Branding 101 for Small Business
Welcome to Season 1, Episode 8, Branding 101 for Small Business, of Web and BeyondCast. What is Branding? Why Should Small Business owners care? That’s the goal of this episode.
(If you’re reading this in a podcast directory/app, please visit http://webandbeyondcast.com/008 for clickable links and the full show notes and transcript of this cast.)
To help answer this question, I have with me today, Reggie Holmes, the owner and Creative Director at Enthuse Creative, a branding and design studio based in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Enthuse Creative specializes in brand strategy, design and management for services-oriented startups, small businesses and professional organizations. Reggie brings 9+ years of strategic thinking and creative talent to the plate for his clients, developing award-winning visual solutions for print and digital media.
If you’d like to discuss this episode, please click here to leave a comment down below (this jumps you to the bottom of the post), or feel free to contact me here about any other questions or comments.
So, Reggie, tell us what brought you to branding, strategy and design? What attracted you to this profession?
I have always been interested in design, ever since I was a young child. I can remember when I used to design logos and apparel for fictional sports franchises.
I have a Fine Arts degree and I appreciate fine art disciplines like drawing and painting, but I am most drawn to commercial art, lines, shapes and how they work with type and text to communicate concepts and ideas. This was solidified for me during a computer graphics class my senior year in high school. I like that design is more geared toward communication than expression. It affects our everyday lives in so many ways, from signage and advertising to almost everything we read each day on paper or screens.
What is branding? How should Small Business approach the concept in terms of practicality for their business? Ergo, why should they care?
Your brand is in many respects your business’ most valuable asset. Branding is the cumulative entities, identities, expressions and extensions – all the “touchpoints” that make up that brand. It is all the elements inherent to your business or organization that help distinguish it from anything else.
Branding can be thought of in terms of addition (+) and multiplication (x)
You are adding individual elements but they will have multiplied effect as they reinforce your brand identity and message across the many platforms/media channels that we have available to us today.
Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day. And as marketers are presented with more and more channels to reach their customers, that number is growing rapidly.
What are the components of a Small Business Brand?
- Visual Elements (logo, colors, marketing collateral, website, app, signage, retail/point-of-sale)
- Verbal Elements (tagline, web copy, voicemail/phone greeting, customer service)
- Tangible v. Intangible (tone, online tech support or phone number, price or no-price)
- Promise/Proposition (identify what brand represents, values, goals)
- Promote (highlight and reinforce positive qualities)
- Position (identity strengths/ target audience/demographic/differentiate)
- Provide (information/context)
For the solo entrepreneur, you yourself are the brand, especially early in the beginning while you build. There ought to be harmony and not a disconnection between what you project personally and what your business projects. Everything will create a story that is uniquely yours, language, characters and narrative, therefore it must all be connected and congruous.
How can a startup business owner with little to no budget start out branding so that when they are ready to, say, hire you, they’ve not gone down a wrong path?
Ask themselves some key questions:
Who is my target (Market)?
What is my (Message)?
What is my (Method)?
Begin with a monologue, which will eventually become a dialogue with everyone who engages your business.
There is a strong temptation to cut corners – have a strong business plan and many advisors. Strategy precedes design. A strong business plan (including brand/ marketing plan) is a firm foundation upon which to build.
Don’t just throw money at the cheapest option. I’ve seen this come back to bite people in some excruciating ways. Mention meeting just the other day. Also, don’t feel like you need to get everything at once. The items you get designed, social platforms you engage on etc. should be good fits for your business. Be wary of anyone trying to sell you what you don’t need.
Develop a relationship with a design professional, not unlike a bookkeeper/accountant relationship.
If a business has a budget, what should they do before they meet with a designer, if anything?
In a word, Research! Come into the conversation with data and questions. Your designer should ask you as many questions as you ask them.
Remember, our goal from the creative side is to help you communicate key information about your business so that your potential customers/clients can make a decision to purchase from you. This means my goal is not just creating pretty designs. We’re into communication not just cosmetics.
One thing that makes for a great client is the ability to communicate not just what you don’t like, but what you do like and why you like it.
Think in terms of investment and value, not just cost and price.
Understand where branding fits in terms of where your business organization process is. Don’t do it too soon, don’t put it off and try to do it on the cheap in a haphazard fashion. It needs to be carefully thought-out and executed and the craft of the produced design should reflect that. This is where advice and plan are extremely helpful.
