Using Visual Assets on Social Media for Better Engagement

Visual content on social media matters. According to Hootsuite, LinkedIn posts with images have a 98% higher comment rate and Twitter tweets with visual content are three times more likely to get engagement. And, on Instagram the more visual content the higher the engagement. According to 2022 Statista data, the average engagement rate for an Instagram post on a business page is 1.94% and carousel posts have a higher engagement rate of 3.15%.

Plus, the type of visual makes a big difference for marketers and consumers with a big focus on high-quality video and images. Hootsuite reports that 47% of adults like to see content in the form of images. 35% said they like to see brand content in video form, as found from a 2021 Swedish study conducted by Statista.

Different types of visual content on social media include:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Carousel posts (multiple photos or videos)
  • GIFs
  • Illustrations
  • Infographics
  • Animations
  • Memes

Below are my top four tips for incorporating visuals into your brand and social media strategy.

1. Color Palette

Create a color palette that represents your brand and follow it all the way through your feed. Not only does it develop a stunning look, but it creates brand recognition and connection with all your followers. Make sure to alternate how you use color by creating different templates, as well as pictures and video.

2. High Quality Assets

Use high quality assets that have the right specifications for each platform, so they can display without being stretched out or pixelated. When using a link to fill in an image make sure that what is being displayed is accurate and tells the right story. Lastly, when posting a video be sure to choose the thumbnail that is represented in the feed when it isn’t playing.

3. Image Copyrights

It is so important to give credit where it is due. If you didn’t create, film or buy your image/video be sure to highlight and/or tag the person or organization that did. Other than it being basic courtesy, there are legalities surrounding using an image or video from other creators that isn’t from a free stock image site.

4. Brand Your Content

Don’t be afraid to leverage your brand logo with your images.  However, don’t overuse it or let it take up too much space. Use it enough to create recognition and to ensure you get proper credit when people repost.

In closing, we encourage you to pay close attention to social media trends. Social media platforms tend to reward handles with higher engagement when they are leveraging the latest practices. Also, use a scheduler to manage your social media strategy! The surest way to fail at this is to not plan out content!

There is so much to know about social media! Want to learn more? Reach out and schedule a free 30-minute consultation today.


4 Signs It Is Time For An Updated Logo

We all know that having the perfect logo is good for business. It defines your business and helps your brand stand out next to the competition while creating an image that resonates with consumers.

As with all things, logo design and trends change with time. So do consumers, competitors and business scope. If your brand has been struggling in places they haven’t before it might be time to consider an update for your logo and brand presence.

1. Changing Consumer Market

If you have been in business a while, most likely your consumer market has been evolving and to stay competitive you need to open it up. Perhaps you are trying to connect with a younger consumer or are trying to appeal to female buyers. If your previous consumer market was older and male, then the logo you have might speak directly to them but not anyone else. How your target audience is changing and what visually appeals to them is critical when leveraging a logo.

2. Shifting Competitive Landscape predicted that 2023 is a great year to start an online business. During the COVID-19 pandemic millions of people started new businesses and side hustles. In 2022 that trend stayed strong with 5 million new businesses and this year has been no different! With this significant influx of competition, how does your logo and brand stack up? To stay competitive your brand needs to be visually compelling and easy to find in a crowded marketplace.

3. Expanding Business Focus

Most likely as your business has grown, so has your strategic approach on what niche market (s) to target. Perhaps you have grown from a local shop to a national presence. Or perhaps, even grown your business to an international brand. Better yet, if you have added additional products or services to your brand than your logo or family of logos needs to reflect that. Your logo needs to grow along with your business!

4. Current Logo Doesn’t Show Up

Having a successful business is about being seen in all the right places! Is it easy to see your logo in digital communications? Consider the following:

  • A logo bug for online profiles that is easy to see and connects with your bigger logo.
  • Bright and vibrant colors that illustrate and relate to your brand.
  • Logo on all digital platforms are consistent and recognizable
  • Logo makes sense to your target audience on signage and print and digital communications.

The next step in this process is deciding whether to redesign or refresh your logo. How to handle your logo should not be taken lightly. Changing your logo directly affects your brand recognition and your loyal customer base and requires a strategic approach. However, this can be a fun and necessary process that will ultimately build strong brand presence and increase your sales!

