Branding Guidelines: Top 10 Tips

Branding Guidelines

This post comes as a blast from the past by our very own JJ Lassberg – she’s taken a new direction in her creative and tech world, but remains ever a Schipulite! Enjoy her great thoughts around branding!

In a world saturated by marketing ads and promotions, where children watch more than 40,000 ads of TV alone,   it’s hard gain the competitive edge.

Here at Schipul, we believe there are 10 Top Branding Guidelines that can help you stand out in the crowd:

  1. Focus on the #1 thing you provide
  2. Get a short, Clear Tagline that tells me what you are going to do for me
  3. Be consistent with your branding – don’t change it because YOU get bored, it’s all about ME the customer
  4. Show that your are the best by choosing top quality, up to date graphics and design
  5. Use Your Branding EVERYWHERE
  6. Share your branding with a press kit – give people what they need to talk about you
  7. Train everyone in your organization to say the same thing about what you do
  8. Let Your fans rave – them where and how to do it
  9. A bad reputation is louder and more demanding that even the best branding
  10. Let go… just a little. Be Fun, Kind and Grateful to anyone willing to engage and share your branding online.

For the full Branding Guidelines – view the Slideshare Presentation Below:

A Reality, A Challenge, An Adventure

Performing Arts Marketing Online

I’ve been working here at Schipul for almost a year now. I came here after 4+ years of working for the Society for the Performing Arts in Houston, TX. During this time, my mind has not strayed far from trying to find better ways for performing arts organizations to harness the power of the Internet to enhance audience development and, more importantly, sell more tickets.

This post is a first step in helping performing arts institutions to better understand and use the Internet for their organizations and their artists. I welcome your feeback, and hope you forward this on to anyone you know that works for a performing arts organization if you find it useful.

A Reality: Performing Arts needs SEO

You probably think an organization like Lincoln Center wouldn’t need Search Engine Optimization.  You’re wrong.

Despite being quite familiar with their site, I had to Google them first to find their site. Today’s web user is very reluctant to start slapping .com on anything you want on the web.  For instance, try typing into your browser. You will not find our President.

Need more proof? Take a look at this report from Google Insights about searches including the words lincoln and center. NOTE: These results are from New York state.


I don’t know about you, but I know Lincoln Center is in New York City. Yet above you can see that many people actually search for “lincoln center nyc” or “lincoln center ny”. Again, these are searched from the state of New York. The point here is that regardless of how strong your brand or position is in a patron’s mind, they will more likely be Googling you or the performer first.

Wait! Don’t go optimizing your performances just  yet. You need to develop your strategy first. You’re probably thinking you’ll succeed if you start optimizing around the same time you start marketing the performances through your other outlets. That’s not going to work. You need at least three months of continuous optimization to start getting attention of the great and powerful Google. This means your online marketing should not, in any way, be tied to your other marketing plans. Why?

Newspapers are dying because they thought reprinting their paper on the web was all they needed to do. They were wrong. You must market to an online audience (i.e. Google) if you want people to find your web site. This means you need to start treating Google like your oldest subscriber and donor.

A Challenge: Performing Arts needs Video

Do you remember when we all thought how crazy it was to have a camera on a cell phone? Now we have phones offering HD video! But there’s a HUGE drawback as it’s not so easy to transmit video via today’s web. However, as the Internet continues to become more mobile, and the transmission lines get faster and more widespread, sharing video is going to become as ubiquitous as photo sharing is today.

Today, many performing artists rely on photos to tell their story. Take this image from Diavolo’s Trajectoire.

But doesn’t this video do a better job of telling their story?

Of course, it’s not just about presenting it, it’s HOW you share the video. Take this video I’ve embedded from Alvin Ailey Dance Company. NOTE: Alvin Ailey has restricted our ability to share their videos to this format.

Revelations from AlvinAileyAmericanDanceTheater on Vimeo.

Not very impressive, is it? If you do decide to click on it, you will bear witness to one of the greatest displays of American choreography the world has ever seen. But if you’re like most web users,  you are more likely to trust the Diavolo video link  (32K+ hits) over the link from Alvin Ailey (26K+ hits).

Proving a picture is worth 6,000 clicks.

Artists and presenting organizations have to work together to provide better opportunities for patron video consumption. It’s not about showing entire pieces or performances, it’s about whetting the appetite of an audience that is starved for good content. And like we’ve seen above, how you allow your patrons and fans to present is important as well.

An Adventure: Check in, Experience the Performing Arts

Do you remember your reaction when you first heard someone talk about Twitter? It was probably the same reaction you have had listening to someone talk about Foursquare, Gowalla or SCVNGR. I must admit, I long fought against the location-based check in services. However, the more I learn about them, the more I begin to see the dawning of a new level of personal interaction.

The purpose behind these services isn’t to alert people of your location, it’s to tell a story about a location. Every time you walk into a special place, like a performing arts venue, a memory is made. You are not the person you were after you’ve walked into one of your special locations.

For a performing arts organization’s patrons, this is a regular experience every time they walk into your performance hall. The hall is your sandbox, and you now have some pretty amazing toys to play with in it. Whether you create photo contests with Instagram or Hipstamatic, or offer discounts to patrons who check in via Gowalla or SCVNGR, you now have the ability, generally for FREE, to create memories and expand your patrons’ experiences beyond the stage and performance.

Performing Arts Online

I want to explore these and other ways the Internet can be used to tell the story of performing arts over the course of this year. I can tell you now, the performing arts groups are not fully utilizing the power of the web to further their mission and vision. My goal, my New Year’s resolution, is to help change that.

I hope this is a first step in the right direction.