What should Small Business startups and owners look for when hiring a branding, design or creative agency to help them build their brand and marketing collateral?
A few key things:
- A firm that will offer you the level of engagement in the creative process that is right for you. How involved do you want to be?
- A firm that is willing to educate you on their methodology, techniques and process. [Designers] increasingly want to be valued as strategic, creative partners.
Make sure you understand their process. They should be able to explain the value they will add through their services.
When you see their work, do you see work that represents the level of creativity/skill you require. Do they demonstrate an understanding of your vision and goals.
Trustworthy, integrity and honesty – goes without saying. Someone you would enjoy working with, because hopefully, you’re able to build a long-term partner who will be with you as your business grows!
In this Cast | Branding 101 for Small Business
Ray Sidney-Smith, Host
Show Notes | Branding 101 for Small Business
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Reggie Holmes 0:00
I’m an advocate for anything that helps people develop more of a design language and understanding education. I mean, I don’t expect people to know what I know. But the more they know about what makes design appealing, attractive, effective, I think it just, it helps everybody.
Voiceover Artist 0:22
Welcome to web and beyond cast where small business comes to learn about marketing and managing on the web and beyond with your host re Sydney Smith.
Ray Sidney-Smith 0:33
Hello. They’re small business owners, entrepreneurs and community. Welcome to season one, Episode Seven of web and beyond cast. I’m a Sydney Smith Today we are going to be talking about branding, one on one for small business and I have the pleasure of having on the show to answer the question, what is branding, how to brand and all of that other important information that small businesses really need to know about caring about nurturing, maintaining, and of course at the start developing a small business brand. I have Richie homes, the owner and creative director of enthuse creative or branding and design studio based in Washington, DC. Welcome to the show, Reggie.
Reggie Holmes 1:14
Thank you for having me. Ray. It’s a pleasure to be on
Ray Sidney-Smith 1:17
with you. Wonderful. so enthused creative specializes in brand strategy design and management for service oriented startups, small businesses and professional organizations. And you Reggie bring eight plus years of strategic thinking and creative talent to the plate for your clients. And you’ve developed award winning visual solutions for print and digital media. Tell me a little bit about what brought you to branding strategy and design What attracted you to the profession of helping businesses create these visual presences ever since
Reggie Holmes 1:49
I was a young boy, I have been interested in design before I even knew that it was a career that one could choose. I used to create logos. And I used to design uniforms for sports teams that I made up and I would create the the branding and the apparel design for different franchises that I made up and different sports. And I remember that as a young boy. So I’ve just always been interested in how colors and type in graphics and symbols work together to communicate ideas to communicate identity for businesses, for sports teams, for organizations. It’s just something that I’ve always been interested in. And I took a computer graphics class in high school. And it was then that that was sort of solidify for me as a path that I wanted to go down professionally. I’ve just been working at it for years. And here I am today. That’s a
Ray Sidney-Smith 2:55
great story of you’re coming into being as a designer and strategist that’s really a lot of fun. It’s for listeners who don’t know already I facilitate the Alexandria Small Business Development Centers executive Roundtable, the business development roundtable on a monthly basis. That’s actually where I met Reggie P is a regular contributor there at the business development Roundtable. And so it’s an it’s an opportunity for the small business owners in the city of Alexandria and the surrounding areas to come together once a month on a topic of discussion. And so that’s how you and I have gotten to know each other. Reggie over the years, I get to now ask you all of the questions that we sometimes as small business owners are kind of fearful to ask, because it makes us maybe, perhaps look a little foolish. But I think they’re really important for small business owners to know these, these these answers and understand them well enough so that they’re able to make good choices, especially when they’re startups. But this is really important, actually, when you’re growing your business as well. You know, so this is really perennially important to a business owner.