Looking for some more branding support related to your logo? Creative Vortex is here for you! Reach out to us to learn more about our team and how we can help.

Brand Refresh & Rebrand: Understanding The Difference

People often get a rebrand and refresh for a brand confused. Or they don’t even know what any of it means. So, they just keep doing what they have always done and eventually start to lose customers because they aren’t offering anything new … or just aren’t reaching people.

Both are centered around a need for change to evolve within a marketplace and stay competitive to a target demographic. A rebrand is a completely new look and feel, while a refresh simply cleans certain elements up but still looks and acts the same.

Change is hard, but necessary! Follow along as we dissect a rebrand and a refresh!


As mentioned previously, a rebrand has a completely new look and feel. It entails changing the following:

  • Logo
  • Font typeface
  • Color Palette
  • Tagline
  • Key Messaging
  • Market Position
  • Brand Values
  • Brand Guidelines
  • Mission & Vision Statement

Be prepared to ask and answer some hard questions from your internal and external audiences. Conduct market research to learn more about how to be competitive within your marketplace and with your chosen audience. What do customers think of your company/brand now? What is your competition doing better than you?

A rebrand will take an investment in time and financial resources to do a thorough job. It is also possible that you might lose some longtime customers because your brand is evolving beyond them. However, if done correctly, your brand will be positioned to stand the test of time and continue to grow for the long-term with the marketplace.


In 2021, this Korean carmaker decided to go for what’s been called a “dramatically different logo”. The slogan was also changed (now it’s “Movement that inspires”), as well as the company’s name (KIA ditched the word “motors” from the name to show a full-on transition into electric mobility). As the company’s CEO, Ho Sung Song, put it: “Kia’s new logo represents the company’s commitment to becoming an icon for change and innovation.”



A refresh is a simpler process and doesn’t entail changing the core of how a company looks. It typically just includes adaptations to the following:

  • Logo
  • Font typeface
  • Color Palette
  • Tagline
  • Key Messaging

At the end it still looks and feels like the original design but is smoother and more polished. Typically, there is less of a time and financial obligation, but input from internal and external audiences is still critical to it being successful. Some market research is also a good idea to get aligned with buyer personas and market expectations.

Dunkin Donuts

For its brand refresh, Dunkin’ retained the familiar pink and orange colors and iconic round sans-serif font. However, the brand simplified its name to “Dunkin,” which is how their customers have affectionately referred to the company for years. This name change builds on rapport with their audience and portrays the brand as friendly and familiar. The departure from their previous branding also reflects their expanded menu—the modern Dunkin’ is more than a place to get coffee and donuts.



Be strategic about how you launch a new look and feel for your company and make it exciting! Additionally, make them feel like you did this for them (which you did!!). And, most importantly, create a plan that ensures that new look is incorporated across all multi-channel platforms, marketing materials, signage, and key messaging. Tell your customers why you did it, what it means for them, what it means for the company and its products/services.

Looking to take a deeper dive into a rebrand or refresh for your organization? Contact Creative Vortex to schedule a free consultation!

Small Business Hacks For Busy Entrepreneurs (and Solopreneurs!)

The year is still pretty new and, personally, I am still working some kinks out! This made me think about being a small business owner and how over the past 16 years I have learned some lessons on how to be successful. In the spirit of wanting to support the next generation of up-and-coming entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, I have listed my top five hacks for making it.

1. Focus on Meaningful Projects

Make sure you are investing your time in projects that have real potential for making it to the launch pad. Your success is based on the success of your clients and putting a lot of time into a project that isn’t well researched, funded or doesn’t have a real strategy could mean a big waste of time and effort, as well as a paycheck that doesn’t materialize.

2. Free Up Your Time with Technology

Typically, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs are trying to wear a lot of different hats to save money. But make sure, you are saving TIME too! Use technology to automate your billing, manage your calendar, organize your projects and meetings and even support your actual work. Four of my favorite pieces of technology include:

  •  Dropbox – file sharing and storage
  • Asana – project management
  • Office Time – time tracking
  • Keeper – password management and sharing

It is also important to note that you should limit time spent surfing social media to less than 60 minutes per day. Nothing kills productivity more than getting sucked into mindless scrolling!

