The Rise in Semi-Flat Design

Digital trends are influenced by all kinds of things like media, user experience, fashion and technology just to name a few. Digital design is never static. Design tools and technology is constantly evolving and what styles are popular evolves with it.

Over the past year we’ve seen a decrease in photo-realistic designs and a boon in simplistic, 2D designs. Color gradients and curvy fonts have also gone by the wayside in many industries. Big players like Netflix, Ebay, and Paypal have all made the shift toward a cleaner, more simple design. Simplicity has its benefits but comes with the risk of being seen as flat and boring.

        

Thanks to Material Design, Google’s new design language, we are now seeing two-dimensional designs come to life. Flat designs have evolved into a semi flat design with some light, depth, and shadows. A semi-flat design adds smooth shading and a level of complexity that flat designs are lacking. Through Material Design, Google has created a sweet spot for brands to design their logos, and interface to have subtle depth while still maintaining the clean, sleek feel of flat design and we love it! 

                          

Project: Listener’s Playlist

Author: Anzi

Our design team is always looking for the best way to incorporate these trends into our clients’ brands and design elements. Brand Iron can help revitalize your brand by incorporating these design trends into your brand’s look and feel. Fill our the form below if you love this design and need help from Brand Iron to incorporate this look to elevate your brand to a new level.

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Five Social Media Trends to Watch: Facebook Spaces, Chatbots, Gen Z, and More

In the past year, we have witnessed how significant social media is in our lives as well as in the news. The president of the United States communicated his political beliefs in 140 characters or fewer. Facebook is taking over in the advertising space and has stripped down Snapchat’s market share by adding stories to Instagram. With September coming to a close, we are looking forward to what social media trends will emerge as 2018 approaches. To help, Brand Iron has put together 5 social media trends to watch while you prepare for the upcoming year.

1. Facebook… So Much To Watch Out For

Facebook has transformed social media time and time again. This year we saw how live streaming has added a new element to social media. Now Facebook is working on a project called Spaces that is taking that concept to a whole new level. Spaces allows you to connect with your social network through virtual reality. Available via the Oculus Rift, you will soon be able to control a virtual representation of yourself, interacting and sharing memories with your friends in a new space. Check out this video for more info!

2. Content Personalization

Everyday we are bombarded by content. People have acquired skills to screen and filter the content to narrow down the specific pieces that will bring them value. Technology and automation has made it possible to create personalized content based on what a person has clicked on in the past. By setting rules and triggers, you can automate your marketing to respond with content that actually matters to your audience. Personalization will differentiate your brand and message from the sea of content.

3. Chatbots Will Become More and More Common

Artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots can communicate through voice or text. Chatbots are guided and powered by a set of rules to create conversation structure that is programmed into their code. They’re convincing enough to fool all but the most astute observers and can offer a personal-feeling experience to numerous people. They’re starting to make their appearance in the realm of customer support with striking advantages. To start, they make support accessible to more people at once while shortening wait times. They also provide consistent answers about company services to a host of frequently asked questions.

4. Focus on Generation Z

Move over Millennials, Generation Z is taking the stage. They’re becoming more influential as the importance of social media swells. Generation Z grew up fully immersed with social media and are quite savvy. Their interests and aptitude are driving the social media market. Brands who lack a presence on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook may be missing out on a huge group of potential leads.

5. Keep an eye on Twitter

Recently Twitter has fallen behind other platforms and has been all over the news for its lackluster ability to keep up with trends. They have even lost ground to Amazon who now has the ability to stream NFL games. We believe that in the next year Twitter will be making some big changes to reinvigorate their popularity.

Social media platforms allow you to track your engagement with your audience. This means a better understanding of what resonates with them and the opportunity to improve your methods moving forward. Strengthening your company’s social media strategy will be important for your brand moving forward into the upcoming year. Brand Iron can help prepare your brand and strategy for these upcoming trends. Call 303-534-1901 or visit brandiron.net for more information.

4 Steps to Effectively Brand a Startup Business

Creating and launching a new business is an exciting and scary time for founders. Unfortunately, many new business will struggle in the first few years and over half of new business fail.

At Brand Iron, we’re interested in helping up that number.

It is important to know what separates companies that dive into the red versus those that rise to the top. A unified brand image will be the driving force and the backbone of your company, which will propel your brand and make the difference in the longevity of your startup. Brand Iron has mapped out 4 steps to effectively brand a startup that will help strengthen your company’s brand and boost your percentage for success.

The steps for branding a startup can be broken down into 4 main phases:

  1. Find your Achieve Anything
  2. Forge your Brand
  3. Brand-to-Market
  4. Brand Analysis

Phase 1: Find your Achieve Anything

First you need a plan. Startups must establish measurable goals and objectives and develop a time frame in which to achieve them. At Brand Iron, we define this process as the “Achieve Anything Plan,” which includes the following:

  • Capital raised
  • Number of products, units, engagement, subscriptions, contracts, or units sold depending on company deliverables
  • Definition of your target segments
  • Strategy to reach these targets
  • Set revenue and profits goals over the course of 3 months, 6 months, 12, months, 24 months, and 36 months
  • Identification market share
Phase 2: Forging your Brand

Now that company goals and objectives have been planned out, it’s time to Forge your Brand! You need to determine a strategic direction that both the creative and content will follow; this will be the framework for your brand’s messaging and look and feel.  The creative and content must be engaging and compelling to entertain your target audience while translating your brand identity.

Once you have determined the strategic direction, you need to develop your brand. This means creating your brand look and feel, developing a logo, website design, marketing and communications, and developing a social media presence and following.

Phase 3:  Brand-to-Market  

It is finally time to take your brand to market, and most importantly, drive revenue! To implement this, you need to develop a Go-to-Market Plan, which will include who you are targeting, your budget, and the most effective way to reach your target segments. Startups are often strapped for resources, so optimizing your time, money, and resources will be imperative to successfully take your brand to market.  Some resources and ideas to keep in mind include the following:

  • What is the CRM/ Marketing Automation platform you are using to run and drive your marketing efforts?
  • How are you going to generate and capture leads through your website?
  • Are you going to utilize email campaigns to help build your brand?
    • If yes, how will you drive traffic to your website?
  • How will you connect your brand on social media and which platforms are best for your industry?
  • How will you advertise to your target markets?
    • Which mediums will resonate best with your target?
    • Online? Broadcast? Out of home?
  • What lead generation activities will you be implementing to generate traffic and leads to your site?

Once you have decided which mediums you are going to utilize, it’s time to map out interactions on a marketing calendar to ensure that consistent marketing efforts are being put forward. It take 7-15 touches to get a response from your target, and these touches will help build credibility in your market and establish your brand identity.

Step 4: Brand Analytics

Now it’s time to measure how your marketing and lead generation efforts are performing. Analytics allow you to better understand your target market; more specifically, you can find out what type of content resonates with your audience and then improve and tailor your strategy around the results. Social media platforms have built-in analytics that allow you to see what content your audience is engaging with. Other questions to ask yourself include:

  • Are you utilizing analytics tools from your CRM/ MAS platform?
  • Are you filling your sales pipeline and generating your target revenue?
  • Are you tracking your analytics on your email and social media platforms?
  • Have you developed a results dashboard to track your company KPI?

Tracking and analytics help you determine if your company is on the right track to hitting your goals and objectives or if you need to pivot your strategy to get back on track with your initial Achieve Anything Plan.

 

Now that you understand how to develop a strong brand and position your startup, it’s time to build your brand and take your ideas to market! If you need any help implementing this process or developing a brand, Brand Iron is here to help at www.brandiron.net or 303-534-1901.