Reggie Holmes 4:05
How do you define branding? When, when a small business owner comes to and says, Why should I care about a brand? How do you respond? Reggie? The simple answer is your brand is your reputation. It’s the sum of all the touch points that a customer consumer client would have with your business people think of the logo, the visual brand identity first above, really brand is a lot more than that. And I think that’s one of the first conversations that you know, I have with a potential client or someone who inquires about branding and what it is that we do with enthuse creative. So it’s really cumulative, it’s it’s not just the logo, that that’s the most important thing, brand is really a business’s most valuable asset. It’s not so much the products and services people are buying the brand, it’s all the things that are helping to drive that customer decision. I like to think of it as addition and multiplication. So it’s all the individual elements, the logo, the tagline, the messaging, the marketing, collateral, website, mobile apps, all these things are individual and their their cumulative, but it’s also it’s being multiplied as it’s reinforcing the, your brand identity, your message, you know, nowadays, there’s so many media channels, there’s so many platforms, there’s so much access to brands, more than than certainly at any time that we’ve been on the earth. And there’s so much available to a potential client or customers. So all the different touch points that are that are created are having a multiplier effect. It’s creating an identity for your business. And it’s visual, but it’s also verbal. And it’s also tangible and intangible things that people might not even think about as elements of a brand. It’s the sum of all those touch points that people have to engage with your organization
Ray Sidney-Smith 6:27
right on point. And what I typically talk to business owners, I frequently have to explain this concept to them. And I say, the three major components of a small business brand, which are the written visual and emotional components of the brand. And those three come together. And for the most part, the business owner has control over two of those, the, the way in which they present the business both in written and visual, and then the emotional component is what the customer consumer bring to the experience, it’s those three big components
Reggie Holmes 7:04
is that there’s influence that the business entity, you know, the business owner has that you bring to it. But a lot of it is what the end user is bringing into it as well. And it sort of begins with a monologue you are articulating, hey, this is who I am. And then when you enter the marketplace, you are then engaging in a dialogue with the customer, the consumer, so they have an opportunity to respond to what you’ve communicated about your brand, and how it is different. Because ultimately, when we’re talking about branding, we’re talking about what is distinguishing you from the other business in your space. That is a similar thing. So as a customer, I need to know what are the elements that set you apart from someone else who may sell a similar product or service, I need to be able to identify that quickly because I’m being bombarded with branding and advertising and marketing messages all day long from the time I get up to when I go to sleep. So I need to be able to readily identify who you are, what is it you do? What is
Ray Sidney-Smith 8:18
the problem that you’re there to solve, and how do I access your products or services. So those those things need to be communicated through a brand. And the best brands, you know, do that in a way that’s consistent, that’s clear. And that’s creative. This brings us to a natural segue, discussing the components of the brand itself. And for a small business brand, I tend to think of this as a little bit different than, say, corporate brands, although the parts are the same, the way in which small business owners are going to develop and invest in them is very different. Case in point, if you are a startup entrepreneur, and you’re doing the business on a shoestring budget, the pieces that you develop for the brand are going to be certainly in a different order, and maybe even in the amount of time and thoughtfulness you give to them just because of resource limitation. And if you’re a well funded small business, and you have that ability to spend both the time and resources be that money and other people involved in development of the brand, then you’re going to be able to think about some of these other maybe finer tuning of the brand than otherwise, would you agree or disagree, Reggie. And then we can get into some of the particulars of what
Reggie Holmes 9:42
what components are there of the brand itself, I think, I would agree, it’s simply, you know, like you said, a matter of resources. And branding is something that touches the life cycle of every business, every organization at some point point. And so when you’re first beginning, establishing that, that clear identity and investing in getting the word out about who you are, you know, your resources are better spent doing that as far as building your brand and building a brand awareness and recognition. As you grow and have an established presidents, you can penetrate in some different areas and spin your branding, marketing dollars on different things. So from the day you start your business, it has a brand, let’s be abjectly clear,
Ray Sidney-Smith 10:34
you have a brand from the moment you start your business because it is the impression verbal, visual, emotional or otherwise, that your customers have a view and the business right that’s right, you’re now taking charge by as we have this conversation going forward. Now, it’s about understanding the components and where you can actually put those marketing dollars that Reggie’s talking about how you can actually impose and start to affect them maturity of the business. And therefore, its goodwill. Typically, in marketing class, we talked about the four P’s and the four C’s of branding, right, there’s product, price, place, and promotion. And then there’s consumer cost, convenience and communication. But Reggie, you have sort of a different way of talking about the visual, verbal and tangible and intangible elements, as you talked about, in the beginning of the show, can you go over for us what the components are of a small business brand, and which ones they should invest in, in order
Reggie Holmes 11:32
at the very minimum, you need a logo that’s sort of the face of so to speak of your business. So you you need a logo that will help distinguish you as legitimate business entity. And with that you have some colors a type of font a written execution of your brand name and some some marketing collateral, you’re really sort of depends on the nature of your business. But typically, you are getting started, you have business cards, as you’re out at different networking events and meeting people just getting the word out about your your business, you have various social media channels that are, are free and available to you. And so that is something that you should definitely take advantage of. And then a website, you need to have a a website that you will be able to drive interested people to, that will give, you know, at the very minimum some information about your products and services. And it needs to obviously be a website that people can can access easily on their mobile devices. If you have a storefront, you want to have some some signage with your visual identity, you want to have retail branding. So everything within your space will be clearly evident. unified as as belonging to the business and all these items needs to be tied together visually, so that people can begin to make those associations as they see your colors in conjunction with your your name written out, and your symbol. And so those are the basic kind of visual elements.
