Getting this part right really matters as you’ll be tapping into the foundations of the human mind.

Even if your customers have no idea about the power of colour, it still works on them! It’s innate. If you’re human (and not one of those bots crawling our website, hello there!), then colour makes you feel different emotions and act differently – and that matters in the world of visual communications.

As the famous designer, Wim Crouwel once said ‘if in doubt, I always use blue‘.

Your brand sets your colour palette
When you decide on your ideal colour, you’ll then need a colour palette to go with it. A colour palette is a bank of colours that work well together, with some used in more important places than others.

Contrary to how some people ‘tinker’ with their websites, you can’t just have any old colour shoved in any old place. And just because you like the colour green it doesn’t mean you can start using green buttons everywhere. These days, many bespoke websites allow you to drop in the colour palette which will help you stay consistent across your website as you add new pages and posts.

Your colour palette will of course live around your logo, and you’ll have some colours for other areas of your brand, too. But the colours from your ‘brand’ aren’t always in your logo. Just looking at a logo as the brand is like some form of colour blindness for business in some respects!

As we mentioned, there’s more to your brand than the logo – way more.

This is not a typo – it’s a typography section
Oh yes, even the kerning (the spacing between letters or characters) is set by the brand. The way your words flow on the eye might not be the thing you dream about, but branding folk really get off on this stuff. The fonts and typography will be set at the point your brand is created and this should mean that all future graphics, headers, and more will follow this style.

The difference between a brand that places importance on the consistency of this stuff and one that doesn’t is huge. It’s the difference between a big company and a small one … but a small one can easily be ‘on brand’ and look way more professional by getting it right.

“It’s all elements-a-varying, darling!”
Invest in quality elements. Please. The design elements that can be used across your website and printed or digital material can really lift a brand to the next level. Having some little icons designed with your brand can be the difference between a website that is on brand, to one that simply looks like ‘Just Another Bloomin’ WordPress Website’!

Elements can be used on business cards, leaflets, website banners, digital graphics, social media videos … the list goes on. Keeping it all consistent doesn’t just look great either – it continues the strong brand message created by someone who knew what they were doing. And if you look like you know what you’re doing with your branding, you’ll be considered to be more trustworthy in all areas of business.

Seriously … it’s the little things that matter with branding and not just the logo. OK?

To be a true Jedi, you’ll need a guide young padawan
Get some brand guidelines created with your brand. An experienced designer should do this for you alongside the branding exercise. Brand guidelines help you understand how and when to use the elements, the colours, the typography and everything we’ve mentioned above. There will be some rules about where and how you can share your assets, like for example you probably wouldn’t want it to be presented in a different colour or too near unrelated text. These guidelines keep you on brand, not off brand and can be your brand bible for all future content, builds, marketing and all that good stuff that drives home the bacon.

For super bonus points set yourself up with an Brand Asset Management system so you can share the brand assets with any stakeholders and third parties that need them. As well as saving them time and effort it’ll make it much easier to have a portfolio of ‘on-brand’ assets. It saves them guessing and also shows that you’re serious about brand. And you are serious about brand, right?

Put it on expenses!
Oh … and you can claim all this back, too. The lovely government see the value in a brand (they’re not all bad, you know), so you can claim back spending on your branded stuff.

All the money you spend is a business, not personal, expense – so claim it when you have printing done as well as the entire rebrand, uniform, banners for networking and digital content for the website and other places online. We’re happy to discuss this with you if you need further guidance, or you could chat to your accountant who should know the score.

Branding: more than just a logo – way more!
Don’t believe us? Go look at a company like Cadbury who recently rebranded. It cost MILLIONS and the final results were … well a bit ‘spot the difference’ if you only looked at the logo!

But it was way more than ‘just a logo’. They had everything redesigned from packaging to messaging, and that does need a lot of thought, planning, and cash!

Your brand (we hope) is more than just a logo. If it is just a logo then we’re afraid to say that you don’t actually have a brand … you’re the proud owner of a JPEG, sorry, BUT get in touch with us and we can put all that right. Today!