Brand Awareness: Becoming Another Kleenex

In today’s world of marketing, if you are not marketing online, you are missing a very big boat. Marketing is now a science with logistics and parameters that were largely unheard of just a few years ago. However, that is not the case with the notion of brand awareness. The auto industry was probably the biggest contributor to the idea that brand loyalty could be utilized to sell more products. That industry is over 120 years old, and brand awareness became a fashionable tool in marketing automobiles by the early 1900s.

Brand awareness, of course, is the extent to which a name, label, logo, catch phrase, jingle, or another identifier that is associated with a brand, a specific product, or a company is easily recognized by customers. Brand awareness may be old news, but the Internet has taken the concept to new heights, becoming far more measurable and quantifiable as part of an overall marketing strategy.

There are many examples of successful brand awareness implementation. It has always been primarily produced by effective advertising. The most dramatically successful advertising campaign is the one where your product becomes synonymous with the product category. For many years now, a facial tissue has been called a Kleenex regardless of what actual brand was used. This is the same result we see when some people refer to any sport-utility vehicle as a Jeep and any cola drink as a Coke.

The objective in advertising or any brand awareness marketing endeavor is not simply to get your product name or image in front of the consumer. It is to get the image into the mind of that consumer, so when the buying customer wants a product, he or she wants your product before that of any competitors. Repetitious advertising creates a memory trace that remains and is reinforced with every additional occurrence. Think of mayonnaise, hot dogs, ketchup, beer, and coffee. The odds are pretty good that in each case you thought of a specific brand. It is no coincidence that the biggest selling brands are also among those most heavily advertised in various media.

While a successful advertising campaign can create solid brand awareness, a limiting or cessation of advertising can erase the gains in a remarkably short time. Forty years ago, a steel wool soap pad was known as a Brillo Pad. Today, SOS brand is the big seller. Brillo sometimes doesn’t even get any shelf space, and we must ask when was the last time you saw an ad for Brillo scouring pads? The manufacturer failed to maintain the brand awareness level they had established. A massive advertising campaign by the manufacturers of SOS soap pads was the driving force that changed the landscape.

Advertising remains key to this process, and today the most critical medium for reaching the customer is the Internet. No other medium offers such widespread advantages in both reach and monitoring capacity. With the Internet, you can track how many times your ad has been viewed and how many times it has been clicked on.

Furthermore, social media and blogging have opened up new avenues for tracking your brand’s impact. Programs exist that can tell you how many times your brand has been searched for by a search engine. Others can reveal how many times it has been mentioned in a blog anywhere on the World Wide Web. These “mentions” can be even more critical to brand awareness than page views or clicks because each one may represent an impartial testimony to your product. Even negative discussion tends to reinforce brand awareness. The old saying applies: There is no such thing as bad publicity.

Wordcloud Brand Building

Wordcloud Brand Building

Establish it, reinforce it, and nurture it. Brand awareness can make the difference for you in becoming another brand like Kleenex.

Raster Versus Vector

What The Raster Is A Vector?

   Raster Versus Vector Comparison Photo

When a graphic designer creates a masterpiece with imagery, it’s going to be either a raster, or vector image. So what’s the difference? A raster image, simply put, is made up of pixels. A vector image, more complicatedly put, is a mathematical calculation from one point to another. Both formats of graphics are well suited for web and print needs, if you know how to use them!

The Raster Rundown

Raster Pixelated Example

Raster, or Bitmap, is any image that is made up of pixels. These pixels come together to make photos, and those photos capture all the wonderful memories we hold most dear! Raster images can become finicky to use though if not formatted correctly for your print or web needs. In almost all cases, you won’t be able to stretch the image without losing quality in the resolution. It’s always helpful to know the dpi (Dots Per Inch) and ppi (Pixels Per Inch) of your image in case your printer or web designer has specific standards for their work.

If you aren’t familiar with all of the fun image editing programs that are available, such as Adobe Photoshop, an easy trick to figure out what size your image can print at with a 300ppi, is by multiplying the finished product’s width x 300. So if you wanted to print a mailer that was 4.5 x 6 inches, you would have 6 x 300 = 1800, so your image must be at least 1800px wide to get a print with excellent quality! If you come into a situation where you already have an image, and you want to know that largest size you can print at without distorting (or stretching) the picture, divide the pixel dimension by the resolution required by your printer. So if your printer requires the standard 300ppi, and your image is 2000 pixels wide, you would have 2000 / 300 = 6.67in, which means you can print an image up to 6.67inches wide! Raster graphics are ideal when you have an image with a large amount of detail. With that large amount of detail though, comes a large amount of information for the computer to process, which can slow everything down!

Vector Wisdom

Stretched Vector Example

I am a huge, huge, fan of vector. Not only does vector art make for very clean visuals, but it’s also the least fussy to manipulate. On a huge plus side, vector images can be stretched to any size! A small bumble bee in a field of flowers on a postcard, can be transformed into the bumble bee on a mega billboard advertising for the newest honey infused energy drink, with no fractures in the final resolution, and vice versa (you may have to rearrange an eye, or alter a nose, but those are easy fixes).

A convenient feature of vector graphics, is how easy it is to edit. When you open a file that is not flattened in a program such as Adobe Illustrator, every part of the image is on a separate layer, which can easily be manipulated. Because of the way vector graphics remember data mathematically, they do not cooperate as well with images that need a high amount of detail such as exact coloring. Unfortunately, because vectors are made up of mostly lines and dots, they cannot have styling effects such as drop shadow or beveling applied to them.

Like most things in life, both graphics have their ups and downs! Figuring out what type of graphic you are going to use, will all depend on the intentions of your project and what it will require aesthetically. Thankfully with raster and vector, there are many varieties to them both which gives us the ability to constantly make unique and personal products!