fbpx
 
 
We're making waves across the internet

YOUR STORY.

OUR MEGAPHONE.

 
 

Relax your shoulders. we're here.

We're dot-connectors. Action-takers. We use our fluency in digital + knack for data-inspired storytelling to solve the problems that are holding you back from your next level of growth.

LET'S GET PERSONAL
 

PLAY

REEL

 
 

What we do

We take the time to get to know who you are and where you want to be, then dream up the most creative and compelling ways to bring your project to life.

WE'RE VERY TALENTED

STRATEGY


Planning
Positioning
Market Research
GTM Strategy
Competitive Analysis
Audit + Optimization

design


Web + Mobile
Branding + Refresh
Illustration
Pitch Decks
Print Media
Merch

DEVELOPMENT


Websites
Mobile Apps
Prototyping
Architecture
Custom Software
SaaS Development

MARKETING


Paid Search + Social
SEO + Content
Experiential
Photo + Video
Organic Social
Email + SMS
we're very talented
check out our pricing deck
 

JOIN THE COOL
KIDS CLUB

WE SAVED YOU A SEAT
 
 

LEARN ABOUT YOU


Think of this as brand therapy, where you tell us everything about your company, where it's headed, and what hasn't worked in the past. This process can last as long as it needs for us to get what makes you tick.

CREATE A GAME PLAN


Once we help you nail down your goals, we'll create the best possible strategy that fits your budget and timeline. We'll make sure there's plenty of wiggle room for last-minute pivots so it always feels like you.

MAKE SH*T HAPPEN


This is where the fun starts. Our experts will take the lead and get cooking, keeping you in the loop the entire way. You'll always have our full attention — no excuses.

OPTIMIZE + REPEAT


Once we launch, it's still all hands on deck. Our team will track performance, report our findings, and seize every opportunity to make things better — so you can kick back and watch your numbers grow.

our process

Our credo can be summed up in four words: do more, talk less. Once we get to know you inside-out and build out the perfect strategy, we'll serve up the deliverables that are d*mn good, every time.

LET'S SHOW YOU HOW IT'S DONE
 

we write REAL good too.