3. Leverage Your Network

Use your network to find clients, talk through best practices, support client work and, most importantly, open doors. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask them about anything and everything. Most times people want to help and love it when asked for a resource or opinion. Just make sure to reciprocate the support in the future!

4. Be Smart About Meetings

There is no doubt that meetings are a necessary part of running and building a business but be smart about it. Here are few recommendations:

  • Only go to the part of the meeting you need to be a part of
  • Use Zoom to cut back on travel time
  • Limit the number of meetings per day
  • Be prepared and have an agenda
  • Be clear about your availability
  • Have a firm start and a hard stop

5. Take Real Breaks

We all need to recharge our batteries at some point. So, whether it be a daily work out, meditation session, lunch, or vacation, be sure to take time to shut the laptop and silence the phone notifications. Even taking 30 minutes a day to go outside for a walk or to sit in the sun goes a long way in keeping you mentally sharp to handle all ups and downs of small business ownership.

So, there you have it! Let me know if you need any more small business hacks.

Settle Into Your Zone of Genius

Ever get a feeling of energy and flow that is effortless when performing a task or activity? I am talking about pure Zen! That is a Zone of Genius and it is your own unique power. It can be described as the sweet spot between skills, strength and talents.  Most times, this is where entrepreneurs and small business owners are at and the reason they went into business in the first place. It is the passion that drove them to set out on their own and create a product or service that nobody else could!

What does this all mean? The activities you participate in typically fall within one of four zones:

  1. Zone of Incompetence – things other people can do better than you
  2. Zone of Competence – Things you can accomplish and other can do too
  3. Zone of Excellence – Things you can do better than others, but you don’t enjoy it
  4. Zone of Genius – Things that you are uniquely good at and thoroughly enjoy doing

As someone inspired to start and run your own company, it is important to recognize where your Zone of Genius lies and when you start to drift into incompetence, competence, and excellence. What are the activities that you are spending your time doing that you aren’t very good at or are not enjoying? Could someone else be doing it better? Finding the right workflow means understanding what you want, what you are good at and what the organizations needs to grow and thrive.

Working in your Zone of Genius is all about finding joy and energy in a task. Anything that falls outside of that in Zones 1 – 3 needs to be considered carefully and then outsourced to people that find purpose in the job. The task could be overhauled or even eliminated. The Zone of Excellence can be tricky because you will do it well but not enjoy it. This is exactly how people end up in jobs they hate for 20+ years! Be transparent about how you feel about tasks and responsibilities … to yourself and to the people around you.

What is the best way to realize our Zone of Genius? Consider leveraging these exercises:

  1. Monitor work related tasks for a set period … two weeks is usually a good baseline
  2. Put each task into the Zones 1 – 4
  3. Tally up what went into each Zone

This is the fun part! For all the tasks that went into Zone 1 – 3 figure out ways to either eliminate (most of the time it is not feasible to completely eliminate a task, but it is possible periodically!), outsource it or rework the task to make it enjoyable.

Understanding your Zone of Genius means embracing your natural talent, which often can go ignored because you feel pressured to “like” another job or task better, a negative and subjective work evaluation or simply because you are overwhelmed trying to be everything to everyone.

Want to learn more about finding your Zone of Genius? Check out this YouTube video!

5 Steps to Power Up Your Market Presence 

What exactly is it? How do you get it?

Brand differentiation is how your brand sets itself apart from the competition by associating a superior performing aspect of your brand with multiple customer benefits.

In essence, it is your competitive advantage.

Brand differentiation is an essential aspect of a brand marketing strategy. It enables companies to reveal their profitable qualities that help develop a unique selling proposition. This way, they understand their competitive advantage and stand out among competitors.

Companies selling status quo items in the marketplace are easily interchangeable and prone to fall victim to price wars because that is the only thing left for them to compete with. Consistently undercutting prices ultimately leads to a lower net profit for the business.

Below are 5 tried and true strategies for building competitive brand differentiation.  


