HOW TO REVOLUTIONISE CORPORATE DESIGN AND STILL BE RECOGNISABLE.

“Harper’s Bazaar” was founded in 1867 as “Harper’s Bazar” (with only one A) and was the first magazine of its kind. As you already can see on the cover the mission was clear: “A repository of fashion. Pleasure and Instruction.”

The layout changed throughout the decades and somewhere in the late 1920ies or the very early 1930ies the second A appeared in the magazine’s name.

A New Face

In 1934 a young Russian by the name of Alexey Brodovitch was appointed the new art director. When he joined the company the “Harper’s Bazaar” was already a household name.

When a product is already known it is always a big risk to change the appearance since people could not recognize it anymore or – even worse – you lose your regular customers. Let’s see how Brodovitch dealt with this challenge:

Decluttering the Layout

There are some remarkable measures that made the entire magazine layout less busy and more generous looking. This was so unusual that the layouts became iconic.

The Cover

  1. A new, very sharp font was created for cover. It is the same font Harper’s Bazaar uses to this day. For the sake of perfection it was amended for a certain edition but the style was still the same.
  2. Brodovitch hired some of the best photographers for his covers
  3. The title was put as closed to the edge as only possible. This way he gained more room for the cover photo
  4. He reduced the amount of colours drastically and only worked with highlighters or he cropped the motive and put it on a white background.

The Articles

Brodovitch was the first one to use both pages for the layouts which made each of them attractive and unique as you can see on the image below.

Why Did It Work?

Personally, I believe that two main ingredients made this idea such a hit:

  1. Brodovitch was aware of his responsibility and knew of the value of the magazine. On the cover of the edition of October 1947 the name “Harper’s” is in ancient looking lettes that remind of a glamourous past
  2. He was bold enough to do something really innovative of top quality

If ever I should have such a flash of inspiration I’ll share it with you. I wish you an inspiring week.

 

HOW I USE INSPIRATION TO REACH MY GOALS.

If you have been reading here for a while you already know that inspiration is one of my favourite topics.

Originally, I started blogging while running my own company where I used it to spread the news about my services. I soon noticed that I enjoyed all those marketing activities since I got a lot of inspirations out of them and the feedbacks from my readers showed that inspiration is contagious.

Some weeks ago I said that marketing required a plan and inspiration. The latter because nobody can predict when success will kick in. Just when I started writing the post you are now reading I stumbled over a very interesting article describing the way to success. I think most of us can relate to most of the 7 steps the author describes. To me number 4 is the most important one.

Do Not Doubt but Focus

I tend to have more than one project at the time and normally only talk to the people who can support me about it. I still could not figure out why but most people tell you – without thinking twice or having a single fact – that your idea will never work. I had a heads-up last week when I stupidly talked about my activities concerning one project.

Others will respond with meaningful phrases like “let’s hope for the best”. I think they really mean well but cannot believe for a moment that you could be successful.

Both statements tend to cloud our inspiration with doubts. Doubts tend to kill success and happiness.

How To Fight Doubts

When I talk of inspiration I do not mean to sit there and wait until something wonderful is happening. What I mean is to keep the vision, set the next goal, to plan and to work for them. Sometimes we have to re-focus – even on a different vision. But I do not believe that hope alone – although it is said to die last – is the right concept to get to where we want to be.

I would lie if I said that I never had doubts or that I never failed. Fortunately, I do have friends that really support me even if my ideas might seem farfetched. And in order to really focus I use inspirational quotes. There is nothing magical about them but they remind me to focus. I created wallpapers for my mobile phone that I happily share with you.

MARKETING. WHY YOU NEED A PLAN AND INSPIRATION.

In the previous two posts we discussed branding. Now it is time for marketing.

Why marketing needs a budget

No matter what anyone says: marketing is an important and an expensive business. Always.

There are many free resources that do not require an investment in terms of money but certainly will cost you a lot of time.

So marketing has to be budgeted in one way or the other.

Show Your Competence by Blogging

You might want to use blogs to share information on actual projects or subjects related to your field. This is a good way to create valuable marketing content that you can share on social media platforms.

Most blogs are based on WordPress which is available as freeware and can be integrated in your website. Once set up it is quite easy to use and literally offers thousands of plugins that provide various functions.

And this is where it gets a bit complicated. To find the right tools and plugins requires A LOT of testing. From my own experience I can tell that the wrong plugin can prevent your blog from functioning.

In order to avoid this you have two options:

  1. You hire an expert to do the evaluation for you
  2. You get this e-book and check these 44 tools that really work. (Definitely the smaller investment)

Share Your Content on Social Media and Plan for It

The use of social media is free of charge but the amount of time it requires can be very high. In order to minimize your time and do maximize the outcome you need a social media plan. There are many questions to be answered.

The first one is the choice of your social media platform(s). To make the choice and the planning easier for you I created a free guide.

I can already tell you that a YouTube Channel is definitely on my list.

You Will Need Inspiration

Marketing is hard work and it often takes time until results show. Quite some time ago I created a comic about blogging.