2024-02-14

Google and Yahoo Email Changes: Email Marketing in 2024
6 min to read Email marketing has a new wrinkle. Beginning this month in February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo are introducing stricter measures for bulk email. These updates aim to improve user experience, combat spam, and enhance email security. As an email marketer, you need to be aware of these changes to make sure your email campaigns reach their target audience and maintain deliverability. Let's take a look at the key changes and how you can prepare. Table of Contents: Bulk Email Gets a Revamp What Are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC? How to Implement SPF, DKIM & DMARC More Ways to Keep Your Email Marketing Compliant Finally, Use a Custom Domain with Proper DNS Configuration Contact Us for Your Brand’s Email Marketing Bulk Email Gets a Revamp Both Gmail and Yahoo are implementing stricter regulations for bulk email senders. This primarily affects those sending thousands of messages daily (5,000 per day in Gmail’s case), but even smaller senders will see some impact. Here's what you need to know: Authentication becomes mandatory: Google and Yahoo now require email authentication using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for all bulk senders. These protocols verify the legitimacy of your emails, preventing spoofing and protecting users from phishing attempts. One-click unsubscribe is required: Both platforms require a clear and easy one-click unsubscribe option in your emails. This streamlines the process for users who no longer want to receive your messages and helps maintain your sender reputation. (Note: The deadline for Yahoo's one-click unsubscribe implementation has been extended to June 2024). Mind your spam rate: Google requires you to keep spam rates reported in Postmaster Tools below 0.10% and avoid ever reaching a spam rate of 0.30% or higher. Yahoo enforces a 0.30% limit. Exceeding these thresholds could result in your emails landing in spam folders or being blocked altogether.         What Are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC The new requirements emphasize email security through authentication protocols: SPF (Sender Policy Framework): This protocol authorizes the servers allowed to send emails from your domain, preventing unauthorized senders from impersonating you. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): This protocol attaches a digital signature to your emails, verifying their authenticity and preventing tampering during transit. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): This protocol builds upon SPF and DKIM, defining how email receivers handle emails that fail authentication. It also provides valuable reporting data about your email traffic. How to Implement SPF, DKIM & DMARC Implementing SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) can significantly enhance the security of your email campaigns and improve deliverability. Below is a step-by-step guide for implementing these protocols:       1. SPF (Sender Policy Framework): Step 1: Access your DNS Records: Log in to your domain hosting provider or DNS management platform. Locate the DNS settings or DNS management section. Step 2: Add SPF Record: Create a new TXT record. Enter your SPF record, which typically looks like: v=spf1 include:_spf.example.com ~all Replace "example.com" with your domain. Step 3: Verify and Publish: Save the changes. Allow some time for DNS propagation. 2. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): Step 1: Generate DKIM Key Pair: Use your email platform or a DKIM key generator to create a public and private key pair. Step 2: Add DKIM Record to DNS: Create a new TXT record in your DNS settings. Enter the DKIM record, including the public key, selector, and version information. It looks something like this: v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=MIGfMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQC... Step 3: Configure Your Email Platform: Add the generated DKIM key to your email sending configuration. Step 4: Verify DKIM Setup: Send a test email and use DKIM verification tools to confirm correct implementation. 3. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance): Step 1: Set Up SPF and DKIM: Ensure that both SPF and DKIM are correctly configured as DMARC builds on these protocols. Step 2: Create DMARC Record: Add a new TXT record to your DNS settings: v=DMARC1; p=quarantine; rua=mailto:[email protected]; ruf=mailto:[email protected]; fo=1 "p" defines the DMARC policy. It can be "none," "quarantine," or "reject." "rua" specifies the email address to receive aggregate reports. "ruf" designates the email address for forensic reports. Step 3: Gradual Implementation: Initially, set the DMARC policy to "none" to monitor without affecting the delivery. Once confident in the configuration, adjust the policy to "quarantine" or "reject." Step 4: Monitor and Analyze Reports: Regularly review DMARC reports to identify unauthorized senders and potential issues. Additional Tips: Check Syntax: Ensure the correct syntax and formatting of your records.   Use Online Tools: Utilize online SPF, DKIM, and DMARC record checkers to verify your configurations. Engage IT or DNS Administrator: If unfamiliar with DNS settings, involve your IT department or DNS administrator for seamless implementation. More Ways to Keep Your Email Marketing Compliant Here are some additional tips to ensure your email marketing stays compliant: Monitor your email reputation: Use tools like Google Postmaster Tools and Yahoo Mail Postmaster to track your sender reputation and spam rates. Segment your audience: Tailor your emails to specific segments based on interests and engagement levels. This reduces the risk of users marking your emails as spam. Clean your email lists regularly: Remove inactive subscribers and invalid addresses to maintain list hygiene and improve deliverability. Keep your content relevant and valuable: Provide engaging content that resonates with your audience, reducing the likelihood of them unsubscribing or marking your emails as spam. Finally, Use a Custom Domain with Proper DNS Configuration Sending emails from a custom domain (e.g., yourcompany.com) with proper DNS configuration adds legitimacy and increases trust with recipients. It also helps you avoid potential deliverability issues associated with free email providers. Contact Us for Your Brand's Email Marketing While the new email sender requirements might seem like an inconvenience, they ultimately benefit both senders and recipients. By implementing these changes, you can make sure your email marketing campaigns stay effective, secure, and compliant, ultimately improving the relationship with your audience. If you are looking to start an email marketing campaign, contact COLAB Los Angeles today—we’d love to hear what you have in mind!