Ray Sidney-Smith 13:21
I’m going to get up on my soapbox here just for a moment for people as my listeners are, are going to become aware of over time, I’m the host. So I get a chance to step up on my soapbox.
But I consistently talk about the idea of a brand enabled business. And that really means making sure that the verbal and written components of the business are solid, right? So it means so we got it sort of backup a little bit and talk about the business name itself, let’s just take a reality check here. And understand that some business names just should not be they shouldn’t be in existence. And,
and this starts out with the, with the ABC consulting of the world or Smith incorporated Well, we can care about name recognition, many times, businesses are poorly named. And that’s where brand enable tagline that is that five to eight words, sometimes eight to 12 hours, depending upon how short the words are, and how well they come off your tongue are displayed with that business. So if you’re ABC consulting, and you’ve already started your business, and you’ve been in business for 10 years, and you know, you’re really looking to up the brand and and Reggie you can, you can agree or disagree with me here. But then maybe a tagline could be a really great addition to the brand so that people can understand what ABC consulting is all about. And, and that really becomes something that leads its way into your as you’re going to talk about Reggie, you know, web copy marketing, collateral copy, all the things that you’re going to write about the business are informed from that brand enabled business name and tagline from the web marketing side, I frequently see this as the tagline for frequently becomes the name of a blog, or the URL you use for your website. the.com or, and other kinds of tools that you use over time, I’ll use I’ll use myself as an example. You know, we’re w three consulting if people don’t really know what w three is, which is, stands for worldwide web, right w to the power of three worldwide web, you’re not going to understand it. But by using our tagline you now understand, we help small businesses on the web and beyond, right. So it’s a it’s about using those pieces, which we then said, Okay, well, let’s use that web and beyond part because I think that resonates with people over the years, I’ve found that that resonates with people. So I said, Okay, well, we’ll take web and beyond and make that the blog. And so that’s what we did. Now, it’s become the podcast name, which is weapon beyond cast. So it’s about using these brain components to help elevate the brand over time with the words and, and I I know that a lot of people jumped to the visuals very quickly. And as Reggie said, your logo is pretty important. It’s what makes legit, but you really have to think about what you’re actually what you’re presenting in words to people, especially the biggest words that people see which is your is your business name, and typically your tagline and URL. So I’m going to step off my soapbox here, Reggie, you can provide feedback and thoughts there. And and then we can continue with the verbal elements.