Innovation is really one of the best ways to stand out. Do your homework (or research!) and find out how to really solve your customers’ problems. If a product already exists, find out what the gaps are and where the trouble spots are. What are customers complaining about? Make products easier, simpler and more solutions-oriented to attract attention. Organizations that are consistently bringing innovations to a crowded marketplace are typically more successful and have stronger customer loyalty.


Does your brand have a consistent presence? Presenting a brand that has a clear visual strategy (color palette, logo, tagline, etc.) across multiple platforms is more likely to be remembered by customers, and more easily recommended to additional customers.


Is the way that customers interact with your brand unique and dependable? Customer experience is felt through a brick-and-mortar store, website, social media, shipping, customer service unboxing/packaging and more! Perhaps, that customer experience even comes from being able to customize a product or service through a website, app or in-person event. Customer experience can either make or break a brand.


Pricing can be tricky and needs to be handled properly. Companies need to find the balance between being affordably priced to offer financial value and being a premium brand with additional benefits at a higher price. To create a pricing strategy and differentiate your brand perform a marketing pricing analysis, target audience research, competitive landscape analysis, and lay out the results next to your business goals.

Emotional Response

How a brand makes a customer feel matters because it plays a big part in whether the person comes back to buy again or refers the company to someone new. Statistics show that customers with an emotional relationship to a brand have a 306 percent higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at a rate of 71 percent. Along that same line, 70 percent of viewers are more likely to buy a product from an ad after having an intense emotional response. Creating an emotional response from a customer is closely tied to the customer experience.

Know Where Your Genius Lives

Every decision we make carries an opportunity cost. If we don’t budget our time wisely, we end up wasting it, as well as our energy on things that don’t matter or should be delegated to those with the proper expertise. For example, when I first started my business, I thought I needed to handle my monthly accounting, data entry and P&L statements. I spent HOURS trying to understand and organize the money I was making and spending. What I quickly learned was that the amount of time I was spending on this task each month was significantly taking away the time I spent on client work which ended up causing me some very late-night hours and a lot of stress. The obvious lesson I learned here was that I needed to outsource this task to an expert that manages this more efficiently so that I could focus on building a graphic design and branding business.

Fifteen years later the term “stay in your lane” resonates loudly with me as I seek to create synergies with third parties that can help me run Creative Vortex more efficiently. That’s not to say that learning a new skill or gaining an appreciation for another talent isn’t still important but knowing where your genius lives and honoring that is equally, if not more so, important.

This concept also applies to creating a marketing and design strategy for a business. It is amazing to me how often people think they can do this themselves because they “know their business the best” and consider themselves to be creative or a great writer. Or they simply just don’t see the value in investing in a professional design team because they think that an online software can give them everything they need for $150 a year. Then waste hours of their own time trying to do something they are not very good at and struggle with the execution.

The examples below are the most common:

  • Working solo to customize marketing materials from a template to save money vs hiring experts with proven experience to increase sales and company revenue and hit deadlines.
  • Posting on social media sporadically with content that has no meaning to the target market (you think it does, but it is totally off base) vs hiring a professional to do some market research and create a strategy and content calendar that has relevance with your audience.
  • Paying for online ads and using stock visuals (or worse yet, visuals stolen from the Internet) vs hiring a professional digital marketer/designer to create custom visuals and assist with ad copy.
  • Paying a lot of money for a booth spot at a trade show, waiting too long to create the design/marketing and end up missing the mark because they didn’t know about the many, many details related to printing, shipping, set-up and execution.
  • Buying a discount logo online and expecting it to work for all your marketing and business needs. Please know that putting a vertical logo into a horizontal space isn’t going to work because it is so small that people can’t see it. Just because you can get a logo for $99 in a day doesn’t mean you should. Your brand mark should have the ability to shine in all its applications.

How much is your time actually worth? How much time in your day are you spending on tasks you don’t understand and consequently getting poor results for your effort? Think about how much more you could achieve and build your business by partnering with a creative/marketing professional that could help strategically guide your business and ultimately save you time and money. Branding is a process and it is important to build the foundation, which typically includes business name, tagline, mission and vision statement.