2024-01-14

Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?
7 min to read As an emerging eCommerce company or small business, you may have run into this age old question: what’s the difference between branding and marketing? As a digital marketing agency, we often encounter companies that want to start or grow their marketing, but may not have fully developed their brand. Your branding efforts can have a major effect on the results of your marketing efforts. COLAB wants to give you the best results possible, so let’s walk through the differences between branding and marketing, and discuss ways to build your brand as you move forward and grow your business. Table of Contents: What Is Branding? What Is Marketing? Which Should You Do First, Branding or Marketing? Branding and Marketing for Your Company What Is Branding? You can find many definitions of branding—some that conflict with each other—but we like to define it as the set of elements that allow consumers to identify with your product or service. These elements must also differentiate you from competitors. Have you ever felt yourself identifying as a Nike person versus Adidas, or iPhone versus Samsung, or Levi’s versus Old Navy? Why is this? Certain brands represent the way that you see yourself, or what you aspire to be, or an experience you want to have, or what you want to be associated with—you therefore identify with those brands. When you identify with a brand, you’re more likely to buy it. This has a lasting impact that can create loyalty, reduce sensitivity to price, and a whole host of other benefits. This applies to world-famous brands like Coca-Cola and Apple, as well as local businesses like med spas and plumbers. When you call a plumber, do you want to be associated with one that smells good or one that has over 50 years of experience? Depending on the plumber’s branding, you might find one or the other more appealing. What Are the Elements of a Brand? Your brand starts with how your company operates, its goals, its vision, and more. These elements can include: Brand story - why did you start your company and what problem does your brand solve Mission statement Values Target audience and market The elements of a brand that everyone is most familiar with include things such as: Name Logo Tagline Typography (includes font) Colors Value proposition Personality and voice Design and appearance The experience you create The emotional connection you create Reputation Together, these elements allow consumers to identify with your company. Do you solve a problem they have? Do your values align with theirs? Does your logo, tagline, and brand voice make them feel like they can trust you? How to Create a Brand How do you create your brand? Creating a brand is a multifaceted process. A strong brand is not just a logo or a catchy tagline—it's a holistic representation of your company's values, identity, and promise to customers. Here's a starter guide on how to create a brand that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart in the market. Understanding Your Business Defining your Mission and Values The foundation of any successful brand lies in a clear understanding of its mission and values. What is your company's purpose? What principles guide your decision-making? By defining a compelling mission statement and core values, you establish a framework that shapes your brand's identity and resonates with both employees and customers. Identifying Target Audience and Market Knowing your audience is key to crafting a brand that connects on a personal level. Conduct thorough market research to identify your target demographic, their preferences, and pain points. Understanding the market landscape enables you to tailor your brand message to address specific needs and position your product or service effectively. Analyzing Competitors and Industry Trends A successful brand is not created in isolation. Analyze your competitors to identify gaps in the market and opportunities for differentiation. Stay abreast of industry trends to anticipate shifts in consumer behavior and preferences. By being aware of what others in your industry are doing, you can find unique angles to position your brand. Crafting a Unique Value Proposition Define What Sets Your Brand Apart What makes your brand special? Define your unique value proposition by identifying the aspects of your business that differentiate you from competitors. Whether it's superior quality, innovative solutions, or exceptional customer service, a clear value proposition helps customers understand why they should choose your brand. Create a Compelling Brand Story A brand story is a powerful tool for connecting emotionally with your audience. Share the journey of your company, the challenges you've overcome, and the passion that drives your team. A compelling narrative creates a memorable impression and fosters a sense of loyalty among consumers. Align Your Brand with Customer Needs and Desires Your brand should resonate with the desires and aspirations of your target audience. Do you want to be functional and affordable or do you want to be high status? Tailor your messaging to address customer needs and showcase how your product or service fulfills those needs. Understanding your customers on a deep level allows you to build a brand that aligns with their values and preferences. Developing a Memorable Brand Identity Design a Distinctive Logo and Visual Elements Your logo is the visual centerpiece of your brand identity. Work with our skilled designers to create a logo that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also reflective of your brand's personality and values. Consistency in visual elements across various platforms reinforces brand recognition. Select Brand Colors and Typography Colors and typography evoke specific emotions and contribute to the overall tone of your brand. Choose a color palette and font style that align with your brand's personality and resonate with your target audience. Consistent use of these elements reinforces brand cohesion. Create Consistent Brand Messaging Consistency is key in branding. Develop a cohesive messaging strategy that aligns with your brand story and value proposition. Whether communicating through social media, advertising, or customer interactions, maintaining a consistent voice and message builds trust and reinforces brand identity. What Is Marketing? Once you’ve decided what your brand should be, and created the assets (logo, website, brand voice, etc.), you have to make people aware of these elements. This brand awareness is achieved with marketing tactics. Marketing also creates sales. While using the framework of your brand, your marketing messages and tactics generate interest in your products or services and increase sales. What Are Marketing Tactics? Marketing encompasses all the activities you use to put your brand and messaging in front of your target audience. These elements can include: Advertising PPC Paid social media ads Podcast ads Direct mail And more Promotions and Offers Social media posts Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Leads Sales calls Email marketing Event marketing Public Relations Which Should You Do First, Branding or Marketing? Without question, your business should develop your branding first. Your marketing must reflect your branding and brand strategy. Without that piece, it becomes difficult for you to create a clear message and for consumers to differentiate you from your competitors. Branding and marketing are inherently interconnected. They have to work together to create a complete experience and message for your customers. Branding establishes the foundation that your marketing strategies are built on. It involves defining the core identity of a business, encompassing its values, mission, and unique selling proposition. Branding creates the distinct personality and image of your company that will resonate with your target audience. Marketing is the tactical execution of promoting a brand to your target market. Marketing involves the various channels and methods through which a company communicates its value proposition, engages with customers, and drives sales. Marketing encompasses a wide range of activities, from traditional advertising and public relations to digital strategies such as social media campaigns and content marketing. Building a strong brand provides the foundation for all marketing efforts. Without a clear brand identity, marketing messages can lack consistency and fail to establish a meaningful connection with your audience. Effective marketing relies on a well-defined brand that communicates authenticity and builds trust. Branding and Marketing for Your Company Contact COLAB to discuss how to further develop your brand, or to start marketing your products or services. We are a branding and marketing agency that’s been helping brands in Los Angeles and across the country for over ten years. From eCommerce companies, to med spas, to plumbers, we can get you in front of the right audience with the right branding and messaging.