Reggie Holmes 16:20
Now that’s a very good point, I’ll just use myself briefly as an example. My last name is homes. But I didn’t want to create you know, homes, design group or something like that because for one enthuse is it’s a fun word to say, it means to fill with joy or happiness. And so for me, as a small business owner, and doing the creative process of making designs of various kinds, like I wanted to communicate how much of a joy it was for me to be doing design. And then I’m trying to create an experience for my clients. Because there are a lot of people who do design, but I’m really trying to be focused on the experience that I provide for them. So infuse was a unique word to kind of capture that idea. And then creative, I didn’t want to just limit myself to graphic design, although that’s sort of at the heart of what we do. But I’m really trying to be a brand strategist and eventually a brand manager as small businesses grow. So that all centers around creativity, not necessarily design thinking a few years down the road, to be able to position myself as just a creative services firm. And that sort of incorporates everything that’s involved in the creative process, from the strategy to their design to the management. So as you mentioned, the, the words that you choose in conjunction with your business are very important. And the visual and verbal must be in concert, if there’s a disconnect there, they will be confusing for a potential client and, you know, can hurt the business ultimately. So that was a great point, as you mentioned, the tagline that does go into the copy that you choose for your marketing collateral, your website. And even the things that as you get into growing business, where you have employees, and how they respond over the telephone, if people are going to be calling you how they interact with customers, in terms of personal service. So all of these things are speech, their words, but how you go about that, what you choose to say, and how you say, it is a big part of building the verbal aspect of the brand. And then, you know, some of the intangible things like the tone that you use, some business brands are, you know, very witty and pithy, some are more stern and serious, but it all has to correspond to the other elements. And again, it’s like you’re creating a life language, and all the different parts of the language have to work together, you know, some, there’s some businesses, for instance, that they have catalogs, they have products and services that are, you know, they want to position themselves for the every man of the every woman, some are very exclusive, and they’re there, you have to, you know, look for them, and we have to know where to look for them for their products or services. So, some online businesses have tech support, that’s only online, you can’t call and actually speak to a person. But there are some that have a number that’s, you know, 24 hour number, and they’re very upfront about, hey, call us anytime, because they’re trying to, you know, position themselves and their brand based on their level of customer service. So, there’s many different approaches, it has to make sense for the business that you’re in, and the market that you’re trying to reach. Absolutely. And you can, you could take Zappos, the idea of them being very customer focused company, most people think of them customer service first, and shoes second,
Ray Sidney-Smith 20:02
and I think that’s one of those intangibles that people frequently don’t consider when they think about the goodwill of the company. And by the way, for, for those of you who don’t know, goodwill is an accounting term. And it’s the value of the company that people associate with it. So there’s an actual dollar value to Goodwill, when you sell a company and some of that goodwill could be zero, some some goodwill can be zero, some can be obviously, much more than that you think about the best brands in the world, their goodwill is fairly high, because the name itself is what commands people wanting to come and shop with them. So it’s really important for you to think about that. And I think that going back to your we’re talking about sort of phone support, and voicemail greetings and that kind of thing, your phone number is really important. And just from an SEO perspective, Google their local SEO algorithm looks at the phone number for making sure that your businesses located on their Google Maps Engine, you need to make sure that your phone number is localized. But also people create a custom numbers, you know, these vanity numbers that spell out maybe even your business name, or part of your tagline. Or or what your product or services Yeah, there’s there’s many approaches, it just has to make sense for who you are, what you do and who you’re trying to reach. When a startup business owner is just getting started, there’s little to no budget and they want to be able to hit the ground running, what are some of the things that they should ask themselves? What are some of those key points they should be covering as they’re making their way through the brand development process? The
Reggie Holmes 21:42
first and one of the most important things is that it’s it’s not divorced from overall business plan strategy and development process. So it’s, it’s, it fits within the the overall business plan and business development process. And it there’s three really important questions, who is my target? Who is my target market, what is my message that I want to take to that market that informs your method, you know, what is my method that I’m going to use to reach potential customers or clients in my target market, all those things, again, work together. And I think that it’s important to think not just it, there’s going to be a cost involved and I, you know, work with a number of clients, especially in that early stage startup level that are, you know, they’re very cost conscious. And again, that’s where working that out with your small business advisor is really important. You, you know, know your budget better than, than anyone else. But it I think it’s important to think of the branding process in terms of not just cost, but value. And, and I try to have conversation with people that are interested in, in my services in that way, if you think about, you know, creating a strong brand for business, if you have that for 10 years. And in that 10 years, your business grows at a steady rate, you think about, you know, the goodwill, as you mentioned, you think about the reputation that a strong brand helps you to develop and maintain over 10 years, and think about the value that that creates for your business not having to worry about, well, is this is my logo going to be outdated? Is it going to, you know, just not work well, for my business at some point, is it poorly done, or, you know, these types of things. So, creating just a logo, you know, that that is a strong market is successful, and is is active for five to 10 years, just think about the value one that does saves you from not having to revisit the process two years into your business. But also just in terms of reputation, goodwill, recognition and awareness is tremendously valuable. So, it’s, it’s an investment that is well worth it. And trust me, I’ve seen, you know, individuals who have cut corners,