Every day we are faced with choices on how to invest our time, and we all can be guilty of the same thing: Taking on too much without properly understanding the costs. Especially when it comes to marketing and design, it is important to partner with experts that know how to create the most impact for your money, no matter how big or small a budget is.

Interested in learning more about creating a branding and marketing strategy? Contact Creative Vortex today for insights on how we can help your business stand out in a crowd.

Elements of a Great Marketing Piece 

Potential customers often see a business’ marketing collateral, whether it be printed or digital, before they actually experience a product or service. No matter what the piece is, be sure to incorporate the following best practices to create a good impression with potential and returning customers.

1. Readability

For people to connect with a business or organization, it is important that marketing materials are easy to read. Potential customers need to be able to quickly understand what the business is, the problem it solves, how to buy and where to find more information (website, social media, store location, etc). Keep your messages concise and don’t use jargon. Lastly, make sure that all marketing collateral is free of any kind of errors. Nothing throws doubt on a company’s credibility like seeing grammar and spelling errors! And, to that point, ensure that the website works, social media platforms are updated, chat boxes are being monitored and phone lines are being answered.

2. Crystal Clear Call-to-Action

What do you want readers to do after reading your marketing piece? The call-to-action (CTA) needs to provide a very clear path to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale. It should be obvious but very specific and create an urgency that drives a consumer to make a purchase. A CTA should focus on making a transaction, including:

  • Shop our sale now
  • Visit us online to buy now
  • Get free shipping when you spend $100

It can also focus on a personal engagement between the buyer and the seller. Examples include:

  • Call / DM us for a free consultation
  • Sign up for a free 30-day trial
  • RSVP to attend our event

No matter what  the CTA is, the direction should be crystal clear, free of any ambiguities and impossible to miss.

3. On-point Visual Design

If you have a great message and a precise CTA, but your visual design is a mess, all that work will be for nothing because it will be lost in confusion. Having a properly designed marketing piece for a reader should do four things:

  1. Catch a consumer’s attention
  2. Direct the reader’s eyes
  3. Answer who, what, when, why and where
  4. Organize the information and graphics

A visual strategy for all your marketing collateral will provide order and present the most important information so it is easy to find and read, and subsequently make it easy for people to engage with the company.

4. Stay On Brand

Lastly, marketing collateral needs to be on brand, reflecting the proper logo, fonts, colors, key messages and design elements that are synonymous with the organization’s brand identity. Conduct a brand audit to make sure that old branding and messaging has been retired and isn’t lurking in the shadows. It is important to conduct a brand audit every 4-6 months to maintain continuity, identify gaps, and implement updates.

Creating an easily identifiable marketing mix with strong and well-built pieces goes a long way in building a trustworthy and credible business that will consistently retain customers and attract new ones.

Want to learn more? Email at to book a free 30-minute consultation!

Application of Logo Variations

Having a versatile primary logo means having variations of it that can be used in different ways on a variety of platforms. Having several approved logo variations in a branding guide allows a business to shift seamlessly and be recognized instantly. As a business and brand grows, the application of a logo should be adapted to be include on:

1.     Website
2.     Social Media
3.     Print Collateral
4.     Signage
5.     Digital Communications
6.     Apps
7.     Clothes & Bags/Backpacks
8.      Pens, Pencils, etc.

While the primary logo will always be the leading mark of your company, it isn’t always the best application. Logo variations present the best visual aspect of an organization while maintaining brand consistency. Let’s look at the six main types of logo variations.

Primary Logo 

The primary logo is the main identifier of your brand and is used predominantly in your marketing channels and platforms. It sets the tone and should be easily recognized in your target market.

Stacked Logo 

Aligned closely with the primary logo, the stacked version should be used when space is tight, typically on printed materials and presentations. If the primary logo is already stacked there is no need to recreate it.






Secondary Logo

Used on as-needed basis and/or to align more closely with the platform it is being used on. It still needs to be tightly knit with the primary logo but can be adapted to be more horizontal/vertical or to show a different side of the company brand.

Tagline Logo

The tagline logo can simply be the primary logo with an approved tagline attached to it. It is important to make sure that when it is used the tagline is legible and easy to read.