2024-01-14

YouTube Disables Hidden Subscriber Count To Fight Creator Impersonations
YouTube has officially prevented channels from hiding the number of subscribers they have in order to help fight creator impersonation across the platform. Spammers can impersonate other channels when leaving comments by hiding their subscriber count. Seeing a low subscriber count can be a dead giveaway that someone posing as another creator isn’t who they claim to be. Comment spam and identity-related abuse are problematic for many people on YouTube today. In response, YouTube is implementing updates to help protect viewers and creators from comment spam while making it harder to impersonate creators. The updates include: Disabling hidden subscriber counts Strengthening auto-moderation capabilities Limiting the use of special characters in channel names Here’s more details about each of these updates. Hidden Subscriber Counts Historically, channels on YouTube have been able to hide the number of subscribers they have. Some creators find this feature valuable, such as those who are starting and don’t want to be dismissed by their subscriber count. However, according to YouTube, this feature is often used to impersonate channels. Following an update rolling out at the end of July, channels will no longer be able to hide their subscriber counts on YouTube. YouTube claims this decision will make the community safer, though it’s sure to upset creators who weren’t abusing the option to hide subscribers. Stricter Comment Moderation YouTube currently allows channels to automatically hold comments for moderation before they go live for all to see. A new update to YouTube’s auto-moderation will give creators the option to increase the strictness. Making comment moderation stricter will increase detection settings for potentially inappropriate comments and spam. You can increase the strictness by signing into Creator Studio and selecting ‘Settings.’ Then select Community, then Defaults. Check the box labeled ‘hold potentially inappropriate comments for review,’ then select ‘increase strictness.’ When this new setting is turned on, more spam and solicitations will automatically filter under the ‘held for review’ tab. From there, channels can either delete the comment or post it publicly. Limiting Special Characters Using special characters in channel names is another way that phonies can impersonate established channels. To mitigate impersonation attempts, YouTube is reducing the character set creators can choose from when updating their name moving forward. Existing names with special characters can stay in place, however.