Ray Sidney-Smith 24:17
they end up paying a lot more in terms of heartache and headache and actual dollars having to revisit the brand because maybe they didn’t take the necessary time or effort to do it in the beginning, if a business comes in for a consultation, and I see that they’ve already done some of this, you know, they went on to an online platform, and they got a logo created by by someone, and their business name doesn’t match the logos color scheme, it doesn’t match the tone of their customer base, it doesn’t, you know, it won’t affect their target market, you know, like having a black and steel and blue colored logo for a home handyman business that caters to women in their 30s, right, you know, it’s like, those are Harley Davidson slash, you know, kind of financial services, colors, you know, and, and people people don’t know that. And, and, and it’s not your fault that you don’t know that. But now that you’re hearing this information, you should be very cognizant of the fact that if you’re starting out your business, you need to build a brand that represents you well, but it needs to purposefully make your potential clients current clients want to hire you, it needs to appeal to them, it doesn’t need to appeal to you. And, and, and I think that frequently happens, it’s like, you know, I want I want to have a brand that that is cool for me, especially, you know, like, if you’re, if you’re in that mindset of wanting to look cool as a business, but it doesn’t represent well, to the people who are hiring you, that’s going to be a real problem. So sometimes those cheaper solutions, those no cost solutions can be can be palatable for some period of time. But at some point, you’re going to need to have a professional look at that. And, and then you’ll make the decision whether or not you’re going to develop a relationship with a designer or some other creative professional to be able to have work, work this out for you, and you’re in that world. So I want you to be able to give us the best arguments for hiring branding professionals, you know, what, what is the big why, and this comes right back to why you should care and the end. And some of the things that you should pay attention to sort of look out for, that really should be a red flag for a small business owner, to say, that’s not quite the person I should be hiring. This could be as banal as they just don’t have my style. They don’t, they don’t know what I’m looking for two things that are more Oh, that person is not reputable. or doing things legitimately. And I should back a little slowly
Reggie Holmes 27:02
when it comes to the creative aspects of your business. If you understand how important it is, you know, some of the things that we’ve talked about today, it’s, you’ll recognize that it’s a valuable investment. And I think that you need to understand sort of what you do well, even in deciding who you’re going to work with, you need to select someone that sort of understands the the context that you’re in, that you’re your business exists, and they don’t necessarily have to be local. A lot of people have, you know, virtual agencies, and they do great work. But they take the time to understand you to understand your business and understand the market that you’re in, and that you’re trying to reach. And again, so it goes back to them asking you key questions, they need to demonstrate a level of investment in your success that, you know, you don’t necessarily get with someone who’s not a professional or their job is to just turn out designs. So I think that’s a key thing that the small business owners should consider. And this is what we do, sort of speaking for people that do this professionally, you need to be able to find someone that can demonstrate the level of craft or skill that you require for your business, they’re also they’re willing to include you in the process. But it is not a matter of, they don’t require you to be heavily involved, because they are creative, they’re not just going to have one brief conversation with you, and then go off and create designs that are, they’re not relevant to the context of your business, your market that you’re in anyone that you would consider hiring for your small business owner, they need to be able to show you representative work that they’ve done in the past, and, and have some, some evidence present evidence that they’ve done the type of work of the quality and nature that you would be looking for, and, and be able to provide those references. So you can get all that information before you make a firm decision,
Ray Sidney-Smith 29:16
