Sparks February 2004 -

Sparks February 2004

In the News

Branding for small business
Heard about branding but think it’s only for the big box stores? Think again. The key elements of a brand are accessible to businesses of any size:

• Consistent visual identity (logo, printed materials, digital media, etc).
• Consistent application and promotion of your identity through advertising, public relations, networking, and all customer/client interactions.
• Clear and relevant differentiation from your competitors. What can you do/deliver that no one else can?

Delivery of these key branding components doesn’t have to incur huge advertising expenses. Particularly if your audience is local or specialized, small business can focus brand interactions very narrowly. And unlike big box stores, small businesses have the built-in edge of being able to deliver personalized service. This is one of the best ways to build a brand, since branding is essentially about building relationships with your audience. Successful brands create strong customer loyalty, decreased price sensitivity, increased market share, and greater ability to hire and retain qualified employees. Learn more about small business branding (free membership required to access article).

Latest Web stats and
what they mean to your biz

A variety of reports were published last quarter with statistics on a variety of Internet-related themes:

• Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising spending more than tripled in one year, bringing in almost a third of all Internet advertising revenue. Banner ads are losing popularity (due to low ROI) and classifieds are gaining popularity. Source
• Online advertising revenue in the US was up 10.5% for the first six months of 2003, totalling $3.29bn. Source
• Online advertising accounts for 6.6% of all media spending, but it grew at 4 times the rate of any other sector of advertising budgets. Source
• The number of “silver surfers” (seniors using the Internet) in Europe rose by nearly a third in 2003. Similar to U.S. seniors, European silver surfers are heavy users of travel and finance sites, particularly online banking. Source Contrary to stereotypes, seniors are sophisticated Web users. The least sophisticated? Baby Boomers!
• In the U.S., men generally buy online before or at work between 6 and 8 a.m. Women shop and do other online chores at home in the evening. Source

What do these stats mean to your business? First, PPC is a viable advertising channel, and is consequently becoming far more sophisticated and more expensive. See our Web Smarts resource page for more info on PPC. Second, know your audience! Seniors are an untapped market for many online services. Third, if you’re trying to reach men, time your PPC advertising for mornings, but time your advertising for evenings to reach women. And lastly, be aware that much of the growth and sophistication of Internet advertising will increase as broadband comes to more homes.




This month’s winner: Brian Kleber!
In addition to a sudden sense of elated surprise, Brian wins a T-shirt featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a T-shirt with a custom design! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Cathy Moore, Writer
Cathy Moore is a professional writer specializing in instructional materials and corporate marketing. She’s also an award-winning children’s book writer. Cathy designed her initial Website but wanted to take her business to the next level and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

We worked with Cathy to develop a new visual identity encompassing logo, business card, and Website. The new look is driven by bright colors, a “typewriter” typeface with just the right amount of fun, and dynamic typographic characters such as asterisks and quotes. This new look encapsulates Cathy’s business approach: bright, professional, energetic, clear, and with a sense of fun!

We simplified her Website’s navigation so both potential clients and other writers can find what they need quickly and easily. Bright colors, large shifts in scale, and clear structure create maximum impact. We also designed the site so Cathy can make frequent content changes by designating different areas for content and “spotlight” links. The result is a fun, clean, unique visual identity that brought in compliments as soon as it was launched!

See the new site designed by Design.