NO MISPELLINGS HERE
 
 

We're making waves across the internet

YOUR STORY.

OUR MEGAPHONE.

LET'S CHAT
 

Relax your shoulders. we're here.

We're dot-connectors. Action-takers. We use our fluency in digital + knack for data-inspired storytelling to solve the problems that are holding you back from your next level of growth.

LET'S GET PERSONAL
 
 

PLAY

REEL

 
 

What we do

We take the time to get to know who you are and where you want to be, then dream up the most creative and compelling ways to bring your project to life.

WE'RE VERY TALENTED

strategy


Planning
Positioning
Market Research
GTM Strategy
Competitive Analysis
Audit + Optimization

design


Web + Mobile
Branding + Refresh
Illustration
Pitch Decks
Print Media
Merch

DEVELOPMENT


Websites
Mobile Apps
Prototyping
Architecture
Custom Software
SaaS Development

MARKETING


Paid Search + Social
SEO + Content
Experiential
Photo + Video
Organic Social
Email + SMS
we're very talented
check out our pricing deck
 

JOIN THE COOL
KIDS CLUB

WE SAVED YOU A SEAT
 

OUR PROCESS

Our credo can be summed up in four words: do more, talk less. Once we get to know you inside-out and build out the perfect strategy, we'll serve up the deliverables that are d*mn good, every time.

LEARN ABOUT YOU


Think of this as brand therapy, where you tell us everything about your company, where it's headed, and what hasn't worked in the past. This process can last as long as it needs for us to get what makes you tick.

CREATE A GAME PLAN


Once we help you nail down your goals, we'll create the best possible strategy that fits your budget and timeline. We'll make sure there's plenty of wiggle room for last-minute pivots so it always feels like you.

MAKE SH*T HAPPEN


This is where the fun starts. Our experts will take the lead and get cooking, keeping you in the loop the entire way. You'll always have our full attention — no excuses.

OPTIMIZE + REPEAT


Once we launch, it's still all hands on deck. Our team will track performance, report our findings, and seize every opportunity to make things better — so you can kick back and watch your numbers grow.

LET'S SHOW YOU HOW IT'S DONE
 

we write REAL good too.