The images are from an ancient photo album from an uncle’s attic.

Although I do not know the people it seems they are somehow related to me.

This Kindle book is free of charge as from February 3 until February 7, 2017. You can also read it on your PC; just install the Kindle app and enjoy.

POWER UP YOUR MARKETING BY SETTING UP A BRAND FIRST.

Two weeks ago I introduced Biz&Brands and the idea behind it. I also stated that every business needs to invest in marketing.

But what do we market at all? I believe we market a brand which of course immediately raises the question: “What is a brand?”

What Is A Brand?

The answer could vary depending on who you ask. The brand consultancy Prophet defines a strong brand as one that makes a difference in consumer’s lives. To me this definition is quite convincing. They also established what they call a Brand Relevant Index that lists the top 50 most relevant brands in Germany, the UK and the United States.

They also emphasize that a onetime shot is not enough by far. A relevant brand must deliver constant value to the clients.

What does a Brand consist of?

First of all we need a product, a service or a very specific field of experience. A brand shows what we stand for.

Let’s take two examples:

  1. You set up a shoe shop
  2. You are a scientist in a special field

Than we need to know who and where our clients or peers are

  1. For the shoes there might be various possibilities: men, women, children, a specific sport if you design athletic shoes, even a specific geographic region for whatever reason
  2. Other scientists in your field, universities, book publishers

Now it is time for corporate identity.

Corporate identity is a very complex subject since it can comprise many aspects. After all we need to know what and who we are.

Some companies like for example McDonalds work with a franchising system and make sure all the restaurants look the same and the staff wears uniforms. Other companies have clear rules about how the receptionist has to greet customers and what the wording of their communication should look like.

An important ingredient to corporate identity is the company’s culture. It can be rather informal and people can show up jeans or more conservative. In the Anglo-Saxon world it is quite normal to address your colleagues by their first-names. This is not necessarily the case in European countries.

Moreover, what are your company’s values? Do you stand for tradition, great service or innovation? These values must be visible in your corporate design on which we will elaborate next week.

This is by the way the reason I missed out last week’s newsletter.

I modernised the corporate design of my blog, Biz&Brands and my personal website. Hope you like it.    

Branding

2015-15-2-branding

Images support your Brand

Remember, even your logo is an image. It will have at least a special font and certain colours that reflect you, your taste, personality and/or business.

The same goes for images. If you are a blogger your blog will have a certain layout. In WordPress – this is what most of people use for a blog and so do I – these layouts are called themes. So I am sure you chose one that you like and the colours match your logo.


«How To Blog With Ease. The Ultimate Tool Guide.»


Most of these themes have an indication concerning the ideal image size. Some themes are made for huge images. If your blog layout allows it please remember my last article that covers the technical aspect of images.

Use of Images

I compile all my images myself and in the course of time I developed my own style. It is comparable to a handwriting. Of course the images have all the same size.

Moreover, besides the image source (if required) EVERY image bears my logo. This has at least two advantages:

Branding

People who read my posts on a regular basis will recognize my articles by the image before they even read the title. Since we tend to keep coming back to things we know it is therefore more likely that people read the post.

Image Protection

If an image bears a logo people will hesitate to copy and reuse it. My logo is typically in the centre of the picture and the hassle to remove it is simply too big.

People who have the tool and the knowledge to do so will more likely create their own image. In other words a logo is a built-in copy protection.

Bonus

 

Even if I change my WordPress theme and maybe the size of the image my logo will still make sure people recognize my articles.

This makes them stick out of the crowd.

Image Organisation

If you compile your own images – and probably even when you buy them from a portal – you will very soon have a large stock of raw material. Until recently I stored all of it on my hard disk. Needless to say that the data backup took ages.

But this is not the only issue. The more material one has the more difficult it is to find it within a reasonable time.

Solution

So I came up with the idea to create an image data base. This is what I did.

Sub-Domain

I asked my webhosting service to create a sub-domain to my main domain and to install another WordPress database. The format of a subdomain is as follows: http://mysubdomain.domain.com. You can give this domain any name you wish since only your domain is officially registered. Instead of a subdomain you can use a subdirectory and install your WordPress database there. In this case it is: http://domain.com/mysubdirectory.

Sub-domains are normally free of charge and so is the WordPress software. You might have to pay a small amount to your hosting service for the installation.

Image Tagging

Generic WordPress does not have a tagging function for images that allow the user to search by category. The plugins that are supposed to create customized directories did not work for me.

Instead I found a very useful plugin that allows me to create as many tags as I want and to search the images by them. You can do this in the normal back-office of your WordPress.
The plugin is called WP Media Category Management and it is free of charge.

Meanwhile I have around 1200 images on my database and I am very happy with it. Since I discourage search engines from indexing it, it remains private. And even if not you still need a password and it is as secure as any blog.

For the moment this is the last article about images. Please feel free to comment and to ask questions.


Want more tips and tools? Get my e-book «How To Blog With Ease» now.