An Intro to The Google Font Directory: The Next Step for Web Ready Fonts

If you’ve ever wondered why all the fonts on the Internet look the same, it’s because there’s a very limited number of them for Web designers to choose from. The issue is this: For a font to work correctly, it has to be installed on your computer. If it’s not there, it doesn’t show up.

Fortunately, every single computer on earth comes with at least one font installed. In fact, there are multiple. And because every computer has this specific set, Web designers are free to use those fonts in their designs because they a) know what it will look like, and b) they know it will work.

Being limited to around five or six fonts (Arial [or Helvetica on a Mac], Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia, Tahoma, roughly) seriously limits the way your designs will look.

But as the Internet grows up, Google is hoping to utilize some new features to allow for designers to use more fonts in their creations. Enter the Google Font Directory.

The Google Font Directory now easily allows designers to embed fonts into a site itself, rather than require the computer to have them installed. (Visit the Directory itself to see the ever-growing list of new fonts available.)

And the best part? It’s incredibly simple!

All the designer needs to do now is drop this line of code…

<link href=''

rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>

…in the header, and now it’s available for use in their style sheet! So if they wanted to make all their paragraphs Yanone Kaffeesatz, they can now do this:

p { font-family: 'Yanone Kaffeesatz', serif; }

Pretty cool, huh??

Google hopes to continue to build the list—and there are still some hiccups—but as Web designers, we’re hoping this is another great step towards a much larger palette for us to work with.

Thirty Days of Thanks – Thank Goodness for Good Design!!

Deconstructing Product DesignWe’re a Web Marketing company so of course one of the thirty things we are thankful for is good design!!

And we’re not just talking web design either… we’re talking about the design of all of your everyday things from the mundane to the magnificent.

To celebrate our love of design, we’ve got a super special giveaway for you this month!!

Our very own Search Engine Marketing Team Manager, Jonti Bolles, is a former professor of Architecture and we can testify that this gal loves her design… so much so that she was tapped to offer her expert design commentary in the recently published Deconstructing Product Design book by Will Lidwell and Gerry Manacsa.

Want a copy? Tell us what product you can’t live without and what about it’s design has made it integral to your life.

For inspiration check out my 5 Favorite Product Designs from the book!!

  1. the Motorola Razr V3: I had one of these babies. And yes I agree… the silver version pictured in the book was a step forward for phones, but the Pink Razr (with duct tape accents) that I personally owned was what I’d consider more of a giant leap. Razrs are risiliant little things and last for years!
  2. Aeron Armchair: I sit in a wannabe one of these (from Eurway) all day at work and I would never switch to a different chair. Commenter Carley H. Franklin calls it the “Rock-Star of the Seating World” and I wholeheartedly agree! Even if my chair is merely the pop-star version.
  3. the Chanel No. 5 Flacon: Ladies across the world will unanimously agree that this famed bottle of perfume is one of the iconic   symbols of all things womanly.
  4. POM Juice Bottle: I love pomegranates so by proxy I love this bottle. The design helps too.
  5. Glock G17 Semi-Automatic Pistol: I’m an Army Gal and so weapons of all shapes and sizes interest me. This one is a little smaller than the ones we used to tote around in basic training but I love that they featured it in a design book!!

And if you MUST have some Internet Inspiration, check out the Sew Crafty Houston Site or Gwen Bell’s Beautiful Blog. Both make me smile every time they pop open in my browser. I blame the monsters.

So one more time. How do you win this awesome book??

  1. Leave a comment below
  2. What product can’t you live without and what do you LOVE about its design
  3. We’ll pick a winner using the random integer generator on November 18
  4. Make sure you include a way for us to contact you when you win!!

Culintro hits 1,500th member milestone

A big “wow” and “congratulations” go out to the folks at Culintro, one of our newer customers who use Tendenci to manage their Web site and membership. In just a few short months they have registered 1,500 members after starting from scratch earlier in the year. Clearly, that rapid growth suggests they are satisfying a need for executives in the restaurant industry. Check out the news release for more details.

The Culintro Web site was designed by Schipul and is powered by Tendenci.
The Culintro Web site was designed by Schipul and is powered by Tendenci.

Helping the Y connect with Houston

YMCA of Greater Houston has unveiled an upgraded and interactive Web site designed by Schipul' The Web Marketing Company.
YMCA of Greater Houston has unveiled an upgraded and interactive Web site designed by Schipul' The Web Marketing Company.

Congratulations to the YMCA of Greater Houston, which has  unveiled, an upgraded and interactive Web site. The Schipul team  is proud to be associated with such a highly respected Houston institution. Can you imagine the challenge of connecting with 100,000 people served every day? That challenge is why the  Y’s  Web site plays such a major role. For example, we made sure every page features a zip code search tool to make it easy to find the closest center. The Web site also makes it easy to apply for financial aid, join the Y as a facility member, register for upcoming programs and subscribe to receive e-mail alerts. We are also helping to roll out  Y-Online, a new online registration system that will provide a faster and more user-friendly experience.

Safety Vision cams keep you safe — and new Web site tells (and shows) their story

Safety Vision's new Web design by Schipul
Safety Vision's new Web design by Schipul

The Schipul team recently released a new Web site design for Safety Vision, a global provider of mobile digital video solutions. It is a great example of the power of  incorporating video clips to illustrate the core benefits of an organization’s products and services. The site includes actual examples of video captured by Safety Vision’s client cameras, including one case in which a parent gets on a school bus and (I suppose we should say allegedly, although it’s right there in the video) attacks one of the students.

Take a moment to take a look. It might give you some ideas about taking some existing video of your operations and posting them on your site.

A news account of the attack from  CBS Evening News  that also featured the Safety Vision video is below.