2024-02-14

Google and Yahoo Email Changes: Email Marketing in 2024
6 min to read Email marketing has a new wrinkle. Beginning this month in February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo are introducing stricter measures for bulk email. These updates aim to improve user experience, combat spam, and enhance email security. As an email marketer, you need to be aware of these changes to make sure your email campaigns reach their target audience and maintain deliverability. Let's take a look at the key changes and how you can prepare. Table of Contents: Bulk Email Gets a Revamp What Are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC? How to Implement SPF, DKIM & DMARC More Ways to Keep Your Email Marketing Compliant Finally, Use a Custom Domain with Proper DNS Configuration Contact Us for Your Brand’s Email Marketing Bulk Email Gets a Revamp Both Gmail and Yahoo are implementing stricter regulations for bulk email senders. This primarily affects those sending thousands of messages daily (5,000 per day in Gmail’s case), but even smaller senders will see some impact. Here's what you need to know: Authentication becomes mandatory: Google and Yahoo now require email authentication using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for all bulk senders. These protocols verify the legitimacy of your emails, preventing spoofing and protecting users from phishing attempts. One-click unsubscribe is required: Both platforms require a clear and easy one-click unsubscribe option in your emails. This streamlines the process for users who no longer want to receive your messages and helps maintain your sender reputation. (Note: The deadline for Yahoo's one-click unsubscribe implementation has been extended to June 2024). Mind your spam rate: Google requires you to keep spam rates reported in Postmaster Tools below 0.10% and avoid ever reaching a spam rate of 0.30% or higher. Yahoo enforces a 0.30% limit. Exceeding these thresholds could result in your emails landing in spam folders or being blocked altogether.         What Are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC The new requirements emphasize email security through authentication protocols: SPF (Sender Policy Framework): This protocol authorizes the servers allowed to send emails from your domain, preventing unauthorized senders from impersonating you. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): This protocol attaches a digital signature to your emails, verifying their authenticity and preventing tampering during transit. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): This protocol builds upon SPF and DKIM, defining how email receivers handle emails that fail authentication. It also provides valuable reporting data about your email traffic. How to Implement SPF, DKIM & DMARC Implementing SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) can significantly enhance the security of your email campaigns and improve deliverability. Below is a step-by-step guide for implementing these protocols:       1. SPF (Sender Policy Framework): Step 1: Access your DNS Records: Log in to your domain hosting provider or DNS management platform. Locate the DNS settings or DNS management section. Step 2: Add SPF Record: Create a new TXT record. Enter your SPF record, which typically looks like: v=spf1 include:_spf.example.com ~all Replace "example.com" with your domain. Step 3: Verify and Publish: Save the changes. Allow some time for DNS propagation. 2. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): Step 1: Generate DKIM Key Pair: Use your email platform or a DKIM key generator to create a public and private key pair. Step 2: Add DKIM Record to DNS: Create a new TXT record in your DNS settings. Enter the DKIM record, including the public key, selector, and version information. It looks something like this: v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=MIGfMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQC... Step 3: Configure Your Email Platform: Add the generated DKIM key to your email sending configuration. Step 4: Verify DKIM Setup: Send a test email and use DKIM verification tools to confirm correct implementation. 3. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance): Step 1: Set Up SPF and DKIM: Ensure that both SPF and DKIM are correctly configured as DMARC builds on these protocols. Step 2: Create DMARC Record: Add a new TXT record to your DNS settings: v=DMARC1; p=quarantine; rua=mailto:[email protected]; ruf=mailto:[email protected]; fo=1 "p" defines the DMARC policy. It can be "none," "quarantine," or "reject." "rua" specifies the email address to receive aggregate reports. "ruf" designates the email address for forensic reports. Step 3: Gradual Implementation: Initially, set the DMARC policy to "none" to monitor without affecting the delivery. Once confident in the configuration, adjust the policy to "quarantine" or "reject." Step 4: Monitor and Analyze Reports: Regularly review DMARC reports to identify unauthorized senders and potential issues. Additional Tips: Check Syntax: Ensure the correct syntax and formatting of your records.   Use Online Tools: Utilize online SPF, DKIM, and DMARC record checkers to verify your configurations. Engage IT or DNS Administrator: If unfamiliar with DNS settings, involve your IT department or DNS administrator for seamless implementation. More Ways to Keep Your Email Marketing Compliant Here are some additional tips to ensure your email marketing stays compliant: Monitor your email reputation: Use tools like Google Postmaster Tools and Yahoo Mail Postmaster to track your sender reputation and spam rates. Segment your audience: Tailor your emails to specific segments based on interests and engagement levels. This reduces the risk of users marking your emails as spam. Clean your email lists regularly: Remove inactive subscribers and invalid addresses to maintain list hygiene and improve deliverability. Keep your content relevant and valuable: Provide engaging content that resonates with your audience, reducing the likelihood of them unsubscribing or marking your emails as spam. Finally, Use a Custom Domain with Proper DNS Configuration Sending emails from a custom domain (e.g., yourcompany.com) with proper DNS configuration adds legitimacy and increases trust with recipients. It also helps you avoid potential deliverability issues associated with free email providers. Contact Us for Your Brand's Email Marketing While the new email sender requirements might seem like an inconvenience, they ultimately benefit both senders and recipients. By implementing these changes, you can make sure your email marketing campaigns stay effective, secure, and compliant, ultimately improving the relationship with your audience. If you are looking to start an email marketing campaign, contact COLAB Los Angeles today—we’d love to hear what you have in mind!