Submark & Brandmark 

The submark and brandmark can be used in small spaces and are circular in nature, most notably are used in social media profiles. A submark will include your business name and maybe a tagline. A brandmark is just a graphic element from the primary logo or a monogram of the business name. These items may also be used as watermarks.



Color Variations

While the use of color for all logo types must be maintained, in certain situations to the logo can be adapted in support of environmental or social causes. Choosing logo colors from CMYK or RGB helps to ensure that color consistency is maintained on all marketing platforms. It is also important to determine grayscale versions of the logo types if color options are not available.

Paving the Way for Branding Relevance in 4 Steps

Brand relevance is the ability to connect with people’s emotions and make a product or service relevant enough for them to invest in it.  Why is it important? Creating brand relevance is a strong indicator of long-term success by gaining engagement, loyalty, and trust from customers for years to come.

Creating true brand relevance takes time and patience, but when done correctly can grow a brand and business for the long-term. Below are 4 steps that can help you realign your brand for success.

Step #1: Conduct a Brand Audit

Do you know what your footprint is with your target audience? Are you even getting in front of the people that will buy your product or service? Now is the time to conduct a brand audit so you know the impact of your brand and its existing gaps. Use the steps below to conduct a brand audit.

  • Identify what is being measured. What is your business’s mission, vision, unique selling proposition, market position and brand promise? Who is your target audience and where are they?
  • Assess marketing materials. Gather all your marketing materials, including business logo, brochures, sales sheets, product packaging, letterhead, business cards, print advertisements, website(s), social media platforms, email campaigns, and newsletters. Do they have a consistent design, color, and tone? Do they speak to your target market?
  • Review your business website. Using website analytics, assess where web traffic is coming from, what the bounce rate and conversion rate is and if it is attracting your target audience.
  • Review your social media data. Use your social media analytics to examine who is following and engaging with your brand. Are they current or potential customers? Are they saying anything about your brand?

Evaluate competitive brands. Assess the competitions by reviewing their marketing and advertising materials, websites, and social media platforms. What are they doing well or not so well?

Step #2: Do Some Market Research

Who does your target audience think you are? To make sure that you are talking to the right target audience and using the right mix of marketing, leverage market research to fully understand how current and potential customers feel about your brand. Use a combination of customer focus groups, email surveys, social media polls, and online surveys to get customer feedback on the following:

  • What brand experience have people had?
  • What has their experience been with customer service?
  • Does your service or product solve customers’ problems?
  • How do customers describe your service or product?
  • Have they ever recommended it to friends and family?
  • What does the brand’s logo make people think of?

Be sure to survey people that aren’t customers yet. Also, create a unique survey for employees to make sure they understand the brand too. If they don’t have full knowledge of the brand it is harder for them to sell it.

Step #3: Review Impact of Design Collateral

  • A design audit includes analyzing all the visual and graphic elements that represent your brand externally and internally. Consistency in design has an incredible influence on customer experience and engagement. The audit should include any visual, written, and verbal communication used as a touchpoint to get the attention of current and potential customers. When conducting a visual audit look at the following:
  • Patterns: Put visual elements into buckets according to the patterns that represent the brand. Look for commonalities across all platforms and identify anything is erratic and out of place.
  • Tone, Voice, & Message: Does what you are saying and writing match up with the visual representation of the brand? Does it support the message represented by the logo?

This step will help to answer the question of whether your visuals tell a cohesive story and accurately represent your brand.

Step #4: Develop A Plan

The only way to truly leverage the information gained from the brand audit, market research and graphic design audit to achieve your marketing objectives is to create a to-do list! This should be a detailed plan of action that highlights goals, deliverables, tactics, and a timeline that prioritizes work to get you in front of the right people to drive engagement and sales. Below are some key activities to building a marketing plan:

  • Define Business Goals & Budget
  • Conduct a SWOT Analysis
  • Identify Target Audience / Customer
  • Develop Marketing Goals
  • Define Visuals and Communication Tone

Brand relevance can lead to a strong connection between a brand and consumer. When a consumer finds your product or service necessary for them, they will build a connection with your brand through engagement and referrals that will last for years to come.