I use frequently the the analogy of being fitted for women for a dress for men for a suit, and how a tailor using sort of works with someone, you know, when you go to a tailor or to address shop, or what or what have you, you go there and they take your measurements, they then have you put on the garment once it’s in, you know, some final format and they tweak and they help you along the way they see how it fits you. And they asked whether you’re uncomfortable or comfortable with it. And in that case, you know, in a brand setting, they may you may show that to several customers of your own to see how they respond. You may do focus groups, what have you, and and they they work with you through the process. And I think that, well, fashion professionals are kind of design professional. And, you know, I think it’s, it’s kind of the same process. So you need to hire someone who’s going to going to fit your needs and style for doing that, you know, some people, you know, want to be able to take measurements and then grab their their suit and run out the door, you know, without trying it on, they’re going to be others who are going to want to come try it on and come in for several different fittings for tweaks and customizations. Right. And, and that’s, that’s something that is very personal. And if this is going to be a long term relationship that you have with a design professional, you need to make sure that you pick the right partner, right, because this this becomes an extension of business partnership. And in small businesses, which I frequently find is that your your accountant or bookkeeper, your business counsel, legal counsel, financial advisor, your design professionals, all of the people who are involved, your your office supply vendors, right, you know, all of those people become were big business would have all of those people in house, maybe not your office supply vendor. But everybody else would probably be in house positions you’d have in house legal counsel, you’d have an in house CFO, you’d have all those people, those external people become part of your business by extension, and you need to hire them for that you need to hire them with that, that concept in mind. Well, thank you for that Reggie. I think it’s always great for people to hear from designers. And to learn a little bit more about branding and strategy and design for small business. So I really appreciate that. This brings us to my regular segment on the show, which is best tool of the week. And so today, I wanted to talk about a design tool since we’re talking about branding. And the tool that I want to bring to everyone’s attention, if you haven’t already heard about it is called canvas. And you can find a link to Canvas in the show notes. But it’s just canada.com. And and just so everybody knows as well. Anytime you’re looking something you can always go to web and beyond cast calm forward, slash, the number of the episode and find all the show notes to anything that we’ve talked about. And I’ll put some other resources about branding and such there in the show notes for today’s episode. But back to Canvas. So Canvas is awesome. And Reggie, before we started recording, you told me you knew about Canvas. So you can jump in here if you if you want to add your thoughts here. But Canvas is a design tool. And here at WP consulting, we’ve actually moved completely to Canvas. So everybody in house uses Canvas, we’ve gotten rid of the Adobe Suite. I know that’s probably going to make some of you design folks out there. gasp. But
but it’s true. We, you know, our business clients, they don’t need it. Canvas is just a great way for us to be able to do it. So what this is what Canvas Canvas is a web based platform. And now they officially have iOS and Android applications. So now you can actually use them both on iOS and Android, as well as on the desktop web desk top version. So it gives you these simple templates for being able to create good design. And further more they actually provide a design school, if you go to design school canvas. com, they give you the tutorials for being able to learn how to use the product to create good design. And while everyone is not a good designer, and not everybody will want to create that design, which is why you would hire design professional. And then they could create those designs for you in Canvas. And then that way you can manipulate them and edit them as necessary. the ease with which you can use Canvas. And the way in which it operates is just phenomenal. And and so there’s a business version. And there’s a free version. And so you can check it out. But I have to say I’ve given it a quite a lot of thought. And we’ve just decided to move our complete design work to Canada, because it’s just a great place for us to keep all of our brand assets. And it helps us very, very quickly and easily create visuals for many different environments. But my favorite is the magic resizing feature. And what that does is it takes an image, say, I create a Twitter image, you know, Twitter template, and I just hit the magic resizing tool. And it creates the size images sized for Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook, and so on so forth automatically so automatically knows how to resize and relay out the design for those platforms. So it saves countless hours in redesigning things. So just sort of keep that in mind.
Reggie Holmes 34:31
I’m an advocate for anything that helps people develop more of a design language and understanding and education. I mean, I don’t expect people to know what I know. But the more they know about what makes design appealing, attractive, effective, I think it just, it helps everybody. Yeah,
Ray Sidney-Smith 34:54
I think anything that teaches anybody what kerning is and how to actually place appropriate spaces around objects, and just just proper layout, you know, it’s a very, very at times complicated process, because it’s about trying to, like solve a puzzle, you know, designers solve puzzles, you know, it’s like how to how to place these things in such a way that it communicates a message without it ruining the visual layout, the visual communication process as well as its appeal to people. And, you know, it’s a very complicated process. And I think that that’s something that Canvas helps people get a little bit closer to without having to be a designer to get there. So I really like it. And I highly recommend people go ahead and check it out. So thank you again to Reggie homes of enthuse creative for joining me here on today’s web and beyond cast so you can learn all about Reggie and his work over the enthused creative website that’s at enthused creative calm and you can of course go to web and beyond cast calm and you’ll find links to all the things we’ve discussed here in the show notes today. So again thank you Reggie for joining me here on weapon beyond cast and thanks for having me Ray. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for listening to weapon beyond cast were small business comes to learn about marketing and managing on the web and beyond. I’m your host re Sydney Smith. Until next time, here’s to your small business success on the web and beyond.
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