2024-01-14

Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?
7 min to read As an emerging eCommerce company or small business, you may have run into this age old question: what’s the difference between branding and marketing? As a digital marketing agency, we often encounter companies that want to start or grow their marketing, but may not have fully developed their brand. Your branding efforts can have a major effect on the results of your marketing efforts. COLAB wants to give you the best results possible, so let’s walk through the differences between branding and marketing, and discuss ways to build your brand as you move forward and grow your business. Table of Contents: What Is Branding? What Is Marketing? Which Should You Do First, Branding or Marketing? Branding and Marketing for Your Company What Is Branding? You can find many definitions of branding—some that conflict with each other—but we like to define it as the set of elements that allow consumers to identify with your product or service. These elements must also differentiate you from competitors. Have you ever felt yourself identifying as a Nike person versus Adidas, or iPhone versus Samsung, or Levi’s versus Old Navy? Why is this? Certain brands represent the way that you see yourself, or what you aspire to be, or an experience you want to have, or what you want to be associated with—you therefore identify with those brands. When you identify with a brand, you’re more likely to buy it. This has a lasting impact that can create loyalty, reduce sensitivity to price, and a whole host of other benefits. This applies to world-famous brands like Coca-Cola and Apple, as well as local businesses like med spas and plumbers. When you call a plumber, do you want to be associated with one that smells good or one that has over 50 years of experience? Depending on the plumber’s branding, you might find one or the other more appealing. What Are the Elements of a Brand? Your brand starts with how your company operates, its goals, its vision, and more. These elements can include: Brand story - why did you start your company and what problem does your brand solve Mission statement Values Target audience and market The elements of a brand that everyone is most familiar with include things such as: Name Logo Tagline Typography (includes font) Colors Value proposition Personality and voice Design and appearance The experience you create The emotional connection you create Reputation Together, these elements allow consumers to identify with your company. Do you solve a problem they have? Do your values align with theirs? Does your logo, tagline, and brand voice make them feel like they can trust you? How to Create a Brand How do you create your brand? Creating a brand is a multifaceted process. A strong brand is not just a logo or a catchy tagline—it's a holistic representation of your company's values, identity, and promise to customers. Here's a starter guide on how to create a brand that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart in the market. Understanding Your Business Defining your Mission and Values The foundation of any successful brand lies in a clear understanding of its mission and values. What is your company's purpose? What principles guide your decision-making? By defining a compelling mission statement and core values, you establish a framework that shapes your brand's identity and resonates with both employees and customers. Identifying Target Audience and Market Knowing your audience is key to crafting a brand that connects on a personal level. Conduct thorough market research to identify your target demographic, their preferences, and pain points. Understanding the market landscape enables you to tailor your brand message to address specific needs and position your product or service effectively. Analyzing Competitors and Industry Trends A successful brand is not created in isolation. Analyze your competitors to identify gaps in the market and opportunities for differentiation. Stay abreast of industry trends to anticipate shifts in consumer behavior and preferences. By being aware of what others in your industry are doing, you can find unique angles to position your brand. Crafting a Unique Value Proposition Define What Sets Your Brand Apart What makes your brand special? Define your unique value proposition by identifying the aspects of your business that differentiate you from competitors. Whether it's superior quality, innovative solutions, or exceptional customer service, a clear value proposition helps customers understand why they should choose your brand. Create a Compelling Brand Story A brand story is a powerful tool for connecting emotionally with your audience. Share the journey of your company, the challenges you've overcome, and the passion that drives your team. A compelling narrative creates a memorable impression and fosters a sense of loyalty among consumers. Align Your Brand with Customer Needs and Desires Your brand should resonate with the desires and aspirations of your target audience. Do you want to be functional and affordable or do you want to be high status? Tailor your messaging to address customer needs and showcase how your product or service fulfills those needs. Understanding your customers on a deep level allows you to build a brand that aligns with their values and preferences. Developing a Memorable Brand Identity Design a Distinctive Logo and Visual Elements Your logo is the visual centerpiece of your brand identity. Work with our skilled designers to create a logo that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also reflective of your brand's personality and values. Consistency in visual elements across various platforms reinforces brand recognition. Select Brand Colors and Typography Colors and typography evoke specific emotions and contribute to the overall tone of your brand. Choose a color palette and font style that align with your brand's personality and resonate with your target audience. Consistent use of these elements reinforces brand cohesion. Create Consistent Brand Messaging Consistency is key in branding. Develop a cohesive messaging strategy that aligns with your brand story and value proposition. Whether communicating through social media, advertising, or customer interactions, maintaining a consistent voice and message builds trust and reinforces brand identity. What Is Marketing? Once you’ve decided what your brand should be, and created the assets (logo, website, brand voice, etc.), you have to make people aware of these elements. This brand awareness is achieved with marketing tactics. Marketing also creates sales. While using the framework of your brand, your marketing messages and tactics generate interest in your products or services and increase sales. What Are Marketing Tactics? Marketing encompasses all the activities you use to put your brand and messaging in front of your target audience. These elements can include: Advertising PPC Paid social media ads Podcast ads Direct mail And more Promotions and Offers Social media posts Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Leads Sales calls Email marketing Event marketing Public Relations Which Should You Do First, Branding or Marketing? Without question, your business should develop your branding first. Your marketing must reflect your branding and brand strategy. Without that piece, it becomes difficult for you to create a clear message and for consumers to differentiate you from your competitors. Branding and marketing are inherently interconnected. They have to work together to create a complete experience and message for your customers. Branding establishes the foundation that your marketing strategies are built on. It involves defining the core identity of a business, encompassing its values, mission, and unique selling proposition. Branding creates the distinct personality and image of your company that will resonate with your target audience. Marketing is the tactical execution of promoting a brand to your target market. Marketing involves the various channels and methods through which a company communicates its value proposition, engages with customers, and drives sales. Marketing encompasses a wide range of activities, from traditional advertising and public relations to digital strategies such as social media campaigns and content marketing. Building a strong brand provides the foundation for all marketing efforts. Without a clear brand identity, marketing messages can lack consistency and fail to establish a meaningful connection with your audience. Effective marketing relies on a well-defined brand that communicates authenticity and builds trust. Branding and Marketing for Your Company Contact COLAB to discuss how to further develop your brand, or to start marketing your products or services. We are a branding and marketing agency that’s been helping brands in Los Angeles and across the country for over ten years. From eCommerce companies, to med spas, to plumbers, we can get you in front of the right audience with the right branding and messaging.

2024-01-14

YouTube Disables Hidden Subscriber Count To Fight Creator Impersonations
YouTube has officially prevented channels from hiding the number of subscribers they have in order to help fight creator impersonation across the platform. Spammers can impersonate other channels when leaving comments by hiding their subscriber count. Seeing a low subscriber count can be a dead giveaway that someone posing as another creator isn’t who they claim to be. Comment spam and identity-related abuse are problematic for many people on YouTube today. In response, YouTube is implementing updates to help protect viewers and creators from comment spam while making it harder to impersonate creators. The updates include: Disabling hidden subscriber counts Strengthening auto-moderation capabilities Limiting the use of special characters in channel names Here’s more details about each of these updates. Hidden Subscriber Counts Historically, channels on YouTube have been able to hide the number of subscribers they have. Some creators find this feature valuable, such as those who are starting and don’t want to be dismissed by their subscriber count. However, according to YouTube, this feature is often used to impersonate channels. Following an update rolling out at the end of July, channels will no longer be able to hide their subscriber counts on YouTube. YouTube claims this decision will make the community safer, though it’s sure to upset creators who weren’t abusing the option to hide subscribers. Stricter Comment Moderation YouTube currently allows channels to automatically hold comments for moderation before they go live for all to see. A new update to YouTube’s auto-moderation will give creators the option to increase the strictness. Making comment moderation stricter will increase detection settings for potentially inappropriate comments and spam. You can increase the strictness by signing into Creator Studio and selecting ‘Settings.’ Then select Community, then Defaults. Check the box labeled ‘hold potentially inappropriate comments for review,’ then select ‘increase strictness.’ When this new setting is turned on, more spam and solicitations will automatically filter under the ‘held for review’ tab. From there, channels can either delete the comment or post it publicly. Limiting Special Characters Using special characters in channel names is another way that phonies can impersonate established channels. To mitigate impersonation attempts, YouTube is reducing the character set creators can choose from when updating their name moving forward. Existing names with special characters can stay in place, however.

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